Cebu News

CCPO ready for bombing, stampede

Mae Clydyl L. Avila - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Police Office assured that a contingency plan is in place in case of shooting, bombing and stampede during the Fiesta Señor activities and Sinulog grand parade.


 “We have a contingency plan for at least five scenarios which include active shooting, stampede and bombing. If there is bombing or shooting, most likely, there will be a stampede. We have prepared a contingency plan for it,” Chief Inspector Wilbert Parilla, chief of the Cebu City Operations Branch, said in a press conference yesterday.

The plan also considers the cellphone signal shutdown during the duration of each solemn activity and the grand parade.

The National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday ordered cellular network sites to shut off signal for 31 hours in select areas in Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Cebu City for the remaining activities of the Fiesta Señor.

In compliance with the directive, Globe informed its customers that services will temporarily be halted for call, text, and use of data as requested by the Philippine National Police.

For the fluvial procession on Saturday, the signal will be shut off at 3 a.m. to 10 a.m., while for the solemn procession on the same day, signal shut off will start on 12 noon until 8 p.m. only in uptown and downtown Cebu City.

For the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday, the signal will be shut off by 3 a.m. and will resume at 7 p.m. in uptown and downtown Cebu City.

Parilla said that designated fire trucks will also be deployed at the end of each sector.

Aside from more than 6,000 police officers augmented from different police stations in Cebu, force multipliers from the army, medical organizations, schools, and other non-government organizations will also be deployed along the parade route and select areas of convergence.

In a related development, 16 bomb sniffing dogs will be deployed for additional security.

The Philippine Army in Northern Luzon augmented 13 additional bomb-sniffing dogs for the remaining activities of Fiesta Señor and Sinulog grand parade.

Last Monday, the dogs from Camp Aquino arrived at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), together with their handlers.

CCPO director Senior Superintendent Royina Garma said this is the first time that bomb-sniffing dogs reached to 16 as in the past, they only have three.

“This is the first time that we have 16 dogs because usually, we only have two or three. The dogs will be on shift and one shift is eight hours so that the dogs will not be stressed out,” Garma said.

On the other hand, PRO-7 Deputy Director for Operations Angelito Dumangeng explained that K-9 dogs are trained to detect explosives by sitting on a suspicious item which may contain explosives.

However, the dogs are not trained to detect narcotics.

Chief Inspector John Abreu, the chief of the Explosive Ordnance Division, said that the canines will be deployed in pre-planned areas for the Fiesta Señor activities.

Garma, as the overall ground commander for the Fiesta Señor activities, said maintenance for the K-9 units will be taken from the P400,000 cash assistance from the local government unit.

As of yesterday, Garma said there is no imminent threat of terrorism monitored in Cebu City but precautionary measures are in place for any eventualities.

For the second time, authorities conducted a bomb explosion simulation on Osmeña Boulevard near Fuente Circle past 2 p.m. yesterday as part of the preparation for the Sinulog festivities.

The activity was participated in by the Philippine National Police, Cebu City Quick Response Team, Scene of the Crime Operatives, and Armed Forces of the Philippines along with the K9 units and their handlers.

Supt. Emily Santos, the commander of the activity, said there was an improvement in terms of response time and course of action of the responding units as compared to last Tuesday's drill.

"Everything is in place.  All we need is the participation of the community in case something happens," Santos added.

She also encouraged the public to follow the instructions of authorities in case of emergency since the people's safety is their utmost concern. —   Marjory D. Enriquez, USJ-R Intern, MBG (FREEMAN)


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