BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) paid to the city government and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue District Office in the city some P3 million in special permit fees and taxes for the conduct of the month-long Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition along Burnham Lake Drive and the week-long Session Road in Bloom.
Anthony de Leon, co-chairperson of the Panagbenga Executive Committee, said organizers of the month-long Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition along Burnham Lake Drive paid to the city government more than P652,000 in special permit and other regulatory fees and a little over P574,000 in taxes to the BIR prior to the start of the said activity.
On the other hand, he added organizers of the Session Road in Bloom also paid to the city treasury office more than P914,000 in special permit fees and other regulatory fees while more than P778,000 was paid to the BIR for the taxes of the stalls that were established along the city’s main road.
“We like everybody to know that we religiously pay our taxes to the government. We want to be transparent about all matters relative to the conduct of income-generating activities of the festival to avoid suspicion that some individuals are earning from the conduct of such activities,” de Leon stressed.
He explained the income generated from the two major activities of the flower festival is used to fund other non-income generating projects of the foundation in order to sustain the conduct of the month-long festivities for both local residents and visitors.
From the over 300 stalls in the market encounter area last year, organizers decided to reduce the number of stalls to only 155 this year to pave the way for the increase of the number of landscapers to showcase their respective floral arrangements and works for the appreciation of the public and to serve the primary purpose of the festival which is to promote the flowers grown in the different parts of the city and other neighboring municipalities of Benguet like La Trinidad, Itogon, Tuba, Sablan and Tublay.
For her part, Anabelle Ramos, chairman of the Session Road in Bloom, said that there were only 214 stalls that were put up along the tretch of the city’s main road aside from the 179 stalls which were given for free to the Liga ng mga Barangay and other civic organizations which are involved in raising funds to sustain the implementation of their respective projects.
De Leon announced that the fiscal year for the foundation will be on June considering that there will still be other activities subject to accounting even after the conduct of the flower festival, thus, the BFFFI will be releasing its audited financial statement for the public to appreciate by August.
He explained the release of its financial statement passes through a process whereby it must be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) before it will be forwarded to the city council and other city officials for their scrutiny.
By Dexter A. See