Like most countries most of the problems can be solved internally and often without external investment. The Philippines is a country full of natural resources which is one of the main courses of conflict. At the same time a system built on corruption that rarely gets flagged up to what its “interference” does when it comes to organisations and charities operating in the country. I have had a couple of examples over time here I can share of the sort of things that go on. Often there are international funds available at central government for projects, a scholarship program requested some money and a congressman offered to lobby for cash on their behalf on one condition. The P1million that he would lobby for in central government he wanted P700,000 back in an envelope for himself.
Similar issue came about when I was looking to organise fire equipment from the UK where a representative from a government office wanted to be involved. I told them there was no money in it as everything was given free and I didn’t need to pay them as there was no cash involved. The response was that a local official would look to “pay the taxes” on importation as well as other fees that did not exist so the official could pocket all the money for themselves without actually having to do anything for the money they would steal from the government funds. I cancelled the shipment from the UK instead as this was going ahead if I agreed with it or not they were going to extort funds in some way on the back of other peoples donations.
The same goes for many, many things operating in the country but most are sitting silently about what is being done to them as its not good for fundraising to say “hey sorry guys had to give 50% to some officials so they wouldn’t stop us”. Which often happens in corrupt countries problem is you never hear of it anywhere except if you read things like UN reports.
Can a charity work in the Philippines? over 50,000 NGOs already do varying considerably on what they are up to but one thing for sure there is a lot of hindering going on as well as skimming the organisations struggle or can’t kerb. I remember an advertisement on a rotary group website requesting P2.5million for an Ambulance for a hospital yet hospitals here are generally private companies and if you see the Ambulances they are generally less than P1million in fact you would probably have one of the best in the country for P1million as the vehicles are generally already old before they arrive (which no doubt that one would be too!). So I do wonder what would happen to the other P1.5million?
In recent months though the stuff we are starting to do with agriculture methods as well as other things we are looking at I know can pay dividence to help the poor at the same time it needs the poor to be helping themselves which is why I have taken a long period of time even considering looking at setting up our own NGO project. I don’t want corruption, I don’t want endless feeding programs I want projects that will last and develop as well as help people regain self dignity and respect. It will initially be a trial and error concept but I have found a community that is looking to develop things and happy to get involved as well as see things improve. Won’t be an overnight success but the first thing is forming up a meeting with the people that are the community to discuss what they need and want from any projects to assess how we can help them best.