Punishable by six to 12 years imprisonment
By Raïssa Robles
“There are unscrupulous government people who slow down the pace of relief distribution for they are repacking the goods, by stripping away all signs that they came from foreign donors and replacing them with government signs that make it appear like they came from our honorable, generous, and ever loyal public servants. I am aghast. I am angry. And I am making myself the spokesman of these people who are also aghast, angry, and absolutely disgusted at this image conscious government run by showbiz personalities masquerading as public servants.”
If these are true, people have to put a stop to it.
People have to name names.
It is the only way we can change our political culture.
UPDATE: AS OF 8:09 pm, November 19, 2013
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has finally explained why it repacka foreign donations and puts them in bags stamped with the “DSWD” logo. Here is the explanation.
When a politician re-labels relief goods with his miserable greasy face, he could be violating Republic Act No. 10121 or the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010”.
Like many of you, I thought we had no law against making E-Pal during disasters. It turns out that we do. It was one of the last laws Benigno Aquino III signed as a senator just before he became President in 2010.
Among the prohibited acts are:
Misrepresenting the source of relief goods, equipment or other aid commodities by:
(1) Either covering, replacing or defacing the labels of the containers to make it appear that the goods, equipment or other aid commodities came from another agency or persons;
(2) Repacking the goods, equipment or other aid commodities into containers with different markings to make it appear that the goods came from another agency or persons or was released upon the instance of a particular agency or persons;
(3) Making false verbal claim that the goods, equipment or other and commodity in its untampered original containers actually came from another agency or persons or was released upon the instance of a particular agency or persons;
Substituting or replacing relief goods, equipment or other aid commodities with the same items or inferior/cheaper quality;
Such actions are punishable with the following:
- A fine of P50,000 to P500,000 or;
- A jail term of six to 12 years or both;
- Perpetual disqualification from public office if the offender is with the government;
- Confiscation of the goods in favor of the government.
Interestingly, the law does not punish politicians who give donations plastered with their names. Even if these donations did not come from their own pockets. However, if the goods came from their pork barrel or office money, isn’t that misrepresenting the source? It’s a gray area and the lawmakers made it that way.
Still, with this law, it is time to show politicians enough is enough.
Let’s start making examples.