Editorial: Sinulog street parties

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


LAWYER Rafael Yap, executive director of the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), gave us an idea of just how tough it was to manage post-parade traffic last Sunday when he tweeted, “Lord, let it rain in Mango.”

He later clarified it was just “wishful thinking.”

But the usually unflappable Citom chief wasn’t the only one troubled by the street parties that trapped home-bound motorists on Mango (officially, Gen. Maxilom Ave.) and nearby streets like Juana Osmeña. Drivers, stuck for two hours or longer on streets that usually take five minutes to cross, reported being surrounded by drunk revelers, some of whom had jumped on top of cars.

In 2013, Cebu City’s police had announced they would keep street parties “safe and sober” by banning such events, or at least limiting them to barangay sports centers. Revelers began defying that ban before nightfall.

Fortunately, by the end of the weekend’s festivities, no injuries, brawls or felonies had been reported. Revelers on social media spread photos of torn footwear and beer- or paint-stained shirts—along with avowals to do it all again next year.

The tug-of-war between the religious and secular celebrations of the Sinulog is an old one. Now, even the secular celebrations are apparently split. Families and older tourists head for the relative order of the Cebu City Sports Center’s grandstands or the bleachers along streets. Younger revelers take over the streets even before the parade ends, and stay ‘til daybreak.

This year, City Hall had hoped to spread the parties to the South Road Properties, to decongest Mango and its environs. It was a limited success.

Next year, perhaps the City can consider closing Gen. Maxilom Ave. and parts of Osmeña Blvd. to all vehicular traffic until the morning after the Sinulog parade. Part its preparations would then be to inform the public to take alternative routes home.

That way, overworked law enforcers would not be spread more thinly than they have been. Freed of the headache of untangling traffic and dealing with frightened motorists, they can then focus their energies on watching over street parties, to make sure these remain safe, if not necessarily sober.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2014.

Opinion

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