COA: Panagbenga funds not fully accounted; BFFFI violated laws

>> Sunday, January 22, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) vowed to comply with the recommendations of the Commission on Audit 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, said had the audit findings been provided the BFFFI the earliest possible time, the foundation could have initiated appropriate moves to comply with the COA findings to improve 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.
The COA found out collection of special permit fees during the festival was assigned to BFFFI contrary to Section 130© of the Local Government Code considering 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.
It was found gross amount earned were not fully collected showing a balance of P253,727.76 as indicated in the COA report.
Pinero said matters raised by the COA will be brought to the attention of the BFFFI for them to craft guidelines in management of the annual flower festival and memorandum of agreement between the local government and 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 said partnership between the local government and private sector in the city’s major festival will be enhanced to guarantee successful conduct of events lined up for the month-long celebration from February 1 to March 5 this year.
The HRAB official told local legislators the foundation will comply with requirements of the COA for full accounting of funds generated by organizers for various income-generating activities during the month-long festivities.
He said 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.

Pinero added the foundation’s financial statement had always been published in local newspapers for the information of the public and in deference to their policy of transparency and accountability so the people will be fully aware of how funds were generated and spent for  successfully staging events lined up for the festival annually. -- Dexter A. See


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