Holy Week is a major religious observance in the Philippines, with many Filipinos participating in various religious practices during this time. For many, it is also an opportunity to travel and visit family or take a vacation. As the country commemorates Holy Week this year, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) emergency medical services (EMS) teams nationwide will be on high alert to respond to medical emergencies.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon has always been an advocate of emergency preparedness, and one way to prepare for an emergency is to have EMS personnel available during mass gatherings, such as the Holy Week observance. “Ang Red Cross ay laging handa at laging nandyan para sa ating mga kababayan kapag may mga malaking okasyon kung saan maraming mga taong nagtitipon, sakaling may medical emergency,” Gordon said.
The PRC will mobilize over 1,000 EMS personnel to operate more than 200 first aid stations, ambulance units, and roving units around places of worship, highways, port areas, bus terminals, tourist destinations, and gas stations. PRC and Petron will set up first aid stations in selected Petron gas stations along NLEX, SLEX, and STAR Toll as part of Lakbay Alalay, the PRC-Petron partnership to assist commuters during events and holidays that see peak traffic.
For a safe trip, remember PRC’s 10 Road Safety Commitments:
- Use seatbelts/child car seats.
- Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
- Drive at a safe speed and distance suitable to the condition.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not use a mobile phone when driving.
- Be visible as a pedestrian or cyclist.
- Know and respect the highway codes.
- Maintain your vehicle in good condition.
- Be licensed and trained for the vehicle drive.
- Know how to react in case of a crash.
To avoid heat-related emergencies, stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks, stay in air conditioned or well-ventilated areas, and wear lightweight and light-colored clothing.
For emergency and any untoward incident, contact our 24/7 Operations Center by dialing 143 or 8790-23-00.
Access to clean and safe water is necessary to nourish life. The human body cannot be sustained without water. Every person needs water on a daily basis for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation purposes. In support of this year’s observance of World Water Day, on 22 March, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will conduct advocacy campaigns in schools and communities across its 102 chapters. The campaign will revolve around “Accelerating Change,” the theme of this year’s celebration.
“Water is essential to maintain human life and dignity. Part of the immediate humanitarian aid we deploy whenever there is a disaster is our water tankers. Right now we have 28 water tankers strategically located across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and ready to be deployed when needed,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.
The “Accelerating Change” advocacy encourages people to save water. It breaks the taboo around toilets, water, and menstruation. Promoting gender equality, the campaign advocates that fetching water should be a shared task between women and men and girls and boys.
The advocacy inspires people to learn about how water is treated and distributed. Communities along riverbanks and seashores are spurred to plant trees that store water and reduce the risk of flooding. The brave are emboldened to engage legislators about budgets for improving access to water. The public is stirred to participate in clean-ups of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and beaches.
Gordon added that the PRC also partners with the government and the private sector to build water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities and to ensure access to water after a hazard event.
“Ipangbibili ko po ng abono at corn seeds ‘yung pera na matatangap ko mula sa Red Cross kasi po ngayong buwan [March] na po ang simula ng first season ng pagtatanim ng mais dito sa’min. ‘Yung matitira naman po ay gagamitin namin sa pang araw-araw po naming gastos,” said Adelino Guiy, 60 years old, a corn farmer from Upi, Maguindanao.
Five months after Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Paeng (international name: Nalgae) flooded provinces, including numerous geographically isolated communities across the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) went back to Visayas and Mindanao last 15 March to provide cash assistance, amounting to Php 15, 095, 000, to 3, 019 affected families in Maguindanao, Aklan, Capiz, and Antique.
The PRC initially provided Php 23, 416, 290 worth of humanitarian aid to Paeng-affected areas as of October 2022. The total amount provided is now more than Php 38.5 million.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon thanked the local government unit partners present during the simultaneous events and underscored that the Red Cross is with the communities to help them recover from disasters, consistent with the PRC hymn, which says, “When the world no longer watches, we do what must be done.”
