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Año blows top over Sinulog fiesta in 2 Cebu virus hot spots

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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año will issue a show cause order against barangay officials who involved in the conduct of a viral Sinulog street dance and procession in a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) hotspot in Cebu City.

Año also ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to conduct an investigation and file charges against the organizers of the said event.

“We will not tolerate any violation of our quarantine protocols. Those responsible will be made to account. Hindi din naman tayo tumitigil sa pagpapaalala na napakalaki ng (We do not stop from reminding that there is a big risk of transmission ng (of) Covid-19 sa (in) mass gathering and yet we see these kinds of activities and what makes it worse ay ang barangay na ito ay isang (is that this village is a) Covid-19 hotspot,” Año said.

“We will definitely get to the bottom of this. We have issued a show cause order against the officials who are involved in this blatant violation of the ECQ currently being implemented in Cebu City,” he added.

According to the reports reaching the DILG, hundreds of people flocked the street of Sitio Alumnos in Barangay Basak San Nicolas last June 27 to participate in a Sinulog street dance and procession in violation of the prohibition against mass gatherings.

Año said it is frustrating that despite being one of the barangays in Cebu City that has been tagged as Covid-19 hotspots, organizers of the street dance in Barangay Basak San Nicolas still went on with the parade and authorities failed to stop it.

He said this violation of health protocols placed the lives of the people there at risk.

“We need people to practice discipline. They should know better dahil ang Cebu City ang may pinakamaraming kaso, dapat sila ang mas maingat (because Cebu City has the most number of cases, they should be more careful). We have nothing against the expression of devotion but in a time of crisis, kailangan mag-isip din naman tayo. Sa ganitong mga pagsuway mas maraming buhay tayong nilalagay sa kapahamakan. Disiplina Muna! (we need to think carefully. These kinds of violation put many lives at risk. Discipline comes first!)” he said.

Barangay Basak San Nicolas was one of the 12 barangays in Cebu City placed under strict lockdown due to the high number of recorded Covid-19 cases in the city based on the report of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Included in the list are: Sambag Dos, Kamputhaw, Sambag Uno, Mabolo, Guadalupe, Lahug, Duljo, Tinago, Tisa, Ermita and Tejero.

According to the Department of Health, Cebu City has a total of 4,562 total cases as of June 28, 2020, of which 3,892 are active cases, 592 have recovered, and 78 died.

Año said the DILG is expecting to hear the explanation of the involved local leaders why no criminal and administrative cases should be filed against them while confirming that a separate investigation on 21 barangay officials and individuals is also being conducted by the CIDG.

In a Facebook post, the barangay officials denied any involvement in the said mass gathering saying that they did not authorize the conduct of the street dance and Sinulog procession but why they did not use their legal authority to stop the event from happening was not sufficiently explained.