Cebu City considers banning Omega de Salonera from Sinulog over cult allegations
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government will consider banning or even blacklisting the Omega de Salonera from joining the Sinulog Festival, said Mayor Michael Rama.
Omega de Salonera is the biggest winner in this year’s Sinulog Festival, which is held to honor the Señor Santo Niño de Cebu. It won the grand prize as well as the Free Interpretation and Street Dancing awards, taking home millions in prizes.
Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated
The dancing contingent is connected to the Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) based in Socorro town in Surigao del Norte. The group is the subject of a Senate investigation over alleged cult practices, including child marriage and rape.
“We are not oblivious and we should not be insensitive,” Rama said in a phone interview on Friday. “We will monitor and if the conclusion leads to banning and blacklisting, then we will let go of the ‘Sword of Damocles’.”
Cebu City Mayor: Salonera’s win stays
But when asked whether the city would consider revoking the win of Omega de Salonera, Rama said no, adding that actions should only be “prospective.” Rama sits as the chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. board.
Omega de Salonera’s dazzling Sinulog performance last January was highlighted by its finale when the lead dancer performed astride a giant mechanical golden eagle. The eagle figures prominently in their dance performance as it does in the SBSI community.
SBSI President Jay Rence Quilario prefers to be called by his title “Senior Agila,” based on several news articles in Cebu about the group. He and other leaders of the group were detained after the Senate cited them in contempt.
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