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Davao bash to push through, rain or shine

DAVAO CITY – Rain or shine, over 500,000 Davaoeños and die-hard supporters from all over the country are expected to troop to the Davao Crocodile Park Saturday for a grand thanksgiving party for President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte, the event’s organizer said Thursday.

Intermittent downpours have started to usher in the rainy season but organizers of the event, dubbed as “One Love, One Nation,” said that not even these could dampen the enthusiasm for the victory celebration for Mindanao’s first president.

“Rain or shine, tuloy tayo,” said event organizer Kat Dalisay.

Hotels are fully booked, so with flights leading to this city, as supporters from other parts of the country are expected to attend in full force.

“One Love, One Nation” will be staged at the 24-hectare Crocodile Park grounds from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. with the number of attendees expected to easily surpass the record 300,000 who attended Duterte’s miting de avance here last May 7.

It will also be sort-of a send-off party to Duterte, the mayor here for over two decades who will now bring his advocacies against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption from this city to the nation.

Security will be tight at the event and the event organizer has coordinated with local and national security agencies, including the Presidential Security Group (PSG), according to Dalisay.

Police spokesperson Milgrace Driz said Wednesday that those who will attend the party will have to go through four layers of security checks where they will be frisked and asked to remove their shoes.

Driz advised attendees to avoid bringing backpacks and to leave children at home.

Capt. Ryan Batchar, spokesperson for the 10th Infantry Division, said that their personnel will also back up police visibility in the area, with a unit to be stationed around the grounds and another team stationed at Camp Panacan to serve as backup in case the situation calls for it.

No vendors will be allowed inside the event.

According to Dalisay, there will be 630 local performers lined up to perform during the event, including musicians, dance groups, DJs, among others.

There will be, at least, 20 Manila-based performers.

She lamented the organizers will no longer entertain more performers.

Driz said that security will not be limited in the grounds.

“We will also be beefing up security around the city,” she said.

Dalisay also pleaded with motorists to avoid the area to avoid the anticipated heavy traffic along the El Rio, Buhangin, Bajada and Maa sides leading to the event. (YAS OCAMPO)