Sinulog not for sale
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - January 18, 2020 - 12:00am

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. is currently under hot water after certain exclusive contracts came to the surface. First was the on-air rights which were sold to MyTV, a cable network. It was unusual, that after 40 years only a certain TV network would be allowed to air the performances inside the Cebu City Sports Center. Well, we are glad that was over after Cebu City mayor Labella revoked the contract between MyTV and SFI.

What is sparking now, the issue of exclusivity on the food that is to be sold on Grand Parade day. The foundation allegedly sold off exclusive rights again to San Miguel Foods Corp. that they will be the only ones to sell food along the Sinulog route. This means everything that we used to see during the Sinulog day that is supposedly for sale to eat, will not be seen this year.

The local food community is reaching out again to Labella to do something to correct this. Of course, we hold on to the belief that Sinulog is for everybody. This won’t work if there is exclusivity to certain groups and individuals. Labella in a press conference yesterday, said that he will not allow it and will look again into the contract that was signed between the two parties.

But before all this, who is really responsible for the exclusivity? It is hard to point fingers now that the Sinulog is already approaching; tomorrow to be exact. It is just so hard to comprehend why the need to sell certain rights. Does the foundation really need funds that bad, that they are resorting to commercializing the Sinulog?

As far as I can remember, the festival is by everybody and for everybody. This is the chance for the Cebuanos to welcome guests from other provinces and countries, showing off what they can offer. It is the biggest and the grandest festival there is, known all over the world for its rich culture and devout pilgrims. We are throwing away our good image with the face of exclusivity drawn all over.

I'm not so sure how the contract with the food will go about, especially with the time element. But I hope local entrepreneurs will not give up, and show their sign of protest to this mad action. We should not forget that this is the time for everyone to show the world what we have, and an opportunity to earn money.

My fingers are crossed for the foundation as they step into several days’ worth of critiques. It will not stop as the Sinulog ends, more people will question their motive and their intent as they sort out money issues. Let us also not forget that some tickets for the Cebu City Sports Center remain unsold. Is there something wrong with the current management? Or has there been too many heads talking at the same time? We cannot solve this when we are all hotheaded. I only hope that their decisions are guided by their conscience and their faith in the Santo Niño.

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