The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is now ready to roll out the saliva RT-PCR testing after it completed and passed all the requirements, January 21, 2021.
This came after the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 Laboratory Expert Panel gave a positive recommendation leading to the approval of the use of saliva as an alternative specimen for RT-PCR testing among PRC laboratories.
In a letter addressed to PRC Chairman & CEO Sen. Richard Gordon, Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III commended the humanitarian organization “for finishing the pilot implementation in a short period of time and complying with the initial recommendations provided by the Department.”
PRC has been in talks with DOH and the Food & Drugs Authority for the approval of the saliva test for public use. The health bureau recommended PRC to conduct a pilot launch of 1000 tested samples for a full review. On January 13, Chairman Gordon led the PRC saliva RT-PCR pilot testing joined by health frontliners and media practitioners.
”DOH commends your continued support and assistance to our country in assuring that all measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection are being explored and studied to keep the Filipino people safe from the threats of this infectious disease,” Duque further expressed his appreciation of PRC.
Saliva test: Providing an alternative
Red Cross explored saliva RT-PCR test as an alternative because it is non-invasive and less-stringent.
Unlike the RT-PCR swab test, there is no need for a specimen collector to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE). It also uses less equipment and reagents making it cheaper. The sample processing time is shorter compared to other tests as it runs only for three to four hours.
“The Philippine Red Cross brings RT-PCR saliva test to the country for the first time. While waiting for the vaccine, the saliva test could pave the way to test more students, healthcare workers, factory workers, company employees, and other essential workers to help stop the spread of the virus,” Chairman Gordon added.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will send additional medical tents to address the health problems caused by the closing of several hospitals in Mindanao that were damaged by series of earthquakes last month.
After visiting the emergency medical tents in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon ordered for more tents with more beds to be added to avoid patients sharing beds with those caring for them as this may cause disease transmission.
Two (2) additional temporary medical tents from PRC Health Services are expected to arrive in Kidapawan City Hospital by Friday, November 29.
Along with these, portable toilets and a water bladder will also be added to support proper hygiene and sanitation and to ensure adequate supply of water. For Davao del Sur, shelter assistance will be given after assessment and another water bladder will be added to the operating assets of PRC.
“We have to extend medical assistance to affected individuals and avoid possible outbreak of diseases since a number of hospitals are having difficulties in addressing the needs of their patients such as, limited number of rooms while others aren’t safe yet due to cracks as a result of powerful tremors,” Gordon added.
The PRC Health Services (HS) and Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) currently has 2 sets of 6×6 meter tents, 1 set of 6 by 9 meters tent, 20 cot beds and a generator in Kidapawan City Hospital.
These 3 air-conditioned medical tents with improved roofing and 1 additional gazebo tent for duty volunteers, a ward, Out Patient Area and area for Delivery Room are being utilized and headed by PRC North Cotabato-Kidapawan City Chapter.
As of November 26, more than 420 families received hygiene kits and food items while 357 families from Magsaysay received food items (FIs) and non-food items (NFIs) such as sleeping and hygiene kits, jerry cans and tarpaulins in Kidapawan City.
Hygiene kits are vital due to the high risk of catching diseases in evacuation centers as these places are often crowded and practice of sanitation is a challenge. Jerry cans greatly help evacuees as water supply has been problematic since the earthquakes.
A new breed of volunteers arises, the millennials, also known as Generation Y, in quake-hit areas in Mindanao.
The Philippine Red Cross gratefully recognizes the tireless efforts of these volunteers, the new breed of heroes behind PRC’s humanitarian service for millions of Filipinos, especially the most vulnerable.
After the series of earthquakes that hit several parts of Mindanao, hundreds of Red Cross volunteers were deployed to support the relief operations and other missions of PRC particularly in two of the hardest-hit areas, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.
One of them was Jessa Mae Arellano, a 19-year old 1st year college student from Magpet, North Cotabato and a member of Red Cross Youth (RCY).
Jessa, a freshman student of Central Mindanao Colleges, has been serving as a volunteer of Philippine Red Cross – North Cotabato-Kidapawan Chapter since 2017, and when the series of earthquakes jolted Mindanao last month, she was deployed to hard-hit areas such as in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City and the Municipality of Makilala.
“My cousin encouraged me to join the Red Cross Youth, masarap sa pakiramdam na marami kang natutulungan especially the most vulnerable. Simula nung sumali ako sa RCY na-enjoy ko ang humanitarian activities ng PRC,” Arellano said.
