BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the request of organizers and the Bacolod City Police Office to implement a “signal shutdown” during the highlights of the Masskara Festival on October 23.
“This is customary during big events, especially since we are expecting no less than President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to grace our main event,” festival director Atty. Pinky Mirano-Ocampo said.
The Oct. 23 activities include the MassKara street dance and Arena dance competition, as well as Electric MassKara events.
Ocampo, however, clarified that the “signal shutdown” will only be in areas where the President and his family will go, “for security reasons.”
As to the implementation of gun ban during the MassKara period, P/Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, Bacolod City Police Office director, yesterday said he is still awaiting Camp Crame’s approval of his request from.
Martir said that the gun ban is aimed at preventing crimes using firearms, with shootfest activities that are part of the festivities exempted.
Police estimated a crowd of 20,000 to have attended the countdown for the official start of MassKara at midnight of September 30, despite the drizzles at the Bacolod City Government Center.
The countdown at midnight was capped by a spectacular 8-minute fireworks display.
“This is what we have been preparing for, to give you the biggest and grandest MassKara Festival” Bacolod Mayor Albee Benitez told the crowd.
Accompanied by Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya and city councilors, Benitez enjoined the crowd to “see what we have to offer in the next three weeks. We have prepared a lot of exciting programs and I hope you will enjoy this festival.”
Gasataya dubbed this year’s festival as “super MassKara,” and now, “the smiles are back in this city.”
Rock star Rico Blanco, together with other local entertainers and the contestants of the Miss Bacolod MassKara, kept the crowd going till midnight for the countdown.
Ocampo, on the other hand, said this is “just a preview of what the people can expect in the succeeding weeks and we promise to keep the momentum going and making it even grander during the MassKara highlights on October 21-23.”
More than 2,000 bike enthusiasts also participated in the 1st MassKara Bike Fun Ride with Councilor Jason Villarosa and EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon spotted among the participants.
Gift prizes were given to riders who joined in MassKara costumes while grand winner in the raffle draw was Pamela Gargar who went home with a Trek Mountain Bike.
Sunday night, Martir said the crowd at the Pagcor Night concert at the Bacolod Public Plaza was pegged at 4,000 amidst the rain.*