In efforts to reach more people in need and to offer reliable help, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard ‘Dick’ J. Gordon welcomed a new branch of the Laguna Chapter in the multipurpose building of Barangay Wawa, Siniloan, Laguna on April 29. In attendance at the opening ceremony were Chapter Administrator Frank Gray Sorromero and members of the Laguna Chapter Board of Directors. The establishment of the PRC branch in Siniloan was made possible through the support of Mayor Rainier Leopando, whom Senator Gordon acknowledged in his speech.
Senator Gordon reminded the audience members at the opening ceremony that PRC is not a government entity, that volunteers compose it, that they do it without a salary, to uplift human dignity and alleviate human suffering. He lauded Red Cross volunteers for their leadership shown through action.
He emphasized the importance of “pagmamalasakit,” or compassion, which he and the PRC have stood for since its founding in 1947. He cited the Republic of Korea’s donation of a water tanker to the PRC and PRC’s assistance to other nations, like Ukraine. He also referred to the PRC’s contribution to the RT-PCR testing for Covid-19 in the Philippines; the PRC has conducted more than 5.5 million tests.
Senator Gordon also emphasized that even though the Red Cross helps the people, it is not about just giving away provisions but about empowering people. He says that as a leader, his goal is to strengthen people’s abilities. “Tumutulong tayo para may dangal at dignidad tayo,” Senator Gordon said.
A blaze of fire and smoke broke out on the first Monday of May at a residential area within the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Campus, and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) was quick to respond to the affected area.
The PRC Chairman, Senator Dick Gordon, immediately directed the PRC Operations Center to deploy PRC’s firefighters and emergency medical services team to Village A of the UP compound in Quezon City as reports of fire started coming in around 5:20 in the morning of May 2, 2022.
The Red Cross quickly dispatched one fire truck with four trained firefighters and one ambulance unit with three emergency medical responders.
The local fire bureau estimates that about 80 houses were damaged, with about 250 families affected. The families who lost their homes were evacuated to temporary shelters at the Village A and B covered court.
Red Cross teams are currently conducting assessments and will be deploying its food trucks to provide hot meals to the affected families.
“Napakahalaga ng emergency response unit at emergency medical services sa mga komunidad. Ang Red Cross ay laging handa para rumesponde sa mga kalamidad katulad ng sunog,” Chairman Gordon said.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) granted much-needed cash assistance to 333 families affected by Tropical Storm Agaton in Barangays Ambilay, Cabugao, and Cabangahan in the municipality of Panitan, Capiz. The tropical storm caused flooding and landslides in four cities and 77 municipalities across the country in April.
The PRC intends the cash grant of Php5,000.00 per family, or Php1,665,000.00, to be multipurpose, which means it should help meet whatever the beneficiaries’ needs are. The cash grant is part of the Forecast-Based Financing Project, a partnership among the Philippine Red Cross, the German Red Cross, and the Finnish Red Cross.
PRC Board of Governors member Francis Joseph J. Jalandoni, together with 72 volunteers and staff from various PRC services and teams, took charge of the relief operations. Fifteen members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team and six police officers ensured peace and order during the event.
PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard ‘Dick’ J. Gordon reassured those who were made vulnerable by TS Agaton that the Red Cross will continue to provide assistance until they are able to recover. “Gaya ng dati, nandito ang Red Cross para alalayan ang ating mga kababayan hanggang sa sila ay maka-recover,” Chairman Gordon said.
From April 7 to May 1, the PRC also served hot meals to 13,548 individuals and distributed 621,760 liters of water to populations affected by TS Agaton in Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, General Santos City, Hilongos, Iloilo, Leyte, Maguindanao, Negros Occidental, Ormoc, Passi City, Sorsogon, Southern Leyte, and Surigao del Norte. It gave food items to 1,333 families and psychosocial first aid to 757 adults and 371 children. Its emergency response unit helped evacuate 67 individuals and rescued another 99. PRC volunteers and staff provided emergency medical services, hygiene education, and PPEs. They also helped some local government units in distributing their relief items.