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!
A total of 9,065 patients were served during the Holy Week operations of Philippine Red Cross, including individuals involved in road crashes and drowning incidents.
Most of the patients (8,289) had their blood pressure monitored due to extreme heat, while 42 patients who suffered from fainting, severe body pain, difficulty of breathing, and head trauma were transported for further medical attention.
There were also eight major cases recorded such as seizure, loss of consciousness and fracture, while 493 patients sustained wounds, others suffered from sprain, muscle cramps, dizziness and vomiting.
PRC’s welfare desks also catered to 233 individuals, including those assisted through psychosocial support and who sought help to trace their families.
PRC deployed a total of 2,000 staff and 150 ambulances nationwide from April 14 to 22.
“Salute to our untiring staff and volunteers who assisted to our countrymen during the holy week. Selfless act indeed, when you think of others first before yourself. Serving the people and uplifting them during catastrophes has been a regular endeavor for Philippine Red Cross,” Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of PRC, said.
In Kalinga, PRC staff and volunteers responded to a road crash incident in Binongsay Road, Bry. Malin-awa, Tabuk City, where an elf truck fell off a cliff after losing its brakes. The incident resulted in eight deaths and injured 16 people. PRC provided hot meals and hygiene kits to the nine patients currently admitted.
Meanwhile, in Calatagan, Batangas, PRC transported a 12-year-old boy to Batangas Medicare Hospital due to drowning.
PRC also showed readiness in responding to fire when it immediately mobilized its fire trucks and ambulance vehicles to two fire incidents that both reached 4th alarm in Quezon City and Laguna in April 20.
Aside from the fire trucks and ambulance, the PRC also deployed four first aiders in the fire in Capoas, Masambong in Quezon City where it gutted several houses.
The fire in Laguna destroyed a paper mill in the town of Cabuyao. There were no reported casualties in the said fire incidents.
The number of patients assisted this year is higher compared to last year’s 8,844 individuals.
PRC Holy Week Operations
Summary of assistance
Total Patients Catered (2019): 9,065 (Apr 14-Apr 22)
Total Patients Catered (2018): 8,844 (Mar 26-Apr 2)
Breakdown as follows:
Blood pressure monitoring – 8,289
Transported – 42 (fainting, severe body pain, breathing difficulties, head trauma)
Major – 8 (seizure, loss of consciousness, fracture)
Minor – 493 (wound, sprain, muscle crumps, jellyfish sting, dizziness, vomiting)
Welfare- 233 (Psychosocial support – 179, tracing – 4, referral – 50)
The Philippine Red Cross is all set for #SemanaSanta2019 deploying 2000 staff and volunteers and 150 ambulances nationwide to provide first aid assistance and to respond to any emergency cases that may arise.
“We put up our welfare desks in different strategic places to accommodate the travelers’ inquiries and concerns. These desks will be in operation for the entire holy week. Our goal is to make sure our countrymen are safe”, said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
PRC Chapters all over the country are on full alert. Various services offered are first aid, tracing assistance for people with missing companions or relatives, referral assistance and psychosocial support.
First aid stations, welfare desks, emergency vehicles and ambulances are positioned in 34 bus terminals, 42 major highways, 54 churches, 13 beach areas and 9 sea ports. There are also stations in parks, pilgrimage areas and other destinations.
In 2018, PRC helped a total of 8,844 people nationwide. PRC staff and volunteers were on duty to serve everyone who needed help.
For a peaceful voyage, these are the driving tips to ponder:
PRC’s 10 Road Safety Commitments:
I commit to:
1. Use a seatbelt / Child Car Seats
2. Wear a helmet on a motorcycle
3. Drive at a safe speed and distance suitable for the condition
4. Not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
5. Not use a mobile phone when driving
6. Be visible as a pedestrian or cyclist
7. Know and respect the highway codes
8. Maintain my vehicle in a good condition
9. Be licensed and trained for the vehicle drive
10. Know how to react in case of a crash
For emergency and any untoward incidents, contact our 24/7 Operations Center. Dial 143 or 790-23-00 for assistance.