Flooded with relief (updated)


Making the rounds online is an entry titled Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer) originally published in ellaganda.com. When I first posted this entry, the site had vanished, but the entry had been preserved in Google’s cache; now the site is back up. Over at the Multiply site of Jenny Epperson you can find the entry reproduced as well.

The entry does not allege that relief goods donated by foreign governments are being pilfered, or have been stolen, or kept in conditions that are destroying the goods. The entry bewails the fact that the DSWD lacks manpower to repack the goods and distribute them. The entry also pointed out imported relief goods remained unopened while volunteers focused on repacking domestically-produced relief goods.

The entry allows the reproduction of photos in the entry so here they are.

First, of goods in the DSWD warehouse:








(unopened, and unused foreign bedding)


(domestically-produced banig, or sleeping mats, which were repacked in DSWD relief packs)







Second, what goes into a standard DSWD relief pack:


Into an aluminum cooking pot goes ten cans of sardines and nine bars of soap (all domestic products);


Plus a towel and a pack of sanitary napkins.


Three rolls of bedding and a blue water jug.


Followed by two banig (sleeping mats).


The whole thing then sewn shut.

According to the entry, in the prescribed manner, the volunteers, in one afternoon, were able to pack 150 sacks of relief goods, which were then dispatched.


The relief good consisted entirely of domestic goods, while imported relief goods remained untouched. As the goods packed were dispatched, more relief goods arrived at the DSWD warehouse.


But this is a far cry from the assumption many seem to be making, that something criminal has actually taken place. Surveying public opinion on Twitter, people seem upset on the following grounds:

1. The lack of a public call for volunteers.

2. Questions over what happens to relief goods, once the emergency passes.

Media’s being urged to swoop down on the DSWD Warehouse at Chapel Road, Pasay City (at the back of the Air Transportation Office, towards NAIA II) and see what’s actually going on.

The only thing the DSWD can be held to account for, at this point, is tardiness when it comes to distributing aid from overseas. Over on Twitter, there’s a claim that the Palace will be holding a relief-repacking event tomorrow, featuring United Nations workers and volunteers. So the only other criticism might be of politicking by means of turning the repacking of relief goods into a photo-op for the Palace.

4:09 PM The best I have been able to find out from my own sources is the following SMS:

Sir according to Dir. Reynes of PMS that there’s an information about the foreign donations and volunteers but not yet confirm. They will have a meeting today with Usec. Oca regarding the matter.

4:58 PM Update is that 150 United Nations people will be going to the Palace at 7 AM tomorrow, to observe relief operations taking place, and possibly help in repacking relief goods already stored at the ground floor of Kalayaan Hall.

The Palace had a problem in that public mistrust of officialdom led to a lukewarm, at best, response to its appeals for donations from the public. At one point, the relief effort going on at the Ateneo de Manila University had to give relief goods to the Palace so that something could be given the volunteers who showed up (and officials and government workers drafted into relief operations) something to do.

The entry also said the following exchange took place between Philippine News and the DSWD Secretary on October 21:

Kahapon, tinanong ng Philippine News si DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral:

Editor of Philippine News: Why are the relief goods in DSWD warehouses not moving?

DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral: Wala kasing volunteers.

This short interview was done over the phone. Philippine News wanted to hear her side pero ayaw niyang makipag-usap sa press. After four tries, pinasabi na lang niya ang maikling sagot na ito sa secretary niya – “Walang volunteers”.

The entry says a cover story in Philippine News is in the works, so let’s see if it appears. Here is the Philippine News story, October 23: Donated goods sitting in DSWD warehouse.

What the DSWD itself has said (reported on October 19) is this, in DSWD vows ‘politico-proof’ distribution of relief goods:

In a radio interview, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral said her department will handle the food items from the UN, while its personnel will keep watch over the distribution process.

“Hindi po [mga pulitiko ang magre-repack] ng relief goods. Kami ang humahawak at nandodoon ang mga tauhan namin habang dini-distribute ang mga iyon (We will not allow politicos to repack the UN-donated goods. These will go through us and our personnel will be there while the goods are distributed),” Cabral said on dzBB radio.

An initial 100-ton food shipment from the UN World Food Program (WFP) arrived in the country Sunday for victims of cyclones “Ondoy” (Ketsana) and typhoon “Pepeng” (Parma). [See story on UN flash appeal for relief assistance]

WFP country director Stephen Anderson said another 100 tons of biscuits is scheduled to arrive on Oct. 24.

Cabral noted the UN also gave rice for the cyclone victims. But she said that while the UN-donated rice will be included in food packs for victims, it will be placed with other goods in containers with the UN logo.

“May bigas na binigay ang UN sa atin at ito [ay] isasama sa food pack na iba. Nakalagay ang kanilang tatak sa rice pack (The UN gave some rice and we will include it in our food packs. The packs with UN donations will have the UN logos),” she said.

Believe it or not? It depends on where you are in the current zeitgeist.

