Foreign aid: Process from donor to beneficiaries

The government puts up a 'one-stop-shop' to cater to all incoming assistance

TO TACLOBAN. US Marine Corps, Marines board a KC-130J Hercules aircraft on November 10, 2013 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, moments before departing for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission to the Philippines. Photo by AFP/USMC/Lance Cpl. David N. Hersey

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has so far tallied P5.4 billion (US$126.8 million) of assistance. Aid in its various forms is trickling into the areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) while the rest of the relief efforts pledged by foreign governments and international agencies have yet to reach the country.

Different government agencies are now working together to speed up the clearance process of aid and personnel coming into the country. 

So far, the steps for international aid processing/record-keeping are as follows (as explained by DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez and Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras in press briefings):

  • Once a foreign government pledges aid or sends in a donation, information should be coursed through the DFA. 
  • The DFA will then inform concerned agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) for medical assistance and the Office of Civil Defense for non-medical goods.
  • Upon landing, vessels/aircraft will be processed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s one-stop-shops (NDRRMC OSS) at the airport.
  • The OSS are located at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) office at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Mactan Airport which serve as the hub for all transactions among donors, consignee, and recepients of arrived foreign donations.
  • The NDRRMC-OSS has personnel from the different BOC, Bureau of Immigration (BI), DFA, Department of National Defense (DND), DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepED), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Deparment of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Finance (DOF), among others.
  • DOF personnel will be facilitating the release of requests for exemption from duties/taxes for aid received from various governments, international organizations, or institutions. There will be documentary requirements for the importation of relief goods. If incomplete, the concerned organization may coordinate with the DSWD and DOH representatives at the NDRRMC OSS. (READ: BIR: No tax, duty on Yolanda donations)
  • The concerned agency will also be determining the appropriate site for the donation – where certain resources are most needed.
  • Once everything has been ironed out, the concerned agency will inform the DFA which will in turn coordinate with the donor as to where their donations will be going.
  • If goods have already been repacked and ready for distribution, they will be given the go signal to bring them to the affected areas.
  • The government advises donors whose goods still need to be repacked not to bring them to Tacloban or affected areas right away. Instead, they should be brought first to Cebu where the government has resources for repacking and whatever else is needed. After repacking, they will be brought to Tacloban, Ormoc, or to whichever destination they are most needed.
  • As for personnel who will be brought in for relief assistance, BI personnel are present in the OSS to receive and process them.
  • For medicine, the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) is also appropriately represented to for swift record-keeping and processing of drugs that will be brought in to the country.
  • Doctors, nurses, and other professionals will also be processed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) at the OSS to make sure that the people coming in are qualified to treat the injured.

Aside from collating aid information the DFA is also receiving requests for diplomatic clearance involving the entry and exit of foreign military, government or government-chartered aircraft and seacraft providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said they are forwarding the necessary information to the concerned agencies for swift consideration.

He added the government has already deployed a number of Philippine troops to the areas affected by the disaster who are now monitoring the security situation.

“Our security forces are making sure that the people there including the donors and counterparts in the Philippines are safe and secure, which is actually the responsibility of the Philippine government,” Hernandez added. – Rappler.com