PCSO-delisted charities in dilemma on how to go on
This is in reference to the front-page article in the Sept. 25 issue of the Inquirer (“PCSO stops fund ‘abuse’”), which quoted former PCSO chair Manoling Morato as saying that “only one institution is being given PCSO aid.” He said this was the Welcome House of the Good Shepherd Sisters “whose head is a nun, Sr. Pilar Verzosa, a friend of the late President Cory Aquino.” While I am honored to be identified as a friend of President Cory, here are the facts.
Welcome House has been receiving funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for almost 20 years now—from the time of the late, former PCSO chair Dr. Mita Pardo de Tavera. However, during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the release of aid funds to us would be delayed for up to two or three years. This was the experience of most of the charitable institutions that had been receiving regular PCSO assistance over the years.
But with much diligence and persistence, I was able to have our proposal approved by Chair Margarita Juico early this year. However, since their present board came up with a policy that only medical requests may be approved, Welcome House can now be considered among the delisted charity institutions because we will never be able to comply with that policy. We need funds for the maintenance of our shelter for girls and women in crisis. Most of our clients are referred to us by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, PGH (Philippine General Hospital) Child Protection Unit, PNP (Philippine National Police) children and women’s desks, etc. This means we need the funds for electricity and water; transportation to hospitals, psychiatrists, lawyers and court hearings; repairs, food and clothing. These items have always been included in all the requests of charitable institutions. But now that the PCSO lists those as administrative costs (which means salaries, office supplies, rental, etc.), all of us institutions know that we can never ask for funds to pay for those items.
There is no so-called “abuse” involved. It is the task of the DSWD to assess if agencies and institutions should or should not be given allocations. The DSWD accreditation has always been required by the PCSO. I believe that all those institutions delisted by the PSCO are DSWD-accredited.
We are all in the same dilemma as to how we will now maintain our services to the poor.
I pray that President Aquino and PCSO Chair Juico will reconsider their policies and remain true to the original PCSO mandate.
—SR. PILAR VERZOSA, RGS,
coordinator, Welcome House,
Good Shepherd Sisters Inc.,
1641 West Zamora St.,
Paco, Manila 1007
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