Politicians urged not to use Fiesta Señor to elicit votes

CEBU CITY – The Agustinian friars of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, who supervise the annual Fiesta Señor in honor of the Holy Child Jesus, on Tuesday urged candidates in the upcoming midterm elections not to use the celebration as platform to court the electorate.

“Panawagan lang namo sa mga politiko nga dili gamiton ang Fiesta Señor sa pamolitika (We call the politicians to refrain from using Fiesta Señor for politicking),” Fr. Aladdin Luzon, director for peace and order cluster of the Basilica’s 2019 fiesta celebration, said.

It has been agreed among stakeholders, like the police and government agencies involved in the preparation of the celebration, that VIPs, including politicians, will not be given preference inside the Basilica, Fr. Luzon said.

“Mas maayo nga mo-join nalang sila (It would be better if they will join) with the ordinary people,” he told the media during Tuesday’s press conference at the Basilica priory.

Basilica’s prior-rector, Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr., also told the media here they welcome donations even from politicians “for as long as it comes from their heart.”

According to Fr. Nohara, the Basilica has an ongoing feeding project for this city’s street children.

He also said that they are supporting 70 students as scholars of the Agustinian community.

“We are supporting them not only in sending them to high school but up to college until they become professional,” he said.

Fr. Luzon further said that while they receive donations from different donors, including politicians, they could not be acknowledged individually.

The friars also announced Tuesday that devotees this year could not expect fireworks display after the fiesta day’s last concelebrated mass on January 20.

“Like last year, we will give the money intended for fireworks to institutions that are needing help,” said Fr. Nohara, adding that the PHP130,000 budget for the pyrotechnics last year was distributed to Marawi, Villaba town in Leyte and one charitable institution which he did not name.

Meanwhile, Fr. Nohara thanked this year’s Hermano and Hermana Mayor for helping the friars organize the Señor Santo Niño de Cebu fiesta.

University of Southern Philippines president lawyer Paulino Yabao and wife, Dioscora, were presented to media on Tuesday as the Hermano and Hermana Mayor of this year’s celebration.

Fr. Nohara noted that past Hermano and Hermana Mayores have created an organization in order to perpetuate their assistance to the Basilica. (
John Rey Saavedra/PNA-northboundasia.com