Postscript, 2 AM Saturday (updated further 2 PM)

In Blog about ‘rotting’ relief goods at DSWD warehouse sparks cyberspace, the DSWD Secretary answered a non-question:

According to her, it is impossible for relief goods to be rotting inside the warehouse as they do not store perishable items. She said the warehouse — a complex of five buildings — only has rice, clothes, non-food items and canned goods.

“Walang nabubulok. Stocks ‘yun na hindi perishable (Nothing is rotting. Those stocks are non-perishable), ” she said.

Cabral also explained the photos circulated from the blog showing towering boxes of relief goods, saying the stockpile in the warehouse stemmed from the outpouring of donations from various individuals and groups at the height of Ondoy and Pepeng.

Cabral said the relief goods would be used in case Typhoon Ramil, which has been forecast to hit Luzon on Sunday, causes another disaster.

She also said they cannot release the relief goods right away since they need to check on the items and make an inventory.

“This takes two to three hours to do,” she said.

“Over the past 24 days, we have already given out 500,000 family food packs, 300,000 clothing packs and several non-food items like mosquito nets, blankets and water containers. We are now distributing 10,000 packs a day,” Cabral added.

The relief goods, per the entry, were figuratively rotting in the warehouse, not actually rotting; and if you notice the entry never mentioned that there were people busily taking down inventory about the shipments; and the volunteer blogged that all they were able to pack amounted to 150 bags of goods. The blogger, ella, says so herself in her response to the manner in which the networks carried the story:

I know what non-perishable goods are. You see, doon tuloy na-focus ang denial ng DSWD, hindi sa santambak na goods. Kakaiba.

On to the next point. Marami akong nabasang comments, posts at kung ano-ano pa, doubting the veracity of my “allegations”. I was there in the warehouse. I presented the pictures. I think I’ve done my part as a concerned citizen.

To the DSWD officials and Ms. Cabral:

The burden of proof is on you. The donors expect that everything they sent be distributed immediately to the intended recipients and not be stored in some warehouse. As government officials, it is your social responsibility to the people.

The article ends with Sec. Cabral denying -or not remembering, anyway- she talked to Philippine News. Here’s a comment posted on blog ni ella by Beting Dolor, October 23, 10:51 PM:

My name is Beting Dolor and I am a columnist and contributing editor for US-based Philippine News. I have been with this paper since 2002.

I was the one who called DSWD four times to try and get their side. I was told that Sec. Cabral was 1) at a meeting, 2) interviewing applicants, 3) in the comfort room, and 4) about to leave for Pampanga.

It was her office secretary who relayed to me her message that there are not enough volunteers.

I wrote my piece for Philippine News because I was disturbed by the relative inaction of the department. The Philippines is under a state of calamity. As such, action is needed now, not tomorrow.

The hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos need all the help they can get. They cannot wait.

In times like these, I expect the DSWD to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DSWD says there are not enough volunteers. I disagree. There are tens of thousands of Filipinos willing to help. The DSWD should have gone to the schools to ask for volunteers. There are countless employees in the private sector willing to help. The DSWD could have asked the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to help.

I expect the department to take a more pro-active rather than a reactive stance. I expect the secretary to DEMAND that everyone help out. Lest we forget, human lives are at stake.

The victims are dying by the score everyday. It’s in the news.

As for the rotting of the goods, we all know that it is not only food that can rot. So, too, can clothes, canned goods, biscuits, blankets and everything else that can be found in the DSWD warehouses.

Time is of the essence. The food that the DSWD hands out today will be forgotten tomorrow. Believe it or not, the victims still need to eat every day. Three square meals, if possible.

Finally, the hoarding of the relief goods for future calamities does not make sense. We have just undergone the worst calamity in 40 years. Does the DSWD plan to keep those goods for the next four decades?

Distribute them now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month.

Agreed, Madame Cabral?

This is “Madame” Cabral’s official statement on the matter, see Statement of Dr. Esperanza Cabral on the issue of relief goods in the DSWD Warehouse:

When typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng hit the country, we received and are continuing to receive donations. Our warehouses are indeed full, inspite of the fact that we have distributed 500,000 food packs and 200,000 clothing packs as well as thousands of sacks of rice, blankets, beddings, and items of personal hygiene in the past almost 4 weeks. That is the reason why when asked if we still have enough goods, my constant reply is yes, so far we do, thanks to the many kind-hearted individuals and organizations as well as countries who responded and are still responding to the plight of the typhoon victims.

There are no rotting relief goods in our warehouses as we do not keep perishables there and the relief goods that are there, save for the donated old clothes are quite new since they have been either recently purchased by us or have been just donated.

Our goods are repacked by volunteers who are there because they want to help. But they are volunteers and report when they have time to help us. Sometimes there are two hundred of them and sometimes there are only a dozen. However many or few they are, we appreciate their presence and their assistance. Weekdays are usually quiet but on Saturdays and Sundays, the students, along with others who work Monday to Friday, including our own employees, are there.

