CEBU CITY – In preparation for Sinulog 2023, more police personnel will be augmented to assist in the first in-person celebration of the festival in three years.
Lt. Col. Mark Gifter Sucalit, the deputy director of operations of the Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO), said that 600 out of the 2,000 police officers from his office will help handle the crowds in the different social and religious events of the festival.
Sucalit mentioned that more personnel is needed since Sinulog will be a challenge to secure. In previous in-person celebrations, the festival was witnessed by millions of Cebuanos and tourists.
Police personnel will be stationed in many major areas of the festival, including the downtown area near the Basilica del Sto. Niño and Osmeña Boulevard.
Police Regional Office of Central Visayas (PRO-7) Director Brigadier General Jerry Bearis said that around 2,600 personnel from several law enforcement agencies will be deployed for the festivities.
These include the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
MAJOR EVENTS IN SINULOG
Police will be on full alert during the opening salvo of the Sinulog Festival on January 5, 2023. The festivities start with the traditional penitential Walk with Jesus at dawn.
Thousands of devotees will join a foot procession from the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda to the Basilica del Sto. Niño. A mass will be held at 5 AM, presided over by Fr. Nelson Zerda.
January 5 is also the first day of the Novena in honor of the Holy Child, which runs for nine days leading up to the day of the festival. There will be masses throughout the day celebrated at the Basilica.
The Visperas, which will be celebrated on the 14th, consists of a fluvial parade, where a galleon will be carrying the image of Sto. Niño along the Mactan Channel. This will be followed by a foot procession in the afternoon.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will preside over a solemn concelebrated mass on the festival day on January 15.
THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS
The 2023 Sinulog celebration is the first in-person festival in three years, after it was canceled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past two celebrations showcased performances at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), which were broadcast on social media.
The 2022 celebration was turned into a fundraiser for the victims of Typhoon Odette, which hit Cebu City on December 16, 2021. The organizers merely showed performances from the previous Sinulog celebrations online to commemorate the festival.
Now, as Cebu City adapts to the new normal, the Cebu City government has announced the return of the festival, albeit with a few changes.
Cebuanos and tourists can look forward to the Grand Parade, but at a different venue – Cebu South Road Properties.
Initial reports claim that the ritual showdown will now be performed in the parking lot of IL Corso Lifestyle Malls.
Sinulog sa Kabataan will push through on January 8, 2023 at the CCSC. The usual two-day celebration will be staged in one, as its two events, the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan and Dakbayan will be merged into one.
Philippine News Agency