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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Cross all set for Undas 2010

To give immediate assistance in case of any emergency, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is prepared to mobilize its staff and volunteers for the national observance of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day on November 1, 2010 and November 2, 2010, respectively.

Red Cross chapters nationwide will put up first aid stations with ambulances to be manned by their staff and volunteers to ensure safety of the general public.

"PRC volunteers and emergency response teams will be deployed to major thoroughfares such as North and South Luzon expressways, cemeteries and memorial parks to give emergency care and assistance to people who will suffer from heat stroke, wounds, hypertension and other illnesses. This is our commitment every year," said PRC Chairman Richard Gordon.

All Saints' Day is a feast celebrated on November 1 in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. The feast also commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven, while the next day, All Souls' Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.


Red Cross launches international appeal after Typhoon Megi batters Philippines

As details of the devastation caused by typhoon Megi continue to emerge, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching an international appeal seeking 4.2 million Swiss francs (USD 4.3 million/EUR 3.1 million). The funds will support ongoing relief and recovery efforts carried out by the Philippine Red Cross which has been assisting affected communities since the typhoon struck the northern part of the country last Monday, claiming 31 lives and causing severe damage across four regions.

It is estimated that 427,300 families (2 million people) have been affected by the typhoon, with 8,000 people sheltered in 22 evacuation centers. National and local emergency and rescue teams from the Red Cross have been active on the ground. A rapid survey of the damage revealed an urgent need for shelter materials, since 31,000 houses have been destroyed and 118,000 are estimated to be partially damaged.

"Survivors continue to trickle out of evacuation centers, not because they have homes to return to, but to salvage whatever they can. They need every support to rebuild their lives and to live in dignity," says Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross Chairman.

The Philippine Red Cross has provided – and continues to provide – food and non-food items to the most vulnerable families in the hardest hit provinces. The national headquarters dispatched additional relief supplies to enable its chapters to serve people displaced by the typhoon in the worst-affected provinces of Cagayan, Kalinga, Isabela, La Union and Pangasinan provinces. Also dispatched were tarpaulins to meet the immediate needs of 7,000 people in Isabela. As of 25 October, Red Cross chapters had served around 16,000 people with relief supplies such as food, water storage containers and sleeping items.

The IFRC appeal will help the Philippine Red Cross to provide relief and early recovery support to 60,000 people across the five worst-hit provinces over the next 12 months. The operation will focus on distributions of food and non-food items and shelter repair kits as well as providing essential water storage and hygiene items together with hygiene promotion.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons every year, roughly a third of which are destructive. In this region, experts have predicted an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climatic events due to the effects of climate change. In late September 2009, Typhoon Ketsana lashed parts of Luzon, bringing unprecedented rains. Ketsana was shortly followed by Typhoon Parma. The combined effects of the two typhoons resulted in widespread flooding which left a trail of destruction and killed 1,000 people. (Necephor Mghendi, IFRC)

Volunteers' selfless service for Typhoon Juan victims

While looking for a job, newly registered nurse Julius Lansang volunteers for Philippine Red Cross in the meantime.

Richard Satuito (center) helps pack items for relief distribution to Typhoon Juan-affected people as part of his volunteer work for Philippine Red Cross to fulfill his community service requirement in school.

Pia Faustino celebrates her birthday by helping Philippine Red Cross pack relief goods for the families affected by Typhoon Juan.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PRC Cotabato Chapter responds to a bus bombing incident

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Cotabato Chapter responded to a bombing incident involving a rural bus at around 10:45 a.m. yesterday, October 21, 2010.

In a report from the PRC Cotabato Chapter, the improvised explosive device is a cellphone-operated 81 mm mortar placed on the third to the last seat overhead bin of the said bus.

PRC Cotabato Chapter Emergency Response Team (ERT), headed by Bryan Balmediano, immediately responded to the area, rendered first aid and transported victims to the nearest hospitals.

Twelve (12) injured persons are confined in Kidapawan Hospital, eight (8) in Amas Hospital and four (4) in Malang District Hospital.

