THE Government of Canada gave 120,000 N95 respirator masks amounting to Can$833,000 (P30.6 million) to the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday as part of its commitment to support Filipino frontline healthcare workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Canada is collaborating closely with the Government of the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19,” Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said during a handover event at the DOH in Manila.
“This includes regional cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Member States because only together can we defeat the virus,” MacArthur added.
The masks were provided through a partnership between the Government of Canada, the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Member States, that aims to mitigate biological threats. Since 2013, this partnership has been working on strengthening biological security, biological safety and disease surveillance capabilities in the region. It has produced significant results and has enhanced the capacity of ASEAN partners to prevent, detect and respond to all manner of biological threats – be they natural, accidental or deliberate in origin.
“Building on this longstanding partnership, Canada has provided additional support to ASEAN partners to combat the COVID pandemic. This includes a CAD$4.5 million (approx. P165 million) in-kind contribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items to 6 ASEAN Member States, including the 120,000 masks for the Philippines,” MacArthur explained.
The N95 respirator masks donated to the Philippines valued at CAD$ 833,000 (approx. PhP 30.6 million) are part of the CAD$ 3 million (approx. PhP 110.3 million) in bilateral assistance Canada has pledged to assist the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19.
In addition to the N95 masks, Canada previously announced the addition of CAD$2.3 million (approx. P84.6 million) to increasingly important women’s health initiatives that are helping to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on maternal, newborn and child health as well as on women’s sexual, reproductive, health and rights.
These are the Sexual Health and Empowerment Philippines (SHE) project with Oxfam in cooperation with the DOH; and the multi-country Enhance Mother/Newborn/Child Health in Remote Areas through Health Care and Community Engagement (EMBRACE) project implemented by Adventist Development and Relief Agency Canada (ADRA).
Further leveraging multilateral institutions such as ASEAN, Canada has also committed CAD$5 million (approx. P183 million) to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the provision of COVID-19 diagnostic kits, equipment and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques, to over 20 countries that have requested assistance, including the Philippines.
Face shields from Japan
The Rotary Club of Japan donated 144,000 face shields for use in the Philippines’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Philippine Deputy Consul General in Nagoya Jerome Castro received the donation.
Mr. Tetsuzo Fukuda, Chairman of the Rotary Club of Nagoya-Wago, said that the ship carrying the cargo of face shields in a 40-foot container will set sail for the Philippines in the third week of September 2020 from the Port of Nagoya.
For his part, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said the donation was sparked by the Rotary Club of Japan’s wish to contribute to the protection of the health of Filipinos during the pandemic through the auspices of Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque and the Rotary Club of the Philippines, particularly the Rotary Club of Quezon City.
The donation was made possible through the coordination of Rotary Club of Quezon City Chair Rene Cantos and former Rotary Club Governor Rep. Bernadette Herrera Dy with DOH Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taino, DOH Donations Team Head Dr. Miko Amansec, DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Atty. Brigido J. Dulay, DFA Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Meynardo Montealegre and DTI Special Trade Representative Dita Angara Mathay.