Published 23 April 2021, The Daily Tribune

With the continuous surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and stricter community quarantine restrictions once again this year, one might feel the urge to help and even organize donation drives for those sectors of society badly hit by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, no matter how noble the cause, one must be reminded that there are specific laws and rules applicable to donations or solicitations.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) requires any person, corporation, organization, association or any other juridical entity desiring to conduct regional and national fund campaigns in the Philippines in order to solicit or receive contributions from the public for charitable or public welfare purposes, to first secure a Public Solicitation Permit, pursuant to DSWD Memorandum Circular 17-14, which implements Presidential Decree (PD) 1564 (Solicitation Permit Law).

If the solicitation activity will only be undertaken in one city or municipality, such will not be subject to DSWD rules but will be subject to the specific regulations of said city or municipality.

Considering, however, that most donation drives are now being done online, it will be difficult or rather impossible to limit their scope in one city or municipality.

Furthermore, the DSWD laid down these rules in its Memorandum Circular:

1. “For-profit organizations” which intend to solicit for charitable and public welfare purposes shall not be allowed to apply for a solicitation permit. Per DSWD, if these organizations intend to help or assist in public welfare activities, the funds to be donated should come from their own income as part of their corporate social responsibility. Their welfare arms, however, may apply for a permit as long as they are registered as a non-stock non-profit corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

2. The use of photos and images to provide information on target beneficiaries using print, electronic (Internet) and broadcast media for the purpose of soliciting donations is strictly prohibited.

3. Persons or officers-in-charge of the solicitations shall have absolutely no share in the proceeds to be derived therefrom.

4. The contributions from whatever source should be acknowledged with receipts, and the expenditures should be supported by invoices and vouchers.

Below are the documents required by DSWD for the application of the permit:

1. Duly accomplished application form;

2. Project proposal on the intended public solicitation activity including the work done and financial plan on the activity to be undertaken;

3. Undertaking to comply with the requirements of the Public Solicitation Permit;

4. In case of online payment for the application fee (P1,000 for permits for national  solicitation and P500 for regional solicitation), a proof of successful online transfer, and in case of bank payments, a copy of the transaction receipt; and

5. Fund Utilization Report, 120 days after the close of the year.

Kindly note that there will be more documentary requirements if the solicitation will not be done during a state of emergency/calamity.

“Soliciting without securing permit despite of one notice” may result to the violator’s blacklisting with DSWD. Furthermore, violation of PD 1564 is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment of not more than one year and deportation.

Speaking of donations, it is likewise worth reminding that one may not directly give alms to mendicants, i.e., a person with no visible and legal means of support or lawful employment and who is physically able to work but neglects to apply himself to some lawful calling and instead uses begging as a means of living. Pursuant to PD 1563 (Mendicancy Law of 1978), any person who abets mendicancy by giving alms directly to mendicants, exploited infants and minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks and bridges shall be punished by a fine.

Pending the repeal or amendment of the above laws and rules, one must put these in mind prior to lending a helping hand.

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