News and UpdatesTuesday, June 17, 2014
REPORT FROM THE BOARD, May 27, 2014
2013 was a very challenging year for the NGO community in the country. The exposes about the channeling of government funds through “bogus” NGOs tarnished the image of the NGO community in the eyes of the general public. This led to a stricter monitoring and implementation of rules and regulations by government agencies, especially the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the governance of non-stock, non-profit corporations or NGOs and Foundations.
Additional reports and documentations are now required to ensure that donations received are accounted for and spent for the intended purposes. Documents submitted are now subjected to closer scrutiny, extending the time needed for approvals.
Amidst these challenges, PCNC continued to ensure that Philippine NGOs and Foundations approved for certification are indeed legitimate, efficient and effective organizations.
The limits of NGO/Foundation services were put to test by the unparalleled devastation brought about by both natural and man-made disasters that affected the country. The last quarter of the year saw the war that erupted in Zamboanga that was followed by the earthquake that affected Central Visayas. Not yet done with the relief and rehabilitation efforts to assist the affected victims of the earthquake, typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas, putting the efforts of NGOs and foundations to the limit.
The non-profit organizations NGOs and Foundations of different types and sizes contributed to the alleviation of the situation of the victims. There were those who directly provided relief goods and services to the affected communities. Where it was possible, these efforts were coordinated with local government units and government agencies. Others raised funds and goods that were sent to the victims, mostly through NGOs and Foundations. Several international organizations also channeled their assistance through these NGOs and Foundations. These organizations continue to be significant partners of Local Government Units, government agencies and the affected communities now that assistance is at the recovery and rehabilitation modes.
The participation of NGOs/Foundations in the relief and rehabilitation efforts for victims of calamities somehow eased the negative public perceptions about these types of organizations.
Reviewing Applicant NGOs/Foundations for Certification
Meeting an average of once a month in 2013, the Board deliberated on the application of each NGO/Foundation for PCNC certification for both new organizations and renewal of accreditation. The Board always ensures that it uses the same set of standards and process in the deliberation process. As may be found necessary, applicants are asked to submit additional documentations to ensure, not only organizational legitimacy and efficiency and effectiveness, but sustainability as well.
An important consideration for those renewing their certification is not only passing the standards, but the demonstration of improvements in organizational functioning. Take note that in the monthly meetings of the PCNC Board, policies are reviewed and revised as these may contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of PCNC certification.
In 2013, PCNC evaluated a total of 141 NGOs or Foundations and endorsed 131 to BIR for Donee Institution Status. The certification of the rest was deferred for various reasons.
Of those endorsed to BIR, 33 organizations were certified by PCNC for the first time, and 99 were renewals. Regrettably, the misappropriation of government funds perpetuated by bogus NGOs forced the BIR to become stricter in the issuance of Donee Institution Status to organizations recommended by PCNC. Thus, only 96 of the 131 endorsed by PCNC to BIR were issued “Donee Institution Status” as of the end of 2013.
We are proud to state that none of the NGOs that were said to be involved in the misappropriation of government funds ever applied for PCNC certification or have been certified by PCNC. In this regard, the Board continues to strengthen its certification policies to guarantee the integrity of PCNCs certification.
Strengthening PCNC’s Partnerships
PCNC continues to be a part of a consortium led by Ayala Foundations that is implementing the “Strengthening the Capacity of Civil Society Organizations in the Philippines” Project funded by the USAID.
The project has reached more than 130 NGOs and Foundations from all over the country, 95 of which are expected to pass organizational standards set for funding by international grant-making institutions.
The work of PCNC did not go unnoticed by the Senate and Congress of the Philippines. As an aftermath of the scandals involving misappropriation of government funds of fake NGOs and Foundations, both the Senate and Congress are looking for legislations that will ensure that only legitimate and effective non-stock, non-profit corporations can receive funds from the government. In this light PCNC has been invited to act as resource person to several hearings of related proposed bills.
PCNC was invited by six (6) NGO networks in the Philippines to handle 12 workshops that had an aggregate of about 320 participants to explain the value and the standards and processes used in measuring compliance of NGOs and Foundations with indicators of good governance/ housekeeping.
The pioneering efforts and work of PCNC in the certification of NGOs/Foundations continue to be recognized internationally. PCNC was asked to share good practices and lessons learned in certification of organizations in three international forums conducted in Taipei, Bangkok and Manila respectively by the International Committee on Fundraising Organizations (ICFO), Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) and Asia Pacific Housing Forum.
Together with six (6) other certification institutions from the different parts of the world, PCNC has also been invited by the International Civil Society Centre based in Berlin to participate in the development of a basic set of organizational standards for non-profit organizations that will be acceptable globally.
The main motivation of NGOs/Foundations for PCNC certification is tied-up with the acquisition of “Donee Institution Status” from BIR. Only a few seek PCNC certification for a seal of good governance/housekeeping.
In pursuit of its expanded purpose (going beyond certification for “Donee Institution Status” as revised 2009) and to encourage more NGOs and Foundations to seek PCNC certification, it will be issuing certificate of good governance/ housekeeping to those who were assessed to be compliant with PCNC standards of organizational legitimacy, effectiveness and efficiency, separate and distinct from the “Donee Institution Status” issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).