With more donations and relief coming, the Republic of China — or Taiwan — rolled out cash grants to the Philippine government to help alleviate the plight of the victims of super-typhoon “Odette” last week.
Taiwan’s government handed over an initial donation of $500,000 or roughly P25 million to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to augment the Philippine government’s relief and rehabilitation effort in the six regions badly hit by the storm.
MECO Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo B. Fernandez accepted the donation on behalf of the government of the Philippines from Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu who presented the donation in an emotionally-charged exchange.
Deputy Resident Representative to Taiwan Teodoro Luis Javelosa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director Larry RL Tseng, and Director-General Wallace Minn-gan Chow witnessed the event.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday placed the six regions — MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga — under a state of calamity.
“Odette” (international name: Rai) killed some 250 people along its path and destroyed property estimated at P5 billion, a calamity that will again resonate with the local and the international communities.
Taiwan’s selfless act extended past the monetary donations as Wallace Minn-gan Chow, director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (DEAPA), relayed to Fernandez Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu’s concerns to the Filipino people at the height of the destructive storm.
Michael Pei-yung Hsu, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO), extended Taiwan’s condolences to the families of Odette’s victims.
Representative Fernandez expressed his gratitude for the donation and the offers.
“The Taiwanese people were shocked when they saw the news about the devastation and havoc brought by Odette,” Wu shared.
Taiwan quickly convened a task force, with approval from Executive Yuan, composed of the Ministries of Agriculture, Economic Affairs, Civil Defense, Foreign Affairs and Health, extending sympathies and sending assistance and cash donation to the Philippines.
It was Taiwan’s way of showing support to a neighbor separated by a “tiny body of sea” — the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea that are the usually contested areas among the neighbors, including Japan, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
Taiwan’s support, aside from cash, includes an offer of an “unlimited” supply of rice to the victims and MECO expressed its gratitude for the fraternal unity shown by its hosts.
With the Taiwan turnover serving as some sort of green light, the Taiwan Association Inc. (TAI) and Love From Koten Foundation on Thursday also turned over a total of P4.7 million to the Philippine government through the MECO.
The handover ceremony was held at the TECO office in Makati. It was attended by Ambassador Peiyung Hsu, several officials from the TAI, the Love From Koten Foundation, and MECO vice chairman Eddie Tamondong, who received the donation as the local representative of the Philippines.
TAI president Huang Ya-hui said the donated money was raised in just two days after they called for donations from their members.
“We hope that the amount will help them recover from the devastation brought by the typhoon. We hope that their life will go back to normal soon,” Huang added.
It was not the first time Taiwan helped the Philippines cope with disasters.
Several countries and multilateral organizations have also pledged financial and humanitarian assistance to aid those heavily affected by the typhoon.
The country’s long-time ally the United States has pledged $200,000 (P10 million) as immediate assistance to support communities devastated by the typhoon.
China also donated $1 million (approximately P50 million) in emergency cash assistance to the Philippines.
The European Union announced that it would donate P160.6 million worth of financial assistance to the Philippines.
Canada has also committed P120 million worth of relief efforts to the country, including the P1.5 million support to the Philippine Red Cross.
The United Kingdom has pledged approximately P49.47 million to the Philippine Red Cross.