Tzu Chi Foundation and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on October 12, officially sealing a three-year partnership that will continue to provide imported sacks of 20-kilo rice to the poorest and disaster-stricken Filipino families.
Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yunez signed the MoA for the Buddhist charity group while DSWD Officer-in-charge Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco signed for the government agency.
Held at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Complex, Quezon City, the simple ceremony was witnessed by four Tzu Chi volunteers, Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines Dr. Song-huann Lin, and DSWD Undersecretaries Hope Hervilla and Malou Turalde-Jarabe.
Under the MoA, Tzu Chi will shoulder the cost of transporting the rice as well as conducting the actual distributions.
The DSWD will facilitate the importation of rice, provide warehouse facilities whenever possible, and help Tzu Chi identify the areas and population that should benefit from the rice donation.
“The government is trying to do their best to do everything to feed our hungry people but definitely we will welcome support from the private sector, and particularly from the Tzu Chi Foundation,” says OIC Usec. Leyco.
“Tzu Chi Foundation is a very good partner, having a track record of helping not only the people of the Philippines. They have proven themselves to be very effective government partners all over the world,” he adds.
Tzu Chi and DSWD have been working together in bringing the rice donation from Taiwan to deserving Filipino families since 2011. Every year, Taiwan’s Agriculture and Food Agency allocates a portion of Taiwan’s rice harvest to foreign aid.
The Philippines is slated to receive 15,000 metric tons of rice from Taiwan for the next three years. The rice is packed in 20-kilogram bags for distribution.
“This reflect our long-standing friendship,” says Dr. Song-Huann Lin, Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines. “As President Rodrigo Duterte said, the Taiwan and Philippines are the closest neighbors. It’s only fitting that we should look after each other and take care of each other.”
With hunger affecting an estimated 2.2 million families in the second quarter of 2017 according to a survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS), and with natural and man-made disasters leaving many Filipinos suffering from food shortage, the MoA signing with the DSWD spells an opportunity to contribute in addressing the country’s hunger problem.
“We’re so happy that finally we are able to get the approval to import these rice donations. This will benefit the poor people here in the Philippines especially those victims of conflict in Marawi. We will be shipping some to the south,” says Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yunez.
Tzu Chi volunteers meet with DSWD OIC Usec. Emmanuel Leyco on October 12 for the formal signing of a Memorandum of Agreement concerning Taiwan’s rice donation to the Philippines. The MoA stipulates that both parties will work together in bringing Taiwan’s rice allocation for the Philippines to deserving Filipino families.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
[Seated from left] Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yunez and DSWD OIC Usec. Emmanuel Leyco pose for a photo before signing the Memorandum of Agreement. [Standing from left] Tzu Chi volunteers James Chua, Manuel Siao and Linda Chua, Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, and DSWD Usecs. Malou Turalde-Jarabe and Hope Hervilla witness the signing.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yunez and DSWD OIC Usec. Emmanuel Leyco seals the three-year partnership between the two parties with a handshake. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】