Police tap Muslims for Sinulog security
May B. Miasco, Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  At least 300 members of the Muslim community in Cebu are helping the Philippine National Police in the Sinulog security.

 

Police Regional Office-7 deputy regional director for administration Chief Supt. Dennis Augustin said they have tapped the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos as force multiplier.

Augustin said NCMF head Najeeb Razul promised to help them secure the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog Grand Parade. According to Augustin, the NCMF will deploy people starting on January 18 until 20 to help monitor suspicious individuals who may have crossed over to Cebu City to sow terror during the celebrations.

Augustin said Razul has assured that peace-loving Muslims in Cebu will make sure that no “bad seeds” are able to crossover from Mindanao to disturb the Sinulog activities.

“They will be giving information, in case may nakita silang mga suspicious people na they believe are evil-doers,” Agustin said.

The police are thankful to the Muslim community for being always cooperative and helpful.

“Among grupo nahimong force multiplier to secure stability and peace during the traditional Sinulog program for a peaceful Cebu, di ta ka-allow og gubot. We need to work together because police cannot do it themselves, we should help,” Rajeb said.

No Backpacks

Meanwhile, the organizers of Fiesta Señor 2019 are opening the discussions to resolve the complaints from the public on the ban of backpacks inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño as part of the security measures.

Fr. Aladdin Luzon, director of the Safety, Security, Peace and Order cluster, said the friars are planning to raise this concern to the police officials.

“We will be looking for other ways on how to better treat those visitors who will be bringing backpacks,” he told The FREEMAN.

He said the matter will be discussed by the members of the inter-agency committee.

Luzon admitted hearing sentiments and suggestions from the public about it. He said the organizers are also open to the concerns from the public and will have to find a win-win solution without compromising the security.

The inter-agency committee imposed the ban of backpacks inside the basilica to make it easier for security personnel to inspect people coming in. Luzon hopes that the issue will be resolved sooner. Those who were barred from entering the Basilica for bringing backpacks, however, were still able to hear novena Mass outside.

Luzon asked the visitors and devotees to understand the policies imposed by the organizers within the premises of basilica because they do not want to compromise the security and safety of the people.

Although there have been no specific threats, Luzon said they are just preparing for possible worst case scenario.

He explained that this has been marked as one of the important precautionary measures to avoid unnecessary panic or even disaster. He cited an incident at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral on Thursday where a huge bag left inside the church caused panic among churchgoers. — FPL (FREEMAN)

MUSLIM COMMUNITY SINULOG GRAND PARADE
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