Capitol beefs up security for Panaad Festival

THE Negros Occidental Provincial Government is intensifying its security preparations for the 24th Panaad sa Negros Festival that will kick off on April 22 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. Monday, April 17, said security will be tight during the nine-day event as more visitors and participants are expected to come this year.

One of the special guests is Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who will attend the coronation night of the 2017 Lin-ay sang Negros pageant on April 28.

“We have to be more vigilant now,” Marañon said, as he enjoined the Negrenses for prayers that there will be no untoward incident during the celebration.

Amid the terror threat, Marañon is upbeat with the security plan put in place by the authorities.

The Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army are still verifying the reported sightings of terrorists and armed men in Negros Island Region.

Senior Superintendent Rolando Miranda, caretaker of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said they have already finalized security preparations for the festival before the Holy Week break.

He added that they will have a final coordinating conference within the week before deploying their personnel a day before the event’s opening.

Police Regional Office-Negros Island Region Directorial Staff Chief Miranda said 320 policemen will be deployed within the premises of Panaad.

He added that authorities remain on full alert even as the terror alert in Sipalay City and Cauayan town turned out to be misinformation.

“We are ready for any possible scenario, we are not complacent,” he said.

Miranda said all the information and reports about the terror threat are still being verified, adding that there is “intelligence sharing” among various agencies.

Awareness

Marañon said the public now are more aware of their surroundings as he pointed out that authorities have thwarted the possible terror acts by Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf in Bohol due to the help of the community.

On April 11, government troopers clashed with the terrorist group in Bohol, which killed three soldiers, a police officer, and five terrorists.

Moreover, Marañon said a joint task force will be formed for “better and improve coordination” in dealing with terror threat.

He said terrorists will most likely gain entry at the coastal areas.

The governor urged the public to report to the authorities suspicious persons or activities.

“The public should cooperate,” he added.
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