The news “4 containers of ‘Yolanda’ relief goods burned” (10/7/18) left me numb and horrified.
Seeing the Philippines struck by a mind-boggling tragedy that killed thousands in 2013, people in Belgium, London and Norway sent what amounted to emergency supplies at the time: used clothes, diapers, soaps, shampoo, canned goods, and medical supplies, in such quantity as to fill four shipping containers — and were told that they had to apply for tax exemption or else pay a tax.
They must have had the shock of their lives. They wanted to help and they had to pay to do it or go through red tape?
The article had a curious way of putting it: “The donations were never distributed to the intended beneficiaries because of the donors’ failure to apply for tax exemption.” The failure was theirs?
The consignees (ABS-CBN Foundation and two private companies) “also failed to pay customs charges, storage fees, and demurrage to facilitate the shipment’s release.”
This is beyond stupid. This is Kafkaesque absurdity at the most unfathomable.
ATIS ALTAMIRANO, firstname.lastname@example.org
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