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PH hands over aid to Indonesia

A symbolic handover of the Philippines’ assistance to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Central Sulawesi was held on Thursday, led by Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go.

The turnover ceremony, dubbed One ASEAN, One Response, was held a few hours before President Rodrigo Duterte attended the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort in Indonesia.

Cayetano said the Philippine government has so far extended a total of USD500,000 (P57 million) worth of assistance, including USD200,000 (P10.8 million) worth of relief goods, tents, generators and family and medical kits to Central Sulawesi.

“We are here today not only to extend sympathy to the community affected by earthquake and tsunami on Sept. 28 but also to express our love by helping the sufferings in our humble way,” Cayetano said in his speech.

“In the spirit of One ASEAN, One Response, the Philippines has offered to provide humanitarian assistance and support to Indonesia, our good neighbor and partner. So we humbly ask you to accept our assistance,” he added.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit the island on Sept. 28, triggering a tsunami as high as 6 meters that left more than 800 people dead, particularly in the city of Palu.

Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang received the Philippines’ assistance in behalf of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“In behalf of President Widodo and the people of Indonesia, we would like extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the people of the Philippines for kind assistance,” Sarundajang said.

The first Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft full of relief goods and other materials arrived in Palu, Central Sulawasi on Wednesday.

Cayetano said the Philippines is ready to extend more assistance “as need may arise.”

He also thanked Indonesia for its assistance to the Philippines following Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 and the Marawi siege in 2017.

Also at the handover ceremony were ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Tan Wee as well as Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to ASEAN Elizabeth Buensuceso, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management Director for Operations Arnel Capili and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.

Wee announced on Wednesday that the ASEAN Business Advisory Council-Philippines is donating USD100,000 for tsunami victims in Indonesia.#