MANILA -- The Japanese government on Tuesday turned over vans and communication equipment to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to "address the logistical limitation of the agency in delivering relief goods to disaster-affected population".
"This is part of the negotiation between the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and government of Japan way back 2015. They have just delivered seven wing vans but the other six units will be coming on the second half of May. Apart from the vans, there are communication equipment and the UHF radio systems," DSWD Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management Group Felicisimo Budiongan told reporters on the sidelines of the Japan Non-Project Grant Aid Turn Over ceremony in Pasay City.
On Mar. 26, 2015, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) strengthening friendly and cooperative relations between Philippines and Japan was signed.
The MOA included the grant and its other beneficiaries which are the Philippine National Police, Department of Education and Department of Public Works and Highways.
Its coverage includes 13 wing vans, 20 UHF land-based emergency radios, a set of repeater UHF and a set of transceiver HF.
"Napakalaking tulong po nito sa ating community lalo na sa ating response team. Naghahatid po tayo ng relief goods sa mga (This is a great help to the community especially to the response team. We deliver relief goods to) IDPs (internally displaced persons) sa evacuation centers and this will help us a lot in terms of mobility and lift capability in the field offices on the ground," Budiongan said.
He added the vans will also be used to deliver relief goods to farmers who have been affected by El Niño or prolonged dry spell in certain areas of the country.
Meanwhile, Atsushi Kuwabara, minister of the Japanese embassy in the Philippines, said their government understands the importance of having the correct equipment or tools in responding to victims of calamities in a timely manner.
"In times of disaster, it is important to respond quickly, we know from our experience because Japan also is a disaster-prone country. So we hope these trucks and communication tools can help in providing quick response," he said, noting Japan's good ties with the Philippines.
"Last year, more than 500,000 Filipinos visited Japan and nearly 630,000 Japanese visit the Philippines. And we have projects to address like climate changes and disaster risk management and we can help each other," he added.
Budiongan, meanwhile, said the country has also received donations from other countries apart from Japan.
"Just recently, the Chinese government provided help for the victims of Jolo, Sulu bombings and the rest, there were also donations from the Hungarian government. In one or two months from now, there will also be donation from World Vision for victims of Marawi happening," he said. (PNA)