Labella: Sinulog Foundation Inc. to be probed for exclusive contract issues
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Sinulog Foundation Incorporated (SFI), the independent organizer of the Sinulog festival, has been under fire for entering into exclusive contracts with a local cable broadcasting station and a food giant.
With these issues hovering over the upcoming Sinulog Grand Parade, Mayor Edgardo Labella promised to investigate the matter after the celebration.
“That’s why we created the Sinulog Governing Board (SGB) to be a check and balance to the SFI. We don’t know, (if) these anomalies have been going on for years, but just surfaced now,” said the mayor.
The SFI was first criticized for entering into an exclusive contract with local cable station, MyTV, for the broadcasting rights of the Sinukog Grand Showdown at the Cebu City Sports Center on January 19, 2020.
Labella ordered the removal of the exclusivity in the contract because this was disadvantageous to the public, who might not have access to cable television or fast internet.
The SFI was once again placed under scrutiny after it was found out that they entered into an exclusive contract with San Miguel Food Incorporated (SFMI) for the exclusive right to sell their products at the CCSC and the Fuente Osmeña Circle on Sunday.
The mayor said that Cebu City would practice the principle of free enterprise, and though the exclusive contract remained, other local producers could still sell their products to the rest of the city.
Despite these issues having been resolved, Labella said he would want an investigation on these exclusive contracts that the SFI had been making, and whether individuals had been taking advantage of this situation.
“It’s obvious, we will really probe on this after the Sinulog on why they have to make those exclusive contracts,” said Labella.
The mayor said the SGB was tasked to monitor these transaction from the SFI for check and balance.
In previous statements, he said that the SFI lacked transparency, and there would need to be a monitoring body to ensure that the actions of the SFI would not be disadvantageous to the public.
Angela Emphasis, SGB communications officer, told CDN Digital that all contracts entered into by the third party marketing firm hired for Sinulog had been approved by the SFI.
“All contracts are in the full knowledge and consent of the SFI,” she said.
Although in close coordination with the SGB, the SFI does not necessarily need the approval or consent of SGB when getting into a contract with any entity because they remain an independent organization.
For SFI Executive Director, Elmer “Jojo” Labella, the marketing firm might have chosen exclusive contracts to raise more money for the festival.
He said that exclusive contracts would mean more money for the foundation.
He clarified, however, that he was not involved in any marketing decisions as these matters were decided upon by the Board of Directors headed by its president, Pericles Dakay. /dbs
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