Our staff at the warehouse work round the clock even now, making sure that the requests for relief goods are met in a timely manner. They work hard, they work quietly and they work humbly and I feel bad that they have been subjected to public vilification that they do not deserve.

Around the clock!?


Around 11 PM some friends and I went to the DSWD warehouse, just to take a look-see.


The warehouse is located near the NAIA Centennial Terminal (DSWD National Resource Operation Center, Chapel Road, Pasay City, behind the Air Transport Office).


According to Gang Badoy, DSWD Sec. Cabral had agreed to allow her to organize shifts of volunteers to sort and pack relief goods at the DSWD warehouse from Monday to Friday, 3-11 PM.


So at the time we showed up, I was expecting to see things winding down, the last trucks loading or in the process of departing, or people filing home after a tiring day’s work.


There was a white fluffy dog that was awake, and a guard that was asleep; through the gate I could spot part of the open-sided warehouse in the last picture above. Otherwise, everything was sleepy and quiet.


The guard, when he finally woke up, mumbled something about our being at the wrong gate. We asked whether volunteers were coming in, and he said yes, and when asked what time, replied, all the time, but when pressed further said only until 11. He said a few days previously, 200 students from the Philippine Maritime Institute had shown up; and more recently, 50 volunteers had shown up.

Asked how much got packed and shipped out, he declined to guess. And then said if we wanted to know details about volunteering, to go to the other gate.

Here’s how one of my companions related the conversation that night to blogger Bury Me in This Dress:

friend#1: Gusto namin mag volunteer, san kami pupunta?
guard: Ah, punta kayo sa kabilang gate pero wala ng volunteers ngayon, umalis na at kakaalis lang ng 3 truck dala ang relief goods papuntang region 1 and 2.
friend#2: Marami bang volunteers pumunta dito kanina?
guard: Oo, madami.
friend#2: Ano sila? Puro estudyante?
guard: Oo, mga 200 sila.
friend#2: Ano? Mga elementary students ba to? (feigning ignorance at the kind of volunteers that shows up)
guard: Hindi, mga college students to, mga taga-PMI.
friend#2: Anong oras ba nagsisimula at natatapos?
guard: Sa umaga, tapos natatapos kahit anong oras sa gabi.
friend#2: Kahit anong oras? So bakit sabi mo tapos na ngayon at di na pwede mag volunteer?
guard: Nagsisimula minsan sa umaga tapos hanggang alas-9 or 10 or hanggang 11pm.
friend#2: So san nga kami pupunta kung pwede pala hanggang 11pm?
guard: punta kayo sa kabilang gate


The other gate was a big one covered with rust-colored sheet iron and after knocking on it another guard in a sando said that three military trucks full of goods bound for Regions 1 and 2 had left earlier.


But he kept asking why we were asking questions, if we were doing “coverage,” and that he should get clearance first; he said volunteers could show up at 8 AM, even on weekends, but seemed less certain about what time things were supposed to wind down.


Here’s how one of my companions related the conversation to blogger Bury Me in This Dress:

friend#1: Dito kami tinuro ng guard sa kabilang gate para mag volunteer sa relief operations.
guard: Ha? Anong balak nyong gawin? San kayong grupo?
friend#1: Sa RockEd kame. Gusto namin sana makita ang warehouse para sa volunteer work.
guard: Ah balik na lang kayo bukas, kse sarado na ang warehouse.
friend#1: Bakit di pwede tingnan, sabi sa balita na pwede kami mag volunteer kaya nga nandito kami eh tapos sasabihin mo sarado?
guard: Sarado na kse nag lo loading ngayon dun ng relief goods.
friend#1: Eh bakit sinabi mo sarado kung may loading pala nangyayari dun.
guard: Ano ba balak nyo? Di pwede dito ng coverage. Di pwede tumingin lang, kailangan mag volunteer.
friend#1: Sige, pero gusto namin tingnan para lam namin kung pano magbigay ng instructions sa ibang volunteers pero since ayaw mo lang na tumingin kme, mag vovolunteer na din kami ngayon na.
guard: Magbubuhat kayo ng carton?
friend#1: Hindi, magre repack kami.
guard: Bakit gusto nyo lang tingnan?
friend#1: Sinabi na nga namin mag vo volunteer na nga kami kse ayaw mo na tumingin lang kami eh. Lam mo ba na wala kaming problema na makita ang relief goods sa red cross at sa abs-cbn kahit late na ng gabi? Sikreto ba ang location ng sardinas?
guard: (already pissed off) Bakit paulit-ulit ang sinasabi mo?
friend#1: Bakit nga? Anong problema talga? Talgang sikreto nga ang taguan ng sardinas?
guard: akin na ID mo.
friend#1: eto.
guard: (went away for a few minutes and returned with the ID)
friend#1: So ano?
guard: Balik na lang kayo bukas ng umaga.
friend#1: Anong oras ba talga relief ops dito? Meron ba kanina?
guard: Oo meron, mga 50 lang na estudyante.
friend#2: 50 lang? Pano sila makaka repack ng marami para sa 3 trucks?
guard: (irked again, maybe he was irked of how stupid his answers were.) Bukas na lang kayo bumalik kse walang advise sa amin sa ganitong oras ng pag volunteer.
friend#1: Eh bakit sabi sa amin ng isang guard minsan hanggang 11pm or hanggang gabi talga ang repacking? Anong oras ba talga nagsisimula at natatapos?
guard: basta bukas sa umaga tapos hanggang hapon o gabi.
friend#1: anong pangalan mo?
guard: bukas na lang.
friend#1: Bakit ayaw mo ibigay pangalan mo? Di ba sa gobyerno ka nagtratrabaho? Kinuha mo ID ko, alam mo pangalan ko tapos ayaw mo ibigay pangalan mo sa akin?
guard: (hesitated and stalled) Jay Lou Sadaya
friend#1: Jay Lou Sadaya? Jay Lou Sadaya?
guard: (nodding)
friend#2: sige babalik kami bukas.


