PHL Red Cross chief: Every Filipino family should be prepared for disasters

By Veronica Pulumbarit

Former Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, urged the public to give to the most vulnerable victims of the deadly magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Central Visayas.

At a Kapihan sa Manila Diamond Hotel on October 21st, he said the Philippine government as well as non-government organizations like the Red Cross were doing their best to provide for the needs of the victims but the extent of the damage was too much.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll from the October 15 quake had reached 195 while the damage breached the P1-billion mark.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) had recorded 2,547 aftershocks as of Wednesday, 64 of which were felt.

Augustus Escobia, head of the Effective Development Communication department of the Bohol provincial government, said the areas where churches were totally damaged are Clarin, Inabanga, Loboc, Loon, Maribojoc, and Tubigon

Escobia said churches were partially damaged in: Antequera, Baclayon, Bilar, Calape, Carmen, Corella, Cortes, Danao, Dauis, Dimiao, Lila, Loay, Panglao, Sikatuna, Tagbilaran City, Talibon and Trinidad.

More than P100 million is needed for four of the damaged churches in Bohol: St. Peter’s Church in Loboc, the Baclayon Church and two small churches in Tawis and Luay, according to estimates.

Gordon lamented that the Red Cross, with its limited resources, can only provide for about 30 percent of the affected population. He noted that help from overseas may be limited as well because other countries as facing their own domestic crises.

Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon (second from right) with PRC volunteers

Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon (second from right) with PRC volunteers

He explained that when disasters strike, the Red Cross reaches out to the most vulnerable segment of the population based on a rapid assessment conducted by their volunteers.

“Sino ang tutulungan mo, yung may kaya o walang kaya?” he asked.

He also highlighted the fact that far-flung areas are often underserved while areas that are more accessible are often overserved.

With assistance from Red Cross organizations in other countries like Australia, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, Gordon said the PRC has provided to earthquake victims in Bohol non-food items such as 6,000 blankets, 6,000 plastic mats, 4,000 sleeping kits, and 10,000 tarpaulins that the residents use as temporary shelter.

He added that the Philippine government’s budget was also “overstretched,” considering expenses for the rescue of victims and rehabilitation efforts from previous strong typhoons. He cited problems with flooding in Central Luzon, leptospirosis in Zambales, and the recent military conflict in Zamboanga City. He said “a lot of assets” had been used by the Philippine government when Muslim rebels held Zamboanga City under siege for 20 days in September this year. Slain were 18 soldiers and five police officers.

Bottom-line, Gordon stressed that everyone should be prepared for disasters which spare no one, not even the Church or demons. “Mahirap man o mayaman, simbahan man o demonyo.”

Advocating for 4Ps — “predict, plan, prepare, (and) practice,” Gordon said “walang magaling pagdating sa disasters” and that everyone should train themselves to face disasters.

He urged every family to have an emergency plan, and ask themselves how prepared they are for earthquakes and other disasters. “Do you know the way out? Do you know the fire exit? Should you go down or should you remain here?”

“You cannot save the world but you can save yourself,” he said.

To donate to the Philippine Red Cross, click here.

One Comment

  1. I would like to know how much donation did those accused of the PORK Barrel scam give? We here are trying to give as much as we can bleed ourselves from what we earn but they have so much to give, so GIVE.

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