Garcia: LGUs’ choice, not mine, to skip Sinulog at SRP

FIESTA SEñOR 2024. A send-off mass was celebrated at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu as the activities ahead of the 459th Fiesta Señor begin with the visit of the pilgrim image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu to penitentiary centers and hospitals on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. The pilgrim image visited the Cebu South Medical Center and Talisay City Jail on Thursday. While concerns regarding the venue for the religious aspects of the celebration, in particular the three foot processions this month, have been agreed on, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia says the Cebu Provincial Government is still providing all-out support for the cultural aspect of the celebration, the Sinulog Festival, even if Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has remained firm in his decision to hold the finale, the Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 21, 2024, at the South Road Properties instead of her preferred Cebu City Sports Center.
FIESTA SEñOR 2024. A send-off mass was celebrated at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu as the activities ahead of the 459th Fiesta Señor begin with the visit of the pilgrim image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu to penitentiary centers and hospitals on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. The pilgrim image visited the Cebu South Medical Center and Talisay City Jail on Thursday. While concerns regarding the venue for the religious aspects of the celebration, in particular the three foot processions this month, have been agreed on, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia says the Cebu Provincial Government is still providing all-out support for the cultural aspect of the celebration, the Sinulog Festival, even if Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has remained firm in his decision to hold the finale, the Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 21, 2024, at the South Road Properties instead of her preferred Cebu City Sports Center. BASILICA MINORE DEL STO. NIÑO DE CEBU FB PAGE

CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Wednesday evening said she has no more rift with the Cebu City Government over the venue of the 2024 Sinulog Grand Parade and Showdown and that she is now focusing on the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan to be held this Jan. 14 and the overall success of the 2024 Sinulog.

This, the governor said as she denied that she had prevented the winning contingents of the youth competition from joining Cebu City’s grand showdown at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Garcia made these pronouncements in a video streamed live on Sugbo News, the official media arm of the Cebu Provincial Government, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, after SunStar Cebu reported that she had barred the winners of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan youth competition from performing at the Jan. 21 grand showdown.

The governor was also reacting to a report from another local newspaper on Wednesday regarding her proposal to move the date of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan event to Jan. 19, the Friday before the Grand Parade, from the usual second Saturday of January.

Garcia said that in fact, the Cebu Provincial Government had extended a helping hand to the Cebu City Government to improve the grandstand at the Cebu City Sports Center while also updating the prizes for the youth dance competition to include five winning groups.

Garcia said this showed that the Cebu City Government and Cebu Province were united in working together to make Sinulog 2024 successful.

“You do not need to create conflict and controversies so that people will read your newspaper, and this is the worst time to do that, when everybody is on board,” Garcia said.

“Dili lang ingon nga kami nga ni-apil, half-hearted nga effort. (And we are not simply participating, with a half-hearted effort.) We are also not just morally, (but also) physically, financially, (giving) all-out support,” she said.

Different venues

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has stood firm on his decision to hold the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 21, 2024 at the SRP, despite Garcia’s preference to hold this at the CCSC, the traditional venue of the event before Rama moved the staging of this particular event to the SRP starting in 2023.

However, the youth dance competitions, the 2024 Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan (Cebu Province) and Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan (Cebu City) will be held on Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), whose ongoing repairs the Cebu Provincial Government is supporting.

In 2023, the staging of these youth competitions remained at the CCSC, even if the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown the week later was already held for the first time at the SRP.

Last Dec. 6, Garcia had said the Provincial Government would donate to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) the usual amount of P20 million to support the Sinulog 2024—if the festival would be held at the CCSC.

Garcia encouraged SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella to promptly provide a response, saying the mayors across the province were eagerly awaiting her decision on whether they should begin preparations for the Sinulog Festival happening the following month already.

“No barring”

Garcia clarified that she did not prevent the winners of the 2024 Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan from participating in the 2024 Sinulog Ritual Showdown.

Rather, it was the plea of the mayors and the choreographers of the participating local government units (LGUs) that she voiced out as they had observed that the SRP venue presented a safety risk to the contingents for various reasons, Garcia said.

Winners in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan and Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan typically qualify as participants in the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown where bigger cash prizes await.

“It was not my decision from the very beginning,” Garcia said.

