SINULOG 2020 organizers may consider bringing back street parties which were banned during the time of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.
But this will be done only after “careful” evaluation, said Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Jojo Labella.
Labella, brother of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, said that they are also looking at past Sinulog celebrations when street parties resulted in “bad experiences.”
He said that if street parties were to return in next year’s Sinulog celebration, SFI will see to it that these will be well-regulated and restrictions will be imposed such as a ban on liquor in the said street parties.
“A fiesta without the street party is just not as fun,” he told SunStar in a mix of English and Cebuano.
Labella added that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Cebu City Government are jointly studying the matter for now.
In an earlier interview, Sinulog Governing Board (SGB) executive director Barney Borja said the SGB plans to draw more tourists for next year’s Sinulog by bringing back street parties.
Borja said that based on feedback from Cebu’s hotel industry, the occupancy rates during the Sinulog were “not robust” in the last five years.
“We want to bring back the street parties, concerts and the contingents we lost over the years,” said Borja to increase the presence of tourists in Cebu City during the Sinulog month.
During an SFI meeting last Wednesday night, Nov. 27, 2019, one area of concern was the implementation of a carousel route during the Sinulog grand parade to give spectators a better chance to see the performances of the various contingents which they may have missed.
While the registration of the contingents had yet to start in the first week of December, 10 out-of-town contingents already confirmed that they will be joining the grand parade.
One of them is the Sinanduloy Cultural Festival of Tangub City, a 12-time defending champion and a crowd favorite every year.
Ten Cebu City barangays including the famous Lumad Basakanon of Barangay Basak San Nicolas also confirmed that they will compete in Sinulog 2020.
A contingent from Wonjong, South Korea will again perform as a guest contingent during the grand parade on Jan. 19.
Meanwhile, the Cebu City Council wants street vending to be regulated during the Sinulog celebration.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said that vendors have to register at the City Market Division between Dec. 15, 2019 to Jan. 9, 2020 to get a special permit.
The vendors also have to submit a 2x2 photo to the City Market Division so that identification cards can be issued to them.
Tumulak, chairman of the SFI Executive Committee, warned that without the ID, the vendors’ goods will be confiscated.
During registration, the vendors also have to declare their goods, Tumulak said.
The City’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team has been tasked to ensure that street vendors will be barred from selling food or merchandise within 100 meters from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño from Jan. 9 to Jan. 19.
Sinulog 2020 will be launched on Jan. 10.