MAYBE it’s time to stop estimating the number of people who turn up to celebrate the day of the Sto. Niño fiesta, whose activities include masses at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and the Sinulog festivities, with the main attraction being the Sinulog Grand Parade. Include there the line that “the celebration this year is bigger than last year.”
The first one is usually done by police officials who do not have expertise on estimating crowd size; the second one is blurted out by Sinulog organizers who want to be patted on the back for their work. The first one is not reliable, the second one is laughable. If every year the people who join or witness the fiesta celebration gets bigger, the city would be bursting at the seams with fiesta-goers by now.
But the line “generally peaceful” is a win-win line; there can be no “generally violent” description of the fiesta celebration unless disturbances break out everywhere. Last Sunday, the reports we heard were only that of a few people victimized by pickpockets and lost children found. Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s memo against drunkenness seemed to work, though. No cases of hooliganism were reported.
It must have helped that while the sky was overcast it didn’t rain. Having the sun come out could have produced some hotheads. As for the hitches in the parade, that’s no longer news. It’s always been that way since former Ministry of Youth and Sports Development official David Odilao Jr. conceived of the Sinulog. A perfect Sinulog can even be an oxymoron.
But while we have to thank the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation Inc. for a successful fiesta and Sinulog parade, let us revisit the issue on traffic. As expected, the rerouting freed some routes for unhampered fiesta activities and created tight traffic in roads affected by the rerouting but from beginning until the end of the Sinulog parade the police and traffic enforcers were there to keep the vehicles moving.
Not after the parade ended when the closed streets were opened and the crowd and vehicles merged. That caused traffic gridlocks in some streets that could not be immediately untangled because the bulk of the policemen and traffic enforcers had called it a day. If maintaining order were a chain, that was the weakest link. We talked about it days before Sunday, but nobody paid attention to it.