Enhanced intel gathering pushed to quell Sinulog threats

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FAITHFUL, RAIN OR SHINE. Umbrellas cover the throng of devotees participating in the novena mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center on Sunday (Jan. 12, 2020). The Basilica friars of the Order of St. Augustine and the Cebu City Police Office are beefing up security measures ahead of the 455th Fiesta Señor this coming weekend, Jan. 18-19, 2020. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – The presiding officer of the City Council here on Tuesday underscored the need to enhance the capability of police authorities in intelligence gathering to quell threats during the Sinulog 2020 on January 19.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama said he supported the decision of Cebu City Police Office chief, Col. Engelbert Soriano to beef up other security arrangements but forego with the plan to shut down telecommunications signal during the 455th Fiesta Señor solemn procession on Saturday (Jan. 18) and the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday.

“There were already I think couple of years nagsugod na nga gi-shut off ang (that started to shut-off the) communications. Ako pirme hunahuna (It’s always in mind that) we wanted to give communications and then shutting off communications (would not be helpful in case) there are calamities,” Rama said in a radio interview.

He said shutting down the telecommunication signal can be done when there are extreme circumstances.

Rama, however, said they entrust the safety and security of the devotees and visitors during the celebration to the police.

On Monday, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will grace the Sinulog 2020 grand festival at the Cebu City Sports Center.

He said Duterte responded to the invitation by Mayor Edgardo Labella to visit Cebu on the occasion of the fiesta of the Sto. Niño de Cebu.

He also said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) is now readying security measures at the sports center.

Meanwhile, Labella announced that clamping operations against illegally parked vehicles are suspended until after the Sinulog, following complaints from the devotees whose vehicles were parked at the city center’s roadside while they attended mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

“We have a moratorium of clamping operations starting at 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the following day. It means that there will be no clamping of cars and there will be no towing of cars not only around the premises of the Basilica but in the entire city,” he told reporters.

Fr. Aladdin Luzon, an Augustinian friar in-charge of the Basilica’s security, encouraged churchgoers who are attending the novena masses to cooperate to the police and security personnel assigned at the church entrance.

Luzon also urged the devotees not to carry huge bags upon entering the Basilica to avoid the inconvenience of strict inspection procedures.

He also encouraged the devotees to properly dispose of their garbage when inside the Basilica. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

The Philippine News Agency is a web-based newswire service of the Philippine government under the supervision of the News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

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