On May 13, VP Leni announced that she will be turning her project under the Office of the Vice President (OVP) into a non-governmental organization (NGO) after she leaves her post. It was met with cheers and renewed hope from supporters and skepticism, but a little more misinformation from critics. These critics are questioning what the aim of the project is, so to settle the score, let’s take a look at the meaning of NGO:
What is the OVP’s Angat Buhay?
Angat Buhay is outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo’s brainchild and originally a project implemented under the OVP in an effort to fight poverty in the country. Under the Angat Buhay project, the OVP coordinates closely with organizations and individuals from both the public and private sectors in order to address the needs of those in the farthest and the poorest communities and those in the “laylayan” (or fringes) of the country
Met with the fisherfolk of Bulan, Sorsogon yesterday, one of our Angat Buhay areas, who have received motor boats from the NVC Foundation. pic.twitter.com/xraymP2VTF
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) October 25, 2017
Despite the limited funding of the OVP, the project is able to reach more people with their partnerships with NGOs and private institutions alike. According to the Angat Buhay page on the OVP’s website, the project has partnered with 372 organizations, mobilized PHP 520 million worth of resources, helped 321,000 families and 305,223 individuals in 223 communities.
Angat Buhay’s initiatives
The Angat Buhay project focuses on six key advocacy areas: food security and nutrition, housing and resettlement, public education, rural development, universal healthcare, and women empowerment. Since its launch, the project has conducted nutrition programs, classroom construction, scholarships, housing projects, disaster relief operations, and livelihood opportunities.
GOOD NEWS!!! We’re opening two more dormitories where our frontliners can stay for free. Both dorms are in partnership with our Angat Buhay partners.
The 1st two dorms we opened are in QC.
More details on our Facebook page😊 pic.twitter.com/Sv9MZhXt1Q
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) April 1, 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Angat Buhay added the following projects under its roster: free dormitories and shuttle services for healthcare workers; free teleconsultation service Bayanihan E-Konsulta; mobile testing service Swab Cab; and drive-thru vax program Vaccine Express.
Angat Buhay NGO
In a thanksgiving event held last May 13, VP Leni assured her supporters that the spirit of volunteerism that carried her campaign to election day would not go to waste. She then announced her plan to turn the OVP’s Angat Buhay initative into a full-blown NGO to continue helping those in the farthest and poorest communities.
“On the first day of July, we will launch the Angat Buhay NGO,” Robredo told supporters during a thanksgiving event at the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Quezon City Friday night, May 13. https://t.co/bKuR1oXzHb pic.twitter.com/Wrbz22vweN
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) May 15, 2022
“Iniimbita ko kayong lahat: Ang mga nagtrabaho, mga nag-alay ng oras at pawis sa ating kampanya; ang mga kumpanya at private partners na bumunot sa sariling bulsa,” the vice president called on her supporters. “Itutuloy natin ito. Itutuloy natin ang ating pagsasama-sama. Bubuuin natin ang pinakamalawak na volunteer network sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa.”
However, since VP Leni announced her plan to turn her project into an actual NGO, many different takes of misinformation about the project have spread on the internet.
This guy just red-tagged the whole Angat Buhay NGO. pic.twitter.com/VmoZj0RPXP
— Josh (@josiahquising) May 14, 2022
One claimed that the project is “a government within a government” and even red-tagged the whole organization: “Parang mga NPA na.” Another posted a vlog questioning if this project is meant to create a new government. “May sariling gobyerno?” is how the video is titled.
Non-Governmental Organization po meaning ng NGO hindi po New Government Owned. Charot! pic.twitter.com/K07symNC3v
— Charot! (@IamCharotism) May 14, 2022
What does NGO mean?
An #NGO is therefore a type of a #CIVILSOCIETY organization. Other types are: people’s organizations (also known as grassroots orgs), social movements, nonprofit organizations. While the state uses public means for public ends, civil society uses private means for public ends.
— Aries Arugay (@ariesarugay) May 15, 2022
Contrary to what is spreading in one corner of the internet, the acronym NGO does NOT mean “new government organization.” The real meaning of this acronym is ”non-governmental organization”. An NGO is a type of civil society organization composed of volunteers that is unaffiliated with any government and is typically nonprofit in nature. It aims to champion advocacies in humanitarianism or the social sciences, such as human rights, medical assistance, disaster relief, and environmental protection.
An NGO is NOT opposing the government
Despite being corrected, some netizens are claiming that “non-governmental organization” means an organization working against the government, but there’s a different term for that: anti-government group. In contrast, an NGO simply functions independently of any government, hence the term ‘non-governmental.’
To better understand what an NGO is, you may want to look at the existing NGOs in the country, which reach tens of thousands in numbers Some of the most notable NGOs in the Philippines today are namely:
- Amnesty International Philippines
- IBON Foundation
- Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)
- CARE Philippines
- Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
Fake Angat Buhay NGO pages are already sprouting up
Sadly, fake Angat Buhay NGO pages and accounts are already sprouting up, many of them clearly created to spread disinformation. In an advisory posted on the VP’s official page, her team cautions Angat Buhay supporters to wait for official announcements from the official VP Leni Robredo Facebook page.
So has Angat Buhay started as an NGO already?
According to VP Leni, the Angat Buhay NGO will be launched on July 1. There has been no announcement yet of any official pages or groups for Angat Buhay NGO. Her team asks supporters to wait for an official announcement.