By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
June 24, 2008 - U.S. Pacific Command is moving quickly to support President Bush's promise to provide naval assets in the wake of a deadly typhoon in the Philippines that left more than 150 dead and hundreds missing. Bush expressed condolences to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during their White House meeting today and assured her the United States will move Navy assets to the area to assist. "We're happy to do it. We want to help our friends in time of need," Bush said.
The official death toll from the June 21 Typhoon Fengshen stands at 163, with about 800 more missing after the ferry Princess of the Stars capsized off Sibyauan. The typhoon also damaged more than 600,000 acres of farmland.
After her session with Bush, Arroyo met with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates at the Pentagon and also visited Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte.
Arroyo expressed thanks to the United States for its willingness to provide emergency aid to the Philippines "in this hour of need" during a news conference with Negroponte. "We are deeply grateful for the response by the U.S. government, including the U.S. Navy," she said.
Talking to reporters after their meeting, Bush said he congratulated Arroyo on her strong, effective stand on counterterrorism and her vision of peace for the region.