Imee Marcos billboard removed from Sinulog Festival route
CEBU CITY—Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña on Friday ordered the removal of a billboard of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos along the Sto. Niño procession route, saying the senatorial candidate was politicizing the Sinulog Festival.
The billboard, a photo of which was posted on Facebook by Osmeña, featured Marcos’ smiling portrait and the words “Sinulog Festival Viva, Pit Senyor!” and “Greetings from Gov. Imee R. Marcos Ilocos Norte.” It was mounted prominently along General Maxilom Avenue at Barangay Carreta.
In his social media post, Osmeña said he did not want anyone to inject politics into the Cebuanos’ festivities, which peak this Sunday.
“Gov. Marcos, trust me when I tell you I am doing you a favor by taking this tarpaulin down,” the mayor wrote. “The Cebuanos do not appreciate the politicization of the Sinulog. This won’t be earning you any votes and is doing you more harm than good.”
In an earlier post, Osmeña stressed that the Sinulog Festival was a religious event and not “a venue to campaign.”
The only Sinulog star
“National candidates like anyone else are welcome to join in the celebration, but they will not be speaking nor will they be grandstanding on stage,” he said. “The only star of the Sinulog is the Sto. Niño.”
Osmeña said the move to take down Marcos’ billboard was “nothing personal.”
“My own brother (Serge) is running for senator and I didn’t invite him to come,” the mayor added.
In a letter e-mailed to the mayor, Imee said: “Dear Mayor Tommy, thank you for the reminder and I have asked our supporters to take the tarp down.”
Speaking to Inquirer.net, Osmeña recalled that he ordered the removal of all political posters from the procession route on Jan. 10 and urged election candidates to refrain from politicizing the Sinulog.
“The Sinulog is a religious event. It is not an excuse to get drunk in the streets, nor is it a venue to campaign,” Osmeña said.
Culminating every third Sunday of January, the Sinulog Festival is centered on the veneration of Sto. Niño de Cebu, an image of the Child Jesus that is considered the oldest Catholic relic in the Philippines. The image was brought by explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 as a baptismal gift to Rajah Humabon and his wife.
The election period—marked by the implementation of a gun ban, tighter security measures and other prohibitions—for the May 13 midterm polls started on Jan. 13. The campaign period for national candidates, however, does not start until Feb. 12.
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