Omega de Salonera in joining Sinulog 2024: Uncertain

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 15,2023 - 04:19 PM

The golden eagle that Omedga de Salonera used in its performance for the Free Interpretation category in Sunday's Sinulog. | SFI photo

The golden eagle that Omega de Salonera used in its performance for the Free Interpretation category in Sunday’s Sinulog in January 2023. | SFI photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Omega de Salonera, the Sinulog 2023 winner of the free interpretation category, might have difficulties in joining next year’s Sinulog competition.

“Bisan pa’g gustohon nila, di gyud sila kaapil kay other factors might constrain them from joining,” said Neil Odchigue, chief tourism operations officer of Cebu City.

(Even if they like to join, they could still not join because of other factors that might constrain them from joining.)

Omega de Salonera issue tackled

In a news forum on Tuesday, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Elmer “Jojo” Labella, together with Odchigue and Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, shared to the members of Cebu media on the initial preparations for the Sinulog.

Among the concerns asked was the possibility of the Omega de Salonera attending next year’s competition.

Salonera was the group associated with the Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) based in Socorro town in Surigao del Norte, and was the subject of a Senate investigation over alleged cult practices, including child marriage and rape.

Labella said that Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama had already made his decision on the future of the Salonera.

To recall, last September 2023, Rama said if the court’s decision would not be favorable to the group, this would mean that Cebu City would not be making Salonera worthy of joining the competition.

READ: Cebu City considers banning Omega de Salonera from Sinulog over cult allegations

‘Senor Agila’ arrested

Recently, on November 7, the alleged cult leader and SBSI head Jey Rence Quilario, notably known as “Senor Aguila” along with 12 other members were arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by acting Presiding Judge Ambrosio Moleta of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 31 in Dapa town for eight counts of qualified trafficking in persons under Republic Act No. 9208.

With this, Labella said that no one could change the court’s decision against Senor Aguila as well as the Salonera group in general.

“We cannot really allow that to happen nga ing ani diay ni ilang grupo unya ato gihapong paapilon?,” Labella said.

(We cannot really allow that to happen that this is the kind of group they are and they we would still allow them to join?)

Why they could not join

Meanwhile, on Odchigue’s part, he said that staging a contingent to perform in the Sinulog competition would entail resources and logistics.

“And with this present state now of this organization, respectfully, based on our personal conservative assessment, it would be very hard for them, ibutang ta lang gusto gyud sila moparticipate (let’s just say that they would like to participate), why? Because the local government units are already acting against them and so on,” Odchigue said.

Odchigue acknowledged that it would be tough for the group to insist on joining the competition as he observed.

“Bisan pa’g gustohon nila, di gyud sila kaapil kay other factors might constrain them from joining,” Odchigue said.

(Even if they would like to, they could not join because other factors might constrain them from joining. )

CDN Digital has already reached out to Rama to give his final decision on this matter but he is yet to respond as of writing. | / with reports from Max Limpag and

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TAGS: Omega de Salonera, Sinulog 2024, Sinulog Foundation Inc., Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI)

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