Security Issue: On Red Tape and Politics

We have been receiving tweets concerning red tape, the government and some politicians trying to take advantage of the current disaster situation. Below are some issues. If you know more information, please don’t hesitate to share it with us so that people will be more informed. If the issue turns out to be a rumor, or has been resolved, please leave a comment also so we can update our post. Please note that unless noted, these reports are unofficial and are still waiting for confirmation and verification.


  1. DSWD. Alleged reports that there are a lot of relief goods, both local and international donations/foreign aid that are just in the DSWD warehouse and are not being repacked. Here’s a ‘timeline’ of internet activity regarding this issue:
    • A blogger named Ella posted this on 21 October 2009: Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer). It was last edited Oct 22, 12:30 PM.
    • Tweet that alerted Bayanihan Online on the issue: DSWD Relief Operations-what really happens inside this freaked me out! [via @tinsiazon] [10/23 13:07]
    • The original blog post and website went down/had technical difficulties due to rush in web traffic, so there are mirror sites/other people who have copied the posts in their own blogs here:
    • Some tweets we received related to this issue after the blog has been read by many:
      • Friend from UNESCO says there’s a UN Day letter being circulated saying the goods are for repacking in Malacanang this weekend. Mukhang no big deal ito sa kanila (hindi siya natataranta eh, was told they’re supposed to pack the goods tomorrow and I was to be invited). Apparently all UN agencies are invited to go to Malacanang tomorrow to help repack, niru-rush daw including the goods from DSWD. [via @barlena] [10/23 15:00]
      • But when did the goods arrive and when were the invitations given out? [via @erolfornoles] [10/23 15:07]
      • UN circulation letter this week lang, no idea re: arrival of goods, repacking all to be done daw in Malacanang, not DSWD warehouse.  Ito ang sbi: “It’s being repacked on a daily basis, from 8am to 1pm. Tomorrow, the whole UN family would volunteer to repack.” Tone-tonelada ang dumating galing UN, so di naman kagad mapapack. For distribution na this weekend. [via @barlena] [10/23 15:24]
      • Notice the entry does not allege actual pilfering or stealing, only inefficiency. [via @mlq3] [10/23 15:43]
      • (in response to the above tweet) Inefficiency that can kill people [via @joeyalarilla] [10/23 15:44]
      • I informed and complained to DSWD…The girl at DSWD was like, “We sent letters asking for volunteers.” HELLO? Haven’t you heard of Twitter and Facebook? [via @TourismPinas] [10/23 16:24]
      • Whether we’ve been had or not, it’s time there is vigilance regarding foreign aid. [via @mjeansaberon] [10/23 19:35]
    • After making the rounds online through several social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, Multilply, etc.) the media heard about it and gave it coverage during the evening news [10/23 6:30-8:00 PM]:
    • Official DSWD response: Statement of Dr. Esperanza Cabral on the issue of relief goods in the DSWD Warehouse
    • SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT: DSWD Secretary allowed RockEd Philippines to organize shifts of volunteers to sort/pack at the DSWD Warehouse from Mon-Fri, 3-11 PM. Go here for more details. [via SMS from Gang Badoy/@gangbadoy] [10/23 22:21]
    • Donated goods sitting in DSWD warehouse — Philippine News article written by Berting Dolor. Dolor is a contributing editor for US-based Philippine News earlier mentioned in the original blog post. [10/23]
    • Response of Belting Dolor to Dr. Cabral’s statement [10/23 22:51]
    • Response of blogger Ella to GMA and ABS-CBN News [10/24]
    • Questions and points raised by people who have commented that are worth looking into:
      • “…Wala bang voluteers? How come na sa mga tv stations eh maraming nagvovolunteer. Then sa inyo wala?!  Hndi kapani-paniwala!” [Solo]
      • “Lets demand an ONLINE inventory…Lets ask for a transparent inventory list actual relief recieved versus distributed. If they say again walang manpower to post, just give us the list ang damin blog dyan. Wag na natin sla palusutin this time.” [Kababayan]
      • “It is just right that people see this esp those who sent the goods. They have a right to ask questions and make DSWD accountable for the relief goods. I’d have thought this would be a great opportunity for our government to show their good side. This clearly is a case of incompetence or again, self-serving interests (who can blame people for thinking elections?).” [Natalie]
      • “I also volunteered there and I saw how hard working the DSWD workers are. We also have to take note that the distributions of relief goods do not happen all at once. Bodega nga yan, kaya goods come and go depende sa pangangailangan. I think we all should realize and actualize what we can do to help the government. I know some of my friends who work in the government that are very much into changing for the better our government. Let’s do our share to help them.” [allaboutlove]
      • “I’ve been volunteering at dswd every saturday, and haven’t seen those imported stuffs talaga. puro local goods lang nirerepack namin dun sa malacanyang (sa kalayaan hall). me and my friends go there every saturday, (12hrs shift, 8pm -8am, it varies). kulang talaga vonlunteers lalo na kapag sa gabi, though i know its operating 24hrs. sana maresolve to agad by the gov’t. sana naman madisseminate nila yang mga donations ng ayos or work with sagip kapamilya, kapuso foundation or any other foundations.” [hannah]
      • “…i think maraming volunteer na pupunta kung mag-annouce lang sila. We went to Tulong Bayan Makati at grabeh ang volunteer minsan nga goods ang kulang para mare pack.” [Grace]
      • “dapat din siguro sagutin ni ms. cabral: 1. bakit puro local goods ang ipinamimigay sa mga tao (sardinas, sabon, banig etc), 2. bakit untouchable ang mga international relief goods?, 3. bakit kailangan pang magpa schedule ang mga volunteers?, 4. bakit reserved for future victims of typhoon ramil (nabasa ko sa isang newspaper) ang mga relief goods eh kaya yun dinonate para sa mga ondoy at pepeng victims?” [bebe]
    • Other links worth looking into:
    • Other important accounts of this issue:
  2. Dick Gordon. Dick Gordon Under Fire on Facebook Re: Ondoy Relief Distribution [source, source]
    • The author of the post has apologized. The following links are accounts of the apology and how the issue turned out:
    • Response
    • Paul Farol’s account
  3. NDCC.
    • Delayed purchase of rubber boats [via @ABSCBNNews] [10/12 21:32]
    • Teodoro on the issue of rubberboat procurement: Hindi secretary ang nag-ko-conduct ng bidding, kundi ang Bids and Awards Committee ng OCD. Documents will show, as of March 6, 2009 I have approved the authority on negotiated procurement. Dapat sa Office of Civil Defense nagsimula ang proseso ng bidding at procurement. Mahirap pangunahan ng Sekretarya ang proseso.[via @ANCALERTS] [10/13 18:23]


