Philippines Sending Team to Earthquake-Hit Nepal

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine government is sending a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi to Nepal to address the needs of Filipinos affected by the earthquake, President Benigno Aquino III said.

“More than this, the Philippine government will be communicating with our counterparts in Nepal, to offer assistance. We are prepared to, and consequently taking steps to, render aid to the maximum of our limitations,” Aquino said.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

Aquino, who is in Malaysia for the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit, said the Filipino people join the rest of the world in expressing sorrwo and concern for the pople in Nepal following the massive earthquake the struck the nation last Saturday.

“Time and again, the world has come together to render assistance in times of dire need: Filipinos from all walks of life have likewise expressed sympathy and offered prayers for the Nepalese people. Nations of goodwill have already pledged aid in all forms, as Nepal engages in the work of rescue and recovery,” Aquino said in a statement posted on the government website.

In this time of great loss, Nepal is not alone. We are confident that, with the help of the entire world, they will be able to overcome this calamity, he said.

Meanwhile, at the sidelight of the Asean Summit, the Philippines and Vietnam pledged to work for the adoption by ASEAN of a legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) amid China’s reclamation activities in disputed territories over West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Monday.

Coloma issued the statement to members of the Philippine media delegation following a bilateral meeting between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyan Tang Dung held Sunday night.

The Philippines and Vietnam are just two of several countries in ASEAN that have exclusive economic zone claims in South China Sea challenging China’s nine-dash line theory.

The two leaders spoke to each other before a gala dinner hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center in honor of the visiting heads of state and government for the 26th ASEAN Summit.

Coloma said both President Aquino and Prime Minister Tan Dung expressed concern over China’s aggressiveness in reclaiming uninhabited islands in the disputed waters, which violates a provision stated under the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

“The two leaders expressed concern over the reclamation activities undertaken by China that clearly indicate violation of the DOC provision against ‘inhabiting previously uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features,’ even as they compared notes on incidents of harassment that ‘add to tension’ in the South China Sea,” Coloma wrote in his note. –