“The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” –Theodore Roosevelt
The names Dr. Rogelio Florete and Salvador Sarabia, Jr. are both associated with the corporate world as they each hold executive positions within their respective business empires. Florete is a media and jewelry mogul while Sarabia, who served as a cabinet undersecretary during the administration of President Gloria Arroyo-Macapagal, is from a family that made its name in both hospitality and the optical industry.
While they both have the ability to expand the scope of their businesses without having to belabor themselves in other areas outside corporate interests, they accepted the challenge from Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas to take an active role in managing the city’s tourism and business affairs for no pay.
Florete currently heads the newly-formed Iloilo City Festivals Foundation Inc. (ICFFI) that is tasked with staging city festivals; primarily, the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. The new role requires him to mingle with ordinary people—something he rarely does as a very private and security-conscious person.
Alongside Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junniel Divinagracia and Publicity Assistant Florence Hibionada, Florete recently met with the Iloilo press and solicited suggestions on how to best ensure successful coverage of next year’s Dinagyang.
The gathering of stars from the business sector—Felipe Uygongco, Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida, Dr. Ronald Raymond Sebastian, Roland Uy, and Judgee Peña—involved in the city’s festivals is a major advancement for City Hall.
Meanwhile, as director of the city’s meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions sector, Sarabia recently made headlines when he officially announced major changes in next year’s Dinagyang Festival. He was the one who separated the Kasadyahan Festival from Dinagyang, noting, “Revelers can now join in the ‘sadsad’ merrymaking.”
“It will be more vibrant because Dinagyang will now be more experiential; there will be a twist, more people involvement,” he added.
ICFFI will partner with the city government to organize Dinagyang; while Sarabia suggested the celebration be joined by private companies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders who will form their own tribes.
Under the new plans, the street dancing will start at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol and will end with a mass at the Plaza Libertad.
A stakeholders’ consultation was held last July, where they collected feedback on how the public would like to see next year’s Dinagyang Festival, which is scheduled to take place from January 25 to 26.
Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