‘Clear sidewalks’

THE Cebu City Government has started clearing sidewalks along the route of Sunday’s Sinulog grand parade, for the safety of participants and the thousands who are expected to watch them.

City Hall also warned all business establishments who want to host street parties to avoid setting up structures that will obstruct the parade route, as well as the route of the procession on Saturday.

Along Osmeña Boulevard and Gen. Maxilom Ave. alone, more than 30 structures have been cleared, including a platform and stage constructed by Crown Regency Hotel right outside its main entrance.

The stage was supposed to be used during a Sinulog party organized by the hotel, but it had no permit from the Office of the Building Official (OBO), said Raquel Arce.

Arce serves as chief of the Cebu City Government’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) office. Both Probe and City Hall’s Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) have been doing the clearing operations since Friday last week.

“We have to make sure that all are safe; they have to secure a permit from the City and have it checked,” she said.

An application from Crown Regency for the permit was reportedly forwarded to OBO, but had yet to be approved at the time workers began building the stage.

Engr. Jose Marie Poblete, who heads the OBO, explained that since the structure would be used by more than a hundred party guests, its structural stability should have been checked.

“It’s for the safety of those who will be joining it,” he said.

Aside from the stage itself, what caught the City officials’ attention was the fact that workers had cordoned off their stage site and, as a result, blocking the sidewalk.

Pedestrians, Poblete said, had to walk on the road instead of the sidewalk.

Asked about the status of the application, Poblete said the City has yet to approve it because his personnel have to inspect it first.

Last Friday, Arce and Poblete informed the management of Crown Regency about the matter and after the discussion, their personnel immediately cleared the structure.

“In fairness to them, they were cooperative; they even offered their personnel and our personnel from Probe were just assisting them,” Arce said.

Sun.Star tried to speak with the hotel’s management, but no one was available to comment.

As long as the permit is released, Arce said, the management can put up the stage again.

In other areas, more than 15 structures owned by sidewalk vendors in Barangay Lorega and Imus St., both part of the parade route, were also cleared.

DEPW crews also removed the center railings on Gen. Maxilom Ave., which will be closed to traffic during the parade on Sunday.

Arce said that Probe will continue their clearing today and in the remaining days before the weekend, to make sure that all are safe and the sidewalks are unobstructed.

This, she said, will also prevent untoward incidents during the Sinulog, when large crowds hit the streets of Cebu City.
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