‘Ready for Sinulog street crowds’
With final touches to be added, Sinulog organizers said they were almost ready for the festival whose pre-event parades kick off on Friday.
“We are 80 percent ready. Our problem right now is that we’re hoping for good weather because we’re still constructing the stage,” said Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc.
He said they expect a bigger crowd of spectators despite the recent calamities of typhoon Yolanda and the October earthquake. The main focus will the streets and the main stage in the Cebu City Sports Center on January 19.
A final briefing of committees was held yesterday with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, whose main concern was crowd control or what he called a “people surge”.
Exit and entry signs will be placed along the parade route, a new approach.
“These signages will be put up high so people can see from afar where they can go in and out from the parade route,” said Ballesteros.
“We are hoping for discipline from the people to contribute to success of Sinulog. People should not shove others. Make way for children and the elderly,” he said.
Choke points were identified where people are expected to flock on the day of the grand parade, said CITOM executive director Rafael Yap.
These are in Leon Kilat Street-ACT area where contingents will be exiting from the sports center where they perform for judges.
Other sites are Alcantara and N. Bacalso Avenue, the junction of Imus Avenue and P. Del Rosario Street near the center.
Other choke points are in Imus New Road and Carreta area which is a turning point for the parade, Gorrordo and Echavez St. junction as well as the entire stretch of General Maxilom Avenue and Osmeña Boulevard, where several business establishments are located.
No parties along parade route.
While street parties along the parade route and earby roads are prohibited, Ballesteros said organizers allow and even encourage parties in off-route areas to add to the merriment of the Sinulog.
“On the day of the grand parade, people tend to flock to Fuente Osmeña and city sports complex area. We are encouraging the people to also visit other areas to avoid congestion,” he said.
This is the reason City Hall is mounting a concert at the South Road Properties (SRP) with local and Manila bands performing from late afternoon till 2 a.m. the next day.
Food and softdrinks will be avaiable, but not alcoholic drinks.
Several fireworks displays will be held, one at the sports complex after the grand finale, another at SM City and the Ayala Center about 9 p.m. , and then another at the SRP at midnight.
On the day of the grand parade, 1,200 policemen will be fielded and 32 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the city sports complex.
“We are expecting more people coming because of the two mega calamities which hit us. Because of these disasters, our faith is stronger,” Ballesteros said.
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