When Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, hit the country in 2013, it was one of the worst disasters that Filipinos have ever experienced. Help from other countries then started pouring in so victims can rebuild their lives.
However, these donations are now put into waste as the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday destroyed four containers of goods in Mandaue City, Cebu, donated for Typhoon Yolanda victims. Donations from the United Kingdom, Norway, and Belgium, Norway were declared abandoned because donors did not pay the importation tax.
Foreign countries donated millions worth of relief goods last January 2014, but it was only neglected by the previous administration until it spoiled and went to waste due to delays.
Donations such as clothes, medical supplies, shampoos, soaps, and diapers, were supposed to be given to the victims four years ago. But since donors were still charged for payment of taxes from the Department of Finance, the items were not released when consignees didn’t pay.
Cebu Customs collector Elvira Cruz said:
“This was meant to be donated to the Yolanda victims … However, it was not processed because the donor did not want to pay taxes … it is such a waste.”
Considering the shipment arrived in Cebu in 2014, some of the canned goods were already expired upon inspection. The used clothes can’t be given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development since the Memorandum on the Acceptance of Forfeited Used Clothing has not yet been lifted in accordance with the Memorandum of previous DSWD secretary Dingky Soliman on August 8, 2011.
The bureau refused to release an estimation of the value of the destroyed items, as the consignees did not file an “import entry” that determines the value of shipped goods.
The BOC can destroy or condemn harmful and prohibited goods as stated under Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
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