The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) inaugurated its 96th blood service facility in the country in San Rafael, Bulacan, on October 14, a move that fortifies its commitment to deliver safe, quality, and adequate blood supply to Filipinos, notably, to the most vulnerable.
With the opening of this new blood station, PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said that many lives can be saved, especially now that many parts of the country are experiencing dengue epidemic.
“I’m very proud, and you Bulakeños, should also be proud to have another blood center here in your historical province that will serve the most vulnerable,”Gordon said during his opening remarks.
The P500,000-blood station, which is located in the Ricardo C. Silverio Building inside the new San Rafael Municipal Compound,is the 67th PRC blood collecting unit/bloodstation. It is equipped with a powerful microscope, state-of-the-art cold storage that can accommodate up to 300 units of blood bags, manned by well-trained PRC staff.
In order to save more lives and to meet the demands of Filipinos who are having difficulties acquiring blood, he appealed to the public,including Bulakeños, to regularly donate blood.
“It’s our commitment to serve more Filipinos and we aim to create more blood facilities in the future for easier access to quality blood supply. We want to reach the most vulnerable communities in the rural and far-flung areas to ensure that there is safe blood for all,” Gordon added.
PRC, as a major provider of blood needs in the country, served a total of 205,772 individuals in 2018.
Gordon also stressed the importance of the Seven Fundamental Principles of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that should be observed by PRC staff and volunteers at all times.
Also present during the event were PRC – National Blood Service Director, Dr. Christie Monina M. Nalupta, San Rafael Mayor Cipriano Violago Jr., Bulacan 3rd District Rep. Lorna Silverio, PRC-Bulacan Chapter Administrator Ricardo Villacorte and PRC Bulacan Director and Blood Services Committee Chairman Irmingardo Antonio.
Armed with service kits and vaccines, volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) braved the heat of the sun and conducted door-to-door vaccination for children ages 0 to 5. PRC, through its chapters from NCR (Manila, Pasay, Quezon City, Marikina, Caloocan, Navotas, Valenzuela, Taguig, Muntinlupa and Las Piñas) and Mindanao (Davao City, Davao del Sur and Lanao del Sur) joined the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) which kicked off on October 14.
Each vaccination team deployed to the barangays is composed of four (4) volunteers – a team leader, a health educator, a recorder, and a vaccinator. The team leader secures the list of the children to be vaccinated and leads the team to the households. The health educator explains the need for vaccination and gives advice on good health and hygiene practices – as a dirty environment encourages the spread of polio. The recorder gets the details of the child and the family, and also secures the consent for the vaccination. The vaccinator administers the vaccine.
This strategy not only ensures that vulnerable children are vaccinated and properly recorded but also provides an avenue to explain the vaccines to parents and guardians. The DOH recorded a 95% decline in polio vaccination among children below 5 years old last year.
“It is through the power of [our] pool of volunteers that the Red Cross can help our partners in fighting polio in the ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio,’” said Sen. Richard J. Gordon, the Chairman and CEO of PRC.
PRC, through the support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red cross (ICRC), has been conducting various health campaigns in the light of recent emergencies like the measles and dengue outbreaks.
Here is the partial tally of vaccinated children thru PRC, as of October 15, 3 PM:
* Manila – 377
* Pasay – 1,523
* Quezon City – 906
* Navotas – 220
* Las Piñas – 599
* Valenzuela – 315
* Taguig – 769
* Muntinlupa – 594
* San Juan – 178
* Malabon – 304
* Davao City – 1,458
* Davao del Sur – 38
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is on the move to help address the immediate needs in Itbayat, Batanes, which experienced successive earthquakes on Saturday.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, who led the organization’s response over the weekend, said the organization is focusing on providing psychosocial support, food, water, and temporary shelter for over 2,000 individuals who are displaced in an open ground in front of the municipal hall.
“We are assessing as we are giving. Right now we are focused on their immediate needs, but eventually, we will provide their long-term needs, such as houses,” Gordon said.
He added, “The operations is extra challenging as the remote island of Itbayat is a two-to-three-hour boat ride from Basco and can only be reached using small boats. But this will not slow us down. We are working with different organizations to ensure that aid will be given as fast as possible.”
PRC National Headquarters partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deploy resources for in-depth assessments.
Among the items deployed are radio equipment, satellite phones, and water purification assets, composed of bladders, treatment units, and storage.
