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Money-making deals in Sinulog

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok - CDN Digital | January 19,2020 - 05:00 AM

It was just as well that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella immediately canceled the exclusive contract between the Sinulog Foundation Inc. SFI and MyTV because the issue was about to blow up in his face. The contract would have given the local TV station exclusive rights to broadcast live the Sinulog grand parade.

Broadcast and print media personalities were all riled up by the restrictions imposed on their respective organizations because for the past 30 years or so they have been used to a free for all coverage of the Sinulog grand parade.  There had been no media restrictions whatsoever, other than requiring them to submit a list of names of reporters and technicians involved in the coverage. This goes with asking permission from SFI or concerned officials in City Hall for broadcast outlets to set up a booth below the stage where the action takes place.

In the case of roving news reporters, it is every man for himself in a chaotic situation where everybody, not just the competition, is looking for a spot with a vantage perspective.  Full access to the venue, given the massive crowds that usually go to the grandstand to watch the grand parade, makes the work of media personnel less cumbersome and difficult. But some bright minds with practically no experience on how broadcast coverage works would like to try “new things,” never mind that restrictions impairs media’s performance of its duty.

Having sensed that a public backlash was about to fall on his administration Mayor Labella stepped in to undo the deal brokered by his own brother, Elmer “Jojo” Labella, who is SFI executive director.  Reports say the SFI exec didn’t inform the mayor about the deal, and neither was it discussed in the SFI board of trustees, according to Vice Mayor Michael Rama who sits in the board.

Well, we can’t expect the Mayor to give his brother a public dressing down especially if, so the rumor goes, he’s only acting on orders of someone who is close to Malacanang. This point man will remain invisible for as long as Mayor Labella can take it or how ably he handles issues arising from Sinulog transactions.

In the meantime, here’s another controversial SFI deal.  San Miguel Food Inc. has bought the rights for a cool P3 million to sell food products at the 6.5 kilometer Sinulog grand parade route. Not surprisingly, small and medium entrepreneurs are angry since they will be disenfranchised by the deal.  These vendors have always looked forward to the Sinulog grand parade to earn more.

In any case, had Mr. Elmer Labella presented the proposal of a broadcast contract for exclusive video coverage of the Sinulog event before the SFI board, he would have known through former SFI Chairman Michael Rama that the idea of generating revenues through media sponsorship can be achieved without necessarily entering into an exclusive contract with one media entity.   

Since 2004, SFI has worked with Cebu Catholic TV Network CCTN Channel 47 as the foundation’s “official broadcast station” covering the Sinulog grand parade.

The deal is pretty simple.  In exchange for the “official TV station” tag, CCTN covers live the Sinulog grand parade from start to finish.  In between the broadcast, the station airs ads of SFI’s corporate sponsors.  The ads are part of the package given to major sponsors who are also acknowledged in live events and other media collaterals like billboards/tarpaulins, flyers, etc.

CCTN Ch 47 does not only air the commercials but also does live credit mention in between commercial breaks.  The station does not get a single centavo out of the income derived by SFI from this collaborative effort except for bragging rights that boosted the station’s local ad sales.

Such has been the arrangement for the last 16 years, so to say that media coverage has not generated funds for SFI is totally false. The statement is hurtful because it belittles media’s contribution to the collective endeavor of putting Sinulog in the global map. It is a gargantuan effort and by pegging the value at P800K makes it even more painful.   

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Congratulations are in order for Monsignor Agustin “Tingting” Ancajas on the inauguration of the Blessed Diego Sanvitores Hall in the San Pedro Calungsod chapel in South Road Properties SRP.

Nyor Tingting, as he is fondly called, is the main priest in the lovely chapel.  He is also the executive director of the Il Signore Theater Company 2021 and is probably the only playwright producing Catholic plays in Cebuano.  He has been producing a number of one-act plays for at least 10 years now racking up a dozen or more one-act plays that are popular for its humor, good acting, relevance and solid Catholic values.

Having been trained in London, Nyor Tingting is able to integrate professional theatre with “organic” or local culture which makes his production accessible to all, young and old.   

The inauguration was an intimate affair attended by Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, friends, fellow clerics and supporters.  Cebu Archbishop Palma blessed the new theater hall, actually a modest space below the chapel but as Nyor Tingting explained before he raised the curtains for the opening play, he wants his audience to view the performance from a “private box” sort of, and experience the whole gamut of emotions played out by the actors.

I had the pleasure of watching, “Todos Los Santos,” a dramatic play laced with humor.  I heard Archbishop Palma sat through all three plays.

As its offering to the feast of the Santo Nino, the Il Signore Theater Company 2021 will present three one act plays on January 20 and 21, 7:30 PM at the Diego Sanvitores Hall in the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel. The stage plays will be open to the public for free.

For breaking new ground in evangelization via Cebuano theater, Nyor Tingting deserves all the applause and support.

Pit Senyor!

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