Letters to the Editor

Philippine Red Cross: The lifeline of the people

The Philippine Star
Philippine Red Cross: The lifeline of the people
Richard Gordon (Chairman) and Oscar Palabyab (Secretary General)

For 71 years, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country, has been steadfast in its mission to save lives, alleviate human suffering and promote human dignity. This mission is being carried out by prioritizing the most vulnerable sectors of society.

On April 12-13, the PRC will be renewing its commitment to serve humanity as it elects a new policy making body on its 32nd Biennial National Convention. On this special occasion, the administrators, board of directors, staff and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross’ 103 chapters nationwide will gather together to elect nine governors to replace the members of the incumbent Board of Governors whose terms have expired.

The convention is also an avenue for the PRC and its stakeholders especially the different chapters nationwide to share the best practices and lessons learned. The past two years have been momentous for the PRC as it continues to expand its operations in areas where humanitarian aid is needed most. The PRC’s Yolanda rehabilitation program, which is now on its fifth year of building homes and uplifting lives, is a testament to the adage: “When the world no longer watches, we do what must be done.” The PRC was also the first to respond during the height of the Marawi crisis last year, pooling its resources together and delivering its major services to the displaced families up to this day. The world also witnessed how Red Cross volunteers worked round-the-clock, sacrificing their Christmas holidays to deliver aid to those affected by typhoons Urduja, Vinta and Agaton in December last year. As in other operations, the PRC ensured that the priority needs of typhoon-affected families were addressed such as food and water. 

As operations expand, PRC’s most valuable resources likewise grew. PRC’s mantra “Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = A Red Cross that is Always First, Always Ready, Always There” has been its operational strategy over the years. Just last year, the PRC has acquired the country’s first and only humanitarian vessel which will serve as an ambulance and disaster response ship, especially in hard-to-reach areas. The PRC also continuously promotes its Red Cross 143 program to get more volunteers who are equipped with the capacity to respond in times of emergencies and disasters. To thrive in the digital age, PRC harnessed its information technology, utilizing digital platforms for information sharing in times of disasters. One of these is the Virtual Volunteer App, an online information platform for migrants, which was first launched in the Asia Pacific region last year.

This year’s convention theme “PRC: The Lifeline of the People” is a celebration of the impacts of PRC’s various services to the people. Thus, PRC identified stories of how people’s lives were changed by PRC’s major services namely: blood, disaster management, safety, welfare, health, volunteer and Red Cross Youth.

PRC’s convention also coincides with the humanitarian organization’s 71st founding anniversary on April 15, 1947. Since then, the PRC reinvented itself not just as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country but also one of the strongest Red Cross societies in the world.The PRC is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Together, they embody the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Republic Act 10072, the Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009, confirms the PRC as a voluntary, independent and autonomous non-government society in the field of humanitarian work.

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