Gov’t launches improved foreign aid tracking site

Natashya Gutierrez

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The new version allows 64 countries and 7 multilateral organizations to input their cash and non-cash pledges on the site, increasing accuracy of foreign aid tracking

IMPROVED VERSION. The government launches Version 2.0 of its foreign aid tracking site, FAiTH. Screenshot of FAiTH website

MANILA, Philippines – Almost 6 months since Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) ravaged the Philippines, the government launched Version 2.0 of the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH), an online tracker of humanitarian aid given by foreign countries and organizations.

The new version gives access to 64 countries and 7 multilateral organizations, allowing them to input their cash and non-cash pledges on the site. The improvement comes amid continuous public interest in relief efforts and demand for transparency.

Malacañang has emphasized that a bulk of the aid pledged by the international community has not gone to government, thus a lot of those listed on the website are only pledges of assistance.

In an effort to know how many of those pledges have been converted to actual donations of either cash or non-cash assistance, the government updated the website to improve tracking.

Originally, only the government could post aid details on the website. Now, countries and organizations are able to log in, manage content and track their pledges.

“As embassies update their data, each successful entry will generate a unique transaction ID and an electronic alert sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Each update must also be officially communicated to the DFA via Note Verbale,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on Wednesday, April 30.

He added, “A number of these embassies and organizations have already updated their data; thus, the figures on this version of FAiTH are also the most updated figures on aid and assistance.”

The information submitted by donors and partners is verified and accounted for by the FAiTH Task Force through electronic alerts sent to the DFA after every input. It authenticates the input before clearing submission for publication on the portal.

As of this posting, the total foreign aid pledge according to the website is P34 billion or $762.9 million. Of that amount, P11 billion ($248 million) is in the form of cash and P22.9 billion ($514.9 million), non-cash.

Less than half of the amount pledged, or P15 billion ($336 million) has been received by the government so far.

Increased accuracy

Aside from countries and multilateral organization, donations made by private, foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) may also be recorded if coursed through the DFA. Private individuals’ donations may be included in the tally as well if coursed through Philippine embassies abroad.

Lacierda hailed the new version as “a system that emphasizes accuracy and our collective responsibility to ensure that every form of assistance given out of the good will of the global community achieves its intended goal: to help the survivors of Yolanda.”

“By so doing, it strengthens partnerships, fosters trust, and ensures that we will continue our march on the journey to recovery and resilience together,” he said.

On November 14, about a week after Yolanda, the government launched FAiTH, “an online portal of information on calamity aid and assistance – both in cash and in kind – that are received by the Philippines from other countries, multilateral organizations, and those sent through Philippine embassies abroad.”

The DFA acts as the main agency that coordinates foreign aid, and is the primary source of information for FAiTH. (READ: Foreign aid: Process from donor to beneficiaries)

The world’s strongest storm, which hit central Philippines on November 8, 2013, claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced over 4.1 million people.

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.