[ Note : One thing you can’t deny about our Ambassador, and it’s the fact that she’s one of the hardest-working ambassadors around. Here she is taking time from her busy schedule to personally thank one of our biggest supporters post-Haiyan, the people of New Zealand. Mabuhay tayong lahat! ]
TO PERSONALLY convey our President’s best wishes and reiterate the millions of Pinoys’ heartfelt gratitude for the New Zealand Government and People’s generous support after supertyphoon Haiyan ravaged Central Philippines last year, our Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez paid a courtesy call on the Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Words will never be enough to thank countless New Zealanders for the outpouring of generosity, care and compassion which gave comfort, strength and hope to recover and rebuild what nature’s wrath had laid to waste, said the good Ambassador.
Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and was pleased to hear about the latest developments in the multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional reconstruction and rehabilitation in the Visayas region. He also acknowledged the continuing important roles and contributions of 40,350 Filipinos in New Zealand.
As a token of appreciation, Ambassador Benavidez presented to Prime Minister Key a painting by Paco Gorospe, a leading Filipino artist, depicting fishermen casting their net and catching bountiful fish. It is especially meaningful as among those affected by the unprecedented devastation are the fishing communities who are now being assisted in the on-going restoration of livelihood in the massively affected areas.
Prime Minister Key thanked Ambassador Benavidez and admired the painting which he said would be hung in an appropriate place in the Parliament. Ambassador also presented a special thank you message from the Philippine community who were deeply moved by the overflowing kindness and overwhelming support from the people of New Zealand.
For his part, Prime Minister Key gave a framed and signed photograph of the Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 aircraft which was sent immediately to provide the much needed airlift and logistical support delivering tons of relief supplies and equipment and evacuating a large number of survivors to nearby Cebu. In expressing her deep appreciation, Ambassador Benavidez said that the Prime Minister’s gift is a much treasured one that will always be a grateful reminder of New Zealand’s humanitarian mission and assistance in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.