Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bill puts spending cap on fiestas amid hard times

Concerned over the lavish display of wealth during fiestas amid hard times, a member of the House of Representatives has filed a bill "regulating" such festivities.

Zambales Rep. Antonio Diaz filed 5161, which he said will also encourage local government units to promote substantial savings especially during these hard times.

"While these celebrations bring delight to our people, the fact remains that these affairs are grandiosely celebrated causing people to spend beyond their means. People squander precious time and money to stage needless celebrations. Moreover, donations are being asked from various sectors to finance stage shows, beauty contests and other unproductive activities," Diaz said in an article posted on the House of Representatives website (www.congress.gov.ph).

The bill provides a P100,000 spending limit for provinces; P50,000 for cities; P30,000 for first and second class municipalities; P25,000 for third and fourth class municipalities; P20,000 for fifth and sixth class municipalities; and, P10,000 for barangays.

Diaz noted that overseas Filipino workers even return to their hometowns and spend their hard-earned money to join in various fiesta activities.

"It has been proven that Filipinos working abroad and those who spend their hard-earned money wisely become rich and prosperous in due time, while those who spend their earnings on unnecessary expenditures still experience the difficulty of making both ends meet," he said.

He also cited a report of the Department of Tourism that listed at least 59 major fiestas being observed around the country including national holidays and religious festivals.

But he also said it is the State's duty to redirect the time, effort and finances of its people to more productive ventures rather flamboyant and unimportant affairs.

It is also the State's duty to impart into the hearts and minds of people a more profound understanding of the importance of national and historical events, he added.

The bill seeks to regulate the celebration of fiestas, festivals and similar festivities in the provinces, cities and barangays by providing a ceiling on the amount LGU officials can spend for such celebrations.

It also seeks to limit the participation of LGUs and other government agencies in agro-industrial or trade fairs and exhibits to promote local goods, cultural presentations, sports competitions, and in festivities of significant historical and national importance.

Based on the proposal they shall be prohibited from soliciting donations in cash or in kind from private individuals or corporation and all other private entities, government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations for the benefit of fiesta celebrations.

Violators face a fine of P10,000 to P15,000. An erring public official or employee, in addition to paying a fine, shall face suspension of 10 to 30 days based on the bill. GMANews.TV

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