Youth Rep. Ridon urges house probe on DSWD failure in Yolanda relief

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By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region (BicolToday.com) – Government failure in relief distribution has aggravated more the suffering of thousands of typhoon Yolanda victims.

Out of the PhP 740 million received from foreign and local cash donations for typhoon Yolanda victims, only PhP 3.88 million was disbursed. Some PhP 737 million remained unspent.

126,000 cans of sardines, PhP 69.2 million worth of bottled water, 7,527 food packs, 1000 sacks of rice were wasted or left out to rot owing to inefficiency of the government’s welfare department. All items were intended for Yolanda victims.

Representative Terry Ridon of Kabataang Partylist on Thursday filed a resolution in the House of Representatives mandating the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to explain the losses and waste of relief items, and its failure in relief distribution.

Ridon also called on the House Committee on Social Services to review the process of distributing relief goods undertaken by the national government at the height of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda, following the release of a Commission on Audit (COA) report which revealed that millions worth of relief goods were wasted and not distributed to typhoon victims.

In House Resolution No. 1492 filed by Ridon, he expressed concern over the recent COA report which disclosed that DSWD has failed to distribute some 128,000 tins of sardines, P69.2 million worth of bottled water.

COA also noted that P58-million worth of supplies were wasted due to irresponsible storage. This includes some 7,527 family food packs valued at P2.7 million.

In the same report, COA also noted that cash donations from local and foreign aid remain concentrated in the account of DSWD.

According to the audit team, out of the P740,177.751.52 it received, only P3.88 million was disbursed, leaving a huge balance of almost P737 in undisbursed amounts.

“Any reasonable person will be enraged by the fact that our countrymen in Eastern Visayas are going hungry while millions worth of relief goods just rot in DSWD’s storehouses. While many typhoon victims have yet to recover from the disaster, now we find out that DSWD is withholding even the release of cash donations both from domestic and international sources,” Ridon said.

Ridon urged DSWD to account for the 135,540 items in assorted supplies including 1,000 sacks of rice that went unaccounted for, according to COA. [BicolToday.com]

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