“The DSWD does not tolerate and strongly condemns the selling and buying of the Department’s relief goods. We would like to inform the public that those who commit such acts will be held liable and will be penalized under the law,” DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said as he responded to reports that the Department’s relief goods were seen being delivered and sold in a sari-sari store in Iligan City.
Section 19 of RA10121 prohibits the selling of relief goods, equipment, or other aid commodities intended for distribution to disaster victims. It also prohibits buying, either for consumption or resale, of relief supplies both from disaster relief agencies and from the recipient disaster-affected persons.
Other prohibited acts include preventing the entry and distribution of relief goods in disaster-stricken areas; diverting or misdelivery of relief goods; forcibly seizing of the goods intended for a specific group of victims or relief agency; and, accepting, possessing, using or disposing of relief supplies not intended for nor consigned to a person.
The prohibited acts further include misrepresenting the source of relief goods either by covering or replacing the labels, repacking the goods into containers with different markings, or by making a false verbal claim that the goods came from another agency or persons; and, substituting or replacing relief goods, equipment or other aid commodities with the same items of inferior or cheaper quality.
Under the law, those who commit any of the prohibited acts face a fine ranging from P50,000 – P500,000 or imprisonment of six years up to 12 years.
DSWD Field Office (FO) XII Regional Director Nestor B. Ramos, who is also the Assistant Program Manager for Special Operations in Marawi and other Affected Localities, has earlier warned that evacuees from Marawi City who will be proven guilty of selling the relief goods provided to them by the Department will be disqualified from receiving future aid from the government.
“We understand that they are in need of money, that is why they sell relief goods. But we also have to realize that based on our guidelines, selling these relief goods is prohibited. These goods are meant for their own consumption,” Dir. Ramos earlier said.
OIC Leyco encouraged the public to report all cases involving the selling and buying of relief goods to the DSWD.
“We call on the public to help us guard the relief aid intended to the victims of disasters and calamities by reporting to us all cases that involve selling and buying of the Department’s relief goods The aid that the government provides are for our fellow Filipinos who have been affected by a crisis. Those who commit these illegal acts are robbing the victims of the help that they badly need,” he said.
Reporting of cases
The public may report cases involving the selling and buying of DSWD relief goods through the DSWD Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau’s (DReAMB) e-Reklamo platform, a web-based complaints management ticket system. It may be accessed through the following ICT channels:
- http://ereklamo.dswd.gov.ph/ w
ebsite wherein each complaint is assigned a unique ticket number that can be used to track the progress and responses online. A valid email address is required to use this system.
- SMS using the following syntax:
- Text DSWD <space> ereklamo <space> “Name of Complainant” <space> Location <space> “Complaint Message” and send to 3456 (any network). Each text message is charged P1.00.
- Email to email@example.com
They can also report to the nearest DSWD Field Office.
Meanwhile, those in Marawi and neighboring municipalities may also directly report such cases to the following numbers: