Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Venerating The Santo Niño Is Act of Faith

by Ernesto T. Solidum

All systems go in this Kalibo Sto. Niño Kalibo Ati-atihan 2011 festival. This is the joint declaration of Augusto C. Tolentino, chairman – Peace, Order, and Security Committee, KASAFI, Supt. Aden T. Lagradante, Kalibo Chief of Police, and Police Senior Supt. Cornelio T. Defensor, PNP. They are Kapihan guests at Smokehauz Resto & Bar on January 7, 2012.

Col. Defensor has appointed a Deputy Task Commander and Sub-Task Groups which are intelligence, investigation, supplies, and operation. Increased police visibility is one big deterrent in crime prevention and crowd control. Some 650 uniformed police personnel are augmented by one platoon from the Philippine Army. Counting the back up support of barangay tanods, security strength can reach 950. Any attempt to disrupt the security plan by terrorist or lawless elements could be prevented by highly trained people assisted by bomb sniffing dogs.

There are seven municipalities in Aklan holding the Ati-atihan festival which are Malinao, Makato, Malay, Ibajay, Batan, Kalibo, and Altavas. Except for Makato where Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay is expected to attend, more security provisions are in place to insure peaceful and memorable celebration, assured Provincial Police Director Defensor.

Supt. Lagradante reported that 11 Police Assistance Centers will be put in strategic places where big crowds converge like Pastrana and Magsaysay Parks, near Kalibo Bridge, Crossing Kalibo–Banga and Castillo Monument. Volunteer medical teams from the Provincial Hospital and Philippine Red Cross will coordinate with PNP in manning these outposts. On call are 15 patrol jeeps and motorcycle cops to quell any public disorder.

As a preventive measure, PNP will implement the banning of firearms and deadly weapons. Those permit to carry shall be suspended. Those found carrying firearms will be charged under PD 36 as amended, Police Chief Lagradante informed.

Gus Tolentino is exuding with optimism that the Balik Ati program started last year will again be a hit this year. Compared with last year’s event, there were 27 registered tribal Atis. Now there are 33 or an increase of 22 percent. They are classified into Modern Category – 7, Balik Ati – 9, Tribal Small – 8, and Tribal Big – 9.

In a peace and Order conference held on Saturday, Jan. 7 at KASAFI office, Tolentino reported that all registered Ati groups will have their own Tribal Chief who will be clothed with authority to police their own ranks. Those violating norms of conduct and decency due to drunkenness will be picked out and asked to leave.

To improve sprit de corps, KASAFI donated the amount of P50,000 to PNP. Needless to mention the sacrifices and enviable contribution of our uniformed personnel toward the maintenance of peace and order during the official January 9-15 Kalibo Santo Niño Ati-atihan Festival.

Let’s face it. Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan celebration is more religious than a cultural event. It has waxed and waned over the years. There is no sense in making comparison nor to stimulate tourism by going into outlandish lengths. Venerating the Sto. Niño is enough and this is living the faith handed down by tradition over the centuries. /MP

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