MANILA — The Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), vowed on Monday to extend continuous assistance to the Philippine government’s ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit).
In line with this, JICA country representative Noriaki Niwa said that JICA is providing 22 million yen or PhP8.2 million worth of emergency relief assistance to the Samar provinces that were heavily affected by the typhoon.
The assistance includes provision of blankets, sleeping pads, plastic sheets, water purifiers and collapsible water containers.
“We would like to express our sympathy to those affected by the recent typhoon, and pledge our assistance to those in need in disaster areas. As the Philippines’ neighbor and development partner for many years, we offer our support in the typhoon recovery efforts,” said Niwa.
“We laud the Philippine government’s proactive measures, including the early evacuations,” said Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa during the signing of the deed of donation and acceptance documents at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) central office in Quezon City on Monday.
Ishikawa said that like the Philippines, Japan is prone to natural disasters.
“The typhoon ‘Ruby’ experience shows us that prevention pays, and that we should redouble our efforts in investing in disaster risk management to protect the vulnerable sectors, particularly the poor living in disaster-prone areas,” he added.
JICA noted that the hazard maps developed with Japanese experts under the Urgent Development Study for Typhoon Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation were effectively used by the local government units (LGUs) in their preemptive evacuations, particularly in Leyte and Samar provinces.
In the Bicol region, the Japanese aid agency’s 139 million yen shelter assistance in six Albay towns was used in putting up evacuation centers at the height of the typhoon.
In Eastern Samar, the Balangiga National High School built under JICA’s ongoing Urgent Development Study for Typhoon Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation also provided shelter to the affected families.
JICA said the Japanese government is known for mainstreaming disaster risk management in its development policy and investment programs. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, Japan, through JICA, is assisting developing countries like the Philippines through sharing of knowledge and technology in disaster management.
The Japanese aid agency had earlier lined up 15 quick impact projects for typhoon “Yolanda” rehabilitation, an outcome of the JICA Urgent Development Study on Typhoon Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation.
Since the 1960s, JICA has provided equipment and capacity building initiatives for the government’s frontline agencies in disaster management, including the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), among others. The agency is also actively involved in promoting the Business Continuity Plan for businesses in ASEAN during times of disasters.
With all the assistance it has given to the Philippines, the Japanese ambassador said they will never get tired of helping the country.
Meanwhile, during the signing of the deed of donation and acceptance ceremony, DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said the department is very thankful for the continuing support of Japan through the JICA.
Soliman said that the assistance through the tarpaulins and plastic sheets will help a lot of heavily-affected families in Eastern Samar to seek protection from intermittent rains.
Latest assessment showed about 200,000 houses were partially damaged and about 35,000 others were totally destroyed by the typhoon in Eastern Samar.