Cebu News

Tighter Sinulog, 51st EIC security: Public advised to be vigilant

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – With tight security being made all the more imperative by the recent terrorist attack in neighboring Indonesia, the Police Regional  Office-7 advised the public to be vigilant.

Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas, PRO-7 deputy director for operations, however, said they have received no report on possible threat to the Sinulog celebration and to the 51st Eucharistic Congress.

“We have nothing to worry (so far, but) although wa tay threat nga nadawat, ang ato lang andam ta,” he said.

He urged everybody to continue to be vigilant and immediately report to the police bags left unattended in crowded areas and persons who are suspicious-looking for prompt action.

“We encourage the community to help us by being very vigilant. Kitang tanan magmabinantayon ug magpakabana,” he added.

He said that though, PRO-7 has received no intelligence reports on any terror threat to the Sinulog and the IEC, they are not taking any chances.

“I have ordered them (intelligence personnel) to further verify and validate these reports,” Lawas said.

He said the entire Cebu province, not just Cebu City, is placed on full alert, which is the highest alert level for the Philippine National Police, as ordered by PNP Director Ricardo Marquez.

Lawas, however, said the full alert status was because of the expected huge number of people who would converge in Cebu City for the Sinulog and with the neighboring cities for the IEC.

As this developed, more policemen could be seen on the streets today as the augmentation personnel from other PNP units in the region would be deployed in strategic areas for the different activities in connection with the Sinulog celebration.

Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, PRO-7 director, has directed CCPO Director Benjamin Santos to make good use of the augmentation personnel.

And because of the full alert order, all policemen are required to report to their respective units and police stations.

Lawas said security measures that they are implementing would be further strengthened, with outlying police stations within Metro Cebu, or those from Carmen in the north to Carcar City in the south, tasked to set up checkpoints.

The checkpoints are meant to catch people with guns and deadly weapons who are going to Cebu City and the other venues of the 51st IEC.

At the Cebu City Hall, however, City Councilor David “Dave” Tumulak said they have “tripled” the security measures put in place for the Sinulog and the IEC

“The threat is always there,” said Tumulak who would not confirm nor deny the presence of unsavory personalities believed to have arrived in Cebu.

He, however, confirmed that they are monitoring four “personalities” believed to belong to a “terror group” who have entered the city.

Tumulak, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction ad Management Council and head of the Cebu City Command Center, also said 100 newly installed security cameras will be activated tonight around the city following the terrorist attack in Indonesia that left at least seven dead and around 20 injured, with many, including policemen, in critical condition.

Tumulak, who oversees security for the Sinulog on the part of the City government, said all security personnel have been alerted to stay alert, including firemen, barangay tanods, the army, and the coast guard to help secure the Sinulog grand parade carousel route.

He said tomorrow would also be the first time in Sinulog history that security would be a lot tighter for the fluvial procession early morning today.

The fluvial procession will have the image of the Sto. Niño brought back to the Basilica in Cebu City from the National Shrine of St. Joseph Church in Mandaue via the sea using a “galleon.”

Tumulak said uniformed personnel will also be deployed in major roads of the city and that unauthorized drones, or those without permits from the Sinulog Foundation Inc., will be shot down during the Sinulog for security reasons.

Meanwhile, suspended Mayor Michael Rama said Cebuanos should “never stop in seeking divine providence” from the Holy Child.

He made the statement when asked about possible terror threat in Cebu.

Rama, who sits as SFI chairman, assured that the foundation has kept in touch with authorities on the matter.

“Anywhere, terrorism is a threat. However, lesser lang ang possibility sa ubang nations. Unless kita we are harboring sa mga kontra sa mga terrorists, then kita ang kontra sa target. Pero kon moingon ka og who will take advantage (f the situation), whatever gains we would wish, even including political, all things become (a) possibility,” he told reporters.

“Right now, never stop in seeking divine providence because nothing can compete with miracles,” he said.

Likewise, he urged everyone to be vigilant in keeping an eye on their surroundings and to report to authorities any suspicious-looking individuals.

“Chances are, kon duna moy makit-an nga dili familiar sa inyong lugar, bag-o lang nangabot,..mga nawong dili klaro unya nanulod og hotel…nga kompleto  og bag unya bug-at sad, mahibong sad ka unsay gidala ani nga bug-at man. Kargadong mangabot dinhi, tag-two days to three days lang (mo-stay),” Rama said.

He expressed confidence, though, that the city is less likely to be targeted just because of the huge number of tourists coming here.

“They can’t be a target kay chances are kon daghan kaayo unya ang host dili belligerent nga host, walay capacity nga mo-create og position, likely, dili kaayo mounting and threat,” he said. — / RHM Bryner L. Diaz, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Dale G. Israel


vuukle comment












  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with