Philippine Senate President Vicente Sotto III (right) hands over a copy of Senate Resolution No. 671 to UAE Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Shaikh Saoud Ali Mohammed Al Almuallah in Metro Manila.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The UAE’s tireless efforts in helping the Philippines through a number of natural disasters and crises have been formally recognised by 24 legislators that constitute the Philippine Senate (18th Congress).
In connection with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 24 senators have likewise expressed gratitude to the UAE’s ongoing free vaccination drive, among the beneficiaries of which are the approximately 500,000 Filipinos across the seven emirates; the donation of seven metric tonnes of personal protective equipment for 7,000 Filipino medical/healthcare workers in the Philippines; and, the country’s extension of honour to Filipino medical/healthcare staff in the UAE, particularly to healthcare worker Lezly O. Ocampo, Rashid Hospital-Infectious Disease Unit staff nurse Jesse Dawn Ubog, and staff nurse Iris Ena Diel.
Philippine Senate President Vicente Soto III handed over a copy of the recognition, entered as Philippine Senate Resolution Number 671, known as “Expressing Profound Appreciation To His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi And Deputy Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), For His Gestures Of Compassion, Concern, Friendship, Solidarity, And Support Toward The Filipino People In Times of Natural Disasters And During the Course of the COVID19 Pandemic,” to UAE Embassy (Manila) Charge d’ Affaires Shaikh Saoud Ali Mohammed Ali Almuallah on March 10 (Wednesday).
The hand-over was held after the resolution was introduced by its author, Senator Richard Gordon, and unanimously adopted by the 24 lawmakers during the 57th Philippine Senate Regular Plenary Session, which, due to pandemic preventive measures, was held hybrid in Metro Manila. Senator Panfilo Lacson, assigned by President Benigno Aquino III as the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda (2013) rehabilitation in-charge, supported Gordon’s resolution, stating “Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) officials came to the Philippines in 2014 and offered $10 million (Dhs36,730,000.00) to assist 171 cities and municipalities affected by Typhoon Yolanda.”
On Thursday and in behalf of the Filipinos in the UAE, Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana said the formal acknowledgment from the Philippine Senate is a “timely gift of the Filipino people” to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose 60th birthday was on March 11 (Thursday): “It is a timely gift (as well) to all Emiratis who are celebrating their county’s Golden Jubilee this year.”
Quintana said the Senate Resolution showed the sincere gratitude of the Filipinos for the kindness and generosity shown by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the Filipinos over the years.” She added that Filipinos in the UAE are “elated for the deep support” they are receiving from the host government.
Gordon, the concurrent Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman, electronically submitted the Senate Resolution on March 2 (Tuesday). Aside from mentioning the UAE support to the Filipino medical/healthcare workers, and the UAE warm welcome and acceptance to the Filipino workforce, Gordon cited the following assistance as directed by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan:
• ERC humanitarian mission to the Philippines in January 2020 to coordinate with the (PRC) in providing assistance to Filipinos affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. Thereafter, the ERC also partnered with the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi in launching a donation campaign for the benefit of 200,000 families displaced by the volcanic eruption.
• ERC-PRC partnership/collaboration in establishing a Community Health Center at a cost of Php 19.9 million (Dhs1,509,277.79) in Dolores, Eastern Samar to serve 124,000 people in the aftermath of (the November 2013) Typhoon Haiyan and the (consequent) rebuilding of schools in Eastern Samar destroyed at a cost of Dhs27 million (Php356,972,826.69) to accommodate 9,828 students in 102 classrooms with 15 indoor playgrounds and 12 auditoriums.
• The UAE dispatch of delegation to the Philippines in November 2020 to know how best the country would be able to extend more its help aside from its $9.5 million (Dhs460,346,250.00) humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Category 5 Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly).
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