How fake NGO’s got away in Philippines




P6 billion could construct houses, assemble a thousand classrooms, and pay more than 50,000 instructors. It could offer quake casualties some assistance with rebuilding their lives from the rubble.

In the right hands, P6 billion could create employments, give work, and inspire the lives of numerous as yet living under the neediness edge. Rather, a Commission on Audit (COA) extraordinary report said, P6 billion of government assets wound up in the pockets of 82 questionable non-administrative associations.

Informants uncovered how non-legislative associations (NGOs) — connected with Janet Lim Napoles (the charged genius of debasement and plot including administrators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds or PDAF) — were set up as fronts that cornered over P2 billion in assets.

How did NGOs with sketchy accreditations move beyond distinctive government offices that should screen them? Some place along the way, establishments worked on an arrangement of trust that neglected to enough clear the check and adjust framework.

With the harm done, habitual pettiness started. Representatives labeled in the trick said they just supported the NGOs – it was not their business to vet them. In any case, national line offices countered: you ought to likewise recognize what you’re underwriting.

The street from enlistment to financing implies experiencing some institutional circles that in a perfect world ought to have instruments to guarantee responsibility and straightforwardness. Seeing how the framework functions — from setting up a NGO to observing — is likewise key to comprehension slips in the framework.

Enrolled ≠ licensed

Setting up a non-stock, non-benefit association in the Philippines is genuinely simple. NGOs need not enroll to exist. Yet, before they can open financial balances, go into contracts, and raise open assets, they should be enrolled with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Documents required
Name verification slip
Articles of incorporation and by-laws
list of members
list of contributors and amount contributed.

There’s no settled measure of commitments required of NGOs to begin operations, aside from establishments. To guarantee that gifts are utilized as a part of ways that are steady with their demonstrated reason, the SEC, in a 2004 notice, obliged establishments to have at any rate P1 million in assets for awards and blessings, and additionally an arrangement of operation.

On the off chance that the candidate conforms to the necessities, the SEC favors the application.

In any case, Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) official executive Sixto Donato Macasaet clarified that enlistment does not as a matter of course mean a NGO is honest to goodness.

They might be recorded as SEC-enrolled substances, yet Macasaet said true blue NGOs ought to get auxiliary enlistment and accreditation from national line organizations.

For Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) director Sonny Carpio, this refinement in the middle of enlistment and accreditation is critical. Numerous NGOs might be enlisted, he said, however may not be decent with norms set by government organizations.

As a protection, the SEC obliges NGOs to first acquire supports from line offices before they can be permitted to enlist. For instance, social welfare NGOs should be embraced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD Standards Bureau division boss Priscila Nitafan said her office takes a gander at the NGO’s articles of fuse and checks whether its motivation is in accordance with the DSWD’s order.


Distinctive line offices have diverse procedures. In the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), NGOs that need to distinguish and assess extends essentially need to submit reports to the DPWH’s open data division. It checks the NGO’s SEC enrollment, its contract, and “verification of enthusiasm for base advancement” and prescribes accreditation to the DPWH Secretary.

The procedure is more repetitive in the DSWD, as it makes refinements between enrollment, authorizing, and accreditation.

Enrollment implies a social welfare advancement office (SWDA) is formally perceived and incorporated into the registry. A permit gives it a legitimate license to give direct administrations to recipients. Accreditation implies a SWDA’s projects are authoritatively perceived and confirmed.

A DSWD authoritative request records the whole process. It’s a thorough rundown that points of interest the diverse arrangements of prerequisites required — a procedure that, even Nitafan conceded, can put off some candidate NGOs.

Other than narrative necessities, the DSWD likewise leads a one-day acceptance visit. This incorporates visual investigation of workplaces and undertaking destinations, and also meets with board individuals, recipients, and nearby group pioneers.

Observing the area

For whatever length of time that the reports are all together, enlistment is sans bother. The genuine test lies in the checking process. Enrolled and licensed NGOs are relied upon to submit yearly reports to both the SEC and line organizations.

To screen the exercises of their enrolled NGOs, the DSWD obliges them to submit inspected money related reports, achievement reports, and stock of cases. The division likewise requests that local workplaces conduct nearby meetings and oculars to confirm the data.

In March 2013, the SEC issued a reminder commanding non-stock associations to give yearly reviewed budgetary explanations. The announcements ought to demonstrate the NGO’s wellspring of assets and how these were dispensed. They are additionally required to submit records from government organizations guaranteeing the presence of activities in a specific region.

There’s one glaring crevice in the checking prepare however: The SEC depends vigorously on line organizations to confirm the data in these archives – yet not all offices do as such. Observing offices essentially check consistence with yearly reportorial necessities, yet without tip-offs and dissensions, they don’t generally investigate the records.

Holes in the framework

At the point when giving assets, givers normally check if a NGO is real by taking a gander at its accreditation. The issue is that a significant part of the procedure depends intensely on the authenticity of archives the NGO submits to observing organizations.

In the DPWH, accreditation depends totally on the reports. DPWH Public Information head Elizabeth Pilorin said they don’t have the labor to lead visual reviews.

On the off chance that the reports are all together, the NGO is licensed. Also, once it’s authorize, it’s licensed forever. The division does not require the accommodation of yearly achievement reports.

The DPWH says it doesn’t discharge assets to NGOs, be that as it may, furthermore forbids them from utilizing the DPWH name for its gathering pledges exercises. (A prior form of this story said accreditation makes them qualified to request subsidizes somewhere else. The DPWH elucidated this.)

