CHINESE President Xi Jinping has extended condolences to President Rodrigo Duterte over the heavy casualties and material damage caused by Tropical Storm “Vinta” (international name “Tembin”) sweeping across parts of Mindanao over the past few days.
In a message dated Monday, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said Xi offered his sincere sympathy, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name, to Duterte and Filipinos affected by the storm.
Xi said he felt deeply grieved over the suffering of the Philippine people from the disaster and their displacement, pledging that China was willing to offer emergency assistance to the disaster areas for rescue and relief, Xinhua said.
In a related development, the Catholic Church, through NASSA/Caritas Philippines, launched Tuesday a rapid response appeal to the Caritas confederation.
“Initially, we are launching a P5.8-million appeal for at least 3,000 families (15,000 individuals) severely affected by the devastation of Typhoon “Vinta,”” said Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ Executive Secretary.
The appeal will cover the provision of food packs, hygiene kits and capacity building on emergency preparedness and response to the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture said damages sustained by the agriculture sector due to Vinta hit P177.80 million as of Tuesday (Dec 27), affecting a total 18,517 hectares of agricultural lands in Regions IX, XI and XII with an estimated volume of production loss at 4,735 metric tons.
Most of the affected commodities were rice and corn.
Corn sustained the bigger share of losses at 50.97 percent or P 90.62 million within the damaged area of 3,392 hectares.
Corn losses were about 0.76 percent of the total standing crop of 448,394 hectares, equivalent to volume loss of 4,079 metric tons.
Most of the damaged corn crop were in their reproductive, maturity and harvestable stages.
Region IX suffered the biggest ofi losses in corn at P 79.99 million or 88.27 percent of its overall production loss by which most of these crops are on their seedling, reproductive and maturity stages.
Affected provinces include Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay followed by Region XII at P 6.09 million and Region XI at P 4.54 million.
Meanwhile, damage to rice, amountrd to P87.18 million or 49.03 percent of the total losses.
Area affected involved 15,125 hectares or 4.8 percent of the total standing crop of 314,947 hectares while volume loss was estimated at 655 metric tons since most of the crops are on their newly planted to vegetative stages.
Region IX had the most losses in rice at P57.17 million or 65.58 percent of the overall losses.l followed by Region XI with P19.20 million (22.02 percent) with crops in Compostela Valley and Region XII with P 10.81 million in damages.
The Department expects total losses to expand since other regions have not thus far submitted their respective reports.
After Christmas, the Catholic Church, through Caritas Manila, has released P1.8 million to the churches in Butuan, Tagum City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, Marawi City and Dipolog City. “This is very unfortunate especially that we are still rising from the heavy damage brought about by the Marawi siege. But Filipinos are resilient and generous alike. We will be able to stand strong against these challenges,” added Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, National Director of NASSA/Caritas Philippines.
The national social action arm, apart from the international appeal, has also launched an online solidarity donation campaign through its Alay Kapwa program.
“We enjoin everyone to support the Church’s online solidarity campaign (https://www.facebook.com/NASSACaritasPhilippines/ and https://twitter.com/Caritas_PHL) to gather additional funds for the relief and early recovery efforts,” added Fr. Gariguez.
Donations may be sent through NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ Alay Kapwa account:
Name of Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands
Account Holder: CBCP CARITAS FILIPINAS FOUNDATION INC.
Account No: 4951-0071-08
NASSA/Caritas Philippines, in its statement, said it is currently doing two humanitarian responses in Mindanao related to Marawi crisis with a total budget allocation of P21.6 million.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops/ Conference of the Philippines. With Othel V. Campos