Pahiyas: Colorful on the Outside.. Black and Filthy on the Inside
Visitors see the colors and beauty of the Pahiyas – houses decorated with kipings and other motifs, the concerts and other activities that make the Pahiyas lively and exciting. But many of you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. How the organizers, particularly the Municipal Government of Lucban handle the event, only shows how corrupt, inefficient and self-serving our governments are. So after reading the following accounts that happened during the Pahiyas Festival 2006, will you still care to see the colors of the Pahiyas dubbed to be as one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines? Read on…
- The Municipal government of Lucban says NO to commercialization – but this very government are the ones charging sponsors steep prices on sponsorship fees and inflated booth rentals to be able to advertise and market their products during the Pahiyas. Lucbanins, on the contrary are prevented and hindered from selling and doing business during the Festival. Watch out for the Tiyangge, which is supposedly a showcase of Lucban products. Can you tell which is made in Lucban and which is not?
- Sponsors normally pay as little as Php 5,000 to become a minor sponsor for the event. But only in 2006, it jumped up to Php 30,000 minimum. As a result, there were very few sponsors who participated as shown by many empty booth spaces.
- Booths as little as 1 meter by 1 meter normally cost Php 5,000 or less depending on the location (and probably the one whom you are dealing with in charge of the booths). But in 2006, a minimum booth cost twice the previous years. Again, there were many empty spaces.
- A giant telecom company gave more than 1 million pesos making them the major sponsor for the event. The government, as they were the ones who collect sponsorship money, gave a measly P 5,000 to the Catholic church after putting up a mobile cell phone site in the church compound. The mobile transmitter stayed there for more than a week, even guarded by the church’s own security guard.
- A soft drink company started penetrating Lucban as early as April and began sponsoring major events before the Pahiyas particularly the Mayor’s Cup, a basketball tournament. Thousands of pesos and products have been handed over to the government. A top official even assured the company management that they will not allow other soft drink companies to become sponsor anymore because they were the first one. They were given one of the most prime spots at the center of the park. But a few days before the Pahiyas, they were thrown out to the side of the park as another soft dink company has become a sponsor. (The other soft drink company has been sponsoring the event almost every year and perhaps they gave more money than the first soft drink company did.)
- Adding to the detriment of the first soft drink company, staffs belonging to the mayor’s office kept on asking products from the management even though he already gave much of it. And guess where they want it delivered? To their houses and not at the mayor’s office. They even asked for the tent used as booths by the company!
- The Higantes or ADgiants has been a major attractions during the Pahiyas. The company who manufactures and organizes the higantes parade are charging a small amount of Php 5,000 for a 2-day parade. To their surprise, staffs from the office of the mayor where the ones who acted as their sales agents without their consent and convince companies to hire the higantes for a whooping rental fee of P15,000. They even contracted one company to produce the costume by themselves. The staffs kept it secret (the high rental rate and the costume deal from the higante company) up to the last minute prompting the higantes company not to parade the higantes. As a consequence, the organizers did not allow the higantes to participate during the Pahiyas.
- Hundreds or maybe thousands of goods and products are given by sponsors aside from the cash to become sponsors. If you happen to enter the municipal building before or during the day of the festival, one of the rooms is filled, from floor to ceiling, of boxes of fruit juices, canned goods, instant noodles and other products, which ever the sponsoring company produces. One wonders where it goes during and after the Pahiyas.
- Some houses are decorated elaborately in the hope of getting a prize during the festival may it be the grand prize or even a consolation prize. But many Lucbanins end up frustrated. After spending a lot of money to put up a grandiose decoration, they end up frustrated and cursing the judges and the Pahiyas organizers after learning that the neighbor, who put up just a few hangings of kiping won a prize instead of them. Ever wonder how it happened? Its because the winners for the best Pahiyas decoration were manipulated by the organizers. And guess what if you happen to know the owner of the house who took the prize? Its one of the relatives of the organizers!
- A million of pesos, probably more donated by sponsors, aside from the fees paid for booth rentals and other income from the festival are collected every Pahiyas Festival. Does anyone in the public know where all these money go? Ask a Lucbanin and he will say no. It is because no auditing or accounting reports are shown to the public. There’s no transparency with regards to the financial transactions happening during the festival. Ask a government official involve and you will be told many alibis. Only in Lucban? Your guess is as good as ours.