Nalzaro: Sinulog participation too expensive

PARTICIPATING in the Sinulog grand parade is no joke. One spends for costume, props and talent fees for the choreographers and his/her assistants. This is not to mention the meals and snacks of the participants during month-long practices and during the actual performance.

And what does the contingent get in return? The prizes cannot offset the expenses incurred. Winners in free interpretation and Sinulog-based categories get P1 million each. Winners of other categories get P500,000 each. Private firms sponsor a contingent because their products get mileage and exposure.

But what about for local government units fielding contingents in the grand parade? What can they get in return? Promotion? For what? For investment and tourism purposes? Some local chief executives say they are participating because of their devotion to the Holy Child Jesus. What? At the expense of the people’s money? According to Msgr. Roberto “Boy” Alesna in one of his homilies, “devotion without action is empty.”

Consider Talisay City. Its contingent had a P7 million budget. It was declared winner during the Sinulog sa lalawigan. But what is it getting in return? Unlike private corporations, the Talisay City government is using public funds. Even Mayor Eduardo Gullas acknowledged that the amount was too huge. “Kung paabuton pa ko sunod tuig puhon, ako nang pagamyan,” he said.

This was after he was criticized by netizens. Talisay City is a frequent participant in the Sinulog grand parade and one of the crowd favorites.

But why adjust or reduce the budget next year? When the Sinulog committee presented to Mayor Gullas the budget, did he bother to ask why it reached to that amount? P7 million is P7 million and we can use it to embark into many projects rather than using it for nothing.

Gullas should have told the committee and the contingent’s choreographer to reduce the number of participants so the city could save and use the savings for other noble projects. Unsa man, nakatagpilaw o nakatulog si Gullas sa dihang ilang gituki ang maong pundo? How come Catbalogan is spending only P3 million when it is from out of town?

In the case of Barangay Apas-Barangay Mayor’s Office (BMO) that solicited financial support from commercial establishments operating in the barangay, it should have observed proper decorum. Solicitation is aboveboard. We do it in the mainstream media. But at least in the media, clients and sponsors can get mileage and exposure.

The problem with the BMO is that it used the seal of City Hall and Barangay Apas in soliciting money, which is illegal because it was not authorized to do it. What they did was usurpation of function and misrepresentation. The people behind it committed deceit and estafa.

Worse, its members coerced their prospective sponsors and threatened them with closure. They are in trouble because because the “former political has-been” ordered them to return the money they solicited. Unsay may i-uli nga nagasto na man. Unya maka-apil pa sila karong Domingo sa grand parade. Mangapasmo nang ilang mga dancers kay walay ipakaon. Yabag nang mga tawhana.
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