• US vows more assistance

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    A day after United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assured typhoon victims of continuous international aid, Malacañang on Sunday announced that the US government will provide more support through comprehensive technical assistance, including insurance coverage for people and establishments in disaster-prone areas.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a briefing aired live over the government-run Radyo ng Bayan, announced that Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had met with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Washington, D.C. to discuss the details of the assistance.

    Included in the talks, Coloma said, is “how to deal with and how [the US]can help in the area of recovery and reconstruction because we have been struck with many calamities.”

    “They discussed how to mitigate the bad effects of natural disasters through what they call fiscal risk management in the concept of insurance. The reason for the insurance concept is to prepare for the onslaught of disasters and to speed up the recovery of those affected,” Coloma explained.

    The Palace official said Purisima himself will explain the details of the technical assistance as soon as he has arrived.

    He described the deal as “one of the most comprehensive technical assistance given by the US.”

    “This is after the partnership for good governance where a huge amount was granted to us in the Millennium Challenge Account,” Coloma stressed.

    The said account is part of the Millennium Challenge Fund designed to meet the country’s Millennium Development Goals.

    “Now, this technical assistance is to prepare for and mitigate the effects of calamities and climate change,” Coloma further said.

    However, he clarified that the “technical assistance” could still not be quantified because it is primarily the introduction of new systems and techniques.

    “Having new equipment is possible but technical assistance is primarily for new systems and methods and personnel training, among others. That is normally what technical assistance covers,” Coloma further explained.

    During his visit to disaster-hit areas, meanwhile, the UN executive announced that international agencies will mobilize $800 million funding support in 12 months.

    “We will try to provide life saving support and a long term development strategy, which will focus on reconstruction and resettlement of your community… Let us build safer and better communities,” Ban said.

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