Financial aid for parade contingents

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) on Tuesday assured that despite the economic downturn, contingents joining the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 18 will still receive financial assistance.

As with previous years, Cebu-based contingents would receive P50,000 in assistance while out-of-town contingents who have participated in the last three Sinulog festivals would be provided P100,000 each, said Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of SFI.

Organizers expect to have around the same number of contingents this year as last year – around 52. The final list of participants will be known on Wednesday.

Four of last year’s participants, however, will not be joining this year’s Sinulog. These are from Camiguin Province, and the cities of Surigao, San Carlos and Iligan.

Contingents from these provinces explained that they did not have enough time to prepare due to the long vacation, said Ballesteros.

There were also reports of “internal conflict” among these contingents, but Ballesteros said he did not know the details.

“We don’t exactly know what their reasons are, but some of them called us up and said they did not want to bring a contingent that was not competitive. Maybe their officials had other priorities,” Ballesteros said.

But there will be several newcomers to this year's celebration. These include contingents from the towns of Tacloban City and the towns of Abuyog and Dulag, all from Leyte Province; Borongan City in Eastern Samar; and the province of Lanao del Norte.

In last year’s Sinulog, 26 contingents joined the Sinulog-Based Category and another 26 joined the Free Interpretation Category.

All out-of-town contingents will be housed at the Abellana National High School, Cebu City Central School, Labangon National High School, Zapatera National High School, Rejero Memorial School and the Cebu City Sports Center.

Cebu City government will provide out-of-town contingents with transportation from their arrival at the port to their assigned housing.

No problems were foreseen for expenditures. Ballesteros said SFI has already hit 80 percent of its target P15 million for Sinulog sponsorships, and was optimistic that the target would be reached before the festival starts.

In addition, the Cebu City government has given SFI P8 million to help defray expenses for the Sinulog, bringing the total budget for this year to P23 million.

Preparations are continuing at the Cebu City Sports Center – where the Sinulog grand finale is scheduled to be held. The Polynesian-inspired stage at the sports center is around 85 percent complete, Ballesteros said.

While preparations for the main Sinulog event on January 18 are still underway, everything is ready for the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan this Saturday and Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan this Sunday, Ballesteros said.

For the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan, 18 contingents will compete – 10 from elementary and eight from high school.

A total of 17 contingents will be competing in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan – eight from elementary and nine from high school.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is scheduled to attend the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan, Ballesteros said. (PDI)

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