MORE than 150 motorcycle-for-hire drivers in Cebu City were trained yesterday to detect bombs as part of the preparations for the Sinulog 2017.

While the training was ongoing, Councilor Dave Tumulak urged the public to refrain from instigating a bomb scare to avoid undue panic.

Personnel from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) conducted the training for 156 habal-habal drivers, most of whom are officers of motorcycle-for-hire drivers’ associations in the city.

SPO4 Danilo Rosales, who is trained in handling explosives, said the half-day training for the drivers will help them identify different types of explosives that might be used to disrupt the Sinulog celebration.

“If they have passengers who are bringing explosives, at least they can determine and report them immediately to authorities,” Rosales told reporters after the training in City Hall yesterday.

Drivers can also report to the police any person carrying materials used to assemble bombs and other explosives.

Rosales said it is important that drivers understand that if they see an explosive, they should refrain from touching it and wait for trained personnel to check it.

Tumulak, who organized the training, said it will help authorities if more people knew how to identify the different types of explosives.After yesterday’s training, Tumulak said the motorcycle-for-hire association officers will relay what they learned to their members.

Adrian Ceniza, president of the JY-Lahug chapter of the Cebu City and Mountain Barangays Riders Group, said they will heed the call of the City and police.

Ceniza said the training also benefits them since it promotes public safety and order.

Drivers of taxi and public utility jeepneys will get the same training next week.

Since the bombing in Hilongos, Leyte last month, the City Government, along with the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has been considering the strict implementation of the security plan for the week-long Sinulog celebration.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña has viewed the Hilongos bombing as a “very big threat” to the Sinulog celebration.

Osmeña has reminded the public to report immediately to authorities any unusual devices seen in their areas, to allow responders to check if these are explosives.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, the PRO 7 director, earlier said that they upgrade their security plan everyday.

To test the ability of the police, military and other responders, a bomb simulation exercise was held last Wednesday.