Disaster aid and citizen participatory audit

by Dean Tony La Viña and Dondon Parafina

Last week, it was reported by the Daily Mail, a London tabloid, that food donations from the United Kingdom (UK) intended for Typhoon Yolanda survivors have been diverted to malls in Manila by local officials.

The Philippine Star quoted the report as saying that “Crucial aid sent from Britain to help the victims of typhoon-ravaged areas of the Philippines is being siphoned off and sold for profit by corrupt local officials.” Subsequently, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, whose word I completely trust and whose work in this and previous disasters have truly been superhuman, said that no UK aid came in the form of food donations. The UK embassy itself disputed the veracity of the Daily Mail report.

It is in this context that Citizen Participatory Audit in donations for disaster relief operations becomes crucial. This is a timely question given the massive humanitarian assistance the Philippines is receiving and will still receive from various donors all over the world for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected areas in the Visayas.

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