Briones: The mayor who stole Sinulog

SOME of you may be familiar with the children’s story about how the Grinch stole Christmas.

The book, which was written and illustrated by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, was published in 1957.

It chronicles the story of the Grinch, a solitary grouch who tries to put an end to Christmas by stealing Christmas-themed items from residents of Whoville on Christmas Eve. But despite his best efforts to play party pooper, Whoville went on to celebrate the holiday, prompting the Grinch to return everything that he stole. For his change of heart, literally, he became the guest of honor at the Whos’ Christmas dinner.

Many thought that the story was a commentary against the commercialization of the holiday.

After all, the Grinch’s eureka moment was when he heard the residents singing a joyous Christmas song instead of despairing over the loss of their Christmas-themed items on Christmas day.

It was then that it dawned on him that “maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more” than just presents and feasting.

The reason I’m bringing up the story is because it reminds me so much of what Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has been doing to tone down the celebrations of this year’s Sinulog festival.

People who are used to all the hoopla surrounding the Sinulog have been left scratching their heads over the draconian measures imposed by the City Government to stymie the orgiastic fervor of revelers.

Last month, Osmeña warned bars and business establishments within 300 meters of the Sinulog grand parade route to abide by the liquor ban, or risk having their business closed for six months.

Owners who are caught violating his executive order will not be given time to explain themselves since, according to the mayor, the liquor ban was announced months before the Sinulog.

“In order to maintain order, there has to be an element of fear. I don’t want anyone to be punished but I’m just telling them,” Osmeña told SunStar Cebu’s Rona T. Fernandez.

Hotels and lodges along the route are also prohibited from serving liquor, even if these are room service orders.

The mayor said that the police will be on the lookout for establishments that defy his ban on parties and alcohol and for other miscreants.

However, I know that Osmeña, unlike the Grinch, knows that there will always be those who will come up with some ingenious ways to circumvent his order, like the inhabitants of Whoville.

And unlike the Grinch, Osmeña doesn’t need to be reminded that “Sto. Niño is a child so the Sinulog is for the children and that is what the Sinulog is all about.”
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