CEBU, Philippines - Whether it rains or shines on Sunday, the Statio Orbis, or the concluding Mass of the 51st International Eucharist Congress, will be held at the South Road Properties.
The Cebu City Government said it does not want to waste the opportunity of having the closing Mass hosted in the city, thus city official assured they will do whatever it takes to mitigate the impact of a possible downpour.
“So we are trying our best to be ready with whatever contingencies we have prepared. The city government will try to do something to mitigate the impact of the mud and slippery pathways. The city government will try to look for measures to mitigate the discomfort,” acting Mayor Edgardo Labella told reporters yesterday.
The Mass is expected to draw over one million people.
Labella said one of the measures will be using pumps to siphon rainwater from the open space. The city is also planning to cover the mud with gravel.
The city government has also programmed a contingency plan in terms of disaster risk reduction and management, Labella added.
“There is already a template for that. We are ready for any contingencies that may happen or with whatever unexpected serious weather condition this Sunday. Because of IEC, they are more vigilant than just during the ordinary days. It’s just a matter of implementing effectively and efficiently the template that we have in case of disasters,” he said.
If it rains, Labella said the Mass will be like what happened in Tacloban City where Pope Francis continued celebrating the Mass before of pilgrims standing in an open space despite a typhoon. He appealed to those who will participate to bear the inconvenience and consider it a sacrifice or penitence.
He also advised those who plan to attend the Mass to bring raincoats in place of umbrellas.
PAGASA-Visayas weather specialist Alice Carnasa said that this Sunday, Metro Cebu will continue to experience rainshowers anytime of the day.
She said that based on their Extended Weather Outlook, Metro Cebu will be partly cloudy due to the Northeast Moonson.
“Wa man hinuon ta’y bagyo pero padayon ang pag ulan tungod aning amihan. Aduna gihapon rainshowers inug Sunday unya anytime na ang uwan,” she said.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said since a million people are expected for the closing Mass they cannot move it to another venue.
“Any other place and any other venue is small,” he said in a press conference.
Palma said they will put gravel, lite matting and employ other techniques to make the soil dry just for the attendees.
A portion of SRP has also been assigned to more than 25 food stall owners on Sunday.
Churches around the Archdiocese of Cebu will not have any Masses on Sunday because of the IEC closing ceremonies.
The chief for directorial staff of the Police Regional Office-7 says they are ready with the needed security measures for the closing Mass.
Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas said when they have talked with the IEC organizers, the instruction was to go on with the closing Mass at the SRP.
However, he said if ever sudden changes occur, they will see to it that they can give the needed security for the participants and delegates.
“We will be consulting and discussing this with the IEC secretariat and kung unsa man ang makab-ot nga desisyon, we will make plans for that ug andam kita kanunay. Of course with the help of the community also,” said Lawas.
Lawas said as of now they have reserved around 4,000 police personnel and 1,100 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets to secure the Statio Orbis. He further said the Armed Forces of the Philippines is also willing to augment 500 enlisted men for the said event. — May B. Miasco, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Dale G. Israel, Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/BRP (FREEMAN)