A Republic of China (ROC) Navy vessel departed from Zuoying Naval Base yesterday to deliver relief supplies to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.
It is due to arrive late on Thursday or early on Friday.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office Director Antonio Basilio said at a ceremony marking the shipment of relief supplies that his government and countrymen were very grateful for Taiwan’s assistance in Manila’s post-disaster relief and reconstruction efforts.
The ship is delivering 552 tonnes of relief supplies and equipment, including canned fish, excavation machinery and prefabricated houses, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Shih (石定) said at the ceremony.
Among the items being shipped are 80 prefabricated houses donated by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, which will be used to set up a “Taiwan village” in the disaster zone, Shih said, adding that the charity is expected to donate more prefabricated houses later.
The ship is being escorted on its 900 nautical mile (1,167km) voyage by the Lafayette-class Kangting frigate.
Having a warship escort a tank-landing craft on a cargo delivery mission is standard practice in the navy, but naval authorities said the frigate will not enter Cebu port when the Chung He docks to unload relief supplies.
The ROC Navy made frequent port calls in the Philippines before the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1975. Military servicemen of the two countries resumed contacts in the 1990s, and an ROC Fleet of Friendship last made a port call at Subic Bay in November 2003.
Yesterday’s shipment followed the airlifting of more than 150 tonnes of relief goods to the Philippines via C-130 cargo planes over the past week in response to the devastation by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8.
Meanwhile, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday said that he and department heads of the Taichung City Government had donated a day’s pay, totaling about NT$133,000, to support disaster relief efforts.
The city government’s Bureau of Labor Affairs has also launched a campaign to collect relief goods, including summer clothing, cool summer blankets and cooking utensils, for delivery to typhoon-battered zones in the Philippines, Hu said.