According to research undertaken by the Centre for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University there were around a quarter of a million to half a million non-profit organisations (NPOs) in the country in 1997. More than half of this number were registered with national government agencies and were accredited by local government units.
Non-stock, non-profit corporations or associations, cooperatives, homeowners associations and labor unions form the basic legal forms of the non-profit/ NGO sector in the Philippines; these are generally characterised for mutual benefit, public benefit and non-commercial purposes.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution explicitly recognises the non-profit sector as the extension of “people’s power” and enshrines their right to participate on all levels of decision-making.
The following pieces of legislation provide the legal basis for the various types of NPOs/NGOs (note the term NGO is not usually used in the Philippines and the term NPO is more common) recognised in the Philippines:
The Corporation Code of the Philippines provides the legal basis for non-stock, non-profit corporations.
The Labor Code of the Philippines for Labor Unions and Federations, and Rural Workers Associations.
The Republic Act 8763 and the Housing Guarantee Act for Homeowners Associations.
Registration is not required per se for the existence of NGOs, but they must obtain a legal personality in order for them to be eligible for opening bank accounts, to enter into contracts, and to raise public funds. NGOs usually obtain their primary registration from any of the following state agencies:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for non-stock corporations.
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for Cooperatives.
Department of Labor and Employment for Labour Unions and Federations and Rural Workers Associations.
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) for Homeowners Associations.
Licensing or accreditation from government agencies of local government units may also be required depending on the purposes and activities of the organisation. For more details on this see the NGO Sector and Regulation Review on the Philippines or our 2006 summary of the regulatory system for NGOs in the Philippines.
NGOs are obliged to regularly report and disclose information in relation to their operations. For example, a certificate of donation should be submitted to the donor, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue for each donation received; and the SEC requires that organisations submit audited financial statements and a General Information Sheet annually. The General Information Sheet includes the specific present address of the NPO, telephone and contact numbers, names of officers, trustees and members, their addresses and contributions and number of staff.
Accessing the database of NGOs:
There is a database held by the SEC, but it is not accessible online.
There are a number of self-regulatory initiatives within the sector, including:
The Code of Conduct for Development NGOs from CODE NGO was established in 1990 to help strengthen accountabilities of individual organisations.
The Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) is organised by six national NPO networks, including CODE-NGO, in partnership with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The PCNC certifies NPOs and non-stock, non-profit corporations for donee status after a stringent review of their qualifications.Certified organisations receive donee institution status by the BIR. Additional tax benefits accrue to the donors of NPOs/NGOs with donee institution status.
NGOs as Major Actors in Philippine Society by Carmencita T. Abella and MA. Amor L. Dimalanta, APPC Conference, September 2003
We have worked in the Philippines for the past 4 years, and successfully piloted our NGO Sector and Regulation Review Tool there (now to be used in Indonesia). We have provided training, reports and advice to both the Government and the sector.
For more information about our work in the Philippines please email Ben Evans at email@example.com