President Rodrigo Duterte will not be present at the celebration of Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival this year.
Duterte’s non-attendance to the event was confirmed by City Mayor Jose Espinosa III on Monday, Jan. 21.
“There was an invitation sent to the President but unfortunately he could not make it,” he said.
In a press release, the city government said Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go will give a message in behalf of Duterte.
Go served as the President’s special assistant. He resigned from his position last year to run for senator.
The President also missed the festival last year and in 2017.
Meanwhile, Junel Ann Divinagracia, city tourism officer, said seven foreign ambassadors are gracing the celebration.
The confirmed guests are Bangladesh Ambassador Asad Alam Siam, China Ambssador Zhao Jianhua, Korea Ambassador Han Dong-man, Nigeria Ambassador Adekunbi Abibat Sonaike-Ayodeji, Pakistan Ambassador Aman Rashid, Russian Federation Ambassador Igor Anatolyevich Khovaev, and United States of America (USA) Ambassador Sung Yong Kim.
Zaidi Kassim, tourism attaché of Malaysia, will also attend the celebration.
“Of course ginaexpect ta guid ang iban nga senatorial aspirants. Ara guid na kay election time,” Divinagracia said
The highlights of the 51st edition of Dinagyang are set on Jan. 25 to 27.
To ensure the safety of the guests and revelers, more than 6,000 security personnel will be deployed starting on Thursday, Jan. 24, around the city.
They include 2,347 police officers, and the rest are from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, colleges and universities, and non-government organizations.
Backpacks, big luggage, bladed weapons, pointed sticks, buckled knives, and glass bottles will be prohibited during the three-day highlights.IMT