Cebu preparations intensify for Thanksgiving Mass site

Posted on October 24, 2012

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October 24, 2012
By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter with Correspondent Chito Aragon

(From left) SRP administrator Robert Vasquez, Fr, Brian Brigoli and Maria Therisa Mampin, SM assistant mall manager and Engr. Paul Dy inspect construction of the templete (JUNJIE MENDOZA)

From Rome, the celebration of St. Pedro Calungsod’s sainthood shifts to the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City on Nov. 30.

Iron bars shaped to form a pyramid above an altar are already visible and concrete pavement is being laid at the site where the national thanksgiving Mass will be held 37 days from today.

“Preparations are ongoing. The templete is 70 percent done. We expect to finish it on the first week of November provided that we have a good weather,” said Fr. Brian Brigoli, head of the templete construction committee.

A major concern is the need for more filling materials to backfill what would be a muddy field but Brigoli said he remains optimistic about beating the deadline.

“About 70 percent was more of hard work. The remaining percent will be more on furnishing,” he said.

Brigoli held a weekly meeting with the engineers and architects at the site yesterday.

Engr. Edgar Watin, a member of the committee on venue, said backfilling in the area is ongoing.

“We’re not done yet. We need prayers. We’re confident we can finish on time,” he said.

Watin said they sought the assistance of 35 more heavy equipment operators who will be working at the site.

Watin said the operators are skilled but haven’t gone through an exam.

Personnel from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) yesterday made an assessment of the 35 workers to be issued proficiency certificates.

Watin is aksing local government units (LGUs) to lend the use of 10,000 monobloc chairs.

“We campaign for donations in kind and in cash,” he said.

Maria Teresa Mempin of SM Prime Holdings Inc. said SM will provide proper sloping of the area to address flooding when it rains.

“We hope to finish everything by the end of October,” she said.

Peter Paul Dy Jr., president of the Cebu Contractors Association, also said more filling materials are needed to develop the site.

SRP administrator Roberto Vasquez said another 15 hectares were allocated for parking spaces and that docking areas are being prepared for motor bancas from Bohol and Negros.

Almost one million visitors are expected to gather there for Nov. 30.

SRP was chosen the site after SM tycoon Hans Sy said the retail conglomerate would take care of preparing the site for free.

The venue is expected to accommodate 3,000 VIPs composed of 50 church dignitaries, 100 government and civil society leaders, 300 archbishops and bishops, 700 clergy members, 2,000 choir members and 200 orchestra members.

Due to financial constraints, the area reduced from 1,500 square meters to 700 square meters.

The templete will have a wooden altar table on a raised stage with a bamboo pyramid design soaring above it.

Senior Supt. Melvin Buenafe, Cebu City police chief, said he inspected the site as part of security preparations for the event.

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