P2.8M in Yolanda aid wasted due to red tape, logistical issues
MANILA, Philippines – At least 12 container vans from Belgium filled with food items and other donations for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims went to waste because of strict documentary requirements and logistical procedures, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
The DSWD said in a report on Wednesday, February 1, that the container vans arrived at the Cebu International Port in January 2014 but were only inspected in March 2015. By that time, the DSWD found that the donations were already unfit for use and consumption. (READ: Tacloban misspent nearly P1B in Yolanda funds – COA)
The DSWD report said the container vans were not immediately released from the One-Stop Shop (OSS) at the Mactan Airbase because the consignee, Wellmade Motors and Development Corporation (WDMC), was not among the list of DSWD-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
WDMC was asked to either apply as a partner of a DSWD-accredited NGO or to donate the goods directly to the DSWD.
WDMC worked on the requirement but the process took nearly a year. DSWD Regional Office 7 signed a deed of acceptance for 7 of the 12 containers in December 2014; the 5 other containers were not donated and remained at the OSS because of documentary problems.
In January 2015, the DSWD discovered that two of the 7 containers also had documentary problems. Only 5 containers were released after processing was completed in March 2015 but they were placed in a temporary stage unit "because there was no other place that can accommodate the volume of the goods."
When the containers were inspected, the contents were already damaged. The contents of the other 7 containers stranded in the OSS were also found in the same condition.
The donations included clothes, dried food, shoes, bedding, canned food, and kitchen utensils. The Committee on Monetary Valuation pegged the price of the donation at P2.8 million but the packaging list of the containers wrote that it was worth 100,400 Euro or P4.8 million.
"FO VII explained that among the factors that slowed down the segregation of the donated goods were their disaster operations to address the impact of typhoons Yolanda, Ruby, Senyang and the El Nino," the DSWD report said.
Social Welfare Judy Taguiwalo apologized for the aid wastage that happened in the previous administration.
"We take responsibility for what happened and ask the Filipino people, especially the survivors of Yolanda, to forgive us. The most we can do is to promise that we will put into place a better, faster and more efficient mechanism to receive material donations and turn them over to their intended beneficiaries,” she said.
She also asked foreign donors: "We appeal to your understanding and also ask your forgiveness. We hope that this will not affect your deep sense of compassion for our kababayans during times when they need your support." – Rappler.com