By Liezle Basa-Iñigo
The Tuguegarao City government and the local Philippine National Police (PNP) office are optimistic that weeklong Afi (fire) Festival will be peaceful and orderly despite the reported threat of attacks that could be launched by the Islamic State (IS) in the region.
Aside from continuous talks with local Muslim leaders, the local government unit and the police have implemented a “No Helmet, No Travel” policy until August 20 so that enforcers can easily identify motorcycle riders.
Backpacks have also been disallowed during the festivities, namely the TugSayaw Competition, Afi Festival Dance Presentation, and the Miss Tuguegarao Pageant at the Cagayan Sports Complex; Barangay officials were likewise directed to closely monitor their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano said the alleged IS report has caused serious concern among his constituents, and he has given the assurance that the matter was being taken seriously by city officials and local police.
” Let us not allow this information to hostage our celebration, because this is precisely what these malevolent persons wish to accomplish: to wreak havoc and fear among the public,” he said.
The city official also called on the cooperation of the public in helping military and police units by immediately reporting any suspicious individuals or movements in their areas.
” Every Tuguegaraoeño must be alert and must be ready to report any unusual happening to the nearest police station and barangay hall without hesitation or fear.