PH asks US for long-term aid in Yolanda rehab
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is seeking the "long-term" commitment of its ally, United States, in the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
In a meeting in the United States ahead of US Sen Marco Rubio's scheduled visit to the Philippines on Wednesday, January, 22, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr told Rubio the Philippines is hoping for the senator's support in pushing for long-term US aid.
“We are hoping that Senator Rubio will be one of the advocates for a long-term US commitment in the reconstruction of Haiyan devastated communities in the Philippines,” Cuisia said, as quoted by a media release from the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.
“A huge challenge remains and the Philippines is preparing seriously for the reconstruction of affected communities. The Philippines is therefore turning again to the international community, especially the US, in seeking official development assistance to support reconstruction efforts,” he added.
Rubio, a member of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will visit Tacloban when he arrives in the country as part of a week-long trip that would also include stops in Japan and Korea.
During his visit, Rubio is also expected to discuss defense and economic cooperation and regional issues with President Benigno Aquino III, as well as Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
The Philippines is seeking US military support in the midsts of rising tensions with China over maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). (READ: PH, US resume bases access talks after impasse)
At the height of the Yolanda devastation, the US military was one of the earliest responders in affected areas. Earlier, USAID announced a US$10 million humanitarian grant for the Philippines. (READ: Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan): Aid donations from int'l community)
The government's 4-year blueprint for post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts is expected to cost P360.9 billion ($8.17 billion).
Yolanda left at least 6,000 people dead and more than a million homes destroyed when it struck the country in November 2013.
Rehabilitation czar Panfilo "Ping" Lacson earlier said he hopes to complete the government's rehabilitation program before the Aquino administration ends in 2016. - Rappler.com