MALACANANG, December 23, 2003 (STAR) In the spirit of Christmas, President Gloria Arroyo urged the public Tuesday to help those affected by the landslide tragedy in Leyte.

In a statement, Pres. Arroyo said she was mobilizing all the available resources of the government to bear upon Leyte disaster and called upon the Filipinos to "open up their compassion and generosity to the victims."

Pres. Arroyo said, "The celebration of Christmas takes a back seat for many rescue and humanitarian workers who will continue day and night to perform their duties."

"I ask the people to support the various fund drives aiming to raise assistance for the victims and the dislocated," she added.

"This is a time of compassion, charity and sharing," she said.

Likewise, the President said they were undertaking measures to mitigate the immediate effects of the calamity and as well as determining methods for long-term prevention.

More than 300 others have gone dead or missing as rescuers try to unearth landslide victims in the central island of Panaon.

Flash floods over the weekend in Southern Leyte and Mindanao reportedly caused the landslides, a tragedy blamed on denuded mountain slopes caused by illegal logging and land conversion.

Japan provides emergency aid to RP disaster areas 12/23 12:46:07 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Japan said Tuesday it is providing about 15.9 million yen (about 144,000 US dollars) to the victims of floods and landslides in the central and southern Philippines.

The aid includes tents, generators, cables, water tanks, shovels, tool sets and blankets, the Japanese embassy said in a statement.

The supplies arrived in Manila Tuesday from a Japanese government warehouse in Singapore.

"On behalf of the government and people of Japan, the embassy has likewise expressed its sympathies and condolences to the victims of Saturday's tragedy," it said.

The weekend disasters left an estimated 300 people dead or missing.

US brings in relief goods, funds for Leyte landslide victims 12/23 3:52:01 PM

MANILA (AFP) - The United States said Tuesday it was providing 2.7 million pesos (about 49,000 US dollars) as well as relief goods to victims of floods and landslides in the central and southern Philippines which have left more than 300 people dead or missing.

The funds were to be given to the local Red Cross office, while a US C-130 military cargo plane was scheduled to deliver medicines, food, blankets and clothes to affected areas, the US embassy said.

US envoy to Manila Francis Ricciardone, who accompanied President Gloria Arroyo in visiting disaster-stricken Panaon island on Tuesday, has expressed "great regret and sympathy" on behalf of President George W. Bush, it said.

The Philippines is a key ally of the US in Southeast Asia.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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