DSWD admits some rotten relief goods given to Mayon evacuees

MANILA, Philippines – Up to 33 food packs containing spoiled canned goods and expired noodles were included in the 22,350 relief goods distributed to Mayon evacuees over the weekend, according to a press statement released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday, October 15.

Responding to the incident, DSWD will replace the spoiled goods and promised to investigate how the agency buys, handles, and distributes relief goods. 

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman also said that the incident will not happen again in the next delivery of relief goods for Mayon evacuees.

Soliman emphasized that DSWD remains committed to provide safe food to evacuees for the duration of their stay in evacuation centers.

Five Legazpi-bound trucks carrying 4,050 food packs left the agency’s operations center in the morning of Wednesday, October 15.

Based on the initial findings from a separate investigation conducted by the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), the canned goods may have been damaged in transit due to the weight and bulk of the relief supplies piled in the trucks.

According to official reports, 12,931 families or 57,633 individuals in 40 barangays are in 48 evacuation centers in preparation for the likely eruption of Mayon volcano

Not the first time 

Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo denounced the incident, saying adding that Soliman should be held accountable for the distribution of wasted relief goods to Mayon evacuees. 

“DSWD has already been criticized for distributing delayed and rotten relief goods in the past disasters and until now their practice still continues,” Crisostomo added.

Earlier this year, DSWD admitted lapses in the distribution of P2.78 million worth of spoiled relief goods to Yolanda-affected areas in Leyte. - with reports from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com