Singapore president flying to Samar
MANILA, Philippines—Visiting Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam is flying to storm-hit Basey town in Western Samar on Saturday to deliver medical supplies to the Basey District Hospital.
Singapore was one of the first countries to send aid, personnel and ships in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas in November last year, leaving more than 6,000 dead.
President Aquino said on Thursday that the Singaporean president’s delivery of supplies to the Basey hospital jibed with the Philippine government’s policy of “building back better.”
“Our government’s plan is to build back better, stronger and more resilient communities, and the speedy rehabilitation of health service facilities in affected areas is key to these efforts,” Aquino said after receiving in Malacañang on Thursday Tan, who is on a four-day state visit.
The Basey hospital is a joint rehabilitation project of Singapore Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Before flying to Samar, Tan said he would hand out a check representing Singaporeans’ contributions to partners and nongovernment organizations this Friday at The Peninsula Manila “to alleviate the difficult situation” caused by Yolanda.
“We are heartened that the spirit and resilience of the Philippine people remain strong in such devastation. We have been working with the Philippine government and stakeholders in the rehabilitation efforts,” he said at the reception hall.
Aquino expressed appreciation for Singapore’s quick response, including its deployment of a Civil Defense Force team to aid the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities, and of a C-130 aircraft to support ferrying operations between Tacloban City and Manila.
These, he said, were on top of its donations consisting of $33,600 in emergency supplies, 96,000 in relief items and $160,000 seed money for the Singapore Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan fund-raising drive.
Multisectoral fund-raising efforts in Singapore have totaled $10 million, Aquino said.
“Singapore’s generosity will indeed be remembered with gratitude,” he said. “I have always said that we Filipinos never forget the kindness extended to us by friends and I reiterate that Singapore continues to lend a helping hand.”
Aquino acknowledged that the storm’s aftermath was “a time of great grief and sorrow” for all Filipinos but this was eased by the assistance of the international community.
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