Fund-raising events must have clear proceeds for beneficiaries -- mayor

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday reminded organizers of benefit activities like fun runs and other events for-a-cause to clearly declare from the start the share that their beneficiaries will receive from the income to be generated from the event to avoid misunderstandings and giving false hopes to the needy.

The mayor said this was the lesson learned from the Kalayaan Trail Run Music Festival whose organizer, the Project 7 Events group figured in a tussle with the supposed beneficiary, the Baguio General Hospital Medical Center Dialysis Center patients over its failure to remit any monetary proceeds.

In a dialogue before the mayor, 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 June 9 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 give a share of the profit, they cannot as they did not realize any profit and on the contrary even incurred a deficit of P14,000 because of the rains brought by typhoon "Domeng" at that time.

They said they earned in terms of donations in kind, a part of which they offered to the dialysis center but was rejected by the supervisors because they cannot be used by the patients.

"We really want to be of help and we intend this to be continuing program of medical assistance for the dialysis patients so we assure that it will not end with this just one event," they assured.

Dialysis patient and organization past president Ramon Dacawi said it was unusual that an outreach activity could not deliver any proceeds to the supposed beneficiary as for the countless times that the organization was enlisted as recipients to an event, it had received shares of the profit including that of the mayor's annual golf tournament which did not fail to deliver the guaranteed amount.

"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.

He said that as officers of the organization, they are also accountable to explain to their members who went out of their way to support the event to the extent of passing up on their scheduled treatment on that day in the hope that they will gain something for their medical cause.

He said an accounting of the donations and expenses of the event would help explain the unfulfilled expectations to the members and at the same time enable the organization to thank those who supported the event in the hope of helping the patients.

"Being an outreach event organizer myself in the past, I am aware of the need to account for all these things and deliver on the promised benefits lest I be accused of using my intended beneficiaries for my personal gain," Dacawi said.

After studying the financial statement submitted by the organizer at the instance of Mayor Domogan, Dacawi noted that considerable amounts went to salaries and transportation which he again said is peculiar for a fund-raising activity which ideally is a voluntary work.

BGHMC Dialysis Unit Head Dr. Virginia Mangati and Chief Nurse Carmen Bumatnong who accompanied the patients to the dialogue advised that organizers should exert effort to know the true needs of their intended beneficiaries to give meaning to and realize the goal of their outreach programs.

The mayor said that at the end of the dialogue, the parties agreed that the organizer will conduct another event exclusively for the dialysis patients.

The mayor said that to avoid similar incidents, organizers should ensure that the benefits are clear at the first instance.

The City has an existing ordinance prescribing rules and regulations in the conduct of fun runs and other foot races in the city which require organizers to secure permits and provide information on the event including the purpose and cause, identities of beneficiaries and recipients and the probable share that they are to receive from the income generated. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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