DSWD welcomes P60-M relief supplies from Australia

MANILA � The head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) thanked the Australian government for its gift of PHP60 million (AUD1.5 million) worth of relief goods and associated funds.

We welcome the Australian government’s continued support. With Australia’s assistance, the DSWD has strengthened its disaster response by implementing more efficient systems � and reaching people in need more quickly, DSWD Officer in Charge Emmanuel Leyco said in a news release issued Thursday.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the donation when he visited the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City last Monday.

The relief supplies, which include tents, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, multi-purpose malong, and children’s toys, can support the immediate requirements of 160,000 people. They are for humanitarian crises in the country, including that in Marawi City.

The relief items are part of the PHP124.9 million (AUD3 million) grant provided by the Australian government for a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response, which includes technical assistance from the Australian Civilian Corps adviser.

A part of the grant was also used for the construction of a new warehouse at the NROC, which was inaugurated in November last year. The new warehouse, which could store 41,400 family food packs (FFPs), increased the NROC’s storage capacity to 100,000 FFPs.

The Australian government has also helped the DSWD set up systems for more effective responses to disasters and conflict.

Source: Philippine News Agency

China willing to expedite South China Sea Code of Conduct: Duterte

MANILA � President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said that China has agreed to have a Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and has vowed to consider fast-tracking the agreement as a step towards a peaceful resolution of the issue.

China has graciously agreed to a Code of Conduct and it binds itself to the agreement, Duterte told reporters during a press conference following the conclusion of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits.

He said China also pledged to adhere to the international principle of freedom of navigation and overflight in the strategic sea where an estimated USD3 trillion worth of trace passes every year.

The South China Sea also contains large fishery resources and huge gas and oil reserves are believed to lie underneath its seabed.

The overflight in space above and the use of the China Sea will proceed and it was a promise of China, unbridled, unfettered, Duterte said.

Furthermore, he said that while the territorial dispute has been a longstanding issue, China will consider accelerating the process after being pressed by ASEAN member-states.

Apart from the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, and Vietnam also have overlapping claims over the disputed waters.

On Monday, ASEAN leaders and China have agreed to start talks on the Code of Conduct based on the Framework approved by the Foreign Ministers in August.

This is something which is an age-old problem. And I said, let it be. We’ll just observe certain norms of conduct and we were pressing China to set a date, said President Duterte, chair of the regional summit.

He said China would consider really fast tracking this Code of Conduct.

Source: Philippine News Agency