1K cops arrive in Cebu City to secure Sto. Niño devotees, Sinulog revelers

MORE than 1,000 personnel of the provincial police offices of Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental have arrived in the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to augment the security forces during the 455th Fiesta Señor and Sinulog on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.

Some police officers will be deployed at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

The other personnel will be tasked to secure the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) where the Sinulog grandstand is located. The CCSC will also be on a tight watch as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to grace the event.

The police in Cebu will be on a high alert status on Sunday due to the President’s presence.

CCPO officer-in-charge P/Col. Engelbert Soriano said they are “over-prepared” in their security preparations.

He said 2,000 police officers will be deployed in the Walk with Mary on Friday, Jan. 17, while 3,000 police officers will secure the solemn procession on Saturday, Jan. 18.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 15, there are 5,352 police officers who will secure the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog activities.

Soriano assured the public that the 6.4-kilometer grand parade route, including the entrances and exits, will be secured.

“We need around 300 personnel in the Basilica, 100 in Fuente Osmeña and then a thousand at the CCSC. We also have a task unit,” he said.

The police officers, said Soriano, will be spread 10 meters apart. The CCPO will put up assistance desks along the routes of the grand parade, Walk with Mary and solemn procession.

Cordon

During their final security briefing, the Basilica and police officials agreed to follow the security measures implemented during the solemn procession and traslacion in the past years—the police cordoning off the carriage that contains the Sto. Niño icon. They decided it would be safe if the devotees are from the image.

During the traslacion on Friday, the Highway Patrol Group motorcycle cops will lead the convoy.

Since Tuesday night, Jan. 14, the Basilica officials estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 people have attended the novena Masses.

Drug monitoring

Aside from monitoring criminal elements, Soriano said he supports the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7’s campaign to prevent party drugs from spreading in any Sinulog-related event.

He directed his intelligence personnel to monitor establishments where party drugs, including ecstasy, might be sold. The public was urged by Soriano to remain vigilant.(AYB, JCT / RSR)