All foreign diplomatic missions in the Philippines are now bound to seek “appropriate clearance” from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before funneling funds to non-government organizations (NGOs) in the country.
This directive was contained in Note No. 2021-0592 dated February 5, 2021 addressed to all accredited diplomatic missions in the Philippines.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines presents its compliments to all Diplomatic Missions accredited to the Republic of the Philippines and has the honor to inform the latter that all foreign government funding intended for Philippine non-government organizations (NGOs), regardless of mode of disbursement, transfer or download of funds, shall be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines for appropriate clearance,” the department said in the one-page document.
Aside from the NGOs, the DFA also reminded foreign missions donating to the Bangsamoro Region of the existing regulations, specifically for donations related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
“Meanwhile, donations to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) shall remain guided by the Guidelines on Foreign Donations to the BARMM in Relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic circulated to all Diplomatic Missions through Note Verbale No. 2021-0201 dated 14 January 2021,” it added.
Sources said the DFA’s issuance of note to foreign diplomatic missions is reportedly part of the ongoing investigation and the freezing of assets of several designated terrorist organizations, associations, or groups of persons under the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.
Among those earlier classified under the terrorist designation were the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA); Islamic State East Asia; Maute Group; Daulah Islamiyah and other associated groups.
In an advisory on February 16, 2021, the DFA said: “Based on the resolutions, the above groups’ assets shall be subject to investigation and/or freezing by the Anti- Money Laundering Council pursuant to Republic Act No. 10168 (The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012).”
In June 2019, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. reminded European states to seek clearance first before funding NGOs in the Philippines following an investigation conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that revealed the European Union has reportedly released its first tranche of more than 621,000 Euros (PHP36,663,840) to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, a grassroots organization with alleged ties to communist rebels.