Donations for Sendong victims continue to pour in-A A +A
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
DONATIONS, both in cash and kind, from both foreign and local sources, have continued to pour in for the victims of Typhoon Sendong, which has killed thousands, injured hundreds, and rendered dozens missing in Northern Mindanao.
On Thursday, the Japanese government -- through its embassy in Manila -- will turn over emergency relief goods worth P14 million (25 million yen).
Water tanks, generators, tents, sleeping mattresses, blankets and other relief items will be received by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to boost its efforts to alleviate the plight of survivors.
"The assistance . . . aims to alleviate the difficulties of the people affected by the calamity," a statement from the Japanese embassy in Manila said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will transport the items to Cagayan De Oro City for immediate distribution to the affected people in the area.
The French government also donated emergency relief assistance worth 50,000 Euros to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
The donation is separate from the three million Euros already being given by the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines, which is partially funded by the French government.
The French Embassy contribution will be turned over within the week to PRC Chairman Richard "Dick" Gordon.
A local agency has also distributed bottled water and food to families of overseas Filipino workers affected by Typhoon Sendong.
"Operation Tulong" of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator (Owwa) will also assess the damage and the needs of OFW families in areas badly hit by Typhoon Sendong.
Although some 3,000 families have been initially identified, Owwa Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said that no fatalities have yet been reporter.
"We are thankful that, so far, there has been no reported OFW casualty," she said.
Together with a group called OFW Family Circles, the agency is currently checking OFW families, especially those in 34 barangays situated near the banks of Cagayan and Iponan Rivers.
For its part, Makati City has approved the release of P4 million for the purchase of relief goods in a special session on Tuesday.
The amount will come from the city's Quick Response Fund under the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund of the 2011 Executive Budget, its Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay said.
At the same time, the city would still continue collecting relief goods, used clothing, blankets, and mats for Sendong victims. Residents can also drop off their donations at the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD) at the 2nd floor lobby of the Old Makati City Hall or at barangay halls.
Acting City Administrator Marjorie de Veyra said around 20,000 bags containing rice, bottled mineral water, and canned goods will be initially distributed to 10,000 families in Cagayan de Oro, 5,000 families in Iligan, and 5,000 families in Dumaguete.
In a related report, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said all donations will be allowed to enter the country tax-free as long as the importers will have permits from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD).
Failure to do so will prompt the bureau to impose taxes on these parcels, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said.
"As provided by law all imports are slapped with duties and tax for them to get around it is get a certification from DSWD," he said.
The agency is required to maintain strict compliance to these rules since smugglers might take advantage of the situation, he said.
Meanwhile, Malacanang welcomed the decision of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to donate her salary for Sendong victims.
“Any assistance provided for our people in the calamity areas is most welcome and greatly appreciated,” Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas said.
Asked if Arroyo’s gesture should be replicated by President Benigno Aquino III and other Cabinet members, Llamas said he could not speak for the President and his colleagues. He believed that every government official is doing their own little way in helping Sendong victims.
“It is during times or great disaster that we must all come together in unity as a nation,” the Palace official said.
Arroyo, through a handwritten message disseminated by Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, expressed her willingness to donate her salary to the victims of massive flooding in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
She said other members of the House minority bloc will also do the same.
She encouraged the public not to spend lavish Christmas parties this year and instead donate the money to the victims of Sendong.
Arroyo remains under hospital arrest at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. She will be spending Christmas and New Year at the hospital as Pasay City regional trial court judge Jesus Mupas rejected her request for house arrest during those days. (CVB/FP/AH/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)