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Sinulog security assessment

By: Editorial January 23,2018 - 10:31 PM

Now that three days have passed since the successful Sinulog celebration, a post evaluation of the event persuaded Cebu City Hall officials and law enforcement agencies to retain some of their security measures which would certainly make a lot of people happy or unhappy, depending on which side are you on.

For starters, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said it’s more than likely that they will retain the ban on liquor and street parties not only in next year’s Sinulog celebration but every year thereafter.

In fact, the administration is likely to institutionalize it to the chagrin of commercial entertainment outlets who may or may not have lost a sizable chunk of their profits due to the liquor ban.

Despite the enforcement of the liquor and street party ban, some stores and outlets were defiant, though a lot of these outlets may have sold liquor and held parties sometime after the end of the Sinulog Grand Parade and presentation.

We may know in a couple of days who are the violators and whether the administration will keep its word to cancel their business permits for violating the ban.

While a lot of revelers, mostly teenagers expecting a drunken good time, may have groaned about the twin bans, not a few city residents, visitors and longtime participants of the Sinulog celebration were quite happy with seeing decongested streets and perhaps fewer to zero revelers passing out in the streets in a drunken stupor.

For this reason, it’s perhaps best to retain the liquor and street ban enforced in this year’s Sinulog celebration and to institutionalize it if only to instill discipline and respect to others as well as the solemnity of the event which is in honor of the Sto. Niño.

What is still questionable, however, is the policy to enforce a cell site shutdown that was announced barely days before the Sinulog Grand Parade and presentation. The intention perhaps was to keep whoever is planning to stage a bombing unaware and flat-footed but the inconvenience it caused on the populace remained.

Perhaps the best argument against the cell site shutdown was the admission of Senior Supt. Julian Entoma, acting Cebu City police chief, that the police had been complacent at crowd control and there were lapses in the enforcement of the cell site shutdown.

There were questions as to whether the cell site shutdown lulled the police into depending on City Hall personnel to do the job of keeping the peace and regulating crowds for them based on Entoma’s statement.

By imposing the cell site shutdown, the police may be too confident that any bombings set off by cell phone signals would be averted, which is both erroneous and dangerous on their part.

Not to mention that it will both inconvenience and incapacitate the populace for the duration of the Sinulog parade and presentation where anything outside of terrorist attacks can happen.

We hope City Hall and law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders deliberate carefully and decide which security measures should be retained and which should be modified for next year and in subsequent celebrations of Sinulog.

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TAGS: assessment, security, Sinulog Festival

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