China helps reconstruct quake-hit Davao Sur school

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 Dec) – The Chinese government has donated one million renminbi (P7.2 million) to help quake-hit Cor Jesu College in Digos City rise from the rubble, bringing to at least P11 million the aid extended by the Chinese consular office here and its partners.

Davao Chinese Consul General Li Lin delivers a speech during the turnover of the one million renminbi (P7.2 million) donation from the Chinese government to the quake-damaged Cor Jesu College in Digos City on Wednesday (4 December 2019). Photo courtesy of the Chinese Consulate General’s Office in Davao City

Davao Chinese Consul General Li Lin handed Wednesday the donation to Cor Jesu College, where President Rodrigo Duterte finished high school after he was expelled at the Jesuit-owned Ateneo de Davao University High School here due to misdemeanors.

“The overall reconstruction plan for the school requires huge (amount of money) because almost all academic buildings have been damaged. The contribution from the Chinese government and its people is just part (of the bigger reconstruction fund),” he told MindaNews.

“One thing we are very proud of is in terms of the immediate food relief and apart from (Wednesday’s) financial aid, we were the first foreign responder to the earthquake victims in Davao del Sur,” he added.

Earlier in November, the Davao Consulate General’s Office, the local Chinese Filipino community and Chinese firms extended P4 million worth of emergency relief assistance to Digos City and the municipalities of Bansalan and Magsaysay, also in Davao del Sur.

The consular office distributed 8,000 relief packs to the quake victims.

In sum, the Davao Consulate General’s Office and its partners extended at least P11 million worth of assistance to Davao del Sur quake victims.

The consulate focused its assistance to Davao del Sur since most of the donations have been directed to North Cotabato quake victims, Li said.

Separately, the Chinese embassy in Manila extended another three million renminbi (about P22 million) for disaster relief operations for the quake victims in Mindanao last month.

In October, a series of over magnitude 6 quakes hit the island, all with epicenters in North Cotabato province, a neighbor of Davao del Sur.

Li said it was fortunate the last two quakes, on October 29 and 31, struck when the school was on a break.

“Luckily, there were no classes at that time, otherwise the casualties would have been unimaginable,” the envoy said.

Philippines and China relations have improved under the Duterte administration after the president pivoted to Beijing months after assuming power in 2016.

Beijing inaugurated the consular office in Davao City in October 2018 as part of such warming bilateral relations.

Li said the consular office is serving the entire Mindanao, explaining the assistance it provides to areas outside this city.

The donation to Cor Jesu College, as well as the other relief programs by the Chinese government and the Chinese community in the Philippines, was part of the “continuous and growing cooperation and friendship between China and the Philippines,” Li said. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)