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DSWD settles demurrage to release rice donation

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CEBU CITY, May 23 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas said that the rice donation of the Algerian Government, amounting to US$2,986,932, for Typhoon Yolanda survivors being kept at the Cebu International Port (CIP) by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) will soon be released following the settlement of the P6.6 million demurrage.

According to DSWD-Field Office VII Director Mercedita Jabagat, the DSWD-Central Office has already released some P10 million to move the rice donation out of the port.

Aside from the P6.6 million demurrage for the 175 cargo containers of rice, the rest of the P10 million will be spent for other administrative expenses such as warehouse rental, packing of the goods, and transporting them to disaster areas in Central, Eastern, and Western Visayas.

Dir. Jabagat said that DSWD is paying P1,400 daily for every undelivered cargo container at Cebu International Port since January 2. The Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR) is also charging the DSWD some P10,000 for every container of other donations like clothes which has to be opened and inspected as required by the law.

Other than these fees, the time delay is also attributed to complying permits from other government offices.

Despite of the delay in the release of the rice donation, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman assured the public that there are still enough relief supplies for ‘Yolanda’ survivors particularly in the northern towns of Cebu, Leyte, and Samar areas.

As of May 16, a total of 4,669,518 food packs with 3 to 6 kilos of rice and 719,026 food packs with 25 kilos of rice were distributed to the typhoon-affected regions.

The Secretary also assured that the goods are still fit for human consumption as personnel of DSWD and the Department of Health (DOH) regularly conducted inspections at the BoC.(DSWD)