Private entities asked to be transparent on Yolanda donations

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Friday, March 21, 2014


MALACANANG on Friday challenged private organizations and entities working for the rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated communities in the Visayas region to be accountable as the government enhances its online transparency portal.

In a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government is launching the second version of Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) this April 25 to ensure transparency and accountability on the handling of aid being extended by foreign donors.

"It is a challenge for them also to be accountable and to be transparent because as far as we are concerned, we only have the persuasion to ask them to be accountable. Insofar as accountability is concerned, we also expect them to be accountable kasi pera rin ng ibang bansa iyon o pera ng ibang tao na ibinigay sa kanila," Lacierda said.

"Ang tanong sa kanila ngayon, 'Paano ninyo ginamit?' In the same manner that you ask the government to be accountable, we also ask and challenge the private organizations to be transparent and accountable as to how they used the aid," he added.

But the Palace official clarified that it is not the obligation of the government to go after private organization for unaccounted foreign aid, as it is a matter between the donor and the aid recipient.

Lacierda said that as far as the total amount of foreign pledges is concerned, there is around P25 billion posted in the FAiTH website. But he said the government only received so far P600 million.

"The bulk of that is channeled by the foreign government through their own development agencies or, for instance, the Red Cross, which we do not track in the first version of the website," he said.

Meanwhile, Lacierda said that in the Version 2.0 of the FAiTH website, foreign embassies will be given access to input and update assistance attributed to their countries on the online portal.

This includes updating the amount of assistance given, indicating whether this has been converted from a pledge into cash/non-cash assistance, and specifying all recipient organizations, he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs will be giving embassies usernames to update their contributions to FAiTH. It will be available April 7, he said.

FAiTH's Version 2.0 will include the tracking of aid and assistance given to the national government. The Commission on Audit (COA), as an access observer, will audit the aid and assistance coursed through the national government, the Palace official said.

"FAiTH is transitioning from transparency to accountability: accountability that is bolstered by the forthcoming participation of our foreign partners, and the firm commitment of the national government to build-back-better, which necessarily includes accounting for every centavo and peso that goes to helping our countrymen rebuild their lives after Typhoon Yolanda," Lacierda said.

"Version 2.0 of FAiTH, therefore, reflects the essence of solidarity and camaraderie we witnessed in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, in which the entire world came together to help the Filipino people."

In the older version of the FAiTH (Version 1.0), which was launched in November last year, the government recorded foreign aid and assistance given in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, whether in the form of pledges, actual cash and non-cash donations. (SDR/Sunnex)

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