Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama apologizes for controversial Sinulog performance

Wenilyn Sabalo

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Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama apologizes for controversial Sinulog performance

MAYOR. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama gestures during an interview with Rappler inside his office in Cebu City on April 19, 2022.

Jacqueline Hernandez

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim acknowledges the apology of the performers but says the incident should not be repeated in the future

CEBU, Philippines – After members of the Muslim community called out a Sinulog performance for being culturally “insensitive,” Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama issued an apology on behalf of the performers and the Sinulog organizing committee.

“Yeah, we just have to (apologize)…apology is a precious (thing). Sometimes, it is too difficult when pride sets in, but for people with humility, it becomes very cheap….To the Muslim community, I apologize,” the mayor told reporters on Monday, January 15.

Rama explained that the Cebu Technological University’s (CTU) performance, though lacking in precision, likely stemmed from excitement rather than bad intent. 

“Excitement, excitement probably was reigning. The objectivity was not…as much as being precise. It ended up, I think ang akong tan-aw, wag’yud toy bad intent tingali oy (from my view, it probably didn’t have any bad intent),” the mayor said.

Rama, the overall chairman of the Sinulog activities, believes that an investigation  into the incident is no longer needed, and that it should serve as a learning experience.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), in a statement signed by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, had decried the performance as being grossly inappropriate and culturally insensitive.

Ebrahim acknowledged the university’s apology about the controversial “Singkil” performance, but said that it should not be repeated in the future.

Meanwhile, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Visayas Director Onasis Balt said in a separate interview that he appreciated the mayor’s apology. 

“Ang nagamit kasi duon ay yung cultural, ika nga yung dress ng mga kapatiran na mga Muslim, yun po yung nakasanayan kasi sa mga mata natin. So, dapat kasi hindi na po yun ginagamit,” Balt said.

(What was used was the cultural, as they claimed it to be the dress of our Muslim brethren, that is what we are used to seeing with our eyes. So, it should not have been used.)

He explained that when wearing the traditional attire, one should not hold symbols like the image of the Santo Niño (Child Jesus).

Balt advised the non-Muslim community that if they were to have events or programs in the future that involve representing the Muslim faith, they should reach out and coordinate with the NCMF. –

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