MANILA, Philippines – Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Monday, October 24, clarified that the Philippines is still open to receive donations from foreign governments and entities for disaster victims, as long as there are no strings attached.
"We are still ready to accept aid based on our needs and as long as there are no conditions, which means that the donation will be given by foreign groups and other countries are out of their kind hearts," she said in Filipino during a press conference in Malacañang.
The secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) made this clarification after posting on her Facebook page that the Philippines does not need foreign aid for the victims of the two most recent typhoons that hit the country since there are enough government funds.
She apologized if her post sounded proud.
"Pasensya na kung ang dating ng komento na 'yun ay kaya na natin ito [na] 'di na natin kailangan ng foreign aid," she said. (I am sorry if the comment sounded like we're saying we can do without foreign aid.)
Taguiwalo said she was just trying to point out that the Philippines had been able to stand on its own in terms of delivering immediate relief for the victims of typhoon Karen (Sarika) and Lawin (Haima). (READ: Recto: Calamity fund enough, challenge is to release aid fast)
The DSWD, she stressed, is thankful for the pledges of foreign assistance.
“We are grateful to friends, individuals, organizations and other private and public entities who are extending their hands to assist us in our disaster relief efforts," she said.
"However, we need to continue to assess the situation on the grounds in order to know what type of assistance and how much is needed by our affected citizens. We want to [determine] the type of assistance that we need based on the extent of our needs."
On October 16, Karen swept through several regions in Luzon, such as Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Bicol, displacing more than 2,000 families. The typhoon also damaged at least P3 billion worth of agricultural products.
Shortly after Karen came Lawin, which was initially categorized as a super typhoon as strong as Yolanda (Haiyan) that devastated Eastern Visayas in 2013. Agricultural damage in 5 regions caused by Lawin reached P10 billion. A state of calamity has been declared in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province, and Cagayan. – Rappler.com