CEBU CITY, Philippines — Authorities said around 150,000 spectators watched the 50th Sinulog sa Carmen on Sunday, Jan. 22.
Despite this, Police Lieutenant Colonel Mark Gifter Sucalit, deputy director for operations of the Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO), said they did not record any untoward incident during the duration of the activity.
Sucalit also said that the 150,000 crowd estimate came from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of the province and Carmen town as well as the CPPO.
He also said that the crowd continued to stay and watch the Sinulog sa Carmen despite the downpour that happened in the afternoon.
The Sinulog grand parade started at 1 p.m. followed by the ritual showdown at the Carmen Grandstand located in Brgy. Poblacion.
Aside from the locals, several individuals coming from the neighboring areas in Cebu, including some foreigners, did not miss the comeback of the Sinulog celebration in Carmen. Since morning on Sunday, the people were already in the area keeping a good spot to see for themselves the performances from 27 contingents.
Khadijah India, a tourist from India but is working in Singapore, was with her family and friends who experienced the Sinulog sa Carmen for the first time last Sunday.
“So amazing, people are so happy. We are having a good time. Definitely, we will be coming back,” Khadijah said.
“We have a couple of Filipino friends in Singapore and when we landed here, coincidently, the festival happened to be at the same time. We didn’t exactly plan for the festival but somehow the festival chose us to be here,” she said.
After a fine weather in the morning and late noon, a heavy downpour happened at around 3 p.m. However, this did not stop the performers, so with the spectators, to still witness this activity.
Sucalit said that they did not record any major incident that happened in the area except from a drunk man who was arrested for showing off his unlicensed firearm outside the venue of the festival.
One of the major concerns raised concerning this activity is the heavy traffic experienced by commuters and motorists.
However, Sucalit said that they already expected this to happen as they implemented a truck ban from Jan. 22 to 23.
He said that the town also had a narrow road and narrow access road which also became factors causing the congestion. However, this was then managed.
Around 800 security personnel were deployed for this activity. This already included hundreds of force multipliers, who assisted the police force. Some policemen from Mandaue City Police Office, Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, and Cebu City Police Office also guarded the respective performers from their localities.
As a general assessment, Sucalit said that Sinulog sa Carmen ended peacefully.
He also said that they were set to have their debriefing on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to check on what would need to be improved in the coming activities engaging a huge crowd.
For his part, Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of Police Brigadier General Jerry Bearis, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said that they implemented similar safety measures during the Sinulog celebration in Cebu City, where they applied high technology such as the use of drones to monitor the movement of the crowd. | with Emmariel Ares