Church ensures transparency in handling $7.7 million ‘Yolanda’ aid

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MANILA, March 24, 2014 — The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Saturday ensured transparency in the accounting of all donations given by different Church organizations to victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name: Haiyan).

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA), said, all donations for the relief operations intended to help calamity victims are placed under “strict and efficient accounting mechanisms and processes.”

The issue of transparency on 'Yolanda' donations has beleaguered government recovery and relief operations since the start. (CBCPNews file photo)

“We have our monitoring system,” Gariguez said in an article posted in ucanews.com. “All donations to Caritas Philippines and Internationalis have strict and efficient accounting mechanisms and processes.”

Gariguez, who noted that the CBCP has so far spent $7.7 million for relief efforts for calamity victims, said funds donated to the Church are audited by external accounting firms that follow international standards.

“We even publish reports for full transparency,” Gariguez said. “Now we are planning for the rehabilitation of nine affected dioceses.”

‘Yolanda’ ravaged Central Visayas last November 8 with tsunami-like storm surges and winds of up to 315 kilometers an hour, claiming the lives of at least 6,200 people with 2,000 others still missing. Nearly four million people were also left homeless as the super typhoon severely damaged 1.1 million houses.

The Church official made the statement after the Philippine Senate directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to submit a list of organizations that gathered donations for ‘Yolanda’ victims.

According to the DSWD rules, organizations that raise funds for disaster victims must first secure a permit from the department and later on submit a report on how the donations were used.

The Commision on Audit (COA) claimed that the lack of a systematic process in receiving relief aids made the tracking and auditing of donations difficult.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman earlier admitted that due to the urgency of the situation, the government had failed to strictly monitor funds raised by private organizations for victims of the recent calamity. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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