Valenzuela City- Amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Valenzuela Chapter held its 8th Biennial Chapter Assembly on November 25, 2022, at the PRC Valenzuela City Chapter Building, ALERT Center Compound, Malinta, Valenzuela City, with the theme “Embracing the new normal towards a resilient community.”
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon, in his address to the Assembly participants, said that the premier humanitarian organization is “addressing the new challenges as seen in recent disasters through an intensified RC143 volunteer system.” Current Valenzuela City Chapter Board of Directors’ Chair Elizabeth Chongco reported that the number of the Chapter’s volunteers is increasing.
The Chapter’s new set of Board of Directors was also elected during the biennial assembly.
PRC staff and volunteers from various PRC teams attended the event. Delegates from select government agencies, such as the Philippine National Police, DepEd, Health Centers, Department of the Interior and Local Government-Valenzuela City, Valenzuela City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Office of the City Mayor, and Valenzuela City Anti Drug Abuse Council, were also present.
The Philippine Red Cross, through its Manila Chapter, conducted a feeding program for the most vulnerable senior citizens. Donated meals from Novotel Araneta such as rice, longanisa, hamonado, beef steak, scrambled egg, fish filet, roasted chicken, pansit guisado, and tinapay were served to 38 senior citizen at Barangay 658 Intramuros, Manila on 19 November.
“Ang Philippine Red Cross ay tumutulong sa most vulnerable sa lahat ng pagkakataon hindi lang sa panahon ng sakuna o emergency. Kaya naman lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa Novotel sa walang sawa nilang pakikipagtulungan sa PRC sa pamamahagi ng pagkain sa mga vulnerable nating kababayan,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Novotel Araneta is a long-time food donor of the PRC. During his first term as a senator in 2009, Chairman Gordon 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 volunteers and staff bring the donated nutritious food to the homeless, children in poor communities, the elderly, abandoned prisoners, the sick, and other vulnerable groups.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon directed staff and volunteers of the premier humanitarian organization in the country to provide the immediate needs of the families affected by the Low Pressure Area (LPA) and Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in Mindanao. On 17 November, PRC volunteers and staff served hot meals to 1,691 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the evacuation centers of the following local government units: Barangays Baluntay, Poblacion, and Maribulan in Alabel, Sarangani; Barangay Buayan in General Santos City; Barangay Poblacion in Malalag, Davao del Sur; and in Santa Maria, Davao Occidental.
“The Philippine Red Cross goal is to be always first, always ready, and always there for our fellow Filipinos in distress because of disasters and emergencies. We are able to meet the immediate needs of people affected by weather hazards because we have RC143 volunteers in the villages trained and ready to respond, we have prepositioned logistics, and we have state-of-the-art information technology for efficient and effective coordination,” explained Gordon.
Trained PRC volunteers and staff set up a Welfare Desk in Davao Del Sur. They facilitated child-friendly activities (CFA) designed as psychological first aid and treated five individuals in General Santos City.
PRC is currently conducting assessment of damage and needs in coordination with local governments. It has also alerted its army of RC143 volunteers in the barangays to respond when needed.
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.
PRC has long been providing hygiene promotion and building sanitation facilities in schools and vulnerable communities. This year, we provided hygiene promotion activities to 166, 430 individuals across the country and facilitated information dissemination on the importance of practicing personal hygiene, proper food handling, and proper toilet use and maintenance.
Today, we are joining the United Nations World Toilet Day 2022 campaign, called “Making the Invisible Visible” with the theme “Sanitation and Groundwater”.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) administered 15,249 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters in Marawi City through the PRC Mobile Bakuna Team, fully inoculating 7,657 persons from 2021 to 2022. The PRC Bakuna Team supports the city government’s vaccination efforts at the City Hall Gym in Barangay Bangon, Marawi City.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon encouraged Filipinos again to get vaccinated and those who are qualified to have the first or second booster shots to get them. “When the world no longer watches, the Philippine Red Cross does what must be done. We will support the local governments in the fight against Covid-19, until our country is safe from the threat of the pandemic,” Chairman Gordon said.
Other places in Mindanao where PRC conducts Covid-19 vaccination and boosting are Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Cotabato City, Davao City, General Santos City, Gingoog City, Iligan City, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani, Surigao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, and Zamboanga City. To date, 120 vaccinators have been mobilized and one Bakuna Bus has been deployed in Mindanao.
The Covid-19 vaccinations are part of PRC’s Covid-19 response across the country. As of 17 November 2022, PRC has administered 1,252,865 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters in the whole country, fully vaccinating 377,388 persons.
The Covid-19 pandemic upended the lives of vulnerable people living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of Mindanao. In line with this, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has been escalating its Bakuna buses operations in Mindanao to improve vaccine adherence and increase vaccine uptakes in the region, especially in the high-risk population.
As of date, PRC’s Bakuna Buses and Bakuna Centers with Bakuna Teams, have administered a total of 325, 066 vaccines — 76, 876 individuals fully vaccinated and 51,238 persons boosted — in the region of Mindanao.
