PASAY CITY, METRO MANILA – Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard “Dick” Gordon expressed gratitude to Italian food company Barilla and Marriott Hotel Manila for celebrating the World Pasta Day by donating 500 bowls of nutritious pasta and 500 banana loaves to students, some of whom are Red Cross Youth, at Villamor Air Base Elementary School last October 25, 2023.
“We’ve partnered with hotels, restaurants, bakeries, and food storage facilities to provide food for the most vulnerable, whether during times of disaster or in non-disaster situations. I am grateful to all our partners for helping PRC support our most vulnerable communities,” Gordon said.
Executive Chef Meik Brammer of Marriott said that donating food to the underprivileged through the PRC is among the hotel giant’s means of addressing food wastage. Marriott Hotel is a food donor of the PRC for over 12 years, serving freshly-cooked food to over 20,000 beneficiaries.
Food donations significantly contributed to addressing two of PRC’s key advocacies: food insecurity and child malnutrition, which Gordon reiterated during his discussion at the International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS) conference on November 8 in Manila.
Gordon, during his first term as a senator in 2009, authored the Republic Act No. 9803 (RA9803) or the Food Donation Act of 2009, which aims to address the country’s growing hunger problem and bring dignity back to the most vulnerable simultaneously. Under this law, donors are encouraged to donate food for charitable purposes and to reduce food wastage. Chairman Gordon explained that the donors give untouched food from buffet tables, not leftover food.
PRC’s food coordinator, Ms. Micot Juico, and PRC-Pasay City Chapter staff, Ms. Shara Mae Arceo, facilitated the food donation activity.
As the country commemorates the historic Super Typhoon Haiyan this November, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) highlights the noteworthy accomplishments of its response, recovery, and resilience programs in the affected areas. One of the worst-hit provinces was Capiz. The Philippine Red Cross shared that overall, it provided PhP448.6 million in recovery interventions in the province.
“We are globally acknowledged as one of the leading Red Cross societies. In the aftermath of the Haiyan disaster, we demonstrated our capacity to gather support from numerous Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) societies globally and effectively distribute aid to various provinces. The Haiyan incident underscored the reputation of Red Cross as a dependable organization, solidifying its position as the preferred partner,” said Richard “Dick” Gordon, Chairman and CEO of the PRC.
Aside from the PRC, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the German Red Cross, the Hong Kong Red Cross, the Singapore Red Cross, and the Swiss Red Cross implemented the humanitarian assistance program in Capiz.
The RCRC Movement built 7,233 homes for displaced people, provided livelihood training and cash assistance to 6,945 households, built WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) facilities in 24 schools, reconstructed or constructed 12 health facilities, and built 25 classrooms.
Dr. Gwen Pang, Secretary-General of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), said that the PRC assumed control by allocating various national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to the impacted provinces and cities, implementing a coordinated intervention program.
Super Typhoon Haiyan affected over 16 million people in more than 600 municipalities and cities. It displaced more than 800,000 families. The PRC mounted a P4.9 billion recovery program, benefiting over 390,000 families across 10 provinces and cities.
MANDALUYONG, METRO MANILA – Volunteers and staff of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) continue to aid families affected by the low pressure area (LPA) and the shearline that brought incessant rains over the weekend in the eastern sections of Visayas and Luzon.
The PRC – Northern Samar Chapter served hot meals to 153 individuals and set up a welfare desk and first aid station at the Polangi Evacuation Center to provide physical and mental medical attention to evacuees. In Quezon Lucena, the PRC’s first aid station monitored the blood pressure of 38 evacuees, while the PRC’s welfare desk provided psychological first aid (PFA) and facilitated child-friendly spaces for over 100 individuals.
Provision of food, water, PFA, and basic medical care constitute the standard response and rescue efforts of the PRC to reinstate evacuees’ access to essential necessities amid disruptions.
According to PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon, terrains and other areas in the affected regions are susceptible to landslides and mudslides due to the saturated soil caused by heavy rainfall. “Our payloaders are positioned for clearing operations, ensuring continuous assistance to geographically isolated areas,” he added.
As of writing, there are 12 evacuation centers in Northern Samar, Western Samar, and Masbate housing 1,460 individuals.
In September 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the employment rate among the youth, aged 15 to 24 years old, was 86.9%.
With that, 13.1% of Filipino youth were unemployed. Youth unemployment is higher than overall unemployment, which is 4.5%.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), in partnership with TESDA, technical-vocational schools, and the Spanish Red Cross, is making strides in helping the youth and other vulnerable groups gain skills for employment or self-employment. The PRC project covers the tuition fees for the beneficiaries and also provides them with meals and transportation allowances.
