[06 January 2017] Davaoeños showed the country once again that celebrating the New Year need not be bloody and prone to firework related injuries after the Local Government Unit of Davao and Smart Communications successfully led the 4th Torotot Festival (Horn Festival).
This year’s Torotot Festival is the biggest and grandest celebration yet, with people coming in droves from different parts of the city to join the unique party.
Arnold Dellosa, Smart Communication’s Regional Development Head for Mindanao said that the Torotot Festival is one way of supporting LGU-Davao’s advocacy of zero-casualty and zero firework related injuries during the celebration of New Year.
Firecrackers and fireworks are banned in Davao City since 2002, a rule that is strictly enforced by local law enforcement units.
“We want to show people in the country that we can celebrate New Year’s Eve in a fun way with no pollution and injury-free,” Dellosa added.
With all eyes on Davao City right now, following the election of its longtime Mayor and now Philippine President Rody Duterte, it seems that people are taking positive notice of the Torotot Festival.
Even the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa who came-by and checked on the Torotot Festival was amazed at how the revelry was being celebrated.
“I hope the country would follow what we are doing here in Davao,” said Gen. Bato, referring to the Torotot Festival.
“We should be very proud of the example that we are setting and the discipline that we are showing, not only in our country but throughout the whole world,” added Dela Rosa.
And the whole world seemed to be watching and celebrating with Davaoeños during the New Year’s Eve partying as scores of foreigners can be observed celebrating and mingling with the crowd.
Edward Lee, a Korean tourist along with his friends and cousins had a blast celebrating with the Davaoeños during the Torotot Festival.
“It is unique and very different. My friends and I were jumping around with strangers blowing horns and having fun. This is our first New Year in the Philippines,” according to Lee.
Pattira Duangsing, a foreign exchange student from Thailand said, that although this is her first time in the Philippines, she felt safe and secured in Davao despite spending the wee hours of the morning on the street while celebrating the Torotot Festival. “I feel safe and secure and enjoyed a lot. I love the colorful cosplays and costumes,” Duangsing said.
Duangsing enjoyed the Torotot Festival with friends and church mates, and even won Talk N’ Text tumblers in one of the many games held during the festival.
LTE Phones, pocket Wi-Fi devices, loads, shirts and other Smart goodies were also given away all throughout the night. Balloons with surprise gifts and rewards were also distributed to the delight of the partying crowd.
Safety and Security
Safety and security for the Torotot Festival alone was ensured by the deployment of more than 400 combined forces from the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), Task Force Davao (TFD), Search and Rescue teams from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Central 911. This was further augmented by units from the Explosive Ordnance Division and local government security units.
“The police regional office even sent personnel to help us secure the venue and the people as they celebrate,” P/ Chief Insp. Ramil Macarampat, Chief of the San Pedro Police Station confirmed.
All these layers of security was previously set, coordinated and decided upon long before the event by representatives from Smart Communications, LGU-Davao and law enforcement units headed by the PNP and the AFP.
For this year’s Torotot Festival, Smart Communications brought the heat when it came to the competition and the prizes. Festival staples like the best torotot competition, best in torotot inspired costume, best torotot cosplay and hip-hop dance contest all had their prizes double from P25,000 to a whooping P50,000. With the Zumba dancing contest now had P15,000 up for grabs.
These huge prizes along with the amazing crowd turnout, media coverage and attention that it generated, this year’s Torotot Festival is officially the grandest of all versions of the said celebration and is now set to go nationwide next year thanks to President Duterte’s tough stance on firecrackers.