By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has authorized the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to release “ukay-ukay” or seized second-hand clothes for relief operations in typhoon-hit provinces.
The President said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should coordinate with the customs bureau on the donation of the seized goods to calamity victims.
Duterte issued the directive during a meeting with government officials on relief efforts in typhoon-hit Benguet province.
“We have to improve on something like clothing. Mag-stock ka talaga. Alam mo, marami diyan. Try mo lang si Sid Lapeña, General Lapeña sa Customs,” the President told Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo during the situation briefing.
“Puntahan mo. Sabihin mo, ‘Lahat ng ukay-ukay mo, sabi ni Rody, ibigay daw sa akin para ma-ano and divide it [Go and tell him, ‘Rody said you should give me the second-hand clothes so they can be divided],” he added.
With the anticipated arrival of more relief goods, Duterte has also advised Orogo to be vigilant against pilferage in the government’s relief operations. He said the department could tap more security guards and cameras to safeguard the relief items from looters.
Duterte said he was “living witness” of a theft committed by some people during a relief operation initiated by a television station. He said the incident occurred when he was hosting a television program while he was mayor of Davao City.
“You watch out for pilferage. DSWD is noted for that,” Duterte told the DSWD Secretary.
Earlier, the government also allowed the customs bureau to release seized rice and other food items to be given to the victims of typhoon Ompong. The items must be released to the DSWD for disaster relief operations.