When Supertyphoon Lawin hit the northern part of the Philippines, many netizens (supporters of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, that is) were quick to note that the relief efforts seemed to be more organized and faster than in previous administrations.
Pretty soon, it was revealed that DSWD Sec. Judy M. Taguiwalo was actually in the field and was among those who were personally attending to the distribution of relief goods. Also, the DSWD had quickly released Php1.2 billion in standby emergency funds for those affected by ‘Lawin’.
Moreover, videos of a modernized packing system where relief goods were placed in boxes instead of plastic bags had gone viral on social media, earning praises for allowing faster packing and tracking of the relief items to be distributed to the affected areas.
While the packing system did make things faster and easier now than in the past, Duterte critics were quick to slam his supporters for ‘claiming’ that the DSWD modernized packing system was bought under the current administration when, in fact, it was procured in 2015 under the Aquino government.
Indeed, there were sites praising Duterte for the modernized packing system but it would have been quite impossible for the current admin to buy the system considering how it would have taken months to even plan for the procurement and find the necessary budget, among other technicalities.
Still, many of Duterte’s supporters fought the critics back, saying that they weren’t claiming that the DSWD modernized packing system was bought under Duterte administration but that the system had just gotten more efficient and organized, thanks in part to the modern equipment but also because of the uncorrupt officials handling the relief goods.
In the height of the relief efforts for ‘Yolanda’, several allegations of irregularities and ‘anomalies’ were reported such as repacking/relabeling of foreign donations to bags marked with DSWD and NFA as well as replacement of foreign goods like Spam with local sardines brands.
DSWD and the local governments also had issues in distributing the relief goods which ended up in several truckloads of spoiled and damaged food (worth around Php2.8 million!) dumped/buried because they were no longer fit for human consumption – yet there were thousands of people who went hungry and could have benefited from these now-spoiled items.
#FlashbackFriday On September 30, 2015, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and WFP Philippines…
Posted by World Food Programme on Thursday, September 29, 2016