She explained that last month, various Cebu mayors expressed their sentiments regarding the SRP venue for the Sinulog 2024 and their preference to hold the final event for the Sinulog Festival, the Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown, at the CCSC.

Garcia said she left to the mayors the decision to join the Sinulog 2024 at the SRP venue; however, the latter preferred the CCSC.

At least 18 LGUs intend to join the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan event, including guest performers Tribu Basakanon and Sugat Kabanhawan from Minglanilla town, with whom Garcia will be dancing for her annual offering to the Sto. Niño.

The matter was first discussed during the second coordination meeting for the preparations for the 2024 Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the Cebu Capitol Compound, when Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera asked Garcia if the five winning contingents of the youth competition could perform at the grand parade and showdown.

The governor replied that she did not want to put the dancers’ safety at risk by exposing them to the heat at the SRP, saying these were the sentiments of the LGUs.

Garcia added that she was taken out of context and the news report created controversy and public confusion regarding the Capitol’s relationship with the Cebu City Government in terms of the Sinulog 2024.

She said the Provincial Government has poured support in terms of funding, manpower and logistics to ensure the success of the event.

The Province shelled out P36 million for subsidies to participating contingents, that is, P2 million for each participating mainland LGU and P2.5 million for each island LGU joining the event. It is providing another P8.25 million for the cash prizes, while the Capitol has also spent on the repairs of the venue.

Winners in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan and Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan typically qualify as participants in the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown where bigger cash prizes await.

On Thursday, Jan. 4, Mandaue City Government public information officer Karla Cortes said the City would join only the Sinulog sa Kabataan competition at the CCSC but not participate in the Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the SRP.

Other LGUs contacted by SunStar had yet to respond to the query on whether they could join the Sinulog at SRP.

Event date

As for the proposal to move the date for the youth competition from Jan. 13 to Jan. 19, it was the plea of the mayors and choreographers due to time constraints for the preparation. This was discussed during the first coordination meeting on Dec. 29, 2023.

“It was the choreographers in the presence of the (Cebu City) Vice Mayor (Raymond Alvin) Garcia. Gusto sila og (Jan.) 19, dili ako. Ako diay ang mo-choreograph? Ako diay ang motahi sa costume? Ako diay mo-practice sa performers? Dili uy,” Garcia said.

(They are the ones who want it to be Jan. 19, not I. Will I be the one to choreograph? Will I be the one to sew the costumes? Will I be the one to hold the practices for the performers? Of course not.)

“It was the mayors and the choreographers,” the governor said.

Vice Mayor Garcia sent a text message to the governor later that day expressing his and Rama’s gratitude to her for the Province’s support for the 2024 Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan. However, he also said that moving the event’s date to Jan.19 would not be possible due to the tight schedule of the religious activities set on that day.

The vice mayor suggested resetting the date to Jan. 14, and the governor agreed to inform the mayors and choreographers so they could start their preparations.

“After all, hanas naman ning atong (they are already experienced) contingents. With our good working relationship and coordination, I am sure we can pull this off. In honor of our beloved Sto. Niño,” the governor quoted the vice mayor’s text message to her on Dec. 29.

The vice mayor also relayed to the governor that Rama had approved the Capitol’s requests on the guidelines for the competition, street dancing, and routes of the event; and Rama’s gratitude for the governor’s support.

“Spoke with Mayor Mike. And he is very happy with the all-out support of the Province for Sinulog sa Lalawigan. We are likewise very grateful of your offer to fund most of the expenses during that day. It will really help unburden the finances and logistical requirements of the City and the Sinulog Foundation,” the governor quoted the vice mayor as saying.

There had been concerns that Sinulog events could not be held at the CCSC because the sports complex has been closed since May for renovation and repair in preparation for Cebu City’s hosting of the 2024 Palarong Pambansa in July.

However, in an interview on SunStar Cebu’s online program “Beyond the Headlines” on Thursday, Jan. 4, Vice Mayor Garcia said that in regard to the ongoing rehabilitation of the CCSC, the rubberized track oval had not yet been installed.

Therefore, it was the perfect time to hold the 2024 Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan as the event would not damage the new track oval that was not yet installed. (with HIC)

Trending

No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph