China comes bearing P90-M aid to supertyphoon ‘Lawin’ victims
As seeming proof of its goodwill toward a friendlier Philippine leader, China has announced a total of P90 million in aid to support disaster relief operations in the wake of Supertyphoon “Lawin” (international name: Haima), a significant increase from the assistance it extended to the country after the deadlier Supertyphoon “Yolanda” devastated the Visayas region three years ago.
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said the aid package includes a P50 million donation from the mission, another P35 million “committed” by the Chinese government, and about P4.8 million ($100,000) from the Red Cross Society of China.
China is among the first nations to announce aid for the country in the wake of the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, which killed at least 15 and destroyed millions of pesos worth of crops, infrastructure and property in northern Luzon.
“As a friend, a good neighbor and brothers, it is our duty and responsibility to provide assistance to the victims of typhoon,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua told President Duterte as they shook hands during brief turnover rites in Malacañang on Monday.
Mr. Duterte, who just came from a state visit to China last week, expressed his gratitude to the envoy, noting that the donation came with no conditions.
“This will go a long way to rehabilitate and return the people, our countrymen to the normal life. For our country, it will surely go a long way,” he said.
“But these are the amounts that the Chinese government has given us by way of help. By the way, no strings attached. It’s completely out of benevolence,” said the President, who has repeatedly expressed his intent to deepen ties with China while deviating from the country’s traditional alliance with the United States.
The Chinese aid represents a raise from Beijing’s humanitarian allocation for the Philippines in the wake of the 2013 monster storm Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), for which it initially offered $100,000 (less than P5 million) just as aid flooded from around the world.
This drew flak at the time, its aid described in the international media as “measly” and “paltry” when compared even to corporate donations.
It later raised support by providing nearly $1.7 million (about P76 million) worth of tents, blankets and other goods, and sent its hospital ship to the Philippines two weeks after Yolanda hit.
Political analyst Richard Heydarian said China’s immediate and increased humanitarian support for the Philippines is “definitely a reflection of the rapprochement between the Philippines and China.”
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