MANILA - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) washed its hands off the alleged rotten goods found in Yolanda-hit Palo, Leyte.
“Upon validation by a team from DSWD-Field Office VIII who went to the area and interviewed Brgy. Captain Panchito Cortes, they found out that the goods comprising of 300-ml bottled water, cup noodles, foiled viand, and biscuits were donations from a private organization who directly gave the goods to the local government unit,” the DSWD said in a statement.
The DSWD drew flak from several quarters after goods were found in a dump site. Mayor Remedios Petilla later admitted to authorizing the dumping of the food items, saying they were already rotten.
“Cortes showed the rotten goods to the DSWD team who said that these were not part of the food packs given out by the Department. The [Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office or MSWDO] also confirmed this,” the DSWD said in the same statement.
“Cortes said he panicked when he learned that the goods were already spoiled citing that people have started to flock to the barangay hall eager to receive the goods,” the DSWD said.
The municipal office of the DSWD then ordered the immediate retrieval of the goods.
“DSWD said that MSWDOs should always check the expiration dates and the quality of the goods being donated to them before they distribute these so as not to compromise the health and well-being of their constituents,” the agency said.
The DSWD promised a more comprehensive investigation to ascertain the circumstances of storing donated goods, identify areas for technical assistance to improve the capacity of the LGUs in storage and distribution of relief goods.