Editorial: Party, yes, but

THIS year’s Sinulog celebration institutes two major changes—there will be no network signal shutdown and street parties can get as near as a hundred meters to the grand parade route on Jan. 19.

The grand parade route begins at N. Bacalso Ave., proceeds to P. del Rosario St., Imus Ave., Gen. Maxilom Ave., Fuente Osmeña, then to Osmeña Blvd., R.R. Landon St., and finally to the Cebu City Sports Center. Google Map computation says that’s about a five-kilometer stretch.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said establishments that violate the 100-meter rule risk losing their mayor’s business permit. The City Government will also park two buses as temporary holding facilities for drunk revelers. The police will file a case against them should they violate any law.

Party organizers and business owners planning to hold events on the day of the grand parade are called to a meeting with the City Government, to discuss the issuance of special permits to operate, among many other things.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) Central Visayas, upon the recommendation of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), had also communicated with the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office requesting a total gun ban, which takes effect today, Jan. 9, 2020.

The signal shutdown, says Labella only takes effect when “the need arises.” CCPO Director Engelbert Soriano said it will be the PNP’s intelligence operatives that will have to recommend a shutdown, for instance, in cases of unattended and unclaimed baggage or box, suspicious persons, or any suspicious signs.

Starting tomorrow, too, the Cebu City Transportation Office will deploy 55 traffic enforcers for the launching parade, which will start at Plaza Independencia on M.J. Cuenco Ave. and move on to the Cebu City Sports Center along Osmeña Blvd.

The Sinulog organizers and stakeholders are now in the thick of preparations. One of the common observations in the past years is the surge in the number of motorcycles-for-hire on the day of the grand parade. Expect the figures to even increase this year. This is most apparent after the grand parade and when the routes reopen to traffic.

On the other hand, the cut in the proximity of street parties to the parade route may also pose another problem. As though the preceding 300-meter rule was not challenging enough, this hauls a whole new density of people where the herd already is. Why should street parties be close to the parade route in the first place when they serve totally different interests?