San Juan City apologizes over chaotic 'Wattah Wattah Festival'

San Juan City apologizes over chaotic 'Wattah Wattah Festival'
PNA photo by Ben Briones

THE City Government of San Juan in Metro Manila has apologized for the inconvenience and damage caused by some of its residents during the recently concluded “Wattah Wattah Festival,” or the traditional “Basaan,” held on June 24 in connection with the Feast of San Juan Bautista.

In a radio interview on Friday, June 28, 2024, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora vowed to assist those who seek legal action against some “unruly” residents.

“Muli, ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin at pasensya sa lahat ng taong naapektuhan ng aming selebrasyon ng kapistahan ng San Juan. Ako po’y humihingi ng paumanhin at muli, nananawagan ako sa lahat ng gustong mag-file ng complaint. Punta lang po kayo sa aming opisina. Handa po ang aming tanggapan at ang city legal office ng San Juan na i-assist kayo at mag-file ng mga kaso kung ito po ay isang bagay na gusto ninyong gawin,” Zamora said.

(Once again, I apologize and ask for the understanding of everyone affected by our celebration of the Feast of San Juan. I am truly sorry and once more, I urge anyone who wishes to file a complaint to come to our office. Our office and the city legal office of San Juan are ready to assist you in filing cases if that is something you wish to do.)

Zamora said he has already ordered the identification and tracking of residents who were seen violating local ordinances related to the celebration, particularly in forcing to open vehicles to splash passengers with water, harassing motorists and passersby, and other activities that may have had resulted in physical injury and damage to properties.

Social media was blown up with various complaints with photos and videos attached against the Wattah Wattah Festival especially as some residents forced their way to water down innocent passersby even those who asked them not to include passenger jeepneys and motorcycle riders.

Social media was flooded with various complaints, with photos and videos showing unruly residents during the Wattah Wattah Festival, particularly those who forced their way to douse innocent passersby, including those who asked not to be included, as well as passenger jeepneys and motorcycle riders.

In one of the videos, a policeman deployed for the maintenance of peace and order during the celebration was also not spared, as an unruly resident poured water on him.

Zamora said the police are looking into filing charges.

He added that they are also examining the accountability of policemen and barangay force multipliers for failing to contain the situation and enforce the city ordinances related to the event.

On Thursday, San Juan City Police chief Colonel Francis Allan Reglos said a complaint for physical injury was filed by a man against a suspect who allegedly threw muriatic acid at him.

The suspect has already been arrested.

Aside from violation of city ordinances, those responsible for the chaos may also be charged criminally, Zamora said.

Zamora, however, assured that necessary adjustments will be made to avoid similar incidents in the coming years, including the identification of "basaan" zones. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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