Duterte mulls cancelling Davao City festival amid security threats
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Worried by the spate of bombing in other areas of Mindanao, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday, he was considering calling off the weeklong Kadayawan Festival.
Duterte said he was trying to assess how far security forces could secure the city against threats, and might scrap the festival if he could not be assured of the public’s safety.
“Two months ago, we received an alert that Davao City, Zamboanga, General Santos and Cotabato are targets, then those reports (about the bombings) happened,” Duterte said, referring to the explosions in Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato and Midsayap town in North Cotabato. “Prudence tells me that as mayor, I have to evaluate and assess, reevaluate and assess various intelligence reports, collect them and then, make a decision, whether or not we will proceed with Kadayawan,” Duterte told reporters.
“If I think in my guts, that lives are in danger, then, I might scrap the whole thing off altogether,” he added.
But Duterte said he would make the crucial decision on August 13, only three days before the culmination of the festival or the peak of the activities.
“In the meantime, let the preparations go on, there will be a soft opening on August 8, tomorrow,” Duterte said on Wednesday.
“I might cancel everything not because I’m afraid but because I will not put in peril the lives of people,” he said.
He said that the US, Canada and Australia would be in much better position to assess the situation because they have developed a superior intelligence gathering system.
“The alert is so specific, what else do you want us to rely on?” Duterte asked, referring to the earlier alert issued by the foreign embassies of Australia, US and Canada, specifying the cities of Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato as targets of attacks by groups allegedly linked to Al Qaeda terror group.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.