Philippines struggles to keep typhoon aid and donations graft-free

As millions of dollars pour in for more than four million left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines, authorities are grappling with a familiar problem – how to stop fraudulent claims and prevent greedy politicians taking advantage.

Nearly $298 million in cash and relief goods have so far been pledged by countries and donor groups to an overwhelmed government that was criticized for its slow response in the first few days after disaster struck.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have committed a total of more than $1 billion in grants and emergency loans to support reconstruction and relief efforts.

Add to that the millions of pesos raised by the private sector, with Filipinos working across the globe gathering friends for fund-raising activities, and you have a lucrative target for scammers and unscrupulous public officials in one of the most corrupt countries in East Asia. (The Philippines comes in at 105 out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index.)

This week, Manila launched an online portal called FAiTH to provide information on donations in answer to concerns that aid money might once again end up lining pockets of local officials.

[Reuters]

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