RAIN or shine, Sinulog 2010 will continue. Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) said the organizers will “wait and see” if the southwest monsoon brings strong winds, apart from the steady rain that blanketed Cebu in the last three days.
But if it’s just rain, the parade will go on, he said.
Concern for safety also prompted the City Council last Wednesday to ask the police to check on those staging street parties today.
Cebu City and police officials requested politicians to avoid distributing flyers and other campaign materials, and asked companies not to give away samples, as doing so might provoke stampedes.
“Also, pray for fair weather,” said Vice Mayor Michael Rama, SFI chairman and Sinulog 2010 overall chairman.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña appealed for vigilance.
“I’m basically very nervous about this. We should really be very suspicious about people who come in. It only takes one to ruin the whole thing. That is why we need everybody’s support to report anything suspicious,” he told a news conference earlier this week.
With 133 groups joining the grand parade, there are more participants this year compared to last year’s 112.
There are 44 dancing contingents, with 22 joining the Sinulog-based category and 22 in the free interpretation category.
The out-of-town contingents are from Tangub City (Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe); Placer, Masbate (Tribu Himag-ulaw); San Carlos City (Pintaflores); Lanao del Norte (The Land of Beauty and Bounty); Surallah and South Cotabato (Purok Sison Elementary Performing Arts Group).
There are also more floats, higante and puppet entries this year compared to last year.
Cebu City’s police force is on full alert, although Director Patrocinio Comendador said he has yet to receive any reports of anyone wanting to disrupt the parade, even with the discovery of three rifle grenades last Wednesday.
“This is not the trademark of terrorists. It (rifle grenade) can destroy but the damage is not as huge,” he told reporters.
The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), under Director Erson Digal, has also directed its units to strengthen checkpoints at piers.
During the regular Police Coordinating and Advisory Council meeting at City Hall, city and police officials discussed the final preparations for the Sinulog, including the deployment of fire trucks and police cars to strategic locations.
Councilor Augustus Pe Jr., chairman of the City Council committee on public order and safety, said the city’s police force and the fire department will be on heightened alert until the festivities are over.
Police Regional Office Director Lani-O Nerez also asked the public not to use balloons and firecrackers for everyone’s safety—advice that was not entirely heeded in yesterday’s procession.
The balloons may get entangled in electrical wires and cause a short-circuit that can lead to a fire.
Both Nerez and Comendador assured, however, that the security preparations for the Sinulog are all set.
Muslim communities in Cebu, barangay tanods and officials were mobilized to look out for any threat to the city’s peace and order.
Those who would rather stay indoors can still watch the Sinulog through live streaming on the SFI website (www.sinulog.com.ph), Ballesteros said. (RHM/LCR/MEA/JTG)