CEBU CITY — A leader in the real estate industry has expressed concern over what he described as “half-baked” venue for the upcoming Sinulog Festival.
Gerard O. Leuterio, founder of Filipino Homes, said that it poses a great risk that the venue, which will include a grandstand for spectators, has yet to be completed with only less than a week before the Sinulog.
“If we want to showcase Cebu Sinulog worldwide, it is risky to rush a venue that is not properly planned. Consider all the risks,” Leuterio said.
The city government has assured that the venue at the South Road Properties (SRP) will be completed in time for the festival on Jan. 15.
Despite the assurance, Leuterio said city officials should think thoroughly if its logical to hold the Sinulog at SRP when there is a venue readily available such as the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).
The CCSC has been the venue of Sinulog’s ritual showdown for many years before Mayor Michael Rama announced that this year’s festival will be held at the SRP.
“This is the biggest Sinulog comeback and never experiment with something that is not yet been proven,” said Leuterio, whose company consistently invests in international marketing roadshows to showcase Cebu as a second home.
Leuterio said the city should learn from the stampede that happened in Itaewon in South Korea on Oct. 30, 2022.
Leuterio suggested that if the venue is “half-baked without proper planning on security, and parking, among others," it would be better to consider going back to the old route and venue, which is the CCSC.
“If we are not prepared, then don’t push it,” suggested Leuterio.
Leuterio said the Sinulog Festival is touted as the “mother of all festivals” in the Philippines and “should be planned properly.”
“In other countries, festival preparations are big deal. Preparations are done years before,” he said.
City Councilor Jerry Guardo has said that the they are working double time to prepare the venue.
Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, reported that area works near the Sinulog stage at the SRP are ongoing.
The councilor said that teams from the Department of Engineering and Public Works and the contractor have been working 24/7 to meet work deadlines.
Leuterio insisted that the rush construction of the stage and other needed facilities is too risky.
“You cannot build an 8,000-capacity stage in eight days or less,” Leuterio said.