US turns over defense systems to PH; expresses solidarity after typhoons

Published November 23, 2020, 5:11 PM

by Roy Mabasa

United States President Donald J. Trump has conveyed his “deepest condolences” and solidarity with the Filipino people following the two recent powerful typhoons that struck the country, leaving scores of people dead and billions of pesos in damages to infrastructure, livelihood and agriculture. 

This handout aerial photo taken and recieved on November 14, 2020 from the Philippine Coast Guard shows submerged houses in Cagayan province, north of Manila, on November 14, 2020, days after Typhoon Vamco hit parts of the country bringing heavy rain and flooding. (Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I want to express my deepest condolences and President Trump’s deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines who have been affected by Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Vamco,” White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in his remarks at the turnover of defense systems at the DFA main office in Pasay City on Monday. 

The United States, O’Brien added, “stands with the Philippine people during this very difficult time and this natural disaster.”

“We are providing life-saving support to those most affected and we’re going to work hard to restore the livelihoods and access to critical resources together with your government,” he said. 

The devastating typhoons came at a time when the world, including the US and the Philippines, is “battling side-by-side” against the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic. 

Since March, O’Brien said the United States has donated Php1.1 billion (US$23.4 million) to assist in the combat of COVID-19 in the Philippines. 

On top of that, they have donated 100 brand-new ventilators, 1,300 cots, and as well as PPE for 49 medical facilities. 

The US, through its partners working on the ground, also trained 28,000 health workers and helped the Philippines boost its testing capacity from an initial 200 tests a day to over 30,000 tests a day.

The visiting high-ranking US official likewise expressed his appreciation to Filipino-Americans who are working as frontliners in various health institutions in the US taking care of Americans afflicted with the coronavirus disease.  

“There are Filipino-Americans and Filipinos that are in America today in our hospitals and on the frontlines taking care of Americans, and we are grateful for that.  And the Philippines can be very proud of your countrymen and your native sons and daughters who are doing so much for us as we battle COVID-19 in our country,” he said.