Bacolod City seeks audited MassKara Festival report

Acting vice mayor Thaddeus Sayson

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Acting Vice Mayor Thaddeus Sayson has announced that the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation Incorporated (BYFI), which organized the 2023 MassKara Festival, has been requested to provide an audited financial report of the event.

Sayson, also serving as the number one councilor and Chairman of the Sanggunian Panlungsod Finance Committee, informed reporters on Thursday that BYFI officials pledged to deliver the audited report by the end of the month.

He pointed out that while BYFI has submitted a financial statement, it lacks official auditing.

An audited report is deemed necessary before BYFI is authorized to manage the current year’s MassKara Festival.

Despite the absence of the audited report, Sayson disclosed that the city government ratified the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with BYFI for this year’s festival management at the urging of Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez.

Prior to this ratification, the council had conferred upon the mayor the authority to formalize the agreement with BYFI. This move, according to Sayson, is intended to provide BYFI with sufficient time to secure sponsors, which would, in turn, prevent the mayor from having to cover any financial overages personally.

Acting as vice mayor while Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran is on official travel in Japan, Sayson expressed optimism that the early ratification of the MOA would alleviate the need for the mayor to use personal funds for any excess festival expenses.

In the 2022 MassKara Festival, Benitez contributed approximately P30 million of his own money due to budget shortfalls.

For the 2023 festival, he provided an additional P10 million after BYFI raised only P70 million for the event’s P80 million expenses.

Benitez also shared his positive outlook, anticipating that he will not have to subsidize the MassKara Festival this year.

He attributed this to BYFI being granted ample time to secure sponsorship and mentioned that a television channel’s coverage of the festival events would attract more sponsors.