Rice donation still to be released

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


THE Cebu Provincial Government will find ways to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 with the relief goods that have yet to reach typhoon Yolanda survivors in the northern towns.

About 175 cargo containers of donated rice from Algeria and seven more containing relief goods are still at the Cebu International Port (CIP) since DSWD has yet to pay the fees required for their release.

DSWD has requested P14 million to their central office to pay the fees including demurrage and storage.

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There are still other fees that were charged by the shipping companies and the Bureau of Customs.

DSWD 7 said it is slowly paying the fees for all 175 cargo containers.

In an interview yesterday, DSWD 7 Director Merceditas Jabagat said it is paying the cost of demurrage and other fees asked by the Bureau of BOC and other shipping companies.

She admitted the delay, saying they have to pay for the demurrage and shipping fees in tranches.

“Dili man gud nato na mausa kay ang barko mismo dili maka-deliver sa tanan (We can’t have it all in one delivery),” Jabagat said.

International aid

Jabagat said they have to repeatedly apply for financial assistance from their head office in Manila as international aid that is stored at the Cebu International Port (CIP) doesn’t arrive in the country in bulk.

She said that whenever another cargo container arrives at the port with donated items, they immediately apply for financial assistance from the head office.

But it takes time because of permits from different government agencies.

Rice

In the case of donated rice, the National Food Authority (NFA) needs to certify the cargo.

She assured that the items stored at the CIP will be delivered to typhoon-affected areas as soon as possible.

Jabagat said the items donated by international groups are not yet expired as earlier reported.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get the side of Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu Commissioner Roberto Almadin, but calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.

An official of the DSWD 7 said it is requesting P14 million from its central office to pay for the cost of demurrage.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said he will meet the DSWD officials today to talk about the matter. Tribunalo said he will also visit CIP.

Hospital beds

He will also talk to Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III about the matter.

Yesterday, Tribunalo was in San Francisco to check the hospital beds, wheelchairs and incubators donated from Belgium.

Equipment

Tribunalo said the equipment was given last month to the district hospital in the town.

He said they always monitor items delivered to typhoon-affected areas to check if the distribution plan was followed.

Tribunalo said the success of the distribution of assistance depends on coordination.

Tribunalo said the problem faced by DSWD in its distribution process will be a priority topic today.

According to an earlier report, juice products placed inside a container from Spain were already expired when they were delivered to DSWD’s warehouse at the Cebu International Convention Center.

The container arrived in January but the goods expired in February.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 19, 2014.

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