“Paranoia is just another word for ignorance.” –Hunter S. Thompson
There is nothing to worry about; Dinagyang Festival 2020 is in safe hand. The Iloilo City Festivals Foundation Inc. (ICFFI) has managed the event magnificently. In addition, Department of Tourism-Region VI, led by Atty. Helen C. Catalbas, along with the Iloilo City Hall Tourism Office, which is headed by Junel Ann Divinagracia, have been on top of the promoting the annual religious and cultural festival.
What’s the problem? The paranoia exhibited by some city officials and the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), who fear a terror attack on the city. As noted in my previous column, they put forward a veritable reproduction of the Philippine National Police policy when Pope Francis visited in 2015 and during the recent Black Nazarene procession.
Iloilo City has never been a target for extremists or terrorists—especially the Dinagyang Festival, which is a non-political affair. No terrorist would waste their time terrorizing locals during such a solemn (yet festive) event. Ilonggos neither incite violence nor show aggression towards certain groups that would incite such a reaction that would make visitors believe there is a real danger during the festival.
In my prior column, I discussed the proposal to shut down telecommunication signals in Iloilo City during the Dinagyang Festival, which I explained puts the comfort and safety of those who use the internet to update their relatives in jeopardy. However, the final decision was the combined handiwork of the paranoia presented by the ICPO and the City Council.
Supposed “intelligence report” suggested terrorists may sabotage the events and they bought it hook, like, and sinker. What terrorists? It’s a figment of their imagination. To be clear: Drunkards, gang members, sex offenders, muggers, and snatchers are not terrorists.
This year’s Dinagyang Festival is predicted to soar to unprecedented heights.
The ICFFI is headed by Chairperson Rogelio Florete; Vice Chairperson Felipe Uygongco; President Jobert Peñaflorida; Vice President Ronald Raymond Sebastian; Treasurer Roland Uy; Public Relations Officer Judgee Peña; and members John Alexander Que, Allan Ryan Tan, Phillip Chua, Joemarie Layson, Atty. Eugenio Hautea, Molly Grande, Ivy Gurrea, Angel de Leon, Jr., and Honorato Espinosa.
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