Indispensable cooperation for Sinulog security

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc January 05,2017 - 09:44 PM


Let me emphasize that, like many people, I do not wish to cause unnecessary alarm, but we cannot close our eyes to current realities.

The innocent people who were seriously injured during the Innocence Day bombing in Hilongos, Leyte, should serve as a strong warning to all Filipinos anywhere in the country that we should not be complacent.

The December 28, 2016, incident where three bombs were planted, of which two exploded, caused injury to 39 innocent people. The supposedly happy fiesta mode of the people was unexpectedly converted into a very tragic situation.

While the investigation conducted by the PNP and AFP looks into the different angles and motives of the incident to find out the real culprit, what is believed to be nearer to the truth as of now is that such incident was an act of terrorism.

During my live interview over dyHP RMN Cebu with Hilongos Mayor Albert Villahermosa, the latter said that he and his police neither received any threat nor sensed an iota of hint that the bombing would happen in his peaceful town. He pointed out that he could not divulge so far the updates of the investigation so that it may not be jeopardized. But he is hopeful that the same will be quickly solved, given the fact that the LGU provided the complete CCTV footage.

Like the officials in our neighboring province of Leyte, the mayor and the police of Cebu have not also reportedly received any terror threats.

Hopefully, however, they should learn a lesson out of the Hilongos incident in preparation for the Sinulog Festival.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, PRO-7 chief, said that the PNP will deploy 5,000 of its personnel with the help of AFP to ensure the security of the celebration. However, such number is very minute in relation to the more or less three million people who would flock to Cebu for the Sinulog festivity.

While we ardently pray that the bombing incident in Hilongos will not happen during the fiesta in Cebu, it would be much better if we consider it as a wake-up call. While we wish for the good things to happen, we should also prepare for the worst unexpected ones.

Everyone should realize that the security during the fiesta of Sto. Nino is everybody’s responsibility. It cannot be done if we leave the matter to the authorities entirely. Unity and prayers are our armor to fight terrorism.

For this reason, we should cooperate with the authorities on any instruction for purposes of security. We should do our part by being vigilant towards our surroundings and report to the authorities any suspicious individuals, left-behind bags, cartons or equipment, et cetera.

If there is a need for us to bring bags during the Sinulog, it would be much better if we will use transparent ones like what the people used during the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines. I personally experienced it and I saw its effectiveness during our radio coverage of the visit. At least, in this little way, we help the authorities to ease their burden of inspecting our bags.

Also, on the part of the authorities, they should double their efforts and take sacrifices for the safety of the public. Hopefully, if there are reports from concerned civilians, the former should immediately take actions. It will be frustrating on the side of sincere individuals if their true reports will not be acted upon.

To our high-ranking police officials, you should also provide full support such as decent food allowance. Hopefully, during Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s and Taliño’s watch, there would be no more story about “pancit without subak” or corruption even on food supply.

On top of all security preparations, everyone should unite in prayers for the safety of the entire activity. We will ask the Sto. Nino to protect us from all anxieties as we celebrate his fiesta.

While we acknowledge the power of prayer, we should also do our best to protect ourselves and let God do the rest, those which are beyond our control.

After all, Sto. Nino said, “If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

* * *

I wish to congratulate Rev. Fr. Roberto Ebisa, station manager of dyRF, for being elected as the new chairman of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Cebu chapter in the election held yesterday.

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TAGS: bombing, Cebu, Cebu City, crowd, Hilongos, Leyte, safety, secure, security, Sinulog, tourism, tourists

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