SRP as Sinulog venue still widely opposed

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

The venue of the Sinulog in 2024 continues to be a subject of heated debates.

There is widespread public opposition to its holding in the South Road Properties (SRP). The only place you can hear no voice of dissent in this regard is the City Hall. Even officials from the province, such as the mayors, are firm that their constituents will continue to face risks if the venue is still the SRP. In fact, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia offered ?20 million as a donation, provided that the venue is not the SRP.

From all indications, Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama has not budged. Perhaps still buoyed by the fact that last year’s Sinulog at SRP did not meet significant setbacks, the mayor sees no reason to return the Sinulog to the streets of the city proper. But there is one thing that Rama conveniently forgot. And it’s the fact that good weather cooperated last time. Had it rained heavily, the consequence would have been ugly, if not disastrous.

It is not enough to say that let us just pray that it will not rain, because part of being a good leader is also to consider the fact that it might rain.

Many people are not convinced of the change of venue --from the city streets to SRP-- because there is simply no practical reason presented. Going to SRP to watch the Sinulog dance presentation is not a joke; in fact, it’s a nightmare for many, and that is whether it rains or not.

The mayor should not take criticisms personally by saying that those who want to help should just help and not impose their wishes.

Recall that there was no festive mood in the streets of Cebu City last year because the ritual showdown was held in the SRP. It looked like an ordinary day.

I doubt that the idea of a change of venue is attractive to tourists, local or international. It requires them to walk too far from their hotels to the venue. The truth is that the idea is not attractive to young and old people. That City Hall insists on it raises more questions answers.

One of the questions is: How much was spent last year just to prepare the venue? The next question is: How much is to be spent again, this time in the name of preparation of the venue?

One can only surmise that putting SRP on the map has motivated the mayor to bring Sinulog there. It is so that the whole world will know that the SRP exists. Unfortunately, there are other compelling reasons that businessmen consider before they invest, not least of which are peace and order and less graft and corruption.

I’m afraid the decision to change the venue has nothing to do with political will, for it does not serve the public interest by any stretch of the imagination. One sure sign of political will is for the mayor to finally give flesh to his plan to run after business establishments that have not complied with the three-meter river easement. His usual invocation of the phrase “no sacred cow” remains empty these days. And 2025, an election year, is fast approaching.

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