TODAY, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) marks the 69th anniversary of unparalleled humanitarian service to the most vulnerable in the country.
Since it was officially founded on April 15, 1947, the PRC has been at the forefront of providing humanitarian services to Filipinos, most especially in times of disasters and emergencies.
Through the years, it has been regarded as the country’s premier humanitarian organization, providing relief, rehabilitation, rescue, welfare services and other forms of social intervention to the most vulnerable.
In recent years, the PRC expanded its services to include disaster management, blood, health, safety, welfare and youth and volunteer services.
“I am honored to sit as chairman of the Philippine Red Cross since 2004, because I have seen how the organization has remarkably grown into a world-class humanitarian organization and one of the strongest Red Cross Societies in the world. Not only is the PRC able to provide services to our countrymen, but we are now also able to assist other disaster-stricken countries,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.
Gordon added that the PRC is also a donor society having sent the following donations to countries that experienced major disasters: $25,000 to the United States in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina, $10,000 for the Pakistan earthquake in 2006; $85,000 for the 2006 tsunami in Indonesia, $20,000 for the 2008 earthquake in China, $15,000 for the cyclone in Myanmar in 2008 and $2.4 million for the Japan tsunami in 2011.
“Our growing strength in disaster management has also allowed us to send emergency response units and volunteer doctors and nurses in Nepal last year to help in the aftermath of the earthquake,” he said.
According to him, a key formula that helped the PRC attain its status as the country’s foremost humanitarian organization, has been the equation Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, Always There.
This equation, formulated by Gordon himself, ensures that the PRC is able to fulfil its mandate of alleviating human suffering, especially the most vulnerable.
Strengthening the humanitarian organization’s disaster response and management capability was a focus of the PRC in the recent years.
The PRC has been growing its volunteer base, recruiting more volunteers in communities, schools and workplaces and actively promoting its Red Cross 143 volunteer program.
It also partners with other organizations including medical societies, nursing associations, commuter groups, among others to train more volunteers who could be tapped to provide humanitarian services in times of disasters and emergencies.
As auxiliary to the government, the PRC has consistently worked to be continuously regarded as a preferred partner by other agencies and organizations in providing humanitarian services to Filipinos.
NEIL A. ALCOBER