ORGANIZERS of the Sinulog grand showdown have made changes to the appearance of grandstand tickets.
This year, tickets will be worn as wristbands and will have QR codes.
Sheen Galupo, marketing officer of a private marketing arm of the Sinulog, said the changes were for security measures to avoid unauthorized sellers from forging tickets.
The wristbands will be color-coded so it’ll be easier for spectators to find their seats in the grandstand.
The wristband will be scanned upon entering the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), Galupo said.
She said the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) was concerned that many bought their tickets from unauthorized sellers.
“There were only a certain number of tickets printed by the SFI (in 2019), yet they were surprised that many people went to the venue,” she said.
The marketing team and SFI have yet to decide when to start selling the tickets.
Galupo did not disclose the prices, but she said these would be the same as last year.
She said the SFI does not accept ticket reservations, but it will be pre-selling the tickets.
Tickets can be bought at the SFI office at the CCSC.
Tickets for smaller events like the Sinulog sa Lalawigan and the Tribu Kabataan will be sold at the gate of the CCSC on the day of the events.
Meanwhile, security at the vicinity of the Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City has been tightened in the leadup to the novena of the celebration of Fiesta Señor 2020, which will start on Jan. 9, 2020.
Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA, head secretariat for Fiesta Señor 2020, said they expect a dense crowd to congregate at the basilica during the nine-day event.
Reyes urged the faithful who will attend to abide by their entrance and exit policies and the new “clear bag” policy to avoid any hassle.
He also clarified that the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) came up with the “clear bag” policy after netizens “slammed” the move.
“We’re just following their security detailing since they’re (CCPO) the ones who know the level of security that will be needed to address the crowd,” Reyes said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
He said TV screens and speakers will be set up at the Plaza Sugbo and the communion stations for those who won’t be able to enter the basilica’s premises.
The novena will start at 4 a.m. every day with an hour and a half interval. The last mass will start at 7 p.m.
Organizers expect 900,000 to one million devotees to join this year’s novena.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes has tapped barangay tanods as force multipliers for the Traslacion on Jan. 17, when the image of the Sto. Niño is transported from the basilica to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Barangay Centro in Mandaue City for the meeting of images of the Holy Family that precedes the Sinulog feast.
Col. Jonathan Abella, Mandaue City Police Office director, said they will be on red alert during the Traslacion on Jan. 17 and the seaborne procession on Jan. 18.
“We are coordinating with our force multipliers, the tanods. We also had a conference to discuss possible scenarios and deployment plans,” Abella said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The police official said the schedule of the Sto. Niño’s visit to the National Shrine of St. Joseph has been changed.
“The mayor will receive the image between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the Lahug and Banilad areas. Then the image will be transferred to the Virgen de la Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.,” Abella said in Cebuano.
During the seaborne procession on Jan. 18, police personnel will be deployed along the coast and at the old bridge, he said.
Cortes, for his part, said he is open to establishments holding nightly activities in the leadup to the grand parade as long as these don’t involve street parties and illegal street parking. He said illegally parked vehicles will be clamped.
Abella said they are looking at the possibility that illegal drugs will be sold at these activities.
“We’re already looking into that. We’re also monitoring the City Hall for how many party permits it will approve,” he said in Cebuano.
Meanwhile, the Talisay City Government announced that it will send contingents to the Sinulog Grand Parade on Jan. 19 and the Sinulog sa Kabataan on Jan. 11.
According to City Budget Office Edgar Mabunay, the City has allotted close to P6 million for the activities. The amount is the same it spent for its contingents last year.
He said they just want to make sure they won’t exceed last year’s budget.
This year, Talisay City will field 100 dancers and propsmen. Most of them are students at the Talisay City Central School. (JJL, KFD, JCT, FMD / PJB)