By Gloria Jane Baylon
Japan has committed P315 million (Yen 600 million) in official development assistance (ODA) for disaster-prevention and for the rehabilitation of Philippine areas stricken by disasters, according to the Japanese embassy in Manila.
Focus of assistance are the areas in Mindanao and Visayas hit by typhoon “Sendong” last December.
Notes for the ODA, entitled “Non-project Grant Aid for the Restoration and Disaster Prevention,” were exchanged on Friday, April 27, between Japanese Ambassador to Manila, Toshinao Urabe, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Several typhoons hit the Philippines in the last quarter of 2011, damaging basic infrastructures such as roads, houses, public facilities and farmland. The amount will fund these projects as well as set up disaster-prevention schemes in the country.
Although Japan provided Yen 25 million worth of emergency relief goods and US$ 2 million in the aftermath of “Sendong,” it regrets that full recovery has not been possible without addressing the victims’ basic livelihood needs such as shelter and farm animals.
Japan sees the need to restore the foundations of these lives from a long-term standpoint. In addition, there is a need to establish solid disaster-prevention schemes to prevent and mitigate the damage from natural disasters in the future.
With the assistance, the Philippines could purchase equipment and materials for recovery efforts and implement disaster-prevention policies, in consultation with the Japanese government.
The initial suggestions of the embassy are the purchase of animal feeds and shelter units, aerial camera system for gathering disaster information, dredgers for riverbank reinforcement and disaster information sharing system.
This project is part of financial assistance up to 2012 that Japan announced in December 2009. The assistance aims to accelerate measures implemented to combat climate change.