Filipino-American George V. Samson, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit-based World Medical Relief (WMR), said he looked into the circumstances surrounding the failure of Philippine Cargo Forwarder to deliver on time cargoes of medicines and supplies for medical missions conducted recently in the Philippines.
He said that a change in the leadership of the Philippine Bureau of Customs might be one cause of the long delay, noting that immediately after he assumed office, new Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla issued an order withholding the release of questionable shipments.
Filipino Star News sources in Manila confirmed reports that when Sevilla assumed the top Customs post, he issued an order freezing the release of suspicious cargoes loaded in container vans.
It was learned that other cargo forwarders in the US were also covered by the freeze order.
U-Mac, a Chicago-based forwarder with growing operations in Michigan, said its shipments were also adversely affected, but the delay was only for a few days. U-Mac was still able to deliver the “balikbayan boxes” within the agreed period.
WMR President Samson faulted Cesario Sobredilla, Philippine Cargo Forwarder operator in Michigan, for not answering telephone calls to his office from leaders of the missions. It was his obligation to inform the missioners of the reasons behind the long delay in the delivery of the cargoes, he said.
He said that WMR also encountered problems in its medical mission in Pampanga due to the failure of Philippine Cargo Forwarder to deliver on time its cargoes of medicines and medical supplies. WMR was forced to buy the medicines that it distributed to the beneficiaries of the mission, he said.
WMR was also placed in an embarrassing situation because its medical mission in Pampanga was supposed to demonstrate to a foreign guest how such mission is conducted. The guest, who was with Samson’s group, was reportedly a top government official of an African country.
In the case of the OCA Foundation, Van Ong, brother of Oscar Ong, said that up to March 10, 2014, Philippine Cargo Forwarder had not yet delivered 33 boxes of medicines and medical supplies in Davao City. Philippine Cargo picked up the cargoes in Oscar’s house in October 2013.
Philippine Cargo Forwarder was earlier lambasted by the FANA of Great Lakes for the long delay in the delivery of 20 boxes of medicines and medical supplies in Malasiqui, Pangasinan where FANA conducted a shortened medical mission on Feb. 2, 2014.
The mission led by registered nurse Angela Bedia of Michigan was scheduled to be conducted for three days but due to the lack of medicines and supplies, FANA was forced to cut it to one day, causing disappointment to thousands of people who were supposed to benefit from the program.
Bedia had complained that “daily telephone calls” to Sobredilla’s office here in Michigan were not answered. FANA’s shipments arrived at the Manila port some two weeks after the mission was conducted.