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Int’l donations total: P615M

First Posted 04:52:00 10/07/2009

MANILA, Philippines?The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged a $3-million grant to the Philippine government for its relief operations.

ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda made the pledge in a letter of sympathy to President Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo, saying he was ?deeply saddened? by the loss of lives and damage caused by floods, according to Malacañang.

?We are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist the government of the Philippines,? he said in the letter.

Donations and pledges from other international organizations and from foreign countries have reached more than $13.22 million (about P615 million), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

At a press briefing, Foreign Undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin, head of the DFA?s Task Force Ondoy, reported that a total of $7.33 million came from bilateral partners; $3.64 million from multilateral and regional organizations; $283,351 from international organizations, and $150,000 from foreign nongovernment organizations.

Ebdalin thanked the donors for heeding President Macapagal-Arroyo?s appeal for international humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian workers

Ebdalin said some countries such as Malaysia and Hungary, aside from donating cash and material goods, were planning to send humanitarian workers to help in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The top 12 donor-countries according to a list released by the DFA were Canada ($4.63 million), Spain ($1.46 million), Australia ($866,000), Germany ($729,000), Italy ($314,000), South Korea ($300,000), Switzerland ($242,000), Japan ($223,000), China ($140,000), United States ($100,000), Singapore ($30,000) and France ($14,583).

UN appeal for $74 million

The United Nations on Tuesday appealed for $74 million in emergency aid for some one million people hit by devastating floods in the Philippines.

Some 4,000 homes were destroyed by the combined blow from Typhoon ?Pepeng? (international name: Parma) over the weekend and by Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) on Sept. 26, said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for the UN?s humanitarian coordination office.

About 400,000 people in Metro Manila had fled to emergency shelters and could only return to their homes once floodwaters subsided, she added, as UN agencies warned of the threat of waterborne diseases, such as cholera.

Ebdalin later accompanied Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro in receiving about 10 tons of relief goods sent by Jordan?s King Abdullah II and the Hashemite Charity Organization that arrived at around 3:30 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The relief goods included 1,000 sleeping bags, 432 blankets, 15 shelter boxes, medicine and medical supplies, 100 cartons of macaroni, eight cartons of tea, 13 cartons of preserved beans and 100 cartons of assorted food.

The Czech Republic was the latest country to contribute to the relief efforts. The Czech Embassy in Manila released a letter to Ms Arroyo from Czech Prime Minister Jan Fisher, who expressed his condolences for the casualties of the flood and said that the Czech government would be contributing 100,000 euros (about P6.8 million) to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).

Overseas Filipino communities

Ebdalin also said Filipino overseas communities from the Marianas to Dubai, donated relief funds amounting to $5,820.

DFA personnel in Philippine embassies and consulates raised $7,802 while other private individuals and groups contributed $64,582.

The DFA official asked donors to give their contributions directly to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the PNRC and other national and local government agencies involved in relief efforts.

Answering complaints that customs duties at the airports were being levied on relief goods sent by private individuals and groups, Assistant Secretary Catalino Dilen Jr., a member of the task force, said it was ?preferable and advisable? that such donations be coursed through the DSWD.

The DSWD has made arrangements with the Bureau of Customs for the exemption of such goods from duties as well as their delivery to the specific beneficiaries, he explained.

If the donors wanted to give to specific communities affected by the floods or to the NGOs involved in the relief work, Dilen said all they had to do was to indicate the beneficiaries of the contributed relief goods when they were shipped to the Philippines care of the DSWD.

Free airfreight

The overseas Filipino workers group Migrante-Middle East said the cargo carrier DHL offered free airfreight to some 40 boxes of goods donated by the Filipinos in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Another carrier, Merex, also did not collect airfreight fees on 40 boxes of goods donated by Filipinos in Riyadh.

In the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said the government had P34.1 billion, the additional budget given last year to the agriculture and public works departments, that it could use instead of passing a proposed P10-billion supplemental budget to augment the calamity fund. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Agence France-Presse

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