DSWD’s ‘solicitation permit’ hit
Manila, Philippines – “The government’s incompetence and insecurity will cost the lives of poor who are adversely affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. Why would the government limit the initiatives of civil society and non-government organizations to solicit and conduct relief operations in times of a public health crisis? Is it because they feel that private sectors are doing better in providing relief aid to the distressed families than the government?” This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday, lambasting the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) over its announcement that it would be regulating ‘unauthorized public solicitation activities.’
On its official social media accounts, the DSWD yesterday posted a reminder to the public that ‘no person or organization shall conduct any form of solicitation in the country without first securing a permit from the DSWD’, in compliance with the Presidential Decree No. 1564 otherwise known as the Solicitation Permit Law.
“The poor families and displaced workers are burdened by the lack of government’s support and services, yet another layer of bureaucracy will be added to impede the efforts of private sectors and individuals in providing temporary necessities to the people. It runs contrary to the government’s supposed slogan which is the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One,’” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
“The DSWD should speed up in providing relief and assistance to the poor instead of an additional red tape to the humanitarian efforts and charitable acts of private sectors, entities, and even celebrities,” added Hicap.
PAMALAKAYA, since the lockdown, has been involved in Tulong Anakpawis, a relief operations campaign led by Anakpawis Party-list together with various peasant and advocates groups. The relief operations drive solicits donations through an open call posted online. Each relief pack, which is being distributed to families in coastal, peasant and urban poor communities, contains rice and vegetables which are being purchased directly from the farmers to assure that they still have income amid the lockdown.
“The real ‘bayanihan’ has been ongoing from the citizenry level to help those affected by the lockdown. It is morally unjust if the government will hinder the citizens’ initiatives and volunteerism,” ended Hicap. ###