Eyes on relief fund

Three days into the first month since super Typhoon Yolanda flattened many parts of central Philippines, media groups, netizens, and disaster risk reduction advocates come together to talk on steps to ensure that the funds and goods donated for Yolanda victims will be accounted for and will match of the needs of about 11 million people it affected.

More than tracking where foreign aid goes as the country continues to recover from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), citizens need to keep an eye on how government’s calamity funds are spent, Dr. Leonor Briones, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines advised civil society organizations on December 4th.

“I am not worried about aid from foreign governments,” said former national treasurer. “We should worry more about accountability and transparency for our government’s funds,” including calamity funds.

Dr. Briones also urged citizens to translate and share plans with the communities which need these most, especially the most vulnerable like children, elderly and persons with disabilities.

The roundtable discussion called “Watching Where the Aid Goes” took place on December 4th in Quezon City and about 100 people from media, civil society, international NGOs, schools, and other sectors took part in what may be the first public roundtable that puts spotlight on the need to collectively monitor and report funds intended for relief and recovery of Yolanda victims amid past reports of abuse of funds for victims of recent calamities in the country.