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Faced with an unprecedented global health emergency unlike any experienced in the last few decades, countries around the world have reached out to one another in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
After providing assistance in the earlier phases of the coronavirus crisis, the Philippines received aid from several countries and territories, including the United States, Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan, among others.
Aid was given either in cash or in kind, such as personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers, face masks, and other medical supplies.
Below is a list of aid delivered to the Philippines.
Photo from Singapore embassy in Manila
Singapore donated 43,000 coronavirus testing kits and one polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, which is needed process the kits and look for the virus' genetic material.
On June 29, the Temasek Foundation also donated 100 oxygen concentrators to the DOH and various local government hospitals in the Philippines.
The Temasek Foundation is a nonprofit organization under the philanthropic arm of the Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state sovereign fund.
On April 17, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said 100,000 testing kits, 100,000 surgical masks, 40,000 N95 masks, 50,000 PPEs, 5,000 face shields, and 30 ventilators had been donated to the Philippines so far.
China also sent a team of 12 experts to share best practices for treating patients infected with the coronavirus, which was first found in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
As ground zero, China initially had the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. With the number of new cases on the decline, Beijing increasingly focused on providing aid to other countries.
Some observers have noted that China's efforts may be a way to deflect criticism and change the narrative over its handling of coronavirus cases in the crucial early days of the outbreak.
On June 9, the Chinese embassy announced that 20,000 packs of "friendship rice" were distributed to provinces in Northern Luzon. The donation, given in line with the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties, was distributed to Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Baguio City, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Santiago City.
Another P3.5 million worth of rice was given to Cebu, while 5,000 “friendship bags” were given to bus and jeepney drivers in Manila.
Aside from this, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security gave the Philippine National Police 30,000 "pandemic prevention materials" such as N95 masks and goggles.
China provided several forms of assistance to the Philippines during the week of July 20, including the following:
The Chinese government also donated 3.075 million kilograms of rice for over 500,000 Filipino families. More than 20,000 “friendship bags” containing food and daily necessities for families were given as well.
Meanwhile, Huang met with House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on July 21 to deliver masks from the Communist Party of China to the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party.
On July 23, the Chinese embassy announced the opening of the Huo-Yan lab, developed by the Chinese BGI company. The lab can process 3,000 samples daily.
China’s consulate general in Cebu also donated a 16-seater ambulance to DOH Central Visayas.
Photo from US embassy in the Philippines
The United States announced it was donating nearly P203.9 million ($4 million) in health assistance to help the Philippines.
The US embassy said aid will go to preparing laboratories for large-scale processing of coronavirus tests, as well as the activation of "case-finding and event-based surveillance." Aid will also support experts in response and preparedness planning, risk communication, and infection prevention and control.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim also facilitated the delivery of the US government's donation of 1,300 cots to be used in quarantine centers.
On May 7, the US government donated an additional P298 million ($5.9 million) in assistance to the Philippines which will be used to assist local government units in responding to the outbreak.
The US embassy said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will partner with 18 local governments in some of the Philippines' hardest-hit areas to promote "effective crisis management and implement response plans."
Funds will be used to support local government's distribution of emergency supplies, set up public handwashing sites, ensure food supplies, and strengthen the dissemination of crisis response information.
Aside from this, assistance will also be used to provide supply chain analytics, and facilitate logistics and transportation of food, medical goods, and other essentials.
Aid will also go to supporting the recovery of small business, the US embassy said, with USAID facilitating access to credit, grants, and skills training in heavily affected sectors and communities.
"USAID will facilitate access to credit and provide grants and skills training to heavily affected sectors and communities," Kim said.
Of the P298 million is P44 million from the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, for the International Committee of the Red Cross to support COVID-19 response in the Philippines. Under the program, assistance will go towards increasing stocks of essential medical supplies, expanding hospital capacity, preventing the spread of disease in detention centers, and supporting resilience for vulnerable people and communities.
Aside from this, P10 million-worth of PPE was also delivered to 14 health facilities.
On June 7, the US embassy announced that P54.8 million ($1.1 million) in supplies was given to the Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) last June 4. The BFP is one of the main agencies involved in decontamination activities during the pandemic.
The US also provided an additional P201 million ($4 million) to support vulnerable communities in Mindanao. Over 100,000 people are expected to receive hygiene supplies. USAID will also continue to provide water supply in temporary housing sites in Lanao del Sur for families displaced by the Marawi siege and in North Cotabato for earthquake-affected communities.
As of June 5, the US has provided over P978 million ($19.5 million) in assistance to the Philippines.
On June 18, another P126 million ($2.5 million) was also provided to the Philippines through the USAID to help in the government’s implementation of its basic education learning continuity plan during the pandemic.
The funds will help provide teachers with learning materials and instruction strategies designed for both school and home learning. The USAID will also aid the Department of Education in developing “easy-to-use” assessment tools for teachers which could be used when planning support for students’ literacy skills.
The USAID will also aid in crafting activities for parents to implement at home, and for teachers to aid parents in carrying out home learning activities for language comprehension.
On July 20, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency and USAID distributed P14.8 million ($300,000) worth of PPE to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and other COVID-19 treatment centers across the Philippines.
