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All set for Sinulog O

CEBU, Philippines — It’s all systems go for Sinulog 2018.

“In place na ang tanan. Gipaabot nalang nato ang petsa sa Sinulog, which is the opening on January 11, opening salvo, sugod sa pagpangadyi na dinha sa Basilica. Giapil na sad nato ang kadalanan, paghapsay sa atong dalan, sa mga potholes for asphalthing, atong street lighting, ang drainage, giandam na siya,” said Councilor David Tumulak, chairperson of the Sinulog Executive Committee.

He said those responsible for these areas of concern have assured him that everything is in place.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - 7 is helping the city fill the holes in the streets that comprise the routes of the solemn procession on January 20 and the Grand Parade on January 21. Both activities are attended by thousands, if not millions.

The solemn procession will begin at the Basilica del Santo Niño, go up Osmeña Boulevard to the Fuente Osmeña circle, turn right to General Maxilom Avenue, turn right to New Imus Road, turn left to M.J. Cuenco Avenue, turn right to F. Urdaneta Street, turn left to P. Burgos Street, turn right to Osmeña Boulevard, and back to the Basilica.

Meanwhile, contingents participating in the Grand Parade will start dancing on Imus Road down to General Maxilom Avenue, to Fuente Osmeña Circle, to Osmeña Boulevard, and to the Cebu City Sports Center for the ritual presentation.

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Tumulak said the Cebu City Transportation Office will release the schedule of rerouting and road closures within the week.

CCTO operations chief Francisco Ouano said roads near the Basilica will be closed on the opening salvo on January 11.

“Yes within the church, naa tay entrance and exit, naa tay pick up point sa Legaspi Street and ang drop off point us in front of City Hall,” he said.

Before the opening salvo, DPWH is expected to open one southbound lane along N. Bacalso Avenue to decongest traffic in the area.

“I am happy with the DPWH. They granted our request to open the one side, right side, facing Barangay Pardo, pag-decongest sa traffic along Bayabas Street, Dapdap Street, Caimito Street, and Ganciang Street (identified diversion routes since the construction of underpass started),” Tumulak said.

The city government requested DPWH-7 to open one southbound lane, taking into consideration that more people are expected flock to Cebu City for the Sinulog.

He assured that construction of the underpass will not be hampered.

Meanwhile, personnel of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office quick response team are on standby for emergencies. Alongside this, the Cebu City Command Control Center will monitor situations across the city during the festivities.

Tumulak said the police are yet to decide whether or not mobile phone signals will be jammed at the Grand Parade route.

Security

From its end, the Police Regional Office (PRO) - 7 will deploy up to 5,000 personnel and will use the “major event security framework” for the Sinulog.

PRO-7 spokesperson Reyman Tolentin said the same framework was implemented during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Meetings in Cebu and Bohol in 2017 and the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016.

Under the framework, three sub-task groups will focus on specific areas of concern:  security, peace and order, and emergency and response.

The framework will be useful, considering that President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo are expected to attend the Grand Parade.

If the two officials will, indeed, come, stricter security will be put in place from the airport in Mactan Island up to Cebu City.

Tolentin said PRO-7 is eyeing at implementing a gun ban, although the same is yet to be finalized.

During the Grand Parade on January 21, a “no fly zone” policy will be imposed at the Cebu City Sports Center and the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. Those who wish to use a drone to take photos and videos would need to get a permit from the police. (FREEMAN)

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