By Rico M. Osmeña
More than 300,000 Sto. Niño devotees on Wednesday held a procession to kick off the celebration of the 454th Feast of Senor Sto. Niño in Cebu City as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it will be on the lookout for party drugs during the fiesta.
The Walk with Jesus procession started from Fuente Osmena and ended at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
The procession started on time but ended earlier than 5:30 in the morning, Police Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) Director Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas said.
Sinas said there was no untoward incident during the procession as the Sto. Niño devotees were disciplined,
Walk with Jesus started the nine-day novena for the Child Jesus…Senor Sto. Niño.
Novena Masses will start at 4:00 a.m. and will end at 7:00 p.m. with one and half hours interval.
The novena masses will end by 19 January 2019.
Meanwhile, PDEA Central Visayas Regional Director Wardley Getalla said they are focusing on preventing the use of party drugs among party goers since the practice is slowly emerging in Cebu City.
He is hopeful that through the drug watch, they can apprehend illegal drug peddlers and users.
PDEA also will deploy five K-9 units and conduct inspections in crowded areas and big party places during the festivity.
PDEA is now conducting intensified operations in airports and seaports.
“We know that many people will be coming to Cebu, so we will be on full alert at the ports,” Getalla said.
Meanwhile, there will be fewer number of contingents this year compared to last year’s 30 because of the upcoming midterm elections in May, Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak, also the chairman of the Executive Committee of Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) disclosed that .
There will only be 24 performing contingents and 39 floats that have already registered.
The Sinulog this year will for the first time involve foreign performers.
Tumulak said Wonju Dynamic Dancing Carnival of South Korea will be performing as guest contingent.