(Updated) Pope Benedict XVI, in a message, expressed his deep sadness for the Filipinos after typhoon Pablo devastated southern part of Philippines, CBCPNews report said.
In a message to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines head Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the pope relayed that he “was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the suffering” caused by the recent typhoon and further extend his “heartfelt condolences to the families of all who mourn, and he assures those in distress of his spiritual closeness and concern.”
The Pope’s message was relayed on Thursday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone through Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines.
“He offers fervent prayers for the deceased and for all those who are working to rescue missing persons and to assist the trapped and injured,” Cardinal Bertone said.
“Upon the beloved people of the Philippines, as a pledge of consolation, hope, and solidarity, His Holiness invokes God’s abundant blessings,” he added.
As of the post, there are 477 confirmed reported deaths due to the typhoon that hits the Mindanao areas on Tuesday. Millions worth of agricultural and infrastructure damages were also reported. The typhoon wiped out a quarter of the country’s banana crop, reports says.
President Aquino visited the typhoon victims Friday morning. In a tweet relayed by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, he said that together with them are cabinet secretaries Manuel Roxas (DILG), Voltaire Gazmin (National Defense), J.E. Abaya (DOTC), Icot Petilla (DoE), Laila de Lima (DOJ), Dinky Soliman (DSWD), Enrique Ona (DOH), Armin Luistro (Dep.Ed), Ramon Paje (DENR) and Luwalhati Antonino (MinDA).
The President emphasized his primary concern on rescue and operation in order to save possible survivors or at least find the dead bodies of the victims from the landslide and flooding incidents in several villages in Mindanao.
Forthcoming Obligatory Help
As the thousands of Filipino families remained in evacuation centers, different individuals and organizations, private and public, are extending help to the typhoon victims.
Actors and actresses offered assistance through concert benefits with proceeds for the victims. Solons contributed P5,000 each as an aid.
Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao, who is in the US for his boxing fight on Sunday, said in a statement “I’ll go out and raise money for the people who were affected.”
“I have helped my countrymen before, and I will do whatever they ask me to do to help,” he added.
Meanwhile, UN leader Ban Ki-moon had sent “sincere condolences” to the Philippine government and assured to mobilize international support for the Philippines
On Friday, December 7, the Australian Embassy offered help of P210 million for the victims. In a statement, Australian embassy chargé d’affaires Andrew Byrne said “on behalf of the Australian government and people, I extend heartfelt sympathies for the loss of lives and destruction resulting from this devastating typhoon.”
Typhoon Pablo, internationally code named Bopha, left a quarter million people homeless.