“We are committed to assisting the youth and other vulnerable groups among our kababayans in finding employment or engaging in self-employment,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard “Dick” Gordon.
On 13 November 2023, 54 youth and members of other vulnerable groups from Manila, Caloocan, and Pasay received their certificates from TESDA for completing courses such as baking, housekeeping, and caregiving. The graduation ceremony was held at Manila Atelier of Food Arts and Hospitality, Inc. in UN Avenue, Ermita Manila.
“The primary goal of PRC’s Employment Project is to enhance the connectedness of urban poor communities to better access economic opportunities,” explained the PRC Secretary-General, Dr. Gwen Pang.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon convened the PRC team today to plan the humanitarian organization’s response to communities affected by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Sarangani, Davao Occidental and neighboring provinces at 4:14 pm today.
As of writing, the PRC’s emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, Red Cross 143 volunteers, and assets are deployed to provide EMS to affected students from Holy Trinity Junior High and Golden State College, and other affected communities.
“PRC volunteers and staff are on the ground assessing the needs of communities. We are mobilizing our volunteers in the affected barangays to ensure that reports are transmitted to our Operations Center immediately. In this way, we can immediately provide humanitarian assistance to those affected,” said Chairman Gordon.
According to reports from the PRC Davao Del Sur Chapter, the earthquake caused power outages in Digos City. Alberto Olarte Sr. National High School in Sarangani and two malls in Koronadal and General Santos City suffered from collapsed ceilings and broken glasses. A construction crane in Davao City with a block of cement also collapsed.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the earthquake’s depth of focus was 10 kilometers. PRC Davao del Sur Chapter reported that in Digos City, strong shaking lasted for 10 seconds.
Photo: Damages in Alberto Olarte Sr. National High School in Mabila, Sarangani, Davao Occidental (photo from Red Cross 143 volunteer Shyluck Regino)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Secretary-General, Dr. Gwen Pang discussed the organization’s climate actions and humanitarian responses to disasters aggravated by climate change during the International Women Empowerment Assembly: Peace and Sustainable Development of the International Council of Women on November 6.
Dr. Pang began her discourse by referring to climate change as a threat multiplier that can exacerbate existing conflicts and potentially ignite new ones. “By addressing climate change, we are actively contributing in promoting peace and sustainability,” she said.
The discourse focused on the ways the PRC addresses both the effects and root causes of climate change.
“We incorporate climate change in our training, capacity-building programs, and educational materials to raise awareness. We invest in nature-based solutions, and intensify our efforts in waste management and circular economy,” she said.
The PRC also has climate-resilient development practices, such as Early Warning and Early Action Protocols, and community-based disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness to help Filipino communities affected by natural hazards intensified by climate change.
“Numerous climate change-induced hazards traverse the Philippines in a year. Before communities can recover, another disaster will come and exacerbate their situation. Our early warning and action systems help Filipinos strengthen their houses, evacuate livestocks, relocate small businesses, and harvest their crops days early prior to impact of hazards,” Dr. Pang highlighted.
The Secretary-General concluded her discussion by encouraging all women leaders at the aforementioned conference to devise action points and integrate climate change in local and national policies.
This year, Dr. Pang represented the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the UN High-Level Meeting of the Midterm Review for the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in New York. The PRC also signed an agreement with the Climate Change Commission to intensify the country’s climate change adaptation and mitigation programs.
After receiving reports from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Operations Center, PRC Cagayan de Oro Chapter immediately responded to stranded passengers of a Cebu-bound ship that tilted due to strong winds and heavy waves shortly after leaving the port of CDO on November 12. The vessel was operated by Cokaliong Shipping Lines.
Soon after all the passengers safely disembarked from the ship at the port of CDO, the PRC’s Welfare Services Team arrived. Volunteers from PRC CDO Chapter distributed hot meals (arroz caldo) to 125 passengers and food packs to 129 passengers who were shaken by the incident. Seven (7) passengers received medical attention, one of whom had a sprained ankle, and two (2) passengers received psychological first aid from PRC’s first aid and welfare stations.
PRC Chairman Dick Gordon directed the deployment of PRC’s ambulance team in Macabalan Port to provide pre-hospital treatment to passengers who may need it.
PRC’s OpCen also coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard. Stranded passengers are currently housed in the PPA passenger amenity building, awaiting instructions regarding the vessel’s departure or clearance.
On October 7, the PRC dispatched two ambulance units to assist in the disembarkation of passengers from a cargo vessel still operated by Cokaliong Shipping Lines. The vessel was en route to Samar when a chemical leak on board took place.
