TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Dec 9 (Mabuhay) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will look into reported allegations of missing relief goods from international donors that have generated rage and concern over social media recently, its regional office here said on Monday.
Fielding questions from the media, DSWD officer-in-charge for Eastern Visayas Nestor Ramos said they have not yet received information regarding the matter but they will seek clarification from their workers on the ground to address this concern.
“The reality on the ground is there are NGOs (non-government organizations) directly distributing relief goods to LGUs (local government units)… (In) every municipality, we have already deployed (teams) to assess whether commodities are being received by our people in the villages,” Ramos said.
British tabloid, the Daily Mail, published a report over the weekend quoting an expat source that emergency supplies delivered by military helicopters from the United Kingdom have turned up on the shelves of shops in Makati instead of its intended recipients in calamity-hit areas.
Ramos said they will investigate this matter, as well as the alleged hoarding of imported relief goods from international organizations by corrupt local officials to be swapped with local ones hidden inside cadaver bags.
“Usually, when there are donations from the international organizations, we just make an inventory of it by box, but we are not opening that box. We immediately dispatch them to the different municipalities. We have a list of distribution plan as to who will be given priority. We do not repack (these relief goods) in our offices,” Ramos explained.
Ramos also encouraged members of the media to visit their relief hubs to see for themselves whether the DSWD was indeed keeping these goods inside cadaver bags just to hide them from the public.
He also addressed complaints raised by some volunteers who were displeased with DSWD’s rotational policy in line with its food-for-work program. He said rotating the volunteers was necessary so they could give equal opportunity to everyone.
“We have to rotate our volunteers because they are being given family food packs. It’s part of the food-for-work program. If they help in the repacking, we give them family food packs, so they can’t stay as volunteers for a long period of time. We have to remember that there are also a lot of people like them, that’s why we have to rotate our volunteers,” Ramos explained. (MNS)