Cebu News

SFI can now collect P1.5M Capitol aid

AJ de la Torre - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) will finally be able to collect the financial assistance from the Cebu provincial government worth P1.5 million after it received reaccreditation from the Provincial Board yesterday.  

The reaccreditation, though, was approved only after much deliberation among board members because only three members of the SFI Board of Directors were present yesterday.

This was exactly the reason why reaccreditation was denied during the previous session. Last time, only four members of the SFI board were present, contrary to PB rules that majority of a group’s officers should be present during accreditation proceedings.

In the end, the PB decided to consider the certifications from SFI board members who were absent and, for the first time, made an exemption in reaccrediting a group.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, the PB’s presiding officer, anchored the exemption on a previous amendment to a provincial ordinance, which states that the PB can make an exemption for groups seeking reaccreditation as long as the groups are in good standing with the PB.

Board Member Arleigh Sitoy moved to adopt the exemption for SFI, contending that the group is not only in good standing with the PB but also with the whole province, what with its successful organizing of the Sinulog every year.

Sitoy also said the PB understands that the members of the SFI Board are prominent individuals with very busy schedules and who are difficult to pull together. He said further that an exemption would be reasonable, considering that the SFI is composed of individuals with good reputations.

It was SFI Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros who brought the certifications to the PB on behalf the other SFI officers. Only SFI executive director Ballesteros, Dakay and Dychangco were present yesterday.

The SFI is chaired by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama while the other members of the Board include Renato Dychangco, Pericles Dakay, Alfred Go, Rafaelito Barino, Enrique Benedicto, Robert Go, Augusto Go, Joseph Gaisano, Michel Lhuillier, Frederick Ong, Sabas Suarez and Barbara Tan.

Board Member Sun Shimura, chairman of PB’s Committee on Accreditation, explained that the provincial government had decided earlier to reaccredit organizations every year but the  Department of Interior and Local Government ordered that reaccreditation should be done every three years.

SFI Inc. was accredited by the Provincial Government in 2009 and since been receiving financial assistance for the Sinulog.

Ballesteros explained that they applied for a reaccreditation in 2012 but with the transition caused by the suspension of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia, their application was set aside.

SFI Secretary Renato Dychangco expressed gratitude over the exemption and reaccreditation.

“We also thank them for seeing our track record. The fact that the Board has successfully organized and managed the Sinulog for the past 35 years is a testament that we have a working board,” Dychangco said.

With the reaccreditation, SFI can now process the documents to collect the P1.5 million, which is equivalent to two years of cash assistance. In 2013, the province gave P500,000 to SFI and another P1 million this year.

On top of the P1.5 million, Dychangco said they will ask Governor Hilario Davide for additional cash aid for the upcoming celebration this January, especially that a grander Sinulog is in the works. 

The least Capitol has given SFI was P500,000 and the most was P1 million.

“The Board, through its Execom will determine (the amount to be asked). We cannot ask for so much but then again we cannot ask for so little. It has to be something that is balanced and is need-based. In all candor and sincerity, we hope that they can provide us more,” Dychangco said.—/JMO   (FREEMAN)


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