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China vows P7.2-million cash donation for Taal disaster-stricken residents

THE People’s Republic of China (PROC) has pledged a 1-million renminbi or P7.2-million cash donation to help the country in disaster relief efforts for victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

To convey its intent to hand over the donation “as soon as possible,” China recently sent a diplomatic correspondence to the Department of Finance (DOF) through its embassy in Manila.

The DOF expressed gratitude to the PROC.

“This expression of sympathy and support to our countrymen further strengthens our bilateral ties and reflects the warm relations between our two countries,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted in a statement as saying.

Dominguez said Beijing has consistently provided assistance to the calamity victims in the country.

He cited a P22-million (3 million renminbi) donation to Mindanao after the island was hit by a series of earthquakes last October. Dominguez also noted that the PROC was also among the first countries to offer assistance in helping rebuild the devastated city of Marawi in Mindanao.

Aside from China, the European Union earlier donated €750,000 (about P42 million) for those affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

In a statement, the EU Delegation in Manila said the funding is seen to benefit some 280,000 victims.

Last January 12, the Taal Volcano spewed dark volcanic ash, which prompted government scientists to raise Alert Level 4, which is just a notch before hazardous explosive eruption. Ashfall reached nearby towns in Batangas and Cavite provinces, as well as parts of Metro Manila.

Two weeks after the volcano’s eruption, the government downgraded the status to Alert Level 3, indicating a decreased tendency towards explosive eruption.

On Friday, the Department of Public Works and Highways said the damage to national roads and bridges due to the eruption has reached P153.32 million.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture earlier said the agricultural damage and losses have reached P3.17 billion, covering 15,790 hectares of agricultural lands and production losses of 43,772 metric tons.

Among the affected commodities are rice, corn, coffee, coconut, cacao, banana, pineapple, and other fruits and high-value crops.

Suffering 50.5 percent of the total damage valued at P1.6 billion, the fishery sector was the hardest hit.

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