Conditions in evacuation centers in Batangas worsen. Where are those donations given?


Hundreds of Taal evacuees staying in disparate evacuation centers throughout Batangas and environs want to go home. Conditions in these centers are beginning to worsen and the number of contributors are thinning. People are asking where are the calamity funds which authorities claim already reached 100 million pesos? Some politicians even claim that rehabilitation could actually breach the 3 billion peso mark once the situation normalizes.

That’s the problem– because Congress allocated enormous funds at the disposal of government, there is that possibility that government units would try to project a worsening scenario to justify the use of calamity funds. Disaster funds normally skirt the usual bidding process and authorities are given enough leeway to draw out these funds, procure disaster relief goods and give these even to unknown individuals just to justify funds use. Remember the case of former QC mayor Herbert Bautista? NO followup news on this case.

I hate to say this, but disasters present enormous financial opportunities for unscrupulous individuals and firms. During these two weeks onto this Taal incident, did anyone ever hear of these organizations asking for donations to account how much monies and goods did they already get? Not even one. How sure are we that the cash donations we give these firms go directly and are used to really assist these evacuees?

There is actually no regulatory agency that is mandated by law to investigate cash donations. Donations however, are taxed except foreign donations which are directly given to government. Government gets 30% from donations thru private firms. However, we the general public does not know exactly how much donations were given during these disasters and it is all left to the good graces of the private firms to report such which, to my mind, is utterly unjust.

Government efforts are also faltering. People are thinking that the reason is starkly evident–no plan being implemented and worse, no checks undertaken. There is now a perception that disaster relief has now become a cottage industry even bigger than other sectors in this country and since we are a disaster-stricken country, these unscrupulous and highly corrupted practices will remain and are now fixtures in this nation for a very long time now.

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