Sinulog at SRP
Sinulog at SRP File photo

2 students safe; rehearsals moved to SRP

THE two students who were injured on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, during their rehearsal for their contingent’s Sinulog sa Dakbayan performance over the weekend at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) after an LED panel collapse are now in stable condition.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama confirmed this in a phone interview on Friday, Jan. 12.

Rama said the remaining practices were moved to the South Road Properties (SRP) due to safety concerns. However, the staging of the Sinulog sa Dakbayan (Saturday, Jan. 13) and Sinulog sa Lalawigan (Sunday, Jan. 14) will proceed at CCSC.

The mayor said he was also waiting for the final written report for more details on the incident.

Rama instructed personnel to take necessary measures for the safety of the audience during the Sinulog sa Dakbayan and Sinulog sa Lalawigan.

The Sinulog sa Dakbayan and Sinulog sa Lalawigan are held before the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown, which will be held at SRP on Sunday, Jan. 21.

Due to strong winds, a portion of the LED (light emitting diode) panels attached to a scaffolding at the back of the stage fell onto the stage where the contingent from Barangay Banilad was rehearsing.

The two students were propsmen. One student was reportedly hit by the fallen LED panel in the process, while the other was reportedly hit by the props that were first hit by the LED panels.

They were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Rama assured that the Cebu City Government will extend assistance to the injured students.

He also urged the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), the event organizer, to strengthen the scaffolding that supports the LED panels.

Personnel from the City Quick Response Team together and the Office of the Building Officials were dispatched to assess safety hazards in the venue and take immediate action to ensure the well-being of all those who will watch the events live.

The LED panels, intended as a backdrop for the participating contingents’ performances, were in the process of installation and were tied to the scaffolding at the back of the stage. The LED panel was placed 10 feet from the stage. The stage is placed at the center of the oval, facing the grandstand of the CCSC.

Sought for comment on Thursday, both SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella and Banilad choreographer Redford Oliveros declined to comment on the incident, saying it is still under investigation.

A month before the incident, there was a lack of consensus between the leadership of the Cebu City Government and the Cebu Provincial Government regarding the venue for the 2024 Sinulog Grand Showdown and Parade.

They were divided between choosing the SRP or the CCSC, the traditional location for Cebu’s annual grand festival.

Last December, mayors from local government units in Cebu Province, along with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, expressed their preference for the staging of Sinulog at CCSC.

Garcia even pledged a donation of P20 million to the SFI if the event were held at the CCSC.

However, Rama remained firm in his decision to stage the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the SRP, citing that the location can hold a larger crowd than CCSC.

The City and the Province, however, agreed that the Sinulog sa Dakbayan and Sinulog sa Lalawigan will be held at CCSC.

Rama instructed Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia to spearhead, on behalf of the City Government, the staging of the two events together with the SFI and the Capitol. (EHP)

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