Young wants age limit for Sinulog dancers

Posted on February 2, 2012


Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young is studying the possibility of proposing an ordinance that will put an age limit on Sinulog dance contest participants.

He said he doesn’t want elementary and high school students joining the Sinulog sa Kabataan annual contest anymore because the lengthy dance practices interfere with their academic studies.

Young said partticipation in the Sinulog competition for public schools was one reason for their low rating in the National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT) and the National Achievement Test (NAT).

“I think we can legislate to put an age limit for Sinulog participants so only high school graduates can join the Sinulog,” he said.

A consolidated NEAT report shows that top winners in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan elementary division ranked low in the annual exams given in March.

Talamban Elementary School for example, which won the grand prize in the 2011 Sinulog sa Kabataan, ranked 51 among elementary schools that took the exam.

Mabolo Elementary School, the second placer in the Sinulog sa Kabataan, ranked 39 in the NEAT.

In the high school division, Abellana National High School, a consistent Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan grand prize winner, ranked eighth in the NAT while the Sinulog second placer, Don Sergio Memorial National High School, is in the 22nd spot.

“ It’s not just the children who join the Sinulog who are affected. Others are dragged in because the noise of the drums during practice also disturbs those who are not dancers,” said Young.

The vice mayor said teachers also leave their classes to assist in Sinulog rehearsals. A contingent, Young said, needs at least 10 teachers to take care of the children and their props.

Parents are also made to solicit funds for the props and costumes of dancers.

“Parents who are not able to solicit spend their own money,” said Young.

As chairman of the council’s education committee, Young said, that he had been giving memos to all public school principals and teachers to refrain from holding their Sinulog practices during class hours.

But Young said the faculty continued to defy his memo, and since he didn’t have any disciplinary power over them, he could only appeal hold their Sinulog practices after class hours.

Young said that lack of focus in their studies is a major consideration in the students’ low ranking in the NEAT and the NAT, “but, of course, there are also others factors”.

If he were to have his way, Young said he already wanted the annual Sinulog sa Kabataan, a contest among public schools in Cebu city and province, stopped.

He said he knew his proposal would not get the support of Mayor Michael Rama, who heads the Sinulog Foundation.

Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros said in an earlier interview that the Sinulog celebration would not be complete without children dancing to show their devotion to the Sto. Niño. /By Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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