Construction and Operation of the Refugee Processing Center in Bataan, the Philippines

ID-81-27: Published: Feb 6, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1981.

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A review was conducted of the construction and operation of the Refugee Processing Center in the Philippines. The Center was set up by the United Nations with partial funding from each of the participating nations. The review included an analysis of: (1) the use and management of U.S. funds; (2) the administrative structure; (3) the roles and efficiency of the various operating entities within the Center complex; and (4) the viability of the Center concept, and whether the Center is fulfilling its objective of relieving first-asylum countries of the burden of refugee care.

The Center was constructed with a refugee capacity smaller than originally planned because of: (1) the exhaustion of available funds; (2) a diminishing flow of Indochinese refugees; and (3) negotiations over construction cost estimates and increased construction costs. The administrative and operating structure of the Center was well conceived, and effective coordination between the various organizations and activities was being conducted. The rationale for channeling U.S. funds through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to contract and administer the "English as a Second Language" program at the Center should be reconsidered before present arrangements are extended. Use of the Center by nations other than the United States was initially minimal because virtually all refugees moved to the Center were those guaranteed resettlement in the United States. Three matters need early resolution: (1) the completion of and equipment for the Center hospital; (2) a decision on how to use one building originally built as a guest house; and (3) solving a fundamental disagreement between the Commissioner's senior representative in the Philippines and the Center Administrator concerning the Commissioner's role in overseeing Center expenditures.

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