Sinulog street dance in Cebu gets Año's goat

Published June 29, 2020, 2:57 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Monday issued a show cause order against “barangay officials who are complicit in the conduct of a viral Sinulog street dance and procession in a COVID-19 hotspot in Cebu City’’ despite the area being under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año  (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

He issued the order after reports disclosed that hundreds flocked the roadway of Sitio Alumnos in Barangay Basak, San Nicolas on June 27 to participate in a Sinulog street dance and procession which is a violation of the rule against mass gathering.

With this incident, Año also ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to conduct an investigation and file charges against the organizers of the event.

“We will not tolerate any violation of our quarantine protocols. Those responsible will be made to account,’’ Año said.

A frustrated Año said the government has never stopped warning Cebu City residents about the seriousness and danger and risk posed by the huge number of COVID-19 cases in the locality.

He added that the transmission of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City will worsen if mass gathering will continue and other quarantine protocols are violated.

“And yet we see these kinds of activities and what makes it worse ay ang barangay na ito ay isang COVID-19 hotspot,” Año said.

“We will definitely get to the bottom of this. We have issued a Show Cause Order against the officials who are involved in this blatant violation of the ECQ currently being implemented in Cebu City,” he added.

Año was furious because despite being a high-risk area, “organizers of the street dance in Barangay Basak, San Nicolas still went on with the parade and authorities failed to stop it.’’

He added that this violation of health protocols placed the lives of the people there at risk.

The DILG said Barangay Basak San Nicolas was one of the 12 barangays in Cebu City placed under strict lockdown due to the high number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the city based on the report of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Included in the list are: Sambag Dos; Kamputhaw; Sambag Uno; Mabolo; Guadalupe; Lahug; Duljo; Tinago; Tisa; Ermita; and Tejero.

According to the Department of Health, Cebu City has a total of 4,562 total cases as of June 28, 2020, of which 3,892 are active cases, 592 have recovered, and 78 died.

Año said that the DILG is expecting to hear the explanation of the involved local leaders why no criminal and administrative cases should be filed against them while confirming that a separate investigation on 21 barangay officials and individuals is also being conducted by the PNP-CIDG.

In a Facebook post, the barangay officials denied any involvement in the said mass gathering saying that they did not authorize the conduct of the street dance and Sinulog procession.

But, Año has demanded for a sufficient explanation as to why they did not use their legal authority to stop the event from happening.