  1. AFP and MMDA. Unconfirmed reports that AFP and MMDA are stopping relief container trucks and diverting them.
  2. Brgy. Captain Roger Frias. Non-resident survivors Burgos, Dela Costa evicted by Bgy. Captain Roger Frias of Bgy. San Jose from evac center. [via @mlq3]
  3. Mayor of Valenzuela. Brgy PALASAN in Valenzuela needs DONATIONS! cal; BgyCpt E. Lzada 09178970187 – denied help by own mayor bec of pol. issues! [via @divasoria]
  4. Pasig Mayor gives deadline to ULTRA evacuees. [source]


  1. We have unconfirmed reports that some government people are asking for bribes in relief centers so that goods would be released. [via @carlosceldran]
  2. From a friend in Plurk, binubulsa daw ng kapitan ng Bagong Silangan QC yung abuloy sa mga namatayan. [via Anonymous] – update: Nag-send na rin po yung friend ko ng email kay Ben Tulfo tungkol sa kapitan ng Bagong Silangan. [via Anonymous]
  3. Donated clothes to Ondoy victims being sold in ukay-ukays instead. [via @ragdollgonewild]
  4. Naniningil yung mga bumbero sa Provident Village kapalit ng paglilinis ng mga lugar…Heard it from MMDA [via @reemyrobby]y


  1. Philippine Customs officials are seizing all international shipment donations for Ondoy victims! Someone point media attention that way, please! [via @suzy899]- UPDATE: Customs denies seizing international donations [source]
    SOME NOTES:   

    • Official Philippine government regulations on donations of aid: [via @ml3]
    • For all sending aid from overseas: please download/print President’s directives to Customs so you won’t be hassled. [via @mlq3]
    • Note: GMA’s directives for customs only apply to foreign donations addressed to DSWD [via @clickmomukhamo]
    • Donated clothes/goods from abroad MUST be consigned to DSWD to avail of exemption from duties/seizure by Customs. Includes used clothing. [via @mlq3]
    • Download list of DSWD-accredited NGOs here:[via @thecityforever]
    • Per Customs source (anon) any relief not consigned to PNRC or DSWD will be taxed. Appeals case-to-case reconsideration. [via @mlq3]
    • DSWD is now working on revising a Presidential Memorandum Order (PMO 36) so that foreign donors can send aid to the RP TAX and DUTY FREE [via @neritheka]
    • All NGOs registered with DSWD can receive the donations DUTY FREE but will be taxed. Contact the DSWD Standards Bureau for more info. [via @neritheka]
  2. Cash donations for Ondoy relief still subject to tax, BIR chief says [via @tonyocruz]

Friendly note to everyone: If you encounter instances of the BoC seizing goods or other anomalies regarding donations, please ask for their name and take note of the time and location where it took place. If you can, tape-record your conversation as well. This is to provide evidence in case this goes to court.

Updated as of 23 January 2010, 9:43 AM.


  1. From a friend in Plurk, binubulsa daw ng kapitan ng Bagong Silang QC yung abuloy sa mga namatayan. [via Anonymous]

    Correction po. Bagong Silangan QC po pala.

  2. Dick cripples Red Cross. blogged about the details at

  3. […] out Bayanihan Online’s timeline of events of what happened yesterday. Since this issue isn’t over, I’m pretty sure that the blog post will be constantly […]

  4. […] kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer) on October 21 (a timeline of the issue can be found in Bayanihan Online). There was a Philippine News story on October 23. The DSWD Secretary responded with a statement, […]

  5. […] kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer) on October 21 (a timeline of the issue can be found in Bayanihan Online). There was a Philippine News story on October 23. The DSWD Secretary responded with a statement, […]

  6. […] (you can read Bayanihan Online’s timeline here.) […]

  7. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by bayanihan_: @mlq3 @gangbadoy Please help us confirm these: reports of red tape + corrupt politicians during Ondoy relief ops…

  8. I hope DSWD would publish a liquidation report of those goods para maging transparent. Nakaka-demoralize kase when you read those kind of expose (if you can call it that?!)

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