Aquino thanks UN’s Ban Ki-moon for support
(UPDATED) The UN leader, President Aquino, and other government officials meet to discuss rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit areas. He arrives in Tacloban at past 2 pm.

COURTESY CALL. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meets with President Benigno Aquino III and other government officials in Malacañang before proceeding to Tacloban City to check on Yolanda (Haiyan) relief efforts. Photo courtesy of Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Benigno Aquino III thanked United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the UN’s continuing support for relief and rehabiliation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday, December 21.

Ban paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang Saturday morning. Arriving in Manila on Friday night, Ban went to the Palace on Saturday at around 10 am.

There to meet with the high-profile diplomat were rehabilitation chief Panfilo Lacson, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, and Secretary Julia Abad of the Presidential Management Staff.

They then proceeded to discuss the rehabilitation and post-Yolanda development plans to be undertaken by the government, Valte added.

By past 2 pm, Ban was reported to have arrived in Tacloban.

Continuing cooperation

A statement from the DFA said the UN Secretary General’s visit “marks the continuing cooperation between the Philippine Government and the United Nations, especially at this time when the country begins the recovery and reconstruction in the affected areas.”

His visit comes 3 days after the arrival of another top-rank diplomat. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Manila on Tuesday, December 17. Kerry, during a visit to Tacloban, announced an additional pledge of US $24.6 million by the US government for recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

Ban is set to fly to Tacloban this afternoon to check on relief and recovery operations and visit Yolanda survivors.

He will be joined by officials from UN agencies like the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme.

Yolanda, said to be the strongest typhoon to make landfall globally, claimed at least 6,057 lives. The UN estimates that 14 million people were affected and 4 million were forcibly displaced. – Pia Ranada/

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