4M crowd forecast for Sinulog grand parade-A A +A
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
CEBU CITY -- At least 8,000 police personnel, soldiers, reservists and cadets will help secure the Sinulog grand parade and the revelers, estimated at four million, who will join the festivities this Sunday.
As early as last weekend, several out-of-town dancing contingents arrived in Cebu City and are now staying in different public schools.
A dry run was conducted on Monday so the police will know where they will be stationed on January 20.
Like the police, the Central Command (CentCom) is now all set for the Sinulog festivities and committed to assist the police by fielding 500 regular Army personnel.
“We will always be willing to help so that the celebration will be peaceful,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Tampus, deputy officer for operations of CentCom.
Aside from the officers, about 5,000 reservists of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadets will also be tapped for crowd control.
“We assure the public that these personnel and reservists will be there until the end of Sinulog,” Tampus said.
A heightened alert status was recently declared in Cebu City and will be lifted only at the end of the celebration.
From over 3.5 million people who joined the Sinulog last year, Senior Superintendent Mariano Natu-el Jr., officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said they are expecting some four million people to join the festivities this year.
He said they already requested additional 500 police personnel to help with the crowd control and security.
About 1,000 police personnel from CCPO, 99 field training police (FTP) and 1,000 from the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas will be deployed in the city during the festivity.
In the midst of the grand preparations, City Hall is planning to help one of the key figures in the annual celebration.
Mayor Michael Rama said the City Government will give a wheelchair to Estelita “Titang” Diola and help pay her bills in the Cebu City Medical Center.
Diola, 87, is the oldest Sinulog dancer. She was rushed to the hospital last month after she broke her hip when she fell while trying to switch on the light at home.
She dances the traditional, religious Sinulog. Dancers in this Sunday’s parade will perform a variation of that in the Sinulog-based category and some less traditional twists in the free interpretation contest.
In the public schools in Cebu City, dancers from other provinces have settled down and will start taking turns rehearsing at the Cebu City Sports Center, where all dancing contingents will perform in their chosen category.
The contingent from Zamboanga Sibugay arrived Sunday morning, while the contingents from Tangub City and Placer, Masbate arrived Sunday night.
Zamboanga Sibugay, whose dancers are staying at the Guadalupe Elementary School, will compete in the free interpretation category (FI), while Tangub City will compete in the Sinulog-based category.
Tangub’s contingent is housed at the Cebu City Sports Center.
The delegation from Placer, Masbate, who are staying at the Cebu City Central School, will field two contingents -- the Tribu Himag-ulaw for the FI category and the Culturang Placereño for the SB category.
It is the second time for Placer to field contingents to the two categories.
Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said that with 1,000 individuals making up the delegation, Placer has the biggest contingent, which already includes their dancers, props men and support staff.
The contingents from Sibugay and Tangub are composed of some 500 individuals each.
In an interview on Monday, the choreographer of Tribu Himag-ulaw, Frenil Palang, said they will surprise the revelers with their performance during the grand parade.
“Every move namo, atanganan (Every dance move is worth watching),” he said, adding that they want to win the grand prize in the FI category.
In last year’s competition, Tribu Himag-ulaw placed second to the Tribu Lingganay of Alang-Alang town from Leyte.
Tangub City will also try to win in this year’s competition after they failed to defend their title and lost to Carcar City in the Sinulog-based category last year.
The contingent from Sibugay, for its part, promised to present a fresh routine this year.
Sibugay Provincial Tourism Officer Edilee Daarol said their performance will showcase their province as the rubber capital of the country.
Last year, their performance showcased the marine life of their province.
Sibugay, which is joining the Sinulog for the second time, hopes to bring home the top prize this year, after they failed to earn a place in last year’s competition.
Other out-of-town contingents from Leyte, Cotabato City and Lanao del Norte are expected to arrive in the city within the week. (PDF/DSM/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2013.