Each vulnerable household was granted a one-time Multipurpose Cash Grant (MPCG) of Php 5, 000; the MPCG can be used for any need the beneficiary may have. This initiative is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as part of their STS Paeng Operations.
PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn T. Pang, meanwhile, said that the cash grant, if spent locally, will help the local economy.
The PRC also deployed its COVID-19 Bakuna Bus in the MPCG distribution area in Upi, Maguindanao and coordinated with Upi’s Regional Health Unit to provide vaccines and booster shots to beneficiaries.
As a 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook Davao De Oro anew on 7 March 2023, the Philippine Red Cross deployed its emergency medical services (EMS) team, medical tents, food trucks, a water tanker, and trained psychological first aid providers to meet the needs of displaced families.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon assured the public that the PRC will be a reliable help to the Filipinos in times of distress and encouraged them to become a member of PRC’s village-based Red Cross 143 volunteer system. “Ang Red Cross po ninyo ay inyong maaasahan sa panahon ng sakuna, kaya naman inaasahan din namin na kayo ang aming maging mata at tainga, na magbibigay sa amin ng impormasyon ukol sa mga nangyayari sa inyong barangay. Magtulungan tayo para mapanatiling ligtas ang ating mga barangay,” Gordon said.
The PRC Hot Meals on Wheels served arroz caldo to 1,220 individuals at Manat Gymnasium, the designated evacuation center in Barangay Manat, Nabunturan and at Andap National High School evacuation center in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. The PRC Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Team set up a bufflo tank at the evacuation center; the tank dispensed 1,000 liters of water, enough for the immediate needs of families seeking shelter at the gymnasium.
Three PRC medical tents are set up at the Davao De Oro Provincial Hospital. These emergency medical units served as the immediate evacuation area for patients of the hospital. As of writing, 48 patients are being treated in the medical tents. The PRC EMS Team served 76 patients who had their blood pressure taken. A PRC ambulance is on standby as of 13 March at Andap National High School evacuation center in case of a medical emergency. The Welfare Team provided psychological first aid to 62 adults and 88 children at Andap National High School evacuation center.
The PRC water tanker distributed 35,000 liters of water, benefiting 6,000 individuals sheltering in Manat Gymnasium, Andap National High School, and New Leyte Elementary School, Maco. The PRC coordinates its response with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region XI and the Davao De Oro Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office. The Region XI OCD declared a red alert after the series of earthquakes hit Davao De Oro from 01 February this year.
As part of the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) mission to provide access to clean water during emergencies through its Wash, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programs, the PRC mobilized three of its water tankers from March 6 to 7, 2023 to supply potable water to areas in Parañaque and Pasay affected by Maynilad Water Services, Inc.’s pipeline repair along Osmeña Highway in Makati.
A total of 11,925 families, or 26,156 individuals, were provided with 100,000 liters of clean drinking water from the PRC. The water tankers were deployed in Barangays San Martin De Porres, BF Homes, Marcelo Green, and Sun Valley in Parañaque. The following areas in Pasay also benefited from the PRC water distribution: Barangay 131 and 19th, 22nd, 25th, 34th, 35th, and 36th Streets.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said that access to clean and safe water during calamities and various emergency situations is vital to survival. “Napakahalaga na mabigyan ng ligtas at maiinom na tubig ang ating mga kababayan sa Metro Manila na apektado ng 20 to 57-hour water service interruptions ng Maynilad. Napakahirap ang walang tubig because we need water to survive. It’s a major necessity! I immediately sent three of our water tankers in Parañaque and Pasay. ‘Yan naman ang gamit ng water tankers ng PRC. During disaster, calamity, and conflict, the Philippine Red Cross is always ready to serve and provide for our people.”
To date, the PRC owns 28 water tankers, with a capacity of five to twelve thousand liters each; the water tankers are donations from PRC’s partner organizations. “PRC water tankers are vital to the country’s need to promote proper hygiene and deliver access to clean water. Palalakasin pa natin ang ating mga programa under the PRC WASH para sa ating mga kababayan,” Chairman Gordon added.
The Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Eyren Akyol earlier made a request to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for assistance in the donation efforts for the earthquake-stricken country. In response to this request, the PRC resolutely appealed to Filipinos to help the Turkish survivors. PRC Chairman and CEO and former Senator Richard J. Gordon personally appealed to his former colleagues at the Senate to donate to Türkiye.
On 07 March, the Senate of the Philippines, led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, responded to the call and donated Php2.5 million to aid the people affected by the earthquake in Türkiye. The senators used their personal resources and chose to course their donations through the PRC. Gordon received the check at a turnover ceremony at the Senate.
“Any form of donations to Türkiye is critical, especially during this time as the country is still experiencing winter conditions. We will immediately turn over the donation of the Senate of the Philippines to the Turkish Red Crescent to help aid our sisters and brothers in Türkiye. Our collective effort to send help is an important gesture to show our solidarity and sympathy to the people of Türkiye,” said Gordon.
On 06 March, the PRC shipped the 100 generators donated by SM Foundation to Türkiye. The SM Foundation also sent their Php5 million donation to Türkiye-Syria through the PRC.
On 15 February, the House of Representatives also sought the assistance of the PRC to send their Php10 million donation to Türkiye; the amount is much larger than the senators’ donation, as the House has more members than the Senate.
The PRC donated US$100,000 each to Türkiye and Syria immediately after impact and shipped almost 300 winter tents to Türkiye.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is exerting all efforts to overcome logistical barriers and will send more humanitarian aid to Türkiye and Syria anytime this week, barring any logistical, or shipping, issues, according to PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Gordon shared that the premier humanitarian organization in the country will send around 1,000 sleeping kits, 200 generator sets, and 150 portable toilets to people affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
Gordon added that Filipinos demonstrate compassion to those in need even when they themselves are in need. The PRC is currently responding to people affected by the earthquake in Davao De Oro.
“The Filipinos are not mere spectators. When others are hurting, we should help – that is the Filipino way,” Gordon said. He shared that as a member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the PRC has donated more than US$3 million to other countries’ disaster responses over the years.
Earlier this month, PRC sent $US100,000 each to Türkiye and Syria to help with rescue and relief operations. PRC sent almost 300 winter tents to Türkiye, Gordon added.
Immediately after the earthquake struck Türkiye and Syria, Gordon started asking his personal friends to donate through the PRC. The PRC also launched an appeal to the public for donations. Metrobank, BPI, PNB, PBCom, Land Bank, BDO, Security Bank, AUB, and UnionBank are accepting donations on behalf of the PRC.
The embassies of Türkiye and Syria have designated the PRC as a collection point for in-kind donations.
To know how to donate to people affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, go to https://redcross.org.ph/appeal-turkey-syria-quake/.
After three years of postponement because of health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and GMA Network’s socio-civic arm GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF) once again welcomed blood donors to their annual “Sagip Dugtong Buhay” blood donation drive last Sunday, 26 February, with the support of Ever Gotesco Commonwealth.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said in a statement that the PRC and GMAKF’s 27 years of partnership helped the foremost humanitarian organization provide stronger humanitarian services to vulnerable Filipinos. “May our partnership continue to alleviate the suffering of our most vulnerable people,” Chairman Gordon added.
The blood donation drive, which started at 7 a.m. and lasted until 6 p.m., generated a total of 1, 705 blood bags. Health personnel, staff, and volunteers from PRC personal Blood Service in the area were placed in different parts of the Ever Gotesco Mall to accommodate the crowd of blood donors.
PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn T. Pang expressed her gratitude to GMAKF and blood donors for their active involvement in the activity. “Ang dugo po na kailangan ng ating bansa ay 1 percent ng ating population. One hundred thirteen million na po [ang populasyon] nating ngayon, ang ibig sabihin po ay kailangan natin ng 1.1 million bags of blood […] Last year, sa tulong ng Philippine Red Cross, ng government hospitals at private hospitals, nakapag kolekta tayo ng mahigit 800, 000 blood bags nationwide […] We hope that through the continuous support of our people, we can address our countrymen’s need for blood,” Dr. Pang added.
