Pinoys in Mid-East hit PGMA’s order to regulate aid from abroad

MAKATI CITY, October 2, 2009—Overseas Filipino alliance in the Middle East, Migrante-ME assailed Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive to regulate donations for the typhoon Ondoy’s (International code: Ketsana) victims, entering the Philippine ports.

John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante-ME said the latest order from the Palace says that unless the donations are addressed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it will not be tariffed or confiscated.

The said pronouncement by the President was aired last September 29.

“This [order] is selfish and mediocre. It is directly disallowing goods donated for the typhoon victims, from cause-oriented and private institutions abroad,” Monterona said in a statement.

Many Filipino organizations abroad, Monterona said, has already sent their donations either through Migrante, or other people’s organizations with links to the Philippines.

Moreover, donations in form of cash and goods should be tax-free and not be put under strict regulations and confiscation especially if it comes from the Filipino communities and organizations abroad, he explained.

He said that they will send a written petition to Malacañang to lift the order of imposing tariff or confiscating goods intended for typhoon victims.

The Bureau of Custom chief Napoleon Morales, meanwhile denied allegations that they are taxing or confiscating donations from abroad that are not addressed or care of the DSWD.

In a statement, Morales even said that on the issue of seized shipments, he has already ordered the release of the cargoes.

He said the donations had been mixed with regular cargo that is why they were temporarily held for inspection.

Morales added that the BOC has already set up “blue lanes” at all ports to facilitate the quick release of relief goods.” (