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Paper work keeps donated rice in port for 5 months

/ 12:18 AM June 08, 2014

CEBU CITY—After five months, the 91,000 sacks of rice donated by the Algerian government can finally be distributed to victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

The 175-container shipment was released from Cebu International Port (CIP) after the Department of Social Welfare and Development  (DSWD) in Central Visayas paid the storage fee to  two private container yards that reached at least P5.8 million.

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The sacks of rice were first brought to the DSWD packing center at Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City before these were delivered to Yolanda victims in northern Cebu and Tacloban City.

The agency received P14 million from its central office to pay for storage and transport fees to have the donated goods released, said Rosario Bacong, regional DSWD food and nonfood coordinator.

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Of the 91,000 sacks, at least 20,000 were delivered to Tacloban City on May 31.

The 91,000 sacks of rice were part of the 127,920 sacks of rice donated by the Algerian government that arrived in Cebu in six batches. The first batch of shipments arrived in January and the last on Feb. 13, according to records at the DSWD.

Import permits were required for each shipment before these were cleared and released by the Bureau of Customs.

But it took the DSWD a month to acquire the permit from the National Food Authority  in Manila, which caused the increase in storage fee of the remaining 175 containers at CIP.

In the meantime, the regional DSWD office has yet to receive P1.6 million to pay for the storage fee of 16 containers loaded with donations from Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, Palau and the United States.

Some of the containers are loaded with ready-to-eat food packs, drinking water, canned tuna, tuna pouches and assorted clothing.

The regional DSWD is conducting an inventory of perishable items in the donations to check for expiry dates.

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TAGS: Algeria, Cebu, DSWD, Foreign aid, Regions, Rice donation, Yolanda
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