The humanitarian organization also sent thousands of ready-to-eat meals, temporary roofing materials, and water treatment units for the affected population.
Initial assessments show that there is a need for welfare and psychosocial support, especially for Ivatans who experienced trauma following the major shakes.
“The ground shaking was traumatic for Ivatans. Our welfare team is there to help people get rid of their trauma,” Gordon added.
PRC welfare teams also provided psychosocial support to injured patients at Basco General Hospital. PRC volunteers also distributed hot meals to 900 individuals on Saturday.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) assures its readiness to supply water to critical establishments that could be affected by the impending water shortage in Metro Manila as the water level in Angat Dam nears critical level.
Chairman Richard Gordon gave orders to prepare PRC’s fleet of water tankers and water treatment equipment following National Water Resources Board (NWRB)’s announcement that Angat Dam’s water level continues to decline—down to 162.39 meters as of Monday.
“Just like last March, we are prepared to deploy our water tankers to supply water to most critical establishments, especially hospitals. We have 20 water tankers in Metro Manila that are capable of filling up high-pressure water systems,” Gordon said.
If the water level in Angat Dam dips further, PRC will prioritize hospitals to ensure that healthcare services will not be interrupted and to avoid health complications, such as sepsis, diarrhoea, and other hygiene-related diseases.
During the first wave of water crisis last March to April, PRC was able to supply 1,435,475 liters of clean and safe water to hospitals such as National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.
PRC also served affected communities, Brgy. Old Balara and Brgy. Culiat in Quezon City; Brgy. Nangka and Brgy. Tumana in Marikina; and Brgy. Addition Hills in Mandaluyong.
PRC is equally active in the provinces especially affected by dry spells, including Catanduanes, Iram (Olongapo), Cebu, Zamboanga, and Albay.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) aided the fishermen on board the Filipino fishing vessel rammed by a Chinese boat on June 9 in the West Philippine Sea.
PRC, through the Occidental Mindoro Chapter, mobilized a volunteer doctor to assess the fishermen’s medical condition and put an ambulance on standby to attend to medical emergencies. A welfare desk was set up and provided psychosocial support to 21 fishermen manning the FB GEM-VER, allegedly sank by a Chinese boat in Reed Bank.
“We are thankful that no Filipino fishermen obtained major injuries. We are now closely coordinating with local government units and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to assess their needs,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
Meals were distributed to the fishermen and their families who welcomed them back on June 14.
“PRC initially provided psychosocial support to the affected fishermen to address the distress the incident has caused,” Gordon added.
The humanitarian organization is looking at extending its welfare support to the community as the incident may also spark fear among other fishermen groups.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard Gordon raises alarm over the rising cases of HIV this year—noting that lack of action may affect the supply of quality blood products in the country.
The Department of Health (DOH) recently reported that 38 new cases of HIV were recorded on a daily basis in 2019, a significant rise from the 32-per-day rate in 2018.
“I personally receive calls from people from different provinces, most of them crying and appealing for blood and we strive to meet their needs. If the number of HIV cases continues to rise, our country’s blood supply could be affected,” Gordon said.
This year, PRC is integrating a nucleic acid test (NAT) to its system to allow accurate and more sensitive detection of HIV contraction among applicant donors.
Gordon said PRC prioritizes the integration of NAT into its blood testing system in its blood service facilities in the National Capital Region, where 30 percent of the new cases were registered.
“NAT testing will reduce the Filipino population’s exposure to HIV. We should take action. Let us intensify our HIV prevention campaign through peer education,” Gordon said.
DOH’s latest HIV/AIDS Registry shows that in March alone, there were 1,172 new cases reported, with 215 of them in advanced stage or AIDS. The figure brings the total number of cases this year to 3,434.
Gordon made the statement in line with the celebration of the 2019 World Blood Donors’ Day with the theme “Safe Blood for All,” a call to solidify access to safe and quality blood supply.
PRC now has 93 blood service facilities, including 27 blood centers, 66 blood collecting units/blood stations, and 11 apheresis centers.
The organization recently established blood facilities in Albay, Bogo, Mountain Province, and Calamba. PRC is also eyeing new blood stations in San Carlos, Pangasinan; San Rafael, Bulacan; Bocaue, Bulacan; Imus, Cavite; Bacoor, Cavite; and Romblon.
