Press Release
January 14, 2006


Asks revelers to be calm, cooperative and cautious

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, says that considering the rampage or stampede that may ensue in crowded celebrations such as the Sinulog and Ati-Atihan festivals, police personnel who are tasked to secure the venues should be extra cautious in keeping watch over the revelers to avoid untoward incidents.

The stampede that took place during the recent celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene is still fresh in the peoples minds. Around the same time last year also, during the Ati-Atihan festivities in Kalibo, a shootout occurred that left seven cops and civilians dead plus over 30 wounded. We should make sure that such tragedies would not happen again, cites Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

To recall, Villars committee through Senate Resolution 159 that he also filed, conducted an investigation on the shooting rampage by Police Officer 1 Jonathan Moreo during the Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan. It also called for a review of the Philippine National Police (PNP) guidelines and standards in recruiting and selecting of new police officers. It brought to the fore the issue of the strict implementation of the regular and mandatory psychiatric evaluation of policemen.

According to reports, PO1 Jonathan Moreo went on a shooting rampage and gunned down his superiorsSupt. Odelardo Magayanes, the provincial police director, Insp. Manuel Elijay, the Kalibo police chief, four other policemen and a five-year-old girl. A doctor, one of the 30 other civilians wounded in the rampage, died a few days later. Moreno was killed by his fellow policemen.

Villar lauded the PNPs move to send more policemen in Kalibo, Aklan in preparation for this years Ati-Atihan Festival tomorrow (January 15). PNP cited to media reports that the presence of more policemen would ensure that there would not be a repeat of last years tragedy.

Its really sad when occasions wherein our people are supposed to express their faith and be in a festive mood is marred by untoward incidents that could be prevented with caution, cooperation and vigilance in the part of the people themselves and the police authorities. I hope revelers will also be calm and orderly as they take part in the merry-making, adds Villar.

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