“I commend our team of firefighting volunteers for doing a fantastic job. It is important to realize that the PRC has many unsung heroes. As volunteers it is just fitting to honor them for their bravery and their eagerness to save lives and alleviate the suffering of our kababayans,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
On February 1st, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) firefighting teams from the PRC National Headquarters responded to a big fire that reached the 3rd alarm in Brgy. Masambong in Quezon City and rescued four members of the Ceazar family.
The Ceazar family found themselves trapped in their own homes as the fire ravaged a compound where they were residing. Two teams of PRC firefighting volunteers found a way to reach them by climbing over an establishment and piercing a wall to make a hole in order to reach the trapped family, including 67-year-old father Danny Caesar, 67-year-old mother Ramona Ceazar and their children 31-year-old Stella Marie and 28-year-old Danny Jr.
What made the situation even more difficult was the condition of the family’s mother, Ramona, who was unable to walk and needed to be transported out of the house using a wheelchair.
“Due to the quick thinking and determinedness of our PRC firefighters, lives were saved and our organization recognizes those who have put their lives in danger to save the lives of others,” added Gordon.
The two teams of PRC firefighters for commendation include Team Leaders Jestoni Destura and Romel Barroga, team members Von Cypress, Paul Rei Guiang, Henry Sablay, Neil Jason Almero, Alfred Bautista, Zandro Cenizal, Friendly Daque, Ezekiel Daque, Steven Clark Leant, Kim Ordonez, Ferdinand Pacarro, Osmundo Cabanero, and Mharu Rabaino.
PRC also sent an ambulance team to the scene of the fire to provide emergency medical assistance to those families affected. About 500 families or 2,500 individuals were directly affected by the fire. These families are now relocated to temporary evacuation centers at the Apolonio Tennis Court and Masambong Covered court.
PRC, through its Quezon City Chapter, is preparing to distribute hot meals to the affected families as of press time.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) offers donated blood to patients undergoing, pregnancy complications, dengue, accident injuries, and surgical and cancer treatment for free.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon stated that donated blood is free because it comes from blood donors, but to ensure that donated blood will be safe for transfusion, the PRC needs reagents and other supplies to test each unit of blood for transfusion-transmitted infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Malaria, and Syphilis.
Chairman Gordon mentioned that the PRC tests each unit of blood for an affordable blood processing fee — currently the “cheapest in the country”. The fee covers the donor screening and education, test for transfusion-transmitted infection, collection, component preparation, storage, and quality assurance.
“The processing fees collected for blood are ploughed back into the program to continue to provide blood services to others in need,” Chairman Gordon added.
Blood processing fees collected by the PRC conform with the allowable fees set forth by the Department of Health (DOH). Members of the PRC’s Blood Samaritan Program, meanwhile, provide financial donations to cover the payment of blood processing fees of indigent patients.
As one of the major suppliers of blood and blood products in the country, the PRC National Blood Services (NBS) continuously delivers adequate, safe, and quality blood supply to the most vulnerable. The PRC has 31 blood centers and 71 blood collection units nationwide. As of 18 January, the PRC has dispensed 13, 938 units of blood, 103 of which were used to treat 35 Dengue patients.
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.
Various government agencies and corporations have endorsed the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) Membership Program to all its employees, attached agencies, regional/provincial offices, students, partners, and members of the community. The following agencies/corporations have released these endorsements: Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agrarian Reform, Government Service and Insurance System, Landbank of the Philippines, and United Coconut Planters Bank.
Membership Accident Assistance Benefits (MAAB) is PRC’s membership program, which provides one an opportunity to be a volunteer and partake in PRC’s humanitarian activities physically and financially. Members get protection through accident insurance coverage.
The MAAB is PRC’s way of preparing for future risks, as the country has been ranked number one in terms of disaster risk in the 2022 World Risk Report.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon explained that the membership program also helps the premier humanitarian organization fulfill its mantra of being always ready. “Ang isang member ng Red Cross ay nakakatulong para ang mga kababayan natin na nasalanta ng sakuna ay makatanggap ng agarang tulong,” said Gordon.
Anyone between 5 and 85 years old can be a member and volunteer to participate in PRC’s activities. In recognition of this desire to help PRC as a volunteer, members get access to all Red Cross services in times of emergencies, sickness, and disasters. In addition, members who meet unfortunate situations can get reimbursement for accidental death, disablement and dismemberment, hospitalization, and burial services.
The membership drive focuses on giving people a chance to be part of the premier humanitarian organization’s mission of saving lives through a variety of ways as a volunteer, as a donor or both.
Philippine Red Cross returned to Aklan on 19 January 2023 to provide food items and jerry cans, or water containers, to families affected by Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Paeng. Aklan was among the provinces severely affected by STS Paeng, which made landfall on 29 October 2022 and inundated several parts of the country, causing landslide and displacement. Five hundred families from Barangays Cortes, Guanko, and Oquendo in Balete municipality were the recipients of the latest humanitarian assistance given by the Red Cross to people affected by STS Paeng.
