|DFA Expedites Processing of Assistance from International Community for Flood VictimsPosted: 29 Sep 2009 04:12 AM PDT
PR-773-09, 29 September 2009 – Upon the instructions of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued instructions to all Philippine embassies and consulates general to facilitate the immediate processing of donations and assistance from the international community, including overseas Filipino community groups for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. The donations will be coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
In response, Philippine embassies and consulate officials have mobilized community groups within their respective areas. In Riyadh, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio P. Villamor called on the Filipino community to help drumbeat the noble task of gathering support from various sectors in the Kingdom for the benefit of Filipino victims within the next ten days.
Ambassador Villamor and embassy staff have pitched in their share while a donation box was placed in the Chancery for clients to drop in whatever amount they can spare.
“The opportunity to show our character as a helpful and resilient people is here and now, so let us focus on putting up a concerted effort to channel needed support with greater effectiveness and efficiency,” the Ambassador remarked. “Given the widespread media coverage on the plight of our countrymen who have suffered such a calamity, we hope we can also be joined in this undertaking by our Saudi friends and those from other expatriate communities.”
Earlier, the Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa encouraged the Filipino community in the United States to extend relief assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy that brought havoc to Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces in Northern Luzon.
“I encourage members of the Filipino community in the United States to extend their support to the flood-stricken victims of Typhoon Ondoy. Let this moment be a time of giving, solidarity and oneness for our people and a chance to manifest the Filipinos’ resiliency in the face of calamity,” Ambassador Gaa said.
The DFA also welcomed the immediate response and generous assistance extended by the country’s partners in the international community.
In New York, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conveyed to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo the assurance of assistance from the UN and the international community.
United Nations Undersecretary General John Holmes, who also heads the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), informed Secretary Romulo that OCHA personnel are assisting in relief operations in Manila and that additional personnel based in Bangkok are on their way to the Philippines to assess the situation and give recommendations on the kind of assistance that is required.
Undersecretary General Holmes said his agency is ready to coordinate international humanitarian assistance and is looking into the possibility of utilizing the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)—a humanitarian fund established by the UN to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.
Similarly, the United States, China, Japan, Singapore and Australia have extended humanitarian assistance.
Washington sent US$50,000 for the relief efforts, China pitched in US$10,000, while Singapore raised US$30,000 and a further US$20,000 in seed money to jumpstart a donations drive by the Singapore Red Cross.
An additional US$50,000 from the US Agency for International Development raised their total donation to US$100,000. US Navy personnel are assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines with search and rescue efforts in Cainta and Pasig.
China donated US$10,000 for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. “The damages caused by incessant rains and unexpected floods were heartbreaking. The Chinese Government and people were saddened by loss of lives and have deep sympathy with the Philippine Government and people,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao said in a statement. Ambassador Liu said the fund will be channeled to the Philippine National Red Cross.
The Japanese Government stated that it would send $220,000 worth of relief goods to the Philippines. In a letter to the Philippines, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuyo Okada expressed his “heartfelt sympathy” for the loss of life and serious damage to infrastructure in Metro Manila and other regions.
Singapore will send humanitarian relief supplies worth US$30,000 to the Philippine and will also contribute US$20,000 as seed money to kickstart the Singapore Red Cross’ drive for donations for those affected by the disaster.
The Philippine Embassy in Canberra likewise reported to the DFA that Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan committed A$1 million to support response and recovery activities. Australia’s contribution will help with relief operations, including emergency supplies of drinking water, clothing, hygiene kits and related essential items delivered through agencies on the ground, including the Philippine National Red Cross. It also stands ready to offer further assistance if additional needs are identified by the Philippine government.
The UN World Health Organization earlier announced a $42,000 relief fund.
The officers and staff of the Embassy of Canada in Manila raised funds among themselves and friends and donated US$50,000 for the victims of the tropical storm.
