FEWER people went out to join the Sinulog 2020 festivity, but Cebu’s annual festival still drew one of the most sizeable crowds ever gathered for a single event in the Philippines on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
Police estimated that about two million people gathered along the Sinulog grand parade route, a number more than a million people short than last year’s 3.5 million crowd estimate.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Valeriano de Leon partly based his estimate on an aerial survey which he conducted aboard a helicopter of the PNP Special Action Force at 3 p.m.
During the Sinulog grand parade, 31 contingents participated in the street dancing along a six-kilometer carousel route which included N. Bacalso Ave., P. Del Rosario St., Imus St., Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Osmeña Blvd.
Some 6,000 PRO 7 personnel, including augmentation forces, helped secure the parade route.
De Leon said no major security threats were encountered. He said the cellular signal shutdown during the Sinulog Festival helped the police keep the peace.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the shutdown between 3 a.m. and 7 p.m. or after the Sinulog Grand Parade ceremony was over.
The scheduled shutdown was lifted by NTC at 8:30 p.m.
De Leon said police recorded few petty crimes since the Grand Solemn Procession on Jan. 18 until the Grand Parade’s culmination around 10:30 p.m., Sunday.
De Leon lauded devotees and revelers for being “security conscious” by not wearing jewelry, carrying expensive gadgets or bringing large amounts of cash.
Before President Rodrigo Duterte arrived, police guarding the entrance gate of the Cebu City Sports Complex confiscated a bottle of liquor from a man who tried to sneak it into the venue.
They also seized ballpens, knives, lighters and packs of cigarettes from spectators at the grandstand. (AYB, KAL)