Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

The Philippine government will contribute $200,000 or approximately P10 million to the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

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The CERF is a humanitarian fund administered by the United Nations for people in emergency situations and remains as one of the speediest and most flexible funding mechanisms within the international body.

“[F]or the last 20 months, humanity has endured a crisis of a scale in pain, loss, and economic destruction never seen in our lifetime. Covid has taken more than five million lives and the grim reaping goes on,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

“Tens of millions of people, already vulnerable without the pandemic, have been so pounded from all sides that only a lifeline decides if they live or die. The Central Emergency Relief Fund is such a lifeline,” he added.

In 2013, the UN was among the first to respond after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, releasing a multimillion-dollar humanitarian assistance to help residents affected by the super typhoon.

It has also tided over tens of thousands of Filipinos after jihadists took Marawi, a war that forcibly displaced at least 98 percent of the city’s total population, as well as residents from nearby municipalities.

Recently, the Philippines was selected as a pilot for the implementation of CERF Anticipatory Action (AA) for Tropical Cyclone with an allotted $7.5 million for the possible activation of AA framework.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 2021 has been one of the most difficult years for humanitarian actors but CERF has stepped up to the challenge.

In 2020, the fund helped close to 69 million people – twice as many as the year before.

“[T]he scale of today’s crises demands a strong CERF with the resources it needs to rise to the challenge of responding swiftly at the onset of an emergency. This year, despite the generosity of donors, the $1-billion goal was not reached. But it can be done if Member States allocate just a small percentage of their humanitarian funding through CERF each year,” Guterres said.

The CERF Pledging Event, held last December 8, was organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to galvanize greater commitments and ensure that CERF remains fit to respond to the increasing levels and complexities of global humanitarian needs.

The event also marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of CERF by the UN General Assembly.

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