Press Release
March 8, 2023

Senate expresses sympathies, donates funds to Turkish, Syrian earthquake victims

The Senate on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 adopted a resolution expressing its profound sympathies to the casualties of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and India.

Senate Resolution No. 49 was introduced by Sen. Raffy Tulfo, Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Senators Imee Marcos, Francis "Tol" Tolentino and Manuel "Lito" Lapid. All other senators were made co-sponsors of the resolution.

Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri, who sponsored the resolution together with Tulfo, said each senator donated P100,000 from their personal funds. Zubiri said he donated P200,000 and the total amount of P2.5 million will be donated to the Red Crescent society of Turkey through the Philippine Red Cross headed by former Sen. Richard Gordon.

"We are happy to help the people of Turkey and Syria. Inshallah, the day will come when you will rise from all these devastations....will rise from the ashes and will create an even stronger society in Turkey," Zubiri said.

Tulfo urged fellow senators to stand in solidarity with the victims and their families who were affected by the devastating calamities.

"The people of Turkey and Syria are our friends and allies, and we stand with them in their time of need. We may not have the intensive physical capacity to provide aid but nonetheless, we must extend our support in every possible way we can, no matter how big or small," he said.

"Let us demonstrate our commitment to the values of compassion, empathy and friendship that bind us together as a global community," he added.

Tolentino also expressed his deepest sympathies and condolences to the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. He said Turkey was one of the first responders who came to the aid of the Philippines in 2013 when the country was struck by Super Typhoon Yolanda. He said a Turkish organization was one of the first organizations to render and offer humanitarian aid, psycho-social support and educational assistance to survivors and helped in the rebuilding of homes.

Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., for his part, said his heart and prayers go out to the almost 50,000 earthquake victims. He said he joins his brothers and sisters in praying that they will rise from the rubbles and start anew.

As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Revilla vowed to ensure that government agencies and instrumentalities would be the solid foundation on which Filipinos could depend on when disasters would strike.

According to Tulfo, death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria has reached 47,244 while hundreds of thousands of people are in dire need of adequate shelter, food and sanitation. He said Alvaro Rodriguez, the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Turkey, has appealed for $397.6 million to help Syrian victims and $1 billion for Turkey to cover emergency needs such as food, medicine, water, clothing and shelter. Sadly, Tulfo said, only 10 percent has been funded.

"Our embassies continue with their efforts in addressing the needs of the 77 affected Filipinos. We have brought the remains of our kababayan who died from the earthquake, and as of February 27, 2023, we welcomed nine families from Turkey, the first batch of our repatriated kababayans who were displaced by the massive earthquakes. I commend the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Migrant Workers for their unwavering and continued efforts in giving aid to our sheltered and repatriated Filipinos," Tulfo said.

A copy of the resolution would be transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Embassies of the Philippines in Turkey and Syria to be disseminated to the families and loved ones of the victims.

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