Sinulog organizers advised to prepare for a big crowd-A A +A
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama advised concerned officials and organizers to prepare for a huge crowd during this year’s celebration of the Sinulog.
But Rama stressed that the ban on street parties will remain.
“We have to prepare for a people surge in Cebu,” the mayor said, adding that there is a need to improve crowd-control measures during the celebration.
Banning street parties that worsen traffic congestion is one strategy as organizers and the police struggle to manage a crowd that was estimated to have reached four million last year.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Danilo Constantino said he will deploy at least 2,100 police personnel for the Sinulog.
About 1,300 of these personnel will come from Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
The Central Command (Centcom) will support the police by providing reservists to help in crowd control.
Constantino said the route for procession and Grand Parade on Jan. 19 will be divided into four sectors, assigned to different police commanders and supervisors.
Sinulog organizers banned street parties on major and interior roads in Cebu City during the Sinulog Grand Parade last year.
Rama said discos at the premises of shopping malls should also be looked into as they might encroach on the roads.
“It’s a problem for the police on the matter of safety and security of the public,”
The PRO 7 also plans to implement a 14-day gun ban from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22 in Cebu. The proposal awaits the approval of the PNP National Headquarters.
With the Sinulog Grand Parade less than two weeks away, Supt. Pablo Labra II, acting chief of Regional Intelligence Division, said they have not yet received reports on the presence of any threat groups.
“But we are actively monitoring everything to ensure this year's Sinulog will be peaceful,” he said.
In a press conference yesterday, Constantino made a joint pledge with Muslim community leaders in Cebu to work together in maintaining peace and order during the Sinulog.
Abbas Murad, president of Mandaue Islamic Association, said they will help report criminal elements in their area.
“Ibibigay namin ang suporta sa abot na aming makakaya para mapanatili ang katihimikan
dito sa Cebu (We will support however we can to ensure peace in Cebu),” he said.
Hadji Hamza Badio, president of Lapu-Lapu's Muslim community, made the same promise.
“Kung ano man ang mangyari dito, tayong lahat naman ang maapektuhan (Whatever happens here will affect all of us),” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2014.