Repacking of relief goods, beneficiary card and relief distribution were among the primary responsibilities of Jessa in several evacuation centers in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City and Makilala since October 29.
On November 22, 2019, Jessa developed a fever caused by urinary tract infection that made her incapable of performing her duties as a volunteer, in one of the temporary medical tents in Kidapawan City Hospital for 3 days.
When she was discharged she reaffirmed her commitment to alleviate human suffering and provide adequate assistance to the most vulnerable.
“Kahit nung nagkasakit ako, hindi nawawala yung pagpupursige ko na makatulong sa mga kababayan nating naapektuhan ng lindol dito sa North Cotabato. I will continue this humanitarian mission” Arellano added.
PRC also salutes another passionate volunteer, Geno Alexis Bornea, a Balikbayan from U.S., who pursues his passion for cooking amidst the relief operations in quake-hit areas in Mindanao.
Geno’s contribution to the mission of PRC come by way utilizing his cooking experience to prepare a variety of Filipino and other Asian dishes for the people housed in evacuation centers.
“I worked as a kitchen staff in several restaurants and fastfood chains in the U.S. and since then, I’ve been using this experience to continue my passion for cooking and shared my expertise by way of volunteering for different humanitarian missions of the Philippine Red Cross,” Bornea said.
Overcoming these challenges provides Geno the satisfaction of helping the most vulnerable.
The 25-year old volunteer utilizes the budget of PRC’s Social Welfare office wisely since they are catering to hundreds of families in evacuation centers with the help of other volunteers from Red Cross Youth.
The Philippine Red Cross vaccinated a total of 22,029 children in Metro Manila and Mindanao at the start of the second round of Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio for children ages 0-5 years old from November 25 to December 7.
PRC’s target for the 12 day period is 100,000 children, an average of 8,000-9,000 per day for both Metro Manila and Mindanao. Of the 22,029 vaccinated on the first day, 11,290 were from Metro Manila.
“Children being the most vulnerable in our society need utmost care and protection, especially when it comes to their health. PRC aims to have 100,000 children vaccinated against Polio”, said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
A total of 1,113 volunteers and 73 staff were mobilized for this project: 633 volunteers in Metro Manila and 480 volunteers in Mindanao. These volunteers and staff were vaccinators divided into teams composed of a team leader, vaccinator, recorder, and health educator.
The PRC, through its vaccination teams, will ensure that eligible children get their “patak”, and the mother correctly understands the vaccine that their child gets. The parents and guardians were also given orientation on health and hygiene and the importance of adhering to all government required child vaccinations.
Around 4.4 million children 5 years old below need to be vaccinated: 1.3 million in Metro Manila and 3.1 million in Mindanao.
A total of 25 chapters (9 from NCR and 16 from Mindanao) participated in the second wave of “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio”. PRC vaccination teams graced Quezon City, Pasay, Marikina, Manila, Caloocan, Pasig, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Davao City, Davao Del Sur, Davao Del Norte, Davao Oriental, Lanao Del Sur, Surigao Del Norte, Agusan Del Norte, Agusan Del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Bukidnon, General Santos City, Iligan City, Zamboanga City, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi to administer the oral vaccine.
Mandaluyong, Philippines – November 7, 2019 –Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI), the number one motorcycle manufacturer in the country, through Honda Foundation, Inc., the corporate social responsibility arm of the Honda Group of Companies, recently donated motorcycle units to Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to help mobilize and support its advocacies.
Last November 7, the Honda Philippines team, headed by HPI President Susumu Mitsuishi and HPI Executive Consultant Armie Reyes, handed over a total of 21 motorcycle units, particularly ten (10) TMX125 Alpha and eleven (11) Wave110 Alpha, to the board members of the PRC, headed by Senator Richard Gordon, the organization’s chairman and CEO.
The project aims to help the PRC in providing quality life-saving service to the community through Honda motorcycles that can serve as the quickest mode of transportation. The motorcycles will also help enable on-time delivery of services to its beneficiaries and donors, especially during emergency situations. A total of 104 motorcycle units will be donated to PRC distributed to 104 PRC chapters nationwide.
“Honda has always been committed to helping important institutions, like the Philippine Red Cross, in achieving advocacies that save lives. We also consider this project as our way of giving back to the community,” said Mitsuishi.
As a premier humanitarian organization, the PRC is committed to providing quality life-saving services that protect the life and dignity, especially of indigent Filipinos in vulnerable situations. At present, the organization provides six major services: Blood Services, Disaster Management Services, Safety Services, Health Services, Social Services, Red Cross Youth, and Volunteer Services.
