Now on its 70th year, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) carries out its humanitarian mission through its 103 chapters with over two million volunteers, supported by hundreds of emergency vehicles and rescue equipment, warehouses, and blood centers strategically located throughout the country. PRC also has its very own building that houses its high-tech, state-of-the-art operations center that is the nerve center of PRC, mobilizing its trained volunteers and prepositioned logistics in times of disasters and grave need.
In line with its 70th anniversary, PRC is holding a month-long celebration, starting with the Fund and Membership Kick-Off on April 19. Then on May 8, PRC will launch its very own humanitarian ship, an event that will be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte. Finally, on May 13, the organization will hold its fourth annual Million Volunteer Run.
With the theme “70 Taon: Kusang Loob, Malasakit, at Kapwa Tao,” PRC continues to be the country’s foremost humanitarian organization, always ready to provide humanitarian assistance and service to the most needy. With the organization’s recent acquisition of its very own humanitarian vessel, it will now be able to respond faster to disasters.
“For 70 years, the Red Cross’ ideal of service has been translated to humanitarian acts. With the aim of providing first responses—through our army of volunteers, blood facilities, health and first aid programs, and new technologies—PRC stays true to its advocacies to improve people’s lives and dignity,” said PRC Chairman Richard Gordon.
PRC wasn’t always the full-service organization that is today, however. But the desire and commitment to help was always at its core.
PRC’s roots trace as far back as the period during the Philippine Revolution in the late 1890s, but it would only be officially inaugurated in 1947, after the Philippines became independent and became a republic.
Upon its inauguration on April 15, 1947, PRC, then called the Philippine National Red Cross, offered Blood Services, Nursing Services, and Safety Services, among others. At present, PRC offers six services.
“Anchored on its six major services—Disaster Management, Blood, Safety, Health, Social, Volunteer and Red Cross Youth, all of which embody the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality—the Red Cross continues to be a pillar of hope, dignity, and inspiration in times of disasters and emergencies,” said PRC Secretary General Oscar Palabyab.
To date, PRC has 526 emergency equipment, which include 132 ambulances – the biggest ambulance fleet in the country, fire trucks, 6x6 trucks, pay loaders, rescue boats, amphibians, mobile kitchens, water bladders, water tankers, generator sets and tower lights, an emergency field hospital, and a refrigerated van.
PRC’s Blood Services, which provide 50% of the country’s blood requirements, has 86 blood service facilities, 26 blood centers, and 60 blood collecting units. Its blood center is ISO 9001:2008-certified.
PRC also boasts 10,426 trained first aiders, 5,500 individuals provided with livelihood programs, 43,000 houses built—on top of the 77,066 houses built as part of PRC’s Haiyan Operations shelter program. As of March 2017, PRC’s very successful Haiyan Operations program has also supported 62,683 families through livelihood assistance, repaired 85 health facilities, reconstructed 514 classrooms, provided 100 schools with water and sanitation facilities, and distributed 8,375 school kits.
Dedicated to alleviating human suffering and uplifting dignity, PRC, together with the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, will continue its humanitarian mission following its formula of Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, Always There.