Sinulog launching a ‘must-see’ event - Cebu Circle | Cebu City, Philippines

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sinulog launching a ‘must-see’ event

All systems go for the launching of the Sinulog festivities this Friday.
Ricky Ballesteros, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director, described the launching on Jan. 8 as a “must-see event.”
Since it will be the festival’s 30th anniversary, the theme for Sinulog 2010 will be “Cebu, Then and Now,” wherein the celebration will revolve around the history of Cebu, from prehistoric times to modern Cebu. The participants will be in Filipiñana attires.
But Cebuanos should look forward to the first “Sinulog Idol,” a singing competition open to 12 contestants, aged 5 to 25 years old and residents of Cebu.
A possible highlight was the rumored participation of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos.
Radio station dyAB reported yesterday that Santos may join the contingent from barangay Basak-Pardo.
Basak-Pardo barangay captain Dave Tumulak said he would have to ask permission from the SFI about this.
Ballesteros, however, said anyone could join the grand parade as long as they were dancing with a contingent.
He added the foundation would not invite politicians to the festivities, but would not prevent them from joining in the celebrations.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he might invite his brother, Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III who is running for senator as an independent candidate.
He also said that if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attends, she should be treated well.
The preparations for this year’s Sinulog festivities would not be hampered even if the city government had yet to get an exemption from the Commission on Audit circular that prohibits local government units and government agencies from providing financial assistance to people’s organizations and non-government organizations that have, as any of its incorporators, organizers, directors or officials, an agent or official of the government or anyone related to such a government employee by consanguinity or affinity to the fourth civil degree.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama is chairman of the SFI as well as presiding officer of the City Council that appropriated the funds for the SFI. Former vice mayor Renato Osmeña is SFI vice chairman whose son is Councilor Richard Osmeña.
But Rama remains optimistic that the COA would grant another exemption to the city government.
“Sinulog will proceed as planned. Señor Sto. Niño will solve the problem,” he added.
The COA circular was issued in late 2008, which would have posed a problem for Sinulog 2009.
But City Hall asked COA to exempt the city government from the COA circular especially that the preparations for the Sinulog 2009 were already underway. The COA granted the exemption for that year but made it clear that as a rule, it does not grant exemptions.
But with Rama still at the head of the foundation this year, the city is prevented from donating the P12.5 million that it has allocated for the festivities.
But Rama said he was confident that the COA would issue another exemption this year.
Rama said he would fly to Manila this week to talk to COA officials.
(Cebu Daily News)

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