Espinoza: What is Rama's agenda?

Elias L. Espinoza
·3 min read

THE Sinulog Festival would proceed even with the request of the police to cancel it? Cebu City still records Covid-19 cases. Vice Mayor Mike Rama, who heads the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), announced that the Sinulog dance competition will proceed as scheduled and it will be held in South Road Properties (SRP) but without the crowd.

The Police Regional Office (PRO-7) has asked the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to order the cancellation of the activities for the Sinulog after Vice Mayor Rama announced that Sinulog dance competition, which is the penultimate activity of the Sinulog festival in honor of the Feast of Sto. Niño, is already a done deal.

The decision of SFI to hold the Sinulog dance competition on January 17 at SRP shocked the other Cebu City officials, like Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of RIATF, who were not informed about it. Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Mayam, chief of the Regional Operation and Management Division, told the press that they have decided to cancel the activities for Sinulog 2021. Mayam said the police don't have time to prepare for the Sinulog-related activities.

Rama is headstrong in his decision to proceed with the Sinulog activities over the opposition of the police and that the leaders of the Catholic church even cancelled the Penitential Walk with Jesus, the Penitential Walk with Mary, the Traslacion (the transfer of images of the Sto. Niño de Cebu and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Cebu from Cebu City to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, and from Mandaue City to Lapu-Lapu City), the seaborne procession, first baptism reenactment and the solemn foot procession, which are important religious activities in honor of the Feast of Sto. Niño.

Ramawill requested the RIATF for guidance on how to do it just like the holding of the dawn masses by the Catholic church last month. Mr. Vice Mayor, there is no parallelism in the conduct of the dawn masses and the Sinulog dance competition. Let's grant that there would be no crowd. But this is a group dance competition that I suppose the dancers would not be less than 20, which is already against the minimum health protocol. And, would they perform with face mask and shield on and at a meter distance from each other?

The Sinulog dance competition is purely entertainment though part of the festivities in honor of the Feast of Sto. Niño. If the Catholic church leaders have decided to cancel the foot procession, the Traslacion and the fluvial parade that are religious activities, why would Vice Mayor Rama insist on holding the Sinulog dance competition when, if I borrow his words, there would be no crowd?

Is the decision of Vice Mayor Rama purely ego tripping? Or, he has some hidden political agenda? I know the vice mayor to be a decent person and he is not that stubborn. No, I wouldn't compare the vice mayor though with how he is acting now to Mr. Donald Trump, who hits the international headlines when he asked on the phone his election officials in Georgia to "look for votes" for him.

Mr. Vice Mayor Rama, if you care for the health and welfare of the Cebuanos, particularly the performers, please don't proceed with your decision to hold the Sinulog competition. If you do this, you'll be hated by your barangay officials, who were suspended for allowing activities, like the street dancing, during this pandemic. And, if the vice mayor proceeds with his decision, would the DILG take action?