The DFA continues to mobilize Philippine embassies and consulates generals in the government’s relief operations for Filipinos affected by the calamity. END
|22 Filipino Crew Members of MV Irene Arrive HomePosted: 29 Sep 2009 02:26 AM PDTPH-160-09,29 September 2009 –22 Filipino crewmembers of M.V. Irene arrived 3:30 p.m. today at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board Gulf Airways flight GF 156.The crewmembers were welcomed by DFA Undersecretary Esteban B. Conejos Jr. and other DFA and OWWA officials. The crew suffered five months of captivity in the hands of Somali pirates.The DFA earlier conveyed its appreciation to the Government of The Netherlands and the Royal Netherlands Navy for escorting MV Irene to safety after its release by the pirates, and for providing immediate medical assistance to the crew.
The DFA likewise lauded the ship principal Chian Spirit Maritime Enterprises, Inc. and manning agency Bright Maritime Corp. for their full cooperation in the efforts to bring home the seafarers to their loved ones.
Upon arrival in Manila, the Filipino seamen were brought to a local hospital to ensure their physical and psychological well-being. END (photo by: Nilo Palaya, DFA-PISU)
|Recommended Hotels for Media Covering the 15th ASEAN SummitPosted: 29 Sep 2009 12:46 AM PDT29 September 2009- Thailand, as the incumbent ASEAN Chair, will host the 15th ASEAN Summit, during 21 – 25 October 2009 at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Cha-am, Phetchaburi in Thailand. In order to facilitate the attendance of media representatives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has coordinated with hotels in the vicinity of the meeting venue. Details are as follows:
Interested media can find more information at http://www.15thASEANSummit-th.org or directly contact the hotels for reservation. END
|DFA Continues Relief Efforts for Victims of Typhoon OndoyPosted: 29 Sep 2009 12:30 AM PDTPR-772-09, 29 September 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has mobilized Philippine embassies and consulates generals as conduits for donations and other forms of assistance from overseas Filipino community groups and individuals.Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa encouraged the Filipino community in the United States to extend relief assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy that brought havoc to Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces in Northern Luzon.“I encourage members of the Filipino community in the United States to extend their support to the flood-stricken victims of Typhoon Ketsana/Ondoy. Let this moment be a time of giving, solidarity and oneness for our people and a chance to manifest the Filipinos’ resiliency in the face of calamity,” Ambassador Gaa said in a statement.Meanwhile, Philippine Consul General in Vancouver Ruth Morales Prado reported to the DFA that Filipino organizations in British Columbia such as Goldilocks, Manila Express and Multicultural Helping House Society have set-up drop-off points for donations and relief goods for the victims of the calamity.
In its second circular issued Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs informed embassies and consulates general that cash donations may be coursed through the National Disaster Coordinating Center (NDCC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), and the Catholic charity CARITAS. Community groups and individuals who remit funds directly to the accounts of the aforementioned action agencies are urged to notify their nearest embassy or consulate of said remittance.
Following are pertinent information on coursing donations for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy:
• National Disaster Coordinating Center (NDCC)
NDCC Donated Funds
NDCC updates can be accessed via http://www.ndcc.gov.ph.
• Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Contact Persons: Imee Rose Castillo / Rey Martija
• Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC)
Guidelines for on-line donations may be accessed via http://www.redcross.org.ph.
Other queries and donations may be referred to the following agencies:
• NDCC (Relief Goods/Rehabilitation Equipment)
Maj. General Glenn J. Rabonza
• Department of Health (Medicines and/or Medical and Humanitarian Missions)
Dr. Virginia Ala
• DSWD (Relief Goods)
|UN assures Manila of Assistance after Romulo conveys PGMA appealPosted: 28 Sep 2009 08:16 PM PDTPR-771-09, 29 September 2009—Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo met with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other officials of the United Nations on Monday (Tuesday morning in Manila) to convey President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s appeal for international humanitarian assistance in the wake of the massive devastation wreaked by tropical storm Ondoy over the weekend.Secretary Romulo met with Secretary General Ban and Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes at the UN Headquarters shortly after the President issued her appeal for international assistance through Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Jr., chair of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.“We are heartened by the assurances given by the Secretary General and the Undersecretary General that the United Nations will take positive action on our request for assistance,” said Secretary Romulo who was accompanied in the meeting by Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Ambassador Libran Cabactulan.Secretary Romulo said Secretary General Ban expressed his sympathy and condolences to the Philippine Government and to the families of the more than 250 people who perished in the floods that also displaced more than 500,000 people in Metro Manila and 25 other provinces.
