Amazing foreign aid and loans for ‘Yolanda’ relief and rehabilitation

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Rick B. Ramos

Rick B. Ramos

The response of the international community to the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda is simply overwhelming. Foreign governments and multinational corporations of the world, as well as local companies and foundations, gave assistance in supplies, equipment, manpower and cash donations.

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What is also very heart-warming are the foreign and local volunteers who came from non-government organizations (NGOs) who went to Leyte, Samar, northern Cebu and northern Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan and Antique in Panay Island. It really feels good to know that there is humanity out there who shares our tremendous grief of the recent calamity.

My daughter and I were in Baguio four weeks ago to lend support to our son who has organized a big event in their university where the guest of honor is a good friend of mine. While staying at the Baguio Country Club (BCC), courtesy of a good friend, I met two lady foreign volunteers who just came from Tacloban in Leyte. One came from America, while the other came from Germany. They belong to the same organization.

It was a great experience meeting these two foreign volunteers who helped the survivors of the super-storm that devastated Tacloban and the adjacent towns of Leyte. I invited them for lunch or dinner in the house in Metro Manila, but they were already leaving the country in a few days.

The lady from Germany was going to Western Australia to visit the office of their rescue volunteer organization. I thought, what a fulfilling life!

My column last week focused on the foreign aid that came in terms of supplies, equipment and cash donations. I would like to touch now on the manpower that were sent by foreign governments which gives a face to the herculean humanitarian efforts. My article will also mention the contributions done by the local companies in the country.

After the Unites States of America where1,000 Marines were deployed in their relief operations, the biggest group came from Israel with 200 doctors, nurses, paramedics and other professionals. There is a bond between the Israeli and Filipino people that many are not aware of.

The Israeli government perhaps will never forget the kindness when the Philippines in the late 1930s welcomed more than a thousand Jewish refugees who escaped from the genocide in Germany and Austria at the start of World War II. While all other countries in the world would not accept the Jews from Europe, then President Manuel L. Quezon agreed to accept the refugees who were being persecuted by Hitler.

After Israel, the second-biggest contingent came from Canada, a country that is known for caring for other people in the world. Canada sent more than 100 medical professionals and other specialists. Their work did not receive as much attention since they operated in the province of Capiz in northern Panay that was also devastated by Yolanda. Incidentally, there are 800,000 or close to a million Filipinos living in Canada.

From Europe, the biggest group from France whose government sent 60 relief workers composed of fire fighters, civil security and crisis personnel. They also brought in 100 tons of equipment, materials for shelter and water purification systems. In the past, I recall that the great country of France has also sent in their emergency experts.

The other aid workers from Europe came from Belgium with 35 doctors and nurses, as well as Switzerland with 19 experts in emergency relief. I have mentioned in my previous article that Germany and Spain also sent manpower to help out in the rescue and relief operations.

From Down Under, Australia sent a total of 21 doctors, nurses and logisticians on top of the $30 million in foreign aid that is equivalent to P1.3 billion. To further help out the survivors of the super typhoon, the Australian government deployed two Hercules C-130 J and two C-17A GlobeMaster planes from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The Philippines will have no problems in funding the reconstruction efforts. On top of the P100-billion allotment for rehabilitation in the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA), there are ample foreign loans from multilateral financing institutions (MFIs), such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

I have written on the $500 million plus $408 million from the World Bank or a total of $908 million in financing the reconstruction program. I also wrote of the $392-million loan from the ADB, but failed to mention the $500-million budget support that was earlier approved. ADB also gave a $23-million grant to help the Philippines.

Aside from the WB and ADB, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also offered a similar amount of $500 million to assist in the recovery of the devastated areas in the Visayas. JICA likewise gave a foreign aid of $52 million or equivalent of P2.2 billion in emergency grant to the Philippines.

In Asia, our Asean neighbor Thailand gave a donation of 20 million baht or an equivalent of P27 million through their now beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Indonesia for its part gave $1 million in financial aid or P44 million and the use of their Hercules C-130 aircrafts that brought in the relief supplies.

