Blogger Ella still insists relief goods at DSWD not moving; DSWD warehouse opened to media
Ella Rose de los Santos, the blogger who accused the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of hoarding millions of pesos worth of donations to "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" typhoon victims stands by her claim despite Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral's denials that the relief goods were rotting in a warehouse, reports the inquirer.net.
In her latest post in response to Cabral's denials, de los Santos says: "The burden of proof is on you. The donors expect that everything they sent be distributed immediately to the intended recipients and not be stored in some warehouse. As government officials, it is your social responsibility to the people."
De los Santos also claims that her use of the word "rotting" or "nabubulok" was sensationalized by the media: "...GMA NEWS.TV's use of the word "ROTTING". That's not my point, pipol, sorry. Sa urban lingo, a.k.a pangaraw-araw na salita: Nabubulok (rotting) - nakatambay, matagal na naka-imbak, hindi gumagalaw, stationary, not showing any progress, loser.I did NOT literally mean INUUOD, NAAAGNAS, INAAMAG, YUCKY at EEEEW! Get it? I know what non-perishable goods are. You see, doon tuloy na-focus ang denial ng DSWD, hindi sa santambak na goods. Kakaiba.
On to the next point. Marami akong nabasang comments, posts at kung ano-ano pa, doubting the veracity of my "allegations". I was there in the warehouse. I presented the pictures. I think I've done my part as a concerned citizen."
Meanwhile, the DSWD opened their Pasay City warehouse to the media Saturday October 24:
"In fairness to Secretary Cabral and the DSWD," de los Santos wrote, she posted Cabral's 781-word reply on the DSWD's website, to which de los Santos commented, "It's amazing that she found the time to write a very long winded comment/explanation. She didn't have the time to answer one simple question from a journalist two days ago. She was given every opportunity to present their side pero sa totoo lang she ignored each one."
Responding to Cabral's denial that she spoke to anyone from Philippine News,Ella quoted Beting Dolor, columnist and contributing editor to the publication:
"My name is Beting Dolor and I am a columnist and contributing editor for US-based Philippine News. I have been with this paper since 2002. I was the one who called DSWD four times to try and get their side. I was told that Sec. Cabral was 1) at a meeting, 2) interviewing applicants, 3) in the comfort room, and 4) about to leave for Pampanga.
It was her office secretary who relayed to me her message that there are not enough volunteers. I wrote my piece for Philippine News because I was disturbed by the relative inaction of the department. The Philippines is under a state of calamity. As such, action is needed now, not tomorrow.
The hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos need all the help they can get. They cannot wait. In times like these, I expect the DSWD to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DSWD says there are not enough volunteers. I disagree. There are tens of thousands of Filipinos willing to help. The DSWD should have gone to the schools to ask for volunteers. There are countless employees in the private sector willing to help. The DSWD could have asked the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to help.
I expect the department to take a more pro-active rather than a reactive stance. I expect the secretary to DEMAND that everyone help out. Lest we forget, human lives are at stake. The victims are dying by the score everyday. It's in the news.
As for the rotting of the goods, we all know that it is not only food that can rot. So, too, can clothes, canned goods, biscuits, blankets and everything else that can be found in the DSWD warehouses. Time is of the essence. The food that the DSWD hands out today will be forgotten tomorrow. Believe it or not, the victims still need to eat every day. Three square meals, if possible.
Finally, the hoarding of the relief goods for future calamities does not make sense. We have just undergone the worst calamity in 40 years. Does the DSWD plan to keep those goods for the next four decades? Distribute them now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. Agreed, Madame Cabral?"
Ella Rose de los Santos is the author of Diary ni Ella: Confessions ng Isang Masahista., which she sells online through her blog.
GMA's 24 Oras also visited the DSWD warehouse and showed Secretary Cabral saying that she felt bad not for herself but for everyone at the DSWD "na nagtratrabaho ng buong husay."
For those who want to help the DSWD, you can click on this Rock Ed Philippines link.