Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell expressed sympathy with the residents of Cebu and Bohol provinces, which were hardest hit of the destructive 7.2 magnitude October 15 earthquake.
Tweddell personally visited the Capitol compound last October 29. Some of the Capitol buildings suffered cracks and some were even abandoned in the aftermath of the devastating quake.
He then paid Governor Hilario P. Davide III a courtesy call the following day. Australian Federal Agent Jane Dickinson accompanied the ambassador’s travel in Cebu.
“Australia, as a close friend of the Philippines, is supporting the Philippine Government’s efforts to provide relief and meet recovery needs of the people who are suffering from the devastating impact of the earthquake,” Tweddell said in a press conference.
Tweddell’s visit came after the Australian Government announced a “P124 million (A$3.1 million) aid package to the increasing humanitarian needs following the destruction caused by the earthquake.”
The amount includes the P44 million (A$1.1 million) worth of household supplies such as “family survival kits containing sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and water containers through the Philippine Red Cross, rice through the World Food Programme, and health and dignity kits for women through the UN Population Fund.”
In addition, Tweddell said, “Australia will also provide P40 million (A$1 million) to respond to other critical relief needs identified in UN Action Plan such as shelter, water and sanitation, and early recovery activities. A further P40 million (A$1 million) will also be provided to replenish prepositioned supplies with partners.”
In his trip to Cebu, the ambassador also met with the “partner’s and beneficiaries” of the Australian Government’s aid in Cebu, like the Fair Trade Shop operated by the Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center, Inc. and the BalayDangpananCrise Center for Women and Children run by the Venue for Initiative and Genuine Development Foundation, Inc.
Mr. Layton Pike, minister counselor for Australia also made an ocular inspection simultaneously on the hardest hit areas in Bohol Province including the town of Loon. He will also lead the official turned over of assistance from the Australian Government. (Xerxes Alkuino)