In responding to Manila’s request for assistance, the Secretary General Ban said the United Nations is considering issuing a flash appeal for emergency assistance from both member states and non-government organizations.
In an earlier meeting with Secretary Romulo, Undersecretary General Holmes, who also heads the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), said his agency is ready to coordinate international humanitarian assistance and is looking into the possibility of utilizing the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)—a humanitarian fund established by the UN to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.
Undersecretary General Holmes informed Secretary Romulo that OCHA personnel are assisting in relief operations in Manila and that additional personnel based in Bangkok are on their way to the Philippines to assess the situation and give recommendations on the kind of assistance that is required. He also expressed concern over a weather disturbance approaching the country.
On the instructions of President Arroyo, Secretary Teodoro made initial coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator in Manila for assistance not only for the victims of Ondoy but also in anticipation of the possible severe effects of another weather disturbance that is approaching the country. He said the Philippines is in need of emergency supplies, generators, food and drinking water.
It could be recalled that the last time the United Nations coordinated international assistance for the Philippines was when typhoons Milenyo, Reming and Senyang devastated the Bicol Region in 2007. END
|Romulo urges UN member states: Let’s continue working together to find solutions to conflicts and crisesPosted: 28 Sep 2009 08:12 PM PDTPR-770-09, 29 September 2009 – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo has urged Member States of the United Nations to continue working together to find meaningful solutions to the conflict and crises confronting the world today.“We stand on the cusp of history. It is in our hands, here in the United Nations, to shape these changes and trends so that we will leave to succeeding generations a lasting legacy of a world of greater justice, compassion, and well-being,” Secretary Romulo told the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.Speaking mostly in Spanish, Secretary Romulo said that although there are signs of global recovery, the international community could not afford to be complacent nor return to business as usual. “Our drive for enhancing global development has clearly slowed, while the challenges to peace remain starkly before us,” he said..In his statement, Secretary Romulo outlined five priority areas that the Philippines wants the United Nations to give focus to during the 64th Session of the General Assembly: nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation; the global financial crisis; interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue; migration; and climate change.“Nuclear weapons and their technology are a threat to international peace and security, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is our central mechanism to contain and eventually eliminate this threat,” Secretary Romulo said, adding that the May 2010 NPT Review Conference, to be presided over by the Philippines, provides the next opportunity for the world to act in a concerted manner.Saying the global financial and economic crisis is placing intolerable strain on the poorest of the poor, Secretary Romulo called on the international community to exert more efforts to manage the crisis by encouraging equitable recovery, fairer globalization and faster poverty alleviation.
“We cannot ignore the impact of the global crisis elsewhere in our interdependent world. The Philippines thus joins other nations in this General Assembly in calling for a united effort in the United Nations to act for the common good of all our peoples,” he pointed out.
”We reiterate our call on all countries to resist protectionism, in order to expand trade and investment flows, and on developed nations to maintain their ODA (official development assistance) commitments,” Secretary Romulo said.
“The voice of the developing world must now be fully heard in reforming international financial and development institutions in order to forge a more equitable and stable global economic system and thus avoid future crises.”
Secretary Romulo pointed out that among the groups most adversely affected by the crisis are global migrants who include the more than 8 million Filipinos overseas.
“The international community has a shared responsibility, to ensure their protection, taking into full account the special vulnerabilities of the gender and family dimensions of the issue,” he said, as he urged all nations to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and to avoid unfair restrictions and treatment of migrants.
