There follows a heartbreaking open letter addressed “Dear DSWD” and which has been posted on Facebook and is making the rounds there, with photographs that support it. If you would like to make sure it gets to DSWD, tweet this link to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman’s personal twitter @dinkysunflower and to the official DSWD Twitter Account @dswdserves. Use the tweet button above, or just tweet this shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Mwca-249
The letter is written by Ronz Acasio Epiz and you can visit her facebook page and comment on her letter on Facebook here.
Updated 9 hours ago · Taken in Tacloban City
I was in Tacloban for three days. I went there last Saturday and went home just last night. I saw the heartbreaking devastation. The place where we used to go as our alternative for Cebu, is now ruined by ST Yolanda.
As we traveled from Maasin to Tacloban, we have seen the damaged. Worst from the damages of agriculture, infrastructures, and houses, are the lives of the people. I have seen dead bodies along the roads: some in body bags, some in the coffins, some exposed and rotten…all of them cannot anymore be identified. But what breaks my heart are the signages, posters, whatever of any kind with one message: “HELP US! WE NEED FOOD AND WATER!”
I was there. I was at the relief warehouse, I’ve helped the relief packing. I was at the airport, I saw how the countries in the world unite as one. I visited some areas and saw the Leytenos go on with their lives despite the tragedy.
I went to Sampaguita village in Tacloban City to visit a friend who I call a survivor. Their house still stands but roofless, yet they cater neighbors whose houses are completely damaged. There are debris around their area. She told me they have not received any reliefs yet. They were only able to get reliefs ONES BECAUSE THEY WALKED FROM THEIR HOUSE TO THE AIRPORT.
I also went to Tabon-tabon,Leyte to check families of my friends. It is an interior town of Leyte Province with 16 barangays. They are also heavily damaged. They have 14 human casualties, a number of injured residents, and roofless houses. They only got reliefs from the Province of Leyte, but only a few received it. There are even reliefs that were soaked in the rain, wet and wasted!
We passed the towns of: MacArthur, Dulag, Tolosa, Tanauan, and Palo, we have seen different calls for HELP. I have seen people lining up, hoping and waiting to receive reliefs.
My first day in Tacloban was spent at the Relief Warehouse doing NOTHING. We arrived at the area around 2pm, introduced our team and presented to volunteer. The DSWD staff told us “PAHINGA MUNA KAYO HA”. We were staring with each other. And I was like, WTF! We’re here to help, we traveled around 4 hours and then…we’re just told to rest!? And yes, we wasted about 3 hours because they told us to rest! We entered the packing area of the warehouse around 5pm. We presented our vehicle to be used for transport of reliefs for distribution but it seems like they do not need it.
As you can see in the photos, reliefs are abundant. Every hour, international and local reliefs arrive at the Warehouse. A number of volunteers come to help. And, a number of survivors walked as far as Jaro,Leyte to the warehouse, trying if they can get reliefs directly.
Dear DSWD, I saw you. We saw you. I have seen the Central and Regional Offices’ staff. Secretary Dinky Soliman is even there. Without any bias, because I have friends working at DSWD, I have relatives and friends who are Social Workers, I appreciate your efforts… BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH! PLEASE. PLEASE DOUBLE YOUR TIME, IMPROVE YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE AND MAKE YOUR OPERATIONS EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE!!!
It breaks my heart seeing bottled waters outside the warehouse spread like garbage, rice grains scattered like no one cares, relief boxes literally being dumped by trucks without thinking that whatever inside maybe damage, reliefs outside the warehouse soaked in the rains, and you DSWD staff at the warehouse spending your day talking/chatting/seating while there are a lot of things need to be done ASAP. IT SEEMS LIKE NO ONE IS SENSITIVE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THE RELIEF ITEMS. If I were to judged, it seems like things are TAKEN FOR GRANTED BECAUSE THERE IS ENOUGH ALREADY. Funny it seems, our team complained about the dirty bottled waters outside which we think are already garbage and are to be disposed. But after complaining, we happened to volunteer ourselves to clean the bottled waters. I wonder if it will happen that way, if we did not presented ourselves.
I do not know if you all have personally visited the areas who call for help. I do not know if you are aware that the people in the areas are hungry, thirsty, and are badly in need of your URGENT HELP. I do not even understand why you do not augment your standard, if that is your standard, that on every relief family pack is only THREE KILOS rice, when I have seen there are already a thousand bags of rice and more are coming! I do not even know why you do not have enough plastic bags when I think you already know that it is a vital requirement for the packing! I do not even understand why you have that “FOOD FOR WORK” program, if that is a program, where you let the affected people particularly children do the packing of relief for a certain quota in exchange of relief packs, when all these reliefs forwarded to your office are FOR FREE! It should be given FOR FREE WITHOUT CONDITIONS!
And what disappoints me more was when some of your staffs (I recognized them as DSWD staffs because they are wearing your red vest and oters are wearing yellow uniforms of DSWD) pretended to be packing reliefs as soon as PNoy arrives at the packing area. I understand you are afraid of your boss, the President of the Republic of the Philippines. I have just lost respect on you because of what you did. When PNoy left, those staffs, the pretenders, stood up saying “Tara na! Wala na si boss!”. What you did discourage the volunteers, FYI.
Dear Sec. Dinky and DSWD, your office is the in-charge of a very significant operations at this time when almost everyone in the region are affected. Your Office is one of the major keys for the people to go on in surviving this painful ordeal. PLEASE RELEASE ALL THESE RELIEFS NOW BECAUSE THESE ARE INTENDED TO BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE! These reliefs are not given for just recording and keeping, nor these need not be stocked for a long period of time! THESE RELIEFS ARE INTENDED TO BE CONSUMED BY THE AFFECTED PEOPLE!
I know you do your work because you are there. I understand you are tired and maybe sleepless. But please be reminded that the affected people are also tired waiting for the reliefs and are sleepless thinking how they are going to live without food and water!
Dear DSWD, please double your time, release these reliefs as fast as you could! The countries in the world already have done their share by sending unlimited relief assistance. The Filipinos in the country and abroad already show the Spirit of Bayanihan. There are already volunteers who express their help and support to your office and they are even more willing to assist your operations. PLEASE SHOW CLEAR COMMAND!
If other countries have voluntarily responded to the urgent call for help ASAP, then why you cannot do it for our own Kababayans? More than a week passed, please, please, please, HAVE MERCY ON THOSE AFFECTED TOWNS. Not just the towns, but the people in the barangays especially those who are in the interior areas. Find a way to fast track your operations!
And please… properly handle the reliefs! It may be a portion of the many stocks at the warehouse but if you give it to the families, it is already a BIG TREASURE. A bottle of water and rice grains can already make these families survive one day of their lives.
It is definitely heartbreaking. As for my part, I have seen the people and their situations. I have read the different calls for help. I have seen more than enough supplies of reliefs. I recognized the different groups of volunteers. I have appreciated the relief efforts. I have witnessed your relief warehouse operations. And I sense, there are some things WRONG IN BETWEEN that your office should settle so that the united efforts will not be wasted!