With respect to the SEC, it checks whether a NGO submits complete records each year, however it doesn’t break down them.

Imagine a scenario where the reports are distorted. SEC Monitoring and Audit Division head Leonora Tandoc said it is hard to know. At the point when the DSWD issues affirmation, for occasion, the SEC accept that the DSWD officially checked the data itself.

“[Line agencies] should be the ones in the field and investigating the exercises of the NGOs. That is not our turf any longer,” Tandoc said.

“On the off chance that reports are issued by an administration office, we take [them at face] esteem,” she included. “We assume consistency of the considerable number of archives submitted, particularly in the event that they’re under promise and they’re originating from an administration organization. We no more accept.”

However, for Nitafan, the SEC ought not put the weight of doing the legwork on line organizations alone.

“They ought to likewise do their own particular checking,” she said. “We require balanced governance to reinforce the framework.”

Individual responsibility

The mentality of checking organizations is by all accounts that they trust different offices will do their own particular confirmation autonomously. This same “trust” reaches out to the verifying framework with regards to the arrival of assets. In the wake of the pork barrel trick, administrators stuck the fault on actualizing offices, yet the organizations said the reviewing procedure ought to additionally incorporate lawmakers.

For DSWD National Office official associate Roy Calfoforo, it’s legitimate to expect that NGOs embraced by legislators as of now passed the administrators’ measures.

“Officials prescribe NGOs. Dapat obligasyon nilang i-check ‘yun,” he said. “Dapat bago sa national organizations, alam muna nila kung fake ‘yan o hindi.” (It’s likewise their commitment to check the NGOs they embrace. Before these go to national offices, legislators ought to likewise know whether the NGOs they are supporting are fake or not.)

Nitafan said there’s an assumption of believability that comes when an administrator by and by puts his name on hold for these NGOs.

For PCNC’s Carpio, individual responsibility assumes a part also.

“In the event that you sign a few vouchers, you know where it’s going,” he said. “You can’t simply deny that it’s [a line agency] who offered it to the NGO. It’s your cash.”

CODE-NGO’s Macasaet said actualizing organizations have the legitimate commitment to keep an eye on the NGOs, yet included, legislators are not totally free and clear.

“Without saying na tama ‘yung sinasabi ng mga congressperson, legitimately, tingin ko might lusot ang lawmakers…dapat executing offices ang nagchecheck. Might sabit yung actualizing organization,” he said. (Without saying that the representatives are correct, legitimately, I believe there’s an escape clause for administrators. Actualizing organizations ought to check. They can’t escape with it.)

“Be that as it may, ethically sketchy ‘yung mga legislators. ‘Di naman sila pwedeng maghugas ng kamay. Kung support lang, bakit pinipirmahan yung cost report?” (But the association of legislators is ethically faulty. They can’t wash their hands off this. On the off chance that it was only a support, why do they sign cost reports?)

He included, “It demonstrates they were included in the usage when they ought not have been. Regardless of the fact that it is really executed.”

Massive errand

The SEC records more than 70,000 enrolled non-stock, non-benefit organizations. Tandoc’s office manages establishments, which number around 10,000. With the tremendous numbers included, approving a couple is just a small detail.

Carpio knows it’s a Herculean undertaking, and organizations can’t be relied upon to screen all of them.

“No private substance can screen more than 25,000 NGOs,” Carpio said. “You will need to have a gathering or an association as vast as these NGOs additionally, in the event that you truly need to screen them.”

Be that as it may, regardless of the fact that it’s a gigantic undertaking, there’s opportunity to get better in planning forms between offices. At present, if a line organization renounces the accreditation of a NGO, this does not consequently mean SEC denial. A NGO should first be found to have damaged SEC principles before its enrollment can be revoked.


Since government offices can’t do only it, the NGO segment itself found a way to police its own particular positions. The PCNC is a self-administrative body that affirms NGOs applying for donee foundation status. This implies certify NGOs can get charge deductible or assessment excluded commitments under the law.

PCNC’s Carpio called their confirmation a “seal of good housekeeping” to distinguish NGOs of good standing. A 11-part leading body of trustees screens candidate NGOs and holds them to a stringent arrangement of norms.

The application procedure is intensive: beside the narrative prerequisites, candidate NGOs are gone to by evaluators consistently and altogether surveyed.

“We take a gander at vision and mission, operations, money related dependability, supportability, and system linkages,” Carpio said. “We’re not just taking a gander at outside capacities, we’re likewise taking a gander at inward structures. How would they do things? Will they be alive in 10 years?”

NGOs might be given confirmations going from 1-3 years or 5 years. These are then embraced to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for donee organization status.

After a NGO gets licensed, it is required to submit yearly reports and budgetary articulations.

At the point when the accreditation lapses, re-candidates need to experience the whole checking prepare once more. Carpio said this makes the observing process more reasonable, contrasted with NGOs basically being given a lifetime accreditation.

In spite of the fact that the PCNC’s procedure is a stage in the right heading, not all NGOs are individuals, and not all are willing to be subjected to PCNC’s stringent tenets. A few even trust they ought to be absolved from any type of observing.

Be that as it may, for CODE-NGO’s Macasaet, the perfect regulation situation includes a blend of self-regulation and observing from outside the division.

The pork barrel trick has had a cursing outcome on a division imagined to be an immediate line to aiding underestimated groups. A proposed upgraded pork now rejects NGOs from getting an offer of the pie, and some NGO coalitions said their givers are currently hesitant to give financing, dreading these future squandered.

Carpio said that despite the fact that the NGO area is extensive, there is free speak among NGOs about sketchy operations and practices.


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