Hooligans during the Sinulog

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Monday, January 20, 2014


THE sun hid behind the clouds but the anticipated heavy downpour did not occur; the rain came only in drizzles. The winds blew strongly but not violently. Thank the heavens, we had a perfect weather for the Sinulog grand parade.

On the ground, the police delivered, too. The idea of keeping more than two million people expected to show up at the parade route must have given the regional police chief, Director Danilo Constantino, nightmares but the elaborate security preparations that his command set up paid handsome dividends. There were no major incidents.

The 2014 Sinulog celebration was a success. In a different setting, Mayor Mike Rama’s comment (“the whole thing was awesome, magnificent and miraculous) would have ranked high among his now famous long-winded speeches but this time, it sounded really appropriate, in fact, even cute.

I did not watch last Sunday’s Sinulog except briefly on TV and only because I am not supposed to lie down immediately after a meal. I meant no snub by not showing up either at the parade route or at the Cebu city sports center. I just wanted to give to our guests one more available space and to our police one less person to worry about.

Let’s not quibble anymore over how many showed up. “Many” should be an appropriate enough description. That the Sinulog did not fail them should also be enough to make us happy.

But I have another reason to be happy. The contingents from my home province of Masbate almost swept the competitions but for George Rama’s Lumad Basaknon to whom our dancers were second best (a close one, I’m sure) in the free interpretation category.

After so many unpleasant news about Masbate (the Jesse Robredo plane crash and the PDAF scandal, among others) the victories of the two contingents from the province are really refreshing. I congratulate our dancers for succeeding where our politicians have failed.

And speaking of failure, it is disgusting to see people lose control of themselves after taking alcohol. I refer to the hooligans who smudged people’s faces, poured beer on them and even groped some women, ostensibly in the spirit of fun and celebration.

Over the years, Juan Osmeña St. especially that stretch from corner Gen. Maxilom up to near Baseline has become notorious for rowdy youngsters who believe that it is “in, hip and cool” to molest other people who have the misfortune of passing by. Last Sunday was not an exception.

Some three or four years ago, I saw patrol cars in the vicinity trying to keep under control the street partying. Apparently, there were no such police vehicles assigned there anymore this year. And the drunken juveniles took advantage of that.

Gen. Constantino explained on Frankahay Ta! yesterday morning that the police and other security contingents that maintained peace and order during the street parade have already been pulled out by the time the street parties began. I took that to mean that the Cebu City police was supposed to take over.

We’re fortunate that nothing more serious than harassment had been reported. But I hate to see the day when these hooligans become more emboldened and the victims react more violently. These victims do not bother to report to the police because it is very difficult to identify the culprits since there are so many of them. And the delinquents know this and take advantage of their anonymity.

But anonymity can work for the other side, too, What will prevent, for example, an enraged boyfriend or relative to go back where the victim was molested and fire indiscriminately at the group of revelers and then get lost in the crowd?

The police have to do something before this tragedy occurs. What we have in Juana Osmena is a disaster begging to happen.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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