“The Honda Family is grateful for this opportunity to help and collaborate with the Philippine Red Cross in the best way we can as we share the same dream of providing better quality lives for Filipinos,” added Mitsuishi.
The donation project is also in line with Honda’s ONE DREAM campaign, which aims to make Honda products serve as tools in achieving one’s dream and to unite all Filipinos through meaningful projects and activities.
To know more, please follow Honda Philippines, Inc.’s Facebook page and Instagram account at @hondaph_mc.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Cavite Chapter held its 30th Biennial Convention on November 22, 2019 in Imus, Cavite with the theme “Thru the years…Philippine Red Cross Volunteers: The Lifeline of the Cavitenos.
PRC Cavite Chapter volunteers, like their counterparts throughout the country, are committed to alleviate human suffering and uplift human dignity. In fulfillment of this commitment, these volunteers give their time, effort and energy making them an integral part of PRC’s projects and responses whether these are for natural disasters or man-made emergency situations. Volunteers are a vital component of PRC.
“PRC salutes all the untiring volunteers who made a commitment in alleviating human suffering and uplifting one’s dignity. They are extremely important component of the organization”, said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
The 30th Biennial Convention of PRC-Cavite Chapter provided the occasion for the Chairman of its Board of Directors, Governor Gilbert Cesar Remulla to report on the chapter’s accomplishments, activities and financial performance. PRC-Cavite Chapter is one of the more reliable chapters in providing PRC’s services particularly in the areas of blood services and First Aid and Basic Life Support. Consistently ranked as one of the top 20 chapters, PRC- Cavite has been helping the most vulnerable since its establishment in August 1945.
PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla to Cavite Chapter: “Cavite is not only the land of the brave, but the home of the many selfless men and women like you and many more others who are working for our organization to really make it the partner of choice and really the lifeline of the people”.
The oath-taking of the newly-elected board of directors of the Cavite Chapter was led by PRC Governor Corazon Alma de Leon.
After visiting the emergency medical tents in Kidapawan City, Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO, Sen. Richard Gordon ordered for more tents with more beds to be added to avoid patients sharing beds with those caring for them as this may cause disease transmission. Along with these, portable toilets and water bladder will also be added to support proper hygiene and sanitation and to ensure adequate supply of water. As for Davao del Sur, shelter assistance will be given after assessment and another water bladder will added to the operating assets of PRC.
Red Cross volunteers and staff on the ground have provided the affected population with immediate relief items such ambulance to transfer the injured and hot meals to the evacuees. Distribution of tarpaulins and hygiene and sleeping kits also followed soon after as well as the deployment of water tankers and bladders. As the team further assesses the needs of the affected communities, PRC distributed more of these essential items to 777 families in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur yesterday.
During the distribution, Chairman Gordon taught the beneficiaries about the 4Ps – predict, plan, prepare and practice. This aims to empower communities and teach them the importance of being prepared should disasters strike. Stressing that Red Cross is not a charity institution, Chairman Gordon emphasized the importance of preserving the dignity of the beneficiaries and not being a “hand-out” organization.
“We don’t want a culture na pahingi. Ang kultura natin dapat, “Kaya natin ‘to. Makakabangon tayo. The quicker people go back to their normal life, the better,” say Chairman Gordon as he eyes livelihood programs next. This is why the Red Cross distributes relief using the “latag system” preserving the dignity of the recipients as they personally pick their items up to carry them to their homes. Also, community engagement and consultation is done to better understand what early recovery program suits the community.
For Kidapawan City, 420 families received hygiene kits and food items while 357 families from Magsaysay received food items (FIs) and non-food items (NFIs) such as sleeping and hygiene kits, jerry cans and tarpaulins. Hygiene kits are vital due to the high risk of catching diseases in evacuation centers as these places are often crowded and practice of sanitation is a challenge. Jerry cans greatly help evacuees as water supply has been problematic since the earthquakes. Tarpaulins provide temporary shelter.
Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla and Board of Governor Member Armand Arreza were also present in the event, together with IFRC Operations Manager Patrick Elliot, ICRC’s Head of Cooperation and Acting Deputy Head of Davao Sub-Delegations, Richard Villena and Elliot Wood, respectively.
PRC provides the basic needs to ease the difficulties the affected residents are going through.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) gratefully acknowledges the relentless efforts of local personalities, including the media, in supporting the 5th Million Volunteer Run (MVR), the largest humanitarian run in the country.
