By Corina Oliquinoi FilAm Star Correspondent
CEBU CITY – Mayor Tomas “Tommy” Osmeña last January 18 ordered taken down a Sinulog theme tarpaulin of Ilocos Norte Governor and Senatorial aspirant Imee Marcos along General Maxilom Avenue at Barangay Carreta.
In his Facebook post, which he also attached a photo of the said tarpaulin, Osmeña said he is doing Marcos a favor by taking it down, writing “Cebuanos do not appreciate the politization of the Sinulog.”
“This won’t be earning you any votes and is doing you more harm than good. Nothing personal. My own brother is running for senator and I didn’t invite him to come,” he added.
The City Mayor was referring to senatorial candidate Sergio Osmeña III, clarifying that election candidates can attend the festivals as participants only and that they should not upstage the Santo Niño celebration.
“It is not an excuse to get drunk in the streets, nor is it a venue to campaign,” Mayor Osmeña said of the religious event.
“National candidates like anyone else are welcome to join in the celebration, but they will not be speaking nor will they be grandstanding on stage. The only star of the Sinulog is the Sto. Niño,” Osmeña added.
In a report by Rappler, the Cebu City Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhance (Probe) team is patrolling the parade route and is under orders to remove any Sinulog theme political tarpaulins.
No VIP treatment in Sinulog
In another report by The Philippine Star, Cebu’s The Freeman, Director for Safety, Security, Peace and Order Rev. Fr. Aladdin Luzon, OSA, said politicians running or not in the mid-term elections will be treated like ordinary citizens “as agreed upon by the Philippine National Police and other government agencies following January 19’s inter-agency press conference.
“Let us join together with the ordinary people in worshipping our Sto. Niño,” he said, also urging Sinulog revelers to follow security and traffic protocols to achieve a peaceful and orderly Sinulog celebration.
Cebu City Police Office Director Senior Supt. Royina Garma, on the other hand, said politicians will not be given special lanes, advising them to follow the designated entrance and exit points.
“If there are very important persons (VIPs), we will refer them to the presidential security guards, so just follow the rules,” she said.