SEVERAL changes will be implemented by the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) in this year’s Sinulog celebration.
Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella said that aside from disallowing the holding of parties on the streets, bleachers and tents will no longer be allowed along the carousel route.
However, these can be set up on the other side of the road, or the portion that is not used by the dancers, Labella said.
“Along the carousel route, only bleachers for the judges will be allowed,” he said.
To make sure that everything will be in order, Labella has also formed Task Force Carousel, which will be in charge of ensuring there will be no obstructions like parties along the grand parade route.
The task force convened last Wednesday to discuss final preparations for the weeklong festivities.
The group is headed by Councilor Dave Tumulak. Its members include Councilor Hanz Abella; Senior Supt. Marciano Batiancela, Cebu City Police Office director; and some barangay officials like Association of Barangay Council president Philip Zafra and Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera.
They will be going around the carousel route to check the situation.
Labella also ordered the City Health Department to form a group that will monitor and inspect food that will be sold in food stalls during the Sinulog.
The Department of Engineering and Public Works has already been instructed to bundle dangling wires along the carousel route so these won’t be snagged by floats and props of the contingents.
Eleven Kaohsiung buses will be converted into holding centers, where police can temporarily detain unruly revelers during the celebration.
Labella said they will not also allow the drinking of alcoholic drinks and performances with “sexy” outfits on board the floats, as well as the throwing of any merchandise and goodies from the floats to avoid stampedes.
“Even if it is a cultural activity, there is always the religious touch of it because the event is done in honor of Señor Sto. Niño, the Holy Child Jesus,” Labella said.
Labella said they are expecting a bigger crowd this year even though there are fewer participating contingents.
Many local government unit officials are busy preparing for the May elections so they’re too busy to join this year’s celebration, he said.
Today, the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement will start clearing the entire carousel route.
Labella has encouraged establishments owners in the central business area to light up their premises during the celebration week, as required under City Ordinance 2215.
Suspended Mayor Michael Rama said they upgraded their preparation this year, considering that some foreign visitors, who will be participating in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, are already in Cebu.
He said this year’s celebration is for a Mega Sinulog.
Rama also clarified that only street parties along the carousel route will be prohibited, while Sinulog events in different business establishments like bars and restaurants will still be allowed.
Organizers of these parties, Rama pointed out, should make sure their events are inside their premises and do not encroach on the road.
Rama also said he plans to invite Vice President Jejomar Binay to attend the grand parade.
Rama said they have been inviting President Benigno Aquino III to attend but the latter never showed up, so they decided not to invite him this year.