One thing’s certain: the place is not a beehive of activity, even in what is an ongoing emergency with areas still needing relief.

If there hadn’t been the blog entry and pictures that provoked so much indignation, the public would never have been alerted to the -apparently- great and pressing need of the DSWD for “volunteers,” something the state media and all media could have amplified if a call had been made.

I asked a senior Red Cross official what their protocols are concerning foreign aid shipments.

My Red Cross source said upon receipt of inventory, the packages are opened, to check their contents, make a preliminary allocation of the contents based on the Red Cross’ protocols for sending relief (there are different stages of relief: the first round, for survival, and subsequent rounds for more sustained relief), the contents are therefore unpacked and resorted and repacked in combination with other items, and then dispatched as requests from various chapters and localities come in.No effort is made to “conserve” one kind of donation in favor of using up another.

An editor I talked to reminded me of past practices in the Visayas some years back when government officials set aside imported canned food, and sent domestic items only as relief, in some cases the domestic items sent were past their shelf life.

At this point I think it’s safe to say that the DSWD was caught:

1. Reacting slowly to an ongoing emergency;

2. Trying to blame the public -the “lack of volunteers”- for not getting its (the DSWD’s) job done (within hours of the story gaining wide readership on the Internet, guess who Tweets an appeal for volunteers);

3. Trying to reassure the public by means of press releases saying they’re “working around the clock” when the only thing awake tonight was a fluffy white dog.

Gang Badoy on her Multiply site lists ways you can help to do the DSWD’s job for it.

Here is the DSWD’s official list of donations received, last updated September 27, 2009. Note that the donations from the Kingdom of Jordan and the US Peace Corps, for example, are classified as “for monetization,” which I guess means they cannot be dispatched until their value has been calculated.

Here is the DSWD’s official list of donations sent out, last updated October 22, 2009.

You’ll notice a lot was sent to the Palace (recall early on it had to ask for relief goods from Ateneo de Manila University to keep operations going):

DSWD Disbursements to Malacanan

For affected personnel of the government or released to specific officials (Secretary Bello, Reps. Puno, Ermita-Buhain, Abayon, Antonino, Arquiza, Crisologo, Pizarro, and Senator Revilla, a certain Atty. Maramba and the Vice-President:

DSWD Disbursements to Officials

And here is a list of institutional donations, including international agencies, foreign governments, and large corporations; the items should be easily cross-referenced with the official list of disbursements; a spot check of some, e.g. bananas and Coca-Cola, suggests most items should be trackable based on donations received and goods sent out.

Institutional Donations to DSWD

You can help correlate the DSWD’s list of items received, with items sent out, by helping with this Google Doc. By correlating the two, we can figure out: What items have been sent out, and to where, and which items have not.

Update Sunday 12:09 AM

From Deviliscious’ Blog, this entry which ties all of the above together, worth quoting extensively:

I just want to share my experience at the DSWD to shed some light into the DSWD controversy because I had enough of the online speculation and just wanted to go there and see it for myself and volunteer to help.

When I got there I looked for Miss Fabian who’s managing the warehouse for DSWD. She informed me that they no longer need volunteers for the weekend because they have too many. So I asked about UNICEF and they exclaimed that I could help there. UNICEF needs volunteers.

So I met with Ensha of UNICEF, some volunteers from Don Bosco and Jordan, a volunteer from Boston. We were about 15. After about an hour, my fellow volunteers from Red Cross, including Geraldine Repollo, who’s managing Rizal chapter, followed and relieved the students from Don Bosco. We were still about 15.

