Cebu City police urges Sinulog execs to cancel cultural events

Philippine News Agency
January 5, 2021

SINULOG EVENTS. Workers from the Cebu City government paint markers on the street beside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño to ensure physical distancing of devotees who will attend Holy Masses during the nine-day novena leading to the fiesta of the Señor Sto. Niño on Jan. 17, 2021. Cebu City Police Office chief, Col. Josefino Ligan, on Tuesday (Jan. 5, 2021) urged the Sinulog Foundation headed by Vice Mayor Michael Rama to forego conducting cultural events that are non-religious to avoid drawing large crowds. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – To prevent mass gathering amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the chief of the Cebu City Police Office on Tuesday urged Sinulog 2021 organizers to forego with its cultural activities.

Col. Josefino Ligan, CCPO chief, said the Sinulog Foundation headed by Vice Mayor Michael Rama should seek approval from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (RIATF) before they can implement activities for the fiesta of the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu.

“The guidelines of the IATF still remains. That only the religious activities are allowed,” Ligan said in a virtual presser, referring to the nine-day novena masses and the concelebrated masses on Jan. 17, the fiesta day.

Although the proposed activities are designed for virtual platform, the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) recommended to the RIATF the cancellation of non-religious activities or events that are purely cultural like the Sinulog dance ritual, he said.

Sinulog activities, he said, can still draw crowds of people even if done virtually.

He said the CCPO will only provide security to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño where all religious activities will be conducted.

“We can always postpone those activities to another time when are already safe. We are not still safe,” Ligan said. “We don’t have vaccine yet”.

The Augustinian friars overseeing the Basilica on Monday announced they are sticking with their earlier decision to cancel activities that were mostly done outside the church premises in the past festivities.

In its official social media page, the friars said they canceled the Penitential Walk with Jesus, Penitential Walk with Mary, Traslacion, Fluvial Procession and Reenactment, and Solemn Foot Procession to avoid drawing a throng of devotees.

Rama on Monday said he was seeking an audience with the RIATF so that the executive committee of the Sinulog Foundation could present their plans for the virtual Sinulog event. (PNA)

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