Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It always saddens me to hear of an NGO project ending, or of an NGO field office in Ormoc closing or of colleagues that we have been working with for years, moving on to greener pastures. Accepting this reality is a burden and causes me so much heartache and frustration.

This brings me to share with you an interesting survey conducted by the Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Social Action Commission of which is a member of the Coalition of Ormoc Women and whose chairman is a good friend to all COW member NGOs.

The SAC segregated the survey results programmatically thus – Livelihood, Health, Education, Political Governance, Environment, Justice and Peace, Basic Needs and Infrastructure and Other Concerns. They presented this to BEC Cluster Leaders, Government as well as Non-Government instrumentalities; to the government to respond to the issues at hand and to the NGOs for information purposes.

But in all the issues presented from No Money and No Work to Shelter concerns and Disasters, the government has programs going and serving the barangays. So after all the talking and the handshakes and other goodbyes and everybody’s gone, I asked Jiggs Maglasang, SAC’s chairman: “Jiggs, if the government has programs in the barangays to respond to all the issues presented to them as a result of this survey, why in the first place did these issues come up?”

“Not enough. The government’s programs are not enough to handle all the needs of the citizens”, was Jiggs ready answer.

It’s never enough. When is it going to be enough? Why is it never enough?

It’s never enough because our population is growing by the minute. See how more and more nations on earth are resorting to Nuclear Energy and therefore nuclear weapons to respond to the growing needs of their peoples?

NGOs were born to supply the missing link and be the conscience that they are to government program implementers. That is why we are here and that is why I am always saddened when an NGO is closing a project or an office in Ormoc. It means more work for the NGOs left behind and additional burdens to carry for the government personnel assigned to continue the project left by the NGO which cannot usually be duplicated by a different agent.

Alvin Acidre and Ernie Solano did a great job in Ormoc. But, as Jiggs said: “It’s never enough.” The problems left behind that have not been taken on by LEFADO-Ormoc will grow easily like bacteria. If nothing will be done to continue LEFADO’s program in Ormoc soon, the problem like bacteria, will become a malady and difficult to treat.

And this brings me to another issue among NGOs – fundraising. We NGOs are so dependent on big grant-issuers. Big grants are good. It provides the NGO the much needed fund to implement a project to respond to a problem; but for only a couple of years – one up to a maximum of three years. And this is really, really frustrating. NGOs therefore are alive for the next three years and silent the next year or so. So my personal advocacy among my NGO colleagues whether Field Office or Main Office – let’s do individual fundraising.

By asking donations from individuals – be it only 25 centavos or 25,000 pesos – it doesn’t matter. Twenty-five centavos from 10,000 individuals is P2,500 pesos which can provide a survival and transportation allowance to an unmarried volunteer for one month. One month’s volunteer work can make wonders, mind you. IT CAN MAKE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE.

Twenty-five thousand pesos from only 5 individual donors is P125,000.00. Imagine what that amount can do to our work as NGOs!

One Euro from a donor in Czechoslovakia or 25 cents from another in the US can make a lot of difference. Pagtinabangay Foundation is doing this through www.ammado.com. We now have more than 30 individuals from around the globe donating to Pagtinabangay Foundation through the Ammado Giving Circle.

So, Alvin and Ernie do not be tied up to what your main office can provide because you can do better.

Again, Alvin and Ernie, mga hijo, Good Luck to both of you and to LEFADO-Ormoc. NEVER SAY GOODBYE!

Ate Jean Justimbaste

June 23, 2009

On the occasion of LEFADO’s ending its HIV & AIDS Prevention and Care Project

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