By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) stood firm on Thursday that there is nothing wrong with its advisory requiring individuals and organizations to apply for a solicitation permit before launching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fundraising activities, saying that it is based on law.
DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin noted that there are “many cases” of unauthorized solicitations, and various individuals and organizations are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“Unang-una, yung solicitation ay napaloob sa isang batas (First of all, solicitation is regulated by a law). It mandates the DSWD to regulate the conduct of solicitations,” he told reporters during a virtual press briefing after Senator Risa Hontiveros and Makabayan lawmakers criticized the DSWD’s advisory.
“Marami kasing kaso na ginagamit ang ating pandemic sa pagconduct ng mga solicitations (There are many cases that this pandemic is being used to conduct solicitations). We want to ensure that all solicitations are properly done and will go to the intended beneficiaries. We need to know where are the areas that we need to serve. It is for us to be able to determine and monitor whether in fact the solicitation was used for its intended purpose,” Gudmalin said.
He expressed the agency’s readiness to facilitate the issuance of solicitation permits of those who are assisting the government’s fight against COVID-19.
“Just to make their solicitations legitimate, they have to secure the solicitation permit. The DSWD will facilitate the issuance of that permit, ” he said.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, and Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro called out the DSWD’s advisory, describing it as “additional burden” to those who want to help in this time of crisis.
“Dagdag pasakit ito sa mga mamamayan na nagkukusang tumulong sa kapwa Pilipinong nagugutom. Nasa gitna tayo ng krisis. Wag na nating pahirapan sa burukratikong proseso (This is additional burden for those who volunteer to help fellow Filipinos who are getting hungry. We are in the middle of crisis. Let us not burden them with this bureaucratic process),” Cullamat said in a statement.
For her part, Castro said non-government organizations and the private sector have initiated donation drives to raise funds due to the Duterte administration’s inefficiency and sluggish response to the medical and socio-economic needs of the Filipino people.
“Instead of imposing ridiculous steps and requirements on organizations and individuals that will further delay the delivery of aid, it (DSWD) should hasten the delivery of the Social Amelioration Programs and increase the number of its beneficiaries,” Castro said.
The DSWD’s Standards Bureau reminded that public solicitation will only be made after securing a permit from the DSWD.
The Standards Bureau noted that under Presidential Decree 1564 or the Solicitation Permit Law, the DSWD is mandated to regulate the solicitation of donations and receiving of contributions for charitable or public welfare purposes.
The DSWD called on all entities to apply for a solicitation permit with the nearest DSWD office, which has jurisdiction over the area where the solicitation activity will be conducted.
“Considering the ECQ, kindly apply online and pay the processing fee at any Land Bank Branch Office (NCR payments only) or via online transfer,” it said.
The processing fee shall be deposited at Bureau of Treasury account with account number 3402-2516-96.
The Department requires the applicants to email a copy of the transaction receipt or proof of successful online transfer at [email protected]