Briones: Sinulog blues

Publio Briones

HOW long has Cebu City been hosting the Sinulog festivities?

Almost four decades, right?

During all this time, did you ever hear the police, or any member of law enforcement, complain or even suggest about complaining about fulfilling their duties to protect and serve the public who converge in the city to participate in the celebration?

Never. Right?

After all, it’s only one week of the year that we, Cebuanos, let our hair down and unabashedly partake in thinly veiled pagan practices to venerate an idol.

Oh hush! I’m a Roman Catholic too, but I’m not blind to the fact that some of the things that we do in the name of Catholicism border on blasphemy.

The Spaniards were well aware of that fact when they brought the religion to our shores.

They knew it would have to mutate to suit the native temperament. Otherwise, why would our ancestors give up their worship of nature or, dare I say it, that other monotheistic faith from the deserts of Arabia?

So when the descendants of Humabon and Lapu-Lapu decided to spice up the worship of the Child Jesus, the friars had no choice but to grin and bear it.

And I thought that was the general sentiment when Sinulog came around every third week of January. A quid pro quo moment of sorts.

So yes. There will be monstrous traffic jams in the lead-up to the momentous occasions, the solemn and seaborne processions and the grand parade.

And yes, the millions who will converge in the city will present a logistic nightmare to authorities, who have to make sure no untoward incident will happen to the revelers and the pious.

So imagine my shock when the officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office, Lt. Geovanie Maines, suggested to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. not to allow outdoor parties or concerts before major Sinulog events so as not to burden our men and women in blue, who, by the way, will soon be getting their allowance from the Cebu City Government on top of their salaries.

Mind you, I know where the Tagalog-speaking Maines is coming from. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that the police official is not a native of Cebu or he’d know better than to put his foot in his mouth when it came to the Sinulog and anything to do with the Sto. Niño.

No, it has nothing to do with any of that. After all, his suggestion does make sense.

“Imagine, there will be a street party at 10 p.m. (Friday) onward. The following day will be the solemn procession. Our people will suffer if they watch the party all night long and the following day will be another big event,” Maines said in that foreign language.

God forbid if our police start earning their keep.