Visitors carrying non-transparent bags may still enter basilica but…

By: Morexette Marie Erram January 06,2020 - 03:29 PM

Police and security personnel assigned in the entrance and exit points around the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, strictly inspect the bags of the visitors before allowing them to enter the church area. | CDNDigital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — As long as they are not bulky bags and backpacks, visitors carrying non-transparent bags will still be allowed to enter the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu during the Sinulog season.

However, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) said that guests carrying non-transparent bags should prepare for a longer time at inspection spots. 

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

PRO-7 director, Police Brigadier General Valeriano De Leon, made this clarification in a press conference Monday, January 6. He said that only backpacks and big bags are prohibited within the basilica’s vicinity throughout the Fiesta Señor celebration. 

“All bags, transparent or not transparent, are subject to inspection. Pero matatagalan talaga yung inspection if ikaw gumagamit nang non-transparent bags,” De Leon said.

Because of this, the police are advising pilgrims visiting the basilica to use clear or transparent bags to expedite inspection proceedings at the entry points.

In a separate interview, Police Colonel Engelbert Soriano, director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said they might allow the entry of some backpacks if their use is truly warranted.

“We may allow backpacks for humanitarian reasons but these will undergo further scrutiny. We may put up a special lane for them,” said Soriano.

Read more: Fr. Reyes on clear bag policy uproar: We have no say on police decisions on Basilica’s security

On the other hand, Fr. Aladdin Luzon, officer-in-charge for safety, security, and peace and order, urged visitors to strictly comply with the guidelines regarding the use of bags to ensure a smooth and peaceful Sinulog celebration.

“We discourage the use of bulky bags and backpacks especially since that we don’t have any depository here,” Luzon said. 

Luzon cited an incident last year where they were forced to postpone some masses after a backpack was found abandoned inside the basilica’s compound.

“It created an alarm on the part of the church and it was not even a Fiesta Señor day. We hope people will understand. In the end, it’s for the benefit of everybody,” he added./rcg

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TAGS: backpack, Basilica, clear bag, de leon, Fiesta Señor, minore, Sto. Niño

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