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Cebu City top cop recommends postponement of Sinulog 2021 festival parades

With the threat of a resurgent COVID-19 infection, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) chief Colonel Josefino Ligan on Monday, January 4, said he would recommend that the street dances and parades of Sinulog 2021 be moved to a later date.

Ligan stated his position in light of the city government's plan to hold a "virtual parade." Although the crowds would be limited to watching online, the city government intended to hold "live" street dances and parades.

The core of the Sinulog Festival activities will be from January 8 - 17.

(Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said the Sinulog Festival activities will end on January 13. We have corrected this to January 17.)

Though they discouraged holding any form of the Mardi Gras-like festival, Ligan said the CCPO was prepared to secure church-related activities in celebration of the festival, in particular the masses at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.

Earlier, Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama said that the city government would push through with the Sinulog activities. Rama was appointed by Mayor Edgar Labella to supervise preparations for Sinulog 2021.

Ligan said that if the city government wanted to hold the events, it needed to get the approval of the local Inter-Agency Task Force.

“He needs to seek approval first before doing that sinulog activities,” said Ligan during a press briefing at the CCPO office.

In the city government's plans for the “virtual festival” the parades would be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) instead of the Cebu City Sports Complex (CCSC).

In the past, Sinulog’s version of the Mardi Gras was held in routes leading to the Cebu City Sports Complex. The public could watch the parades from the sidewalks and observe in person.

However, now, the conduct of the “virtual parade” will have no physical audience and will not be allowing attendees near the route in SRP. Media coverage of the event would instead be intensified so the public may watch from home.

Ligan said that the process of approval would first go through the local IATF. After deliberation and initial approval, a recommendation would then be submitted for endorsement by the mayor. This would then go to the regional and national IATF.

“Unless those things will be complied, there won’t be any Sinulog,” the Cebu City top cop said in Cebuano.

Given the festival’s history, the police are preparing for large groups of devotees and tourists coming into the city to join the massive celebration.

“With the limited number of days nga nahibilin nga magpahigayon ang Sinulog activities, I recommend nga istop na lang gyud sa. We can do it na sa later part of April,” said the police chief.

(With the limited number of days left in holding the Sinulog activities, I recommend that we stop it for now. We can do it in the later part of April)

As of this writing, Rama said that they would push through with the events and were preparing the plans they would present to the local IATF for approval. - Rappler.com