Editorial: Devotion vs. dedication

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Monday, January 17, 2011

THE biggest challenge to the holding of this year’s feast of the Sto. Niño was the weather. It rained Saturday during the foot procession and Sunday during the fiesta itself and the Sinulog festivities.

This time around it wasn’t only a drizzle like in the past fiestas. In some instances the clogged canals failed, forcing rain water to flood some Cebu City streets with black dirt.

At least for the solemn procession, one can say the rain didn’t dampen the devotion of the Catholic faithful to the Child Jesus; only a minority of them left during the downpour.


But it’s one thing to praise the people’s show of devotion during a rain-bothered fiesta and another to overlook reality and the problems that surfaced because of it.

One priest, Basilica del Sto. Niño spokesman Fr. Tito Soquiño immediately saw a few of these problems.

“These rains can also be a calling for us to purify ourselves. The small flash floods are an indication that maybe the government should put more attention to solid waste management and the drainage system,” he said.

The city’s “Mampurian” drainage system has long been the subject of complaints by residents in the many years that the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan has lorded it over Cebu City Hall.

Ordinary residents are the ones who usually bear the brunt of the flash floods’ aftermath, wading through black and knee-deep waters and risking their health just to be able to go home.

That experience was multiplied many times over during the fiesta considering the number of people that were caught by the downpour (an estimated one million during the procession alone).

Still, Cebu can consider itself fortunate because the northeast monsoon and the tailend of a cold front that the weather bureau said caused the rain to fall since the first week of 2011 brought death and displacement of people in other parts of the country due to floods and landslides.

But again, that shouldn’t be used by City Hall to downplay its continued failure to deliver basic services---like better drainage system, improved roads, etc.---to its

City officials should instead counter the people’s show of devotion to the Sto. Niño during the fiesta with their dedication to their tasks.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 18, 2011.


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