21 December 2011

Beware of Fraudulent Solicitors for Typhoon Victims

Whenever disaster strikes, development efforts to help the victims always encounter problems and issues that were not created by the event that took hundreds of lives, but by human intervention. One of these frustrating and perennial thorns that keep on cropping up are fraudulent solicitors.

Instead of helping make the distribution of relief goods efficiently reach thousands of flood victims in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City, questionable solicitors either call, e-mail, text or knock on doors asking for donations to support initiatives in the two cities. However, everyone should be reminded that according to Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, door-to-door fund solicitation without a permit from the DSWD is not allowed.

The public may report illegal solicitation activities to the Office of the DSWD Regional Director at the Field Office nearest their area or text to mobile hotline 700-3793 (700-DSWD).

Secretary Soliman added in the DSWD site that while it has become traditional for different organizations to conduct various civic activities and projects for the causes they support, the Solicitation Permit Law must be observed. Presidential Decree No. 1564 or the Solicitation Permit Law signed on 11 June1978 provides the DSWD with exclusive authority to regulate the solicitation, acceptance of donations or contributions for charitable or public welfare purposes.

"Under the Solicitation Permit Law, any person, corporation, organization, or association desiring to solicit or receive contributions for charitable or public welfare purposes must secure a permit from the DSWD," Secretary Soliman explained.

If the solicitation activity will be conducted in one local government unit such as the city or municipality, the application shall be directly filed at the office of the concerned city or municipal mayor.

Meanwhile, if the solicitation activity will be done in two or more cities or municipalities within the region, application for permit can be filed at the DSWD Field Office where the solicitation will be conducted.

For nationwide solicitation activity, application for permit can be filed at the Standards Bureau, DSWD Central Office, Constitution Hills, Quezon City, but must be coursed through to the concerned DSWD Field Office.

A DSWD solicitation permit is valid only in the Philippines. A permit for a national fund drive is valid for one (1) year. A regional fund drive permit, on the other hand, is valid for three (3) months.

The Solicitation Permit Law provides the penalty of imprisonment of not more than one (1) year or a fine of not more than one thousand pesos (PhP 1,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court for soliciting donations or conducting fund drives without the proper permits.