Let’s keep Sinulog parties decent, director appeals

ON Sinulog Day, drink alcohol at your own risk.

Sinulog organizers warned they will detain revelers who will get drunk and misbehave on the parade route during the grand parade on Jan. 17.

Kaohsiung buses will be stationed in strategic areas of the route and will serve as temporary holding cells for those who will be apprehended, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said yesterday.

This is part of the security plan to ensure that the Sinulog will be a fun and wholesome event, he said.

Despite some negative comments on social media about their decision to ban street parties on the parade route, the organizers stand pat on their decision not to allow any party that may disrupt the parade.

As of yesterday, SFI already turned down five applications for street parties on Sinulog Day.

Ballesteros clarified, though, that parties will be allowed as long as these are not close to the parade route and provided the organizers secure a permit from the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) and an endorsement from SFI.

But if the crowd in a street party outside the parade route is likely to spill toward the parade route, Ballesteros said the SFI still won’t approve it.

He said this will help avoid incidents like last year when some drunk revelers were found lying on the sidewalk the following day, still in deep sleep.

Daghan gyud kaayog hubog last year (So many people got drunk last year). This time, let’s make Sinulog fun, enjoyable and wholesome. Let’s all cooperate,” Ballesteros said during the Association of Government Information Officers (AGIO) forum yesterday.

“Those who insist na maghubog-hubog and magpabadlong gyud sa parade route, we will have a temporary detention cell and they can be detained for causing trouble, for violating a city ordinance,” he warned.

City Ordinance 512, which prohibits drunkenness in public places, penalizes violators with imprisonment of not less than 30 days and a fine of not more than P200. 

Organizers reminded the public of the rules as it reaches the peak of preparations for the biggest festival in the country.

Ballesteros said their preparations for the parade are 70 percent complete, and they are finalizing the list of participating contingents.

At least 30 dancing contingents are expected to participate, including seven visiting contingents from Catbalogan City in Samar, Panglao in Bohol, Abuyog in Leyte, Province of Lanao del Norte, Tangub City, Province of Masbate and Municipality of Placer in Masbate.

Also during the AGIO forum yesterday, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.’s (GMCAC) corporate affairs head Estee Marie Plunket said the airport management is ready to receive the thousands of tourists who will come to Cebu for the Sinulog.

She said they are expecting a 50-percent increase in arrivals during the Sinulog weekend, when tourists and balikbayans will be welcomed with the Sinulog dance and survival kits.

Since GMCAC is making changes in their baggage handling system and check-in counters were transferred, Plunket advised passengers to leave their houses or hotels earlier than usual for their flight out of Cebu.

“Because of adjustments in the baggage handling system, mabalhin-balhin ang mga (we will be moving the) check-in counters. The check-in counter for some domestic flights is now in the international departure… so please come to the airport earlier so you have more time to locate your check-in counters,” she said.

As for the 200 to 300 percent increase in the hotel room rates during the Sinulog, Riza Macaibay of the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 said they cannot impose a cap on the hotel rates.

“We cannot control the price that the hotels set… I think it’s normal for the price to go up during the Sinulog because the price is based on market demand, as long as it’s not so unreasonable and the service they provide is good,” she said during the forum.

At City Hall, Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations chief Joy Tumulak announced that this Friday, Osmeña Blvd. will be closed from 2 a.m. to around 7 a.m. for the Walk with Jesus.

Certain portions of Osmeña Blvd. will be closed again from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the opening parade from the Basilica del Sto. Niño to the Cebu City Sports Center.

For the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan on Saturday, a portion of Osmeña Blvd.—from Capitol to R. Landon St.—will be closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon.

On Sunday, the road beside Cebu City Hall leading to Osmeña Blvd. all the way to Cebu City Sports Center will be closed again from 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon for the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan.

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