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Kreole

900 sacks of rotten rice found in Leyte customs insists its not Yolanda donation

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Kreole

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – More than 900 sacks of rotten rice have been found abandoned inside the compound of the damaged office of the Bureau of Customs Regional Office 8 located near the Tacloban City sea port and beside the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The sacks of rotten rice were discovered because passersby, including government workers near the area, noticed its unpleasant smell.

There is suspicion in some quarters that the rotten rice was part of donations for Yolanda victims last year, but this was denied by the Acting District Collector of the BOC.

In an interview, Acting District Collector of Customs Avelino Alberca claimed the more than 900 sacks of rice were not donations for Yolanda victims but suspected smuggled rice that had been issued a warrant of seizure and detention.

He said the merchandise was seized before typhoon Yolanda and placed in a container van.

When asked, however, where the sacks of rice came from, and when the seizure procedure began, Alberca refused to answer, saying it would take him one week to get such information.

“A1-Milling is the consignee of that rice. After issuance of warrant of seizure and detention, both parties, BOC and the consignee, had a hearing. I can't recall when, but I know that such was intercepted by Customs police," he told InterAksyon.com

He also denied that this was National Food Authority (NFA) rice. He insisted that the merchandise was commercial rice. “That's not NFA rice, that's commercial rice. It can't be NFA because of its color,” he added.

He said they were ready to dispose of the sacks of rotten rice and had indicated as much in their letter to the City ENRO [environment officer], asking it to identify a place where they could dispose of it, but until now they have not received any reply to their letter.

“We wrote the ENRO July last year, we even went to their office, and they said they needed a clearance from the Mayor’s office, but until now nothing has happened,” the official said.

Asked what they planned to do since the rotten rice was stinking and is bad for the health of people around the area, Alberca said, “Bahala na sila diyan, basta kami on record. Hindi naman kami makakapag dispose niyan. Hindi pa sila nag-identify ng lugar [That's up to them, but for us, what we did is on the record. We cannot dispose of that. They haven't identified a place yet].”

According to the office of the City Mayor, however, they had already recommended to the ENRO to dispose of the rotten rice in the dumpsite because of its condition.

They also advised the BOC regional office to review the letters sent by the City Mayor’s Office to them, and check their response to the request to identify a location for disposing of the sacks of rotten rice.

InterAksyon.com tried to reach Jonathan Hijada, the City ENRO, for comment, but his Secretary said Hijada was on leave.

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Lee

Govt inefficiency at its worst. :(  It sure is more fun in the Philippines, people starve and food is wasted.

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A_Simple_Man

So were the bags of rice rotting in a warehouse while people starved and the rest of the world was sending rice?  

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Danishman

 

 

Alberca refused to answer, saying it would take him one week to get such information.

 

Sorry sir, but answer's are out of stock this week........sure dong, just 1 week is not such a bad thing.... :yahoo:

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Majorsco

 

 

He said the merchandise was seized before typhoon Yolanda and placed in a container van. When asked, however, where the sacks of rice came from, and when the seizure procedure began, Alberca refused to answer, saying it would take him one week to get such information. “A1-Milling is the consignee of that rice. After issuance of warrant of seizure and detention, both parties, BOC and the consignee, had a hearing. I can't recall when, but I know that such was intercepted by Customs police," he told InterAksyon.com

 

If true, then this was rice that could have been available in the days immediately after the typhoon left because it was rice that could have been dispersed to the people since it apparently was already there on site.  

 

It's been over a year since Yolanda, so there were many chances to get that rice out.  

 

Just sickening that so many went hungry and so much rice was right under their nose.

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broden

what's sad is rice can be stored for decades with minimal care .. toss it in a bucket with some oxygen absorbers is all it takes... or just a vac sealed bag of any kind 

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Kreole

It is both sad and outrageous that in all likelihood, the rice was donated for Yolanda victims and then commandeered by local gangs or politicians to use as leverage, payback or to control the population, or just to sell on the black market.  And then the idiots did not store it properly and let it rot while people were starving in the streets. 

 

It is absolutely implausible that the customs agents were not in on the take.  This commandeering and theft of aide is such a recurring theme in the Philippines, it is no surprise that charity and international organizations do not trust the local or regional governments to distribute aid.  This crime will be swept under the rug like the hundreds of other offenses by government officials.  The same circus of finger pointing and bullshit and then.....nothing, silence.  No one is held accountable and so the show goes on. 

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hyaku

White rice can be stored for "years" under correct conditions. Isnt that what they all do anyway? Keep it for a long time and get a better price for it?

 

It took eight months for the relief rice to arrive North of Leyte. I guess Tacloban people breaking into the NFA warehouses and stealing all the stock didn't help much. Its inept management that causes these problems. This time before Ruby rice was already available. They were actually giving out food packages before the typhoon.

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Paul

What a hell of a thing to read. :( 

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colemanlee

Its a well known fact here that the storage warehouses over by the boyscout rotunda held about 500 tons of class A rice given by the US during the relief effort.  It was replaced by NFA rice to be sold at a later date...AFAIK its still there

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Kabisay-an gid

Unfortunate - but a drop in the bucket compared to the waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse by the U.S. government in its Hurricane Katrina relief debacle in New Orleans.

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Salty Dog

Unfortunate - but a drop in the bucket compared to the waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse by the U.S. government in its Hurricane Katrina relief debacle in New Orleans.

I was surprised it took even 12 post before someone came up with the tired old "In the USA it's even worse" comeback. Save it for a political forum rant.

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hilyfe

And another supidity of philippines officials

I tell you philippines officials are freakin laughable

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ellenbrook2001

nothing surprised me at all that PHILIPPINES more fun

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