THE 3,500 police, military, and force multipliers from other government agencies who will provide security for Sinulog events were given a send-off ceremony on Wednesday morning, January 10, 2024.
The celebration will kick off at 4 a.m. on Thursday, January 11, with Walk with Jesus from the Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, followed by the start of the nine-day novena masses at 5 a.m.
According to Colonel Noel Flores, deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7), the public's safety is their top priority.
"The safety and security of our people shall be our top most priority," Flores said.
He expressed confidence that the celebration will succeed with the aid of God and other government authorities.
Fr. Nelson Zerda, the leader of the Augustinian friars carrying the image of Santo Niño, blessed the soldiers before they were sent out.
During the occasion, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama urged the security officers to devote their work and entrust it to the Child Jesus.
After his brief speech, the mayor led the police, military and city government officials in dancing to the rhythm of Sinulog, as he blew a whistle to the sound of Prit-tit-tit with his left hand holding an image of Santo Niño.
The head of the Cebu City Police Office and ground commander of Task Force Sinulog, Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, said that some changes to the officer deployment are still needed.
He stated that in order to guarantee a seamless deployment, a simulated exercise will be conducted the day before the two major events, which include the fluvial procession on January 20 and the grand parade on January 21 at the South Road Properties in Barangay Mambaling.
Army Colonel Erwin Lamzon, the commander of Joint Task Group-Cebu, declared that they will add over a thousand soldiers, including reservists, during the grand parade to manage the crowd.
Rama reaffirmed that there won't be a signal outage during the foot procession and grand parade on January 20 or 21, respectively.
He clarified that cutting off cellphone signals would prevent one from being able to locate their lost companions, including children, because of communication breakdowns.
But according to Police Regional Office 7, they haven't received any threats about security in Sinulog.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, the deputy chief of the Regional Intelligence Unit, stated that they are closely monitoring the situation in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other government agencies.
"There is no specific threats monitored, our intelligence fusion has already been established with all agencies in the security sector. We have not monitored threats but of course considering the events unfolding in other areas we are raising our precautionary measure," Pelare stated.
According to Pelare, the PRO 7 is currently on high alert, which will be raised to full alert status during the grand parade. (With TPT)