Yesterday, French President François Hollande handed over a cheque to Dilip Vaswani, President of Total Philippines Corporation and Chairman of France-Philippines United Action (FP-UA), for the conversion of FP-UA into the French Chamber Foundation.
This happened during the Climate Change and Inclusive Growth Business Forum organised by the Makati Business Club.
FP-UA was created back in November 2013 after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Visayas affecting about 14 million people and killing more than 6,000 people.
In the overall context, assistance from the French private sector—donations in cash and kind, mostly from large companies—had been significant but lacked coordination.
On November 15, 2013, the French Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Gilles Garachon, summoned representatives of leading French companies, in addition to those from the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur and the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, in order to exchange information on relief activities led by the French community. He suggested the creation of a coordination and communication comity lead by the French private sector which structure would be hosted and managed by the French Chamber of Commerce. Shortly after, on November 27 of 2013, France-Philippines United Action (FP-UA) was created.
Since then, FP-UA has been involved on two projects both located in Daanbantayan, North Cebu, which was badly damaged by the passage of typhoon Haiyan. Overall, 222 houses are being built along with 2 Multi-Purpose Centers and one clinic, targeting a total of at least 888 beneficiaries. The total budget in construction will exceed 1.4M USD thanks to donors including companies such as Total, Lafarge, Schneider, Sanofi, Caisse des Dépôts, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem and Archetype. FP-UA also works with the NGOs Habitat for Humanity Philippines as well as the French and Philippines Red Cross that are implementing the projects on the ground.
A third site will soon be selected in Bogo city, also in North Cebu, for the erection of 50 units funded by Cités-Unies France.
On January 25, Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, visited the two sites in Daanbantayan. He was deeply impressed with the unique structure of FP-UA which manages to gather different stakeholders for the same purpose; which is helping the victims of typhoon Haiyan. He thus promised that he would support their conversion into a foundation and would bring this matter to the highest level: the Elysée Palace.
The mission of the French Chamber Foundation, as announced by President Hollande, will be to engage companies to set up or strengthen their CSR & Disaster Responses initiatives as well as fostering partnerships between the members of the French Chamber and NGOs.