Espinoza: The SFI is reduced to funds solicitor

Elias Espinoza

THE Sinulog Governing Board (SGB) is now showing its true color. From what it said earlier that it’s only a coordinating body with the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) in the hosting of the Sinulog Festival, it now wants to run the show itself. The SFI has managed the festival for 35 years,

In a press conference, SGB executive director Barney Borja, project director Val Sandiego and SGB Member Kenneth Cobonpue told the press that they have introduced new activities for the Sinulog next year and their plans do not need the approval of the SFI.

Sinulog 2020 project director Sandiego told the press that the SGB did not take out any activity from the previous festivity. Instead, they added activities like the Sinulog sa Palaboy, a vlogging contest, the Sinulog Market Street Fair and the drums and bugle contingent.

Sandiego added that street parties, which were banned during the administration of former mayor Tomas Osmeña, will again be allowed. But he said the street parties will be closely monitored and regulated to ensure peace and order during the Sinulog celebration.

Cobonpue was even audacious in his statement to the press when he said that all the coordination goes through the SGB. “That’s why there is the governing board.” he said. Cobonpue said SFI’s only task is to raise funds for the Sinulog festival, contradicting what SFI former chairman Vice Mayor Michael Rama said that the SFI has to approve all Sinulog-related activities.

Borja’s statement was even an insult to the SFI’s conduct of last year’s Sinulog when he said that SGB’s main goal is to have a better celebration of Sinulog 2020. Of course, who doesn’t want a better and more exciting Sinulog Festival? Borja did not elaborate, though, on the concerns before what he said were not allegedly addressed.

In a press release, the SGB stated: “The board promises a well-coordinated installment of the festival as it carries vital agencies under its wing, including the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI).” It said the SGB will serve as the regulatory board that will oversee SFI and its executive committee and has the right to review and approve all resolutions and actions of the SFI’s Executive Committee.

Indeed, it wasn’t only Rama who was marginalized by the SGB, but also the Sinulog Foundation. With SGB holding the baton, the SFI is now reduced to a mere solicitor for funds for the festival. What would happen if the trustees of the SFI, which still includes Vice Mayor Rama, would not raise the funds for the Sinulog festival? Take note that the SGB has no authority to solicit, and much more receive donations of any kind.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike was vilified and intensely criticized when he resigned as chairman of the SFI because he was allegedly “marginalized” by the SGB. But with the press statement of SGB, Vice Mayor Rama is vindicated. He was not after all acting like a child when he tendered his resignation as chair of the SFI.

Even if Vice Mayor Rama has professed several times during press interviews that his relationship with Cebu City Mayor Edgar C. Labella remains vibrant and strong despite all the intrigues, but with the press statement of SGB that SFI is left with the job of coordinating with the Sinulog participants and to raise funds, which in our joke lingo “tulisitor,” that another round of rumor is inevitable that Rama would now distance himself from the city mayor.

Take note that most of the people that compose the SGB are friends of Visayas Presidential Assistant Michael Lloyd Dino and its public knowledge that Dino and Vice Mayor Rama are not in good terms.