Church exec hopes it’s not just ‘ceremonial’


An official from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expressed hope that the recent visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to typhoon-hit provinces would bring “substantial support” and not just “ceremonial aid.”

NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said that while he is thankful for President Aquino’s visit, he also expected “decisive leadership” in responding to the needs of those affected by the typhoon.

“We hope that his visit will not only be ceremonial, but must bring substantial support from the government to respond to the extreme emergency with fullest possible efficiency,” Gariguez said.

He also cited the need to mobilize all available help from the government and international humanitarian community, especially in the spirit of Christmas.

“Through the solidarity appeal we recently launched to the 61 dioceses nationwide, we are hoping to raise additional funds for typhoon victims in the coming days,” he added.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines initially released P1.89 million cash assistance from its local emergency funds called “Alay Kapwa” to support the relief operations and rapid needs assessments in at least five dioceses in the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Northern Samar, Sorsogon, Masbate and Romblon.

But the priest, who is currently heading the church-led needs assessment of typhoon-affected families in Oriental Mindoro, said these funds may not be enough considering the magnitude of the devastation.

Among those who were first to respond ahead of the solidarity appeal are Caritas Manila, Archdiocese of Capiz, Archdiocese of Palo Relief and Rehabilitation Unit (Caritas Palo), Diocese of Calbayog, and the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

At least two Caritas Inter-nationalis Member Organizations also provided support to “Nona”- hit areas namely the Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA), which provided shelter and tool kits to Northern Samar, and Caritas Luxembourg, which pledged 7,000 euros (P350,000).

President Aquino visited Pinamalayan in Oriental Mindoro and Laoang in Northern Samar, two of the hardest-hit areas where Typhoon Nona made several landfalls. Aquino also declared a State of National Calamity in the aftermath of the devastation.


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