There are 5 (if my memory doesn’t fail me this time) huge warehouses. 1 warehouse housed the goods from UNICEF. The rest housed rice and other food stuff. The UNICEF goods are packed as starter packs for those families who have been relocated due to the floods. A starter pack consists of cooking pot stuffed with towels, bath soap, laundry detergent, water jug stuffed with 4 blankets, 2 plastic mats. These are then picked up by trucks and supposed to be delivered to the relocation centers. The rest of the warehouses pack food and snack packs, as far as I know because I did not actually pack one. Distribution is centralized through DSWD.

Those are the facts as I’ve seen them.

The blog that started it all, after checking the posted pics and what I actually saw, referred to the UNICEF warehouse. Is there corruption? I don’t think there is. At least not at the warehouse packing stages. Ensha and the volunteers seem intent only on the job at hand. (Bless you guys!)Security seems strict and I see no signs of pilferage. I’m not sure what happens after the goods leave the warehouse. I just hope they get to their supposed destinations. Someone needs to check on that.

Is there intentional hoarding? I don’t think there is either.

Goods are just moving slow. I posit 2 reasons:

1. There are not enough volunteers. Ms. Fabian says that on weekdays they only get around 40 volunteers. When I came there, there were not more than 15 working on a Saturday even when I posted on my FB page with my 1800 “FB friends”, several FB groups totaling around 400 members, twittered it, and SMSed to 20 buddies. 15/2000 is not a good ratio. Gang, I hope you are more successful. No volunteers.

2. Limits set by the management. When I was told that DSWD is no longer accepting volunteers for the weekend because there were already a lot of volunteers from UPS. I don’t have the exact count but I saw several hundreds. However, after 2 hours of work, I noticed that the other warehouses were empty. I strongly think the 5 huge warehouses could accomodate and harness at least 1000 per warehouse. When we were repacking at Red Cross Rizal in a 40sqm room, we had 600 volunteers at some points and managed to release 1000-2000 packs per mission and we ran several missions per day. The DSWD warehouses should be able to improve their output. They could run 24/7 on continous shifts when volunteers and managers (from DSWD, UNICEF, or volunteers) running the packing lines. In business, we call this a good problem. It is a scale problem.

My recommendations:

  1. Train more packing line managers from staff and volunteers.
  2. Run the lines as a 24/7 operation with your trained line managers.
  3. Make the schedules public. Use social media, the internet, radio, whatever. (I know of some who volunteered but returned home when they were told they need no more volunteers. If I, myself, [emphasis mine] did not ask for UNICEF, the peeps at the DSWD office wouldn’t have volunteered the info. Clearly, we have communication problem here.)
  4. Get more volunteers.

Those are my recommendations to the people in charge of the warehouses.

From the above then, it’s safe to conclude the following:

1. There isn’t, hasn’t been, and there’s no reason to suspect, will be, pilfering/stealing of relief goods. Most accounts have been careful to avoid any such insinuations; if you go through the documents, as I’ve begun to do, it’s safe to say the government is trying its best to be transparent about what’s received and sent out. One problem is the (necessary) bureaucratic nature of things (having to assign a monetary value to donated goods, for example); another is receiving goods in one kind of quantity (per box) and doling them out in another (per piece): unless, from the very start, a standard unit is assigned from receipt to disbursement, it makes for a messy inventory system. Messy inventory systems do not inspire public confidence, but it’s not proof of anything other than a sloppy system.

2. The DSWD, dependent on volunteers, lacks them. A public fuss led to appeals for volunteers. Sometimes, even those willing to help can’t help because of scheduling/management snafus. This brings up a policy question: the President has the power to compel the attendance of the necessary manpower or hire necessary manpower to get the job done.

3. The goods are moving slowly. This is the main cause of the public fuss.

Final update Sunday 1:31PM

Blogger Delivilicious posts YouTube video of his visit:


Skip to comment form

    • Peejay on October 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Sitting pretty, keeping quiet, knowing full well that those relief goods are direly needed by so many typhoon victims…smells like rotten fish to me.

    • Makabayan on October 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    anak ng teteng! what a lame excuse! nagkalat po ang mga NGOs na nagre-repack ng relief goods. kung hindi nila kaya, dapat ipasa nila ang mga relief goods sa mga NGOs na direktang tumutulong sa mga nasalanta.

    im sure mapupunta na naman yan sa election campaign. isang supot ng relief kapalit ng boto mo. LOL! Fuckin’ Philippine politics! nagpapakahirap kami overseas at laging handang tumulong tapos ganyan? never na ko magdo-donate!

    • Rico on October 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Ang tanong po kasi eh bakit walang tao doon. So many people are in dire need of immediate help. Ang daming namamatay, nagkakasakit at nagugutom. It leaves the impression that the DSWD is “saving” these goods for something. Bakit yung NGOs ang bilis kumilos?

    • raul on October 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    sign up here if you want to volunteer:


    • William Regacho on October 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Why don’t they just give the task to ABS-CBN..it’s efficient and transparent..It’s really hurting those who are giving and those that need those reliefs..

