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Caibaan warehouse cited by TV5, not DSWD’s – Sec. Soliman

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman reiterates that the unkempt warehouse being referred to by TV5 in its report aired on March 26 newscast and posted on its news portal is not the DSWD Relief Hub in Tacloban City.

This developed as the network issued a statement that it stands by its story on the unkempt warehouse with rotten goods and aired the same story again on April 14 over its radio station.

TV5 has said that the warehouse they have been featuring is located in Barangay Caibaan, Tacloban City.

Sec. Soliman sent a team to said area and found that there is a warehouse which is being occupied by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Program (WFP). WFP confirmed to the DSWD Field Office in the region that they are the ones maintaining the said warehouse.

Contrary to the TV5’s claim that there was a signage “Task Force Yolanda-DSWD Hub,” the team did not see one that would attribute to the DSWD warehouse.

“Attributing the Caibaan warehouse to the DSWD by showing the signage is creating a wrong public impression and misinformation,” Sec. Soliman stated.

She clarified that the DSWD warehouses are located in Barangays Apitong and Abucay in Tacloban City with the Task Force Yolanda-DSWD Hub banner prominently displayed on the façade. In the same compound in Brgy. Apitong is also the warehouse of the National Food Authority.

Misleading

Sec. Soliman said that the TV5 news report was misleading when it aired footages that showed the ‘Yolanda’ relief hub in Tacloban and segued to snapshots of scattered and unkempt relief goods including ready-to-eat food and cup noodles, without getting the explanation of the Department.

“That makes the video more misleading as the DSWD has no stockpiles of ready-to-eat food and cup noodles because these are not part of the DSWD food packs,” Sec. Soliman pointed out.

She added that DSWD has not also received any donations of such as shown in the video news clip of TV5.

In an incident report submitted to Sec. Soliman by Christian Cabrigas, caretaker of the DSWD Hub in Tacloban, he said that on March 26, a female reporter with her cameraman came to the warehouse looking for Assistant Regional Director Virginia Idano who was out to meet UN Dignitaries.

Then without informing Cabrigas, the two suddenly went inside the NFA warehouse and took a video recordings of the area.

Cabrigas further said that there were indeed piled trashes, but not a decomposing chicken as shown by the TV5 network, because the NFA warehouse personnel just started to clean the area, as they regularly do.

He also explained that the repacking of 50-kg rice sacks into 3 or 6-kg rice bags resulted in the unintentional spilling of rice grains, and at different times of the day, these rice grains are swept up and placed again in rice sacks, which are then sent to the NFA warehouse for re-milling to separate the rice grains from sand and dust particles.

DSWD has reminded the NFA to arrange the rice sacks for re-milling to avoid impression of inefficiency.

Not in disarray

Sec. Soliman said that the DSWD hub is strictly maintained as international and local donors usually visit the area anytime.

She said that media persons are welcome to see all DSWD hubs including its main warehouse, the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City.

Sec. Soliman even conducted her latest press conference at NROC to show that DSWD warehouses are well-maintained.

Recycled issues

Sec. Soliman also expressed disappointment over the network’s “recycling” of issues like the rotten goods being buried in Palo and distributed in Barangay Gacao, which they continue to air in their newscasts.

“We have already clarified these issues several times and for the last time let me reiterate our side,” Sec. Soliman remarked.

“Based on the certification of the Municipal Health Officer of Palo, the goods that were buried in the town only comprised of one sack of assorted biscuits, 10 cups of instant noodles, ½ sack of wet rice, and one sack of used clothing that came from ‘various agencies’ which she can no longer remember,” Sec. Soliman reiterated.

On the other hand, Sec. Soliman said the rotten goods in Brgy. Gacao were not distributed when the village chair learned that these were already spoiled. The village head reported the incident to the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office which ordered for the immediate retrieval of the goods that were donated by a private organization which directly gave these to the local government unit.

“We provided technical assistance to the local social welfare office on handling and storage of goods to avoid similar incidents,” Sec. Soliman stated.

Veracity of reports

Sec. Soliman is urging the TV network to validate the veracity of the news of their reporters.

She is demanding for a public clarification on why the reporter spinned her story to imply that the Caibaan warehouse was DSWD’s by showing a footage of the warehouse with the DSWD banner.

Sec. Soliman said that there seems to be an intention to manipulate information and video clippings. The news report and the video have provided a totally different picture of how the DSWD works.

“These are causing psychological stresses to the DSWD colleagues in Leyte and Samar who continue to provide public service despite their houses not having been fixed yet and they live in difficult situations too,” Sec. Soliman ended. ###

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