Cebu Police chief says ‘confused’ devotees causes delay on entry to Basilica on first day of novena masses

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | January 09,2020 - 01:21 PM

Images and Umbrellas fill up the Basilica during the Novena Mass | Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines–Confusion on the entry and exits points have caused a slight delay in the movements of devotees in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.

This was the observation of Police Colonel Engelbert Soriano, the director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), after a half-day monitoring of the first day of the novena masses for the Sinulog.

“Medyo may slight confusion pa sa mga devotees sa ating entry at exit points. Konting confusion lang pero the people are being directed to the right entrances,” said Soriano.

(There’s a slight confusion of the devotees on the entry and exit points in the Basilica. It’s just a slight confusion but the people are being directed to the right entrances.)

The city director said the Walk of Jesus, the first major event of the Sinulog celebrations, became the dry-run for the rest of the upcoming Sinulog 2020 activities for any adjustments that need to be implemented in the Basilica.

At least 300 policemen are deployed at the Basilica for its security, especially at the entrances, which are all located at the Plaza Sugbo side of the Basilica.

All exits, which are facing the Osmeña Boulevard, are also tightly guarded as many of the pilgrims who no longer wish to enter the Basilica will stay to hear the mass through the big screens.

“We can make sudden changes in the next few days depending on the incidents that will happen on the ground. If the situation calls for it. We are always on alert,” said Soriano.

The CCPO also does not discount possible international threats as news of tensions between the United States of America (USA) and Iran continues in the Middle East.

Soriano said they are watching closely the Translacion of the Black Nazarene in Manila as any events or threats occurring in the celebration may also happen during the Sinulog.

“Rest assured that we are on top of the situation,” said Soriano.

Soriano also said another challenge for the police is the unpredictable weather. An example was the rain that poured during the Walk with Jesus procession on Thursday dawn.

He said the CCPO will prepare weather garments such as raincoats for the police on the ground in case of future rain. /bmjo

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TAGS: Basilica, Basilica Minore de Sto. Niño, Cebu Police, Novena Masses, Police Colonel Engelbert Soriano

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