The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterates that selling, buying for consumption, misrepresenting the source of relief goods by either covering, replacing, or defacing the labels of containers to make it appear that the goods came from another office or persons; repacking and/or substituting the relief goods and other relief supplies that are intended for distribution to disaster victims are prohibited under Republic Act No. 10121 or Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

โ€œMaaaring magkataong magkasabay ang panahon ng eleksyon at sakuna kaya hindi maiiwasang magamit ang DSWD relief goods. Ipagbigay-alam agad ito sa DSWD upang maidaan sa balidasyon. Nais po naming ipaalala sa lahat na ang DSWD relief goods ay hindi maaaring gamitin sa eleksyon. Bawal din pong lagyan ng ibang marka at hatiin ang relief goods ayon sa RA 10121 (It may be a coincidence that an election and a disaster happens at the same time, so it is inevitable that DSWD relief goods will be used. Report this immediately to DSWD for validation. We would like to remind everyone that DSWD relief goods should not be used for election purposes. Also, relief goods should not be defaced or divided because according to RA 10121),โ€ says Disaster Response Management Division (DRMD) OIC-Chief Maricel S. Caleja.

The prohibited acts further include preventing the entry and distribution of relief goods in disaster-stricken areas, forcibly seizing relief goods,ย diverting or misdelivery of relief goods; accepting, possessing, using or disposing relief goods, equipment or other aid commodities not intended for nor consigned to a person.

Those who commit any of the prohibited acts shall be punished by a penalty ranging from PhP50,000.00 to PhP500,000.00 or imprisonment of six years up to 12 years, or both.

In Region 1, the public may report cases involving the misuse of DSWD relief goods through the DSWD Field Office 1 Facebook Page and/or directly report to the nearest Satellite Office, Provincial Operations Office, or DSWD Field Office 1 main office.

โ€œKapag natanggap po ng lokal na pamahalaan (LGU) ang kanilang request for relief augmentation mula sa DSWD ay dapat maipamahagi ang relief goods sa loob ng pitong araw at kinakailangang magsumite ang LGU ng relief distribution sheet na magpapatunay na nakatanggap ng goods ang mga nangangailangan. Kung sakali mang makatanggap ng relief goods na may sira, ito po ay gawa ng init ng panahon habang ibinabiyahe ang mga ito, bagay na hindi namin kontrolado, mangyaring ipagbigay-alam ito kaagad sa DSWD upang ito po ay mapalitan (When LGU receives its request for relief augmentation, relief goods should be distributed within seven days and is required to submit a relief distribution sheet as a proof of receipt by the needy. In case of receipt of damaged relief goods, this is due to the heat of the weather while on transit, which is beyond our control, kindly report this immediately to the DSWD for replacement),โ€ DRMD OIC-Chief Caleja added.

Moreover, DSWD also encourages disaster victims to report their situation to their LGU at the barangay or municipal level for immediate response and provision of services. DSWD augmentation is also based on the reports of LGUs hence, the importance of reporting to the LGUs in times of disaster. by Nicole Kasandra A. Lipawen, Information Officer II โ€“ Disaster Response Management Division