Sinulog contingents seek refund for expenses
CEBU CITY –– Some Sinulog contingents are seeking a refund from the Cebu City government for the expenses they incurred while preparing for the festival that was canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain Norman Navarro of the multi-awarded Lumad Basakanon contingent said he spent at least P100,000 for the costumes and props of the group and paid the artists and choreographers.
He also spent on the face masks used by the participants during practice.
Navarro said he spent around P100,000 for the contingent that added another feather to its cap by winning the Free Interpretation category in last year’s Sinulog.
He said he also had to spend money to provide participants face masks as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19.
Lumad Basakanon had been named grand champion six times in the Free Interpretation category – 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014, and 2020.
San Nicolas Proper Barangay Captain Clifford Niñal, for his part, said he also spent more than P100,000 for their contingent.
He said he took out a loan to pay for the participants’ costumes and props, and to provide a bus to fetch them from and to their houses during practices.
Sought for comment, Mayor Edgardo Labella promised to provide financial aid to each contingent that was supposed to compete in the Sinulog ritual showdown on Jan. 17.
The subsidy, he said, would be taken from the city-sponsored activities of the 2021 budget.
The city government had been providing cash subsidies to Sinulog contingents every year.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who was on top of the preparations for the Sinulog 2021, said the contingents would receive P150,000 as payment for expenses incurred in preparation for the Sinulog.
Each would also receive another P150,000 in April if they would perform on the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
At least 22 contingents were supposed to compete in the ritual showdown on Sunday, Jan. 17.
But the city government decided last week to cancel the Sinulog, one of the largest and grandest festivals in the country, for the first time in its 41-year history out of fear that it might trigger yet another surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in this city.
The festival in honor of the Sto. Niño, or the Holy Child Jesus, would usually draw millions of people from other parts of the country and abroad.
Rama said the city would ask the Archdiocese of Cebu to allow the Sinulog participants to present during the year-long celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity scheduled in April so the ritual dances would not be wasted.
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