By Chito Chavez
The People’s Republic of China has extended P10-million cash assistance to Batanes, which was devastated by successive earthquakes on July 27, 2019.
“I am both honored and humbled to accept this P10-million cash relief from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. We, at the DILG, are deeply thankful to our Chinese friends for lending a helping hand to our people in their time of need,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año during Friday’s turnover of the donation.
The donation, which was turned over by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to Año and Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, was intended to assist over 2,000 victims affected by the 5.4 and 5.9 magnitude earthquakes that killed nine people, injured 47 others and damaged 251 structures in the island-municipality of Itbayat.
Año said he is grateful for the assistance of the Chinese government as it has always extended a helping hand during times of crisis.
He recalled that China was one of the first to provide assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the Marawi siege.
“In June, 2017, the Chinese government donated over P370 million worth of firearms and ammunition for our soldiers – weapons that helped seal our victory and ended the reign of the ISIS Emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon,” he said.
Ambassador Zhao said the Chinese government is also looking into providing not only relief aid, but also development assistance for the province of Batanes.
Año said the is also exploring a partnership with China for the improvement of disaster mitigation and preparedness measures of local government units.
“There are so many potentials and opportunities that lie ahead on the relationship between the Philippines and China, particularly in the field of disaster preparedness,” he added.
He identified typhoon, flooding, and landslide mitigation as the main focus of the possible disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) partnership with China.
The DILG chief also encouraged local government units to send representatives to China and discuss with their Chinese counterparts the ways in which both countries can improve local disaster mitigation techniques and resiliency measures.
“I enjoin our LGU officials, our local chief executives, our governors and mayors to visit China and create opportunities to meet with their counterparts to share experiences as well as learn from each other on how to mitigate and develop resiliency in the threats of different disasters, both natural and manmade disasters,” concluded Año.