Protect people from unscrupulous solicitations - Rep. Sato
There's a proposed law in Congress which seeks to protect the general public from unscrupulous persons soliciting funds for questionable purposes.
"While giving and sharing are virtues to emulate, there are also people who take advantage of people's open-heartedness to pursue selfish personal interests," Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato lamented.
Rep. Sato is author of HB 3225, to be known as "The Public Solicitation Act of 2013", which would establish the standards and guidelines for organization, agencies, groups and individuals undertaking such solicitation activities.
Public solicitation under the proposed Act refers to any activity or project intended to generate funds, goods, or other assistance from the public sectors for charitable and/or public welfare purposes.
Public welfare purposes refer to activities or projects relative to health, education, peace, social welfare and protection, environmental safety, rights, security and safety or citizens and similar circumstances or conditions.
HB 3225, referred to the House Committee on Social Services chaired by Rep. Arturo Robes, aims to strengthen the system of granting permits and/or authorization to solicit funds and/or donations from the public for charitable, social and public welfare purposes. Permits shall be granted by the DSWD and its provincial, City and municipal branches.
"It is also the intention of this bill to ensure that solicited funds are properly utilized according to its intended purposes and given to its rightful beneficiaries," Sato stressed.
Section 3 of HB 3225 provides: "This Act shall apply to all National Government Agencies (NGAs), Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), State Colleges/Universities, Local Government Units (LGUs) and other government agencies; Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) including faith-based people's organization and civil society organizations, associations, branch organization operating in the Philippines which are partly or fully financed with funds solicited from or contributed by the public or private sectors for charitable or public welfare purposes/s."
The measure, however, exempts from its coverage organizations and agencies created by laws or charters that specifically confer authority on these organizations and agencies to solicit or conduct fund campaign for charitable or public welfare purposes.
"Provided, that the DSWD, PSWDO and C/MSWDO shall have the authority to monitor their activities and to require these organizations and agencies to submit but not limited to specific documents which, among others, include: a) audited fund utilization report of its collections, income and expenditures and other financial documents; b) lists of donors and their corresponding addresses and contact numbers; c) list of beneficiaries with their corresponding signatures, addresses and contact numbers and amount or types of assistance extended; and d) list of projects completed, location and cost with complete documentations on the project e.g. pictures, videos and testimonies of beneficiaries."
The DSWD may also require other documents in order to make assessment of performance of the organization and agency, the bill provides. PSWDO means Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, while C/MSWDO stands for City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.
Also exempted from application of solicitation permit are carolling during Christmas season as a form of solicitation and the solicitation within the church/mosque or building for religious purposes or Christian/Muslim worship.
"However, approval of the concerned PSWDO or C/MSWDO that has jurisdiction over the areas, must be first obtained prior the solicitation activities for religious purposes that are to be conducted outside the peripheral of the Christian/Muslim worship," HB 3225 states.
The bill provides for prohibited acts, filing and handling of complaints and corresponding penalties for violations. Penalties include imprisonment ranging from not less than one year but not more than three years and fines not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or both at the discretion of the court.
Furthermore, for the first offense there shall be revocation of solicitation permit and no permit shall be granted for two years from date of violation. For the second offense, violator shall be banned permanently from conducting solicitation activities and its registration or license to operate as an organization or agency shall be cancelled and revoked permanently.
SOURCE: Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau
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