By Perry Diaz
His Excellency Mr. Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful hospitality you accorded me on the occasion of my state visit to the “Land of the Rising Sun.” It was a memorable visit as well as a successful bilateral meeting between our two countries.
My tour of the area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit your country caused me a lot of grief because of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of your citizens. But I must say that I truly admire the resilience, perseverance, and discipline of your people in dealing with the catastrophe.
My personal experience of seeing how your government and people handled the recovery and reconstruction in just a matter of one year leads me to believe that where there is hope, there is a way. I went home enlightened and resolved that should my country experience what you had gone through, I’d think of how you did it.
On a personal note, I’m glad that you accepted my pledge of $1 million for the earthquake and tsunami victims as a token of our friendship and sincere desire to help our distressed neighbor in the spirit of bayanihan.
I know that when I made my pledge of $1-million donation, my country was in the midst of Typhoon Pedring, a situation where we could use that money to help our people. But my Christian upbringing taught me: “Give and you shall receive.”
But Yoshi-san, I must tell you that Typhoon Pedring was worse than Typhoon Ondoy two years ago in which your people – through your benevolent government — donated $50,000 to the typhoon victims. And then as soon as Typhoon Pedring left the country in havoc, Typhoon Quiel struck. It was a double whammy!
Should your people decide once again to donate to our typhoon victims, I hope that they would consider increasing their donation because of the magnitude of the catastrophe, which my staff estimated to be at least ten times worse than Typhoon Ondoy. Perhaps a $3-million donation might be something that you would consider. But please don’t think that I’m pressuring you into giving.
If you decide to donate $3 million… or more, you may subtract our $1-million donation and just send us the difference. That would simplify our accounting.
Once again, I thank you, Yoshi-san. I would like to invite you to visit my country, the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.” I must tell you that you and I have something in common. You’re Yoshi-san and I’m a yoshi fan! My favorite yoshi — or cigarette — is Marlboro. We can smoke a yoshi during our tête-à-tête.
Dr. Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III
President of the Philippines