Marikina City Official Speaks Up, Releases Statement On Lilac Food Festival Issue

Earlier, we posted about an event organizer, Marisse Mañalac claiming that the local government of Marikina “stole” their idea of holding a food and art fest on Lilac St.

In response, Mr. Paul Edward Sison, who is involved in organizing the Lilac Food Festival, posted a statement on the issue, counter-arguing the event organizer’s earlier claims.

Statement on Lilac Food Festival Statement on Lilac Food Festival 2 Statement on Lilac Food Festival 3

Below is the full statement:


What we worked so hard to build as a city and as a people is being challenged by a preposterous and presumptuous claim from a young and enterprising event organizer who claims that we stole their idea about a street food festival.

First of all, we are very sorry if her proposal to hold a tiangge where they will charge an entrance fee of P200/person and P20,000/stall was not acceptable to the city and the restaurant locators along Lilac Street.

We expressed our understanding that it is normal for them to want to earn from the activity, but our primary concern was to promote Lilac as a food destination so the food establishments there will be the ones to earn and flourish. It is our taxpayers who should benefit.

Let me enlighten the public further on other issues that they raised:

1. No one has a monopoly on ideas. The idea of the city government to do a food fair in Lilac in 2014 was inspired by the success of Maginhawa St. and Tomas Morato Avenue. These were similarly patterned after street festivals abroad.

2. The city decided against pushing thru with the Lilac Food Fair in December 2014 because we felt that the area did not have enough space to absorb parking for expected patrons.

3. Early this year, a meeting was called to discuss the Lilac Food Strip, problems and opportunities. Locators attended. One item on the agenda was the aborted food fair and the matter of timing being crucial to avoid a public backlash if residents were inconvenienced by traffic. The date of October 17 was chosen to coincide with the Fiesta of the local parish, St. Paul of the Cross. They felt that the public would be more forgiving of the traffic since it was their fiesta anyway. The issue of parking also cropped up once again. The next step was to request the city council for an ordinance to address the parking problem of Lilac St.

4. Later on, the local tourism office told the city administrator about an organizer who wanted to pitch a proposal. Like any other local government unit, we accommodated their request for a presentation on August 6 and even called the stakeholders. Our tourism officer made it clear that we are proceeding with no commitments yet and that it was up to them to sell the idea to the restaurant owners and to convince them. Unfortunately, they failed. Their idea was for a 2-day event utilizing small tents which was not appreciated by the stakeholders and city officials for the reasons stated above (outrageous fees), and precisely because we wanted to veer away from the tiangge look.

5. A second meeting was held where the inputs of the previous meeting were incorporated into their proposal. Unfortunately, it was evident that our objectives and motivations were not compatible with theirs. We really wanted to help these young organizers. But sadly, they did not make the grade and meet our standards.

6. There is no truth to their claim that we stole their idea because they only got in touch with our tourism office last February 2015 and met with the stakeholders this August. Again, our intention to hold a Lilac food fair was arrived at last year, 2014. We have the email trail to prove this.

7. We also have their presentation materials and collaterals for anyone to check and see if we used any of their materials or program segments. They can see for themselves how their generic concept is miles apart from our simple one day food festival.

8. We are not in the habit of stealing intellectual property rights. The city stands by its 24 years track record of being pioneering and innovative during the past 3 administrations. We are not lacking in effective strategic ideas that promote the city and the welfare of our constituents. We have been awarded as hall of famers several times based on merit. We have experienced and seasoned conceptualizers and implementors who have served the city government since the time of Mayor Bayani Fernando in 1992, Mayor Marides Fernando from 2001-2010, and Mayor Del R. De Guzman since 2010.

9. We have always been known for Discipline, Good Taste, and Excellence. We cannot pay for mediocre ideas that are not even original. We receive a lot of proposals and meet with proponents on a daily basis. We have to ensure value for money because we are dealing with taxpayers’ money.

We hope that this clarifies the libelous claims aired over cyber space by Marisse Miziel Manalac of Eventhaus.

To the discerning public, we hope to see all of you at the Lilac Food Festival on October 17, Saturday, from 8 in the morning up to 11 in the evening.

Maraming salamat po.

As always, there is more than one side to every story.

What do you think of the issue?

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