THE Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) vowed to comply with the recommendations of the Commission on Audit (COA) to sustain the city’s major crowd-drawing event held between February and March every year.
Appearing before the regular session of the city Council last Monday, Andrew Pinero, media officer of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB), said had the audit findings been provided, the BFFFI the earliest possible time could have initiated the appropriate moves to comply with the COA findings to further improve the handling of the flower festival.
Among the COA findings is the absence of a policy in the full accounting of funds and memorandum of agreement between the local government and the BFFFI for the conduct of the festival, collection of special permit fees during the festival was assigned to BFFFI contrary to Section 130 of the Local Government Code considering that the act of allowing a private entity to collect fees and charges is contrary to the fundamental principles governing the exercise of the taxing and other revenue-raising power of the local government, and the gross amount earned were not fully collected showing a balance of P253,727.76 as indicated in the COA report.
Pinero committed all the matters raised by the COA will be brought to the attention of the BFFFI for them to craft the appropriate guidelines in the management of the annual flower festival and appropriate memorandum of agreement between the local government and the foundation.
However, in relation to the uncollected amount contained in the COA report, Pinero claimed the foundation will coordinate with the concerned offices of the local government to synchronize their records to clear the amount from the COA report.
Pinero underscored the sustained partnership between the local government and the private sector in the city’s major festival to guarantee the successful conduct of events lined up for the month-long celebration from February 1 to March 5 this year.
The HRAB official assured local legislators that the foundation will comply with the requirements of the COA for the full accounting of the funds generated by the organizers for the various income-generating activities during the month-long festivities and the BFFFI had been religiously submitting to the city its audited financial report similar to what it had been submitting to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Further, the foundation’s financial statement had always been published in various local newspapers for the information of the public and in deference to their policy to transparency and accountability so the people will be fully aware of how the funds were generated and spent for the purpose of successfully staging the various events lined up for the flower festival annually. (Dexter See/PIO)