Netizens slam Basilica’s new ‘Clear Bag’ policy for Sinulog

By: Alven Marie Timtim, Delta Dyrecka Letigio January 03,2020 - 08:27 PM

This is an infographics of the Clear Bag Policy to be imposed during the Sinulog 2020 taken from the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Facebook page.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — “Wala ko kasabot nganong ing-ani ilang policy, sobraan ra sad.” (I don’t understand their policy. I think it’s just too much.)

This was the statement of netizen, Ayee Sha, on the Facebook post of the Sinulog Foundation Incorporated (SFI) page banning specific kinds of bag inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño for the Sinulog activities.

The SFI, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño have released a joint statement informing the public that only clear bags could be allowed entry into the Basilica during Novena Masses.

Aside from backpacks, which was prohibited in 2019, the Basilica also prohibited purse bags, camera cases, suitcases, printed pattern bags, clear backpacks, diaper bags, duffel bags, fanny packs, and tinted plastic bags.

Only clear tote bags with a size of 12 inches by 6 inches, small clutch bags not exceeding 6 inches by 5 inches, and clear storage bags up to 1 gallon capacity will be allowed inside the Basilica.

CCPO officer-in-charge, Police Colonel Engelbert Soriano, said the prohibitions that big bags such as backpacks would be considered security risks especially if the bags would be big.

The CCPO has coordinated with the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) about informing tourists about what bags would be prohibited or not in the Basilica and in the Sinulog events.

“Ang main concern natin sa Basilica at sa Cebu City Sports Complex. Dun sa procession at open areas, we still discourage backpacks, kasi hassle if masubject to inspection,” said Soriano.

(The main concern is the Basilica and the Cebu City Sports Complex. In the procession and open areas, we still discourage backpacks because it will cause hassle when subjected to inspection.)

Soriano said the police could not provide a courtesy booth to the public because they lacked personnel to man such booths.

This move of the CCPO is backed by the SFI Executive Director, Elmer “Jojo” Labella, who said that such prohibitions would be for the utmost safety of the public.

 

This is not the case for blogger and writer, Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap, who commented on the SFI’s post that the prohibitions were “ridiculous.”

“This new “clear bag only” policy (but no clear backpacks?!) only promotes the use of more plastic and makes it a breeze for thieves to select their target and steal valuables. Rules like this are products of shortsightedness and lazy thinking. The general public deserves better. Please implement effective and efficient security measures: eg. Install X-ray scanners for small bags at entrances, equip personnel with handheld metal detector wands, and employ bomb-sniffing canine units,” said Zeta-Yap.

College professor, Leeroy Gadiane, told CDN Digital that the prohibitions were disadvantageous to workers who are devotees of the Sto. Niñ0 who travels from their workplace to the Basilica.

“Some attendees kay gikan man gud sa school or work, lisod kaayo nga strikto kaayo sila. (Some attendees are from school or work and it is difficult to comply with such strict regulations),” said Gadiane.

Shing Secrag, another netizen also commented on the SFI post and said that the Basilica should invest in more safety equipment rather than making devotees “suffer.”

 

“Hantod kanus a paman mo lambo…na dli lang mga deboto ra ang mag adjust..dapat ang organizer mag create or mag invest ug safety precaution system,” she said.

(When will this improve? Wherein the devotees are not the only ones adjusting, the organizers must also create or invest safety precaution system.)

However, not all netizens disagree with the “clear bag” policy as some insisted that the devotees can leave their bags inside some malls.

Netizen Dyna Sore said that those who bring prohibited bags can still attend the Mass outside the Basilica since television screens and chairs are prepared for them outside.

“Chills lang guys! Kung nagdala ug prohibited bags, pwede raman sa gawas mo mag attend ug Mass. Anyway naa may dako nga screen pod. Maka dawat ra lage’g grasya bisag di sa sulod sa Basilica maka simba. For safety purposes man sad na,” said Sore.

(Chill, guys! If you are bringing prohibited bags, you can attend the Mass outside. There are big screens. Blessings will still come to those who can’t attend the Mass inside the Basilica. The prohibitions are only for safety purposes.)/dbs

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TAGS: Basilica, clear bag, Minore Del Sto. Niño, policy, SFI, Sinulog

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