MANILA, Philippines – To prevent a scheme similar to the pork barrel scam in the future, a lawmaker has proposed to install a strict and uniform accreditation scheme for non-governmental organizations dealing with government offices.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr on Monday, December 2, filed House Bill 3444, which seeks to ensure that only NGOs with proven track record would be awarded with government funding.
"We should distinguish who among NGOs have track record, capability, and experience to undertake the delivery of services funded by government. If you are not accredited, you cannot bid for a government contract," Baguilat said.
Under the pork barrel scam, P6 billion worth of taxpayers' money were funneled into 82 fake NGOs, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) special report.
The scheme allegedly involves senators and congressmen endorsing bogus NGOs so implementing agencies would award to them the projects funded by the lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Testimonies by whistleblowers indicate that agency officials may have actively pushed for certain NGOs as well.
An earlier Rappler story on audit reports on the National Agri-Business Corporation from 2007 to 2011 found that almost half of allocations from lawmakers' PDAF went to favored NGOs.
Government audit reports have also shown that senators and congressmen endorsed which NGOs would get PDAF.
Lawmakers have insisted that the responsibility to vet the legitimacy of NGOs rests on implementing agencies, not them. (READ: Enrile bloc: Not our job to check NGOs)