THE gall of Pharmallyʼs Linconn Ong, Mohit Dargani and other of their board members. Pharmally landed with hefty contracts with the Philippine government worth P8 billion with a measly of over P600,000.

I remember when our then non-government organization (NGO), the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (Bind), inked a contract with the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for a community forestry project worth P1.3 million at the towns of Don Salvador Benedicto and Calatrava.

We competed with four other NGOs. I was the project manager, the first-ever in Western Visayas. We had to hire a licensed forester. Most foresters land with the DENR. To outbid the other NGOs, we had to submit our organization's company profile, technical background, and an audited financial report for three years.

BINDʼs averaged P13 million largely from food security programs. Our biggest funder came from committed funding provided by Heks (Hilfswerk Evangelischen Kirchen), or Heks/Eper, is the aid organization of the Swiss Protestant Churches. Although most of the Philippine partners are Catholics, Heks recognizes that hunger has no religion. Heks/Eper champions the cause of building a humane and just world and a life in dignity.

Internationally, Heks/Eper focuses on rural community development, humanitarian aid and inter-church cooperation. In Switzerland, Heks/Eper champions the rights and the integration of refugees and socially disadvantaged people that certainly include the mountain peoples who rely mostly on subsistence farming and use non-timber forest products as sources of supplemental income and as a forest conservation measure. Other partners include Oxfams America and Hongkong.

Our funding partners likewise focus on hunger issues. Each year our partners visited us to make sure our annual reports reflect those activities happening on the ground.

The DENRʼs community forestry project emphasized on the technical aspects and on economic development as secondary. Bind passed all economic, social and cultural requirements by the project and programs. It was easy for me to pass international human rights training on economic, social and cultural rights. It's a universal right to have access to food as a requisite to fulfill the fundamental right to life.

I am thus incensed that Pharmally big shots have not practiced due diligence on government big money. I am angry that President Rodrigo Duterte is giving them a free pass. I found their arguments at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing as flimsy excuses for doing a lousy job.