YESTERDAY marked the start of the festivities for the annual feast of the Sto. Niño with the dawn procession and mass opening the religious aspect of the celebration at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. Today, the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation will also kick off the cultural aspect of the celebration with the launching parade for Sinulog 2018.
The fiesta mood is blanketing Cebu City and it being Cebu’s main urban center, that mood can be felt in other areas of Metro Cebu and province. Sinulog songs dominate mall and department store music and can be heard on radio. Traffic is tight, especially in roads around and near the Basilica where the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has already implemented a rerouting scheme.
The festivities will culminate with the two major fiesta activities, the solemn procession led by Augustinian priests and the Sinulog Grand Parade organized by the Sinulog Foundation and the Cebu City Government. Before that are crowd-drawing, though minor, activities.
It is when the fiesta mood sets in that we sometimes lower our guards. The Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) have deployed people to maintain peace and order in the various fiesta activities but still public support is needed. People need to be vigilant for any security threats even as they wallow in the fiesta mood. Law enforcers need all the help they can get.
There is reason Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña instituted a liquor ban and has prohibited street parties along the Sinulog Parade route. In previous parades, hooliganism became a problem in crowd control. The ideal is for everybody to cooperate to ensure that nothing untoward would happen during the various fiesta activities. For those who won’t cooperate, penalties need to be imposed.
Ensuring the success of Sinulog 2018 is not only the concern of the Augustinian priests, the Cebu City Government, Sinulog Foundation and the police. It should be eveybody’s concern. After all, this is our fiesta.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2018.
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