Rama eyes transfer if rains come; but exec says venue change ‘impractical’

Posted on January 12, 2012

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Just like last year, Sinulog organizers send a tray of eggs to the Carmelites Church daily since last month to pray for good weather for this Sunday’s Sinulog Grand Parade.

With the state weather bureau Pagasa’s advisory on rainfall for Cebu this coming week, Cebu City officials are entertaining options.

But unless there’s a typhoon, “the show must go on,” said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

If there is a downpour, Rama said he may consider transferring the venue of the Sinulog dance presentation and judging from the Cebu City Sports Center grandstand to the Cebu Coliseum.

Ricky Ballesteros, Sinulog executive committee director, said the mayor’s plan is unlikely to happen.

He said the Cebu Coliseum grounds is too small for the dance contingents, their props personnel and instrumentalists, which usually number to 100.

“There is no other place as big as the sports center that can accommodate the Sinulog contingents,” Ballesteros told Cebu Daily News.

Perfect for dancing

He said the rains haven’t stopped the parade for the past few years.

If anything, the gloomy weather is perfect for street dancing because it would prevent heat stroke.

“But if it’s a typhoon, we may have to call off the parade,” he told Cebu Daily News.

Rama is confident that the Sto. Niño would give Cebu City a good weather on Sunday.

Ballesteros said the Sto. Niño’s miracles were already felt at least three times since the kick off activity of this year’s Sinulog held on Jan. 6.

He said while Pagasa warned of rains, the kick-off parade and the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan and Dakbayan held on Jan. 7 and 8 respectively experienced sunny weather. The rains came at night.

“But we’re still monitoring Pagasa,” Ballesteros said.

Rough ride

Pagasa Mactan weather analyst Boy Artiaga said they expect rainfall tomorrow and on Sunday to be between 2.5 to 7.5 mm.

“If it would fall nonstop, it can cause heavy flooding,” Artiaga said.

He said the rains are caused by the presence of the tail end of a cold front in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The annual fluvial procession of the Señor Sto. Niño, which draws thousands of devotees and joined by hundreds of sea vessels, will be held tomorrow morning.

Artiaga said devotees should brace for a rough boat ride ahead and prepare life jackets while operators should check the engines of their vessels.

They are also advised to bring umbrellas and coats, he said.

The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) advised the revelers and devotees to refrain from bringing small children to spare them from colds.

They should also drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and rest adequately.

Obstructions

Devotees should also refrain from bringing balloons while carrying candles. Environment officials also called on the public to dispose of their garbage properly.

Sinulog organizers reminded heads of different contingents to prepare a medicine kit for their dancers.

Medical teams are also stationed at their dormitories and along the Sinulog parade route for immediate response.

Raining is also unlikely to affect the 5.3-kilometer Sinulog carousel route.

About 22 emergency medical teams will be stationed along the procession routes.

Tomorrow’s procession route may be longer than planned if it rains.

Rama said he wanted the procession route diverted to McArthur Avenue at the Reclamation Area to avoid flooded portions of M.J. Cuenco Avenue.

Rama also directed traffic personnel to clear roads of any obstructions before the procession starts.

Tight security

The Cebu City Integrated Traffic Operations Management (Citom) said the procession route will be closed to vehicular traffic starting 1 p.m.

Rerouting of vehicles will also be implemented on affected roads.

Citom chief Rafael Yap said MacArthur Avenue serves as access road for vehicles from the city and those coming and headed to the South Coastal Road.

Yap said if MacArthur Avenue is unavailable, Citom will have to divert traffic to roads inside the port area compound.

He said they still have to coordinate with the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) on the matter.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed today in crowded areas in Cebu City, specifically Fuente Osmeña.

Public Assistance Centers will also be set up in each Sinulog route stop or point.

Cebu City Hall, I.T. Park in Lahug and Fuente Osmeña will also have free Wi-Fi access courtesy of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Inc.

Senior Supt. Melvin Buenafe, Cebu City police chief, said tarpaulins with the police emergency hotline numbers will be placed in visible areas like the overpass for public convenience.

Buenafe said security will be tight considering that 3.5 million people joined the Sinulog parade last year. /By Doris C. Bongcac and Candeze R. Mongaya with Correspondents Edison delos Angeles and Rhea Ruth V. Rossel

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