CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/16 January) — An irate village chief has “strongly advised” local counterparts of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) to file criminal cases against the individuals who allegedly looted a Unicef truck carrying relief goods on Friday last week.
In an interview today, barangay Consolacion chair Cesar Pagapulaan Sr. said the unfortunate incident painted a very bad image of the barangay and that suspects should be put behind bars.
“Why would they take what’s not theirs? This is not good. Local counterparts of the Unicef should file criminal charges against these unscrupulous people so they will realize their mistake,” a visibly irked Pagapulaan said.
“I haven’t allowed any relief goods to be stocked here so that my administration will not be dragged into this kind of issue. All the relief goods intended for the barangay, I have them stocked with the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” he added.
He said he even let the private and public relief organizations choose if they want to coordinate with the barangay or not so they will not be accused as stealing the “limelight” from those who wanted to distribute relief goods to the residents of the barangay.
Last Friday, while the Unicef truck was moving outside Consolacion, Pagapulaan said some persons wearing “Guardians ID” boarded the truck and started throwing relief goods to the streets.
The group allegedly looted at least P35,000 worth of relief goods.
“Only the Ronda Tanods with IDs were supposed to ride with the truck. One of my tanods told me some people wearing Guardians ID also rode with the truck as this was going back to their headquarters,” said Pagapulaan.
He said he will summon all the village residents who volunteered with the Unicef to shed light on the incident.
“If anybody could identify these suspects it will be them because they were also aboard the truck when the looting happened,” he said.
However, in a separate interview, barangay kagawad Ricky Laude said they identified at least three suspects — Bobot Ligtas, Botchoy Quejada and a certain Fortun.
Fortune is reportedly an officer of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP 10).
A resident was also able to take a picture of the three with his mobile phone.
Unicef has more than 8,000 men and women working in 155 countries and territories to promote and protect the rights of children.
The agency has at least 60 people In the Philippines where it has worked since November 1948.
Its unique international mandate and credibility enables Unicef to “influence decisionmakers and the diversity of partners to turn the most innovative ideas into reality.”
“Our experience has given us a profound understanding of development and how important children are to human progress,” Unicef’s website (www.unicef.org/philippines) reads. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)