CCDRRMC: Security measures will be in place to avoid ‘man-made’ disasters like stampede during Sinulog 2023

THE Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) will make sure that all safety measures will be in place during the celebration of Sinulog 2023 to avoid any “man-made disaster” like the recent fatal stampede in Seoul, South Korea from happening.

In a resolution introduced by Councilor Mary Ann Delos Santos during the City Council’s regular session on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, she said the tragedy should serve as a reminder to city officials to prepare well for all public events that attract crowds like concerts and festivals.

The Halloween tragedy in Itaewon, Seoul last Oct. 29 claimed the lives of more than 150 individuals who were mostly in their 20s.

Delos Santos said that there is no bigger event in Cebu City than the Sinulog Festival, which takes place every third Sunday of January.

“Sinulog organizers must prepare thoroughly and coordinate with each other for the said event, and anticipate a large number of revealers, most of whom could be teenagers who tend to be raucous, especially after the hiatus of two years,” she said.

The councilor also supported the decision of Mayor Michael Rama to have the festival celebrated at the South Road Properties (SRP).

In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Nov. 13, CCDRRMC chairman Gerardo Carillo said they are crafting an operational plan for the Sinulog, especially emergency and contingency plans.

But Carillo said that these kinds of events are not something new to them since similar large gatherings have already taken place at the SRP.

“The security preparation is being undertaken by the PNP (Philippine National Police). We have experience handling a crowd of 250,000 up to 300,000 at the SRP. So holding a crowd of bigger magnitude that is not something new for the disaster office to handle,” he said.

Despite this, Carillo said they will not be complacent and will have to check everything like the identification of possible choke points, as this was one of the causes of the stampede in South Korea.

The CCDRRMC will also identify access points for emergency responders for immediate and unhampered response in the event of medical emergencies, he added.

Since there are a lot of open spaces at the SRP, Carillo said that they can also set up water stations so spectators can rehydrate.

According to Carillo, they expect more than one million spectators on the day of the festival.

However, only the grand parade will be held at the SRP since the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan and Dakbayan will take place at the Cebu City Sports Center, he said.

But on the days leading to the festival, different concerts and events will also take place at the SRP and other venues like the Plaza Independencia and Fuente Osmeña. (IRT)