By John Rey Saavedra

SECURING THE SINULOG. A contingent of military personnel from the Visayas Command gets ready to be deployed for the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival in Cebu in this undated photo. Viscom chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said Saturday (Jan. 13, 2024) that an 865-strong contingent of soldiers and reservists would be deployed on top of the 400 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets to help ensure peace and security during the celebrations. (Photo courtesy of Viscom PIO)

CEBU CITY – The Visayas Command (Viscom) has deployed more than 1,000 soldiers, reservists, and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets to help secure the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival from Jan. 11 to 21, an Army official said on Saturday.

“We are taking measures to prevent any threats from occurring during the festivity, considering that we are expecting a huge crowd of devotees and pilgrims who will take part in the said religious celebration,” Viscom chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said in a statement.

Of the 865 personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who will be deployed, 350 are from the Army, 382 from the Navy, and 133 from the Air Force who are in the regular and reserve forces. These are on top of the 400 ROTC cadets.

Arevalo said the soldiers would secure the city center during the penitential walk on Jan. 18, the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan on Jan. 13, Sinulog sa Lalawigan on Jan. 14, the fluvial procession on Mactan Channel, the solemn foot procession of the image of the Señor Sto. Niño on Jan. 20, and the Sinulog Grand Parade at the South Road Properties here on Jan. 21.

Viscom will also station a quick reaction force in a Command Operations Center to closely monitor the events and ensure a coordinated and timely response in case of eventualities.

“We have not monitored any threat to the festivity. However, we will remain vigilant and will heighten our security efforts to prevent lawless elements and other threats from mounting untoward incidents that may hamper the celebration and sow fear to our people,” Arevalo said. (PNA)