Checkpoints, gun ban intensified in Central Visayas during Sinulog Festival

CEBU CITY -- Police checkpoints will be intensified as part of the enforcement of gun ban in Central Visayas.

The gun ban took effect on Thursday, Jan. 5, and will last until Jan. 20, said Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearis, director of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO-7).

The gun ban is part of the security measures that the PRO-7 has taken to ensure a peaceful conduct of the Sinulog Festival and the 458th Fiesta Señor.

With the gun ban, the permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) is suspended, said Bearis.

Bearis said gun owners who wish to carry their licensed firearms despite the gun ban need to apply for an exemption.

Records at the Regional Civil Security Unit showed that there are 11,046 licensed firearm holders in the region.

Aside from the gun ban, the PRO-7 is mulling the enforcement of signal shutdown during the foot procession and Grand Parade on Jan. 14 and 15, respectively.

Bearis said the request for signal shutdown has yet to be approved by the National Telecommunications Commission.

The PRO-7 has deployed at least 2,000 personnel to secure the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog.

Col. Ireneo Dalogdog, chief of the Cebu City Police Office, advised the public to cooperate with authorities to avoid inconveniences, especially when attending Fiesta Señor activities.

Those who will attend the novena Masses at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu should avoid bringing backpacks.

What the police will allow upon entry at the Basilica are transparent backpacks, Dalogdog said.

Bringing of bladed weapons, sharp objects, alcoholic beverages, lighters, flammable substances and prohibited drugs and substances is strictly prohibited, Dalogdog.

Dalogodog also advised the public to be wary of burglars.

“Lock your houses properly before leaving and avoid posting real-time photos of you hearing Mass so that these criminals would not know that no one is left at home,” said Dalogdog.