Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

The Philippine American Cultural (formerly Community) Center of Michigan (PACCM) has made public a report on its financial operations in 2014. (The report, prepared by PACCM Treasurer Jeff Vedua, is on Page 2 of this issue.)

From our standpoint, we see the publication of the report as a welcome development because it is seldom Filipino-American organizations that solicit funds from the public come out with their financial reports. In fact, this is the first time in the last five years that the Filipino Star News staff sees such report.

For some three years now, we have been urging organizations to let the public know how they spent the donations they had received. The purpose is transparency, a policy which is intended to remove doubts over the ways donated funds are being used.

Without transparency, some people can’t help but entertain suspicion about improper use of fund donations. And as a consequence, people are less enthusiastic in financially supporting these organizations.

We’re not saying here that in the past there were questionable uses of funds by some organizations. If there were, there would have been complaints aired by some donors.

We noted, though, that some donors who do have valid questions on how their donations had been spent are hesitant to ask the questions because by doing so they would be casting aspersion on the reputation of the concerned officers of the organizations.

The officers may say that the issuance of financial reports to the public is not in the list of their duties. Even so they should still feel obligated to issue periodic reports on how the fund donations were used because these would show that every cent is accounted for and that they have nothing to hide.

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We had earlier suggested that the reports should be prepared and signed by external auditors as this would make the reports more credible and understandable.

In the case of the PACCM, the financial report was prepared and signed by the treasurer, Jeff Vedua. But we have no doubt whatsoever that the treasurer’s report accurately reflects PACCM’s 2014 financial operations because Vedua is a top certified public accountant (CPA) who enjoys the trust and confidence of hundreds of business people and taxpayers.

With the publication of financial reports signed by external auditors, controversies similar to the one that rocked recently the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) would be avoided. This kind of controversies would be nipped in the bud because people responsible for the disposition of funds would be more stringent in the disbursement of money.

By coming out with its financial report, PACCM has set the example. We hope other Filipino-American organizations in Michigan – such as FILAMCCO, PMAM, PNAM, NaFFAA and UPAAM – will also come out soon with their respective financial reports.