Approximately 40,000 individuals gathered for the Annual "Pahalipay sa Taal" on December 25, 2023.
Captain Hazel Tuazon, spokesperson for the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), reported on Tuesday morning, December 26, 2023, that out of the 40,000 attendees, around 20,000 received a food pack.
She said that there were no reported incidents during the distribution, though some people fainted. However, ambulances were on standby to promptly address any health emergencies.
“Sa atoang estimated crowd kagahapon 40,000, sa pag linya hangtud sa nahuman ang pagpanghatag sa pahalipay (In our estimation of the crowd yesterday at 40,000, the distribution continued until the last person received their food pack),” She said.
Tuazon said that they implemented a cut-off around 12:15 p.m., concluding the gift-giving by 1:15 p.m. The DCPO had deployed numerous personnel well before the event, totaling 3,356 security personnel, including force multipliers from PS3, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Special Weapons And Tactics (Swat), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and Police Auxiliary, to ensure a secure environment.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte participated in the gift-giving, engaging with Dabawenyos who received food packs, gift checks, cash, and lunch packs. Former president Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte expressed gratitude to barangay officials for their support.
Jherom Manayan from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) explained in an interview with SunStar Davao that they assisted parents with children.
Parents had to undergo an interview before leaving their children, as those aged 17 and below could not receive gift packs. After obtaining the food pack, parents could retrieve their children, who also received their own type of gift check.
“Before nila ibilin ang ilang mga anak sa amoa, amoa sa silang interviewhon bago namo dawaton ang bata kay dili man makadawat ang 17 years old pababa. Pagkahuman kuha sa mga ginikanan ug food pack, pwede na nila balikan ilang mga anak pero bago muhawa ang bata hatagan sila ug ilang pahalipay (Before parents entrusted their children to us, we conducted an interview to ensure that only those aged 17 and below were eligible to receive a gift pack. Once the parents have received their food pack, they can then retrieve their children. However, before the child leaves, we provided them with their own type of gift check),” Manayan said.
Meanwhile, Khate Adessa Gavanez, a four-time recipient of food packs, expressed gratitude to the Duterte family for providing essential provisions and gift checks.
Despite the exhaustion, she found the experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
After receiving their "pahalipays," some Dabawenyos queued outside malls to redeem their gift certificates.
While many were fortunate to receive gift packs, some expressed disappointment for not making it to the cut-off time for the gift-giving. RGP