Police tighten Nat’l Youth Day security; only NYD backpacks allowed
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) will be tightening the security of the National Youth Day (NYD) following the bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed 200 people.
Police will implement stricter security measures for the safety of the pilgrims.
Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas, PRO-7 chief, said that at least 1000 police personnel with other force multipliers would be deployed every day from April 23 to 28 or for the duration of the NYD.
Even the NYD buses for the expected 12,000 pilgrims attending the five-day event, will each have three police escorts.
These pilgrims will also be housed in different host-households in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu.
The NYD organizers have provided paraphernalia including car stickers, NYD official T-shirts and bags, identification cards, and lanyards, which will serve to identify the pilgrims and their host families.
Sinas said other backpacks would not be allowed in the venues of the NYD activities, a similar measure implemented during the Sinulog festivities last January.
Read more: No backpacks allowed in Sinulog events
Devotees, who will be joining the religious activities such as the procession and the Mass must follow the guidelines of the police including the “no backpack” policy.
“We prioritize the pilgrims. For other devotees, who would like to join, I hope they will be compliant for the safety of our guests,” said Sinas.
“Ako lang request is one, sa atong mga kababayan diri sa Cebu nga maapektohan sa traffic, dili ta magreklamo-reklamo tutal gamay ra man ang oras sa closures. (My request is one, to our residents in Cebu who will be affected by the traffic, let us not complain so much because the road closures will only be for a few hours),” said Sinas.
Road closures are also expected on Wednesday, April 24, along Osmeña Boulevard from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the procession from the Cebu City Sports Complex to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. Road closures may also be implemented in the nine festival sites for the Thursday, April 25, activities depending on the local government unit (LGU).
Festival venues include IEC Pavilion and University of San Jose Basak Campus in Cebu City, Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City Sports Complex in Mandaue City, Consolacion Municipal Convention Hall in Consolacion town, Liloan Municipal Gym in Liloan town, Sisters of Mary Girlstown in Talisay City, Sisters of Mary Boystown in Minglanilla town, and Enan Chiong Activity Center in Naga City.
He said that although they would be tightening the security of the NYD, they would still allow the youth to enjoy the activities since there had been no imminent threats to Central Visayas.
For emergencies, Sinas said they had prepared phones for the pilgrims to contact their families who are living in other provinces.
Signal shutdown would not be implemented as well to keep the line open for the youth’s parents to contact them from time to time, but Sinas said that if a threat would be detected, they would recommend a signal shutdown immediately.
“We do not recommend a signal shutdown because we understand the parents would feel calmer if they can hear from their children. However, if there is a threat, we will recommend it,” he said.
PRO-7 is hoping for the cooperation of the pilgrims and the devotees to keep the activities peaceful until the last day on April 28./dbs
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