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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.

Using hoses connected to its 10,000-liter tanker truck, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) volunteers and staff work with DepEd personnel to flush mud left by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) in schools. As of today, 07 November, the combined Red Cross and DepEd teams have flushed mud in Santa Rosa Central School, Aplaya Elementary School, Aplaya National High School, and the Schools Division Office.

“I received a request from Santa Rosa City Schools Division Superintendent Ms. Manuela Tolentino to help them flush their schools of mud left by Paeng. Deeply concerned with the education of our children set back by the pandemic, I deployed a 10,000-liter tanker truck to flush the mud in their schools,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.

PRC volunteers also hosed the old City Hall area, the Santa Rosa Covid facilities, the vicinity of the National Bureau of Investigation office, Laparan Street, Tatlong Hari Street, and Barangay Market Area to flush mud left by Paeng. As of today, 07 November, the PRC payloader has cleared 1,078 cubic meters of mud, or equivalent to 77 dump trucks full of mud in Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa City is among the cities across the country that experienced flooding as a result of the storm. Parts of the city were covered by mud three to four inches thick in the aftermath of Paeng. PRC volunteers and staff have responded to Paeng-affected communities across the country since 28 October by providing emergency rescue and evacuation, shelter strengthening kits, emergency medical services, health care information and supplies, hot meals and food items, water, clothes, slippers, psychological first aid, sleeping kits, hygiene kits, road clearing, and flushing.

The Cabuyao City Bureau of Jail Management and Penology presented the Philippine Red Cross and its Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon certificates of recognition in connection with the organization’s swift response in managing the cases of amoebiasis in Cabuyao City Jail, which affected more than 80 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

“Hindi po kami nagdalawang salita at talagang naging napakabilis ng pagdating ng tulong na water tanker ni Red Cross nang malaman nila ang kondisyon ng mga nagkakasakit dito sa Cabuyao BJMP,” JSINSP Shiela Moliquino, the City Jail Warden cited.

Chairman Gordon quickly took action after reports from Red Cross Laguna Administrator Frank Sorromero confirmed clustered cases of diarrhea since September 16. The former solon reasoned that, “The goal of our penitentiary is to rehabilitate these individuals with hopes to have them reintegrated into society and given another chance at life – how can we successfully do that if they will feel neglected? Guided by our Red Cross principles of neutrality and impartiality – we should help all who are in need of help. Nakakulong man sila, basta kailangan nila ng tulong, they should be regarded with dignity and given due aid.”

The PRC was able to supply 470,000 liters of clean water for the whole jail compound with a population of 657 PDLs and 43 personnel. The bladders were also the only water source while pipes were being disinfected. PDLs were also provided with hygiene kits to keep themselves clean and free from diseases. Chairman Gordon also made sure that the “visitorless” PDLs, or those not being visited by their relatives were also given the much needed supplies to maintain their personal cleanliness.

The jail management expressed its immense gratitude to Chairman Gordon for his swift action and contribution to Cabuyao City Jail until its water contamination issue was resolved, further citing that the Chairman’s “work as a leader and a public servant is greatly admired. What you have done and what you will do in the years to come will be valued.”

In efforts to reach more people in need and to offer reliable help, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard ‘Dick’ J. Gordon welcomed a new branch of the Laguna Chapter in the multipurpose building of Barangay Wawa, Siniloan, Laguna on April 29. In attendance at the opening ceremony were Chapter Administrator Frank Gray Sorromero and members of the Laguna Chapter Board of Directors. The establishment of the PRC branch in Siniloan was made possible through the support of Mayor Rainier Leopando, whom Senator Gordon acknowledged in his speech.  

Senator Gordon reminded the audience members at the opening ceremony that PRC is not a government entity, that volunteers compose it, that they do it without a salary, to uplift human dignity and alleviate human suffering. He lauded Red Cross volunteers for their leadership shown through action.

He emphasized the importance of “pagmamalasakit,” or compassion, which he and the PRC have stood for since its founding in 1947. He cited the Republic of Korea’s donation of a water tanker to the PRC and PRC’s assistance to other nations, like Ukraine. He also referred to the PRC’s contribution to the RT-PCR testing for Covid-19 in the Philippines; the PRC has conducted more than 5.5 million tests.

Senator Gordon also emphasized that even though the Red Cross helps the people, it is not about just giving away provisions but about empowering people. He says that as a leader, his goal is to strengthen people’s abilities. “Tumutulong tayo para may dangal at dignidad tayo,” Senator Gordon said.

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
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