By Kier Edison Belleza
CEBU CITY – Thousands, if not, millions of devotees of Santo Niño from all over the country and even from other parts of the world troop to Cebu yearly to celebrate the Sinulog Festival.
Some devotees though do not have a place to stay because they do not have friends or families in Cebu, while others do not have enough money to book for hotels or pension houses.
But they need not worry as the city government will put up the “devotee city,” an area where 20-foot container vans are lined up for the devotees to sleep in for free.
Department of Public Services chief Roberto Cabarrubias, who was designated as the 2018 devotee city’s chairman, said everything are in place to set up the temporary shelters.
Cabarrubias said he has already met with different working committees that are geared toward working on the physical arrangement and installation of the container vans, water facilities, water pipes, medical van, street lighting and other utilities, as well as landscaping and beautification.
The Devotee City will sit on a vacant lot where the Compaña Maritima stands, just a few meters away from the Cebu City Hall and the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño.
Cabarrubias said the city would prioritize those devotees who are living beyond Danao City in the north, Carcar City in the south, and from other provinces.
Those who want to avail of free accommodation, he said, should present a bus or boat ticket as proof for the registration.
“Devotees will be accompanied on a first-come, first-served basis,” Cabarrubias noted.
Once they have registered, the pilgrims would be given an identification card and assigned to a container van where they could stay.
“But they would have to share the container vans with several other devotees,” he added.
Portalets, shower rooms, dirty kitchen, and lavatories would be provided for the devotees to make them comfortable during their stay here.
The city will start accepting boarders on January 19. Devotees can stay up until January 21, the climax of the Sinulog festival.
Village watchmen, along with police personnel, are also assigned to guard to area.
Last year, there were 120 container vans that were set up.
The city government had been setting up the Devotee City since 1995.
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