Alexandra Mandrigal Eduque was recently named the world’s most outstanding volunteer and she believes that non-government organizations are enduring the repercussions of the pork barrel scam.
“All of a sudden, all these NGOs have been generalized and stigmatized… If people only knew how painstaking it is to raise funds for a worthy cause,” Eduque, a 23-year-old volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP), said.
“I have a lot of friends who are also advocates and who are suffering. It’s not fair to be suffering from this when you are an NGO who is really doing something. That’s the sad reality of things. When one makes mistakes everyone else suffers,” she continued.
Eduque shared that Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ ability to raise funds have been affected because of its classification as a non-government organization and the ongoing controversy about the misuse of government officials’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
About three months ago, the Commission on Audit released a special audit report revealing tat around P10 billion pesos of 72 legislators’ PDAF were given to bogus NGOs to fund ghost projects.
“NGO? Isn’t that corrupt? You have to explain that it’s not the case,” Eduque said. “Instead of spending 30 minutes to meet a donor, it becomes one and a half hours because the rest of the 45 minutes will be spent explaining that it’s a worthy cause.”
Despite the new challenge posed by the controversies, Eduque said that HFHP volunteers are not discouraged from continuing the fulfillment of Habitat’s mission and vision by providing the poor with appropriate shelter and uplifting their quality of life.
With reports from Alexis Romero and GMA News Online.