Thursday, February 20, 2020
By LEANDRA ROLLE
IN an effort to assist residents in The Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, the Philippines government has donated nearly $100,000 to further the recovery efforts on the storm impacted islands.
The donation, totalling $97,643.62, was given to government officials by Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G Romualdez on December 16 during a ceremony at the Embassy of the Bahamas in the United States.
“Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G Romualdez led a ceremonial turnover of the financial assistance from the government of the Republic of the Philippines to the government and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, represented by Ambassador Sidney S Collie,” officials said in a press statement.
“The assistance amounting to USD 97,643.42 will contribute to relief efforts in The Bahamas...Hurricane Dorian was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to strike The Bahamas and is considered as the costliest disaster in the country’s history.”
By donating to the Hurricane Dorian relief efforts, The Philippines has joined the long list of countries that have assisted in the aftermath of Dorian.
Recalling when the Bahamian government assisted the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, President of the Filipino Association of The Bahamas Florita Viterbo said the association felt “extremely pleased” that the Philippines government was returning the favour by donating to the Bahamian people in their time of need.
“When we have our biggest in history, typhoons, in the Philippines, it’s called Haiyan.. the Bahamian government, the Bahamian people gave us so much too, so it makes us happy that our government you know gave this effort, this big donation to further the recovery efforts,” she told The Tribune this week.
“We have a lot of Filipinos here in the Bahamas working. You know I think we have 1,400 permit holders and this is for us, it’s like giving back to our host country...So, yes, we are extremely happy that they made this effort after we requested them to do something in return for what The Bahamas government is giving to the Filipinos here.”
Last month, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness Iram Lewis said the government had received some $9 million in donations since the passing of Hurricane Dorian.
The majority of those funds, he said, have been allocated towards the government’s domes structures. The temporary housing initiative was established by the Minnis administration after Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, destroying homes and displacing thousands.
“That’s a total of $6.4 million (that was spent on the domes) and that includes the shipping, the reservation and the relevant utilities…,” he said in January.
“…(But) to date, we’ve received some $9 million (in donations) that was pledged. So far in terms, of expenditure, it was $7 million and the majority of which was for the purchasing of the domes for the family relief centre.”
Other items purchased with the donated funds include the government’s recreational vehicles and tents, which were used to help house shelter victims at the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium.
“So, so far we have $2 million somewhere hanging around,” Mr Lewis said last month.