Following a public clamor and opposition from the Cebu Medical Society Inc., this year’s “physical activities” during the Sinulog festival in the central Philippines have been cancelled.
Street performances and competitions will be held under “new normal” guidelines, organizers said.
“(The organizers) decided to cancel the actual and physical street dance and ritual showdown competitions,” read a statement from the Sinulog Foundation Inc. on January 7.
The competitions were supposed to start on January 17.
The organizers said they they will release new guidelines on how the annual Sinulog Grand Showdown and Street Dancing competitions will be done without violating health protocols.
“All participants will now stay where they are. Their ritual performances and judging will be recorded,” read the organizers’ statement.
Contingents from different cities are advised to follow minimum health protocols before their performances, including the wearing a masks, and to maintain a minimum of six feet distance from each other during performances.
Only 22 local contingents will compete in this year’s “virtual” Sinulog Grand Ritual Showdown.
In a statement earlier, the Cebu Medical Society opposed the conduct of Sinulog activities that will entail “mass gatherings.”
“Sinulog is a convergence of humanity — of spectators and performers,” read the group’s statement. “These forms of mass gatherings pose a high risk of COVID transmission,” it added.
“It is our firm belief that public health and safety should be of utmost priority,” said the medical practitioners.
“We strongly oppose the holding of the Sinulog 2021 and other related activities,” they said. They appealed to the public to stay home and observe standard precautionary measures.