MANILA, Nov. 24, 2011— Amid allegations that most foreign aids for victims of war in Mindanao are lost to corruption, Catholic bishops have called for more transparency to avoid such issue in the future.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo and Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable said that the remedy is more openness to public to prevent potential cases of corruption.
The prelates were reacting to reports that the United Nations and its partners are implementing a Humanitarian Action Plan in Mindanao worth $37.9 million for 2012, with priority being given to protection activities.
Last year, the action plan was pegged at $33.3 million, of which, 54% is funded.
“That assistance should reach to those who are in need and the real refugees. Transparency is necessary to avoid misuse of funds,” Bagaforo told Church-run Radyo Veritas Thursday.
Bagaforo said the hefty donation is certainly a big help to improve the conditions of around 700,000 people uprooted from their homes by conflict in Southern Philippines.
Afable, on the other hand, asserted that the terms and conditions that the government has entered into in accepting foreign aids should be made known to the public.
He clarified that other countries have the good intention in helping Mindanao, but transparency on any agreements is also important to protect the interest of the Filipinos.
The National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also echoed Afable’s concern.
According to Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chairman, the readiness of the international community to help is laudable but it should be without any special conditions. [CBCPNews]