CCPO director: 300K devotees join ‘Walk with Jesus’ 2023

HUNDREDS of thousands of devout Roman Catholics participated in the Penitential Walk with Jesus in the early morning of Thursday, January 5, 2023.

According to the estimates of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, who coordinated with the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), around 300,000 people showed up for the procession, which was canceled in 2021 due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.

He said this was evident in the thick crowds of people who filled Osmeña Boulevard from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica del Sto. Niño in the downtown area.

“Actually, this is my first time to witness this Sinulog, especially Walk with Jesus, and I also talked to (CCDRRMO head) Mr. Harold Alcontin. According to him, na-double yung mga tao na nag-join sa Walk with Jesus (the number of people who joined doubled). Previously, naa tay figure nga (the figure was) 150,000 and, according to him, double so naa ta sa (that doubled so were at) more than 350,000,” he said.

Dalogdog said the event was peaceful and orderly, adding that they didn’t record any crime since the procession started around 2 a.m. until the mass ended inside the basilica.

He said he deployed close to 1,000 police personnel to secure the procession route, while he ordered all patrol cars of the police and the Mobile Patrol Unit to conduct roving patrols.

Police Regional Office Central Visayas Director Brigadier General Jerry Bearies, for his part, said it was also his first time to witness a Sinulog event.

Overall, he said their security implementation needed minor improvements since his personnel knew what to do after they conducted tabletop and simulation exercises the day before the opening salvo of the Penitential Walk with Jesus.

“Every time na that there is an occasion, there is an activity a day before the activity. There should be tabletop exercise,” Bearis said.

According to Wikipedia, a tabletop exercise is a “discussion-based session where team members meet in an informal, classroom setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation.” (AYB, PJB)