Taguig, Metro Manila - Visiting the frontline of the Bayan Bayanihan emergency food program on 6 April, ADB President Masa Asakawa lent a helping hand to deliver needed supplies to poor homes in Metro Manila.

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa: “We don’t know how long this will last.

“We hope it will be over very shortly, but in the meantime we really need to help poor people who have no income, which is low [anyway] in the Philippines.

“So we decided to provide assistance, to provide necessities of food and other things for people, to help them for the next couple of weeks.”

President Asakawa visited an army packing and distribution center where the Commanding General of the Philippine  Army, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, provided a tour of an operation run with military precision.

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay: “The trucks lined up are the vehicles that will be used to transport relief goods to areas and target beneficiaries. We consulted with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Those far-flung areas, those are the targets of the relief goods donated by ADB. So, we will see to it that there is no duplication and we really maximize ADB’s donation.”

Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., National Security Advisor and Director General of the National Security Council, explained to President Asakawa how each day, soldiers fill thousands of sacks with bags of rice, tinned goods, and other essential items, and deliver them to poor communities around Manila and nearby areas.

A partnership between ADB, the Government of the Philippines and the private sector, in coordination with the Philippine Army, the Bayan Bayanihan program will provide food to at least 140,000 poor households to support them through the COVID-19 crisis.

Josephine Sida, resident of Malabon City: “We are grateful that there are people who are giving relief goods. With the grace of God, we are able to survive this crisis.”