Relief funds, goods should be accounted for – Advocacy group

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 14 Nov) – Funds and goods raised for relief operations to respond to the damages brought by super typhoon “Yolanda” should be accounted for in the midst of the great need for it in affected communities.

Rorie Fajardo, national coordinator of the Citizens Action Network for Accountability (CANA), emphasized during the launching Thursday of CANA in Bukidnon that citizens can do a lot to cause change in government.

She added that one way is to help monitor relief funds and goods to ensure they reach the intended beneficiaries.

Fajardo said the national government has reported the release of at least P51.25 million worth of aid in the Visayas. She cited that the international community has also pledged hundreds of millions in aid.

“The biggest challenge is to monitor these big funds as these change hands,” she added.

She cited the cries of typhoon survivors in Leyte saying they have not received any relief goods almost a week after “Yolanda” struck.

Fajardo noted that CANA has launched an online platform, Yolanda Citizen Watch, to help monitor the management of relief funds and operations.

She urged members of Barog Bukidnon (“Rise Bukidnon”), the citizen action group partner of CANA in the province, to continue their effort and help in monitoring the funds even if they are not in the affected areas.

“This is one thing you can do from here (on the Yolanda campaign),” she added.

Fajardo cited that in the relief operations for typhoons Sendong and Pablo, there were big funds released.

“But there’s no accounting on it. Nobody knows what happened,” she added.

Barog Bukidnon aspires to be a broad coalition of civil society, people’s organization, media, indigenous peoples and other sectors to advocate for good governance.

Emma Navarro-Molina, Barog Bukidnon chair, said the group is not out to fight with politicians in the work for good governance.

“We are here to help you with the services for the betterment of our communities,” she added.

Dr. Wilfred Martinez, a professor from San Isidro College, said that in Bukidnon there is no room for fear, cowardice, or playing deaf-mute in the midst of abuses from certain sectors.

“We need to stand up, be alive, to exist, to be present,” he added. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)