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Probe sought on fiesta celebration in Alumnos

Basak San Nicolas officials said they were unaware of the gathering of Sto. Niño devotees

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 28,2020 - 12:36 PM
A fiesta was reportedly organized in Barangay Basak San Nicolas last June 27, 2020 | CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A huge crowd gathered for a procession in Sitio Alumnos, Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Saturday night, June 27, 2020 | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Officials in Barangay Basak San Nicolas have ordered a probe to determine who authorized the fiesta activities in Sitio Alumnos, Saturday night, in violation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.

A huge crowd of people was gathered in the area to join the solemn foot procession and watch the Sinulog street dance presentation in honor of their patron saint, the Señor Sto. Niño.

“Karon adlawa ipatawag ang mga organizers o nagpa-siugda niini kay kini ni-violate sa ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). Gi among ang mga silingan, ang mga nituman sa balaod ug gasakripisyo na pipila ka buwan ug atong mga kaugalingon ug mga pamilya,” portions of the statement read.

(Today, we will be calling organizers of the activities because they violated the ECQ.  They placed at risk their neighbors who have religiously complied with regulations and those who have made sacrifices [not to leave their homes] for months now, our families and our selves,” said a statement which barangay officials posted on their official Facebook page.

Legal Actions

Cebu City south district Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. has condemned the gathering and has called on authorities to take appropriate legal actions against those who organized the fiesta activities.

An unauthorized Sinulog performance was held on June 27 at Sitio Alumnos, Basak San Nicolas, clearly violating ECQ protocols. This is completely unacceptable and puts everyone at risk,” Rama said.

“Kinanglan ma pa sakaan ug kaso ang tanan nag organize niining dance performance na naka patapok sa mga lumolupyo. Sa mga organizers, tungod ani sa inyong binuhatan, daghan na among,” he added.

(Cases should be filed against the organizers of the dance performance that caused the gathering of residents in the area. To the organizers, because of what you did, a lot of lives were put at risk.)

Read: It’s back to ECQ for Cebu City

Cebu City residents have been ordered to stay at home after the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) reverted the city’s status from general community quarantine (GCQ) to ECQ starting on July 16 because of the spike in cases of the coronavirus disease here.

President Rodrigo Duterte in a public address on June 15 said COVID-19 cases in Cebu City continued to rise because residents are ‘too confident and too complacent’ in the way they respond to the pandemic that has already infected over 31,000 Filipinos as of June 27.

Read: Overconfidence, complacency led to spike in COVID-19 cases in Cebu

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has also ordered the revocation of quarantine passes that were issued by City Hall to have these replaced with new ones that are already equipped with QR codes to make sure that these cannot be easily reproduced.

Read: One pass per household to be strictly implemented in Cebu City

Fiesta celebration

In defiance of the government’s anti-COVID regulations, residents of Sitio Alumnos went out of their homes Saturday night to either join the solemn foot procession or watch the Sinulog street dance.

Photos from the celebration that were posted on social media have become viral.  It also caught the attention of city officials including Councilor Rama who expressed his disgust for organizers of the celebration.

Viral photos show people crowding the streets of Sitio Alumnos while they wait for a white pickup that carried the image of the Señor Sto. Niño to pass.  Several others also joined the foot procession of the miraculous image.

Other photos show performers dressed in Filipino costumes while they danced the Sinulog.

Village officials said they were unaware of the celebration which happened in one of their sitios (sub-village).

“Walay kalabot ug wala nasayud si Kapitan Norman Navarro niining Sinulog dance sumad sa kapistahan sa Sitio Alumnos. Supak siya aning aktibidad,” they said.

(Barangay Captain Norman Navarro had nothing to do and was unaware of this Sinulog dance that was made in line with the fiesta celebration in Sitio Alumnos. In fact, he is against organizing the activity.)

“Kahibaw ta na kini alang sa Senyor Sto. Niño apan kita naglikay hilabi na nagkasaka ang kaso nato niining COVID. Bisag motuman pata sa Balaod regarding sa protocol pero kini dakong supak kay gipang-cancel tanang Festival ug patapok sa Syudad sa Sugbo ug ang mga pag attend ug misa sa simbahan,” statement added.

(We know that this was done in honor of the Señor. Sto. Niño, but we are also trying to avoid gatherings especially with the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases. Even if we observe laws and protocols in the conduct of the fiesta celebration, this is still illegal because of an existing directive for the cancellation of festivals and all forms of gatherings in Cebu including those that are held in churches.)

COVID-19 threat

Barangay officials urge their constituents to celebrate fiestas solemnly and inside the comforts of their respective homes to avoid the threat of the coronavirus disease.

”Karon panahona aduna pata sa pandemia ug kami naghinaot na kita magsinabtanay, magtinabangay ug giawhag namo inyong kooperasyon kay kitang tanan parte kita sa solusyon,” they said.

(We are still in a pandemic and we are appealing for your understanding, help and cooperation because all of us are part of the solution. )

Barangay Basak San Nicolas is among the 12 villages in Cebu City that are currently being closely monitored by city and national government officials due to its high number of active COVID-19 cases.

Data from the Cebu City Government showed that the village has 104 active COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, June 25. / dcb

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