Cebu News

Public warned: Prepare for worst possible traffic

Michael Vencynth H. Braga and May B. Miasco - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Transportation Office is preparing for the worst possible traffic scenario today as a number of roads will be closed for the Holy Mass at the Provincial Capitol grounds.  

With this, the Archdiocese of Cebu is appealing for the public’s understanding, and hopes that the inconvenience would be offered as sacrifice for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city to host the International Eucharistic Congress.

The Mass at the Capitol, which will start at 4 p.m., is expected to draw in around 30,000 people. It will also be followed by a procession from the Capitol to Plaza Independencia.

CCTO Operations Division Head Jonathan Tumulak said roads will be closed as early as dawn since around 15,000 chairs will be put in place, as well as the lighting equipment, sound system, and the altar.

Osmeña Boulevard going to Fuente Osmeña, Escario Street, and Don Gil Garcia Street will be closed to vehicular traffic starting 1 a.m. until the Eucharistic celebration ends (not 12 midnight tomorrow, as earlier reported).

Public utility vehicles will be rerouted while private vehicles would need to take alternative roads.

For public and private motorists from the south going to north, they can take V. Rama Avenue, B. Rodriguez Street or N. Bacalso Avenue.

For those from north, alternate access roads are Gorordo Avenue, General Maxilom Avenue, or B. Rodriguez Street. They can also traverse through M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Imus New Road to N. Bacalso Avenue.

The Cebu Subway Coastal Road and South Coastal Road are only open for light vehicles.

Based on the CCTO traffic map, a portion of N. Escario Street (from F. Ramos Extension to Don Gil Garcia Street) will be closed, as well as the portion of Osmeña Boulevard (from N. Escario Street to Don Jose Avila Street).

But Tumulak said options were outlined in case people might spill over to the open roads, thus closures might be extended to other affected roads.

“There is already a plan but it will depend on the volume of the crowd during the actual event so optional plans were already mapped out,” he explained.

One of the worst scenarios that Tumulak wants to prevent is the impact of the road closures to the riding public.

Thus, Tumulak urges establishments along the processional route to weigh their options whether to continue their operations in the afternoon.

“That would be our suggestion to them to minimize inconvenience. We expect heavy traffic. Many commuters including their employees or workers might find it difficult to look for any vehicle on their way home. Many commuters might be stranded. PUJ’s might not be able to enter the area,” he said.

After the Holy Mass, which is expected to end at 6 p.m., a solemn procession from Capitol Building to Plaza Independencia will follow. For the walk, the whole street of Osmeña Boulevard will be closed to any vehicle.

Further, the Archdiocese of Cebu appeals to the public to take the inconvenience as a form of sacrifice.

“We are asking all our sisters and brothers in faith to offer some sacrifice for any inconvenience that they may experience due to road closures. (For those who do not share the same faith,) we are also asking for your understanding,” said Reverend Jonathan Rubin, the IEC 2016 media relations officer.

No umbrellas

The Cebu provincial government is reminding those attending the Holy Mass not to bring umbrellas.

“The IEC (International Eucharistic Congress security team called out attention on the use of umbrellas during the January 29 Mass at the Capitol. Bringing of umbrellas is not allowed,” provincial information officer Ethel Natera said in a text message sent to The FREEMAN.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government-7 also made the same reminder. It said that the prohibition on the bringing of umbrellas will be enforced during the Holy Mass this afternoon and the Statio Orbis at the South Road Properties on Sunday.

The agency, instead, advises those who will be attending the two activities to wear appropriate gear in view of the inclement weather.

“The public is advised to wear transparent raincoats and rain boots instead of bringing umbrellas for convenience,” read the DILG-7 press statement, quoting DILG-7 assistant director Elias Fernandez Jr.

He explained that umbrellas with pointed tips may cause injuries considering the huge number of attendees in the two activities. — /ATO (FREEMAN)













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