These personalities have been helpful in promoting and disseminating the significance of the said fundraising event as well as the mission of PRC – to alleviate human suffering and provide adequate assistance to the most vulnerable.
“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude and give a salute to these people, for encouraging the public to participate in the largest humanitarian run in the country. Your support will enable us to provide the needs of families severely affected by calamities and conflicts,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said.
Local personalities who collaborated with PRC for the promotion of the Million Volunteer Run includes celebrities Robbie Domingo, Jerald Napoles, Kim Molina, Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Jeffrey Santos, news anchors Arnold Clavio, Connie Sison, Umagang Kay Ganda and Eat Bulaga hosts, Mayors Isko Moreno of Manila, Richard Gomez of Ormoc City and Vico Sotto of Pasig City.
“Anybody can run, we have so many things going, we really need funds because we have water tankers running around, gasoline is being spent in areas devastated by series of earthquakes that hit several areas in Mindanao last month, so we really need support. Everybody who contributes becomes a volunteer and becomes a person that carries the load, and not the one being carried,” Gordon added.
Gordon once again urged the public to do something life-changing and help Red Cross address humanitarian problems before they even occur.
The fifth Million Volunteer Run (MVR) will be held on December 8, at Quirino Grandstand, Manila and other parts of the country with the goal of raising funds to build the capacity of PRC’s 104 chapters by acquiring life-saving equipment, such as, ambulances, boats, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles; as well as conducting first aid and disaster resilience trainings in communities.
The funds will also further support the organization’s humanitarian interventions in areas hit by disaster and health emergencies.
For only P700, one can contribute to the cause by joining the run, which has two distances – 3k and 5k. The P700 fee covers a singlet, race bib, and an opportunity to be part of Red Cross 143 – a flagship program for community volunteers that enables them to be part of the front liners during response and disaster operations.
Moreover, PRC encourages companies and organizations to partner in the event. For details, contact +639175106343 or [email protected]
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is all set for the second round of the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” on November 25- December 07, 2019, in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mindanao.
PRC goal is to give Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to 50, 000 children ages 0-5 years old. Immunizations will be administered by teams of PRC trained staff and volunteers. Each team consists of the Leader, the Vaccinator, the Recorder, and the Health Educator/ Hygiene Promoter.
“PRC staff and volunteers are working intensely to achieve a polio-free Philippines. PRC is going extra mile in giving vaccines to kids 0-5 years old. We conduct house to house visits to ensure that every child will be given OPV and be protected from Polio virus, “said Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
Trained PRC staff and volunteers administered massive oral polio immunization to 62,843 children from the PRC’s original target of 30,000 during the first round of immunization on October 14- October 27 across 27 cities and municipalities.
PRC conducted a multi-sectoral planning on November 15 and 20 in Mindanao and NCR, in preparation for the second wave of mass polio vaccination attended by Dr. Susan Mercado and Mr. Patrick Elliott of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNICEF’s Drs. Amador Catacutan and Farkhad Imabhakiev, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Dr. Bezu Magullo, and Dr. Julius Velasquez of Department of Health (DOH).
“With the continuous efforts from PRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH), soon we will be Polio-free country again”, added Gordon.
Launched during PRC’s tree-lighting ceremony on November 21, Pula was introduced along with a new line of merchandise as part of Philippine Red Cross (PRC)’s holiday gift catalog for the year.
Filipinos are known to have the longest and grandest celebration of Christmas. The “ber” months usually signify the start of the festivities. As the season of giving draws nearer, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) introduces another reason to remem-“bear” the true spirit of the season which is giving and sharing.
Introducing Pula – a huggable, warm teddy bear which is sure to bring comfort to those who are in need of loving kindness. Pula is a symbol of love, security and treasured memories because bears actually help us remember. Each purchase of this holiday treat will help PRC provide the needs of disaster-affected population.
With the price of Php 799 each, buying one bear will help provide an affected individual with 2-3 days worth of food supplies. Paying for two bears is equivalent to donating a hygiene kit while four bears are worth one mother and newborn kit. Five of these huggable fellows can make one shelter tool kit possible while six Pulas amount to one multi-purpose cash grant for a family.
The launch is part of PRC’s efforts to gather more funds to support the various operations being undertaken in connection with recent health emergencies and natural disasters. Families and individuals affected by health emergencies like the outbreaks of measles, dengue and polio, along with the series of earthquakes which rocked regions in Batanes and Mindanao, are in need of steady support as recovery and rehabilitation continue to require manpower resources, supplies, and equipment to complete.