It is through Chairman Gordon’s vision to modernize that the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has become the leading organization in disaster and emergency response in the Philippines. When Sen. Dick Gordon assumed the position of Chairman and CEO of the prestigious humanitarian organization in 2004, PRC was able to improve its fleet of rescue vehicles to capacitate PRC in its endeavor to alleviate human suffering and uplift the dignity of the Filipino.
Chairman Gordon, with more than 53 years of experience as a volunteer of the Philippine Red Cross, has seen and rescued thousands of individuals during typhoons. Gordon knew that the acquisition of such assets is essential to save thousands of lives in times of disaster, calamity, and other humanitarian interventions.
From one semi-functioning ambulance in 2004, PRC now has 175 ambulances, the sea-going ship M/V Amazing Grace, 139 motorcycles, 34 rubber boats, seven payloaders, eight humvees, two amphibians, ten rescue vehicles, nineteen fire trucks, 22 water tankers, and 28 food trucks ready to be deployed.
Gordon’s modernization program started with a vision that later turned into a reality, making the Philippine Red Cross a moving force in the service of the nation. It continues to serve Filipinos greatly affected by Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) despite the surging cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Days before Typhoon Odette entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), PRC Chairman Dick Gordon instructed all PRC local chapters to mobilize rescue equipment in preparation for the typhoon’s landfall. Staff members and volunteers readied Food trucks, water tankers, rescue boats, ambulances, and rescue vehicles to assist families that were foreseen to be affected by Typhoon Odette.
After the onslaught of the typhoon, more than 700,000 families were affected in 11 regions. Guided by the PRC mandate that volunteers plus logistics plus information technology equals a Red Cross that is always first, always ready, and always there, Chairman Gordon immediately deployed PRC assets to restore a lifeline in the affected areas.
“At the height of the typhoon, we immediately deployed a humanitarian caravan consisting of necessary equipment such as food trucks, water tankers, payloaders, generator sets, VSAT, and other rescue vehicles to assist the affected families and alleviate their suffering,” said Sen. Dick Gordon.
Since water and food are essential in any calamity, Sen Gordon had PRC food trucks mobilized to provide ready-to-eat meals to 76,748 individuals. Water tankers, water treatment units, and water purification units were deployed to provide clean and potable water with a total of two million liters to date.
PRC payloaders also played a vital role in clearing 2,468 cubic yards of debris to make way for more relief. PRC also sent out Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) to restore communication lines thereby allowing 175 individuals to reconnect with their loved ones.
“The PRC is the foremost organization in the provision of relief for the Filipino. We are ready anytime to deploy, provide, and relieve,” ends Sen. Gordon.