PGMA forms task force for Haiti rescue, relief efforts

January 14, 2010 10:45 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 14 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered on Thursday the activation of a task force within the Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent in Haiti that will conduct search and rescue, and relief efforts for Filipinos affected by the earthquake in that Caribbean nation.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said the President issued the directives to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to ensure that necessary assistance and relief efforts are extended to the Filipinos in Haiti.

Olivar said DFA spokesman Ed Malaya had informed him of Secretary Romulo’s instruction to Philippine Ambassador to Cuba MacArthur F. Corsino to form a consular team that will proceed to Haiti as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Esteban Conejos reported that the task force, consisting of soldiers and peacekeepers, was already on the ground assisting Filipinos in Haiti.

He noted that Filipinos in Haiti are helping each other with Ambassador Corsino coordinating with the Honorary Consulate in Port-au-Prince for necessary assistance.

The Philippine Embassy in Havana reported that there are 290 Filipinos in Haiti, mostly in the garments, telecommunication and power generation sectors. They mostly occupy middle and upper management positions.

A number of Filipino nuns and priests also serve in the country.

Earlier reports said a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday, causing widespread damage and a still-undetermined number of casualties. (PNA)

/OPS/ssc

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