Two months after Typhoon Meranti hit the Batanes Islands of the Philippines, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office of the Philippines donated P1 million (US$20,060) to this Philippine province of around 16,600 people. Dr Gary Song-Huann Lin, Taiwan’s representative in the Philippines, and a delegation from the Industrial Technology Research Institute also visited Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco on Wednesday, November 23.
Citing his country’s proximity to the Philippines’ northernmost province, the Taiwanese Representative to the PH said the donation would help rebuild houses and infrastructure damaged by the typhoon. The Batanes is an emerging ecotourism haven of the Philippines with undisturbed natural beauty, however its geographic location makes it vulnerable to typhoons and other disasters that limits the development of a strong public infrastructure. In light of this matter, the Taiwanese delegation presented a green energy solution to Governor Cayco. Instead of relying on expensive diesel fuel shipment, the Batanes could consider transforming the islands’ power source to using renewable energies such as solar and wind, making the Batanes completely self-reliant in power supply.
Taiwan’s assistance to Batanes is part of its “New Southbound Policy” where it sees the Philippines’ “significant importance” as the gateway to ASEAN countries, Lin said. “Batanes is not alone. Taiwan is a genuine friend and close neighbor of the Philippines. A friend in need is a friend indeed,” the Taiwanese official said in his speech during the donation ceremony.