2M crowd for Sinulog finale
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo, Alicia Ivy L. Chua (The Freeman) - January 20, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — An estimated 2 million revelers filled the streets of Cebu City, the grandstand at the Cebu City Sports Center, and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño for yesterday’s Sinulog Grand Parade and Fiesta Señor.  

The police said no major incident occurred yesterday and, as of 10 p.m., described the event as generally peaceful.

Police Regional Office-7 Director Valeriano De Leon said the biggest crowds were those in the streets and the church.

De Leon who experienced the Sinulog for the first time said it was overwhelming to see huge crowds that never got tired of celebrating even under the scorching heat of the sun.

"Hindi lang ito selebrasyon para sa taga Cebu kung hindi selebrasyon ito sa lahat ng Pilipino (This is not only a celebration among Cebuanos but a celebration among all Filipinos)," he said.

Despite a relatively lesser crowd compared to the estimated 3 million last year, Elmer Labella, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. described the event as successful.

Labella said the contingents this year were really “something to watch out for” since they have been training well, and are known for their good track record of performances.

A performance by veteran Cebuana singer Dulce and a fireworks display at the sports center capped the Grand Parade.

“For expectations, it’s really very successful. I’m so thankful also with the group of our project director of the Cebu City Sinulog Governing Board, Val Sandiego, because they are actually responsible for the production of the grand parade day,” Labella told The Freeman.

Labella also said most of the seats at the sports center were occupied despite the short time to sell tickets for the grandstand. The foundation began selling tickets only last Monday, January 13.

“Approximately yes, most of it, and from what I saw with my own eyes, everything was filled out,” Labella said.

“Ato man ni gipangandaman sab ug ako gisulti sa ila nga kung mutan-aw mo niini, it’s really worth your time, nga ang inyong pag-tanaw ug pagpalit sa ticket kay makaingon ko nga sulit gyud (We prepared for this and I told them that if they watch the Grand Parade, it would be worth their time, and buying the ticket would not be a waste),” he added.

The Freeman, however, observed that the bleachers on the left portion facing the grandstand were only half-filled. (See photo on page 7)

 Supplementing the police’s assessment, Councilor David Tumulak said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) made sure that the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte at the sports center was smooth.

Mayor Edgardo Labella thanked the President for gracing the event, something that he said he did not expect to happen.

“This is all for our Santo Niño,” the mayor said.

Duterte’s presence delayed the Grand Parade for almost three hours. The grand finale was supposed to end at 7 p.m. but because of Duterte’s late arrival the parade dragged on for two hours. 

He was scheduled to arrive at the grandstand at 4 p.m. but he came in at 6:30 p.m. dragging the flow of the parade because of the security protocols.

Meanwhile, Mayor Labella announced that there will be no classes in all levels in public schools today, January 20. The mayor gives the discretion to the private schools whether to hold classes today or not. (FREEMAN)

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