IF Presidential Liaison Officer Adelino Sitoy’s proposal is approved, the bridge that will connect Cebu City and Cordova in Mactan will be called the Sto. Niño Bridge.
To most Cebuanos, it’s a fitting name for the most expensive infrastructure project, at P22 billion, to be built in the province, considering that it will completed in time for the celebration of the 500th year since Spain introduced Roman Catholicism to the archipelago.
However, not everyone is happy.
One netizen on Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay on Facebook expressed his frustration over local penchant to name things after religious icons, pointing out that not everyone in Cebu is Catholic or is religious.
Although I agree that his question has some merit--after all, there is separation of state and religion and I don’t see the Archdiocese of Cebu putting its two centavos on the project—I do not like it when a small minority—and I’m not being redundant because, for a minority, their numbers here in Cebu are almost insignificant--demand equal voice with the majority as if it was their God-given right.
I do not approve of religion interfering with matters of the state. That’s why I believe the third bridge should be called something else. Something clinical like the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Bridge. Let’s leave it to the people to come up with interesting nicknames for it. Because they will, whether we like it or not.
But to be reminded on the same thread, twice, that, as a member of the Catholic majority—a non-practicing one at that and it’s No. 1 critic who probably has a free pass to hell waiting in the afterlife--I should be sensitive to the feelings of a few. Well, excuse me for being so callous for not sharing the netizen’s sentiment. But that’s not how it works in the real world.
Some countries try to accommodate all their citizens’ caprices and unwittingly create resentment among those who believe they’ve been coerced into accepting beliefs that might be anathema or even a contradiction to their mores.
Emmanuel Mongaya is right.
Majority of Cebuanos do identify with the Sto. Niño; this fanatical devotion to an alien deity culminating in the Sinulog celebration that attracts two million devotees every year.
So why not call it the Sto. Niño el Celentisimo Capitan General de las Esfuerzas Españolas en Filipinas (The Most Esteemed Captain-General of the Spanish Force in the Philippines) Bridge instead, in reference to the military rank the relic was given during the Spanish colonial era.
Then those non-Catholics out there can just, shall we say in ‘80s parlance, chew it… then maybe the pearly gates will open for me.