All the major activities in next month’s Araw ng Davao – a major activity that draws at least 200,000 domestic and foreign visitors annually – have been canceled as precaution against the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Mayor Sara Duterte said only the Misa Pasasalamat, the thanksgiving mass set on March 1, will be celebrated.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to cancel the following events of the 83rd Araw ng Dabaw celebration,” Duterte told reporters during a presscon at her City Hall office yesterday.
Among the canceled events she mentioned included Pasiugdang Pagsaulog, Reyna Dabawenya, Ginoong Davao, Sayaw Pinoy, Kalingawan sa Sta. Ana, Hudyaka, Mutya ng Dabaw, Pasidungog, Araw ng Empleyado, Kanta Bidabawenyo, Parada Dabawenyo, and the Datu Bagu Bago Awards.
Insisting that there is no 2019 nCoV case in the city, the mayor said her decision is in compliance to the Feb. 7 advisory of the Department of Health (DOH) that encourages the public to avoid gatherings and going to crowded places as much as possible to prevent the spread of infection because the virus is airborne and can be transmittable through human interaction.
“The novel coronavirus situation remains very fluid and there is still no answer when it will be stabilized or its spread across the globe be fully controlled,” Duterte said.
As there is an increasing number of people getting the infection worldwide, the mayor admitted that the health care facilities in the city is very limited.
“We cannot possibly carry hundreds of sick individuals all at the same time,” Duterte admitted.
Because of these limitations, she said the city government’s plan for its residents is to ensure that “we do not get the infection.”
The mayor said the holiday schedules for the Araw ng Davao will still be observed.
March 1 and March 16 are already declared holidays.
The Araw ng Davao is previously celebrated on March 16, but it was corrected last year with a presidential proclamation moving it to March 1, the day the city charter came into effect in 1937.
The mayor said she will not impose restrictions to the private sectors if they continue their Araw plans but said they should observe the DOH guideline “as to what to do when handling mass gatherings and events.”
“We leave it up to them to decide,” Duterte said.
While the Araw activities are canceled, the mayor also urges parents, schools, government and private offices and business establishments “to ensure that their children, students, and employees understand the history of Davao City.”
Effects on Tourism
The mayor said the 2019 nCoV does not only have negative effects on the tourism industry of the city, but all over the world as well.
She said the only way for the city to recover from the negative effects is to ask people to come to the city after everything is settled.
The city mayor urged the public not to travel in or out of the city, especially those who are sick.
She said residents should seek immediate medical assistance when showing signs of soar throat, cough, fever and other flu-like symptoms.
“While we have a health issue at hand, please do not panic. Instead, report to the authorities and seek immediate and appropriate medical help,” she said.