The Philippines on Sunday received more aid from foreign countries, this time from the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), which sent two shipments of relief goods worth $50,000.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO), its de facto embassy in Manila, said that the two shipments were composed of bottled water, canned tuna, instant noodles, food rations, tents, cookies and water filters.
These were airlifted to the Philippines from Pingtung Air Force Base by two C-130 Hercules cargo planes and arrived at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on the morning of 25 and 26 December 2021, respectively.
TECO Representative Peiyung Hsu handed over the donation of the relief goods to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) for subsequent relief distribution to the affected areas and people.
In an interview with Daily Tribune, Hsu said that Taiwan considers the Philippines its closest neighbor, thus helping the country in times of crisis should not be a big deal.
“Taiwan and the Philippines enjoy the same values of democracy, freedom and respect for human rights. Taiwan and the Philippines are the closest neighbors and, in our culture, when your neighbor needs your help, we never hesitate to offer our immediate help,” he said.
He added that when President Tsai Ing-wen learned about the devastation and the loss of lives caused by super typhoon “Odette,” she immediately instructed Taiwanese government agencies to deliver relief supplies to the affected areas at the soonest time.
Taiwan, being true to its commitment, had initially donated $500,000 (P25,000,00) to the Philippines to contribute to the relief and rehabilitation efforts of the Philippine government in the hard-hit areas mostly in Visayas and Mindanao.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo Fernandez accepted the donation on behalf of the government of the Philippines on 22 December.
Hsu noted that Taiwan is working together with Mr. Fernandez to understand how Taiwan could help more in terms of providing relief goods that the Philippines still needed.
“Our hearts and prayers are with you and Taiwan will stand with the Philippines. Cheer up and help each other to clean up your own house and your neighborhood,” he said.
“Working together to get back to normal life. Never give up and never lose hope,” Hsu added.
Aside from the donations from the government of Taiwan, the Taiwan Association Inc. Philippines, and Love From Koten Foundation also donated a total of P4.7 million to the Philippine government.
MECO vice chairman Eddie Tamondong received the donation on behalf of the Philippines.
Based on the latest report of the NDRRMC, the death toll climbed to 378.
The NDRRMC added that of the reported deaths, only 54 deaths have been confirmed while 324 are still for verification.
Foreign countries, including humanitarian organizations, have also pledged financial assistance to the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte had already raised the allocated fund to P10 billion for the relief and rehabilitation operations in the affected provinces in Visayas and Mindanao.