The Philippine government formally accepted the 300-metric ton (MT) milled rice donation by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) under the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Tier 3 Program on August 17, 2023 in Camalig, Albay.
Intended for the families affected by the Mayon Volcano eruption, the donation was turned over by Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Minister for Economic Affairs Nihei Daisuke to APTERR Secretariat General Manager Choomjet Kernjanakesorn.
It was accepted by Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Director Michael Christopher Mathay, and DA-National Food Authority (NFA) Special Assistant to the Administrator Roger Navarro.
During the event, a total of 300-MT milled rice stocks equivalent to 10,000 30-kilogram bags were distributed to the affected families identified by the DSWD.
“We are not merely witnessing the ceremonial exchange of rice donation but more so the exchange of hope and support from our dependable partners in the ASEAN Region. This contribution is a testament to the unbreakable bond that binds us together as a global community,” Undersecretary Panganiban said.
In behalf of the Philippine government, the DA official thanked the Government of Japan and the APTERR Secretariat for the donation that will benefit 10,000 families displaced by the calamity.
The family-beneficiaries in Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, and Ligao City will receive 30-kilogram bags of rice. From the 10,000 beneficiaries, at least 1,441 shall be granted with the rice assistance through the DSWD’s Food for Work Program in the affected areas.
The APTERR is a regional cooperation scheme among ten ASEAN member states plus three countries that include China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. The cooperation aims at strengthening food security and reducing poverty in East Asia.
Other officials present during the activity include APTERR Secretariat Japanese Expert and MAFF-Japan Representative Akinori Ando, Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman, Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo, Jr., and NFA Acting Assistant Regional Manager Gerard Lim. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)