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Roads near basilica closed for P-Noy

By: Carmel Loise Matus, Juli Ann M. Sibi, Nestle L. Semilla March 02,2016 - 10:56 PM

THE roads near the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño will be closed starting 12 noon today for the brief visit of President Benigno Aquino III.

Affected are Osmeña Boulevard, D. Jakosalem St. and P. Burgos St.

Fr. Harold Rentoria, OSA, head of the Technical Committee of the restoration process and commissioner of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, said they requested the road closure to ensure the safety of the guests, including President  Aquino.

The Magellan’s Cross and the Sto. Niño belfry were destroyed during the October 15, 2013 magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The cost of the belfry restoration reached more than P30 million and P3 million for the Magellan’s Cross.

Since these were funded by the NHCP, the NHCP will turn over these restored structures to the Augustinian priests who run the Basilica.

Aquino, fresh from a visit to Bohol province, is in Cebu today to inspect various projects.

He will also be attending the Liberal Party (LP) rally in Mandaue City late in the afternoon.

Fayette Riñen, assistant regional director of the Philippine Information Agency in Central Visayas (PIA-7), told reporters that Aquino will arrive at 1 p.m. to attend the inauguration of the 20-classroom school building funded by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) in Guadalupe Elementary School.

Aquino is set to turn over the classroom keys with Department of Education (DepEd) Sec. Armin Luistro.

Riñen said Aquino is expected to stay for an hour there, to also listen to a briefing by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Rogelio Singson on three various projects in Cebu province.

These include the Mactan Circumferential Road in Lapu-Lapu City, the expansion of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), and the Department of Energy’s  Electrification Program in Caubian Island, an island barangay of Lapu-Lapu City.

Other cabinet secretaries who will join him are Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Sec. Emilio Abaya, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sec. Dinky Soliman, Sec. Rene Almendras, National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairman Joel Rocamora, Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr., and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairman Maria Sereno Diokno.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III is also set to join him and give the opening remarks.

At 3:10 p.m., Aquino is set to have a 30-minute walk through briefing at the Fort San Pedro. Diokno will brief him on the restoration efforts of NHCP there.

At 3:45 p.m., Aquino will proceed to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño for a briefing also on the church restoration.

He will be joined by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

Prior to this, Aquino is set to attend the blessing of the Magellan’s Cross.

At 5 p.m., Aquino is expected at the political rally at the Mandaue Sports and Cultural Complex to join LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

The program there will start at 3 p.m. with the LP senatorial slate to give individual speeches.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend the gathering in Mandaue City.

But Riñen said only 4,500 people will be accommodated inside the complex.

Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) chief Senior Supt. Jonathan Cabal said they will implement maximum tolerance during the rally in case militant groups will hold a protest.

Cabal added it’s the right of the protesters to air their sentiments but they should not disrupt the public.

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