DSWD 12 clarifies rotten relief in Marawi

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Nov. 19 — The Department of Social Welfare and Development clarified Sunday reports over rotten reliefs obtained by people displaced by last year’s fighting between government troops and pro- Islamic State militants that left more than a thousand people dead.

Zorahayda Taha, DSWD 12 regional director, said all batches of relief items delivered and distributed to internally-displaced individuals in Marawi City were assured of good quality and to spoiled.

According to Taha, the workers found out the issue on spoiled goods was possibly in reference to the dried fish previously distributed as a substitute for the canned sardines and corned beef provided to the evacuees in order to address their request for variety of relief supply.

The agency made the clarification after an evacuee, Aidah Datingki, reported the dried fish included in the food pack handed over to them recently were spoiled.

“When I opened the box of relief, I discovered worms so I called my daughter to throw it,” Datingki said in a facebook post.

DSWD Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Secretary Glenda Relova however guaranteed the public that they have already replaced the goods and noted that the limited expiration date and moisture accumulation due to the means of packaging of the dried fish might have prompted the spoilage of the said food items while unconsumed.

“We would like to reiterate that the goods that we are distributing to the IDPs in Marawi are of good quality. However, there are times that due  to the mishandling of goods during delivery, these are damaged resulting to spoilage. We ask the IDPs to immediately return all spoiled and unconsumed food items nearing expiry to the DSWD XII for replacement,” Relova said.

Relova assured that all relief distribution will continue as scheduled and that the DSWD Central Office along with the regional offices will be implementing stricter monitoring of relief supplies to ensure that similar incident will not occur in the future.

On May last year, over 1,000 people died  and nearly half billion people were displaced when  Maute terror group, a local cell of ISIS in Mindanao, took control over the city of Marawi for five months.

The war erupted when soldiers and policemen moved to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged head of the Islamic State in Mindanao who is on the list of US most wanted terrorist. However, they were met by a big force of gunmen composed of militants from the Maute group, backed by an undetermined number of foreign fighters.

After five months of gun-battle,  Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, one of the leaders behind the Maute Terrorist Group, were killed by the military on October 2017 and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared Marawi liberated from terrorists control. (End)

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