KALIBO, Aklan – Apolonio ‘Apol’ Zaraspe III, president of the Kalibo Sr. Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Management Council, Inc. (Kassamaco), has officially resigned on Dec. 4 – weeks before the 2020 festival.
Zaraspe said his sudden resignation was triggered by the proposed tri-party Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) presented to them by Mayor Emerson Lachica and the department heads in a meeting on Dec. 2.
“Wala kaming autonomy, bakit may Kalibo Festival Executive Board (KFEB), na in conflict with the executive order. It will curtail our authority. Hindi kami kaparte sa pag-draft ng MOA. Ano pa ang saysay ng Kassamaco if may festival board pa,” Zaraspe added.
He also thanked the outpouring support of the Church, police and members of the community during his short stint in Kassamaco.
“It is with a heavy heart when I stepped down in Kassamaco. I did my best and I have to go back and to live a private life,” he said.
The creation of the KFEB, which acts as a decision-making body of all matters and issues related to the conduct of all Ati-Atihan activities, doesn’t sit well with Zaraspe, who said the KFEB will run in conflict with Kassamaco in the overall management and operations of the festival.
Last July 9, Lachica signed Executive Order No. 22 authorizing Kassamaco as a partner of the municipal government in enhancing tourism and in facilitating the events of the Ati-Atihan Festival slated next month.
Lachica was also surprised of Zaraspe’s resignation – his vice-mayoral candidate in the 2019 local elections.
Prior to Zaraspe’s resignation, Kassamaco was facing rough waters in its accreditation as civil society organization before the Sangguniang Bayan of Kalibo.
Such an abrupt resignation of Zaraspe would leave Kassamaco without its titular head, and the festival in limbo.(With a report from Akean Forum/PN)