By Mae Singuay
“It’s all systems go with all preparations in place to make this year’s MassKara Festival even more exciting, bigger, bolder, and brighter.”
This is what festival organizer, Bacolod Yuhum Foundation (BYF), assured as the 44th MassKara Festival will officially open starting October 7 until 22, with the street dance and arena competition as one of the festival highlights.
BYF president Katherine Matiling, in a final inter-agency meeting on Wednesday, October 4, assured that all preparations, particularly the security measures, are in place as the festival kicks-off tonight.
Festival chairperson, Jojie Dingcong, said they promised to open the festival with a bang during the MassKara Grand Countdown Salubong at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds at 5:00 p.m.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez will usher in the Salubong, with lots of entertainment and performances by local bands.
Expected to grace the event are Bacolod Representative Greg Gasataya and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Salubong event director, Rodney Ascalon, said the stage would be ready for the showcasing of performances at 5:00 p.m.
He said 15 candidates in the Miss Bacolod MassKara 2023 will also be performing along with some contestants for the MassKara Electric Diva, which will show snippets of what to expect during the festival.
A fireworks display will cap the Salubong at midnight.
3,000 security forces deployed
Meanwhile, almost 3,000 security forces have been deployed in the city to secure the celebration of the MassKara Festival, Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) director Colonel Noel Aliño said.
Aliño, during a send-off ceremony at the BCPO grounds yesterday, said his mandate to the security forces is to practice discipline because it is the key to police service.
Aliño is also the Site Task Group commander for the festival.
“We will implement maximum tolerance as part of the discipline in order to have a safe, peaceful and orderly celebration,” he said.
He hopes that there will be no incidents during the celebration since they held a simulation exercise in triple security against criminality on Wednesday, October 4.
Of the total 2,949 police personnel, 941 are from the BCPO, 1,046 are from the Western Visayas Police Regional Office augmentation team, and the rest are force multipliers.
Security personnel have been deployed to all festival sites and event venues, such as the Lacson Tourism Strip in Lacson Street, the Bacolod City Government Center grounds, Bacolod Old Airport, and the Bacolod City Public Plaza./MS, WDJ