Philippines to send relief goods for Earthquake, tsunami victims in Japan

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A March 25, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Philippines will be flying in more than 10.11 metric tons of relief goods to Japan as part of the government’s standing commitment to assist in the ongoing humanitarian efforts in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated portions of northeastern Japan almost two weeks ago.
Relief goods bound for Japan worth PHP 848,445.00 were turned over Thursday by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Celia C. Yangco and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Cristina G. Ortega to officials of the Philippine Airlines (PAL).
They will be flown to Japan free of charge by PAL under the Bayanihan Humanitarian Assistance initiative for Japan that President Benigno S. Aquino III had directed the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to undertake, in partnership with the DFA, DSWD and other agencies.
In keeping with Japan’s specific request from the Philippines, the relief goods consist of food packs, towels, noodles, dust masks and mats provided by the DSWD. They are scheduled to arrive in Japan on Friday evening.
The relief items, which have been earmarked by the Japanese Government for distribution to individuals and families in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures affected by the  March 11 disaster, will be turned over by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez to Japanese authorities.
“It is in the spirit of Bayanihan that the Filipino people reach out to help the people of Japan as they endeavor to overcome this great challenge,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario said, adding that the Philippine Embassy would want to focus its assistance in the Tohoku area that is home to an estimated 4,600 Filipinos.
Secretary Del Rosario also reiterated that, in addition to the relief supplies, the Philippines remains ready to send humanitarian assistance personnel from NDRRMC-member agencies to assist in the recovery efforts, should Japan so request. He said a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport aircraft remains on standby, for this purpose.
Secretary Del Rosario, at the same time, said the Philippine Embassy will intensify its efforts to locate and assist Filipinos in the northern part of the country, which continues to reel from the devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami, remains under threat from the nuclear emergency at the damaged nuclear plants in Fukushima.
He said the Philippine Embassy has evacuated a total of 143  Filipinos from the Tohoku region who heeded its call for voluntary departure. These evacuees have been brought to temporary shelters in Tokyo where they are being cared for. The Embassy, meanwhile, also continues to undertake consular missions and to bring food and other supplies to Filipinos who opted to stay in the affected areas.