SEC lacks personnel to examine all NGOs

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairperson Teresita Herbosa admitted Thursday before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that the agency fails to monitor all 10,000 active non-government organizations (NGOs).

As of August 2013, 21,000 foundations were registered with the SEC but only 10,000 are active. Those classified as active are foundations that submit annual reports and financial statements.

To monitor 200 foundations a year per processor, Herbosa said the SEC would need at least 54 processors. The agency only has eight.

The registration and monitoring of NGOs were questioned following the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam wherein alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles supposedly put up bogus NGOs to benefit from the PDAF of members of Congress.

Herbosa said the SEC only does random examination of all foundations or if there are complaints filed against foundations.

"We require the submission of financial statements...We do not have the resources to monitor and check those submissions. We can only do random examination, meaning we take a certain number of foundations in a year, maybe about six percent of the total number and that's what we examine," Herbosa told the committee.

In some cases, Herbosa said the SEC requires endorsements from agencies like the Department of Health, Department of Education, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III warned that endorsements would likely create a "confusion" between the SEC and the agencies that issued it.

"This will create confusion... Sabihin kasi 'in-endorse n'yo 'yan so it might create more problems rather than solutions," Guingona said.

Senator Bam Aquino said there is a need to connect all government agencies so that when a red flag is raised on a certain foundation, it will be blacklisted across all agencies.

"Kung di nag-uusap mga ahensya, makakalusot ang gustong lumusot. The goal is to have agencies interconnected, blacklist across all," Aquino said.

Herbosa said that one to five percent of registered NGOs were found to be bogus.

"Kailangan natin alagaan 'yung 95 percent ng NGOs na gumagawa ng tama. Napasama talaga ang pangalan ng NGOs dahil sa Napoles scam," Aquino said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing is still ongoing as of press time. (Sunnex)

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