Cebu City grants free parking near Basilica during novena

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama (left), with his protocol officer Cinbeth Orellano (right), answers questions from the media on the policies to be implemented for the Fiesta Señor 2024 celebration, in a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama (left), with his protocol officer Cinbeth Orellano (right), answers questions from the media on the policies to be implemented for the Fiesta Señor 2024 celebration, in a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 16. RALPH MARTINEZ

THE Cebu City government will allow parking in designated no-parking zones around the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño from Jan. 16-21, 2024, to help devotees, who would be bringing vehicles to attend novena masses.

During this period, pay parking will be suspended to provide free parking for motorists.

However, the City Government also warned that vehicles obstructing traffic or are double-parking will be promptly towed, as the city suspends clamping on these days.

“Let’s make the people feel they are generally welcome,” said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama during a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) head Raquel Arce said the parking scheme will be observed on streets surrounding the Basilica, such as D. Jakosalem, M.J. Cuenco Ave. near Plaza Independencia, Legaspi Extension, and Quezon Blvd., while areas outside the specified streets will operate normally.

The Basilica is expected to cater to a large number of Cebuanos and foreign visitors for the nine-day novena masses which had already begun on Jan. 11 and other events leading up to the Sto. Niño fiesta, on Jan. 21.

In an earlier interview, Fr. Genesis Labana, one of the Augustinian friars at the Basilica, said the pilgrim center inside the Basilica alone has a capacity of 3,000 individuals or around 33,000 per day with 11 novena masses.

Arce clarified that the no stopping or parking restrictions in areas outside the Basilica will still be enforced.

Meanwhile, while pay parking is suspended at the Basilica, there will be no clamping of vehicles for traffic violations or obstruction of traffic, such as double-parking. Instead, these will be towed away immediately to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and prevent road obstruction.

Vehicles stopping on the road will be towed if the driver fails to vacate the area after receiving multiple warnings.

“No stopping anytime. Wala gi-apil sa (that’s not part of the) suspension,” said Arce.

Vehicles that will be towed will be brought to the CCTO’s compound at South Road Properties.

In normal situations, if a vehicle is clamped, the owner or driver must pay a fine of P1,500.

However, with the suspension of the city’s clamping operations, violators will have to pay P2,500 as the City Government will let a private company tow obstructing vehicles.

Violators will also have to pay an additional P1,000 at the impounding compound.

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