PRC: Always First, Always
Ready, Always There
For nearly seven decades, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has been a pillar of hope, help, and compassion for Filipinos providing assistance to the most vulnerable in times of disasters and emergencies. As the PRC marks its 68th year of inauguration as a member of the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement on April 15, the country’s premier humanitarian organization continues to provide life-saving assistance and service to the most vulnerable.
“In a country with a buffet of disasters, we have to have all the logistics, all the volunteers and we have to make use of information technology,” said PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon. Gordon created the equation, “Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready and Always There.” Without volunteers, the Red Cross is nothing, without logistics the Red Cross cannot move as fast as it does, and the same goes for information technology.
On its 68th year, the Philippine Red Cross continues to provide services anchored around its six (6) major services: disaster management, blood, safety, community health and nursing, social, and Red Cross youth and voluntary services. All of which, according to Gordon, embody the fundamental principles of the RCRC Movement – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.
“All of the seven principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement are the guiding standards by which we at the PRC operate. The same principles inspire all staff and volunteers in fulfilling their duties and providing services to the vulnerable, often selflessly and without asking for anything in return,” said Gwendolyn Pang, PRC’s secretary general.
PRC continues to be a beacon of compassion as it responds to disasters and emergencies one after another. No emergency is too small for the PRC as it responds daily to calls for ambulance assistance, vehicular accidents, fire control, rescue, and other forms of disaster response. From January to April 10, the PRC Operations Center has already recorded 1,995 ambulance responses, 96 fire truck responses, 5 rescue vehicle (RV) response, 1 motor rescue vehicle (MRV) response, and 7,745 total patients catered.
The PRC blood bank likewise continues to provide blood to all who needed it, including indigent patients. From January to April 10, the PRC blood services have served a total of 32,342 patients; 47,022 total units of blood served; 29,095 pay patients served; and 3,425 indigent patients served.
Philippine Red Cross continues to provide life-saving materials for those affected by disasters and emergencies such as those displaced by fires. During last month’s Parola fire in Tondo, Manila, PRC, through its Manila Chapter, served food to those in the evacuation centers through PRC’s mobile soup kitchen. PRC and the Manila Chapter also provided relief goods to affected families of recent major fire incidents.
Not forgetting about past disasters and responses, the PRC continues with its recovery and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by major disasters. The PRC and partner societies in the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement continues its rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda (Haiyan) affected provinces almost a year and a half after it hit Eastern Visayas and nearby provinces. As of date, the Philippine Red Cross, supported by partner national societies in the RCRC Movement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), has repaired and constructed more than 53,000 homes in Yolanda affected provinces. Other forms of assistance are also continuing like livelihood assistance, skills training and enterprise development, construction of water and sanitation facilities, promotion of hygiene and sanitation in schools and communities, and repair and construction of health facilities.
Even before Yolanda, shelter assistance was already a major endeavor of the PRC in areas affected by disasters. Around 47,000 homes have been repaired and constructed by the PRC in several disaster-affected areas like in Iligan, Isabela, Bicol, Kalinga Apayao, Palawan, Southern Leyte, Compostela Valley, and in Bohol that was badly hit by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas in October 2013.
To further strengthen the capabilities of the PRC in responding to disasters and emergencies, PRC recently opened its Logistics and Training Center in Subic which will provide support to the national headquarters and nearby chapters. The Logistics and Training Center serves as storage for non-food items that can be easily distributed in case of disasters and emergencies, as well as other equipment and response and rescue vehicles.
Truly, the PRC has time and again proven that it is the country’s premier humanitarian organization and will continue to be a moving presence providing service to the most vulnerable in the years to come. /MP