Iloilo City intensifies anti-drug drive ahead of Dinagyang Fest

Iloilo City intensifies anti-drug drive ahead of Dinagyang Fest

Iloilo City intensifies anti-drug drive ahead of Dinagyang Fest

FILE PHOTO: Devotees join the fluvial parade of Sto Nino in Iloilo City ahead of Dinagyang Festival. The religious fluvial procession during Dinagyang Festival depicts a common historical scene of the Spaniards arriving in the islands by boat and bearing the gift of faith through an icon of the Holy Child Jesus in His image as the Señor Santo Niño. INQUIRER PHOTO

ILOILO CITY — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Visayas (PDEA-6) has intensified its efforts against illegal drug activities in the run-up to the Dinagyang Festival on Jan. 28.

PDEA regional spokesperson Ma. Graziella Tanaleon said authorities were implementing a comprehensive strategy to maintain a drug-free environment after they observed a surge in drug demand during festivities.


She emphasized a targeted approach at potential entry points for drug traffickers, including ports, airports, and terminals.


K9 units, she said, are also conducting thorough search operations and passenger profiling to intercept contraband.

READ: Iloilo all set for Dinagyang to honor Sto. Niño

Tanaleon urged the public to disengage from illegal drugs as both peddlers and users are being monitored, especially during the festival.

The Iloilo City Task Force on Moral Values and Formation (TFMVF) is also monitoring resto bars and entertainment venues in preparation for the festival.

Councilor Allan Zaldivar, chairperson of the committee on cooperation, opposed the proposal of the police for a signal shutdown during the Dinagyang Festival 2024.

Zaldivar said the police should intensify intelligence monitoring over signal shutdowns.

READ: ‘A complete success’: Face-to-face Dinagyang exceeded expectations

He emphasized the crucial role of cellphones in emergencies, citing his previous experience during the festival where a signal shutdown affected emergency response teams.


Zaldivar said the police should consider factors such as medical emergencies, business transactions, real-time festival promotion, and other critical aspects.

Councilor Sedfrey Cabaluna, chairperson of the committee on public order and security, shared the same sentiments.

READ: Iloilo’s Treñas says won’t back signal jamming for Dinagyang Festival 2024

He said the police should focus on their security assignments without dictating selective signal shutdowns during the festival.

A gun ban will be imposed in this city to prevent atrocities during the activities in line with this year’s Dinagyang Festival from Jan. 19 to 29.

Lieutenant Colonel Rene Obregon, chief of the operations management unit of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), said the prohibited items include guns, sharp objects, and other contraband.

READ: Gratitude, faith in Dinagyang return to Iloilo City streets

Smoking, he said, would also be strictly disallowed in connection with the city’s anti-smoking campaign.

Dinagyang started in 1968 when Fr. Sulpicio Enderes, OSA, with a delegation of the Cofradia de Cebu, brought a replica of the image of Santo Niño de Cebu to Iloilo City. The image was taken to San Jose Parish Church where it is enshrined until now.

In 1977, organizers changed “Ati-Atihan” to “Dinagyang” from the Hiligaynon word “dagyang,” or merrymaking, to avoid duplicating Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan.

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Dinagyang is held every fourth Sunday of January while Ati-Atihan, like the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, is held every third Sunday of January.

TAGS: Dinagyang, Iloilo City

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