EIGHTEEN days before the big event, the Cebu Provincial Government has not communicated on whether the local government units (LGU) under it will send contingents to join the Grand Sinulog Parade and Ritual Showdown at the South Road Properties (SRP); however, what is certain is that the winners of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan competition will not be permitted to perform at the Jan. 21 grand showdown.
Asked if the Province had committed to have its towns and cities join the grand ritual showdown, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he had not received any communication yet.
“I have not received any communication, so we presumed to continue preparing for what we used to have. If they will be joining, praise the Lord. If they intend not to join, Señor Sto. Niño will take care of them,” Rama said during the Sugboanon Channel program “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.
Prefers different venue
Last Dec. 6, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia had expressed her preference for the staging of the Sinulog Ritual Showdown at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), instead of the SRP, with Capitol’s media arm Sugbo News posting photos of the unreadiness of the SRP as site for the festival.
This would be the second year that the festival would be staged at the SRP.
When asked if the Sinulog would continue without the provincial contingents, Rama said the Sinulog is about “us,” which includes the Province.
“If others are coming, from other countries, to participate, I cannot imagine why the Province will not,” Rama said.
“Anyhow, it is their call. They are old enough. They have their own discretion, and democracy will have to operate and I must respect (that),” he added.
Last year, the governor pulled out all the eight contingents of Cebu Province from the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the SRP three days before the event, citing safety concerns amid the site’s unreadiness.
The pullout left just 12 of the 22 groups that had been slated to perform at the festival as the highly urbanized cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue also pulled out of the event.
Last Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, asked about the number of contingents participating in this year’s festival, Rama said he did not want to disclose this.
“I would not provide the number of contingents now, but what I can assure you is that Sinulog will be an exciting event,” Rama said.
Last month, Garcia said the Provincial Government would donate to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. the usual amount of P20 million to support Cebu’s biggest festival — if the festival would be held at the CCSC.
Rama has said the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 21 will be held at the SRP.
The Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan event on Jan. 14, however, will take place at the CCSC.
Barred from joining
The governor, however, has barred the winning contingents of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan from participating in the Sinulog Grand Showdown.
Garcia made the announcement during her second coordination meeting with various LGU officials for the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan last Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the Capitol Social Hall.
When asked by Cebu City Councilor Joy Pesquera if she would permit the winning contingents to compete in the Sinulog Grand Showdown at the SRP on Jan. 21, Garcia gave a negative response.
“No, not in SRP. I already stated that they cannot,” Garcia said.
Garcia emphasized that she did not want to put the dancers in danger by leaving them out in the heat.
“Sorry jud kaayo (I’m very sorry), Joy. I wish we could, but I cannot risk it kay init man gud kaayo (because it’s so hot). Please, I hope you understand,” the governor said.
At least 18 LGUs have expressed interest in participating in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan.
These include guest performers from Tribu Basakanon and Sugat Kabanhawan from Minglanilla town, with which Garcia will be dancing for her annual offering to Sto. Niño.
Sending contingents are the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, Carcar and Toledo; and the municipalities of Argao, Samboan, Barili, Tuburan, Madridejos, Carmen, Poro, Tudela, Consolacion and Moalboal.
First place winners will receive P3 million, second place will get P2 million, third place will pocket P1.5 million, fourth place will bring home P1 million, and fifth place will be P750,000 richer.
Non-winning contingents won’t go home empty-handed, as each will receive a consolation prize of P500,000. (ANV, TPT, EHP)