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Author: Allan Jr. Pagkalinawan

A month after his visit in General Santos City to see the Covid-19 “Bakuna Bus” operations, the Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Gilles Carbonnier  sent his commendations to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and its Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon for the foremost organization’s innovative crisis response and community-level services. 

On 15 December, in a letter addressed to Chairman Gordon, Vice President Carbonnier said, “The innovations you have spearheaded at the Philippine Red Cross’s headquarters and in your response capacity are remarkable. The visit to General Santos City allowed me to see for myself how a local chapter delivered services in its community. Your staff and volunteers’ tireless work are commendable.”

“Our mantra of ‘Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, and Always There” serves as a guide for us as we continue to serve humanity. We shall keep strengthening the localization of our humanitarian responses to provide more efficient services to our most vulnerable people,” Chairman Gordon, meanwhile, said. 

Vice President Carbonnier further cited that the PRC and ICRC showed the importance of continually adapting to the ever-changing landscape of humanitarian action. “At the ICRC, we are delighted to enjoy such a fruitful partnership with your National Society [PRC]. I am sure, as I emphasized during my visit, that we shall continue to work well together to deliver on our humanitarian mission in the Philippines,” added Vice President Carbonnier.  

As of October 2022, the PRC’s Bakuna Buses and Bakuna Centers with Bakuna Teams, in partnership with ICRC, have administered a total of 325, 066 vaccines — 76, 876 individuals fully vaccinated and 51,238 persons boosted — in the region of Mindanao.

As the Philippines’ health department reports an increase in hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) cases, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon advised the premier humanitarian organization’s network of barangay-based volunteers to be vigilant. HFMD is a highly contagious viral infection that is common among infants and children. Gordon added that greater caution is needed as children interact with each other in face-to-face classes and with family during the Christmas season.

“PRC’s Health Services Team has alerted all our 100+ chapters — and our RC143 volunteers — to be vigilant and report to our Operations Center information from the barangays on HFMD cases,” Gordon said. 

It is different from foot-and-mouth, or hoof-and-mouth, disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. People infected by HFMD are most contagious during the first week of their illness. Its incubation period is two to 14 days. Its signs and symptoms are fever, sore throat, malaise (feeling of being unwell), painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and the inside of the cheeks, red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles, and sometimes the buttocks, irritability in infants and toddlers, and loss of appetite.

HFMD is transmitted through contact with nose and throat discharges and saliva of infected persons and contaminated objects. Good hygiene, such as proper handwashing, can decrease the risk of spreading the disease. Disinfection of premises and all infected surfaces will also help.

As the world celebrates International Volunteers Day on December 5, 2022, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) honors its chairman and CEO, Richard J. Gordon, as a volunteer. Gordon started volunteering at the Red Cross a young age, in 1968. He marks 54 years of being a Red Cross volunteer this year.

Volunteerism probably runs in Gordon’s family. To be exact, he might have “inherited” the trait from his mother. At a young age, he witnessed his mother provide care for many orphaned or abandoned children. It was also his mother, herself a Red Cross leader, who introduced Gordon to what would be, under his leadership, the premier humanitarian organization in the country.

Before becoming PRC’s chairman and CEO in 2004, Gordon as city mayor of Olongapo led around 8,000 volunteers from all walks of life to transform Subic Bay into the a special economic zone after the termination of US Naval Base’s operations there. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, Gordon was among the key government officials who led the response and recovery of Central Luzon.

As chairman and CEO of PRC, Gordon would lead notable humanitarian responses, such as the Ginsaugon landslide response, the Super Ferry response, and the Super Typhoon Haiyan response, which is the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s biggest humanitarian response to date.

Gordon’s brand of volunteerism emanates from his love for the country and its people. This love was once again demonstrated when he worked tirelessly with his colleagues in 2020 to rapidly put up molecular laboratories capable of automated testing of Covid-19, so that the country would be able to detect virus transmission and isolate those infected.

Gordon collaborated with his colleagues at PRC in developing the concept of and launching the barangay-based Red Cross 143 volunteer network, which is what makes PRC able to gather information from the ground and respond quickly in disasters and emergencies.

Gordon’s influence as a Red Cross leader is far-reaching. His colleagues at the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and government disaster managers seek his wisdom from his 54 years of experience as a volunteer and leader of the PRC.

The spirit of volunteerism defines the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). Today (05 December), the PRC celebrates International Volunteer Day by honoring the unwavering commitment and efforts of Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteers to serve the most vulnerable.

PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon, who has been volunteering his time to serve the most vulnerable for 54 years,  expressed his appreciation to the volunteers of the foremost humanitarian organization. “Hindi kailanman mapapantayan ng kahit na ano ang halaga ng ating mga volunteers. Saludo ako sa ating mga volunteers na purong pagmamalasakit sa kapwa ang dahilan ng kanilang mga ginagawang pagtulong. Ang PRC ay mananatiling katulong at kaagapay ninyo sa pag-angat sa ating mga kababayan. Mabuhay kayo,” said Chairman Gordon.

