Garcia says Sunday’s grand parade can’t be called One Cebu Island Sinulog

CEBU Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced that this year’s grand parade and ritual showdown would rather be called Sinulog 2023 in Cebu City, than One Cebu Island Sinulog 2023.

Garcia said in her talk with reporters on Friday, January 13, that she has no plans of competing with the Cebu City Government for this Sunday’s Sinulog festival.

"I do not mean any rancor, wa ko'y bitterness sa akong kasingkasing, wala koy buot nga duna koy masilo, ang ako lang nga buot gyud masabtan sa tanan (in my heart, I don’t want to offend somebody, I just want everybody to understand) I am just answering to my duty as a governor. Ang akong responsibility bug-at lang kaayo kaysa uban pang konsiderasyon (My responsibility is very big compared with other considerations).

Garcia made an announcement at 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, that she will pull out the nine contingents from this Sunday’s Sinulog Grand Parade after Mayor Rama stood firm on his decision to hold the activity at the South Road Properties (SRP) despite the muddy venue brought about by continuous rains.

The nine contingents that would no longer perform are those of Carmen, Carcar City, Mandaue City, Moalboal, Naga City, Talisay City, Tuburan, Toledo City and the Consolacion guest contingent with which the governor had been slated to dance.

The said contingents supported the move of Garcia, who invited them to instead participate in the 50th anniversary of Sinulog sa Carmen, which is slated on January 22, in Carmen town, northern Cebu.

"While I appreciate greatly nga for the first time ang tawag sa Sinulog One Cebu Island Sinulog we are grateful to Mayor Mike for having come up to this very unifying idea. Pero maybe not this time lang not necessarily for all other events and all other endeavors but for this Sinulog. Maybe I had to spell out reality that it cannot be a One Cebu Island Sinulog. Because One Cebu Island consists of the LGUs of the Province of Cebu and the tri-cities...where the Sinulog in the SRP is concerned there is no longer any participation of the Province of Cebu as well as Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City," Garcia said.

"There is no desire to compete at all but circumstances have forced us to take this course. I hope that the public will not try to compare in any way. I am just doing my job...and this is the best recourse that I could possibly take," she added.

The governor also clarified that they were not consulted when the city decided to hold the Sinulog in SRP, contrary to reports that the province and the tri-cities have signed a memorandum of agreement for the said occasion.

At of this writing, Garcia met with the tourism heads and representatives of the nine contingents to discuss about their preparations for street dancing in Carmen.

"Nasayod ko nga medyo na-disappointed ug na low morale intawon ang atong kabataan nga namingkamot nga makaperform nga makahatag sa tanan ug makahalad sa Santo Niño but as for me timing gyud kaayo this is also God-sent. Wa baya gyud ki katuyoan nga adto mi sa Carmen kay ang akong first committment is ngari man gyud pero beyond my commitment dako kaayo ko'g tulubagon ani sa mga ginikanan niining mga bataa," Garcia said.

(I know that the children who tried their best to perform for the Santo Niño were disappointed and faced hurdles such as low morale, but as for me this is also God-sent. It is not our plan to go to Carmen because my first commitment is here (in Cebu City) but beyond my commitment I am answerable to the parents of these kids).

"So I made a decision even though we have pulled out from the grand Sinulog here they will still be able to compete and perform in Sinulog sa Carmen," she added.

Despite having different views and decisions with Rama, the governor called on all the Cebuanos to unite, especially for the success of Sinulog celebration.

"But please believe me when I say that I wish all the success of the ritual showdown of the Sinulog in Cebu City, I will pray to Señor Sto. Niño for all performers, all spectators will be protected. Whether this is just Cebu City or entire Cebu province. It is the Cebu City Sinulog that has gained international fame and the success of Cebu City Sinulog is the success of Cebu. On the other hand, the failure of the Cebu City Sinulog will also be the failure of Cebu," said Garcia. (ANV, TPT)