DAVAO City councilors lauded Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s decision to cancel major activities of the 83rd Araw ng Davao this year amid the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) scare.
Duterte-Carpio on Monday, February 10, announced the cancellation of some major Araw events as Covid-19, which was earleir declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.
Araw ng Dabaw events that were scrapped included Pasiugdang Pagsaulog, Reyna Dabawenya, Ginoong Davao, Sayaw Pinoy, Kalingawan sa Sta. Ana, Hudyaka, Mutya ng Dabaw, Pasidungog, Araw ng Empleyado, Kanta Dabawenyo, Parada Dabawenyo, and Datu Bago Awards.
This was on the heels of a Department of Health (DOH) advisory, discouraging public gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.
The mayor, however, clarified there is no confirmed case of the disease yet in the city but the health facilities in Davao City have limitations when a virus outbreak strikes.
City Council majority floor leader J. Melchor Quitain said while it is said that Dabawenyos will not be able to celebrate this year’s city founding anniversary, but he said the cancellation was the best solution for now since the virus had been spreading “like wildfire”.
Quitain added that the virus cannot be easily determined, especially with tourists or locals who came from Covid-infected countries.
“We do not know who’s spreading the virus. We do not know if somebody from Wuhan is in Davao City or somebody from Davao travelled to China. We do not know these things. So, the best thing is to cancel it,” Quitain said on Wednesday during the 19th City Council Media Briefing.
He added, “There is an assurance that it will be back to normal next year. This is a little sacrifice, but looking into the bigger picture, it is for the benefit of everyone”.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in September this year, signed Republic Act 11379, a law that effectively restores the city’s Araw ng Dabaw to March 1, instead of March 16.
Quitain Jr., in a previous report, said the city was originally founded on March 1, 1937, but later on previous city councils interchanged the Araw ng Dabaw to its Foundation Day.
He said 2020 would have been the first Araw celebration wherein it was reverted back to its original date.
Councilor Ralph Abella, meanwhile, said the city mayor’s decision is a precautionary measure to avoid the spreading of the disease, especially that there have been persons and tourists who have been confined with flu-like symptoms after having travel history from countries such as China.
“Gina-iwasan lang ni Mayor nga naa magkasakit tas pasanginlan nga ‘gikan man ko didtoa sa Davao’. Nagpakasiguro lang si Mayor (Mayor is just avoiding that a person who travel from Davao City would say that they had acquired the disease in the city. The mayor is just being cautious),” Abella said.
Councilor Bonifacio Militar said even President Rodrigo Duterte, the city mayor’s father, had cancelled some major events in Malacañan Palace following the outbreak of the virus.
“In the protection aspect, if the cancellation is for the general welfare of the people of Davao, then we should support it,” Militar said.
Other major events in the city, including the 3rd Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao, an international triathlon competition was rescheduled from March 22 to May 10.
As of February 13 press time, the city is “Covid-free”. Although DOH-Davao Region has reported 14 persons under investigation after manifesting flu-like symptoms related to the virus. (Shane Therese D. Caangay and Sittie Nor-Irish A. Zamora, UM Interns/With reports from RGL and RAG)