Sinulog Foundation officials snub City Council’s invitation

“IS THIS a boycott?”

Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama asked this during the City Council’s session on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, when no one from the Sinulog Foundation Inc. attended the session.

For the second time, the SFI officials were invited to attend the session to present the appropriations for the P35 million financial aid of the City to SFI for the holding of the Sinulog 2020.

The P35 million is intended to cover the prizes and subsidy for the contingents.

The SFI officials were supposed to apprise the Council of the details of the budget for the Sinulog during the session on Dec. 11.

SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella was not able to present, though, since Rama questioned him on the organizational structure of the foundation.

Rama asked why there were a lot of names in the chart, which included his name when he is no longer the SFI chairman.

Among all the names on the chart, only Rama’s name was handwritten in the copy the SFI submitted to the Council.

Rama resigned from his post as SFI chairman in October but he remains a member of the Board of Trustees.

After a three-hour discussion on Dec. 11, the Council decided to continue the discussion in the next regular session, which was on Wednesday. Dec. 18.

In an earlier interview, Labella said he had been assured by the Council that it will approve the P35 million assistance to SFI.

He only needed to present the details to the Council, as well as the organizational chart that Rama had asked for.

A month before the Sinulog 2020 grand parade, which falls on Jan. 19, the SFI has yet to present the full budget for the festival activities, which include the nightly cultural activities at the Fuente Osmeña circle and the street dancing competition.

In an interview after Wednesday’s regular session, Rama emphasized that he did not feel slighted by the absence of the SFI officials.

“It’s Christmas season and it is not the time to feel slighted,” the vice mayor said.

SunStar Cebu reached out to Labella to ask why they did not attend the session but he could not be reached for comment.