    • Fig on October 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Please confirm this repost: The power of expose — DSWD apparently needs volunteers now. Contact Ms. Fabian (Head of the National Resource Operations Center) at 8528081.

    • Carl on October 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    “Ondoy”, “Pepeng” and now, “Ramil”. Will the 3rd be the charm?

    • mirriam on October 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    at bakit naka-hiwalay ang mga imported goods? bawal ba ipamigay ang mga imported na relief goods tulad ng coleman sa mga “hampas-lupa” nating kababayan?

    • S.A. on October 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    What they’ll do with the imported relief goods? Sell them? Or for display just like what some of my relatives used to do when they get PX goodies during the days of US bases? Whatever it is, it’s disappointing to hear about wastage.

    To those who hoard the imported stuff — just give it to the needy NOW.

    • TheNashman on October 24, 2009 at 12:22 am

    SOP ng corrupt DSWD officials yan.

    In 1990 during the Baguio earthquake, imported goods were switched with local goods.

    The imported goods then flooded the black market.

    • Brian_B on October 24, 2009 at 12:27 am

    It’s relief goods from DONATIONS, not from DSWD, and they are specific to ONDOY and Pepeng victims. As far as I know donors have a right to say where their donations should be going. These donations were not made to DSWD but to the victims.

    “Believe it or not? It depends on where you are in current zeitgeist.”

    No, what this is is government not keeping up to the times and to the Zeitgeist. MLQ3, there is no such thing as left or right of the zeitgeist. Either you’re on it or not. The corrupt have been doing this to relief goods since the time I became a conscious human being. They do this on the barangay level, municipal level and now here we are. What the government has failed to understand is that we all have cellphone cameras now, and blogs and twitter and facebook. They also didn’t realize the emotion involved in this disaster from all walks of life. Ondoy wasn’t just a regular calamity. It woke up sleepers.

    • BrianB on October 24, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Bakit kaya moderated ako?

    • supremo on October 24, 2009 at 12:56 am

    You would think that after several decades of existence DSWD would have come up with a better way to distribute relief goods. Why not pack relief goods during the summer so they’re ready when the typhoon season comes?

    • mlq3 on October 24, 2009 at 2:32 am

    No idea, Brian, was that way when I got home. You’re right, though, see my update.

    • beth on October 24, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Christmas season is around the corner. Wouldn’t hurt if the goods will be used as Christmas gifts as an act of early vote buying. Of course, cash gift to follow near election time.

    • amor balagtas on October 24, 2009 at 2:59 am

    bakit panay supot ng noodle at bigas ang pinamimigay. bakit walang kaserola, kumot, mga water containers na nakita kong nakatambak? Aanhin nila yun?

  1. You can find info on HOW TO HELP the DSWD deploy relief on this site:


  2. I think Gang Badoy of RockEd just got a breakthrough

    • mlq3 on October 24, 2009 at 3:33 am

    it was damage control.

    • rhona on October 24, 2009 at 3:35 am

    I keep thinking about the comment Sec.Cabral (if my memory serves me right) said about the noodles coming out of the ears of the evacuees. If the sardines in these pictures were distributed pronto maybe there won’t be noodles coming out of the evacuees’ ears

    • Max on October 24, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Punyeta, ibigay nila sa private groups/NGOs, sa GMA kapuso, or sa Kapamilya or kahit saan man wag lng sa punyetan gobyerno ng pinas and let them take care of it. wala mngyayari sa mga relief na yan pag pinabyaan nati sa kamay ng walng kwentang gobyerno natin! Nanakawin and pagiintrest-san lng mga mga magnanakaw at mga walng kwentang tao sa gpobyerno ng pilipinas!!!! tangena talga!

    • Mike H on October 24, 2009 at 3:37 am

    As Nashman says :
    Gawain talaga iyan ng corrupt DSWD officials. Imported goods were switched with local goods.

    The imported goods then flood the black market.

  3. Thanks Manolo for following it up and going there to look and see for yourself… you truly deserve the title of your show the explainer on ANC.
    I see several news organizations have picked up the story already, I think this thing might sadly affect the efforts
    to get aid out to those in need.
    Anyhow, very well done on the report and information as always.
    Mike Cohen

    ps I remember Dinky Soliman at times like this, shes missed by a lot of journalists like me for at least having the decency to answer or reply to calls or SMS.

    • BrianB on October 24, 2009 at 4:33 am

    To Rock Ed,

    Ha ha, walang pang-Chrstmas mga kurakot pag nagkataon.

    Nash, ibang relief goods galing abroad ginagawang Ukay Ukay. Dapat na report na ito matagal na.

    • BrianB on October 24, 2009 at 4:50 am

    The person who broke this–Maganda-something–is another hero of these times. The people-in-government are the enemy, let’s not forget. Next time we won’t be so amenable to their proposals–dadaan sa DSWD daw muna. Never again. We’ve seen the newscasts of people desperately waiting for food, flooded areas with 100-peso transportation for the poor people. This kind of callousness borders on insanity.

