Friday, August 06, 2010

PBSP granted 40M euros to combat tuberculosis

PBSP granted 40M euros to combat tuberculosis
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
August 6, 2010

The new executive director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) expressed his desire to work with the health department in the use of 40 million euros or P23.7 billion granted by a Switzerland-based humanitarian organization for the PBSP's anti-tuberculosis program.

“We have a huge grant from the Global Fund for our tuberculosis program. That amounts I think to 40 million euros which we will have to spend responsibly until 2011,” PBSP head Rafael C. Lopa said on Wednesday.

“This can be a project which we can coordinate closely with the Department of Health.”

Lopa spoke at the Crown Regency Hotel and Towers during a forum promoting eco-friendly practices among small and medium enterprises.

Lopa, former executive director of the Ninoy Aquino Foundation and a cousin of President Benigno Aquino III, cited coordination on the use of the Global Fund grant among the ways the PBSP can engage the government in line with President Aquino’s thrust to fight poverty and corruption.

“We can work closely with the different government agencies and try to see how we can help. We can compliment their efforts in many programs that will help alleviate poverty,” Lopa said.

In its website, the Global Fund describes itself as “a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”

Lopa also said that the PBSP should continue to help the Department of Education build classrooms to address shortage in public elementary and high schools.

Lopa, who was in his first visit to Cebu as PBSP head, said that while Mr. Aquino encouraged private-public sector partnerships in line with investments, such partnerships can also be applied in the advocacies of non-government organizations (NGOs) like PBSP.

Lopa explained that he asked for the President's permission before he agreed to be the executive director of the country's biggest NGO.

“He (Mr. Aquino) said yes and made it perfectly clear to everyone that relatives should keep away from government, which means that my post here will not in anyway place PBSP in special favor with the President,” Lopa said.

He added that he will still play a role in the Ninoy Aquino Foundation as its president.

“I see this more as an opportunity to layout platforms for development outside of government,” Lopa said of his position in the PBSP.

“This is an opportunity for people who want to help, to offer what they can for the country.”

The PBSP is the largest corporate-led NGO in the Philippines founded in the early 1970s.

Across the country, it implements developmental programs guided by the principle of “helping people help themselves.”