To free up space in warehouses, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is destroying stocks of used clothing that were set aside as donation to survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
A report late Wednesday on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho said the bureau is planning to burn the items within the year as it finds it “critical to declog and decongest these warehouses.”
Among the items to be destroyed are 150 boxes of used clothing confiscated in Cebu, which were supposed to be used as materials to make rags that a company sells overseas, the report said.
The company had closed and the merchandise was repurposed in favor of Yolanda survivors, it added.
In its computation, the State of the Nation report said the BOC could have earned some P1.2 million from the items seized in Cebu alone.
For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it cannot accept used clothing as a moratorium against this type of donation is in place.
“Hindi po pinapayagang makakuha, makatanggap ang departamento ng used clothing, sapatos, bedsheets mula sa ibang bansa,” said DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman. “Gustong siguraduhin na walang pong pumapasok na sakit o makapasok na mikrobyo na maaaring dala po nitong mga used clothing.”
Charo Logarta, BOC spokesperson, noted the law says the bureau may dispose of seized items by selling the goods, or donating them to the DSWD, or destroying the merchandise.
“We cannot sell the used clothing because commercial importation is banned under RA 4653. So, hindi siya option for us,” she said. “The Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines explicitly states that the other mode by which we dispose of this is to destroy – the mode na nakalagay for used clothing is to burn them.” –