Daimler AG, the German maker of Mercedes cars and trucks, donated 500,000 euros or P30 million. Likewise, the South Korean Hyundai company here made a remarkable contribution of P50 million similar to Toyota Motors Philippines that gave P50 million together with the GT Corporation of tycoon George Ty.

Top conglomerates have committed P100 million contributions in cash and in kind like the SM group of Henry Sy, San Miguel Corporation and the PLDT and Metro Pacific group of Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP). The Lucio Tan group also committed a similar amount. Let us see what happens. Not reported in the same league are the Ayala Corp. and the companies of tycoons John Gokongwei and Alfonso Yuchengco.

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8 Comments

  1. NOw, now PINOY ang nonoy, do not screw this up. SO far, you have to the great discomfort and embarassmnet of all FILIPI NOS abroad. DO NOT F…. THIS UP !

  2. Mr Ramos your columns are well written and well received. No one needs to quibble on foreign aid who gives the most, however I think this report could have mentioned the aid that was given and continues to be given by the UK. In Cash over UKP80mil, with more to come. Early on 2 warships. with helicopters and desalination water supply. Emergency shelter of 245,000 people, safe drinking water for 650,000 people temporary learning spaces for 72,000 children, food for over 325,000 people blankets and cooking provisions for 78,000 people, seeds & tools for rice growing for over 500,000 people essential health services fr 65,000 people.73,000 tons of transport equip 42,569 plastic sheets, Heavy equip by C17 x 3 25 DFID humanitarian experts, 18 medics, 7,500 solar lamps & more. Check it out on the Dept for International Development web site for a full check list. Now did all the aid provided get to those who really needed it is the $64,000 question. ?

    • Yes, the UK have given the most with an equivalent of P11.1 billion as reported in the Inquirer today, 07 Jan. 2014. Thank you for your feedback. I had mention of some of the British aid that you mentioned in my previous column.

  3. Did you intentionally omitted the Japanese contributions that sent 2 ships with more 1,100 men? How many rescue personnel did the AFP sent?

    • Roger,

      I mentioned the contributions of Japan through JICA twice in my two columns. But i forgot to mention the Japanese volunteers. Too many to mention. i have also not mentioned the volunteers from China.

      Thank you fro your feedback.

      Best regards.

      Rick

  4. Ang ganda ng pagtutulungan..Pero dito sa Sweden, ang grupo ng Pilipino dito, ay mahirap intindihin..3 kami Phil. org. coordinate w. Karnan Helsingborg Lions Club, ito ang hahawak ng pera at bibili ng school material sa mga batang biktima ng bagyo..Lahat ay solicit, venue, orchestra at foods sa gala..Ang mga Pilipino dito, grabe ang suspetsa sa pera, tapos gusto pa makisakay ng mabarat pag attend..Di na nga tumulong, dami pag negativ comment, at babarat pa..Nakakalungkot..

    • Leif, I understand and appreciate what you are saying about the doubts and suspicions of fellow Filipinos in Sweden. The same is true in other countries with Filipinos there like in Australia, America, UK, Canada, etc. i I believe that there are several reasons for the above. First and foremost is that Filipinos really have NO National Identity and the consciousness that they are One People as Filipinos and NOT Ilocanos, Pampango, Tagalog, Bicolano, Cebuano, Waray, Ilonggo, Negrense, Mindanaoan, Moro and what have you.

      Second could be the difference of education and economic status amongst Filipinos overseas. For instance, those who came from Ateneo, La Salle, UP and the exclusive girls schools and colleges would be different from the others who went to other schools. They would have different ways or lines of thinking.

      Third could be instances of Filipinos who have run away with money. Even here, I have heard of such things happening in associations, including homeowners associations.

      From my own personal experiences, Filipinos are the probably the most difficult group to get together and agree on what to do. As you have said, there are even negative comments. It shows lack of education and breeding. That is why my wife and I would go to great lengths to correct the line of thinking of our children when we can see that they are misguided.

      Thank you and best wishes for the New year and more power. Mabuhay!

      Rick

      P.S.

      I was in Sweden in 1979 and was not able to visit again when I went to Europe in 1989..