Sinulog ‘not proper time to discuss reconciliation’

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña may have exchanged pleasantries with his two critics, but on a busy Sinulog day, he did not have time to think about reconciliation, he said.

Besides, Osmeña said, the Sinulog grand parade and awarding ceremony are not the proper occasions to discuss his differences with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Lahug Barangay Captain Mary Ann delos Santos.

“Sinulog is Sinulog. You don’t mix politics with Sinulog. And I’m not going to abandon 5,000 to 10,000 families for the sake of reconciliation, never. And I’d like to assure these families that even if 90 percent of Cebuanos say I should abandon them, I will never abandon them,” he told reporters.

The mayor was referring to occupants of Capitol-owned lots in the city, who were supposed to benefit from the aborted land swapping between the City and the Provincial Government.

For her part, Garcia said she will continue to defend her people, in the same manner that Osmeña will defend his constituents.

“It was our responsibility as local chief executives so there is no need to be uncivil to each other,” said Garcia, who added that they are united by their being Cebuanos.

“You will always see me greet everybody, no matter how viciously one attacked me,” Garcia said.

In his news conference Tuesday, Osmeña said he was not thinking about reconciliation when he kissed Garcia on the cheek during the parade last Sunday and the awarding of Sinulog winners last Monday. He also shook hands and posed with delos Santos during the awarding.

When asked if he thought about it as a sign of reconciliation with both women, Osmeña said there was no time to think about it.

“It’s not the proper occasion to discuss things. Besides, you know where the difference lies, she made a deal and she was not willing to honor it…There’s a time and place for everything…I’m not thinking about reconciliation. I will live, survive and retire without thinking about it,” the mayor continued.

Friends and visitors from Manila and other countries kept Osmeña busy during the grand parade, including possible presidential candidate and Senator Manuel Roxas II, who he said was very impressed with the Sinulog activities.

Incentive

The mayor admitted that he invited Roxas to be his guest for the fiesta, and that he is supporting the senator’s political plans.

“To me, integrity is really important and he also has the best working knowledge of the business economy of our country. I’m also close to Loren Legarda and it’s nice if
one of them can be president but right now, I’m helping Mar because I think he needs help, let’s face it,” he continued.

Also impressed with the performance of the street cleaners after the parade, the mayor announced he will give them one sack of rice each as an incentive.

In next year’s Sinulog, Osmeña said he will send a contingent composed of street children and out-of-school youth instead of City Hall officials and employees.

He was not disappointed with the performance of the contingent, but was irked by the delays in the release of funds for the contingent’s costumes and props.

The mayor said the “mediocre” performance was expected because the contingent only had three weeks of practice, given delays in the release of funds.

“If a contingent is going to represent the City, I think money is better spent to develop the talents of the out-of-school youth and street children. We will not only be teaching them how to dance. We would also be teaching them discipline and values and to focus on something worthwhile,” Osmeña added. (LCR/JGA)

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