"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Family reunited after 30-year separation

MANILA, Philippines -- A mother was recently reunited with her three children -- after 30 years of being separated through the help of the Tracing Service Program of the Philippine National Red Cross.

Adelaida Bicar could not find the words to express her happiness and gratitude when she finally hugged and kissed her long lost children, who by now were adults themselves. Adelaida wept and her children wept along with her, but this time the tears were out of joy instead of loss and longing.

The PNRC’s Tracing Service Program helps reunite families separated by tragedy, disaster and life circumstances, and over the years has helped bring together so many broken families in the country.

Adelaida was working as a housemaid in Tacloban 30 years ago where her three children -- eldest daughter Jocelyn and two sons, Rogelio and Arnel -- were born. Due to a family problem, Adelaida was separated from the siblings while they were still very young.

Through the years, Adelaida desperately searched for her children but efforts by a radio station, a TV network and the DSWD did not bear fruit.

Recently, Jocelyn -- who had already married to become Jocelyn Bicar Casas -- with the help of her husband, approached the PNRC national headquarters to ask for help in tracing her mother Adelaida Bicar.

Following a standing directive from Senator Richard Gordon, who is also PNRC chairman and CEO, PNRC-NHQ immediately took action. The case was instantly referred to Red Cross Samar chapter for tracing assistance.

PNRC Western Samar initiated a search. The chapter coordinated with its networks in the municipal welfare offices and the different local barangays. Project 143 volunteers, at the barangay level, were instantly mobilized.

On the first week of May 2008, Adelaida was traced to a remote barangay in Basay, Samar, 100 kilometers away from the Samar chapter, by Androk Artetche, a Project 143 volunteer in Basay, Samar.

Adelaida was then visited by Azucena Flor, a detailed staff of PNRC Western Samar chapter, and told about her missing children who were looking for her. After that, the family was finally reunited at the PNRC national headquarters in Manila.

"Truly, the family is the building block of society and nowhere is this more true than in the Philippines, where strong, intimate and long-lasting family ties are the bedrock of our culture.

"When Filipino families are broken, Filipino family members lose hope, dignity and the capacity to dream and build on those dreams. It's like a wound that refuses to heal, and will only attain closure through reunification.

"Thus, it is our goal to reunite and integrate family members who have been separated due to disasters, armed conflicts or insurgencies, migrations, and difficult situations. In doing so, we also ensure the strength, hope and progress of our nation," Gordon said.

Family reunited after 30-year separation
First Posted 16:33:00 06/03/2008