House panel mulls declaring Boy Scouts of the Philippines as NGO

Rappler.com
House panel mulls declaring Boy Scouts of the Philippines as NGO
A technical working group will consolidate 4 bills recognizing the Boy Scouts of the Philippines as an independent, voluntary, and autonomous organization

MANILA, Philippines – Some members of the House of Representatives wants the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) to be declared as a non-governmental organization.

In a press release on Saturday, April 14, the House committee on government enterprises and privatization approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate 4 bills recognizing BSP as an independent, voluntary, and autonomous organization.

The TWG will consolidate House Bills (HB) 2232, 3212, 5411, and 7000. Committee chair Jesus Sacdalan named Bohol 1st District Representative Rene Relampagos as TWG head.

Relampagos, HB 7000 principal author, said in his proposal that redefining BSP’s powers, duties, and functions as an independent NGO auxiliary to the Republic of the Philippines is similar to the newly enacted charter of the Philippine Red Cross under Republic Act 10072. (READ: FAST FACTS: The Boy Scouts of the Philippines)

“The proposed charter will also pave the way for the installation of a more concrete institution for youth development, making BSP attuned to the changing calls of the time and to the growing challenges that our youth are facing everyday,” Relampagos said.

Meanwhile, AKO Bicol Partylist representatives Rodel Batocabo, Alfredo Garbin, and Christopher Co said in their explanatory note for HB 5411 that declaring BSP an NGO wil make it more “attuned to the changing times and to the growing challenges in the society.”

Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla and Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evelina Escudero both said that there have been attempts to institute a new BSP charter since the 8th Congress.

They said the current bill will help BSP to achieve its “moral, civic, and social development goals” for the Filipino youth.

BSP was established through Commonwealth Act 111, signed by former president Manuel Quezon in 1936.

This law states that the purpose of the BSP shall be “to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by boy scouts.”

Commonwealth Act 111 was amended twice: first in 1974 through Presidential Decree 460, and then in 1992 through Republic Act 7278

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that BSP is a public corporation that is subject to government audit. The Commission on Audit (COA) began auditing its financial transactions in 2012.

BSP Senior Vice President Roberto Pagdanganan expressed his support for the bills, pointing out that the 2011 Supreme Court ruling “should be rectified.”

“The BSP is a private corporation,” said Pagdanganan in a statement.

A 2013 COA report showed that the BSP has an income of around P14 million. COA, however, asked the organization in 2014 to produce records that would support the validity of its total declared collections for 2012 and 2013.  Aika Rey/Rappler.com

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