    • d0d0ng on October 24, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Itago muna yung corned beef. Labas lahat ng sardinas.

  4. My guess is that these goods will be going to the residents of the favorite district.

    If not, in all probability these will go to the admin tongressmen,mayors, brangay captains for the coming elections.

    now that we know what’s inside that bodega, we might as well be vigilant where these items will be given or perhaps be sold.

    If i am not mistaken, the red cross package had the same “imported” kaldero, kumot and other assorted items inside the relief goods they distributed.

    • CViado on October 24, 2009 at 7:17 am

    the goods that were donated were specifically intended for the victims of ondoy and pepeng typhoons. so let the victims have them!!!

    they are not for those that will be hit by typhoon ramil. if needed, we can always donate again for those who will be affected by the new typhoon (ramil). BUT NOW I’M SURE THAT WHATEVER DONATION I HAVE, I WILL COURSE THROUGH A PRIVATE FOUNDATION AND NOT AND I MEAN NOT THROUGH GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS to make sure that my donation will be received by the people asap.

  5. Hi Manolo, we tried making a timeline of the events as it happened yesterday in the internet: http://ping.fm/vgz5d (other items in the post were previously collated info re: other red tape/gov’t incidents).

    • Lisa on October 24, 2009 at 7:59 am

    What can they say about the news that all they gave the miners who dug out their fellow miners was one lousy sack of rice? SHAME on DSWD. Di na sila mahiya sa balat nila. We the people gave so much and dedicated countless hours, working well into the night to distribute relief goods and they are letting all those go to waste. Every day is a day too late. Help when it actually matters. Jeez.

    • elena on October 24, 2009 at 9:36 am

    at least, when the typhoon victims die in hunger and sickness, they will be clean enough when they go to heaven. with the number of soaps given to them, yup! i think that’s how DSWD’s fucking brain works.

    let cabral eat all the food left in DSWD’s 4 warehouses so she can die and go to hell!

  6. why are they doing that? arent they’re greedy enough to fill their own mouths? and not to give that to the needy a lot of Filipino people are needing that foods and accept it or not the country or those flood victims is still striving on how to live their life and to survive.arent those people doesnt have heart? everytime i read these kind of situation i burst out into thirst becuase i feel so bad that why there are people or should i say goverment officials being greedy,Do they have conscience?,are you not seeing the Filipino people,can’t you fill their needs? we dont have to be selfish now not EVER! we must extend a helping hand to make this country a progressive one.

  7. Sir MLQ3, point taken. Even so, DSWD’s ‘tardiness’ will still cost lives. It’s the seemingly ‘little things’ that count the most. Regardless of whether DSWD is just being tardy and trapped by bureaucratic red tape, it will still be their fault if the relief goods do not get to the victims as soon as possible. Otherwise, they might as well drop the ‘Social Welfare’ from their name and replace it with ‘Our Own Welfare’, which will be more apt.

    • olrayt on October 24, 2009 at 10:26 am

    teka’t iinom ulit ako ng para sa high blood

    • LovelySoul on October 24, 2009 at 11:10 am

    This news is quite disturbing. The thought that USA (Americans) responded within 2 days from the day Ondoy hit Manila with plane load of goods, like water, food, warm blankets, water purifying machines only to be kept in a warehouse in Manila. Now, after almost a month, the Secretary of Philippine Social Work is still debating that she needed volunteers to REPACK or take inventory of the goods. This is an outrage. Take those goods in a church yard and start handing them out to the needy, displaced family who are in dire situation. Cut the crap. Also, Pres. Barack Obama sent U.S.$1.8 million dollars. I wonder what happen to those money?

    • mae on October 24, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Pang election na nga lang talaga to since hindi naman tumama si Ramil! Congrats DSWD, and galing ng stategy nyo!

    • mae on October 24, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Nanghinayan sa Coleman Mats, plastic banig lang ba ang bagay sa victims?

    • firebrand on October 24, 2009 at 11:30 am


    • LovelySoul on October 24, 2009 at 11:43 am

    O.K. Ramil veered away and did not do any damage, so what is the next excuse of Esperanza Cabral? She needs more time to INVENTORY? Why, those are donations for the sole purpose of being given away asap. As far as volunteers, what is the Philippine Army or military doing? This is a time of National Emergency, why can’t they be deployed to assist in distribution. Where is the President, how come she is not involved in this tragic events?

    Repacking, do you mean by giving away only the local poor quality goods and to make sure Stateside goods are not given away?? And kept until the need is no longer apparent? Then, who gets those goods from United States of America and other generous countries? Once again, the poor and disenfranchised are victimized twice. Once by strong typhoon Ondoy and the greedy fangs of Philippine government bureaucracy. God will be watching for the lest of His children.

