Duterte: Give storm survivors ‘ukay-ukay’
President Rodrigo Duterte wants smuggled used clothing — known as “ukay-ukay” — that were seized in the country’s ports to go directly to the government’s disaster relief operations.
The President had directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to coordinate with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the donation of the second-hand clothes to calamity victims.
Addressing Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo, the President stressed the need to improve the quality of relief goods being distributed to affected families, particularly clothing.
“We have to improve on something like clothing. You have to stock up on it, there’s many out there,” he said.
He added: “Go to [BOC Commissioner Isidro] Lapeña. Tell him, ‘Rody said all of your ukay-ukay should be given to me.’ And divide it and see to it that there [is enough].”
The President made the remarks on Monday night during a situation briefing in La Trinidad, Benguet, which was heavily pummeled by Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: Mangkhut) over the weekend.
The President met with his Cabinet and local officials, who updated him on the damage wrought by the typhoon in the Cordilleras, as well as the status of the search and rescue efforts.
Republic Act No. 4653 bans the importation of used clothing on grounds of protecting public health, and requires that these be burned, destroyed or shredded.
Not in the law
The BOC, however, had gone around this law in the past so that seized ukay-ukay may be turned over to the DSWD for relief efforts.
Distribution of confiscated used clothes, which was initially blocked by the BOC, had been allowed for families displaced by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana) in 2009 and for victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong” (international name: Washi) in Mindanao in 2012.
Earlier, the DSWD said it had distributed P14.8 million worth of aid to families hit by Ompong.
The President, however, cautioned Orogo against pilferage of relief goods within the DSWD.
He said he was distrusting of a TV network, which he claimed had employees who would pick out items which were still in good condition, for their personal use.
He did not identify the TV network.
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