Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador conveys Filipino People's appreciation to New Zealand's Chief of Defence Force

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Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez made a courtesy call on New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones on 22 January 2014 in the Ministry of Defence Office in Wellington to personally express the gratitude of the Philippine government and the Filipino people for the humanitarian assistance, airlift and logistical support that New Zealand has unselfishly extended in the disaster stricken areas in Central Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda last November.

Ambassador Benavidez congratulated Lieutenant General Jones who has recently been awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the New Year’s Honours List, and acknowledged his leadership at the New Zealand Defence Force for its contribution to the international humanitarian aid operation in the Philippines. A 24-member New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) contingent, composed of personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) No.40 Squadron and No.209 Squadron, was deployed to support the said international aid operation.

Lieutenant General Jones noted that the Philippines is in the middle of typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters recently. New Zealand being a disaster-prone island nation like the Philippines fully understands the vulnerabilities and is ready to be of help in times of need.

Ambassador Benavidez shared with Lieutenant General Jones how she was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister John Key on 21 January 2014 at the Prime Minister’s Office also to convey the best wishes of President Benigno S. Aquino III and reiterate the Philippine Government’s and the Filipino People’s heartfelt gratitude to the Government and People of New Zealand. She described to Lieutenant General Jones how Filipinos continue to endear themselves with the people of New Zealand and that this has contributed immensely to the outpouring of empathy, generosity and kindness springing forth among New Zealanders towards Filipinos and the Philippines.

As a token of appreciation, Ambassador Benavidez gave Lieutenant General Jones a gift, the latest WOW Magic Sing Grand Rhapsody Videoke Microphones with 5,156 built-in English and Filipino songs. She explained to Lieutenant General Jones that the Magic Sing Videoke Microphones are very popular items in houses and various places in the Philippines, even in military camps. Filipinos love to sing and music is a way of expressing emotions, enlivening events and helping cope in times of difficulties and sadness. Lieutenant General Jones was delighted to receive the Magic Sing Microphones which he said he will give to the Squadron officers and members for their entertainment and recreation.

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