For Sinulog 2020: SFI gets no CH fund

Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) – November 20, 2019 – 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Sinulog Foundation, Inc. will not be receiving money from the Cebu City government for the Sinulog celebration next year.

This was disclosed by its former chairman, Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who said that the P35 million allotted for the festival “will be kept by the city government and somebody from the city government will be the one to personally disburse the amount.”

The matter was reportedly discussed during the hearing for the Annual Budget for 2020 proposed by Mayor Edgardo Labella on Monday.

Labella has proposed a budget of P784 million for next year, which includes the P35 million for the Sinulog.

Rama said that since 2009, the Commission on Audit allowed the city to disburse money to the foundation.  SFI, by its mandate, can solicit and receive donations.

Rama said the financial help from the city government is important as it is being used for prizes and subsidies.

While the executive department says the move is to maintain checks and balances, Rama said: “There’s no such thing as check and balance because there is no balance to the check and there is no amount to be checked. Because this P35 million will never be received by the Sinulog Foundation.”

Rama said further that as a non-government organization, SFI should not be governed like how it has remained for more than 30 years.

Rama and the SFI returned to the spotlight after Labella created the Cebu City Sinulog Governing Board.

At least three officials of the board claimed the board will serve as the regulatory body that will oversee SFI and its executive committee.

Labella clarified, however, that the board does not have any superior authority over the SFI in organizing Sinulog 2020.

Rama stepped down as chairman of SFI last October 29 after reportedly getting snubbed by the governing board in the preparations for the Sinulog in January.

Rama said SFI was created to be autonomous and independent while being aware of the fact that it cannot exist without the help of the city government.

Traditionally, the city mayor serves as the foundation’s honorary chairman.

“Though I’m no longer the chairman, as long as I am alive, I will defend the foundation… being a (Board of) Trustee and in the name of those who have been there for so long a time having the foundation operate in an autonomous manner,” Rama said. JMO (FREEMAN)



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