In a statement, the US embassy said recipients were determined through “needs assessment based on pandemic infection rates, current PPE supply levels, and projected future needs.”
The latest donation brings the US government’s overall assistance for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response efforts to nearly P981 million.
Photo from Japan embassy in the Philippines
On April 1, the Japanese embassy said Nagasaki University medical staff arrived in the Philippines, where they provided technical assistance as well as PCR reagents and equipment to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The assistance, the embassy said, helped the hospital scale up its testing capacity.
On June 8, Locsin and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda exchanged notes for a P944-million (2-billion-yen) grant.
According to the Japan embassy, the grant will support the Department of Health (DOH) through the provision of "state-of-the-art medical equipment" such as CT scanners, X-ray machines, MRI systems, and hemodialysis machines, among others, which will be installed in key hospitals. Laboratory surveillance sites will also be set up across the country.
Aside from this, another P377-million (800-million-yen) grant was given to provide agricultural machinery to over 84,000 sugarcane farmers.
On July 22, JICA announced it will provide laboratory equipment and supplies to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the San Lazaro Hospital.
The two health facilities have been JICA's partners in addressing public health challenges since the 1960s.
“COVID-19 is not only a challenge of one nation, but of the rest of the world. JICA will continue to work closely with our partner nations like the Philippines, as we have done in the past, so we can get through this public health challenge together,” JICA Philippines Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo said in a statement.
Photo from TECO
On April 15, Taiwan donated 300,000 more through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila.
On May 4, TECO Deputy Representative Joy Yen attended a turnover ceremony where 1,500 personal protective gowns from the Taiwan Association Inc. Philippines were given to the Philippine National Police, the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
Another 10,000 masks were also donated by the Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center on May 5.
Photo from TECO
On June 11, Taiwan donated 500,000 surgical masks, 50,000 N95 masks, 20,000 isolation gowns, and 5,000 personal protective gowns. The donation will go to the DOH, as well as other government agencies and medical institutions to protect frontliners.
The latest donation is Taiwan's second wave of assistance following its previous donation of 300,000 medical masks, along with contributions from more than a dozen Taiwanese organizations and communities in the Philippines.
Brunei donated 20 test kits to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on April 9. The kits are sufficient for about 1,000 tests.
South Korea donated 25,000 testing kits in March. The country's strategy to contain the coronavirus through mass testing was cited by health experts as one of the best practices to address the outbreak.
On April 25, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Hang DongMan turned over 700 more test kits to Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The 700 test kits are capable of conducting some 35,000 tests and were delivered to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) and other subnational laboratories.
On April 30, the French embassy in Manila announced that France allocated €2 million (about P109.4 million) in grants to support frontline laboratories in Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.
Funding will be coursed through the French Development Agency to the Institut Pasteur’s project to strengthen surveillance, diagnosis, and response systems in Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, assistance will go to the RITM for the following:
Photo from DFA
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) donated 7 tons worth of medical supplies to the Philippines, including 4 metric tons of assorted PPE (face masks, gloves, shoe covers) and 3 metric tons of medical supplies (sanitizers and wipes).
Locsin and Duque, and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr – who is chief implementer of the government's coronavirus response – received the items from UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Al-Zaabi.
Canada is providing P44.5 million (CAD$ 1.1 million) worth of assistance. Its donations include 20,000 N95 masks worth P29.5 million (CAD$ 782,000), as part of its CAD$ 4.5-million in-kind contribution to 6 Southeast Asian countries.
An additional P15.2 million (CAD$ 400,000) will also go to the Sexual Health and Empowerment Philippines project with Oxfam to ensure sexual and reproductive health services for over 85,000 women, as well as adolescent boys and girls, in conflict-affected regions.
"This investment complements ongoing response activities, including the establishment of an emergency hotline for health services and gender-based violence, procurement of PPE for barangay health workers, and distribution of family planning information materials," the Canadian embassy said on June 10.
The Philippines was also one of the countries that received diagnostic equipment, testing kits, reagents, and laboratory consumables as part of a CAD$5-million global project that Canada funded through the International Atomic Energy Agency.
On June 23, Canada announced it was providing an additional P70.2 million (CAD$ 1.9 million) to its COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines. The funds will go to its mother and newborn child health project implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency Canada in remote areas.
“Canada’s humanitarian assistance is in line with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, which addresses the specific needs and priorities of people in vulnerable situations, particularly women and girls,” Canada Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said in a statement.
Aside from this, Canada is also providing aid to the Philippines by providing PPE and capacity building for the Philippines-led ASEAN BioDiaspora Virtual Centre within the ASEAN Emergency Operations Centre Network.
On June 11, Australia donated P35 million (AUD 1 million) worth of medical equipment to support the AFP Medical Center's 30-bed expansion and to help strengthen the military’s capacity to deal with COVID-19.
The European Union, through its GOJUST program, turned over 70 laptops worth P3 million to the Supreme Court for use during hearings done via videoconferencing.
It also turned over 120 multimedia tablets and PPE to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to facilitate the safe participation of inmates in their virtual hearings.
In a statement on July 24, the EU said this brings to P10 million its assistance to the Philippine judiciary during the pandemic. – Rappler.com