CCPO: Only transparent tote bags permitted at Basilica, sports center

DON’T bring bags.

This was the advice of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) officer-in-charge P/Col. Engelbert Soriano to the devotees who will attend the novena masses for the Fiesta Señor at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu starting on Jan. 9, 2020, as well as to the people who plan to witness the Sinulog Grand Parade at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) on Jan. 19.

The CCPO, he said, would only allow a transparent tote bag and a clutch bag with a dimension of 4.5 by 6.5 inches. However, he said the persons carrying these kinds of bags would still be subjected to an inspection.

Regulating bags is part of the security measures that will be implemented for the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog festival. Criminal elements who might plan to sabotage the events could conceal weapons and explosives inside bags.

To lessen the hassle of going through an inspection line, Soriano urged the public not to bring any kinds of bags when they hear masses at the Basilica or witness the grand parade on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Backpacks, purse bags, camera cases, suitcases, printed pattern bags, backpacks, diaper bags, duffle bags, fanny packs and colored plastic bags are not allowed inside the premises of the Basilica and CCSC.

The CCPO would not put up booths where the spectators could deposit their bags. In open areas outside the Basilica and CCSC, Soriano said they still discourage the public from carrying bags.

The CCPO has tapped the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority to inform tourists about the bag regulation if they intend to watch the grand parade at CCSC.

Despite the regulation on bags, Fiesta Señor secretariat head Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes said devotees would not be discouraged from attending the Sinulog activities, including the novena masses.

“The devotees will do what it takes to show their faith,” he said.

Another security measure the CCPO will implement is the shutdown of phone signals during specific hours of the day on Jan. 18-19, said Soriano.

In an earlier report, Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama asked the authorities to reconsider the signal shutdown as this might affect the experience of the spectators, including the tourists.

The signal shutdown, he said, might also cause delays in relaying information in emergency cases.

Soriano assured the public that the CCPO has its communication system that can be used when the need arises. (JJL)