Govt can’t audit ‘Yolanda’ donations

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THE government has no means to effectively account for donations to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda that were coursed through private groups unless these organizations make a report publicly, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Sunday.

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“We don’t have coercive powers over private organizations. We only have persuasive request for them to also be just as transparent and accountable as the government has committed to be,” he told reporters.

It is for this reason, he explained, that they asked private organizations to publicize and post their donations—given or received—on the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) website.

“This is a call for accountability on everyone’s part, those who received donations,” the official said.

According to Lacierda, they “do not stop donations going to private organizations and development channels.” However, accounting for these funds has been very difficult for them.

“Besides listing donations coursed through government, we request them to also list down donations that they sent through development agencies or private organizations like the Philippine National Red Cross,” he said.

“And if they gave to other established organizations, we ask them to detail it. It is an obligation on [their]part, those who received the donations, to account for each and every centavo,” he added.

Lacierda made the remark in reaction to reports that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has spent some $7.7 million for relief efforts for victims of the calamity.

CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace executive secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez said all donations to Caritas Philippines and Internationalis “have strict and efficient accounting mechanisms and processes.”

The prelate explained that funds received by the Church are audited by external accounting firms using international standards.

These donations have yet to be posted on the FAiTH website.

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