CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has apologized for the controversial performance by a local university during the opening of Sinulog 2024.
The mayor, who serves as the overall chairman of the Sinulog activities, also hoped that such incident would not be repeated.
“Yeah, we just have to…apology is a precious (thing). Sometimes, it is too difficult when pride sets in, but for people with humility, it becomes very cheap….To the Muslim community, I apologize,” he said in an interview with reporters on Monday, January 15.
The public criticized a performance by the Cebu Technological University (CTU) last Friday, January 12, during the opening of the Sinulog 2024 festivities, for performing a Sinulog dance while wearing Muslim cultural attire, which the public deem “culturally insensitive.”
The mayor said the CTU performance, though lacking precision, likely stemmed from excitement rather than bad intent.
“Excitement, excitement probably was reigning. The objectivity was not…as much as being precise. It ended up, I think ang akong tan-aw, wag’yud toy bad intent tingali oy,” he said.
The mayor believes that investigation is no longer needed over the incident and that it should serve as a learning experience.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)-Visayas director Onasis Balt said he appreciates the apology of Rama.
But Balt said he understands the feelings of his fellow Muslims who might have been offended by the misrepresentation.
“Actually, ang nagamit kasi duon ay yung cultural, ika nga yung dress ng mga kapatiran na mga Muslim, yun po yung nakasanayan kasi sa mga mata natin. So, dapat kasi hindi na po yun ginagamit, lalong-lalo na yung naka post dun sa kanilang live na Bangsamoro Muslim (Barmm). So, parang ika nga wala pong masyadong coordination sa ating mga kapatiran,” he said.
“Definitely, bawal po yun, kasi unang-una ang dress na dress code mo o kasuotan o appearance mo sa media, bawal po talaga humawak kasi, unang-una ang nirerepresent mo as a Muslim, so ang makikita ng buong mundo na may hawak ka, so parang iba po yung kalalabasan, iba po yung paningin ng ating mga kapatiran ng mga Muslim,” he added.
Asked if he accepts the apology of the CTU, Balt said: “Yes, definitely, kailangan as a whole nation approach, kailangan natin na mag intindihan sa ating mga kapatirang mga Pilipino.”
But Balt advised non-Muslim community and universities that if they have events or programs in their schools that cover or represent Muslim faith said they can always coordinate with the NCMF.
He said they can consult with their cultural affairs office with division chiefs to ensure that they can execute their programs correctly. (WBS)