CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is not for the holding the Sinulog Grand Parade at the South Road Properties (SRP), and said it will have to be held at the Cebu City Sports Center despite the overcrowding.

Osmeña said yesterday no venue will be big enough for the Sinulog, whose audience will continue to grow by the millions every year.

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But he suggested extending the parade route to the North Reclamation Area (NRA) so the crowd can be spread out to other parts of the city, and not be concentrated along Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Osmeña Blvd.

Osmeña said the SRP will not be an ideal venue because there is not enough shaded area for the dancers and the audience.

The sports center also could not be renovated to have more bleachers since there is no space for it. The City’s priority, he said, is to repair the rubberized track.

Packed

During the grand parade last Sunday, the 13,000-capacity Cebu City Sports Center was packed with some 20,000 revelers, which organizers said raised the possibility of a stampede.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros earlier suggested holding the Sinulog celebration in a bigger venue, and said the coliseum being planned at the SRP would be an ideal place.

But since there is no immediate plan to build a coliseum there, Osmeña said he does not want the Sinulog celebration transferred there.

“I don’t think it’s advisable to hold it at the SRP next year.

It’s just too hot over there. Yeah, kuwang ra ang grandstand.

But if there’s (a bigger venue) but there’s no structure for people to look out on and there’s no complex and you just have to put bleachers, it’s not going to work. We tried it already,” he said.

Shade

He recalled that in his first term as mayor, he transferred the Sinulog festivities to the NRA. But the dancers and spectators had to bear the direct heat of the sun.

“We have to create a situation where people have some amount of shelter. It used to be here on Osmeña Blvd. and I said let’s transfer it to the north reclamation and then I pitied the poor dancers because it was just so hot, they were so exposed. So I would not advise putting it at the SRP this time,” Osmeña said.

He also would not demolish the public school buildings on one side of the sports center just to make way for more bleachers.

What he will be willing to spend on this year, the mayor said, is the rehabilitation of the rubberized oval, which is expected to cost the City at least P40 million.