PH offers aid to Lombok quake victims

MANILA The Philippine government is ready to assist Indonesia in the wake of the earthquakes that have struck the island-province of Lombok, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato said this was relayed during a meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi when the former visited Jakarta this week.

Cayetano expressed his sympathies on the loss of lives and destruction of property resulting from the three earthquakes that hit Lombok in the past several weeks.

As a neighbor and close friend in ASEAN, we stand ready to lend a helping hand, much like you have done when we were struck with disasters, he was quoted as saying by the agency.

Some 500 people perished and thousands were displaced due to the earthquakes that jolted the holiday island in the past few weeks.

Aside from the assistance offered, Cayetano also discussed with Marsudi the convening of the Philippines-Indonesia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), a mechanism to review and shape relations between the two countries.

Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee said the official requested Indonesia's assistance and support for the repatriation of Filipino fishermen apprehended for alleged fishing violations.

Foreign Minister Marsudi also conveyed to the Secretary the ratification by Jakarta of the Philippine-Indonesia Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary Agreement and expressed hope for its ratification by the Philippines, Wee said.

On cooperation talks, Marsudi also expressed readiness to "contribute" to the peace in Mindanao.

Cayetano and Wee were accompanied in the meeting by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Meynard Montealegre, Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN Elizabeth Buensuceso, and Philippine Consul General in Manado Oscar Orcine. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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