THE Cebu City Police Office estimated the crowd who joined and witnessed the solemn foot procession on Saturday afternoon, January 14, to reach 3 million people.
The procession kicked off at exactly 12 noon at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.
CCPO Chief Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog they already anticipated a lot of devotees to join the activity, which has been suspended for two years due to Covid-19 virus.
The police described the procession as generally peaceful as no major incidents were recorded, except for those who fainted but were immediately given medical attention by the medical team stationed along the parade route.
More than 1,000 policemen and another 10,000 volunteers from the different schools in the city, Cebu City Transportation Office and reserved force of the Philippine Army were deployed to provide security and order.
The Mobile Patrol Unit of CCPO also conducted a roving to respond to crime incidents that would occur outside the parade route.
“Sa giingon nila kung daghan to ang 2020 mas daghan karon nga 2023, siguro tungod kay mao ni ang first time nga nagkaroon ng 458 fiesta Señor ug kining Sinulog festival 2023 kay niadtong 2021 wala man gud tay Sinulog,” Dalogdog said.
(They said many attended this year than in 2020, maybe because this is the first time that the 458th Fiesta Señor is held and also the Sinulog festival 2023 because in 2021 we didn’t have Sinulog).
Police Regional Office (PRO 7) Director Brigadier General Jerry Bearis instructed his men to be on alert for a possible stampede after witnessing through an aerial inspection the thick crowd of people along the procession route.
Bearis thanked his subordinates for executing well the security plan that led to the success of the activity.
“The security preparation collectively introduced by the members of the Task Force was generally implemented resulting in the safe, secured and solemn procession; while minor traffic interruptions were recorded due to rerouting and closure of roads, the transport of vehicles is flowing in major areas; the close devotion of the Cebuanos to the Holy Child equated in cooperation and compliance with the regulations set forth during the activity,” said Bearis.
The PRO 7 director, who witnessed the activity for the first time, said he was surprised by the commitment and devotion shown by the Cebuanos to Señor Santo Niño. (AYB, TPT)