THERE'S something off about this Kadayawan Foundation rule of charging P10,000 for companies who want to become "official events" of Kadayawan for the use of the logo and another P20,000 for the use of the Kadayawan font that we have to seriously tackle along with people who know tourism best.
Davao City Tourism Officer Ma. Felisa C. Marques nailed it right when she said, "Anti-tourist sa akin yun."
We can empathize with how Ms Marques feels when she said, "Yung tinanong ko yan sa execom, anti-tourist sa akin yun. Masama sa loob ko na mag sabi sa mga tao na ipromote nila yung Kadayawan pero hindi tuloy ma promote kasi may bayad."
Maybe Kadayawan Foundation really does not have funds to start with, but then, how much funds do you need when all the major activities already have allotment from the city and the security forces are all taken care of since they are organic members of the peace-keeping groups they belong to? Kadayawan happens every year since 29 years ago. No one can ever say they were not prepared for it.
In our editorial, "The anatomy of a festival" (August 19, 2014 issue), we wrote: "A Festival is what we call an investment and a marketing strategy. It is not designed to generate funds directly. Rather, it is designed to fan interest so that more and more people will come, be interested in a place, and find prospects for growth there."
Every tourism person worth his salt knows this and will do everything, even invest a lot to catch attention and bring in people. Why'd you think those public transport buses abroad have those "It's More Fun in the Philippines" designs? Definitely, these were not spent on by the transport company nor the private sector.
Something is definitely wrong here, especially when your tourism officer has no say in a city's major tourism affair.
The clue into where all these fees (and may we add, overbearing marshals and police generals) are coming from can be gleaned from what Davao City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre said, "Our restrictions is to protect the execom and the accreditation is only for the use of the logo and the Kadayawan font so that should there be any problem that arises from those not accredited, then the city is not liable. It's easy for people to think that all activities are initiated by the city. The accreditation is for us to screen eh quality of event."
This is where Kadayawan is suddenly yanked out of its true purpose and becomes an exclusive domain of those willing to pay for it. You can easily label the official Kadayawan activities and then list down related but unofficial activities simply by putting a label in the poster or billboard saying such.
By putting a price, you invite those who are only out for the money; by putting a price, the sense of citizenship is taken out of a public festival, and the sense of accountability from each and every citizen now becomes the exclusive domain of those who have paid the fee.