12 vans of foreign relief goods for Yolanda victims left to rot by Dinky Soliman
The relief goods came from Filipinos from Belgium as well as Belgian citizens and were deliveredto the country under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
DSWD-Field Office VII issued its report to DSWD Sec Judy Taguiwalo.
Taguiwalo thought it best to make the report public for transparency.
The 12 vans were stuck in the Cebu International Port since they arrived in January 2014.
The Belgian donors wanted the donations released as a tax-free importation, but many issues prevented the release of the same, among them compliance problems with Customs law and the logistics costs of moving goods to storm-damaged Leyte.
DSWD only checked the donations in 2015, one year after they arrived.
The report that was given to Taguiwalo in January 30 submitted by FO VII through Director IV Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre stated:
"On the second week of February 2014, a representative of Wellmade Motors and Development Corporation (WMDC), the original consignee of the shipment/donation from Mr. Johan De Pelsmaeker of Belgium, arrived at the One Stop Shop (OSS) in Mactan Airbase to process the release of the 12 container vans. Seven containers were shipped thru K-Line Shipping while the remaining 5, were shipped thru APL Shipping. Upon assessment at OSS, the consignee was not a registered/licensed/accredited NGO of DSWD, hence he was given the following options:
Consignee to engage partnership with a DSWD registered/licensed/accredited NGO.
The report said that ten months, the Deed of Donation and Acceotance for seven containers were finally executed.
The five containers from APL were no longer donated since the donor earlier amended the Bill of Lading in favor of DSWD based on the email from Mr. Patrick Reyes of CO-Donation Facilitation received by the Field Office on November 10, 2014.
It said that a broker reported that the five containers amounted to ten million pesos.
The unwithdrawn containers amounted to twenty eight million pesos, including the Belgian donations.
The Filed office said that the Central office did not respond to them and thus they used the remaining funds left for destination charges and other fees for the five container vans aounting to 400,000 pesos.
Processing of documents resulted to the withdrawal of five container vans from K-Line on March 20, 2015 and brought to the CICC for temporary storage because there was no other place that can accommodate the volume of the goods.
When the container vans were opened on March 21, 2015, it was discovered that some of the cardboard boxes were wet and damaged and the contents were also either damaged or in the case of food items, already expired.
As of January 30, 2017, FO VII has written and secured the approval of the BOC to inspect the remaining 7 containers under the responsibility of the DSWD. The inspection was conducted on December 2016 in the presence of Mr. Patrick Lami, a Belgian national who claimed to be a representative of the donor. Inspection showed the contents of the two vans contained clothes, dried food, shoes, beddings, canned food, kitchen utensils and that these were water-damaged. The same materials were found in the five other vans, but these appeared to be dry. These goods will be pulled out from the seven container vans and taken to the Labangon compound for segregation.
Taguiwalo expressed dismay and regret for the wasting of donations that are worth millions.
"DSWD will learn from this most unfortunate event and all the more enforce its internal measures to ensure that this will not happen again. 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.
"To our compatriots abroad and to our friends in the international community, 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. As for us in the DSWD, we will work even harder to protect the donations that are entrusted to us in the name of those affected by calamities," she said.