ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES – The Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit, under the leadership of Uldarico Garbanzos, has released a public advisory warning about potential heavy traffic in certain areas of Iloilo due to preparations for the Dinagyang Festival.
The persistent daily traffic jams in crucial sections of the downtown area have been causing inconvenience for both motorists and commuters. Numerous individuals have experienced delays in reaching their workplaces or schools, and some have resorted to walking due to the situation.
The occurrence was unexpected for many individuals, as in previous festival years, Mondays did not witness significant traffic congestion, and road closures were not typically enforced in specific areas of the city during the construction of stages.
The current on-the-ground reality contrasts with the statements made by the Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit, which asserted that the actual road closures would commence on Friday, January 26.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jerry Treñas has issued Executive Order No. 2024-009, declaring the suspension of classes on January 26 and January 29. This decision aims to allow students to participate in school-based competitions related to the Dinagyang festival.
The Dinagyang, a significant cultural and religious event drawing hundreds of thousands of local and international tourists, results in significant traffic disturbances and road closures. As one of the Philippines’ major festivals, it commemorates the vibrant heritage, diverse history, fervent religious devotion, and lively spirit of the Ilonggo community, specifically their reverence for Señor Santo Niño.
Encouraging student engagement in the celebrations is seen as a way to instill in them the culture and values of the Ilonggo community. Due to the large crowds, expected to exceed 40,000 in various performance zones and parade routes, significant city roads will be shut down.
The suspension of classes, applying to both in-person and online sessions, is intended to prioritize the safety and well-being of students during the festivities.
Earlier, Mayor Treñas mandated the suspension of classes on January 12 due to substantial traffic congestion arising from the setup of festival stages at four judging locations: Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, Iloilo Provincial Capitol, Mabini-Delgado, and Quezon-Ledesma.