Datuin blasts Flower Festival organizer

THIS early, a power struggle is raging among stakeholders of the Baguio Flower Festival.

Baguio Flower Festival Executive Committee Chairman Elmer Datuin blasted organizers of the launching of the flower festival for failing to coordinate with city officials.

A cordial but obviously irritated Datuin, in a speech during the flag raising ceremony Monday, December 17, lamented that the entire program was held without coordinating with him nor with the executive committee.

“Konting pasabi...inyong pinlano at implement ang launching program na walang pasabi sa executive Committee,” Datuin said.

Datuin lambasted colleagues, saying it is the responsibility of those in government and in the private sector to coordinate and respect each other, adding there are many talented and able personnel in the city hall who could have helped in the preparation.

The alderman reminded that the festival is about sharing and caring, and not about bruised egos.

Datuin likewise requested private partner, Baguio Flower Festival Incorporated, to observe proper financial and reporting protocols required under government regulation.

He said the audited reports were submitted only last week.

Datuin reminded private partners to comply with rules and regulations.

“Sumunod po lamang tayo sa patakaran upang di tayo nagka problema,” Datuin said adding at least submissions were made after years of not furnishing the city.

In a bid to stop squabbling and for the city to get the most out of profit from the annual trade fair at Session Road, Datuin is asking for the Session Road in Bloom to be bided out.

Datuin said the market encounter at Burnham Park earned for the city close to P11 million through a bidding. He said he would like to do the same for the Session |Road event.

“Simply by bidding it out like as ordinary service procurement transaction, (let us) bid out Session Road in Bloom for better management and additional funds that comes with it for a better and more glamorous BFF,” Datuin said.

In a previous interview, Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who serves as chairman for life of the BFFFI, said the audit release has been stalled because of the inability of the officers to meet as a body due to a lack of quorum from the board of directors.

Domogan issued an Administrative Order this year mandating that all financial transactions related to the festival go through the city.

Domogan, in a bid for transparency, also ordered the committees in the Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition and the Session Road in Bloom to prepare the detailed accounting of the income and expenses covering the said activities within one month from the closing and submit it to the Finance Committee.

The new rules in the conduct of the festival were set in tone by a Commission on Audit report by Margie Bongait who recommended to formulate guidelines of funds and submission of financial statements for transparency and accountability; execute a MOA between the city and the BFFI which has to be confirmed by the local council for efficiency and effective operations.

Bongait also cited the collection of special fees during the festival done by the BFFI which should have been done by the City Treasurer’s Office as mandated by the Local Government Code.


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