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‘Gov’t agencies required to seek DSWD approval on solicitations’

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) said government agencies are still required to secure permits for public solicitations from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In a legal opinion dated Oct. 19, 2023, and addressed to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, the DOJ stressed that as a rule, national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, state colleges and universities, and other government agencies must secure the solicitation permits.

Gatchalian said in his view, Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1564 of 1978—or the Solicitation Permit Law–exempts government agencies from securing permits and only mentions duly organized private and semi-private entities.

Gatchalian said this is the reason why he sought the DOJ’s legal opinion on the matter.

DOJ Undersecretary Raul T. Vasquez said the requirement for permits is provided for in Section 6.1.2 of the DSWD’s 2014 Revised Omnibus Rules and Regulations on Public Solicitation.

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The requirement states: “Any applicant person, corporation, organization or association or any other juridical entity, including but not limited to National Government Agencies (NGAs), Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC’s), state colleges/universities (SUCs) and other government agencies, non-government organizations, civic society organizations (CSOs) operating in the Philippines that are desiring to solicit or receive contributions from the public for charitable public welfare purposes shall first secure an authority to solicit and submit all requirements to the concerned DSWD Office.”

Vasquez said that the DSWD’s Revised Omnibus Rules and Regulations on Public Solicitations also mentions exemptions.

“A notable exception applies to NGAs, GOCCs, SUCs, or other governmental agencies whose charters or special laws provide them the authority to solicit and/or conduct fund drives,” the DOJ official said.

“Further, local government units are likewise exempt from procuring public solicitation permits with your Department considering that the Local Government Code of 1991 allows the City or Municipal Mayor to issue permits, without the need of approval from any national agency, for the holding of activities for any charitable or welfare purpose,” he added.

To streamline the process, Vasquez advised Gatchalian to revisit the DSWD’s revised rules to align with PD 1564 and “make the necessary amendments consistent with your policies.”

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