Editorial: Addressing fiesta concerns

WITH the feast of the Child Jesus, the Cebu City Government is dealing with many concerns to make both the religious and cultural aspects of the celebration successful. One of the concerns that Mayor Tomas Osmeña focused on the past few days is the drinking and sale of liquor, which he ordered prohibited within 300 meters from the Sinulog Grand Parade route.

The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 are taking the lead in dealing with security and the maintenance of peace and order. We haven’t received reports of terrorist plans to create chaos during the celebration, which is good, although that does not mean we have to be complacent. Crowd control is also a major issue because of the number of people that would converge at the Basilica and at the Sinulog parade route and the Cebu City Sports Center.

Then there is traffic.

The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has implemented a rerouting scheme aimed to free the roads near the Basilica, where daily masses are held, so these can be used by the large number of devotees converging there. As a result, traffic gridlocks have been created in the roads affected by the rerouting, although these are manageable. The traffic may be slow but moving.

There are designated parking areas, although with the number of vehicles in Cebu, those parking spaces are inadequate, resulting in many vehicles spilling over to the sidewalks near the Basilica and Plaza Independencia, where City Hall-initiated activities are held. Illegal parking is one of the causes of traffic congestion.

The bigger problem—and this happens every year—is traffic congestion and the seeming chaos after the Sinulog Grand Parade when vehicles return to their normal routes even as people are still in the middle of previously closed streets. This is also the time when law enforcers and traffic enforcers loosen up, with those serving early in the day abandoning their posts in the evening. This concern has been overlooked in the past years.

The work of maintaining peace and order should only end after full normalcy is restored.
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