Officials of the Cebu Provincial Government and the Cebu City Government opened the Devotee City for the out-of-town visitors who want to join the Sinulog celebrations earlier today, Jan. 18.
The Cebu Provincial Government spent at least P600,000 for the rental and transportation of the 58 cargo containers, which will be used by the transients coming from the different municipalities and component cities of the Province.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr.; a Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) representative; and Councilors Margarita Osmeña, Eugenio Gabuya Jr. and Sisinio Andales led the ceremonial ribbon-cutting that officially opened the Devotee City.
They were joined by Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Relations and External Affairs Department Manager Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara and Jollibee Foods Corp. Operations Director Nelia Sasil.
Tribunalo said there will be houseparents who will monitor those who are staying at the Devotee City starting today.
Each 40-foot cargo container can accommodate 50 persons.
Those who want to stay at the Devotee City will just have to present their bus or boat tickets at the registration area of the Devotee City, which is located on the grounds of Compania Maritima in Cebu City.
During a press conference at the Mayor’s Office in Cebu City yesterday, a PSWDO representative said that there will be 82 outsourced personnel who will serve as houseparents.
These houseparents will have to take shift every 12 hours.
Also, 28 social workers and staff from the PSWDO will ensure that elderlies, children, pregnant women and persons with disabilities are prioritized. They are also tasked to make sure that rules and regulations at the Devotee City are properly observed.
“Sila maoy mo identify sa labing nanginhanglan at the same time ang pagdisiplina. Di lang pagkaon gitanaw at the same time kalimpyo ug kahan-ay,” said Tribunalo.
The houseparents will report to the Devotee City from Jan. 18 to 21.
Former Cebu City councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, co-chairperson of the Devotee City, said that 70 to 80 percent of the visitors that occupy the Devotee City are usually traders.
“Kung wa pa ni nato gipreparar, hugaw ang dakbayan. Magkayamukat,” said Cabarrubias.
He said there are portable toilets and shower rooms inside the area for the guests.
The MCWD supplies the free potable water to the out-of-town guests, while the Visayan Electric Company provides for the power supply.
PLDT Inc. also put an internet access for the visitors.
As to the safety and security, closed-circuit television cameras have been installed while police have also been deployed in the area.
Gabuya, Devotee City chairperson, thanked the Cebu Provincial Government for their partnership to make this year’s launching of the Devotee City possible.
He said the Cebu City Government allocated P1.3 million for the program.
During the opening, kids were entertained by the mascots of Jollibee and Julies Bakeshop, among the partners of the Capitol and Cebu City Government.
“Mapasalamaton kaayo mi sa tanang sponsors and partners nga aktibo kaayo mo nitabang alang sa Balaang Bata,” said Gabuya.
He said that this is already the 23rd year the Cebu City Government is hosting the Devotee City, which was then known as the Tent City.
In 2015, there were 3,377 out-of-town guests that stayed at Devotee City. The number increased to 3,464 in 2016.
It decreased to 2,732 in 2017. In 2018, the Devotee City gathered a total of 3,131.