    • browneyedgirl on October 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

    nakakahiya tayo sa international community. once other countries get wind of this, who is going to even want to help us out when the next calamity comes? and to think that other foreign countries have been extremely and overwhelmingly generous with their donations. nakakahiya talaga.

    • LovelySoul on October 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I am a full time American student but when I heard of this awful calamity, I pulled my credit card and donated large sum of dollars to the Philippine Red Cross thinking that it will reach a needy family in Manila, especially the children. Now, I saw how callous the Philippine gov’t is, the lack of compassion, the absence of common human decency will make me think twice next time that this country is hit by a tragedy. It has been a month. How incompetent?

    • platterofpeaches on October 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Eto lang ha…

    “We would like to assure all of you that the relief goods will reach the intended beneficiaries as they become necessary and will be used only to assist them. However, the relief goods don’t all go out at the same time and an empty warehouse is not proof that the goods were used properly just as a full warehouse is not evidence that the goods are being hoarded. If you visit our website http://www.dswd.gov.ph you will find updates on our activities related to typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. It includes an updated list of donations received and goods released from the DSWD warehouse.”


    Check out the last day it was updated >>> Oct. 17!!!!

    NROC Summary of Releases

    Last set of relief goods sent out: Oct. 22. CHECK OUT THE ITEMS and let’s do the math here.

    Sa gabundok na dami ng supplies sa warehouse, un lang bah nailalabas nila kada araw? “Volunteers are welcome” – yet based on feedback, volunteers who call their hotline get passed from one person/dept to another. Walang sistema ba toh!? (Sounds familiar).

    So now – it’s PEOPLE POWER via INTERNET this time. Kudos to Miss Gang for taking the lead.

    PS: 34wks4days preggy with twins ako… BUT it won’t stop me from doing my part in vigilantly monitoring THIS issue… It’s the least that I can do. 🙂

    • Ron on October 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    My blood pressure is rising again. Corrupt to the bones talaga tong si Nanay Gloria at ang kanyang mga alipores. Like mother like daughters.

    Anyway you can also find two original stories below about corruption in our country. In fact I am losing my job because of the blog I made.



    Ipalaganap ang kabutihan at kaalaman sa lipunan. We need to open the eyes of our people.Please don’t hesitate to share stories like Ella’s.

    Thank you.

    • Jes on October 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    This problem started when GMA required all foreign donations to go through DSWD. It’s an inefficient system! Now that media’s attention is on DSWD, siyempre the warehouses will become busy for a few days. Pagkatapos?

    • mlq3 on October 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    peaches, thanks for links. am also going through them, administratyion allies are getting goods, the rest go through the bureaucracy. also, don’t have time right now but a cursory look of donations received suggests many foreign donations really are still at the warehouse.

    • mlq3 on October 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    d0d0ng actually tingnan mo official lists ng DSWD mismo -hindi nga lumalabas sa warehouse yung karne norte.

    • BlocC9 on October 24, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    here is the Philippine News article written by Beting Laygo Dolor

    • platterofpeaches on October 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    You’re welcome, Sir. Let’s just hope that something comes out of RockEd’s and other volunteers signing up and so on. I’ve already requested Miss Gang to provide updates. What we need, moving forward, is make everything related to the action we’re doing, and what DSWD is doing, transparent. di po ba? Thanks for updating your blog. Mapapaanak ako ng di oras sa mga nakikita at nababasa ko eh! LOL… Please continue to keep us posted… Thanks!

    • Ellen on October 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I really feel uncomfortable reading this page. I believe that this thing really happens because it reflects what kind of government the Philippines has. Wala nang malasakit, wala pang paki-alam. They became numb of what the ailing Filipinos are suffering. Thanks so much for this post. I just hope that everyone who reads it will share it so that many fb friends will be able to know what’s going on. People power in the net…God bless the Philippines…

    • pallas athina on October 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    sana hindi lang sa kasong ganito mangyari ang pag-eexpose sa kabulukan ng ating gobyerno. dahil sa proliferation ng cellfone, blogs, facebook, tweets, etc. madali ng ipakalat at ipakita sa lahat ang mga korap na gawi ng ating mga opisyal. sana himayin din natin at i-expose ang mga ginagawa ng mga local officials, governors, congressmen: ex., kung ano na ang developments na naipatupad nila sa kani-kanilang lugar, kung ano ang pinuntahan ng pork barrel na nakukuha nila, kung ito ba ay nagastos for infrastructures and/or naitulong para mapaunlad ang kani-kanilang bayan/probinsya o napunta lang sa sariling bulsa. sana mai-expose ang mga opisyales na gahaman at ginagamit lang pansarili ang pera ng bayan (i-expose ang mga korap opisyal na ngayon ay mala-palasyo ang bahay, nagpapa-aral ng anak sa iba’t-ibang bansa, may mga mistresses, etc.).
    sana magpatuloy ang ganitong “peaceful rebolusyon” at maimulat ang mga pilipino at aksyunan ang kabulukan ng ating mga politiko at tao sa gobyerno.

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