Accompanied by Governor Hilario P. Davide III and Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala, President Shein was welcomed by the local chief executives of Bantayan Island, which include Mayor Jose Esgana of Sta Fe, Mayor Salvador dela Fuente of Madridejos, and Mayor Jun Escario of Bantayan. 4th District Representative Benhur Salimbangon was also present.
To demonstrate solidarity, President Shein donated 2 tons of relief goods including blankets, medicines and medical equipment worth 14 million Kyats (P624,000.00). Myanmar’s special medical team will also be deployed in Bogo City to aid victims of typhoon Yolanda.
President Shein said that since Myanmar and Philippines are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and has established friendly relations for 57 years, he personally came to visit the Philippines where the people in the island is undergoing a difficult time.
President Shein also said that Myanmar can relate to the sufferings of super typhoon Yolanda victims in the Philippines since a killer cyclone (Nargis) hit Myanmar last 2008 and affected 2.5 million people. He recognized that even if Yolanda was considered the strongest typhoon recorded, small damages were incurred because of the preparedness of the people. He also shared that cyclone Nargis in Myanmar killed more people due to a storm surge which reached up to 27 feet in some areas. He considered Bantayan Island as lucky for Yolanda struck during low tide and storm surge did not claim lives of people.
In an appraisal of his own experience in handling the aftermath of a disastrous cyclone, President Shein said that it would take a while before the situation will normalize, “but it is the people who can make rehabilitation efforts successful”, he stressed.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III is thankful to Myanmar President Thein Sein for visiting Bantayan Island and for his expression of solidarity to the victims of typhoon Yolanda in northern Cebu.
Local chief executives as well as Rep. Salimbangon who laid down the figures of the extent of damage caused by Yolanda were also grateful for the assistance of the Republic of Myanmar.
Before his departure back to Myanmar, President Shein had these words for the Bantayanons “ I believe that with your resiliency and courage, you will be able to stand up in your feet in the shortest possible time”. Diane Higida