Cebu guv, mayor ask envoys: Help rehab efforts-A A +A
Friday, March 14, 2014
CEBU CITY -- More than 20 ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps promised on Friday to help Cebu City and Province support the rehabilitation work after last year’s calamities, as well as promote Cebu abroad.
Governor Hilario Davide III told the envoys that the Capitol needs more funds to replace houses leveled by Typhoon Yolanda last November 8.
He also updated them about the creation of Task Force Paglig-on, after one of the ambassadors asked what was being done to help the survivors and how they can help in the rehabilitation efforts.
While their separate meeting took place behind closed doors, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the main question raised by the ambassadors was: “How can we help Cebu?”
In answer, Rama said, he and his protocol office showed the group a video presentation of what he has done so far in Cebu City since his first term started in 2010. But the video also shows the devastation wrought by the October 15 earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda last November 8.
The typhoon left at least 6,245 dead, 73 of them in Cebu Province. It also sent four million persons from their homes in 44 provinces and damaged P39.8 billion worth of infrastructure and agricultural crops and equipment.
The ambassadors visited Cebu as part of their two-week Economic Diplomacy Strategic Management training. Cebu is the only province they visited.
Davide, who with Vice Governor Agnes Magpale welcomed the delegates, appealed for the ambassadors’ help to market Cebu to other countries.
Ambassador to Prague Victoriano Lecaros, who served as the spokesperson of the delegation, said they chose Cebu for the two-day tour because of its economic development.
“One thing that we will do is encourage business owners to invest in Cebu by putting up factories here,” Lecaros said.
Davide explained that the Province will submit an updated damage assessment report, with a budget requirement of P10 billion, to Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Panfilo Lacson.
The governor also informed the ambassadors about the international and local non-government organizations that have been helping the Province fix the damaged houses in northern Cebu.
Lecaros said they will do best to round up help for the Visayas, which bore the brunt of the typhoon’s force.
“Cebu gives more to the national economy. But dili tanan lugar sa Pilipinas ing-ana (But not all the provinces in the Philippines are like Cebu),” Lecaros said, adding that some areas still need more financial support from the National Government.
Also taken up during their visit is the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s discovery of Cebu.
Marciano De Borja, special assistant of the office of the undersecretary for administration, said he is willing to advise the Province in this regard. The 500th anniversary will happen seven years from now.
Ambassador to Mexico Catalino Dilem Jr. also volunteered to help the Provincial Government with the upcoming celebration.
Also on Friday, nine ambassadors paid a courtesy call on Mayor Rama, along with two consuls, six assistant secretaries and six others.
They were accompanied by eight personnel from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) both from the Manila and Cebu City offices.
“They saw the video on the show of super service (SOSS, a new motto Rama coined) and they know what the group can do for the City. We encouraged them to please promote our country,” said Rama.
For Cebu City, it was the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that caused the bigger damage, with the Cebu City Medical Center building rendered useless. It was abandoned and is now being demolished.
During the meeting, Rama also took the time to sing a song, Martin Nievera’s “Kahit Isang Saglit.”
The large delegation was composed of Ambassadors Edsel Barba (Baghdad), Antonio Morales (Beijing), Vicente Vivencio Bandillo (Dhaka), Catalino Dilem Jr. (Mexico), Narciso Castañeda (Muscat), Lecaros (Prague), Eduardo Martin Menez (Tehran), Jaime Victor Ledda (The Hague) and Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Also at City Hall were Consuls-General Bayani Mangibin (Agana) and Amelita Aquino (Chongqing), Assistant Secretaries Wilfredo Santos, Zenaida Collinson, Domingo Nolasco, Petronila Garcia, Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek and Raul Hernandez.
Foreign Service Institute Director Carlos Sorreta, Office of the Undersecretary for Administration Special Assistant Marciano de Borja, Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Special Assistant Joseph Gerard Angeles were also in attendance.
Also part of the delegation were Executive Directors Bernardita Catalla (Assistant Secretary of Asia and Pacific Affairs), Nathaniel Imperial (Office of the Middle East and African Affairs), and Marichu Mauro (Office of European Affairs). (JGA/FMG/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2014.