MANILA Taiwan on Friday donated a total of USD200,000 or about PHP10.43 million in humanitarian assistance to the locals affected by tropical depression "Usman" that battered Bicol region last December.
Taiwan Representative Michael Peiyung Hsu presented the check to Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Vice Chairman Gilberto Lauengco during a ceremony at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Makati City.
"Before the end of 2018, Tropical Depression Usman hit the central part of your country. My government learned about this tragedy and (decided) that the Republic of China (Taiwan) would like to make donation to the victims of the affected areas," Hsu said in a speech.
The envoy underscored that the donation is purely out of goodwill as Taipei is the Philippines' closest neighbor.
"Taiwan and the Philippines, we are the closest neighbors, and in our culture whenever our neighbor has some trouble, we try to extend our helping hand."
Meanwhile, Lauengco, in behalf of the Philippines, thanked Taiwan for the donation and cited its constant assistance whenever calamity hits the country.
"It has always been a standard action by the government of Taiwan that they're always one of the first to our aid," he said.
"The actions of Taiwan are just sign of friendship to our country and they've always been doing that. It's just solely help, they didn't asked for anything," he added.
Lauengco said Hsu personally reached out to MECO during the holidays to relay Taipei's intent to extend monetary aid.
The official said MECO will report to the Office of the President and coordinate the said assistance with concerned agencies and the local government unit.
"The primary agency would be the social welfare, and of course we report directly to the Office of the President. We will then coordinate with the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the local governments involved," he said.
As of January 11, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 7,967 people are still being served inside evacuation centers. Meanwhile, a total of 141 dead, 28 missing, and 105 injured persons were reported following the "Usman's" onslaught days before New Year.
The envoy hoped that the assistance would help Filipinos in the most affected areas recover from the devastation.
On behalf of Taiwan, Hsu also extended condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families of those who perished due to the landslides and flash floods triggered by incessant downpours brought by the tropical depression. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency