By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez admitted that again he had to shell out his personal funds to cover the shortfall in this year’s MassKara celebration after it reportedly incurred losses.
“Wala man gid earnings,” Benitez said when asked if the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation Inc. (BYFI) has already submitted its financial report for this year’s festivities.
He said he had already seen the initial report BYFI submitted to his office which indicated the losses.
Benitez said “amo na gani, ngaa why not live within your means? Kon ano lang ang na raise, amo lang na ang gastohon.”
But he also said that he had some activities and events he wanted to push through to make this year’s MassKara grander and unforgettable for the people and visitors.
“Because of that we may have overspent,” he said.
When asked if he covered up again the shortfall in this year’s MassKara celebration, Benitez said “Not that much, definitely lower than last year,” even as he continued to dodge questions from the media about the exact amount.
“Mabal-an nyo lang na ah,” he further said.
Benitez also said, “let us look at this as our showcase, we don’t want the MassKara Festival nga manaog nga manaog lang.”
He said he has asked the city councilors to give the BYFI more time to prepare as he pointed out that the BYFI was only given the authority to handle this year’s festivities during the last week of August.
“There was no time to solicit for sponsors or get proponents to help out with the festival,” the mayor said.
He proposed that the city council should tackle the authority for the BYFI to handle next year’s festivities as early as January.
Earlier, a top official of the BYFI assured that Benitez will not cover the expenses for festival activities similar to what happened last year.
BYFI president Katherine Matiling has said that they have already learned from last year’s experiences, adding “It will not happen again.”
Matiling said that all contracts with the different sponsors are covered by a memorandum of agreement.
“We assure you that the mayor will not cover up for anything, we have taken necessary precautions on this,” she added.
BYFI records for the MassKara 2022 festival indicated that it suffered a P6-million shortfall, which Benitez paid using his personal funds.
This increased though to more than P20 million the mayor said.