Politicians race to get Sinulog VIP tickets-A A +A
Monday, January 7, 2013
SEVERAL politicians running in the May 2013 elections are racing to get VIP tickets for the Sinulog celebration.
This, as organizers of the annual Sinulog activity have invited President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay to attend the Sinulog Grand Parade on Jan. 20.
The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) has not yet received confirmation on the matter.
Aquino attended the Sinulog 2011 while Binay attended the Sinulog 2012.
Since it’s an election year, SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros said they expect several politicians to join the parade.
Ballesteros said they already received calls from senatorial candidates wanting to get VIP passes at the grandstand of the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) for Jan. 20.
He said their request will still be subject to the approval of the office of Mayor Michael Rama.
“It is the Office of the Mayor who handles the giving of VIP passes,” said Ballesteros.
Asked how many VIP tickets will be given, Ballesteros said it will also be up to the mayor.
In another interview, Rama said there are more than 100 VIP tickets available for the grandstand every Sinulog.
Rama said the VIP tickets are given to anybody regardless of political affiliation.
“But di lang siguro tanan matagaan kay daghan man na sila unya gamay ra ang VIP chairs,” he told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
Even if their request will be granted, Ballesteros said no politicians will be allowed to speak during the grand parade except the mayor and the President.
Ballesteros also reminded them to keep a low profile during the festivity. He said the SFI bans the distribution of campaign flyers and leaflets during the grand parade.
Hanging streamers along the 5.2-kilometer carousel route is also prohibited, he said.
Based on Commission on Elections Resolution 9385, the campaign period for the May 13 polls starts on Feb. 12 and ends on May 11 for those running for the Senate and for party-list groups.
The campaign period for those running for Congress and elective regional, provincial, city and municipal offices starts on March 29 and ends on May 11.
Meanwhile, SFI is beefing up its security for the Jan. 20 activity, most especially around the premises of the CCSC to prevent what happened last year when their office lost P1.68 million to burglars.
Aside from asking for policemen to be deployed in the area, Ballesteros said 16 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been put up around the CCSC.
He also said they have increased the number of security guards around the facility from 12 to 20.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. said the handling of crowd will be a challenge this year.
He said they have not received any report of a threat against this year’s Sinulog celebration, but that they are closely monitoring the city.
Last year, there were almost 3,000 police officers who were stationed in different areas in Metro Cebu for the Sinulog grand parade.
This year, Garbo said the number of police officers may have to be the same or increase depending on their crowd estimation.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2013.