CEBU CITY — The Devotee City was opened on Friday, two days before the Sinulog grand parade, to shelter thousands of Senior Sto. Nino devotees from different parts of the country.
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and Devotee City committee chairman Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias led the opening of the Devotee City at the Campania Maritima, Cebu International Port.
Out-of-town pilgrims who are mostly vendors occupied the 110 20-footer two-level vans set up by the City Government.
The Devotee City committee laid down guidelines for the entry and stay of the devotees to ensure safety, sanitation and basic comfort.
Every admitted devotee gets an ID that also bears the number of the van assignment. The devotees are also provided with amenities such as portalets and shower rooms. The water supply and electricity are provided by the Metro Cebu Water District and Visayan Electric Co.
Free telephone lines and an Internet connection are also provided by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
The medical services are provided by the Cebu City Health Department while safety and security are ensured by the Cebu City Police Office and the barangay tanods.
Aside from the Aboitiz Group and other sponsors, Julie’s bakeshop also partners with the City Government to provide snacks and entertainment for the devotees.
Some Sto. Nino devotees have performed a dance number on Friday as they welcome fellow pilgrims inside the Devotee City. City Government officials and other stakeholders also took part in the launching program.
Devotee City committee chairman Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias said pilgrims from neighboring provinces, and even beyond the cities of Carcar and Danao, who cannot afford to stay in hotels and do not have relatives in the city, are accommodated in the Devotee City.
The Devotee City is a wifi free area and will be video-streamed. All the happenings inside can be watched real-time on the Cebu City Government website.
Uniformed policemen are securing the place for 24 hours with the help of village watchmen, Cabarrubias said.
The admitted devotees are also bound to follow certain house rules; one is to strictly observe proper garbage segregation. Out-of-town devotees were reminded of the waste segregation ordinance of the City Government.
“Segregate your garbage into biodegradable and non-biodegradable,” Cabarrubias told devotees.
The Devotee City was set up to stop poor devotees from sleeping on the streets during the Sinulog. (Maria Armie Sheila Boco Garde/Sunnex)