Sinulog winners prizes delayed due to COA issues — Casas
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Sinulog contest winners this year have been clamoring for their prizes for almost five months now but the Cebu City government has yet to settle the issue regarding the festival’s allocation.
Recently, long-time emcee, Sam Costanilla, has revealed in a Facebook post that Sinulog Idol All-Star grand winner, Melody Hodgson has yet to receive her cash prize of P50,000.
“Yes, folks, she and the other winners as well as the production crew, show managers, hosts and others involved have been waiting for their prizes and honoraria for service rendered,” said Costanilla.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama met with the organizers and the winners of the Sinulog contests on May 25, 2021, to discuss the issue.
In a phone interview with CDN Digital, City Administrator Floro Casas, Jr., said the problem lies with the difficulty of the city government to justify the allocation of the budget, considering that the Interagency Task Force (IATF) has ordered the cancellation of all Sinulog activities.
Although the contests were done online and prior to the cancellation of the festival, Casas said they still need to reconcile the requirements or else the city will be flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).
The city originally allocated P22 million for the entire festival, but there is no current breakdown on how much is allocated per event.
Contests such as the Sinulog All Star Idol and Sinulog Festival Queen were conducted online at least two weeks prior to the actual Sinulog Festival on January 17, 2021.
Contestants and producers noted that in the past years, the prizes were released a month after the festival and the current five-month wait has been too long for those who have shed funds for the contests.
“Kaning mga activities sa Sinulog, these are city sanctioned activities. But kini sila nga mga activities, nahitabo ni sila before pa nato gideclare nga dili madayon ang Sinulog. Among problema karon ang pagrelease sa funds, considering nga wala gyod to siya na approve. So gipangitaan pa nag paagi nga mabayran sila nga dili sad ta masango sa COA,” said Casas.
The city government, especially the Office of the Vice Mayor, are reconciling these budgetary justifications to hopefully release the money to the winners, production staff, and crew.
“The Office of Vice Mayor Rama is working on it kay sila man ang lead office ato sa mga Sinulog activities. Among giwork out karon nga mapart sa City Sponsored Activities (budget). Kato man gud nga activities, part to sila sa Sinulog activities, so dapat masulod na didto nga budget. Amoa lang, naa pa mi’y query ana if we can legally disburse nga nacancel man to nga celebrations,” he added.
Casas assured that the city government is working to reconcile the issues and release the funds as soon as possible.
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