“In this country, every day, I witness a disaster,” Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard “Dick” Gordon remarked on the pressing issues of food insecurity and child malnutrition in the Philippines.
According to the 2021 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) by the Philippines’ National Nutrition Council (NNC), two percent of Filipino households are severely food insecure. This translates to over 500,000 households, as indicated by the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2020 Census of Population and Housing (CPH). UNICEF reports that every day, 95 children in the Philippines succumb to malnutrition.
Addressing agricultural scientists from Southeast Asia at the International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS) conference on November 8 in Manila, Gordon urged them to collaborate with humanitarian leaders, including himself and the government, to “wage a war” against food insecurity and child malnutrition and emphasize the urgency of addressing these issues.
“PRC will concentrate on tackling malnutrition among zero-to-five-year-old children, a critical phase in a child’s development. During the first two months, the PRC plans to distribute food to children aged zero to five and those from impoverished households using its fleet of food trucks. Simultaneously, the PRC will train mothers or guardians on how to prepare nutritious food independently, providing them with sustainable livelihoods.” Gordon explained.
Gordon shared some of the PRC’s ongoing interventions related to food security and nutrition, including hot meal distribution during disasters through PRC’s Hot Meals on Wheels, food distribution to impoverished communities through the Food Donation Law (which he authored), the establishment of vegetable and fruit farms nationwide, and the deployment of payloaders to clear farms inundated by mud after typhoons or flooding.
Today, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joins the country in commemorating the 10th year anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, internationally known as Haiyan, which buried numerous parts of Luzon and Visayas in rubble along with livelihoods, homes, schools, belongings, and people.
“Gusto naming iparamdam sa mga kababayan natin na hindi sila nag-iisa,” is a statement that has driven PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon to intensify the organization’s ten-year relief, rescue, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the region.
Apart from the provision of food, non-food items, and cash assistance to millions of individuals, the PRC built over 80,000 houses with toilets, with support from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners, in Leyte, Ormoc City, Western and Eastern Samar, Cebu, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, and Palawan. The organization also built schools, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities for over 100 schools, 1,168 community-based WASH facilities, and vocational training centers and rehabilitated almost 100 health facilities.
These provisions were made while responding to Filipinos affected by the Zamboanga siege and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol, crises that struck the country months before Yolanda made landfall.
“How we simultaneously responded to these crises made the PRC a preferred partner of choice of donors and RCRC [Red Cross and Red Crescent] National Societies through the years because we can get the job done. We show the donors their contributions,” Gordon added.
Ten years after Yolanda, the PRC called on every Filipino to be “ahead of the curve.” “People should not build houses in the shoreline nor near any fault line. Practice the 4Ps (Predict, Plan, Prepare, and Practice),” said Gordon.
Gordon also advises relevant government agencies and humanitarian organizations to take into account livelihood opportunities and access to roads and public transportation when transferring families to a relocation site. “People will just return to danger zones if half-baked relief and recovery efforts are going to be provided,” he added.
The PRC Secretary-General, Dr. Gwen Pang, also shared that the PRC is now intensifying its climate-resilient development practices: “To reduce community vulnerability to disasters, we’ve embraced streamlined approaches like Early Warning Systems, Anticipatory Actions, Nature-based Solutions, Climate Change Education, Food Security, and Waste Management, among others.”
MANDALUYONG, PHILIPPINES — In 2019, the Philippines declared a polio outbreak after 19 years of being polio-free — the outbreak was contained 16 months later. Today, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joins the world in observing “World Polio Day.”
From 2019 to 2023, the PRC provided polio vaccines to 1,088,601 children, protecting them from the highly infectious, disabling, and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. PRC’s vaccination efforts and 6,000 mobilized volunteers have reached 4,200 communities in four (4) years. These communities include densely populated regions in Metro Manila and geographically isolated areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon explained that the humanitarian organization has always been committed to strengthening and expanding its vaccination drive against Polio, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the immunization programs for this disease and placed children at higher risk of health complications.
He expressed his gratitude to the volunteers of PRC in their tireless efforts to save lives: “Umulan man o umaraw, ang mga volunteers nating doctor at nurses ay nagsasagawa ng vaccination campaign sa mga komunidad. Today, I want to thank them for using their skills to help countless Filipino children.”
PRC Secretary-General Dr. Gwen Pang, meanwhile, noted that in 2023 alone, the PRC also immunized 57,000 children against other vaccine-preventable diseases (i.e., measles).
World Polio Day is an annual observance that highlights the important role of polio vaccination in saving the lives of every child. It is also an opportunity to commend the efforts of millions of frontliners in the world’s fight to eradicate polio.
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.