THE police are polishing their security measures for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which will take place in Cebu before the end of the month.
Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 directorial staff chief, said the ad hoc task group on IEC and Sinulog has requested Camp Crame for additional support from special units, including the military’s Explosives Ordnance Division (EOD) and bomb-sniffing dogs’ squad.
The police official said their security plans include the monitoring of criminal groups that might operate during IEC and Sinulog.
The task group is also laying plans to avoid stampede and sabotage of electricity, Lawas said.
Victor Abarquez, a member of the IEC secretariat, told reporters yesterday that they are glad about the task group’s security plan because there is a possibility that President Benigno Aquino III and high-ranking church officials will grace the event.
He said there are almost 10,000 persons who registered for the IEC-related activities.
Abarquez accompanied Lawas in inspecting the IEC Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City yesterday morning.
“Gamay na lang nig kulang (The building is almost complete),” said Abarquez.
Lawas said they will deploy 165 police officers to secure the pavilion, but they still have to come up with the exact number of personnel who will be deployed for the whole duration of the Sinulog and IEC activities.
The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) will also ban trucks on certain hours from major thoroughfares in the city for the entire duration of the IEC.
These roads include Pope John Paul Ave., where the IEC Pavilion is located, Salinas Drive, F. Cabahug St., Cardinal Rosales Ave., General Maxilom Ave., Gorordo Ave., Osmeña Blvd., Escario St., Gov. Cuenco Ave. and Cardinal Rosales Ave.
Trucks are prohibited from using these roads from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 to 31.
CCTO operations division chief Joy Tumulak said the truck ban was agreed upon during their meeting with the Cebu Truckers Association last Monday at the office of the Cebu Ports Authority.
“It has been agreed upon that there will be no entry of trucks including heavy equipment on these roads as they are part of the IEC route. The ones that can use it are only light vehicles, passenger jeepneys, buses and taxis,” he said.
The truck ban, Tumulak said, will make way for the 120 buses that will transport IEC delegates to the IEC Pavilion. The buses will be color-coded and will be divided and assigned to five different routes.
For the red line, its routes will start from Marco Polo Plaza to Salinas Drive then to the IEC Pavilion. From there, they will proceed to Radisson Blu Hotel, make a U-turn then go back to its designated route.
For the blue line, its route will start from Alpha City Suites to F. Cabahug St., and Cardinal Rosales Ave. then to the Pavilion. From there, they will make a right turn to Gen. Maxilom Ave., proceed to Fuente Osmeña rotunda then back to its designated route.
As to the green line, its route will start from Fuente Osmeña and proceed to the Provincial Capitol, then make a right turn to Escario St. to Cardinal Rosales Ave. then to the Pavilion.
Then they will go straight to where Tesda is, make a left turn to Arch. Reyes Ave., to N. Bacalso Ave. to Osmeña Blvd., then back to its designated route.
For the yellow line, its route will start from Pope John Paul Ave. to Mandaue City, while the purple line will start from Pope John Paul Ave. to Lapu-Lapu City.
Tumulak also said yesterday that trucks, trailers and heavy equipment will not be allowed to ply the South Road Properties (SRP) on Jan. 24 for the opening mass, as well as Jan. 29 for the benediction, and on Jan. 31 for the closing mass.
Tumulak said the SRP road will be closed on these dates from 2 p.m. until the event is finished. The activities on these dates, Tumulak said, will start at 4 p.m.
CCTO, he said, will apprehend those who will violate the truck ban.
Their office will be installing no entry signs on the affected roads.