Security augmented for San Juan’s ‘Wattah Wattah’ festival

MANILA — Fifty additional Eastern Police District policemen have been deployed to augment the security measures for the annual Wattah Wattah Festival celebration in San Juan City on Monday.

San Juan police chief, Col. Ariel Fulo on Saturday said the additional policemen will be deployed particularly at the Pinaglabanan Shrine where traditional ‘basaan’ (dousing of water) will be held as part of the celebration.

Outgoing Mayor Guia Gomez earlier said Pinaglabanan has been chosen “because they needed a bigger space as they expect a larger crowd this year”.

She said the traditional dousing of water was previously held at “Tanghalan ng Masa”.

Gomez said this year's celebration will focus on water conservation amid the water crisis being experienced in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Prior to the start of the week-long celebration, the local government has conducted an online water conservation campaign to further educate the people of San Juan City about the importance of water in their lives.

Gomez said the religious ‘basaan’ tradition must continue as part of San Juan’s culture and tourism.

“San Juan City is named after St. John the Baptist, our patron saint. He was the one who baptized our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This celebration is being held to simulate the act of baptism. This year, we want to highlight environmental awareness, and not only the religious aspect,” Gomez stressed.

She said San Juan City will only use 16 fire trucks, a big reduction from 50 fire trucks used during last year’s festivity.

Gomez also reminded residents not to use dirty water or water placed inside a plastic, bottle or any material that can inflict pain. Throwing of water inside vehicles is also prohibited.

She said violators will be slapped with up to PHP5,000 fine or at least six days imprisonment.

A liquor ban will also be implemented on June 24, from 12:01 a.m. to 3 p.m. (PNA)

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