Police to beef up security measures, mull signal shutdown for Fiesta Señor 2023
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Devotees and pilgrims are expected to again crowd the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu with the return of face-to-face activities for the January 2023 fiesta señor celebration.
In anticipation of the influx of people, an official of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said they would deploy “twice as many” personnel as they did in the previous year’s celebrations while the possibility of a signal shutdown is also being considered.
Police Lt. Colonel Janet Rafter, CCPO’s Deputy City Director for Operations, said they will also introduce some “improvements” especially in the area of crowd control as they expect more people to come to the Basilica to participate in the religious activities after two years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rafter said they will try to be very cautious especially after the Halloween crowd crush that happened in South Korea which killed over a hundred partygoers.
“We have also adjusted entrances and exits. Kasi, we have evaluated the previous security preparation and I think that with incidents, like the one you have mentioned (crowd crush in Itaewon, South Korea), atong padakuan ang entrance, and we should have extra space to make adjustments in case of kanang mga ingon ana nga dili na jud nato ma control ang crowd,” she said during a press conference at the Basilica on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
READ: Basilica friars announce resumption of all physical, religious activities for Fiesta Señor 2023
Augustinian friars said they are in close coordination with the city government and that the latter has approved of their decision to resume all the religious activities for the celebration in January 2023.
Signal shut down
Police Col. Antonietto Cañete of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), who was also one of the panelists during the press conference on Tuesday, said there is a possibility for signal shut down to again be implemented next year.
But the final decision will be made after consultations are made with the administrators and implementors of the religious activities as well as the Sinulog Festival 2023.
“We will announce later as soon as our decision to that matter will be finalized,” he said.
In same press conference, Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, the CCPO director, they are prepared to deploy 4,953 police personnel during the 458th Fiesta Señor celebration. The number still does not include the force multipliers that the city government will deploy.
Dalogdog said they will also be needing augmentation of personnel coming from their different units. They will need at least 3,000 more to augment their existing manpower.
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