Secretary Romulo said Member States must also carry forward the momentum brought about the Summit on Climate Change into the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the road to Copenhagen this December.
“The world expects nothing less from us,” he said as he reiterated the Philippine call for the concerned developed countries to present their firm greenhouse gas emission targets and to assist developing countries mitigate and adapt to worsening climate change by fulfilling their UNFCCC obligations to provide technological and financial support.
Secretary Romulo said the international community must also focus on the urgent need to reduce tension and conflict fueled by perceived differences in religion, faith and civilization. “If left unattended, such conflict can fester, causing greater tension and untold human suffering and violence, which extremists can exploit,” he said.
According to him, the urgency of this matter has prompted the Philippines and many partner nations and organizations to promote greater interfaith dialogue, within the United Nations system as well as on regional and national levels. “By building bridges of understanding, this global advocacy enhances peace and development,” he pointed out.
”The Philippines is deeply honored to assist and cooperate with all nations in the task of building a future where peace and prosperity reign unceasingly for the benefit of all mankind,” he said. END
|“ONJUKU: 400 Years of Friendship” Seminar in TokyoPosted: 28 Sep 2009 07:45 PM PDTPR-769-09, 29 September 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines participated in the “Onjuku: 400 years of Friendship” Historical Seminar held on 24 September at the Instituto Cervantes and Espacio Mexicano in Tokyo.The Seminar commemorates the 4th centennial of the rescue of the crew and passengers of the galleon San Francisco, which was shipwrecked at the Japanese town of Onjuku, Chiba Prefecture, located 120 kilometers east of Tokyo. In 1609, the fishermen of Onjuku saved the lives of 317 out of the 373 San Francisco’s crew and passengers, including Don Rodrigo de Vivero, who was travelling from Manila to Acapulco after finishing his tenure as the Spanish Governor of the Philippines.The Seminar consisted of lectures and roundtable discussions by historians and researchers from the Philippines, Spain, Mexico and Japan on various aspects of the early relationships among the four countries. The Philippines was represented by Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo, Chairman of the National Historical Institute, and Father Jose M. Cruz, SJ of Ateneo de Manila University.Dr. Ocampo took part in the roundtable discussions on the “Current state of the research on the first relations between Spain, Mexico and the Philippines” and “History of relations of Japan with Spain, Mexico and the Philippines.” Father Cruz presented a lecture on “The vision of Rodrigo de Vivero y Velasco and the geographic relations.”Philippine Ambassador to Japan Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. joined the ambassadors of Spain and Mexico to Japan and the Director of the Instituto Cervantes Tokyo in gracing the occasion. ENDShareThis|
|Philippine Embassy in Pretoria Hosts Sungka Festival for Filipino ChildrenPosted: 28 Sep 2009 07:30 PM PDTPR-768-09, 29 September 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to South Africa Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippine Embassy in Pretoria hosted a Sungka festival for Filipino children in Pretoria on 24 September 2009 at the Embassy grounds.The Sungka festival is in line with the Embassy’s Munting Paaralan series of activities for the year 2009, which aims to inculcate Philippine traditions, culture and values to Filipino children.The festival started with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. Cultural and Information Officer Helen R. Firme-Subido gave a short lecture and carefully explained the mechanics of Sungka to the children and taught them how to play with the help of volunteer assistant teachers from the Embassy and the Filipino community.The Sungka festival was actively participated in by 20 children. The matches were divided into two groups, separating the children aged 9 and below from the ones aged 10 and above. Top three players for the 9-and-below group were Ynesa Bethia S.M. Arbado (champion), Kyla Jeanine F. Subido (1st runner-up), and France Czyrel D. Maniago (2nd runner-up). Winners for the 10-and-above group were Gabriel Handloegten (champion), Mirielle April B. Wacal (1st runner-up), and Fiona Handloegten (2nd runner-up).
After the awarding of prizes, the children were treated to a merienda prepared by the Embassy. END