By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
AFTER solving some hitches, the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the city government, Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), and the parish of San Jose de Placer for the staging of Dinagyang Festival 2020 was finally signed Thursday at the Penthouse of the City Hall.
The signing – which was led by Mayor Jerry Treñas, IFFI Chairman Rito Carlos Peña and San Jose de Placer Parish Priest, Fr. Raymundo Edsel Alcayaga – will be the first partnership of the city government and the church with the new organizer, IFFI, for the staging of the annual festival.
Before this, IFFI encountered challenges, particularly on its accreditation, as it lacked track record as a civic society group being a newly-founded organization.
But the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) approved its accreditation on Tuesday following the clarification on the guidelines set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The executive department also committed that IFFI will not handle public funds. Instead, the city government will directly disburse the funds to the participating schools.
IFFI president Jobert Peñaflorida and the mayor recognized the efforts of Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo and Councilor Mandrei Malabor for clarifying the law and pushing for the accreditation of the IFFI.
“We recognize the efforts of Councilor Ed and Councilor Malabor on the accreditation. IFFI has hit the ground running since day zero and we will accelerate our efforts in the next three months as we all gear up for Iloilo Dinagyang 2020,” Peñaflorida said.
With bigger prizes for the winners and guaranteed P1-million worth of school projects for the participants of the tribe competition, Treñas assured the upcoming festival will be the “best” Dinagyang.
“Ginpa-abot naton nga ini nga Dinagyang will be the best nga Dinagyang,” he said.
More than the prizes, the mayor reiterated the importance of highlighting the theme of the Dinagyang Festival 2020 which is “Perfect Vision: Celebrating the Ilonggo Spirit in Honor of Señor Sto. Niño.”
“The best ini nga Dinagyang kay sa tunga sang ini nga Dinagyang ara aton Sto. Niño. We should never forget that while we enjoy Dinagyang, we celebrate Dinagyang, we do everything because of our devotion to Sr. Sto Nino,” he stressed.
For the 52nd Dinagyang Festival, IFFI previously announced that the grand champion of the tribe competition will take home a total of P5 million worth of prizes – P1 million cash prize, P3 million worth of school projects from the city government plus the additional P1 million worth of school project committed by the mayor to all the participating tribes.
Meanwhile, the second and third placers will receive P3.5 million and P2.25 million.
Apart from the increase on prizes, the city government also committed P25-million funding for the festival on top of another P25 million worth of budget to be raised by the IFFI.
The budget is bigger compared to the P18-million assistance from the city government for the 2019 festival.