THE increase, though not extensive, in the new cases of Covid-19 has compelled the Augustinian priests that run Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño to discontinue the physical attendance of the devotees during the novena masses for the feast of Sto. Niño beginning yesterday. The novena masses, however, will proceed as scheduled but it will be broadcasted by its media partners and social media sites.
The Catholic church leaders know that prevention is better than cure and complying with the health protocols is a better part of judgment during this pandemic unlike some politicos whose egos are bigger than their heads. The Feast of Sto. Niño, Cebu City's patron saint as well as the province, is celebrated every January particularly in Cebu City and draws devotees from all over the country and the world.
The Sinulog street dance competition under the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) in honor of the feast of Sto. Niño has become an international attraction that tourists come in droves. I was then a law student and working as news reporter of this paper when then MYSD Director Boy Odilao introduced the first Sinulog dance and parade in honor of the feast of Sto. Niño. The college students from different schools were the first street dance performers.
At this time of the year under normal state of things, tourists, local and foreign, are now arriving to attend the feast of Sto. Niño and watch the Sinulog dance competition and everyone is already on festive mode. But with this menace, Covid-19, still much around that almost shut down everything we do, all we could hear is the jingle of the Sinulog being played in malls or in some radio stations.
The Department of Health-Region 7 (DOH-7) has expected the increase in Covid-19 infection because of the celebrations of Christmas, New Year, and now the feast of Sto. Niño that as a tradition every family celebrates with relatives and friends. The City Emergency Operations Center's (EOC) data indicated that cases of outside transmission came mostly from social gatherings at 20.39 percent, workplaces with 18.9 percent, and the medical front liners with 18.4 percent.
The IATF shoot down the Sinulog showdown that Cebu city Vice Mayor Mike Rama wanted to take place on January 17, a Sunday, which is the regular schedule of the Sinulog street dance competition during normal times. The order of the IATF came on the heels of the request of the police to stop the Sinulog showdown since Vice Mayor Rama was hell bent in proceeding with the event. The medical doctors also opposed Rama's show.
It is mind boggling that the officials of Barangays San Nicolas and Basak-San Nicolas made preparations for the Sinulog dance competition when the DILG suspended them once for violating the health protocols for allowing Sinulog dance on the streets. They are now asking the City Government to refund them on what they spent in preparing their contingent for the competition. Are they serious?
In this time of Covid-19 pandemic, all we need is cooperation from everybody and discipline for everyone to observe and comply with the health protocols to prevent the contagion. Cebu City doesn't have to go back to GCQ. All that it should do is to strictly enforce the health protocols. Most people are now complacent after the news broke that Covid-19 infections in the city went down. Now, it's up again!
This time, the people are conscious that Covid-19 is deadly. But up until someone in the family is infected with the virus, they wouldn't care. Please keep safe as we celebrate the feast of Sto. Niño. Pit Senyor!