Cebu News

In lieu of Miss Cebu: Tomas to make Sinulog Festival Queen grander

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he will not consider holding Miss Cebu sooner, saying it would not bring in tourists unlike the Sinulog Festival Queen.

In lieu of Miss Cebu, Osmeña vowed to make the Sinulog Festival Queen grander compared to the previous years. He believes that it will bring in more tourists to the city.

Osmeña said he cannot afford to spend another P4 million for the pageant which is only for the "rich and elitist."

The mayor said the city government spent about P4 million, not P200,000 as earlier reported, from the city's coffer during this year's 32nd Miss Cebu pageant.

"So we are wasting about four million pesos. Are we going to continue wasting four million pesos because we are used to waste four million?" he said.

Osmeña said the pageant is too "elitist" and the masses cannot enjoy the pageant.

"But I can tell you that this is my sixth term as mayor. In the five terms as mayor, I have never met a single person who said he came to Cebu because of Miss Cebu. Not even once.  I just think about it," he said.

He, however, said it would be fine if private sectors would spend for the event.

"So, if Ayala wants to spend for it fine. If Aboitiz wants to spend for it fine. But would we use the people's money so that the rich will be happy?" Osmeña said.

Osmeña said he will make the Sinulog Festival Queen as the main event before the Sinulog Grand Parade. He is eyeing to give a grand price of P1 million for the Sinulog Festival Queen since it brings prestige to the Province of Cebu, as well.

Osmeña recalled that it was him who pushed for the Sinulog Festival Queen.

"But right now, I'm not thinking on spending. I'm thinking of saving and right now, it's not worth it," he said.

He said he will also evaluate the expenses of the city, saying there is a group that is allegedly making money and not the city government.

"What I'm trying to say is that we are here to provide service to Cebuanos. So at some point if it's not worth it, it's not worth it. We need to change. Just because it's always been there does not mean we should keep it there. Sorry," Osmeña said.

Councilor Margarita "Margot" Osmeña, wife of Tomas, said she was already told by her husband of the cancellation of the Miss Cebu.

Margot said she does not see any improvements of the pageant year after year.

"Attendance has gone down. It doesn't get better. There are no changes," she said, saying that only those who can afford can go to prestigious hotels where the pageant is holding.

She agreed with her husband, saying the pageant is not a "come on" to tourists. When sought for comment, former Cebu City Tourism Commissioner Jaja Chiongbian-Rama said the purpose of Miss Cebu was to promote tourism of the city.

"Miss Cebu has been there for 32 years and when it started, its primary purpose was to promote tourism. If that's the Mayor's decision, I have no comment," she said.

Shorter Sinulog

Meanwhile, the mayor said the Sinulog Grand Parade will still be held in Cebu City Sports Center, contrary to earlier pronouncement of former mayor Michael Rama.

Osmeña said the city government cannot transfer the event just like that.

With this, he vowed to make Sinulog 2017 better than the previous years. He said he tried transferring the event in the North Reclamation Area sometime in 1991.

"Actually I tried to transfer it for one year in the NRA. There are all there where the grandstand is and others where they're marching, way tao pwerteng inita," he said, adding that the city tried many combinations before but it was not effective.

For the Sinulog 2017, Osmeña said he wants to shorten the program and to lessen the contingents. He said he is eyeing to end the event at 4:30 p.m., and not the usual 9 p.m., wherein partygoers would go out in the city streets.

By ending the program early, he said the problems on traffic and peace and order will be minimized.

"Peace and order is a problem. It gets rowdy at times. But believe me it if ends at 4:30 it will not. And the year after that maybe we will make it at 5 p.m. hangyo. But right now we'll see what happens," he said.   (FREEMAN)


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