Foundation could still get solon's financial aide, says DOT official
Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Regional Director Atty. Helen Camarista said the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation Inc. (IPRFI) could still use other remedies in order to get the financial assistance from Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez, Jr.
Camarista's statement came on the heals of a memorandum circular issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) barring the release of financial assistance from public officials to organizations where government officials are included as members.
Earlier, IPRFI chairman Manuel Villa Jr. expressed disappointment over the COA circular which prevented the City Accounting Office from releasing the P250,000 financial aid from Rep. Gonzalez Jr. for the 2008 Paraw Regatta Festival.
Mayor Jerry Treñas, Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog and City Tourism Office chief Ben Jimena are among the incorporators of IPRFI.
The IPRFI's expenditure in the recently concluded Paraw Regatta Festival is much higher compared to the amount they have collected in form of financial assistance from local government units and donations from the different companies.
The expenses for the 2008 Paraw Regatta reached P1,851,163 while the total cash receipts is only P1,579,265.30. The organizers said they could have not been fell short of their finances had the P250,000 was released. The foundation sourced out their shortage in the previous surplus funds they have.
Meanwhile, Jimena said the foundation should wait for the final instruction of Mayor Treñas on how to get the funds. Jimena, himself is the executive director of the IPRFI which is covered by the policies contained in COA's memorandum circular 2007-001.
Treñas along with other mayors of Guimaras and Iloilo province is still out of the country for a study tour at Adelaide, Australia.
COA's memorandum circular 2007-001 dated October 25, 2007 covers the revised guidelines in granting, utilization, accounting and auditing of the funds released to the non-government organizations and people's organizations, the foundation will have no incorporators, organizers, directors or officials as an agent of or related by consanguinity or affinity up to the fourth civil degree.
The circular was issued to address the rampant graft and corruption in the government where officials channel funds to their own foundation or preferred organizations as recipients of government funds.
The accounting office required the foundation to present a sworn statement indicating that indeed there are no officials who are members or incorporators of the foundation.
The City Accounting Office led by Michelle Lopez could not be blamed for the non-release of the financial assistance since they are only following an order, said Jimena.