CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has stopped the holding of the Sinulog sa Kabataan next year “because this has been getting out of hand.”
He has also barred public schools from sending contingents to the Sinulog Grand Parade.
He announced the change in the Sinulog 2017 activities in a press conference yesterday before he left for the United States for his annual medical checkup.
The Sinulog sa Kabataan is held the weekend before the Solemn Procession and Grand Parade, and is exclusively participated by public schools in Cebu City and Cebu Province. Only the winners of the two-day parade join the Grand Parade.
But this will no longer be the case starting 2017.
“I want to make this announcement early because this has been getting out of hand,” he told reporters.
He said he is announcing this four months before the annual Sinulog celebration so that schools will not start raising funds or disrupting classes of the students for their dance practices.
The mayor said public schools spend as much as P1.5 million each for their contingent.
He said the students practice at night and this disturbs classes of the night high schools.
“Who are the models of the Sto. Niño? The night high school students who are trying to study or the other people out in the street making noise so that these people cannot study?” he asked.
Not even in Grand Parade
If the schools decide to directly join the Sinulog Grand Parade, Osmeña said they will also be barred from doing so.
“No lusot. Out, out, out. No participation at all in any shape or form. I don’t like to give them any excuse that they will have to raise money and practice and disturb classes and disturb their own schedule,” he said.
Osmeña said his decision is final. “No more motion for reconsideration. Clear. Definite. 100 percent. There will be no Sinulog sa Kabataan next year.”
Every Sinulog sa Kabataan, the top five winners from the elementary and secondary division for public schools in the city and the province get slots in the Sinulog Grand Parade.
Shorter, Early finish
This means that next year’s Grand Parade will have 20 fewer dancing contingents. This will leave the out-of-town contingents dominating the Grand Parade.
Osmeña welcomed this since it will shorten the grand parade.
He wants the event to end by 4:30 p.m. instead of the usual 9 p.m. closing performance, as what happened in the previous Sinulog celebrations.
“This will reduce and be able to help control peace and order if it ends early. We cannot stop everything but it will reduce,” he said.
Since the event will end early, there will be no grand fireworks display at the Cebu City Sports Center.
The fireworks display at the Cebu Business Park and other malls can continue, he said, since these do not contribute to the rowdiness during the Sinulog.
Will the cancellation of the Sinulog sa Kabataan be permanent? Osmeña said the 2017 event will have to be assessed first.
For their part, Capitol officials said they don’t see Osmeña’s decision hurting tourist arrival in Cebu during the Sinulog as the Sinulog sa Kabataan is just one of the many activities of the Sinulog.
Besides, Gov. Hilario Davide III said, “we have festivals in each town during fiesta.”
Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros said they will talk to the mayor when Osmeña comes back from his US trip and convince him of the need for the Sinulog sa Kabataan.
“We rarely see contingents composed of old people. Most of the dancers are the youngsters, the students. You rarely see a contingent that doesn’t have young dancers, even those from out of town,” he said.
With fewer contingents, the grandiosity of Sinulog is diminished, he said.
“But we’ll make we retain the real essence of the Sinulog, which is devotion to our Senior Sto. Niño,” he said.