DSWD receives funds to take out donated goods-A A +A
Monday, May 19, 2014
THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 received P10 million from its central office in Manila to defray the cost of taking out from the Cebu International Port (CIP) several cargo containers of donations for typhoon Yolanda survivors.
DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat yesterday said P10 million includes P6.581 million for the demurrage of 175 cargo containers. The rest of the amount will be used for warehouse rental, packaging the goods and transporting them to Tacloban City.
As this developed, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to release the donated goods. He said the DSWD may not be the only one whose cargoes of relief goods have been held at the CIP.
Jabagat said, though, that the BOC, Cebu Port Authority and the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (Opascor) have helped the DSWD by waiving some fees and giving discounts.
She said the main hindrance to the release of the cargoes lie with the two shipping lines, Yang Meng and APL Shipping, over unpaid demurrage fees.
Jabagat said the BOC waived duties and taxes while the CPA did not collect port fees.
Opascor, on the other hand, gave a 60-percent discount on stevedoring and arrastre fees.
DSWD 7 Assistant Regional Director Marcial Fernandez said the 175 20-footer cargo containers of rice were part of the 246 containers of Vietnam rice donated by the Nigerian Government.
Fernandez said DSWD learned about the donation in December 2013. The donation was turned over by the Nigerian Government to DSWD in January this year, but BOC Customs Collector Paul Alcazaren said the cargo cannot be released because there was no import permit.
By the time the DSWD received the import permit from National Food Authority on Feb. 3, the demurrage for all 175 cargo containers reached P5.3 million.
Fernandez said that when the DSWD central office released P5.2 million on April 23, the demurrage reached P6 million.
The DSWD has to transfer the rice shipment to a warehouse while waiting for ships to transport the donations to Tacloban City to prevent paying a bigger demurrage, said Jabagat.
Davide, on the other hand, said the Philippine Red Cross and other nongovernment organizations also met problems regarding demurrage fees for donated relief goods.
“Kinahanglan ipanghatag nana kay usik (Those goods have to be distributed so that they won’t go to waste),” he said. He added that if foreign donors learn about the outcome of their donations, they might help the country again.
He said he will talk to Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino to find a way to address the issue.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 20, 2014.