Security tightened as SoCot T’nalak fest kicks off

Security tightened as SoCot T’nalak fest kicks off

KORONADAL CITY – The South Cotabato Provincial Police Office (SCPPO) has enforced tightened security measures in line with the weeklong 23rd T’nalak Festival and the province’s 56th foundation anniversary that kicked off here Wednesday.

Capt. Renjun Bagaman, SCPPO information officer, said Wednesday that at least 70 percent or 800 of their personnel would be deployed to the field for the duration of the festival.

“This is beside the augmentation from the military and their multiple force multipliers, like the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams and provincial civil security unit,” Bagaman said.

“Our security plan is focused on public safety and crime prevention measures with an emphasis on traffic re-routing, deployment of K-9 units, and explosive ordnance division in all venues.”

The SCPPO also established barricades in the festival venues to impede attempts by lawless groups to sabotage the celebrations.

Bagaman reminded the public not to bring backpacks to festival sites, and refrain from wearing valuable items, such as jewelry.

He also appealed for vigilance and for residents to report unattended baggage in public areas.

“Our personnel will be visible. They are wearing the blue uniform and not the combat uniform so that their presence can easily be recognized,” Bagaman said.

The July 13-18 festival began with an ecumenical prayer at the South Cotabato Gymnasium.

The street dancing competition and thematic parade, among other activities, will return in this year’s T’nalak Festival after two years of prohibition on mass gatherings due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. appealed to the public to strictly abide by the health protocols as the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 still exists.

“The challenges that we are facing today cannot stop us to celebrate the festival but let us observe it with the utmost caution,” Tamayo said. (PNA)

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