CEBU CITY — Amid the growing opposition from various sectors, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) has decided not to push through with the holding of physical activities for the Sinulog Festival.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama, convenor of the Sinulog Festival, on Thursday announced the cancellation of the street dancing and grand ritual showdown that were supposed to be held on January 17.
The city has allocated P25 million for this year’s Sinulog Festival.
In a statement that was read by executive committee member Neil Odchique, the SFI said it decided to cancel the physical activities upon the advice of City Mayor Edgardo Labella.
The SFI said it also considered the worries of the public that the holding of the actual Sinulog performances may lead to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Participating contingents were advised to just record their performances that will be shown through online streaming.
The Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) had recommended to the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force not to allow the holding of street dancing and the grand showdown to prevent mass gathering.
The Cebu Medical Society Inc., a component society of the Philippine Medical Association, has also expressed its opposition to the holding of Sinulog Festival.
“Sinulog is a convergence of humanity—of spectators and performers. These forms of gatherings pose a high risk of OCVID transmission. It is our dilemma to strike a balance between physical expression of faith and cultural preservation versus public health and safety. However, it is our firm belief that public health and safety should be our utmost priority. Therefore, we strongly oppose the holding of Sinulog 2021 and other related activities,” said the group’s president Dr. Minnie Monteclaro.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) welcomed the cancellation of the Sinulog Festival.
“We welcome this development. We can now focus on security preparations for the novena masses,” said Police Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy chief for operations of CCPO.
Parilla said it has been their stand not to hold the Sinulog Festival “because it will definitely draw a huge crowd.”
While the cultural activities will no longer push through, some of the religious activities will continue.
Parilla said at least 500 policemen will be deployed to secure the Fiesta Señor.
The Fiesta Señor will focus on the novena masses at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino after the Augustinian friars decided to cancel external activities such as the foot procession and fluvial parade due to threats brought about by the pandemic.