Council okays P14.5 M aid for Sinulog prizes, finale
A total of P14.5 million in financial assistance was approved by the Cebu City Council last Friday to pay for cash prizes in the contests of the Sinulog Festival, aid to visiting contingents and a Jan. 16 Chinese-themed grand finale.
The Council's committee on laws said there was no violation of theCommission on Audit (COA) circular which prohibits local government unit (LGU) allocating aid to groups headed by local officials, employees and their relatives.
The approval of financial aid was deferred the other week over concernst that audit rules may be violated.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is the overall chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI).
Councilor Edgardo Labella, chairman of the committee on laws, said there was no conflict of interest involved since the P14.5 million won't be given to the Sinulog Foundation.
“The amount will be charged to the city government-sponsored activities account..it is intended for the cash prizes and other expenses of the Sinulog Festival,” Labella said.
Ricky Ballesteros, SFI executive director said the cash prizes were given directly to the winners.
About P6.7 million will go to winning dance contingents of the Sinulog Grand Parade, and other contests for best floats, photos, video documentaries, etc.
Also, P1.3 million was allocated for financial aid to out-of-town-contingents at P100,000 each.
Prizes for winning dance groups of the Sinulog sa Kabataan in the city and province, and aid to 40 schools that participated, amounted to P5.8 million.
Another P2.5 million will pay for the decor the Chinese pagoda-inspired stage, costumes, props, secretariat and other costs of the grand finale production.
In their letter, the SFI asked the Cebu City Government to shoulder P12 million to cover the prizes and financial assistance to contingents and P2.5 million for the Sinulog Grand Finale.
Of a P27 million overall budget for the Sinulog festival, the city government was to give P12 million as assistance while the foundation was to raise P15 million from sponsors and fund-raising activities.
Last year, the city applied for COA exemption.
Instead of waiting to secure it, the city decided not to give funds to the foundation, and instead charge the amount to city government activities from its own budget. CORRESPONDNT Fatrick Tabada
Copyright 2013 INQUIRER.net and content partners. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.