GMAKF founder Ms. Mel C. Tiangco turned over the blood donations to PRC Secretary General Dr. Pang. GMAKF COO and Executive VP Ms. Rikki Escudero-Catibog, Ever Commonwealth Executive Vice President for Ad and Promo Ms. Lourdes Go-Ortiga, Vice President for Operations Ms. Evelyn Go, and Department Store Manager Ms. Dolly Eloriaga were also present at the ceremony.
Eight blood donors, two of whom are Ms. Lourdes Ortiga-Go and Ms. Evelyn Go of Ever Commonwealth, reached a milestone of donating one gallon of blood and were recognized by Secretary General Dr. Pang.
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.
After a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria on 06 February, thousands of houses and buildings were reduced to rubble, forcing displaced people to huddle in tents to stay warm. To further support the relief operations in the two quake-hit countries, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon directed the shipment of 228 winter tents to Türkiye.
The 228 tents from the PRC warehouse in Mandaue City, Cebu will be shipped tomorrow, 18 February, to Manila en route to Türkiye. The winter tents will provide temporary shelter and help warm the quake victims in Türkiye as the country is still experiencing winter conditions. This initiative is in addition to the financial aid amounting to US$100, 000 the PRC allocated to each of Türkiye and Syria.
“We at the Philippine Red Cross will continue to communicate with our Turkish and Syrian counterparts under the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to monitor the further humanitarian needs of our brothers and sisters. Aid is on the way,” said Chairman Gordon.
Aside from the mentioned humanitarian assistance, Chairman Gordon has quietly been calling personal friends, PRC board members, and partner companies to provide assistance for earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria.
In continuation of its humanitarian efforts to alleviate the sufferings of communities severely affected by Super Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru) when it struck the country in September 2022, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will deliver cash assistance, amounting to Php 22, 895, 000, to 4, 579 affected families in five Karding-hit provinces in Luzon today, 15 February. This is in addition to the Php 8, 383, 705 worth of humanitarian assistance the PRC has provided to Karding-affected areas since September 2022.
“Just like what I said before, we are everywhere. PRC will continue to do more than usual. Hindi natin pababayaan ang ating mga kababayan na lubhang naapektuhan ng Super Typhoon Karding. Malaking tulong para sa kanila roon ang cash assistance na ating ibibigay para mapunan ang kanilang pang araw-araw na pangangailangan at sa kanilang pagsisimulang muli. I’ll deploy our PRC staff and volunteers in those provinces affected by Karding to ensure that our fellow Filipinos will be given financial support for their recovery” said by PRC Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard J. Gordon.
PRC volunteers and staff will reach 1, 123 families in the municipalities of Burdeos, Panukulan, and Patnanungan in Quezon Province, 1, 184 families in Gapan City, General Tinio, Penaranda, and San Leonardo in Nueva Ecija, 476 in San Miguel, Bulacan, 996 in Dingalan and San Luis in Aurora, and 800 in Pura and Victoria in Tarlac. Each household will be granted a one-time Multipurpose Cash Grant (MPGC) of Php 5,000 to support their recovery, especially the rice farmers as planting season nears.
This initiative is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as part of its Karding Operation.
After today’s distribution, PRC will have given more than Php 31 million worth of humanitarian aid to families affected by ST Karding. The PRC has provided the following humanitarian assistance to communities affected by Karding since September 2022: 5,961 hotmeals, psychological first aid to 909 people, hygiene promotion to 494 individuals, child friendly spaces to 946 children, 2,490 face masks, 1,144 jerry cans, 514 sleeping kits, and 1,012 hygiene kits. As part of PRC Chairman Gordon’s recovery activities on schools, the PRC also delivered 960 CGI (corrugated galvanized iron) sheets and 48 plain sheets to eight damaged schools in Quezon Province such as Burdeos National High School, Mabini High School, Bonifacio High School, Calutcot High School, Carlagan Elementary School, Katakian Elementary School, Bukal Elementary School, and Apad Elementary School.