By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
ILOILO Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), the new organizer of the Dinagyang Festival 2020, cannot receive government funds yet due to accreditation problems.
Iloilo City Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo raised the point when they discussed the accreditation of IFFI during their regular session on Tuesday.
Peñaredondo said IFFI cannot receive government funds for the hosting of the festival because it has yet to be accredited as a civil society organization (CSO).
The IFFI is a group of business leaders that was tapped to organize the Dinagyang vice the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc.
Peñaredondo said IFFI failed to meet some of the requirements set by the Local Government Code of the Philippines and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the accreditation of CSO.
“It does not follow the guidelines set by the Local Government Code and the new guidelines on accreditation issued by the DILG known as Memorandum Circular 2019-72 dated May 22, 2019,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
For an organization to be accredited, Peñaredondo explained it should have at least existed for one year and must have submitted its financial record to the local government through the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).
The senior councilor said they will risk criminal charges if they accredit IFFI which will allow it to receive and spend funds from the City government in preparation for the Dinagyang Festival.
“It is impossible to accredit it otherwise we will all be made liable criminally for violating the local government code under DILG Memorandum Circular,” he said.
While the organization can still exist without an accreditation and help the city government on the staging of the Dinagyang Festival, Peñaredondo reiterated that funding on the unaccredited organization is prohibited.
He emphasized that the money of the city government should only be transferred to an accredited organization that is credible and has a track record.
“They can help the city of Iloilo in whatever the undertaking of the city of Iloilo can have and they wish to join also but as to the funding of this organization, it is prohibited. Money can never be released in the name of this organization,” he said.
In the same way, an unaccredited organization cannot receive or cannot be recipient of any donation whether locally or internationally, Peñaredondo added.
In a press conference on Monday, Mayor Jerry Treñas said that the city government has allotted a P25-million budget for the festival.
The IFFI pledged to raise another P25 million to fund the festival.
Treñas announced the first P15 million will be released to the IFFI between October and December this year and another P10 million to be released next year.
In another interview on Tuesday, the mayor said that he already coordinated with the IFFI.
“Under sa City Council, I was told nga may mga requirements for accreditation na kailangan isubmit, I have already coordinated with the IFFI and they said they said they will see Councilor Rommel Duron para ma-submit naina,” he said.
The mayor clarified that the city government will be the one to directly disburse funds to the participating schools.
“Ang aton nga paghatag sa Dinagyang assistance direkta sa school and sa mga activities. The foundation will not receive any funds from the city,” he said.
The accreditation issue has become a thorn on the side of Treñas as he is facing criminal and administrative charges for releasing government funds to the Iloilo Press Club, which lacked accreditation, several years ago.
Peñaredondo said IFFI should instead forge a joint undertaking with an existing accredited organization within the city of Iloilo so it can properly operate and organize Dinagyang.
IFFI, which is headed by businessmen Rito Carlos Peña as chairman and vice chairman and Felipe Uygongco replaced long-time festival organizer Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI).
IFFI’s application for accreditation was referred to the Committee on Rules during the council’s regular session on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Peñaredondo said IDFI also applied for its accreditation as a civic organization.
“Their application is still pending because they have just submitted their application for accreditation,” he noted.