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PIA Press Release

Gun-less police join Panagbenga parades

by Redjie Cawis

Baguio City (27 February) -- Anti-gun campaign rules over the city's Panagbenga Festival as Mayor Peter Rey Bautista has ordered the police force not to bring guns in the parades.

Bautista announced in a press conference that the police force will be gun less during the street dancing and float parade. He said showing of guns in festivities and gathering of people creates a bad image of the place.

"We do not like to spoil the parade by showing off guns and arms." Bautista said. He stressed that guns are not necessary since there is no threat of violence in the city. He added that the impression should not be of arrogance but a friendly people.

According to Baguio Flower Festival Executive Committee Chairman Anthony De Leon, he has witnessed several festivals in the south where the police and the military forces are carrying long firearms like ready to go to war. It is improper to place these men in the middle of a celebration, he said.

Baguio City is a tourist destination so the Baguio people should always be tourist- friendly. "The displays of marshals with long firearms are very much intimidating and prohibitive to tourists," De Leon said.

Bautista explained that there would be other uniformed men stationed on strategic locations around the city that would be allowed to bring firearms.

De Leon added that the BFF is confident with the peace and order situation during the festivities with the Baguio City Police Office in the lead.

The Baguio police force is set to protect the expected two million or more tourists in the city for the annual Panagbenga street dancing and float parade this weekend. (PIA) [top]

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