PRC, as one of the top providers of blood needs in the country, served a total of 205,772 individuals last year.
PRC’s National Blood Center also earned the international standard on quality management systems (ISO 9001:2015, making PRC the first blood center in Southeast Asia and the only non-hospital blood service facility in the Philippines to receive the certification.
TWO YEARS after the Marawi siege, the early recovery program of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has enabled over 6,000 displaced families to build new homes and start income-generating activities.
The P30.1-million project, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), covered household livelihood and shelter repair assistance for a total of 6,014 families from the most affected areas.
“When we help, we don’t just give. It is important that we also empower. When we visited the people of Marawi in 2017, we told them ‘Babangon tayo’ and we remained committed to this mission. Two years after the siege, this commitment has shown results,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
A total of 2,307 returnees to 16 barangays received P10,000-household livelihood assistance from PRC and ICRC.
PRC’s Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) report shows the majority of the beneficiaries used the capital for small businesses, such as sari-sari stores, retail shops, and eateries. Others ventured into transportation (tricycle, habal-habal), construction and carpentry, fishing, farming, and casual labor.
The PDM report also shows that 98 percent of the household livelihood assistance recipients’ main income source came from the Red Cross.
The Red Cross also distributed shelter toolkits to 3,792 families, inclusive of 1,385 families from 11 evacuation centers in Lanao Del Sur and Lanao Del Norte and 2,407 households from three Kambalingan barangays.
The shelter materials were used to repair roofs and walls, as well as to expand their houses for livelihood activities.
“We also established our Red Cross 143 program for community volunteers to help us respond to disasters and emergencies quickly. This is how we attain resilience,” Gordon added.
PRC also continues to provide safe and clean water to communities in evacuation centers. Since 2017, 29,514,700 liters of water have been served in 26 barangays and evacuation centers.
In December 2017, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur recognized the Red Cross for being one of the first to provide humanitarian assistance.
When the conflict broke out on May 23, 2017, Gordon mobilized the staff and volunteers from the nearby PRC Chapters and immediately deployed first aid, welfare, relief, and hygiene promotion teams.
PRC, with the support of ICRC, also set up a basic healthcare unit to ensure the health of evacuees.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) continues to assist communities affected by the magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Porac, Pampanga, including the displaced indigenous people and the survivors of the Chuzon supermarket collapse.
PRC, led by Chairman Richard Gordon, partnered with the Department of Health to provide psychosocial support to the survivors, mostly employees of Chuzon, and bereaved families of the strong earthquake.
“It is important that we work together in this time of need. The Red Cross is supporting government efforts to alleviate the suffering of people who lost their friends and families and the population who were forced to flee their homes regardless of their race,” Gordon said.
PRC’s welfare teams have conducted psychosocial support to 20 employees of Chuzon supermarket and 12 survivors currently admitted at Julio B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando.
A group of volunteers, headed by Deputy Secretary General Dr. Susan Mercado, also reached out to the displaced Aeta community in Porac last April 24 by providing welfare services to 55 families (207 individuals).
“The Aetas refuse to stay in any type of concrete evacuation center as they are traumatized by the shaking. There are also those with pre-existing mental health issues who are further triggered into depression and anxiety,” Mercado said in a Facebook post.
Today, the Red Cross is at Sitio Pasubul, Brgy. Camias in Porac to distribute hygiene kits to 60 indigenous families to protect them from infections and diseases. Red Cross also provides psychosocial support to indigenous people.
“We focus on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable and we will continue to provide services with the support of our volunteers and donors,” Gordon said.
PRC local chapter earlier provided hot meals to 450 individuals at the Aeta Market evacuation center.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed manpower and rescue vehicles to assist in the search and rescue operations in a collapsed supermarket in Porac, Pampanga following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday.
Data from the PRC Operations Center shows that as of 7am, 24 individuals are still missing while 69 suffered injuries. PRC mobilized 30 manpower equipped with two ambulance units, two rescue vehicles, a generator set, and a tower light.
PRC also provided body bags to facilitate proper management of bodies retrieved in the incident site.
“We are all together. Red Cross continues the search and rescue operations for the missing individuals at Chuzon Supermarket. We deployed our assets from nearby chapters to provide additional manpower in affected areas. No one shall be left behind,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
Gordon also urged business owners to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the crowd.
“Be mindful of the safety of the people in your establishments. Business owners should inspect and double check the safety of their establishments to avoid putting people in dangerous situations,” he added.
