Coke gives P10m to Frank victims

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — INTERNATIONAL and local aid for the victims of typhoon Frank poured in yesterday as the carrier USS Ronald Reagan steamed toward a ferry that capsized Saturday off Sibuyan Island in Romblon with 800 people onboard.

US President George W. Bush offered condolences Tuesday to the Filipinos harmed by typhoon Frank and said the US was sending the carrier to the scene to help.

“We’re happy to do it,” Bush told President Arroyo after a meeting at the White House. “We want to help our friends in a time of need.”

The Chinese government yesterday handed over $100,000 in cash donations to help typhoon victims. Chinese Ambassador Song Tao handed the check to acting Foreign Secretary Francisco Benedicto.

“The Chinese government and people wish to express deep condolences and sincere sympathies to the Philippine people and the families of the victims,” a Chinese Embassy statement said.

“As a close neighbor and good friend to the Philippines, we share the sufferings of the victims and the families,” the embassy added.

The Japanese government said it would provide about P8 million in emergency assistance.

Corporate donors pitched in as well.

The Coca-Cola Co. in the Philippines announced it was establishing a P10-million disaster relief fund.

Kandy Anand, president of the business unit, made the commitment to President Arroyo at cocktails in her honor at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC on Monday.

“Coca-Cola is such an integral part of the lives of Filipinos, and so it is only appropriate that we do what we can to help alleviate the suffering in times like these,” Anand said.

Mrs. Arroyo thanked Coca-Cola.

On Tuesday, SM Foundation sent a medical mission to Iloilo City to assist in SM malls that have become evacuation centers.

At the height of the typhoon, SM offered its mall as an evacuation center to 2,390 Iloilo residents whose homes were inundated.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. said it would send a team of health workers and volunteers to help the victims of typhoon Frank.

The Bureau of Customs said it would donate canned goods and used clothing.

In his remarks Tuesday, Bush said the aircraft carrier and other Navy assets would move into place immediately. The powerful storm hit over the weekend, leaving dozens dead in flooded communities in the Visayas.

The Ronald Reagan strike group consists of the carrier, a cruiser, three destroyers and a frigate.

The group left about 100 American sailors behind in Hong Kong when it had to depart port on Sunday, a day early, because of safety concerns related to the typhoon. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has about 6,000 sailors aboard.

Typhoon Frank weakened to a tropical storm Tuesday.