The showdown of Sinulog Festival in Cebu City on January 17 was vehemently opposed by police top officials and councilors.
Its organizers agreed to cancel the holding of this religious commemoration to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease or Covid19 pandemic within the area.
The police officers and city alderman were caught off-guard when they learned that the religious festival and cultural activities will push through, nullifying their agreement, in violation of the guidelines issued by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF).
Chief of the operation management division of the Central Visayas police, Lt. Col. Glenn Mayam, said the RIATF and the organizers, in their meeting last November, made it clear that the Sinulog would not be staged this month because of the health crisis.
The festival in honor of the Sto. Niño usually draws millions of people from other parts of the country and abroad.
“We were actually caught off guard because the city government had not informed us about its decision to go on with the Sinulog. Even the solemn processions and other religious activities outside the church were canceled. Now here comes the cultural aspect of the celebration, which according to city officials, will continue,” Mayam said.
Mayam said that the local police and Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s emergency operations center (EOC), would recommend to the RIATF to stop this year’s Sinulog to prevent any mass gathering and the spread of Covid19.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who was appointed by Mayor Edgardo Labella to lead the festival preparations, said the executive committee had been inviting a representative from the EOC during their meetings, but no one came.
“We will not stop preparing for the Sinulog. Right now, we are 90% ready,” Rama said.
Rama said he would present to the RIATF the health and security measures that would be implemented during the Sinulog to ensure that the activity would not contribute to the spread of the virus.