Cancel Sinulog, 3,000 docs, medical professionals appeal to Cebu City gov’t | Inquirer News

Cancel Sinulog, 3,000 docs, medical professionals appeal to Cebu City gov’t

CEBU CITY–A group of more than 3,000 doctors and medical professionals is appealing to the city government to drop plans to hold events that would draw crowds for the Sinulog Festival on Jan. 17.

While the number of COVID-19 cases in the city had gone down in recent months, Cebu Medical Society (CMS) said people should not be lulled into complacence because the virus is still around.

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“Sinulog is a convergence of both spectators and performers,” said Dr. Minnie Monteclaro, CMS president, in a statement.

“These forms of mass gatherings pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission,” she said.

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“We are perturbed with the decision to continue with the preparations and scheduled activities in relation to the Sinulog 2021,” Monteclaro added.

“It is our firm belief that public health and safety should be of utmost priority,” the CMS statement said.

“Therefore, we strongly oppose the holding of the Sinulog 2021 and other related activities. We further make this appeal to the public to please stay at home and observe standard precautionary measures,” it added.

Doctors, she said, would remain steadfast in heeding their guiding principles and in the oaths they took—to devote themselves to the welfare of people in their care and heed laws in applying medical knowledge to promote health and public safety.

“However, we must also emphasize that surviving this pandemic would be a collective and collaborative responsibility of the health care professionals, government authorities and the responsible citizens of Cebu City acting and uniting as one,” Monteclaro said.

The CMS statement was signed by 15 different groups under it.

Top city police officials recently expressed concern and opposition to holding one of the grandest festivals in the country amid the pandemic.

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Lt. Col. Glenn Mayam, chief of the Operation Management Division of the Central Visayas police, said police were surprised to learn from media reports that the city government was preparing to hold the Sinulog dance showdown on Jan. 17.

In a meeting last November, Mayam said the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force in Central Visayas (RIATF) made it clear that Sinulog would be cancelled this year because of the pandemic.

Lawyer Ian Kenneth Lucero, officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Cebu City and head of the RIATF secretariat, said the task force has yet to receive an official recommendation by police to cancel the festivity.

“Once we receive the recommendation, the RIATF will convene to decide on the matter as a body,” Lucero said. “The decision will not come from a single agency but from the body,” he said in an interview.

In an interview on Tuesday (Jan. 5), Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who was appointed by the mayor to lead Sinulog preparations, appealed to the RIATF to help the city government enforce health protocols during the festivity instead of cancelling Sinulog altogether.

“What we need now is help, not calling the festival off,” Rama said.

Rama said the Jan. 17 showdown would be held on a parking lot of a mall on South Road Properties which was more than 4 km from where it is usually held in downtown Cebu City.

He said the program would be “99 percent virtual,” or online, to prevent mass gatherings.

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TAGS: appeal, Cebu City, contagion, COVID-19, Doctors, festivity, Health, medical group, pandemic, Police, Regions, Sinulog, transmission
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