Bzzzzz: Flap over 'eviction' of media from Basilica; Capitol's Sinulog aid

Photographers' complaint

The chief photographer of a Cebu daily complained on Facebook against the "media group" at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. He and his two colleagues were evicted from the Basilica, more specifically from a tent above the area where masses were held. He and two other photographers went up there. Worse, the chief photographer was photographed by a volunteer before they were told to leave. Even photographers would be camera-angry (not just camera-shy) if treated like crime suspects.

Other incidents involving the "Basilica media group" concerned (1) the alleged stoppage of a reporter's interview with a Basilica priest before the start of the fluvial parade and (2) the alleged detention of a media intern's tripod and microphone as she was told to leave the premises.

Obviously, the Basilica management didn't brief reporters and photographers on where the media accreditation IDs would give them access. The priests must have left it to volunteers, mostly students and private PR people who appeared to lack basic courtesy in dealing with reporters and photographers.

The name of one "Rafael Ong" figured prominently in the chat among photographers shortly after the incident. One FB comment reportedly said, "Hope not to see you next year or ever again, Mr. Ong."

Who'll get Capitol cash?

Under the present setup, the P5 million cash aid from the Cebu Provincial Government for the Sinulog must go to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI). In fact, the P3 million cash aid of the Province for last year's Sinulog was turned over just recently to SFI.

For past and this year's Sinulogs, actual management of Sinulog activities was done by SFI, while SGB is supposed to merely lay down policy and "check and balance" SFI operations.

Thus, the need -- for 2021 and other future Sinulogs -- to review the structure of management: for City Hall to come out openly as policy-maker and manager. The mayor's executive order creating the SGB may have to be reviewed and, to acquire the imprimatur of a local law, enacted as an ordinance by the City Council.

Aware of the problems created by the still fuzzy setup under two managing and governing bodies, Governor Gwen Garcia asks Mayor Edgar Labella to decide which, between SFI and SGB, will get the Capitol check.

In Mike Rama's eyes

Vice Mayor Mike Rama may have slid down to director from chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. but he hasn't given up his penchant for speaking on what's in his mind.

Interviewed by a broadcast network reporter at their coverage site along the Sinulog parade route Sunday (January 19), Mike pointed out the lack of crowd control and the late start of the parade. A side reference to the "management board" suggested where he must think the fault lay.

It would be interesting to read the assessment reports of Sinulog Foundation and Sinulog Governing Board -- and Mike Rama's "post-mortem" -- on the just-concluded festival.


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