Task force formed for Sinulog route

(The Freeman) - January 6, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City acting mayor Edgardo Labella has formed a special task force that will oversee the Sinulog carousel route, particularly in maintaining order and solemnity of the annual celebration observed in honor of the Señor Santo Niño.

Dubbed as the Ad Hoc Carousel Group, the task force is composed of officials from the local disaster council, the city’s demolition team, peace and order units a group of barangay leaders, traffic enforcement, and engineering department, among others.

“We will see to it that accidents and trouble should be avoided, just like what happened during the previous years. There should be peace and order considering the number of people that will be converging in Cebu City,” said Labella.

He, Sinulog Foundation Inc. board members, and City Hall department heads had a closed-door meeting yesterday.

Labella said the standing order is for the task force to free the carousel route of any obstructions such as dangling wires, sidewalk structures, and other impediments like people joining street parties.

“There should be no obstruction… There will be monitoring of carousel routes. There will be continuous monitoring,” said Labella, who named City Councilor David Tumulak as task force’s leader.

Tumulak is joined by City Councilors Nendell Hanz Abella and Phillip Zafra; Senior Supt. Marciano Batiancela, Jr. (Cebu City Police Office acting director); Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera; City Hall’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement team Head Raquel Arce; City Engineer Jose Marie Poblete; and Cebu City Transportation Office Operations Division Head Jonathan Tumulak.

One main concern being raised was the street parties mushrooming in the city that eventually resulted to scandalous scenes by drunken patrons.

“(They will) go around the carousel route and see to it that there will be no obstructions and no parties on the road. There will be no parties to be held along the routes because it will be an obstruction,” said Labella.

Aside from that, restrictions were also laid out for those who joining carousel floats.

“Sexy dancing and drinking on the carousel floats are strictly prohibited… (to avoid)...  what happened the last time, (when) there were floats (with dancers) that were wearing some sexy outfits and also drinking while aboard the floats. Even if it is a cultural activity, there is always the religious touch of it,” Labella said.

“Also, no throwing of goodies or any material (to the crowd) since that would be dangerous as it might cause stampede especially kun mag-inilogay na ang mga tawo,” he added.

Meanwhile, at least 11 small buses be manned by the police force and positioned in strategic points along the carousel route will be deployed to serve as holding centers for those who would misbehave.

“At least one policeman for one holding center for those who will misbehave like the drunkards and those that will create trouble,” said Labella.

He likewise directed Poblete, the head of the city’s Technical Infrastructure Committee, to lead power and communication utility firms in bundling their dangling wires that may get snagged by Sinulog props.

The PROBE team will also start removing sidewalk obstructions along the parade route as early as January 8.

Also, Labella ordered the City Health Department to check food stalls operating during the Sinulog celebration to ensure the safety of the public and the visitors.

“I will issue an order to the City Health Department to monitor all the food stalls and the kind of food to avoid poisoning…. There will be a team that will (handle that concern.) I have directed (CHD Head) Dr. Daisy Villa to go around and monitor the team during the Sinulog,” he said. — May B. Miasco/RHM (FREEMAN)


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