The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) emergency medical services (EMS) responded to 315 motorcycle riders who figured in an accident from January to April this year, 101 of whom were in Metro Manila. Two hundred fifty of the patients were transported to hospitals, while 65 were treated by emergency medical technicians. The safety of motorcycle riders is one of the advocacies of the PRC, under the leadership of its chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” J. Gordon, who led the transformation of PRC’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from a “one and a half ambulance vehicle” operation into what it is today.
Ang Red Cross ay laging handang rumesponde sa ating mga kababayan sa kanilang medical emergency,” Chairman Gordon said. The PRC EMS consisted of one ambulance vehicle that was in good working condition and one that worked only half the time when Gordon became chairman in 2004.
Today, PRC has EMS units across its chapters throughout the country.
The PRC EMS deploys emergency medical services units, which consist of emergency medical technicians on board ambulance vehicles, to provide on-scene patient care and treatment and transport to medical facilities. From January to April this year, the PRC EMS has responded to 2,579 incidents, 2,094 of which were free, while 485 were paid. These responses involved 3,435 patients, of whom 1,420 were transported. Of those who were transported, 1,118 availed of the service for free, while 302 opted to pay.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic accidents. It added that 20 to 50 million persons more are injured, with some acquiring disability.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) started administering second booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines today, April 27, 2022, in Mandaluyong City, to the elderly and the immunocompromised. The Philippines’ Department of Health announced last April 13, 2022 that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the administration of Covid-19 second booster shots to the elderly, the immunocompromised, and frontline health workers.
PRC Chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” J. Gordon, advised the immunocompromised who are fully vaccinated and have the first booster shot to get the second booster shot if the required time interval has lapsed. “Hinihikayat ko ang ating mga kababayan na immunocompromised na fully vaccinated at may first booster shot na kumuha ng second booster shot sa akmang panahon,” Chairman Gordon said.
The spouses Ninfa and Nicanor Viray, who are both elderly and immunocompromised, had their second booster shots at the PRC today. Ms. Viray, 84 years old, is a cancer patient who just had a mastectomy. Mr. Viray, 85 years old, is a diabetes patient. They both had their first booster in December 2021. The second booster shot against Covid-19 is given at
least four months after the first booster shot, but the interval could be earlier for other patients if prescribed by a doctor.
“That we’ll be more protected from more severe symptoms owing to our age. We’d like to be as protected as possible, considering that sometimes we are also compelled to go out of the house to buy some basic needs,” was Ms. Viray’s answer when asked what she hoped the second booster shot would do. She added that getting the second booster shot is part of their taking care of themselves, because their decisions about their health affect the rest of the family.
When asked how they would encourage other members of the elderly population to get vaccinated, Ms. Viray says she would show them how she and her husband have relative capacity to still enjoy life, because they can be mobile and interact with people with confidence despite their advanced years. Mr. Viray shares that his style is personal; he talks to his friends about the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Ms. Viray says they try to observe all the health protocols as much as possible, because they don’t want to abuse the new lease on life they are enjoying because of the protection that the vaccines give. Mr. Viray attests that since he got vaccinated, he has felt more assured that he is protected. The couple is keen on doing their share in educating the community about the collective nature and solution to the Covid-19 public health emergency.
The PRC’s vaccination efforts are part of its mandate as auxiliary to the government in its humanitarian tasks. The PRC started administering Covid-19 vaccines in March 2021. To date, it has administered 1,153,200 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters through its Bakuna Centers, Bakuna Teams, and Bakuna Buses nationwide. It has fully vaccinated 367,985 individuals.
At approximately 4:30 pm on April 27, 2022, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon was apprised of the collapse of the Clarin Bridge in Loay, Bohol. Aware that time is of the essence in these situations, Chairman Gordon immediately dispatched a fully trained and equipped PRC Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) team and a five-member Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew to the site of the collapsed bridge. The personnel involved are part of the rescue and relief component of the PRC Bohol Chapter. In addition, Chairman Gordon placed two PRC Cebu Chapter EMS groups of eight trained medical staff on standby, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.
