Speech by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
Catarman Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) Session
21 October 2014
Catarman, Northern Samar
• Hon Christian Emmanuel Uy, Vice Mayor of Catarman and Presiding Officer
• Municipal Councilors:
o Hon Clarissa Rowena Bonsol, Municipal Councilor
o Hon Hazel dela Rosa
o Hon Milton Isagani Mendador
o Hon Brian Avelino Baena
o Hon Raul de Leon
o Hon Ernesto Patilan
o Hon Nena Cardenas
o Hon Manuel Corral
o Hon Ruth Figueroa
• Other officials of the Municipality of Catarman
Thank you to the Municipal Government of Catarman, particularly Mayor Rosales and Councilor Bonsol, for inviting me to this session. I am honoured to be here.
Australia has, in the past, worked with various non-government organisations here and supported community-based initiatives, particularly on improving livelihood opportunities and promoting sustainable agriculture. I note that Australia also supported the construction of the Catarman Bridge II, now known as the ‘Philippines-Australia Friendship Bridge’, and am pleased to learn that this has brought significant benefits to the people of Catarman.
While I note that Catarman is the province’s economic and political centre and one of the progressive municipalities in the region, it was not spared from Typhoon Yolanda’s path.
It has been almost a year since Typhoon Yolanda, but allow me to express my sympathies for the destruction and loss you have experienced because of the super typhoon. I learned from Governor Jun Ong last night that, in fact, Typhoon Glenda had a greater impact than Yolanda.
I admire the resiliency of Filipinos, having to face several typhoons and other disasters every year. I am pleased to see that Catarman and Samareños are progressively recovering from the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda.
The Australian Government is committed to providing assistance to its neighbours in times of calamities.
We are also committed to continuing our assistance to the Philippine Government to ensure the effective implementation of its social protection and poverty reduction programs.
In May earlier this year, Australia supported the construction of a day-care centre and a two-classroom school building in Barangays Ipil-Ipil and Macagtas under the KALAHI-CIDDS or Community-Initiated and Driven Development Services Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. There are 900 households benefitting from these projects.
As part of Australia’s assistance to the recovery efforts of typhoon-affected communities, we will continue our support to the community driven development program of the Philippine government. I understand DSWD is now in the process of reviewing various project proposals submitted by different communities.
I am pleased to note that while the road to recovery could be long and arduous, Australia is able to contribute to that process.
All the best to the Municipality of Catarman, to Mayor Rosales and Vice Mayor Uy and to the people of Catarman.
Thank you for having me here.