Almost a year after the last Sinulog, the Cebu City government still has to refund P2.5 million as its pledged assistance to the Sinulog Foundation Inc.
City Hall charged the amount to its Pagcor assistance fund.
The Sinulog Foundation has yet to collect the P2.5 million amount which it used to stage the Sinulog grand finale at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Ricky Ballesteros, Sinulog Foundation executive director, said that he already wrote Pagcor to follow up the release of the amount to the city government.
The 2012 Sinulog grand finale featured local talents, designers and artists in a presentation which depicted Cebu City as the Asean City of Culture.
However, Ballesteros said that unlike in the past years where the appropriation for the finale was taken from the city’s general fund, the 2012 finale was charged to the city’s monthly financial aid from Pagcor.
In this arrangement, the foundation had to advance the amount from its coffers and seek a refund after “we go through the process”, said Ballesteros.
Ballesteros said he’s hopeful the foundation can collect the amount before the 2013 Sinulog is officially launched on January 11.
The foundation needs P35 million to stage this year’s Sinulog which will be highlighted by the grand parade on Sunday January 20.
Of the P35 million amount budget, P22 milion will come from the city government as financial assistance.
The remaining P13 million will be raised from ticket sales, sponsorships and the lease of Sinulog stalls and booths.
Ballesteros said his office is now flooded with requests for VIP passes especially from politicians who want to make their presence felt in Cebu City during the grand parade.
He said he has referred all requests to the office of Mayor Michael Rama, the Sinulog over-all chairman.
Ballesteros also said that as a general rule, only the city mayor will deliver a message to open the grand parade to keep the activity non-political. Other political figures will not be lined up as speakers.
The only exception, he said, is if if President Benigno Simeon Aquino III attends the event.
At this stage, Ballesteros said he is not privy to the list of VIPs expected to come to Cebu City for the Sinulog. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters