By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, May 23 (PNA)–The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterated its reminder about the policies in the proper management of foreign donations to avoid hassles and inconveniences on the part of those who gathered for them.
In a press briefing held Friday at DSWD Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, DSWD Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Javier R. Jimenez aired the reminder to avoid confusion and frustrations of “kind-hearted” Filipinos overseas who gathered donations for victims of calamities in the country.
Jimenez said that to avoid repetitions of some of the previous inconveniences in the past, they saw the need for continuous reminder on what are acceptable ways to ensure that donations would really reach immediately the intended consignees who facilitate the distribution to the intended recipients.
“Some of them, being unaware of the procedures, suffered the consequence wherein the goods that are intended for donations are not being allowed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for release because they did not follow the policies,” said Jimenez.
Jimenez said that usually the goods that were confiscated or put on on-hold were those from foreign donors who were unaware or not familiar with the requirements and what should be avoided like inclusion of unacceptable items.
The unacceptable items are “used clothing” which is being banned under Republic Act. 4653 and by the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
Used clothing is also prohibited in order to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation.
“So we really discourage them from donating used-clothing,” he said.
He also said the storage fees charged by BOC on the goods or donations it put on hold in its warehouses accumulated until they were released upon payment of the donors.
“Sometimes the cost of the storage fee turns higher compared to the real value of the goods donated so some donors became frustrated,” he said as he cited as an example the consequences of non-compliance.
He said that foreign donations such as food and non-food items should not be mixed with the used clothing to avoid hassles and delays because the BOC would put them on hold.
For convenience, he suggested also that foreign donors may also choose to partner with registered or accredited and trusted SWADA (Social Welfare and Development Agencies) as recipients of the foreign donations which in turn will bring the donations to the recipients to avoid delay and hassles and facilitate their donations.
SWADAs are partners of DSWD in the accomplishment of its mission in the delivery of social services.
SWADAs are automatically qualified to become recipients of Duty and VAT (value added tax) Free donations certifications.
SWADAs are qualified because they are registered, known, and compliant to the submission of financial reports to DSWD.
Private organization that want to avail of duty-free entry should apply for registration as SWADA to any of DSWD field office to avail of the privilege.
The processing fee is P1,000.
The DSWD, as the social welfare and development arm of the government, is the certifying office for foreign donations that will be covered by duty-free and Vat-free entry of donations made during a state of calamity.
Organizations that are not registered can still become recipients of foreign donations, but will not be processed for duty-free entry.
As part of the dissemination of these information, the department is working closely with different embassies abroad to enlighten foreign donors on the procedures and to bring them the message on how they can take advantage of sending donations that are duty and VAT-free in times of calamities and what items they should avoid to eliminate hassles and delays.(PNA)