Duterte begs off invite for Sinulog
CEBU, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has turned down the invitation of the Cebu City government to attend the Sinulog celebration next week because of prior commitments.
In a press conference yesterday, City Councilor David Tumulak said the City’s Public Information Office has received communication from presidential staff officer Rosbert Serona Jr. saying that the president has tight schedule and other prior engagements.
“May we respectfully inform your office that the President will not be able to attend the said event due to his tight schedule and in view of the engagements that require his utmost attention,” read a portion of the message of Serona to City’s Information Officer Mary Luz Tabar.
Tumulak, being the chairperson of the Sinulog Foundation Inc.-Executive Committee, said he sent the invitation to the Office of the President last December. He said he asked Tabar to follow-up his invitation.
Last Tuesday afternoon, Tumulak said Serona from the Office of the Appointments Secretary of the Office of the President responded to the communication of Tabar.
“Karong umaabot nga ka pistahan, mag expect ta nga wala atong presidente (We expect that the president is not coming for the fiesta),” Tumulak said.
Although the president is not coming, the security preparations will still be as tight. Tumulak asked the public to comply with the security procedures of the Philippine National Police.
DO NOT CAMPAIGN
Tumulak reiterated the call for all politicians, himself included, to avoid campaigning during the Sinulog Grand Parade. As of yesterday, four senatorial candidates have informed the city that they are attending the event.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña, overall chairman of the festival, has yet to approve the request of the candidates.
Meanwhile, telecommunication companies have assured the city government that they will install mobile relay stations or cellsites to ensure better mobile signal amid the recommendation of the police to shut down signal for security reason.
He said the move was initiated by the telcos in anticipation of the throng of people who will attend the novena Mass, procession, and other religious and cultural events of Sinulog.
“By the time nga ang National Telecommunication Commission ug Philippine National Police mo-declare nga shutdown, ma-shutdown tanan,” he explained.
While the Church discouraged people to take selfies during Masses, Tumulak urged the public to take photos for security purposes and to promote the festival.
He said that documentation of the people within the area might be of help for security matters.
“From Sinulog parade route, upload tanang activities, pwede live. This is one of the preemptive measures part sa atong security kay makakita ta’s tao nga naa sa area,” he said.
Aid to PNP
Tumulak also said that the P400,000 allowance for the police rendering Sinulog duties is now being processed.
“On process na ilang financial assistance sa City Budget (Office) to support PNP. Previous PNP heads wala mangayo but now ang city mi offer P400,000. Hangyo lang sa city sa PNP nga huwaton lang. Once ma-okey ang cheke, atong i-release (The city budget office is now processing the financial assistance for the police. Although the previous PNP officials did not ask, this year the city has offered P400,000. The city is requesting the PNP to just wait, once the check is okey, we will release it),” he told reporters.
Thousands of workers, entertainers, judges, law enforcers, and support groups are also expected to receive honoraria from the city government. Tumulak said each volunteer will get P150 as honoraria.
“The Sinulog Foundation Inc. has requested the Cebu City Government to allocate funds to help finance the payment of honorarium for those who rendered services during the preparation and actual conduct of the Sinulog 2019,” read a resolution approved by the City Council last Tuesday.
The city government has allocated P35 million for the cultural, tourism, and social aspect of Sinulog under the City Sponsored Activities this year.
The P30 million will be used for the prizes and subsidies of the 24 competing contingents. — FPL (FREEMAN)