DSWD officials issue clarifications regarding NGO accreditation: We don’t want a repeat of the Napoles scam

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today clarified the issue of accreditation of civil society organizations (CSOs).

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that the Department is actively coordinating with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Commission on Audit (COA) on the guidelines and their implementation.

Sec. Taguiwalo explained that existing guidelines provide for the main phases undergone by CSO applicants, such as (1) submission of requirements, (2) initial examination and posting (by DSWD), (3) validation and ocular inspection (by DSWD Field Office), (4) evaluation and deliberation (by DSWD), and (5) issuance of certification/notification. The applicant CSO is accountable mainly in the first step, as all of the other phases are executed by pertinent DSWD personnel.

Based on the guidelines, all other variables equal (i.e. the CSO was able to submit the necessary requirements), the whole process may take as long as 20-30 days.

"When we arrived at the DSWD, we found that the documentary requirements are numerous. We are one with NGOs and partner agencies in the goal to make the process of accrediting CSOs easier and less circuitous, but we must also ensure the 100% credibility of the CSOs and what their services are to the public or their specified beneficiaries or audiences. We cannot have a repeat of the Napoles scam wherein bogus CSOs were given accreditation - unknowingly by offices in the Congress and the Senate, as well as other government agencies," she said.

Here are the following documentary requirements. Take note, however, that some of the documents are not required from new applicants or applicants seeking renewal.

" Duly accomplished application form

" certified true copy of resolution of CSO's governing body

" certified true copy of registration with the SEC, CDA, DOLE, etc (as the case may be)

" certified true copy of the SEC general information sheet

" original certification of no derogatory record (issued not more than 3 months before the date of application) by the SEC, CDA, or DOLE as the case may be

" certified true copy of valid business license issued by local government unit

" certified true copies of audited financial reports

" certified true copies of annual income tax returns

" list of projects and programs previously and/or currently implemented by the CSO with the government

" list of other projects and programs (i.e. Where the CSO did not receive public funds)

" sworn statement stating (a) other related business, if any, by the key personnel of the CSO, (b) that the CSO is not in default in liquidating government funds, (c) none of the key officials of the CSO is related to (1) the DSWD official involved in the CSO accreditation and (2) any official that directly manages the program of the government agency partnering with the CSO, (d) that neither the CSO nor its key personnel has been blacklisted by the government and (e) that neither the CSO nor its key personnel has been accused in a legal case arising from the use of public funds

" original sworn certification stating that projects implemented with the government, that the CSO has no derogatory record with the government

" written internal policy of the CSO on monitoring and evaluation system of projects

" location sketch

" photographs of principal and satellite offices

" organizational charts

" data sheets with names and contact details of key personnel

" certified true copy of certificate of affiliation issued by an umbrella organization (if applicable)

" certificate of good standing

" valid certificate of CSO accreditation (if renewal)

" original sworn certificate from the CSO chief stating no material change in the past year in the documents submitted in support of the original application for accreditation (if renewal)

" updated documents which there have been a material change in the past year (if renewal)

In the meantime, Undersecretary for Institutional Development (IDG) Group Mae Fae Ancheta-Templa said that that the DSWD led by Sec. Taguiwalo has met with NCCA officials and partner CSOs to discuss the difficulties they encounter in the process of CSO accreditation.

"As far as the documents are concerned, the most recent measure done included allowing CSOs to provide certified true copies or photocopies of some of the required documents, instead of the original. Another measure by the Department was classifying CSOs as either implementing or beneficiary CSOs. The concept of a "beneficiary CSO" was introduced last year, where a "CSO Beneficiary" refers to "a group of individuals directly affected by a particular social condition. Many CSOs belong to this group, especially that these organizations "receive" fund/grant from the government to perform their special roles and functions in their respective community (in a manner that is still within the bounds of law), rather than being a direct co-implementer of a government program," Ancheta-Templa explained.

The Undersecretary said that the accreditation process undertaken by "beneficiary CSOs" is more flexible when compared to that by "implementer CSOs". For example, certificates of registration with pertinent government agencies, business permits, and BIR registration (among many other requirements) are not required for beneficiaries.

(Note: Attached to this press release is the DSWD-MC 2016-004 as an easy reference reflecting the differences in these documentary requirements). This is an added flexibility instituted by the Department in addition to the requirement of photocopies and certified true copies (CTC) in many documents (rather than the original).

"On the part of the DSWD, we are in the process of consulting different stakeholders (i.e. fellow government agencies, civil society, etc) in order to further explore areas in the guidelines needing tuning-up for added flexibility. In terms of the legal measures, it is up to the lawmakers to re-consider the relevance of the process, because such measure is mandated under the General Appropriation Acts," Ancheta-Templa said.

Source: Philippine Information Agency