China donates P15M for Marawi rehabilitation
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government on Tuesday night donated P15 million for the relief operations in Marawi City, a sign of the “flourishing partnership” between the two nations still locked in a long-running territorial dispute, Malacañang said.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua presented the P15 million check donation to President Rodrigo Duterte at the Palace. This is the president’s first public appearance in days.
The money is meant to buttress the resources of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development as they conduct various health and welfare operations including consultations, evacuation and logistical support.
“The said donation from China to the Philippines is an example of the flourishing partnership between the two countries and their shared commitment towards sustainable peace in the region,” a Palace statement said.
The relationship between the Philippines and China has significantly warmed up under Duterte as the president tried to woo in Chinese investment and money in a bid to lift millions of Filipinos from poverty and fund his “golden age of infrastructure.”
This is in stark contrast to the frosty relations the two nations had during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III who pursued a strong stance on Chinese incursions into Philippine waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
China expansively claims almost all of the South China Sea through which billions of trade passes each year. Aside from the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have a stake in the dispute.
According to Malacañang, the DSWD already spent around P85.53 million worth of assistance to the affected families in the conflict zone as of June 26. The assistance included food packs, hygiene and dignity kits, kitchen utensils and tents.
The DOH shelled out P52.03 million in health services including medical check-ups, immunizations, medicines, mental and psychological services, food and water it provided to the affected residents, according to the Palace.
Malacañang said that based on latest government data, the fighting in Marawi has displaced 82,767 families or 403,052 persons. This number included residents from 20 Lanao Del Sur and two Lanao Del Norte municipalities.
The clashes in Marawi City between security forces and Islamist militants have now entered the second month. It has already claimed the lives of 70 security personnel, 27 civilians and 290 rebels and displaced most of the city’s 200,000 residents.