MANILA, Philippines – China gave the Philippines P15 million for the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City, ground zero of clashes between terrorists and government forces.
The check donation was formally handed to President Rodrigo Duterte by Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua on Tuesday, June 27, at Malacañang Palace.
The assistance is expected to “significantly augment the resources of the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),” according to a Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) press release.
These two agencies are leading relief operations in Marawi City, including distribution of supplies to evacuees, medical checkups, and logistical support.
PCOO hailed the donation as “an example of the flourishing partnership between the two countries and their shared commitment towards sustainable peace in the region.”
China is now among countries that have pitched in as the Philippine government struggles to flush out terrorists from Marawi City and attend to the needs of tens of thousands of families who have been displaced.
The United States, the country’s longtime ally, was the first to provide “technical assistance” to Philippine government troops.
US military personnel were spotted in Marawi helping in the operation of defense equipment.
The Israeli government also recently turned over medical equipment, medicines, and medical supplies to the Philippine Red Cross for Marawi operations.
China is expected to turn over more donations this week, including military assistance.
Last June 11, Duterte grudgingly thanked Americans for their assistance, emphasizing that he did not ask for their help.
Duterte has distanced himself from the US in a bid to foster warmer ties with China. The Palace and Cabinet members insist that Duterte is doing this not to burn bridges with traditional allies but to put forward an “independent foreign policy.”
But the President’s foreign policy also includes temporarily setting aside the Hague ruling in order to focus on economic relations with Beijing. The move has borne fruit in the form of loan pledges and billions of dollars in investments from China.
Analysts have criticized this move as having long-term implications on the Philippines’ standing in its maritime dispute with China. – Rappler.com