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NO MORE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO NGOs, CSOs
By: Vanessa L. Almeda | Published Wednesday, December 04, 2019
In her monthly meeting with the members of the Provincial Board, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia spelled out her guidelines in providing financial assistance to government and non-government entities. (Tonee Despojo)

The Cebu Provincial Government will no longer provide financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) for lack of accountability.

Instead, the governor prefers to spend Capitol resources to fund infrastructure projects, development of water distribution system to barangays and distribute school supplies for elementary and high school students.

Starting next year, the province will also implement the feeding program to elementary students all over the province in partnership with the local government units, Parent Teachers Association - Cebu Federation and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia told the Provincial Board (PB) members this on Wednesday, December after observing that many CSOs and NGOs apply for accreditation at the PB to get funding from the Capitol.

Dunay gani nagpa-accredit nga manpower services, negosyo, pero coop man. Magpa-accredit pero ang capitalization P10 million. Pero mangayo kuno og kwarta sa province kay mao may na-andan nga panagaan ang mga NGO kay grupo-grupo man. Unya naa ba nay accountability, wa baya nay COA (Commission on Audit),” she said.

In her monthly meeting with the board, Garcia narrated that during her previous term, NGOs and CSOs apply for accreditation so they can participate in the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meetings and air their concerns.

But since she has returned, she is worried that this practice may have been abused.

“From here on, we are no longer downloading funds to NGOs and CSOs. If there is a need, we will download this to the barangays which have a clear accountability,” Garcia said.

She explained that while the NGOs and CSOs are not subjected to government audit, the barangays and local government units are subjected to COA monitoring who can monitor how the money has been spent.

She likened the release of funding to NGOs and CSOs to the Napoles scam involving Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds channeled to “ghost projects” of NGOs created by Janet Lim Napoles. The NGOs turn out to be “fake” or do not have legitimate operations and beneficiaries.

“It doesn’t mean less of how we govern if di ta mohatag. Kung naay farmers group who will ask for help, we can refer them to the Provincial Agriculture Office or other offices. We have programs that can assist them or we can refer them to the Philippine Rural Development Project of the DA (Department of Agriculture),” Garcia said.

The governor added that all proposed livelihood projects will now be directly coursed through the local government unit (LGU) or barangays as these can be audited by the COA.

NO MORE TENTS, MONOBLOCK CHAIRS

In the same meeting Garcia told the PB that the Capitol will also no longer grant requests on tents, monoblock chairs, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, among others coming from barangays.

She noticed that since 2015, the provincial government has spent millions of resources for these items as aids to the barangays which do not really benefit much of the constituents’ lives.

This decision is in accordance with the direction of her government.

“This is to ensure transparency and accountability and the proper use of our resources. Dili na ta magpalit og tents. Instead we will help our teachers with their chalk (needs) and teaching aids,” she said.

All requests relating to sports equipment and medals for elementary and high school students will also now be centralized.

As to the medals, she said the Provincial government will institute rules to give out only quality medals to honor awardees.

Garcia prefers requests for infrastructure projects as this is in line with her program to better the roads and water distribution system in the barangays to uplift the lives of the Cebuanos, but a program of work must be submitted by the barangays requesting it.

“Let us be specific. Kadtong i-request kadto untang naay clear infrastructure ug naay lasting effect,” she said. (Vanessa L. Almeda)