Baguio to disallow fund-raising activities without clear terms

BAGUIO CITY – The City Government will no longer allow fund-raising activities like fun runs and other events for-a-cause that have no clear terms on the shares that will be received by the target beneficiaries.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan, on August 22, said he does not want a repeat of the experience of the dialysis patients of the Baguio General Hospital Medical Center Dialysis Center who did not receive any monetary benefit from the Kalayaan Trail Run Music Festival held last June.

“While the organizers of the event said that from the start they did not promise any monetary share for the patients and that they donated dialyzers and promised continued fund assistance, the patients still felt cheated on because as their former president Ramon Dacawi had said, instead of benefiting the patients, it appears that the opposite happened as it turned out that those who worked for the event received salaries while not a single centavo went to the patients,” Domogan told his press briefing.

He said that from now on, fun runs and other charity events will not be approved unless there is a permit from the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, a clear terms and conditions and a clear agreement between the organizer and the beneficiaries on the shares and benefits that will accrue to the latter.

The mayor earlier brokered a dialogue between the dialysis patients and the Project 7 Events group where event organizers Omeng Fallarme, Eric Coronacion and Bong Reyes said there was no promise of any monetary benefit and their only commitments as announced during the press conference held before the event were the grant of 38 dialyzers to the dialysis center amounting to P100,000 which were awarded on the spot and the group’s working out a continuing medical assistance to the patients through the Office of  Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

They said that even if they wanted to, they cannot give a share because they did not realize any profit and on the contrary even incurred a deficit which they paid from their personal funds, all because of the rains caused by a typhoon.

Dacawi, along with BGHMC Dialysis Unit Head Dr. Virginia Mangati and Chief Nurse Carmen Bumatnong, expressed dismay that despite the efforts of the patients who went to the extent of foregoing their treatments on the day of the event to support the organizers, not a single amount went to them.

“We’re sorry if we considered your event the normal thing where there was always an allotted amount for us.  If it were clear to us that the dialyzers were the only donation that will be given, then we could have talked you into giving more because I hope you understand that we are patients in need.  A centavo means a lot to us because we are fighting for our lives,” Dacawi said.

Upon scrutiny of the financial statement, Dacawi noted that considerable amounts went to salaries and transportation which he said is peculiar for a fund-raising activity which ideally is a voluntary work.

“It means the patients helped raise funds for the staff instead of the other way around,” he said ruing the effort of those who supported the event thinking the proceeds were to go to the patients.

“The lesson is basic: There is no reason to hold a humanitarian fund drive if you end up with nothing for the would-be beneficiary.  More so if you provide ‘salary’ to the staff working on what should have been a humanitarian effort, to enable the community to reach out to the sick, in this case dialysis patients like me,” Dacawi said.

By: Aileen P. Refuerzo

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