The PRC Chapters will conduct the following  activities, among others, to encourage and strengthen volunteerism in communities: volunteer promotion and recruitment in public areas, chapter volunteer recognition, and Red Cross 143 volunteer stories.

For over 75 years, PRC volunteers have dedicated their time and effort to ensure safety and provide assistance to the most vulnerable. From January 1 to December 1, 2022, through the assistance of volunteers, PRC has administered 400, 895 Covid-19 vaccines and provided 230, 874 patients with blood services. Meanwhile, from 2020 to 2022, PRC Welfare Services served hot meals to 339, 323 victims of disasters and other emergencies.

The PRC, through its RC143 community-based volunteering program, promotes a culture of self-help in the communities by developing a network of volunteers trained to predict potential risks, plan, prepare, and practice for effective community-based disaster risk reduction. To become a PRC volunteer, fill out the online application form through redcross.ph/volunteer or visit the PRC National Headquarters or nearest PRC chapter. Inquiries are welcome at PRC’s website, www.redcross.org.ph, or at landline number (02) 8790 2300 LOCAL 945, or at [email protected]

The stringent Covid-19 lockdown rules halted blood donation activities, precipitating a blood shortage for medical transfusions in the country. On 25 November, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), in partnership with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), conducted a bloodletting activity in LRT-2 Araneta–Center Cubao Station from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM to help replenish the blood reserves in the country. The activity generated a total of 21 blood units.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa LRTA sa patuloy nilang pakikipagtulungan sa amin. Ang ganitong blood donation activity ay mahalaga dahil ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan sa dugo ay hindi kailanman matatapos. The blood units collected in this activity will surely reach and help many of our kababayans in vulnerable situations,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.

A unit of blood can save the lives of multiple people. According to PRC Blood Services, red cells, platelets, and plasma are among the transfusable components that can be derived from donated blood. Patients may receive a pint of whole blood or only the specific components of the blood that are required to treat their particular condition.

The PRC has 31 blood centers and 73 blood-collecting units nationwide. From January 1 to October 31, 2022, PRC National Blood Services served 203, 645 patients and collected 392, 391 blood units from 336, 587 donors.

Holiday seasons are known to be lean periods for blood donations, but the Philippine Red Cross is committed to saving lives by conducting blood donation drives anytime. For blood donations, blood requests, and other inquiries, email the PRC National Blood Services at [email protected] or contact the PRC Blood Call Center, which may be reached nationwide by dialing 143.

Malabon City — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Malabon City Chapter held its 6th Chapter Assembly on 29 November 2022 at the Rotary Club of Malabon Civic Center with the theme “Harvesting Opportunity for a Prepared and Engaged Community”. The event is an annual opportunity to honor, highlight, and report the powerful contributions of volunteers to the Malabon City Chapter’s activities and achievements.

PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon expressed his appreciation for the staff and volunteers of the Malabon City Chapter. “Ngayong araw na ito ay binabati ko kayo para sa marami ninyong nagawa para maiangat ang mga kababayan nating nasa vulnerable situations […]. Agaran ang pagresponde ninyo sa mga sunog at puspusan din ang vaccination drive ninyo laban sa polio at Covid-19 […]. Masaya ako na kumpleto na ang Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteer ng inyong chapter, at ngayon ay kumikilos naman kayo para makumpleto ang RC143 ng mga barangay,” said Chairman Gordon.

During the assembly, the Board of Directors of the Malabon City Chapter reported on the chapter’s activities and achievements, which support the goals of PRC’s different services. The report stated that amid the decline of blood donors and blood donation activities because of the global pandemic, the Malabon City Chapter remained committed to PRC’s goal of delivering adequate, safe, and quality blood supply to the most vulnerable. From 2020 to 2022, it collected 2, 095 blood units from 2, 429 donors and dispensed 1, 959 units. The chapter also emphasized their successful vaccination drives against Covid-19, measles, and polio.

Mayor and Malabon City Chapter Board of Directors Honorary Chairman Jeannie Sandoval mentioned that the growing number of their volunteers greatly contributed to the success of their activities. The chapter, meanwhile, also elected its new set of Board of Directors.

PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang to PRC Malabon City Chapter: “The Malabon City Chapter is fortunate to have active volunteers. Let me applaud the staff and volunteers of this chapter for your dedication and commitment to alleviating human suffering and uplifting human dignity.

Valenzuela City- Amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Valenzuela Chapter held its 8th Biennial Chapter Assembly on November 25, 2022, at the PRC Valenzuela City Chapter Building, ALERT Center Compound, Malinta, Valenzuela City, with the theme “Embracing the new normal towards a resilient community.”

PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon, in his address to the Assembly participants, said that the premier humanitarian organization is “addressing the new challenges as seen in recent disasters through an intensified RC143 volunteer system.” Current Valenzuela City Chapter Board of Directors’ Chair Elizabeth Chongco reported that the number of the Chapter’s volunteers is increasing.

The Chapter’s new set of Board of Directors was also elected during the biennial assembly.

