CEBU CITY – Victims of 2013’s Super Typhoon Yolanda suffer another insult 5 years later as the Bureau of Customs in Cebu burns abandoned donations meant to aid survivors. The relief goods were reportedly international aid donated in 2014 from Norway, the United States, and Belgium.
The donors and consignees did not get the needed tax exemption for payment of taxes and duties from the Department of Finance when they arrived in 2014, leading them to become ultimately abandoned. The supplies were declared abandoned in June 2017, by which time much of the inventory was expired and useless. The shipment was never released to victims and reportedly carried medical and hygiene supplies as part of the cargo.
Photos of the disposal show 4 containers full of never delivered aid being opened and unloaded by workers wearing face masks. Workers spray the abandoned and rotting piles with bug killer to fight the infestations that bloomed in their abandonment.
Elmer Bailio, Chief of the Auction and Cargo Disposal Division of BOC-Cebu, said to press that the goods were not released because the consignees failed to get a tax exemption from the Department of Finance. Ultimately, the donations just sat in their containers.
“Kay ‘di naman madawat., nasira naman, nabulok naman. ‘Di madawat pud sa DSWD kay mostly used clothings. Naa man moraturium ang DSWD,” said Bailio.
The Philippines experiences Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013, with parts of Visayas being among the heaviest hit. ‘Yolanda’ is considered to be one of the world’s deadliest storms.