Town councilor denies ‘politicking’ accreditation of Kalibo fest organizer

The Ati-Atihan Festival of Aklan province is the oldest festival in the Philippines at more than 800 years old. Recently, town councilor Ronald Marte denied they were playing politics on any non-government organizations in relation to the alleged delay on the accreditation of the Kalibo Sr. Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival Management Council, Inc. WHEN IN MANILA

KALIBO, Aklan – Town councilor Ronald Marte denied they were “politicking” the accreditation of the Kalibo Sr. Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival Management Council, Inc. (Kassamaco) – presently headed by businessman Apolonio Zaraspe III.  

“Wala tayong balak na i-delay ang accreditation dahil malapit na ang Ati-Atihan. Kailangan nilang i-comply ang mga requirements sa accreditation,” Marte said in local language on Nov. 13.

Marte, who also chaired the committee on Barangay Government Affairs and Non-Governmental Organizations, said he noticed discrepancies in the submitted documents during their committee hearing on Nov. 12.   

May conflict dito sa by-laws at Executive Order nila. Sa kanilang by-laws, ang place of meeting pa nila outside of the Philippines at maaaring maging member ang isang residente sa kanilang grupo, hindi naka-specify kung foreign national or Filipino,” he added.   

“Alam natin hindi sila maaaring gumamit ng facilities at pondo ng local government unit (LGU) ng Kalibo, may mga expenses sila, kahit wala pa silang accreditation. May opisina din sila sa public plaza, but they have no lease contract with LGU Kalibo,” Marte said.

On Oct. 22, Kassamaco was asked to submit its annual accomplishment report, if available; minutes of its Aug. 21 meeting when it passed Resolution No. 006-2019, seeking for a civil society organization accreditation and the financial statement report signed by the group’s executive officers.

It is also not a secret that majority of the Sangguniang Bayan members and the presiding officer Vice Mayor Cynthia Dela Cruz were opponents of Kalibo mayor Emerson Lachica and his vice mayoral candidate Zaraspe in the 2019 local election.   

All funds right now are released by the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Tourism Office for the honorarium, transportation, snacks, and other expenses in preparations for the festival pending the accreditation of the festival organizer.(With a report from Akean Forum/PN)


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