Street parties to stage comeback in Sinulog 2020

AFTER former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña banned street parties during the Sinulog celebration, his successor will allow them as long as they are well regulated.

“Street parties? If regulated, I am for it, and we will do something to regulate it,” said Mayor Edgardo Labella.

However, he said that there should be no parties on the grand parade route and a liquor ban will have to be in place.

He said he doesn’t want to deprive people who want to take part in such activities.

Labella said the City is closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the guidelines to ensure that it will be safe, comfortable and orderly despite the festive atmosphere.

He said there will be stricter requirements for organizers of street parties, but these are still being hammered out.

He also reminded the public that the solemnity of the religious aspect of the celebration must be observed.

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) and the Sinulog Governing Board (SGB) earlier considered bringing back street parties.

SFI executive director Jojo Labella said street parties can be done only after “thorough evaluation” by the City and the police force.

When the SGB started its plans for next year’s Sinulog, SGB executive director Barney Borja said they wanted to bring back the crowds and visitors, and one way to do this would be to bring back concerts and street parties.

Borja said he received feedback from the hotel industry that occupancy during the season was “not as robust” compared to in the last five years.

This year, Borja said, it is their goal to attract more visitors.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Council approved the necessary preparations for next year’s Sinulog, including the 10 resolutions sponsored by City Councilor Dave Tumulak, chairman of the SFI executive committee.

The council allowed the SFI to put up banners and tarpaulins along various streets, specifically in the Plaza Independencia and Fuente Osmeña.

The council is also requesting the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to declare the affected routes of the solemn procession and the Sinulog Grand Parade as no-fly zones on Jan. 18 to 19, 2020, respectively. However, the PNP can still fly their drones to secure both events.

Vendors will also be regulated during the Sinulog. They have to register at the City Market Division between Dec. 15, 2019 and Jan. 9, 2020, and declare what they are selling to secure a special permit. They also need to submit a 2 x 2 photo for their identification cards (IDs).

Tumulak warned that the merchandise of vendors without IDs will be confiscated.

The City’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team has been tasked to ensure that vendors will be barred from selling food or merchandise within 100 meters from the Basilica del Sto. Niño from Jan. 9 to Jan. 19.

It also asked the Cebu Contractors Association to deploy 10-wheeler trucks with standby drivers a few meters from intersections along the procession and grand parade routes as well as install mobile bleachers for spectators.

The council also asked Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to temporarily close the Cebu South Bus Terminal on Jan. 19, and to transfer its operation to the South Road Properties starting at 3 a.m. until the end of the festivities.

Sinulog 2020 will be launched on Jan. 10. (JJL)