A celebration of resilience, humanity

April 14, 2019

It is not only a noble mission—saving lives and limbs everyday.

It is humane undertaking as it is Godly.

And while the work is ending, its volunteers are untiring.

Imagine saving thousands of lives every day from the effects of natural and manmade disasters. Imagine being first to respond to health, safety, and disaster-related incidents. The country’s premiere humanitarian organization does not have to imagine—it has been doing these for over 70 years.

The Philippine Red Cross, the country’s foremost volunteer organization, celebrates 72 years of alleviating human suffering and uplifting human dignity today.

PRC history started as early as 1899 upon the suggestion of one of the country’s national heroes, Apolinario Mabini, under the leadership of Mrs. Hilaria Del Rosario Aguinaldo, wife of then president Emilio Aguinaldo. The organization applied with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland to be recognized as an independent society. It was finally constituted on April 15, 1947 at the Malacañan Palace grounds in an impressive ceremony and Mrs. Aurora Aragon Quezon was the very first chairman of PRC.

Despite its rich history, PRC refuses to be limited by old practices. Guided by its mantra “Volunteers + Logistics + Information Technology = Always First, Always Ready, Always There,” PRC continues to move with the times.

Sen. Richard Gordon, the chairman of PRC, once said that the world is facing severe humanitarian challenges due to extreme weather events and conflicts. PRC helps the populace face these challenges.

As operations expand, PRC’s most valuable resources likewise grows. To date, PRC operates with 104 chapters nationwide, a fleet of 150 ambulances, and its own humanitarian ship christened as M/V PRC Amazing Grace, which can serve as an ambulance and disaster response ship, especially in hard-to-reach areas. PRC also has hundreds of response and rescue vehicles that enable the organization to save lives during emergencies nationwide.

Equipment such as these allow PRC to mitigate the impact of massive disasters. This was evident in the Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) operations, the biggest typhoon that hit the country last year. Prior to its landfall, PRC had already prepositioned its rescue vehicles and trucks loaded with relief goods. Barely two weeks after the wrath of Ompong, PRC provided shelter repair kits, including quality galvanized iron sheets, to help hundreds who were left homeless.

For communities affected by disasters, resilience becomes attainable when PRC shows solidarity even “when the world no longer watches.”

In response to the need of patients, PRC has nearly a hundred blood service facilities nationwide and its own Dialysis Center, designed to provide access to quality dialysis treatment to poor Filipinos suffering from chronic kidney diseases.

This growth is important for the PRC—for its two million volunteers who are always first, always ready, and always there on the ground to address pressing humanitarian needs, for humanity—to achieve resilience amid strong storms and tests of times.

The theme of the 72nd anniversary of PRC is #Resilience: Humanitarian responders over the years. This is not merely a celebration of humanity, but also a recognition of humanitarian responders—Red Cross volunteers, staff, and partners—who have shown the values of “pagkukusang-loob, malasakit, at pakikipag-kapwa-tao.”

We join the PRC in celebrating this milestone. We salute the valiant Red Cross volunteers and their partners—the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, partner National Societies, and private and corporate sponsors and donors.