CEBU City, Nov. 8, 2015 – With nearly Php 3.29 billion going to the Church’s response to post-Yolanda rehabiliation, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ social action arm affirms transparency has always been prioritized by the Church.
“Being a faith organization, this is something we really proud about…full total transparency and accountability,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines during a press conference held after the first ever Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) Summit held from Nov. 6 to 7.
The priest who is an official of the Church’s social action arm boasted of the office’s “very solid reporting” and that “every centavo counts.”
Auditors, financial reports
According to Gariguez there are two ways to ensure transparency, the first is upward accountability to donors and partners and second, downward accountability to the beneficiaries.
“And we have so many evaluations done in the past several years. Even [for] the financial accounting we hired internationally recognized, competent auditors to really scrutinize our records..And we publish our financial reports. The annual report that we have, this is also open to our partners. They also send us evaluators to see the program for themselves,” explained the priest.
For Marcel Reymond of Caritas Switzerland and head of their school and shelter projects in Bantayan Island, Cebu, transparency and accountability is ensured not only with regard to financial procedures but even logistical and construction processes.
“We have internal procedures that go into quality control,” he said, including logistical procedures and material checks.
According to Reymond, who was also at the said press conference, the construction of houses for the beneficiaries requires the support of expert engineers who ensure that “typhoon resistant construction is respected.”
“We invite them regularly. We do reporting to the authorities every month. We try to be as transparent as poosible to everybody so people can see what’s going on,” he said, referring to regular visits from non government organizations and the Department of Education.
Organized by CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, the CMDRR Summit is the first event of its kind gathering over a hundred representatives from Caritas Internationalis member organizations. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)