“Ginagawa po ng inyong Red Cross ang lahat ng aming makakaya para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan nang pangmatagalan, hanggang sila ay makabawi mula sa mga pinsala ng sakuna, kagaya ng Paeng, na tumama sa ating bansa noong Oktubre,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.
The PRC has provided the following humanitarian aid to people affected by Paeng in Aklan since October 2022: health promotion to 306 individuals, hygiene promotion to 282 persons, hygiene kits to 274 families, hot meals to 131 individuals, medicines to 100 persons, and psychological first aid to 15 children.
The foremost humanitarian organization in the country has responded to Paeng-affected communities across the country since 28 October 2022 by providing emergency rescue and evacuation, shelter strengthening kits, emergency medical services, health care information and supplies, hygiene promotion, water, clothes, slippers, psychological first aid, sleeping kits, hygiene kits, road clearing, flushing of debris, hot meals, food items, and jerry cans.
To help replenish the blood reserves in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) collaborated with the Philippine Coastguard and the Man is Brother Unto Man Organization in conducting a bloodletting activity in Port Area, Manila on January 23. The bloodletting activity, which generated a whopping 247 blood units, was organized by PRC Governor Jennifer Ann Munar in partnership with Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Charlie Rances. Also attending the successful bloodletting activity were PRC Governor Danilo Yang and Dr. She Tonelete from the PRC Blood Services. Internationally acclaimed Filipino singer Arnel Pineda also graced the occasion.
During the event, PRC and Man is Brother Unto Man volunteers distributed food and giveaways to the Coast Guard personnel who donated blood.
“This bloodletting event is just the beginning. PRC and the PCG will regularly hold mobile blood donation activities every three months to ensure that there is adequate blood supply in our blood centers,” said Gov. Munar.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon expressed gratitude to the blood donors as volunteers. “We appreciate the volunteerism of the members of the Philippine Coastguard, headed by Fleet Commander Rances. Your volunteerism as blood donors will definitely help save the lives of our fellow Filipinos during medical emergencies,” said Chairman Gordon.
As of 18 January, the premier humanitarian organization has dispensed 19,938 blood units in 2023. PRC has 31 blood centers and 71 blood collection units nationwide.
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, or (02) 87902300.
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn T. Pang explained that while January is known to be a lean month for blood donations, PRC remains committed to saving lives by conducting blood donation drives anytime. “We are always ready to collaborate with organizations that want to organize a blood donation drive,” said Pang.
Floods caused by shear line-driven heavy rains which began last Christmas weekend have displaced hundreds of families and affected the provision of basic services including water, food and health in affected communities. In line with this, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) ramped up its relief operations, alongside its rescue preparations, to assist flood-hit families in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“Tuloy-tuloy ang pamamahagi natin ng tulong sa mga kababayan nating biktima ng baha sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao. Nagpadala tayo ng hot meals at malinis na supply ng tubig dahil ang mga ito ang pangunahing pangangailangan sa mga evacuation centers. Naka-alalay rin ang ating 143 volunteers, first aiders at Emergency Response Unit (ERU) para saklolohan ang mga nangangailangan ng agarang tulong,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.
As of 17 January, the PRC has served 16, 722 affected individuals in Agusan Del Norte, Davao De Oro, Misamis Oriental-Gingoog City, Zamboanga Del Norte, Zamboanga City, Palawan, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Misamis Occidental, Oriental Mindoro, Lapu-Lapu Cordova, and Sulu with hot meals.
In addition to food, the PRC WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Unit immediately mobilized its water tankers and water bladders to distribute 300, 000 liters of clean water to Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga City. The WASH Unit also conducted hygiene promotion to 2, 990 affected individuals in Agusan Del Norte, Palawan, Misamis Oriental, and Misamis Occidental to guarantee the practice of proper hygiene among evacuees.
Meanwhile, 1, 087 affected children in Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, and Palawan were able to participate in creative activities provided by PRC Welfare Unit’s Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS), while 1, 914 adults in Zamboanga City, Lanao Del Norte, Agusan Del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, and Palawan underwent Psychological First Aid (PFA) sessions.
Damages to the water supply system stemming from the flooding associated with the shear line left communities in the municipality of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental without access to safe water.
In a letter to PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon dated 06 January, Lopez Jaena Mayor Andrea Cherry Pink Gutierrez expressed her appreciation for the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) immediate response to address the water crisis in the town. “The Municipality of Lopez Jaena is truly grateful for your generosity and support in providing drinking and clean water to our constituents in the aftermath of the calamity that struck our municipality which caused great damage to our water system,” the letter stated.
From 31 December 2022 to 08 January 2023, the PRC distributed 157,000 liters in Lopez Jaena, providing clean safe water to affected communities.
