PH can't track private donations for Yolanda

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2014 07:09 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2014 03:09 AM

MANILA - Malacanang admitted Friday it cannot go after those who misuse foreign aid for Yolanda victims that did not pass through government.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said government can only use its power of persuasion to make foreign donors transparent in spending the donations.

"That's why it is a challenge for them also to be accountable and to be transparent because as far as we are concerned, we cannot...Hindi kasi dumaan sa ano," he told reporters.

"We only have the persuasion to ask them to be accountable. Insofar as accountability is concerned, we expect them to also be accountable kasi pera rin ng ibang bansa iyon o pera ng ibang tao, ibinigay sa kanila. Ang tanong sa kanila ngayon, 'Paano ninyo ginamit?'"

Lacierda said Malacañang cannot go after organizations that misuse donations intended for "Yolanda" victims.

"Hindi ho kami ang maghahabol niyan. It is a question now between the donor and the donee," he said.

The Philippine government is set to launch version 2 of the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub or Faith Website, which tracks donations to the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda.

Faith has tracked about P25 billion in pledges. Of this amount, only P600 million was received by government.

The rest of the money was coursed through private organizations.

"Pagdating sa version 2.0, we will be asking foreign embassies to tell us ano ang status ng inyong pledge. Kung pledge siya, kung na-convert na siya into cash to non-cash at saan ninyo chinannel yung inyong assistance. Diretso ninyo ba sa national government? Kung sa national government, kanino? At kung hindi sa national government, what particular agency did you course it through. Did you course it through the Philippine National Red Cross, did you course it through any of the agencies under the United Nations umbrella?" the spokesman said.

Lacierda said Bangladesh will soon convert their pledge for a USD1 million donation for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda to cash.

"The ambassador of Bangladesh informed me that their pledge of 1 million dollars will now be converted into cash. They will be delivering check to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sometime this month," he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs will be giving embassies usernames through which they can use to update their contributions to FAiTH. Access begins on April 7.
The Commission on Audit (COA), as an access observer, will audit the aid and assistance coursed through the national government.