PRC staff and volunteers from various PRC teams attended the event. Delegates from select government agencies, such as the Philippine National Police, DepEd, Health Centers, Department of the Interior and Local Government-Valenzuela City, Valenzuela City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Office of the City Mayor, and Valenzuela City Anti Drug Abuse Council, were also present.

The Philippine Red Cross, through its Manila Chapter, conducted a feeding program for the most vulnerable senior citizens. Donated meals from Novotel Araneta such as rice, longanisa, hamonado, beef steak, scrambled egg, fish filet, roasted chicken, pansit guisado, and tinapay were served to 38 senior citizen at Barangay 658 Intramuros, Manila on 19 November.

“Ang Philippine Red Cross ay tumutulong sa most vulnerable sa lahat ng pagkakataon hindi lang sa panahon ng sakuna o emergency. Kaya naman lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa Novotel sa walang sawa nilang pakikipagtulungan sa PRC sa pamamahagi ng pagkain sa mga vulnerable nating kababayan,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.

Novotel Araneta is a long-time food donor of the PRC. During his first term as a senator in 2009, Chairman Gordon authored the Republic Act No. 9803 (RA9803) or the Food Donation Act of 2009, which aims to address the country’s growing hunger problem and bring dignity back to the most vulnerable simultaneously. Under this law, donors are encouraged to donate food for charitable purposes and to reduce food wastage. Chairman Gordon explained that the donors give untouched food from buffet tables, not leftover food.

PRC volunteers and staff bring the donated nutritious food to the homeless, children in poor communities, the elderly, abandoned prisoners, the sick, and other vulnerable groups.

Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon directed staff and volunteers of the premier humanitarian organization in the country to provide the immediate needs of the families affected by the Low Pressure Area (LPA) and Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in Mindanao. On 17 November, PRC volunteers and staff served hot meals to 1,691 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the evacuation centers of the following local government units: Barangays Baluntay, Poblacion, and Maribulan in Alabel, Sarangani; Barangay Buayan in General Santos City; Barangay Poblacion in Malalag, Davao del Sur; and in Santa Maria, Davao Occidental.

“The Philippine Red Cross goal is to be always first, always ready, and always there for our fellow Filipinos in distress because of disasters and emergencies. We are able to meet the immediate needs of people affected by weather hazards because we have RC143 volunteers in the villages trained and ready to respond, we have prepositioned logistics, and we have state-of-the-art information technology for efficient and effective coordination,” explained Gordon.

Trained PRC volunteers and staff set up a Welfare Desk in Davao Del Sur. They facilitated child-friendly activities (CFA) designed as psychological first aid and treated five individuals in General Santos City.

PRC is currently conducting assessment of damage and needs in coordination with local governments. It has also alerted its army of RC143 volunteers in the barangays to respond when needed.

Heavy rainfall and consequent flooding brought by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) left communities in Laguna without access to clean safe water aside from the massive cleanup required to clear roads of mud and other debris. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed its water tankers and payloaders to these affected localities to speed up the recovery of the most vulnerable.

“Ang Philippine Red Cross ay katuwang ng ating mga komunidad hindi lang sa kasagsagan ng bagyo kung hindi pati na rin pagkatapos nito. Ipagpapatuloy namin, sa PRC, ang pagde-deploy ng water tankers at payloader para mas maraming komunidad sa malalayong lugar ang maabutan ng ating mga tulong,” Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon explained.

Since PRC Paeng operations, the PRC WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) unit had distributed a total of 286, 300 liters to storm-affected areas in Laguna. PRC installed a water bladder in Alonte Arena Evacuation Center Biñan, Laguna, providing 20, 000 liters of water to 731 displaced individuals. Meanwhile, 2, 868 persons from Dela Paz Main Elementary School and Saint Francis Covered Court evacuation centers received 24, 000 liters of water from water tankers. Biñan City was placed under a state
of calamity on 31 October due to extensive damage caused by STS Paeng.

In addition, PRC’s payloader conducted clearing operations in Canossa School, Barangay Kanluran Santa Rosa, Laguna to make roads accessible for more relief operations. Over 210 cubic meters of mud were cleared in the area.

On 15 November, PRC served hot meals and bread to 511 persons in the Barangay Dila evacuation center. PRC distributed sleeping kits to 40 families and hygiene kits to 192 families in several affected municipalities. PRC Welfare Services, under the Psychological Support System (PSP), provided psychosocial services to 47 persons and Child-friendly Spaces (CFS) to accommodate the needs of 136 affected children.

PRC is in full-blast in providing assistance to Paeng-affected families across the country and vows to continue its relief and recovery efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the most vulnerable.

Philippine Red Cross

Born officially in 1947, but with roots that traces back to the revolutionary days, the Philippine Red Cross has truly become the premier humanitarian organization in the country, committed to provide quality life-saving services that protect the life and dignity especially of indigent Filipinos in vulnerable situations.

Address: 37 EDSA corner Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Hotline: 143 Trunkline +63 2 8790 2300
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