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.
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.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Secretary General Dr. Gwen Pang and PRC Board of Governors Vice Chairperson Corazon Alma De Leon led the distribution of 150 hygiene kits to the elderly inpatients of the Female Aged Care and Wellness Unit of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) on 30 May.
Dr. Pang, a nurse by profession, explained that a combination of internal factors, such as impairment and disabilities, and external factors, including physical environment, inequalities, discrimination, and stigma create obstacles for individuals to efficiently access and engage in hygienic practices.
“The PRC acknowledges that individuals with specific needs face the detrimental effects of social stigma, which leads to lesser or even no participation and engagement on their part. Through our hygiene promotion and provision of hygiene kits, we hope they feel loved and not forgotten,” she added.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon has previously initiated programs for the NCMH, consistently highlighting the Red Cross’ commitment to ensuring that every individual has access to basic human needs. “The PRC develops initiatives to accommodate individuals with specific needs because they are important to us. We ensure their involvement in every phase and recognize that they are still part of our society. Never forgotten and always to be treated with dignity,” he stated.
The kit includes a bar soap, soap dish, hand towel, shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Dr. Cristina Palma, one of the medical officers overseeing the unit, said the provision of hygiene kits is essential to assist patients in maintaining cleanliness, adding that the arrival of their hygiene items is sometimes delayed or resources available at times may not be sufficient to accommodate all patients.
Hoping to create “a community of growers at the Philippine Red Cross,” PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn T. Pang led the Backyard Gardening Seminar at the 3rd floor multi-purpose hall of the PRC Tower in Mandaluyong last May 29, 2023.
This is in line with the PRC’s food security program that started through the vision of PRC Chairman Dick Gordon. PRC began a sustainable farm in Marikina to provide produce for its hot meals on wheels operations.
Chairman Gordon, who authored the Food Donation Law (RA 9803) in 2009, reiterated the many efforts of the PRC to address the hunger problem in the country. “It has been one of my top priorities to promote food security; that’s why we, at the Philippine Red Cross began a 2-hectare sustainable farm in Marikina, possible expansion is underway, that’s where we grow and harvest our crops that we’re using for our hot meals on wheels operations in times of various disasters and emergencies. This seminar that we provided to our PRC employees is just a piece of the whole cake, and there are more agricultural seminars and workshops to come” said Gordon.
PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn Pang mentioned the significance of creating a backyard garden as one of the practical ways to fight inflation, “We want to teach you how to grow your own food. Kahit wala kayong malawak na lupain, maaari kayong mag-umpisa sa bakuran ng bahay n’yo. Basta’t mayroon kayong paglalagyan, tutubo ‘yan. I think that one day, it will be very difficult to find food to eat, kaya mas maganda na marunong tayong magtanim ng sarili nating pagkain na maibabahagi rin natin sa iba, lalo na ngayon na mataas na presyo ng mga bilihin. I hope you find joy in planting.”
At the end of the session, 350 eggplant seedlings from the PRC farm in Marikina and a variety of high-quality vegetable seeds donated by its international partners were distributed to PRC employees to encourage them to start their backyard gardens.
The actual signing of the memorandum of agreement for the turnover of the Rotary’s 270 donated wheelchairs to the PRC happened last 25 May, 2023 at the PRC National Headquarters in Mandaluyong.
The donated wheelchairs will be distributed to numerous people with mobility impairments in the country to help them cope with their health conditions. The beneficiaries will be identified and assessed by the PRC and Rotary Club members.
“I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the Rotary for giving us 270 wheelchairs to be distributed for our beneficiaries around the country. Malaking tulong ito upang bigyan sila ng saya at pag-asa sa buhay. The MOA signing between the two organizations today proves that we remain their partner of choice. Just like the Rotary’s mission to create lasting change in the world, the PRC is also committed to make this world a better place for all,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon.
PRC’s Secretary General, Dr. Gwen Pang, also expressed her gratitude to the Rotary, “Being a member of the Rotary Club of Manila 101 and PRC’s current Secretary General, I’m so proud and elated to be able to witness the strengthened partnership between my two beloved organizations. Maraming salamat, Rotary sa pagsuporta sa Philippine Red Cross noon at ngayon.”
The Rotary is a network of 1.4 million passionate people from around the world aiming to use their skills, energy, and intelligence to take action in various sustainable projects. Since 2006, the Rotary has been able to provide various assistance to the PRC and its chapters: monetary assistance for typhoon survivors, vehicle donations used for crisis situations, emergency equipment, and blood donation campaigns, to name a few.
“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.
To help replenish the blood reserves in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) collaborated with the Philippine Coastguard and the Man is Brother Unto Man Organization in conducting a bloodletting activity in Port Area, Manila on January 23. The bloodletting activity, which generated a whopping 247 blood units, was organized by PRC Governor Jennifer Ann Munar in partnership with Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Charlie Rances. Also attending the successful bloodletting activity were PRC Governor Danilo Yang and Dr. She Tonelete from the PRC Blood Services. Internationally acclaimed Filipino singer Arnel Pineda also graced the occasion.
During the event, PRC and Man is Brother Unto Man volunteers distributed food and giveaways to the Coast Guard personnel who donated blood.
“This bloodletting event is just the beginning. PRC and the PCG will regularly hold mobile blood donation activities every three months to ensure that there is adequate blood supply in our blood centers,” said Gov. Munar.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon expressed gratitude to the blood donors as volunteers. “We appreciate the volunteerism of the members of the Philippine Coastguard, headed by Fleet Commander Rances. Your volunteerism as blood donors will definitely help save the lives of our fellow Filipinos during medical emergencies,” said Chairman Gordon.
As of 18 January, the premier humanitarian organization has dispensed 19,938 blood units in 2023. PRC has 31 blood centers and 71 blood collection units nationwide.
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.
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn T. Pang explained that while January is known to be a lean month for blood donations, PRC remains committed to saving lives by conducting blood donation drives anytime. “We are always ready to collaborate with organizations that want to organize a blood donation drive,” said Pang.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn T. Pang welcomed representatives from the local government of Borongan City to the PRC National Headquarters today, October 27, 2022.
According to Borongan City Councilor Frich Baylon Uy, their delegation’s main objective for including PRC in their “Lakbay Aral,” or study visit, is to “benchmark” what Red Cross has that they can adopt in Borongan City. He also expressed appreciation for how the Red Cross places importance on cooperative relationships with local governments. Councilor Jay Anthony Baleña Ang expressed hope for a collaboration between PRC and the city government in programs that aim to save lives.
Composed of officers from the Mayor’s Office, the city council, the city planning office, the city disaster risk reduction and management office, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire Protection, among others, the delegation from Borongan City, Eastern Samar engaged in discussions with Ms. Pang and other PRC officials on safety services, such as first aid and emergency medical services, disaster preparedness and response, and blood services, among other topics.
Dr. Pang, a veteran disaster manager with the Red Cross not just in the Philippines but also in the Asia region, reminded the learner-visitors that no single organization has all the capacities in disaster risk reduction and response. She elaborated that agencies have different mandates and capacities, and a successful response to a hazard event depends on how well these agencies work together. She explained that the Red Cross is auxiliary to the government in its humanitarian tasks. “Magtulungan tayo. Kailangan sama-sama tayo. Pag pinagsama, lumalabas ang lakas nating lahat,” said Dr. Pang.
PRC, through its Eastern Samar chapter, located in Borongan City, has a long history of collaboration with the local governments in Eastern Samar, most notable of them being PRC’s response to people affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which was unprecedented in wind speed and effects.
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.