“Kahit kelan, laging handang tumulong ang Philippine Red Cross sa mga nangangailangan. Agad natin ipinadala and ating rescue teams upang mabilis ang pag-rescue, para makatulong at makaligtas ng buhay,” Sen. Gordon said.
The old Clarin bridge in Loay is located 22.7 kilometers from Bohol’s capital of Tagbilaran and had previously sustained damage from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that occurred in 2013. Initial reports from the office of Bohol Governor Arthur Yap implied that the tragedy was due to stationary traffic causing an overload of vehicles. Among several cargo vehicles was a dump truck loaded with gravel and sand. When it reached the middle of the bridge, the collapse began, quickly pulling vehicles at the front and back of the dump truck into the deep waters of the Loboc River below.
Local ambulance vehicles and military and police personnel were deployed to the area as well, all waiting for additional information from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to see if they were needed to assist in the search and rescue operation.
The rescue operation concluded at 11:30 pm when rains began, hindering further efforts. The rescue divers experienced zero visibility, while strong underwater currents hampered more attempts. Search and rescue operations and salvage work to retrieve 12 vehicles in the deep waters are scheduled to resume again at 8:00 am on Thursday, April 28. An estimated 30 survivors were treated for injuries after being rescued.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” J. Gordon, directed the PRC team in Baybay City, Leyte, to continue its support for the local government in its Tropical Storm (TS) Agaton response. Senator Gordon’s directive came 13 days after the first PRC search and rescue team arrived in the city and started rescue and relief operations in the area. The PRC Emergency Response Unit (ERU) continued to work alongside the city’s own emergency response unit in retrieval operations in landslide-affected Barangay Kantagnos.
Also yesterday, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) team distributed 23,300 liters of water: 11,300 in Baybay National High School, 6,500 in Barangay Hipusngo, 1,200 in Zone 14, and 4,300 in Zone 18. The PRC response team in Baybay regularly coordinates with the city government to guide its actions.
To ensure implementation of his directives, Senator Gordon continues to monitor the situation in Baybay and other TS Agaton-affected areas. He assured the affected residents that the Philippine Red Cross “will be here for the long haul, as usual.”
On April 11, after multiple landslides were reported in Leyte due to heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm (TS) Agaton, PRC sent a search and rescue team to assist the local government of Baybay City. On April 12, a PRC humanitarian caravan, composed of a water tanker, an ambulance, and a mobile kitchen arrived in Baybay. Two more teams were added afterward, to reinforce the ambulance services and help provide welfare services, such as distributing hot meals and providing psychosocial first aid.
On the occasion of the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) 75th anniversary, the PRC Caloocan City Chapter recognized more than 100 volunteers and individual partners and 80 partner organizations in humanitarian response last April 23, 2022, Saturday, in a Recognition Day ceremony at Victory Mall in Caloocan City. 36 tablets were also distributed to 36 beneficiary students during the recognition ceremony. The gadgets were from the Gadget Pantry Project, through the sponsorship of the charity organization HERD.
PRC Chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, lauds and thanks the awardees and honorees for being part of PRC’s mantra of “Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, Always There.”
Volunteers received awards for their dedication in providing their services, especially in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the volunteers are community-based men and women and boys and girls who give their time, resources, and energy to ensure the success of PRC’s health and other campaigns in the barangays and work alongside PRC staff to respond to emergencies and calamities. Nursing students who volunteer their skills and time in community-based health programs and as emergency medical services on-the-job trainees were also recognized.
Three barangay captains and four barangays were commended for their consistency in partnering with the PRC to respond to emergencies and calamities in their barangays. Another government entity whose partnership was celebrated by PRC was the 6th Mobile Force Company of the Philippine National Police. Socio-civic clubs or fraternities such as Tau Gamma Phi chapters, Rotary Clubs, and Eagles’ Clubs, and the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church were also extolled. Community-based associations, professionals’ organizations, student governments, schools, and business entities were cited for their contribution of their time, talent, and resources.
