Food for calamity dumped by DSWD!


A dump-truck full of expired food commodities intended for victims of calamities and disasters worth thousands of pesos were dumped at the Candau-ay dumpsite sometime this September because these were already “expired” and rotting at the DSWD city social welfare office. Why were these food times not properly stored, inventoried and properly disposed?

A full blown investigation is in the offing following revelations that some officials in the Department of Social Welfare and Development disposed at the dump site undetermined bags of rice, canned goods and mineral water for victims of calamity without proper inventory and documentation.

What alarmed the Dumaguete City Councilors was the seeming suspicious and covert manner in disposing the food stuff caused by improper handling and inadequate storage facility, which might be a symptom of a bigger problem caused by negligence or even malversation.

The CHRONICLE rushed to the dumpsite Thursday and learned from the pay loader driver himself , that indeed he dumped the said items upon instructions by his bosses who also got the word from DSWD to that effect.

Councilor Manny Arbon, who raised the matter during last week’s regular session, claimed that a recent report alleged that DSWD buried some spoiled dry goods in the middle of the city’s dump site utilizing a heavy equipment to ensure that these will not be recovered by the scavengers.

City Social Welfare Officer Ma. Carola S. Alquero vehemently denied any knowledge of the report underscoring her administration’s inclination to distribute rice, sardines and other goods not only to victims of calamity but also to indigent city residents.

However, her supply officer admitted that there were incidents in the past years when they disposed goods deemed to be unfit for human consumption after being contaminated with animal wastes, mud and other elements.

Councilor Lilani Ramon recalled that she already asked Carola to look for a proper storage facility for rice, sardines and other perishable goods since the Women’s Center is not designed for such purpose precisely to avoid contamination and wastage of government resources.

Councilor Alan Gel Cordova was aghast to learn that there was no inventory and documentation prior to the disposal of dry goods to include donated items when basic procedure so requires that all government resources must be accounted for upon acquisition, utilization and subsequent disposal. He warned the responsible officials that they can be held administratively liable for incompetence or negligence made worse by their cavalier manner in addressing the issue.

Councilor Joe Kenneth Arbas warned that in the absence of documentation such as pictures and list of recipients showing that these perishable goods were indeed distributed, the officials might even be criminally liable for malversation since the items considered as government properties disappeared without a paper trail.

Arbon concluded that the alleged disposal of relief goods has been verified by the personnel assigned in the dump site although there is a possibility that it was not the City Social Welfare Office which was responsible for it but other agencies.

However, he also underscored the need to adopt means on how to properly store dry goods procured by the city to avoid unnecessary wastage caused by contamination and expiration. (By Dems Rey Demecillo/Choy Gallarde)

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