CEBU CITY -- As it promised less than a month ago, the Province of Sarawak in Malaysia turned over $30,000 in assistance to the Cebu Provincial Government for the Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
Datuk Haji Talib Bin Zulpilip, assistant minister of tourism in Sarawak, gave the check Wednesday to Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III in the governor’s office.
Davide said the amount, around P1.32 million, may be used for road repairs in the typhoon-hit areas but he still has to talk with the other officials on how to use the assistance.
During the 14th East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) last September, Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman, Sarawak minister of housing and tourism, announced the province’s pledge to help Cebu.
Rahman had said he was moved by the presentation of Vice Governor Agnes Magpale about the tourist destinations that suffered from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October 2013 and Typhoon Yolanda less than a month later.
Sarawak and Cebu both belong to the EATOF. Both also host thriving tourism industries, with Sarawak welcoming 4.37 million visitors in 2013. Its population stood at 2.47 million in 2010.
Zulpilip arrived in the Capitol at 11 a.m. Wednesday and met with Davide, Magpale and Provincial Board Member Grecilda Sanchez.
In an interview, Zulpilip said the amount is a modest token from the people of Sarawak, who hope for a stronger relationship with Cebu.
“(When) I walked through the airport, I thought I was in Kuala Lumpur. We all live the same. We speak almost the same language, so that could be the reason we are giving. Of course, we feel sad about the disaster. Hopefully, everything works out all right,” he said.
The governor said he was thankful for the generosity of Sarawak Province.
Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino and Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu President Cenelyn Manguilimotan were also in the governor’s office to witness the turnover of the check.
Paulino and Sanchez were with Magpale during the forum in Sarawak from September 4 to 6.
Earlier, Sanchez said that EATOF had donated $3,000 (around P134,280) right after typhoon Yolanda hit northern Cebu last November 8, 2013. (Sun.Star Cebu)