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Philippines Gov't Launches Portal To Transparently Handle Foreign Aid

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, November 25 2013

Hygiene kits and water in the Philippines (Flickr/U.S. Embassy in Manila)

Foreign funds are flooding into the Philippines in the wake of Super-typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda. Three days ago the World Bank increased its aid package to nearly US$1 billion. The Asian Development Bank will provide up to US$523 million in assistance. To ensure the funds are used in a responsible manner, the Philippines Department of Budget and Management launched the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub, or FAiTH.

According to FAiTH, the total amount of foreign aid pledged, in U.S. Dollars, currently stands at $353,802,700. That includes financial donations and in-kind donations, like the US$2 million dollars worth of relief goods Ireland is providing, and the medical team sent from Sri Lanka. It includes grants but not loans (The US$23 million dollar grant from the Asian Development Bank is listed, but not the US$500 million dollar emergency loan they might disperse; the World Bank's significant loan is not listed either.) It does not include money donated to organizations separate from the government, so the 25k Charlie Sheen gave to the People's Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (PREDA) Foundation is not in there.

Navigating the portal, however, I found several links were either dead or led to a country page with irrelevant information, suggesting the the user (i.e. citizen) experience may not be as clean or as productive as the government hopes.

The Philippines has a troubled history of graft and corruption. It placed 105 out of 176 countries on Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. The government was also criticized early on in the response to Haiyan for not doing enough to get aid flowing quickly to those in need.

Reuters reported last week that Filipino disaster officials have been warning potential donors about individuals soliciting aid for typhoon victims under false pretenses.

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