LEADERS,” wrote “True North” author Bill George in a Wall Street Journal column, “can’t solve problems if they don’t acknowledge its existence.”
Based on this truism, post-Sinulog assessment by organizers, including Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, can be worrisome.
To be fair, they were obviously still on cloud nine for a generally successful festivity when reporters sought them out a day after Sunday’s Sinulog grand parade for their statements. As weeks pass, they surely will go sober in their assessment.
Complaints about crowd control, or the lack of it, have already surfaced. Aside from the usual failure to protect the dancing contingents and floats from crowd surges, reports of alcoholism and hooliganism were heard for the first time in years.
One can’t just be cavalier in treating those complaints. Add to that the economic aspects, like the complaints on the drop in Sinulog ticket sales and vendors’ low sales.
Low sales were primarily the lament of vendors allowed by the SFI and City Hall to ply their wares along the Osmeña Blvd. stretch near the Abellana National School and City Central School.
Their concern was legitimate. Even as vendors paid high rentals for the Osmeña Blvd. stalls, City Hall also put up a night market in Colon St. (which riled up commuters who had to contend with traffic gridlocks caused by the altering of the usual traffic routes downtown).
Ballesteros’s response was a dismissive, “If you’re a businessman, you have to look for ways (to increase your sales). You have to be competitive and innovate.”
As for the drop in ticket sales for the culmination program of the grand parade at the Cebu City Sports Center, Ballesteros attributed it to the bad weather and fear of aftershocks (from last year’s magnitude 7.2 quake).
He didn’t mention the SFI’s decision to increase ticket prices by P200 that further limited the program’s audience to the really affluent families of Cebu, balikbayans and foreigners.
Sinulog 2015 is still 12 months away. Hopefully, when the time comes to plan for the next Sto. Niño feast activities, SFI and the Cebu City Government will take a second look at Sinulog 2014 and deal with the complaints in a more objective manner.