Taiwan’s national flag can be seen fluttering in the wind at an indigenous people’s community in the mountains near Subic Bay in the Philippines, a show of gratitude from residents after they received food from a Taiwanese civic group.
The Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines (TCAP) on Oct. 16 sent a donation of food items to a community of 450 Aeta living in Pastolan Village in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, to help the community get through the COVID-19 pandemic, Representative to the Philippines Michael Hsu (徐佩勇) said on Saturday.
The donation consisted of one package of items for each member of the community — a 10kg bag of rice, canned sardines, instant noodles, instant coffee premixed with sugar, powdered milk and other items, Hsu said.
“Taiwanese businesspeople have come to Subic Bay to create business opportunities, but they are also here helping people in need,” he said.
The association had distributed food to indigenous residents, helped a local elementary school build a wall around its perimeter, and supplied young students with classroom materials and study supplies, Hsu said.
“We want the indigenous community here to know that Taiwan cares about them,” he said.
Overseas Community Affairs Council Education Services Director Wang Ying-yang (王映陽) said that the council made the decision to help when it saw how badly the Philippines had been affected by the pandemic.
“We often say ‘Taiwan can help,’ so we wanted to put those words into action as a way to celebrate Taiwan’s National Day this year,” Wang said.
Taiwan’s representative office in the Philippines also donated five medical-use oxygen concentrators to Subic Bay Freeport Zone authorities, while the TCAP donated 100,000 masks, two ambulances and one vaccine refrigeration unit, she said.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairperson and Administrator Wilma Eisma said there is a long history of friendship between Subic Bay and Taiwanese businesspeople, describing the relationship as akin to that of siblings.
The Subic Bay Gateway Park was established in 1994 through a joint venture between the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Taiwan’s United Development Corp, Eisma said, adding that Taiwanese investment in the zone has been strong since then.
“Taiwanese businesspeople have been helping us deal with COVID-19 all along. They keep providing donations to ensure the community is safe,” she said.
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