• Bill protects public from illegal solicitations

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    A House bill seeks to protect the general public from unscrupulous persons soliciting funds for questionable purposes.

    Rep. Josephine Sato, the author of House Bill 3225 or “The Public Solicitation Act of 2013” said the measure establishes the standards and guidelines for organizations, agencies, groups and individuals conducting solicitations.

    Public solicitation under the proposed act refers to any activity or project intended to generate funds, goods, or other assistance from the public for charitable and/or public welfare purposes.

    The latter covers activities or projects relative to health, education, peace, social welfare and protection, environmental safety, rights, security and safety or citizens and similar circumstances or conditions.

    HB 3225, referred to the House committee on social services chaired by Rep. Arturo Robes, aims to strengthen the system of granting permits and/or authorization to solicit funds and/or donations from the public.

    Permits shall be granted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its provincial, city and municipal branches.

    “It is also the intention of this bill to ensure that solicited funds are properly utilized according to [their]intended purposes and given to [their]rightful beneficiaries,” Sato stressed.

    Section 3 of HB 3225 provides: “This Act shall apply to all National Government Agencies (NGAs), Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), State Colleges/Universities, Local Government Units (LGUs) and other government agencies; Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) including faith-based people’s organization and civil society organizations, associations, branch organization operating in the Philippines which are partly or fully financed with funds solicited from or contributed by the public or private sectors for charitable or public welfare purposes/s.”

    The measure, however, exempts from its coverage organizations and agencies created by laws or charters that specifically confer authority on these organizations and agencies to solicit or conduct fund campaigns for charitable or public welfare purposes.

    Also exempted from application of solicitation permit are carolling during the Christmas season as a form of solicitation and the solicitation within the church/mosque or building for religious purposes or Christian/Muslim worship.

    “However, approval of the concerned [DSWD local branch] that has jurisdiction over the areas must be first obtained prior the solicitation activities for religious purposes that are to be conducted outside the peripheral of the Christian/Muslim worship,” HB 3225 states.

    Penalties include imprisonment ranging from not less than one year but not more than three years and fines not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or both at the discretion of the court.

    Furthermore, for the first offense there shall be revocation of solicitation permit and no permit shall be granted for two years from date of violation. For the second offense, violator shall be banned permanently from conducting solicitation activities and its registration or license to operate as an organization or agency shall be cancelled and revoked permanently.

    PNA

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