Government to send team to follow up on promised Yolanda donations
Actions speak louder than words. This saying rings true in the case of the Philippine government which has yet to receive 100% of the pledges foreign countries gave in the wake of typhoon Yolanda.
According to the government’s typhoon Yolanda Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH), the Philippines has so far received Php648.2m in cash donations from other countries. But the total amount in cash that was pledged by foreign countries is Php3.1b. This means the government is still Php2.46b short of its collection.
Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson said on Tuesday it was time donor countries stay true to their word or at least donate a small, substantial amount because ‘Kailangang-kailangan talaga ng mga tao.’ Last month, the UN announced that shelter programmes in the Visayas region are still severely underfunded.
While research has suggested that foreign countries who give aid receive in return some form of advantage, the secretary stressed that ‘We cannot force them because they are donors, in the first place, so we can just appeal to them to make good on their pledges.’
The Philippines is not alone in facing some discrepancies in pledges and actual donations made by foreign countries. Donations were also pledged to Haiti after the Caribbean nation was rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010. Only $2.5b of the pledged $9.3b ever made it to Haiti, and a huge portion of the money was spent unwisely on short-term relief.
Nevertheless, Lacson added the government will soon be appointing ‘evangelists’ who will be in charge of following up pledges. This idea was borrowed from Indonesian Senior Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto who was in charge of rehabilitation efforts (BRR) in Indonesia after the country was hit by a tsunami in 2004.
The rehab czar said BRR even went out of their way to meet donors in their home countries and coaxed and cajoled others to honour their pledges.
Lacson added that fighting corruption was key to ensuring the countries will fulfill their pledges as corruption can destroy the confidence of donor countries.