Red Cross also advises the public to take earthquake drills seriously to prevent major casualties and take note of the following measures before, during, and after an earthquake.
- • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances with wall studs.
- • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture with wall studs.
- • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
- • Brace overhead light fixtures.
- • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
- • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
During – if indoors
- • Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible and watch for falling objects.
- • It is most important to keep your head and torso covered. If you’re sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise drop wherever you are.
- • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, protecting your head with a pillow.
- • Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
- • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must go outside after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damages.
- • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
During – if you are outside
Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights).
During – if you are in a vehicle
- • Pull over to a clear location and stop.
- • Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.
- • Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
- • Then, drive carefully avoiding bridges and ramps that might have been damaged.
- • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
- • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes and cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris.
- • Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
- • If away from home, return only when authorities say it’s safe to do so.
- • Be prepared for aftershocks. If you feel one, drop cover and hold on.
- • Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
- • Open cabinets slowly. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
- • Stay away from damaged areas in and around your home.
- • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
- • Check for gas leaks to prevent fires and secondary damage. Spray the fittings on your gas meter and any fittings on gas appliances with a mixture of water and a little liquid dish soap. If it bubbles, there is gas present.
- • Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is on track to deliver scaled up and more accessible services as the humanitarian organization boosts its response capacity in local communities.
Now on its 72nd year, PRC puts more emphasis on its regionalization approach, where the organization’s assets will be strategically positioned in different provinces to conduct faster response in times of disasters and emergencies.
PRC has identified 12 regional hubs namely La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Subic, Batangas, Naga, Albay, Leyte, Passi City, Zamboanga City, Davao del Sur, Iligan, and Surigao del Norte.
Sen. Richard Gordon, the chairman of PRC, said the regionalization effort mirrors PRC’s commitment to live up to its mantra—“Always First, Always Ready, and Always There.”
“The humanitarian challenges that our country faces are getting more challenging. Typhoons are getting stronger and the emergencies are getting more rampant. There is a strong call to step up humanitarian aid. We have to make sure that we continue to hone our capabilities,” Gordon said.
Among the disaster and emergency response assets that will be strategically deployed in the regional hubs are ambulances, water tankers, rescue equipment and other assets that aim to bring PRC services closer to local communities. This includes welfare desks and health stations.
“Ultimately, regionalization efforts will help the country in terms of molding every barangay into resilient communities. When you have these capacities, you have the power to predict, plan, prepare, and practice,” Gordon said.
The 72nd anniversary of the PRC highlights the theme “#Resilience: Humanitarian responders over the years,” which celebrates over seven decades of empowering communities to rise up from the impact of calamities.
Aside from community resilience, the theme also recognizes Red Cross volunteers, staff, partners, and donors who have served as the backbone of PRC since it was founded in 1947.
‘Red Cross shines’
PRC history started as early as 1899 upon the suggestion of one of the country’s national heroes, Apolinario Mabini, under the leadership of Mrs. Hilaria Del Rosario Aguinaldo, wife of then president Emilio Aguinaldo. The organization applied with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland to be recognized as an independent society. It was finally constituted on April 15, 1947 at the Malacanan Palace grounds in an impressive ceremony and Mrs. Aurora Aragon Quezon was the very first chairman of Philippine Red Cross.
To date, PRC has cemented its role as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country—offering services in the fields of disaster management, safety, health, welfare, blood, Red Cross Youth, and volunteer.
PRC, guided by its formula “Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology,” has innovated to become a formidable Red Cross Society—with a pool of 2 million volunteers, 104 chapters, 150 ambulances, its own humanitarian ship, and hundreds of response and rescue equipment.
It has received praises from national and international communities for its fast response to humanitarian concerns, such as the recent measles outbreak, water crisis, as well as typhoons Ompong (Mangkhut) and tropical depression Usman.
During the 10th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in November 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte lauded PRC, led by Gordon, for its active role in humanitarian efforts, disaster reduction, and relief.
“This is where the Red Cross shines. Always first and always there to help the people affected by the situation and always ready to do what is needed—to stay until the work is done and people regain their stability; a true example of community engagement for the common good,” Duterte said in his address.
“This would not be possible without the support of our volunteers, our partners from the Red Cross and Red Crescent community—the IFRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and partner National Societies, as well as our corporate sponsors,” Gordon said.