WHILE most of the contingents in yesterday’s Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan competition opted for a cultural theme, two delegates from the first district centered their performances on social issues today. Pundok Nagahunon of the City of Naga focused on the ill effects of illegal drugs on society and how repentance and forgiveness can be gained by returning to the fold. The Carcar City Division, on the other hand, showed that despite how people view authorities today, given the rise in extrajudicial killings (EJKs), they are still men of values and virtues who, too, have families. Pundok Nagahunon, whose members come from the Cepoc (Cebu Portland Cement) Elementary School, placed third in the elementary division out of five delegates. Carcar City bagged second place in the secondary division out of four contestants. Antonio Rimas, Cepoc Elementary School principal, said their victory was a blessing, considering it was their first time to join the contest. Inspiration “We’ve always instilled in our students the value of humility and offering our performance to Señor Sto. Niño. I told them to pray while dancing and give thanks for all the blessings we’ve received,” he told Sun.Star Cebu. Naga’s presentation started with a family whose father was jailed during Christmas Eve after police arrested him for being involved in illegal drugs. This gave the father time to reflect on his wrongdoings, which led him back to Sto. Niño, who helped bring the family closer. Rimas said the inspiration behind their presentation was their dancers, who were composed of Grades 4 and 6 pupils. To fully “open the public’s eyes” on how illegal drugs destroy lives and families, they decided to have it shown by children, he said. “There are many grown ups who are sadly addicted to illegal drugs. Because the youth is the hope of the nation, we can encourage each other to avoid drugs by being closer to God,” said Irish Odchigue, 11, one of Naga’s dancers. “Weakened faith” Milan Apeleña, a 17-year-old dancer from Carcar City, also wanted to encourage the youth to avoid bad influence through faith. Apeleña said the rise in EJK-related cases in the country should not be blamed on authorities, but on the people’s “weakened faith.” “If only we instill in our hearts our devotion, we can be free of bad elements. This is my fourth time joining this contest and as always, I’m offering this to Sto. Niño and I know all of the participants are doing the same. I think seeing all these young people here makes Sto. Niño happy because He, too, is a child,” he said in Cebuano. Carcar’s performance started with parents nurturing their children until the children became parents themselves. In a separate interview, Carcar City Division Schools Senior Education Program Specialist Christian Nabelca said they wanted to show a holistic concept that is present in today’s society. “The police are always mistaken for being ruthless, especially with the intensified fight against drugs. We’d like to remove that prejudice by dancing for Sto. Niño,” he said.