In an interview with ABC Australia on Tropical Storm Agaton (international name: Megi) last April 13, 2022, via Skype, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon emphasized the need for a long-term plan to make sure people have the option to live in safe areas and not in dangerous ones, such as at the foot of mountains or near oceans. “There has to be a long-term plan, a big sit-down to ensure every province can make some alternatives for the people,” Chairman Gordon said.
This is the policy change Gordon wishes to see after the elections, he said when asked whether the campaign season has affected the Philippines’ assistance to areas hit by Agaton. He explained that the country will alleviate human suffering by making sure it prevents it by predicting the areas that are prone to disasters and adopting appropriate policies.
The Chairman has been an advocate of a national policy to move people living in dangerous areas to safer places. PRC built homes in a safer place for the survivors of the 2006 landslide in Barangay Guinsaugon, Saint Bernard town in Southern Leyte, which killed around 2,000 people. PRC also built or repaired homes for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which caused ocean surges as high as six meters and devastated the Eastern Visayas region in 2013. Overall, the PRC has built or repaired 80,000 homes for survivors of calamities in Eastern Visayas.
Chairman Gordon swore that the Red Cross will be helping populations affected by TS Agaton in the long run, as it usually does for survivors of calamities. “The Red Cross will be here for the long haul, as usual,” Chairman Gordon said. He mentioned that the PRC is still assisting survivors of Super Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai), which made landfall on Christmas eve of 2021.
Gordon mentioned some preparedness measures that can be adopted, such as having whistles to call for help during calamities, identifying high-risk areas and moving people, and training people especially for landslides. He highlighted the importance of having pre-positioned people and logistics in the regions, such as sirens, flares, pickax, shovel, payloader, torch and other lighting devices that can be used even at night.
A blessed Semana Santa!
May the sacrifice of Jesus and the grace of God bless all our hearts and homes with peace.
Today, we commemorate the Philippine Red Cross’s 75 years in the service of the FIlipino people. It is fitting that such a momentous occasion falls during Good Friday, a day of contemplation and reflection for most of our countrymen.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) originally had its roots in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 but was officially created on April 15, 1947. It was initially involved only in the provision of first aid to soldiers at war, supplying blood and medicine as well as some participation in disaster-related rescue activities. Almost eight decades later, the PRC now offers a broad range of humanitarian services to help the most vulnerable during times of danger.
Following in my mother’s footsteps, I joined the Red Cross as a volunteer 55 years ago. In 2004, I was elected Chairman and immediately went about a modernization and expansion program. From having one ambulance and a few blood banks, we today have a state-of-the-art operations center which helps us track and receive disaster updates, our own maritime vessel, the MV PRC Amazing Grace that can deliver relief goods should land transport be problematic after a calamity, 2 amphibious rescue vehicles, 29 food trucks, each capable of serving nutritious hot meals to 100 people every hour, 28 water tankers that recently provided 15 million liters of potable water to disaster areas affected by Typhoon Odette, payloaders, hospital tents, and 10 warehouses all over the country that make rescue and response more efficient.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we established 14 molecular laboratories for RT-PCR testing, a service that the PRC had never offered before. Today, we are the largest testing provider in the country and have conducted over 5 million tests. The PRC also opened 25 vaccine centers and deployed 16 buses to help make vaccination more accessible to our people. We also opened 6 isolation facilities for those who test positive and need to be segregated from the community in order to stop transmission and keep people safe.
Today, the PRC is the country’s foremost humanitarian organization and has become the partner of choice for local and international entities that wish to bring immediate yet long-lasting aid to alleviate the suffering of our fellow Filipinos whose lives are affected by calamities, sickness, disasters and armed conflict.
Our mantra of Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology equals a Philippine Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, and Always There, so aptly describes how we are able to accomplish the complexities of our 24/7 tasks. Our 75th year is by no means a pinnacle milestone for the PRC, but the continuation of our journey towards a century of compassionate humanitarian service to the most marginalized. This journey will be our inspiration to further develop our organization’s services and provide the resilience that our country needs to face any future uncertainties.
