EDITORIAL - Let Sinulog become a poll issue this year

The Freeman

The problem with the proposal of Mayor Michael Rama to move the Sinulog from its present site to the north reclamation area is that he may no longer be around to effect the change he envisions. Rama is standing for reelection in May this year. There is no problem if he wins. But if he loses, there is more than just an off chance that his plan will never see the light of day.

You see, there is this little thing called jealousy among politicians. A politician seeing through the plan of another is a rare thing. A politician finishing the project of another is unheard of. Losing grip on power is not merely a personal setback. It sets back as well any plan or project that tends to lend credit to one who no longer calls the shots.

Realistically, therefore, the proposal to move the Sinulog to the north reclamation area may not be decided on the merits of such a proposal but on the outcome of the May 2016 elections. To be sure, nobody has asked Rama's opponent, former mayor Tomas Osmeña, for his reaction to the proposal. But it is fair to presume he will be rejecting it.

It might then be well to introduce the question of relocating the Sinulog to the public debate on who makes for a better mayor between the two protagonists. In face of the growing number of unsavory incidents associated with the Sinulog and the increasingly bad rap the festival is getting as a result, inclusion of the Sinulog in the policy agenda of the next mayor has become imperative.

In fact, regardless of whether the Sinulog is relocated or kept at its present site, the time has really come to take a long hard look at the festival and how it is being conducted. Is it still in the best interest of Cebu City to keep the Sinulog the way it is now or is there a need to introduce some really drastic changes? Obviously, any change other than just the venue will have to entail some changes in the character of the festival. Will the city be willing to make such changes?

More than that, will either Rama or Osmeña have the political will to make such changes? Cebu City cannot afford to lose the Sinulog. Its economic and cultural importance has become too great for Cebu City to simply leave to chance. Achieving a safe and viable future for the Sinulog must be part of the objectives of the next administration regardless of whose it might be.

The important thing is that the next mayor has but less than a year to hit the ground running before the festival comes around again. The next mayor can't wait until something really bad happens. So far, luck has been on the side of the Sinulog. No real tragedy has managed to mar the festival despite the increasing rowdiness and hooliganism that have started to become the ugly side of its character. Let the next mayor not wait for bad luck to devour one of the few good things we have.












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