FILIPINO WORLDVIEW By Roberto R. Romulo (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 31, 2013
…”Recommendations in the aftermath of the earthquake clearly indicated that governments must take the lead in any relief operations. If projects implemented by NGOs do not match up with the government’s priorities, the long-term success of recovery efforts will be undermined.”
“The US Institute of Peace has recommended the following actions to improve disaster relief in Haiti:
1. Greater accountability needed. All NGOs should sign the internationally recognized NGO Code of Conduct. The international donor community should reinforce the Haitian government’s capacity to regulate and coordinate NGOs in the areas of education, health and infrastructure (roads, building and reforestation.
2. The Haitian government should increase its ability to track NGO activities by creating a database of NGO projects.
3. International NGOs must engage Haitian NGOs and assist them in implementing projects. This will ensure a sustainable build-up of local expertise and strengthen civil society.
4. NGO projects and donor funding must be aligned with government priorities.”
Relevance to Philippines
“Our Yolanda experience cannot be compared to the Haitian experience, but there are lessons to be learned regarding the role of NGOs in relief efforts. Clearly, there must be a government- appointed agency to coordinate NGO efforts to ensure synchronization with national priorities. The same agency should also coordinate bilateral and multilateral aid. There have been instances when foreign governments insist on fitting a square peg into a round hole in addition to demanding onerous terms and conditions linked to their aid contributions. I recommend that the Banda Aceh tsunami tragedy should also be studied as we look at global best-practices in disaster relief. The Indonesian Government assigned the National Development Planning Agency to coordinate the development of rehabilitation and reconstruction plan. The US Institute of Peace recommendations should also be reviewed to determine applicability for our situation.”
“Three years from now, we must make sure we do not repeat the Haitian experience or, like Haiti, we will be cursing the aid efforts and saying they have made a bad situation even worse.”