I thank all our volunteers and staff spread across our nation, and express my sincere and profound respect for all of you who have sacrificed much in our crusade to alleviate the suffering of our countrymen. Thank you for your praiseworthy commitment. Thank you for your boundless dedication.
Finally, as Chairman of this noble and inspiring organization, I assure the public that PRC shall remain committed to provide the best humanitarian service possible towards a better tomorrow for all Filipinos in need.
Mabuhay! God bless the Philippines!
Chairman Richard “Dick” J. Gordon directed the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to send a search and rescue team today, April 11, 2022, to Barangay Ga-as, Baybay City, due to the multiple landslides reported in Leyte after Tropical Storm Agaton brought heavy rains over the weekend.
“Sa ganitong panahon, kahit na hindi super typhoon ang Agaton ay hindi tayo nagpapabaya. Palaging nakahanda ang Red Cross para rumesponde sa ating mga kababayan sa oras ng sakuna,” the PRC Chairman and CEO, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, said.
Two assessment teams from the PRC chapter in Leyte, together with the search and rescue team, the ambulance team, and the welfare services team left for Baybay City and Abuyog town today. The chapter also deployed floating assets, such as a rescue boat, for a water search and rescue operation in the municipality of Abuyog.
In coordination with the Baybay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the PRC team sent its food trucks to prepare and distribute hot meals in an evacuation center. PRC volunteers and staff also distributed hot meals to 88 individuals in Barangay Curva and to 53 individuals in Barangay Danhug evacuation centers in Ormoc City. They also distributed hot meals in Barangay Lamak, Hilongos and to stranded passengers and evacuees in Liloan, San Ricardo, and Pintuyan towns in Southern Leyte.
PRC Ormoc City Chapter was directed to stand ready to assist the Leyte Chapter in the operations in Baybay. PRC Eastern Samar Chapter has sent an assessment team to Jipapad and Guiuan towns.
Although TS Agaton has been downgraded to a tropical depression, it continues to bring heavy rains across Visayas, Mindanao, and Luzon as it slowly moves east. As of 10:00 am today, the center of TD Agaton was located over the coastal waters of Tanauan, Leyte. The PRC is monitoring the situation 24/7 and will provide further support as needed.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) now has 20 Bakuna buses, the latest of which is currently deployed in Pangasinan and is supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation.
The PRC Bakuna Bus is a bus whose interior is set up with facilities for administering vaccines, Covid-19 vaccines and supplies, and space for vaccinators. It is PRC’s way of bringing the vaccines and information to the people, assuaging their hesitations to get vaccinated.
“Patuloy ang ating laban sa Covid-19 sa pamamagitan ng bakuna at RT-PCR tests. Hindi titigil ang Red Cross na gawin ang dapat gawin upang marating ang herd immunity,” the PRC Chairman and CEO, Senator Dick Gordon, said.
Also dubbed “Health on Wheels,” the Bakuna Bus will provide a mobile Covid-19 vaccination capability in Pangasinan, initially to the fourth district, specifically to the municipalities of San Fabian, Mangaldan, San Jacinto, and Rosales.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Senator Dick Gordon led the inauguration of PRC Pangasinan-San Carlos City branch, complete with a blood service facility, PRC’s 100th such facility. The branch was built with support from San Carlos City Mayor Julier “Ayoy” Resuello and Pangasinan Third District Representative Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas, whom Chairman Gordon recognized in his address. This collaboration was made possible through the efforts of Ma. Rachel J. Arenas, a member of the Philippine Red Cross Board of Governors.
Chairman Gordon emphasized that blood saves lives, and has always encouraged blood donations. As the number one advocate of voluntary, non-remunerated blood donation in the country, Gordon explained that donating blood is a form of volunteerism.
Gordon recalls that the first blood service facility in the Philippines was that of the PRC. Today, PRC accounts for 51% of the country’s blood requirements. From January 1 to April 7, 2022, the PRC blood service facilities served 51,458 patients, dispensing 93,694 units of blood.
Gordon also recalled the long partnership of the PRC and the province of Pangasinan, both in responding to emergencies — such as the July 16, 1990 earthquake — and in preparing for disasters.