‘No seminar fees’-A A +A
Thursday, September 19, 2013
A PRIVATE group has been collecting registration fees for a seminar that the Cebu City Government or city hall (CH) gives for free.
The seminar, which is about crafting an environment sustainability action plan (Esap), needs to be attended by anyone who needs to get or renew a business or mayor’s permit.
The seminar is free, but Councilor Nida Cabrera said she has been getting complaints from business owners about the collection of P750 by Paglaum Basureros 20/20 for
attendance in the seminar.
She raised their complaints in a privilege speech she delivered in the City Council session yesterday.
Paglaum Basureros has earned more than P2 million from the unauthorized collection, she said.
In her privilege speech, Cabrera said Paglaum Basureros 20/20 recently conducted a seminar for the crafting of Esap.
The crafting of Esap by business establishments is mandated under City Ordinance 2243, or the Sustainable Development Ordinance of Cebu City. The ordinance was passed in June 2010.
The Esap has to be submitted when business owners secure or renew their business or mayor’s permit, or both.
But Cabrera said Paglaum Basureros made business establishments understand that they should attend their seminar and pay P750 so they can get their business permits.
Cabrera said that representatives of at least 2,758 business establishments attended the seminar, which means that the organizer earned a total of P2,068,500 from the activity.
Cabrera, chairperson of the council’s committee on environment, said she has received complaints from business establishments about the collection of P750 by Paglaum Basureros.
“Micro-enterprises cannot even afford to pay the registration fee and are even anxious that the renewal of their business license will be affected by their failure to attend the seminar,” she added.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to reach a representative of Paglaum Basureros for comment. A woman who answered the call refused to issue a statement, saying she is only a staff member. She refused to be named.
She then gave another phone number in their office and the name of another person to be interviewed, but calls made were not answered.
In her privilege speech, Cabrera clarified that the P750 fee is not mandatory.
She said Paglaum Basuseros is not authorized to conduct seminars or collect registration fees since it is not accredited by the Cebu City Private Sector Organizations Evaluation and Monitoring Board.
She said that last year, the City held an orientation seminar on how to draft an ESAP in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but did not collect a registration fee from the participants.
They were even given a CD containing a copy of the CO 2243 and the 80-page guidebook of the Esap for free, she added.
Cabrera learned that Paglaum Basurero is scheduled to hold a series of seminars on Esap in the malls in the city in the coming days.
Because of this, Cabrera asked the group to stop the unauthorized collection of registration fees for the seminars.
“I also enjoin them to desist from promoting the seminar as a requisite for the approval of business and/or mayor’s permit or license,” she said.
Cabrera also requested the business groups in the City to inform their members that the participation in the seminar of Paglaum Basureros and the payment of the registration fee is not mandatory.
The council decided to invite representatives of Paglaum Basurero to appear before them in an executive session on October 23 to explain their side.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 19, 2013.