By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. last June 1 tweeted the idea that donations to foreign non-government organizations in the Philippines be cleared by his office.
“Over a month ago I fired off a memo to all our European embassies to tell their host governments to clear any and all donations to their NGOs in the Philippines with the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Locsin wrote, warning failure to abide could cost organizations their registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Locsin’s tweet follows the Duterte administration’s claims of foreign governments (specifically the European Union) providing support to organizations that may be erstwhile communist fronts being utilized by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“The EU now will verify and evaluate these documents. A financial audit by an external company is due to be conducted in April,” it said, maintaining it considers CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.
“It should be noted that so far the NGO is fully registered and continues to operate legally in the Philippines,” read the EU statement, with Ambassador Franz Jessen insisting they have “a constructive and very regular dialog with the government on this issue.”
“The EU received a Philippine delegation in Brussels in February to better understand the precise content on the allegations. During the meeting the EU declared that it stands ready to receive precise information that would enable it to further evaluate and verify the allegations,” it added, noting it will take full legal action if the allegations are found to be true.
The Philippine government, on the other hand, submitted to the EU and the Belgian embassy through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict documents supporting their claims that several NGOs are being used to “funnel funds to communists.”
“We are aware of the claim made by the Philippine government. We take this claim seriously and have started immediately investigating the matter, together with the European authorities,” Belgian Ambassador Michel Goffin said in a statement quoted by the Philippine News Agency.
“The funding of non-governmental organizations is subject to strong legal requirements under Belgian law. Should these abuses be established, the Belgian government will not hesitate to stop its support and to seek to recover the amounts already disbursed,” he added.
Donors’ money is safe in the country
In another report by The Philippine Star, President Rodrigo Duterte assured donors and investors their money is safe in the country, especially with his new crackdown on corruption through economic reforms.
“Who wants investments? Who wants it? My country needs it. Now the investors, be it a Japanese, a Chinese, the first thing is: is our money safe? Well in my term, it is safe,” Duterte said during the 25th Nikkei Future of Asia Conference in Tokyo last May 31.
“Is there no corruption? There is no corruption. I have killed all of them already. Some but not all,” he added, reiterating his administration is ready to act on the concerns of investors 24 hours a day.
“That is my promise, that is my guarantee. Your return of investment is yours. You can take your money anytime out. Do not be afraid. We will not stop you,” he added, promising to also not allow even “a whiff of corruption” under his watch.