Mayor wants SFI, SGB to address ‘issues’

THE Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) is in hot water for entering into various exclusive contracts in the leadup to the Sinulog 2020 celebration.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the SFI and the Sinulog Governing Board (SGB) have to evaluate and tackle the controversies that popped up days before the grand parade last Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.

He said the SFI should create guidelines for sponsorships and solicitations to avoid any misunderstanding.

“The questions will be avoided if there are proper guidelines,” he said.

Labella believed the foundation had financial problems, so it had no choice but to look for sponsorships and make solicitations to fund Sinulog activities.

SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella, the mayor’s brother, said a debriefing should be conducted to address the problems.

“It is much needed because we know more heads are better than one. We could also think of a better marketing scheme,” he said.

Elmer said the main issue was about the aggrieved parties, adding that he didn’t believe there were any irregularities, especially in terms of the SFI’s financial statements.

However, he assured they will be “very careful next time.”

Elmer described this year’s Sinulog as a success.

“It’s quite rewarding despite the hullabaloo and negative issues. But we’re not affected at all because we were not doing something improper or inappropriate. We just did our best actually,” he said.

He said the SFI’s marketing team helped them raise the much-needed cash for the grand parade.

The SFI signed exclusive contracts with local cable TV company MyTV and San Miguel Foods Inc.

With MyTV’s sponsorship, “all other media, television, private persons and companies are excluded from the grand stage coverage of Sinulog 2020, unless otherwise allowed or with the consent of MyTV Inc.” through its general manager Valeriano S. Avila.

This created a backlash on social media. So on Jan. 15, the mayor announced that the exclusive coverage would not be implemented after meeting with SFI officials and Avila.

On Jan. 16, Cebu-based food manufacturing firm Virginia Food Inc. made public its concern that it was barred from selling in some areas in the city because of SFI’s contract with Manila-based company San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI).

The exclusive contract between SFI and SMFI also garnered negative reactions from other local food companies, especially smaller businesses.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he wants to coordinate with organizers from the Basilica del Sto. Niño so that all activities relating to next year’s fiesta and the Sinulog Grand Parade will be properly coordinated and executed.

He said the coordination is necessary, especially since the country will celebrate 500 years of Christianity in March 2021. (JJL, with a report from JCT )


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