The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) recorded 649,400 attendees during the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City on January 15, 2023.
According to an article from CDN Digital, over half a million participants accounted for the grand parade and the ritual showdown, as well as in other activities in the uptown and downtown areas.
Most of the attendees were at the South Road Properties (SRP), this year’s new venue for the Sinulog Grand Parade. The Ritual Showdown was held in the newly built World Tent City near the City de Mare.
As early as seven in the morning, attendees started flocking to SRP to see the different contingents perform their dances. The event ended with a fireworks display after the awarding of the winners.
This is the first in-person iteration of the festival since 2020, as it had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022.
Only 16 contingents from around the Philippines joined the competition, with around 10 contingents from Cebu province pulling out of the festival citing safety and concerns for the performers at the grand stage.
These contingents instead performed at the Sinulog sa Carmen on Sunday, January 22, 2022.
Thousands of devotees also witnessed the many religious activities of the festival which included the Solemn Foot and Fluvial Procession.
The Fluvial Procession, which consists of a galleon of ships transporting the image of the Sto. Niño from the island of Mactan back to Cebu City, now passed by the newly opened Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX)
Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO – 7) Chief Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearias also claimed that there were no major incidents and that the event was generally peaceful despite the thousands of spectators wanting to see the festivities.
The only crime that they recorded was 12 pickpocketing cases at the South Road Properties (SRP).
The security personnel used a system from Israel to catch pickpockets at the venue. Bearis said the suspects in the pickpocket cases were caught on camera.
The enhanced security protocols were due to the improved multi-sector command system to monitor the peace and order situation at the SRP.
The deputy ground control commander for Crowd Control, Lt. Col. Ruel Jugalbot, said that the Philippine Army also deployed around 100 Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets to assist in the Sinulog route.
There was no signal interruption during this year’s festival as the signal was already interrupted in the area.
In previous years, the Philippine National Police would implement a signal shutdown as a safety implementation in mammoth activities like religious gatherings.
Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said that security personnel were also deployed to areas of convergence in the uptown areas, especially near bars.
Philippine News Agency