OpinionsGender Bender‘Red-Tagging’ NGOs: What’s it all about?

‘Red-Tagging’ NGOs: What’s it all about?


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Why are there non-government organizations at all?

Because government does not, or cannot address all the issues and problems that beset the lives of very many people in this and other countries.

This situation leads citizens who are concerned with specific issues to try to fill the gaps with services, education, or responsive projects — very often by setting up and operating NGOs.

Of course, most people are content to focus on their private lives and desires, and don’t bother themselves with problems not directly affecting them.

Then there are those few who feel a moral need to try to make life better for others, (often idealistic types, and sometimes prone to discouragement when hurdles arise.)

But in my 40 years of NGO work, the majority of women and men I encountered have remained committed, driven by values of pro-people, and truly sustainable development (as opposed to traditional notions of development that merely chase after economic growth without regard for social justice or serious externalities.)

Now to the present accusations “red-tagging” some of our main NGOs:

I’ve been part, representing my NGO, of some of those mentioned in the military complaint, and in fact, I was among the incorporators, the first board of trustees, and project evaluators of CERNet (Community Empowerment Resource Network Inc.), so I know whereof I speak.

It is laughable to even imagine such financial shenanigans as described by the military’s questionable CERNet staff-informant.

The German consortium of churches funding CERNet, and my own NGO, strictly imposes such airtight financial systems that our government (with its often-sloppy management of public funds) can only dream of.

No way in hell that our funds go to the NPA.

So what’s really going on?  I can’t say that I know for sure, but of course, it’s a classic political ploy to divert people’s attention from serious governance weaknesses — rising food prices, poor health services,  failures of the education system, high levels of unemployment feeding the continuing export of Filipino workers,  the stranglehold of political dynasties monopolizing positions of power and access to public resources, environmental problems, and more.

So the problem is communist insurgency in the military’s misguided analysis? But they’re mostly a spent force, an irritant, to be sure, when there are armed flare-ups, but they hardly constitute a block to national development.

The reason it existed in the past was precisely because of bad governance: neglect, ineptitude, corruption, social injustice.

How about the military turn its focus on those major failings of the government system?

Hampering the work of NGOs by cutting off government support will leave many communities bereft of the benefits from these NGOs’ action.

Surely, the provincial government would not want communities to be worse off than they already are.


Author’s email: h.cecilia7@gmail.com



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