Monday, December 2, 2013

Yolanda aid diversion? US military rations sold in Makati mall

From GMA News (Dec 2): Yolanda aid diversion? US military rations sold in Makati mall

US military Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs) are reportedly being sold at a mall in Makati even though they are clearly stamped with warnings that doing so is illegal.
According to a report on "24 Oras", photos of the MREs have appeared on Facebook, fueling speculation that they were relief goods that the US military brought over for Yolanda survivors. 
Grace Alvarez, who bought MREs and posted photos on Facebook, told GMA News reporter Tina Panganiban-Perez that they were supposedly sold to the store by an unnamed general. 
"I asked, saan ito galing? And then, sabi, naiwan po ng mga Amerikano, ipinagbili raw ng isang heneral. It was not expressly said na galing sa Yolanda o na relief goods siya," she said.
The MREs did not come from the annual military exercises between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and US troops either, the AFP said.
It added US troops are not allowed to leave their MREs with Filipino soldiers.
"It's wrong to say na ito ay galing sa Balikatan Exercises at iniwan nila at ibinigay sa atin. The right people to probably look into this would be the Department of Trade and Industry or the US government," Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office said.

According to the report, the MREs sell for P220 each and come in different flavors.
When asked where the MREs were from, staff at the store refused to comment.

Although they are clearly labelled "US Government Property. Commercial Resale is Unlawful", a 2006 investigation by the US Government Accountability Office found they were being sold on online auction sites.
Members of the US military caught selling MREs face sanctions, though, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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