MANILA, (PNA)—Malacañang on Sunday assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already been addressing the issue regarding food packs and sacks of rice that were spoiled and dumped in Dagami, Leyte.
In his regular media briefing on state-run dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. read a statement from DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman in response to the controversy.
“I have ordered a thorough investigation of the incident to find out who are liable and to file administrative charges against them in accordance with Civil Service rules,” Coloma said, reading the statement of Soliman.
Coloma said Soliman explained to him that the relief goods were “unfit for human consumption” and should be disposed immediately.
“Ang mahalaga po kasi sa atin ay ‘yung pagtitiyak na ang lahat na ipapamahagi ay ‘yon lamang pong ligtas at kaaya-aya at karapat-dapat pa pong magamit ng ating mga kababayan (What is important to us is assuring that all rice that will be distributed are safe, of good quality and may still be consumed by the public),” the Palace official said.
Aside from punishing the culprit, Coloma said Soliman made an assurance that the DSWD has been undertaking efforts to improve its repacking system.
He cited the inauguration ceremony of the modernized repacking system installed at the DSWD’s National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City last Dec. 3.
He said the implementation of the project was made possible through the help of the World Food Programme and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development.
“Kaya po kapag natapos itong mga bagong pasilidad na ito iyong kasalukuyang storage capacity na 200,000 ay maitataas pa sa 270,000 packaged and unpackaged family food packs at ito pong pasilidad na ito ay magsisilbi ding ligtas na storage facility sa iba pang mga non-food items katulad ng blankets, cooking implements and mosquito nets (When this facility becomes fully constructed, the current storage capacity of 200,000 will be raised to 270,000 packaged and unpackaged family food packs and this facility will serve as a safe storage space for other non-food items like blankets, cooking implements and mosquito nets),” he said.
He likewise noted the “regional island warehouses” being built by the DSWD in Clark, Pampanga for Luzon; in Cebu for theVisayas and in Davao for Mindanao.
“Ito pong tatlong malalaking regional island warehouses ay dadagdagan din ng regional warehouses sa lahat ng DSWD field offices na ipapatayo sa pakikipagtulungan sa Australian government (In addition to these three large regional island warehouses, other regional warehouses in all DSWD field offices will be built in coordination with the Australian government),” he added.
He said Soliman is hoping that the improved facility at NROC and the upgrading of warehouses in DSWD field offices would enable the agency to become more responsive in meeting the needs of families affected by calamities and disasters.
Soliman came under fire after admitting that the spoiled rice and food packs uncovered in Leyte were from the DSWD warehouse. (PNA)
Editor’s note: Italics are Philippine Canadian Inquirer’s.