Apple’s pledge to help in recovery, rebuilding efforts of Philippines, Malaysia sparks worries on corruption

December 22, 2021 - 12:36 PM
People sit outside a house damaged by typhoon Rai, in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, Philippines, December 20, 2021. Picture taken December 20, 2021. (Erwin Mascarinas/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters)

Tech Company Apple will contribute to the recovery efforts of the Philippines and Malaysia following the onslaught of Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai).

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, issued this announcement on Twitter on December 21.

“Typhoon Rai has caused so much devastation in the Philippines and Malaysia — so many families have lost so much,” Cook said.

“Apple will be contributing to relief, recovery, and longer-term rebuilding efforts. #OdettePH,” he added.

Odette, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country this year, exited the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) at 12:40 pm last Saturday, December 18.

It left a trail of widespread flooding, uprooted trees and destroyed properties in many provinces and islands in Visayas and Mindanao ahead of Christmas week.

Affected areas include the Siargao Island, Palawan, Cebu City, Southern Leyte, Bohol and the CARAGA regions, most of which are major tourist spots in the country.

According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Odette caused the deaths of 400 people and displaced 630,000 more.

READ: Food running out, ‘Odette’ survivors warn 

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also said on Monday, December 20 that infrastructure damage had reached P225 million so far.

Neighboring country Malaysia also experienced the wrath of Rai this week.

In a report by Nikkei Asia on December 20, Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor were among the badly hit.

Following 36 hours of torrential rains, the report said that three people had already died and 40,000 more were displaced.

Worries about corruption

Apple’s announcement of relief response for typhoon victims was mostly welcomed by citizens of both countries online.

Some users, however, expressed concern over the possible corruption by their respective governments should the donations be directed to them.

“Please don’t send the donations to Malaysia’s government. You can reach out all the NGOs in Malaysia to send the donation (prayer emoji) Thank youuu (prayer emoji),” one Twitter user said.

“Some of us here in the Philippines also do not want the donations to go through our government. Corruption is everywhere (sad emoji),” another Twitter user said.

“Apple, just don’t give your money straight to the government as you know it’s election time soon,” a Reddit user wrote.

Harjit Sajjan, the minister of International Development Agency Canada, also tweeted that the agency will provide financial aid of up to $3 million to the Philippines.

“Canada will always do our part to help in times of need. After a devastating typhoon, @CanadaDev will help our friends in the Philippines with up to $3 million in assistance, including $500,000 for the urgent Red Cross response,” Sajjan said.

Some Filipinos on Reddit also expressed concerns that corrupt politicians might pocket these much-needed funds.

Aside from Apple and Canadian government, several organizations and governments such as UNICEF, European Union, USAID, Japan, United Kingdom, among others also pledged contributions to help the Philippines recover from the impact of Odette.

On Wednesday, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles thanked Australia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, France, Japan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Qatar, the European Union, and the United Nations for offering assistance to the Philippines.