On 12 November, PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon, ICRC officials and ICRC Vice President Gilles Carbonnier visited General Santos City to see the “Bakuna Bus” operations. “We have been doing this [Covid-19 vaccination programs] for almost two years. Ang kaibahan lang, dati nasa station ang ating mga vaccination drive pero ngayon mayroon ng mga buses. Ginagamit ang mga ‘to para mailapit ang bakuna sa mga taong nasa malalayong lugar. Ngayon, mas pagiigtingin natin ang pagbabakuna, partikular sa mga bata,” said PRC Chairman Gordon.
ICRC Impressed with PRC’s Bakuna Buses
ICRC Vice President Carbonnier, meanwhile, expressed his admiration for PRC’s humanitarian activities, “I am very impressed by the Philippine Red Cross, the commitment of the people, the sophistication of the different activities […]. I believe that regionally, it is key for me to come here to the Philippines especially because ICRC has many humanitarian activities in Mindanao. These are important operations that we will keep having, and I think it is important for us in ICRC to come and see with our own eyes what we collectively manage to do.”
“ICRC has always been supportive of the Philippine Red Cross’ Covid-19 interventions. They donated buses, equipped with a vaccine administration area and supplies, while we provided a cadre of volunteers to perform the task. Sa PRC, hindi pwedeng balewala ang mga binibigay na oportunidad para makatulong kasi hangarin namin na maiangat ang mga tao — hindi kami nag-aabot, kami ay nag-aangat ng mga tao,” Chairman Gordon explained.
In addition to Covid-19 vaccination programs, PRC is also planning to further expand its vaccination drive against vaccine-preventable diseases (i.e., typhoid, rubella). From 2019 to 2020, PRC, through the support of ICRC, vaccinated 127, 302 children against polio and measles-rubella. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the immunization programs for these contagious diseases, placing children at higher risk of health complications.
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.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) volunteers and staff continue aid efforts in Datu Odin Sinuat (DOS), Maguindanao, which is among those hardest hit by Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Paeng (international name: Nalgae).
Together with Australian Aid, PRC distributed sleeping kits and hygiene kits to 425 individuals in Barangay Awang, DOS yesterday. Two plastic mats, two mosquito nets, and two blankets comprise each sleeping kit. A hygiene kit is composed of 12 body soaps, five laundry soaps, 40 sanitary pads, five bath towels, toilet papers, toothbrushes, two toothpaste tubes, and razors.
“In every calamity, the Red Cross is there to help our fellow Filipinos for the long haul. We will be with our fellow Filipinos who have been severely affected by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng until they fully recover from its effects. We are always ready to reach the farthest communities to bring them aid,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Also yesterday in DOS, the foremost humanitarian organization served hot meals to 803 persons in Barangay Dinaig and distributed 10,000 liters of water through its water tanker in Barangay Bagumbayan.
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, road clearing, health care information and supplies, hot meals and food items, water, clothes, slippers, psychological first aid, sleeping kits, and hygiene kits.
With a diameter of over 1,000 kilometers, Paeng battered the country with torrential rains for around two days, 28-29 October, causing flash floods and landslides that damaged thousands of homes and destroyed tens of thousands of farms and fishing gear.
Days after Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the trail of massive flooding, rain-induced landslides, and displacement it left across vast areas of the country has affected over two million individuals or 510, 222 families. STS Paeng caused damage to livelihood and disrupted food and water supplies. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has been sending its fleet of food trucks to vulnerable communities in hard-hit areas to alleviate hunger and reduce the food security concerns of affected families.
“The nutrition of people in areas hardest hit by Paeng could be affected because the access to food and safe water in typhoon-affected towns and cities is usually disrupted. We at Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will continue boosting our efforts to address the nutrition needs of our kababayans in vulnerable situations,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
As of 04 November, PRC has served hot meals to 28,029 individuals in cities and towns affected by STS Paeng: Maguindanao, Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, Aklan, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, IloIlo, Northern Samar, Antique, Cebu, Masbate, Romblon, Palawan, Bataan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Batangas, Catanduanes, Laguna, Zambales, Aurora, Pangasinan, Kalinga, Quezon, Nueva Viscaya, Marinduque, Isabela, Bulacan, Manila, Marikina, Rizal, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, and Pasig-Pateros. PRC also distributed 2,499 bottled water in Cagayan.
Meanwhile, Gardenia Bakeries, a long-time food donor of PRC, donated bread loaves — these were distributed to 1, 455 affected families in Laguna and Pampanga. During his first term as a senator in 2009, Chairman Gordon 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.
Since 28 October, PRC has positioned relief assets and equipment, such as payloaders, water tankers, and food trucks to Paeng-affected communities. PRC staff and volunteers are monitoring the affected families’ further needs for food, safe water, clothing, shelter, hygiene, sanitation, and medical and psychosocial care.