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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

‘We are needed here’

MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Richard Gordon called off his scheduled trip to the US with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide immediate relief to the victims of Typhoon “Frank” (international code name: Fengshen).

“Mas kailangan tayo ditto [We are needed here more],” Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said.

At least 25 survivors from the sunken ferry MV Princess of the Stars trooped to PNRC in Manila at 2 a.m. Tuesday to seek shelter and immediate relief.

The survivors, who came all the way from Lucena, Quezon, were immediately provided medical assistance, stress debriefing, food and change of clothes, an official privy to the incident said.

The MV Princess of the Stars, owned by Sulpicio Lines, sunk off the shores of Romblon on Saturday evening, leaving hundreds still missing.

The official, who requested anonymity, said that as of posting time, some of the survivors have gone home to their relatives in Metro Manila and in the provinces.

Although the survivors were physically strong, some refused to talk about the incident.

“Gusto na lang nila makalimutan [They just want to forget],” the official said.

Gordon assured that PNRC would continue to help the victims but said that rice, food, and water were needed.

“We have been spending all our resources to provide for victims in 20 provinces. And we need to replenish our supplies,” he said in a separate interview.

Gordon noted that about 250,000 people in evacuation centers in Iloilo also need sanitation equipment.

“We also need medicines for diarrhea and respiratory infections. We need cough syrups, and also medicines for children, who are more prone to getting sick,” he added.

Gordon said that while donations in kind were welcome, the Red Cross preferred money donations so that it could buy the supplies in the areas concerned to spur the local economy.

‘We are needed here’ -- Gordon
By Abigail Kwok, Veronica Uy
First Posted 15:05:00 06/24/2008