Reports of allegedly thousands of pesos worth of expired rice and relief goods buried in a dumpsite in Brgy. Candauay, in the city of Dumaguete, in Negros Oriental has put a spotlight on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The report has earned the ire of members of the local community, and has resultantly sparked a backlash towards the department when the actual breakdown of the spoiled goods was released to the media by the local DSWD Field Office (FO) through Shalaine Marie Lucero, Regional Director of the DSWD in the Negros Islands Region.
The DSWD FO report estimate the value of the spoiled relief goods at about PHP170,981.20, and with the following breakdown: (1.) 821 kilograms of rice valued at PHP20,525; (2.) 4186 canned sardines valued at PHP42,697.20; (3.) 22,310 3-in-1 coffee in 20-gram packs valued at PHP7,139.00; (4.) 484 canned beef loaf valued at PHP7,139.00; and (5.) 45 instant noodles in 55-gram packs valued at PHP225.00.
According to the DSWD report, the goods have been expired since June this year but were only disposed of this September 2 because the DSWD still had to secure the cooperation of the local offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Rescources (DENR), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Commission on Audi (COA) in Dumaguete City.
The disposal of the expired goods only came to the attention of DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo this Sunday, October 2.
In a Facebook Post, Taguiwalo owned up to the mistake and expressed her apology for the wasteful management of the relief goods by the DSWD despite the fact that the goods expired even before she sat as DSWD Secretary.
As a response to the incident, Taguiwalo immediately released a memorandum for the new guidelines to be imposed in connection with the Food Stockpile Management of the DSWD. The measure hopes to prevent similar wastage of relief goods in the future.