Arroyo gov't told: Don't steal Ondoy aid

by Carmela Fonbuena,

Posted at Oct 08 2009 08:12 PM | Updated as of Oct 09 2009 04:21 AM

MANILA - Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo on Thursday called for strict monitoring of over US$13.22 million or P615 million of international aid to victims of tropical storm Ondoy.

“Based on the latest reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), donations and pledges from other international organizations and from foreign countries have reached more than US$13.22 million (or around P615 million). These should all go to the victims of typhoon Ondoy,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo suggested that government and private auditors should be tapped for the task of monitoring the acceptance, disbursement and accounting of the funds.

“Given the critical situation of our brothers and sisters in the evacuation centers and areas ravaged by Ondoy, it is urgent to ensure that the funds the Arroyo government received in the name of the victims benefit only the victims and their families. The administration’s well-deserved reputation for corruption leaves one uneasy to think that the money for the victims is left to this government’s management,” Ocampo said.

“Every single centavo must be utilized to ensure the health, security and rehabilitation of the victims and their homes, as well as their damaged communities. The Arroyo government must be frequently reminded that it’s a mortal sin to steal from those who have already lost everything,” Ocampo added.

Out of the total international aid, $7.33 million came from bilateral partners; $3.64 million from multilateral and regional organizations; $283,351 from international organizations; and, US$150,000 from foreign nongovernment organizations.

Data gathered by Bayan Muna from the Department of Foreign Affairs shows the top donor countries:

Canada (US$4.63 million)
Spain (US$1.46 million)
Australia (US$866,000)
Germany (US$729,000)
Italy (US$314,000)
South Korea (US$300,000)
Switzerland (US$242,000)
Japan (US$223,000)
China (US$140,000)
United States (US$100,000)
Singapore (US$30,000)
France (US$14,583).

The DFA also received donations from Filipino communities abroad amounting US$5,820.

DFA personnel in Philippine embassies and consulates raised $7,802 while other private individuals and groups contributed $64,582.