Mayor Gutierrez mentioned that the municipality is still “incapable of providing clean drinking water to its constituents”, adding that their water system in the town is still being repaired. In line with this, the PRC WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Unit, through the directives of Chairman Gordon, installed two water bladders in Barangay Sibugon and Barangay Biasong. The WASH unit will also install another water bladder in Easter Poblacion. According to WASH Unit, each water bladder is capable of storing and distributing 10, 000 liters of water.
Mayor Gutierrez concluded her letter by requesting for PRC’s continuous “assistance in providing clean water to its constituents” while their water system is being repaired.
According to the latest data from the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) Operations Center, 30 barangays in Zamboanga City were affected by floods due to shear line-driven heavy rains. On 11 January, the PRC Zamboanga City Chapter distributed Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to 500 affected individuals in Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca, Zamboanga City.
PRC Health Services explained that floodwater increases the exposure of communities to Leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases. An individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang napipilitang sumulong sa baha. Nagpadala tayo ng doxycycline sa Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan na protektahan ang kanilang sarili laban sa banta ng Leptospirosis. Nakatakda tayong magpadala pa ng sapat na supply ng doxycycline sa mga apektadong lugar para matulungan ang mas marami pang biktima ng baha sa Zamboanga,” said Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Furthermore, heavy rains also displaced 1, 516 families in Western Samar, Masbate, Northern Samar, and Misamis Occidental. In line with this, the PRC placed its relief assets, equipment, and volunteers on standby to provide humanitarian assistance intuitively and rapidly to affected areas within the next 24 hours.
As of 10 January, the PRC has provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by shear line-induced rains since the Christmas weekend: 219,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
Increased transmission risks of waterborne, Influenza, Leptospirosis and Dengue (WILD) Diseases are unfolding in several provinces of Mindanao as unprecedented flooding continues. In addition to humanitarian aid, the Philippine Red Cross on 07 January also intensified the implementation of its health campaign across different PRC chapters in Mindanao.
To shed light on the nature, risks, symptoms, and prevention of WILD Diseases, the PRC Mindanao chapters mobilized the Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteers to post and distribute brochures and flyers, disseminate information through SMS alerts and texts, and conduct health promotion sessions in Gingoog, Oroquieta, Tangub, Ozamis, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro, Agusan del Norte, Surigao Del Sur, and Iligan City.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon reiterated the importance of preventive measures in restraining the transmission of WILD Diseases. “Mataas ang infections risk ng ganitong mga sakit [WILD Diseases] sa mga komunidad na may baha dahil ginagawa itong breeding ground ng mga daga at lamok. Maaring mapababa ang risk kung patuloy nating tutulungan at bibigyan ng kaalaman ating mga komunidad sa Mindanao sa kung paano maiiwasan ang pagkalat ng Leptospirosis, Dengue at iba pang waterborne diseases. Nananatiling alisto ang ating Health unit at volunteers sa Mindanao sa pagsasagawa ng mga health campaign,” explained Chairman Gordon.
In addition to health campaigns, the PRC Health Services sent Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to Mindanao. According to the PRC, an individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
As of 09 January, the PRC has also provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by floods caused by the shear line over the Christmas weekend: 191,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) CEO and Chairman Richard J. Gordon praised the hard work and unwavering dedication of PRC staff and volunteers who provided medical services to devotees during the feast period of the Black Nazarene 2023.
Since 8:00 PM of 06 January, the PRC staff and volunteers have been on standby and providing continuous assistance to devotees who needed medical care. In a statement addressed to volunteers and staff, Chairman Gordon said “The Philippine Red Cross is able to serve and assist the devotees of the Black Nazarene Feast because of the volunteers and staff who have been working day and night since January 06. They brave the night and cold weather to attend to the needs of our people. Tunay na maasahan ang ating PRC volunteers, staff, and medical teams sa mga ganitong pagkakataon. Patuloy tayong aalalay sa mga deboto hanggang matapos ang Black Nazarene Feast.”
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn T. Pang, meanwhile, similarly lauded the commitment of volunteers and staff. “I am proud of the volunteers and staff who dedicated their time to serve our kababayans in one of the most celebrated feasts in Philippine history. It is our collective effort that made our operation a successful one,” said Secretary General Pang.
As of 9:00 AM, 09 January, 461 devotees received medical assistance from PRC ambulance teams, volunteer doctors, and first aid stations, 417 of whom underwent blood pressure tests while 42 with minor injuries (e.g., abrasion, sprain, chest pain, contusion, abdominal pain, and nausea) received first aid treatment.
The PRC Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) served seven devotees with minor bruises and transported one patient who experienced chest pain and breathing problems to Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for further medical assessment. In addition to medical services, the PRC also provided Psychological First Aid (PFA) to two individuals attending the feast.