Likewise, 10 persons were reported dead namely, Bryan Galagan, Danding Usop Daligan, Lita Mansano and Noriel Akmad and six (6) bodies are still being identified by the authorities.

PRC Cotabato Chapter also provided 30 units of blood for the emergency medical treatment of the victims as well as tetanus toxoid and tetanus antibody.


Philippine Red Cross Serves 1,754 Typhoon Juan Affected Families

To date, there are 93 operational evacuation centers all over Luzon to temporarily cater the families severely affected by Typhoon Juan’s wrath; and based on Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Operation Center’s report, as of 8 am today (October 21, 2010), 3,220 families (or approximately 13,889 persons) are currently residing in the said designated evacuation centers.

Among the said victims, it has been recorded that PRC was able to serve a total of 1,754 families, or around 7,635 persons within the localities of: Abra, Kalinga, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Baguio, Tarlac, and Cavite. And included in the services rendered by the said humanitarian organization are handing out of food items in the form of relief packs and hot meals, and essential non-food items such as sleeping mats and blankets.

"As you can see in our current statistics, we’re merely halfway in serving the total population affected by Typhoon Juan," PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon pointed out in accordance to the abovementioned report. "Apparently, despite our noble intention to provide most—if not all—of them with their primary needs, what we have at hand is practically not enough," he explained.

In line with this, he personally relayed his plea to all PRC partners, donors and supporters to once again join them in their humanitarian endeavor. He said: "We cannot go through this pursuit alone. We are still in dire need of assistance in order to alleviate these typhoon-affected families’ suffering; and with this, your support—be it monetary or in-kind—will truly be appreciated."

To donate,  kindly visit http://www.redcross.org.ph/donatenow

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Volunteers repack relief goods for Typhoon Juan victims

For the benefit of the unfortunate Filipinos who have been affected by Typhoon Juan, several Philippine Red Cross(PRC) volunteers gathered in PRC National Headquarters to help repack relief goods around 2 pm today, October 19, 2010.

Among those who responded despite her busy schedule was PRC Ambassador Angel Locsin who dropped by the PRC National Headquarters to join hundreds of other volunteers in repacking relief.With 200 sacks of rice, 139 boxes of noodles and 60 cases of sardines at their disposal, the said group of volunteers are expected to produce relief packs that are meant to serve at least 2,000 families.

Monday, October 18, 2010

PRC Assists a Pregnant Woman in the Midst of Typhoon Juan’s Assault

Around 12 am today, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Pangasinan Chapter received an emergency call from its Barangay Disaster Action Team (BDAT) in Barangay Bonuan Binloc, Dagupan City.

Apparently, a pregnant 26-year-old woman from Sitio Japan named Melissa Donato was then having an impending delivery, and was in need of immediate transportation to the nearest hospital in the midst of Typhoon Juan’s assault. At once, PRC Pangasinan Chapter deployed one of its teams to assist the vulnerable lady. They safely transported her from their home to Region I Medical Center.

In San Fabian, Pangasinan, on the other hand, PRC Pangasinan Chapter Emergency Response Unit (ERU) found 29-year-old Anna Vidal together with her two children—AJ Vidal, 4 years old and Ogie Vidal, 2 years old—lifeless inside their collapsed house. Unfortunately, a tree uprooted by Typhoon

Juan’s strong winds fell over their humble abode, which instantly caused their demise. Immediately, PRC Pangasinan Chapter coordinated with the concerned local government unit for necessary assistance in recovering the bodies of the victims.

Meanwhile, now that Typhoon Juan is on its way out of the Philippines’ area of responsibility, PRC National Headquarters and La Union, Benguet, Kalinga and Baguio City Chapters are currently working double-time in repacking relief goods that are bound for distribution. And in order to cater to the vulnerable victims’ immediate need for food, PRC also provided supplemental feeding of hot meals in Cavite and Pangasinan, where they were able to serve 426 and 893 persons, successively.

Typhoon Juan: PRC set for Watsan Assessment and Relief Distribution

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will mobilize rapid assessment and water and sanitation (watsan) teams in provinces badly affected by Typhoon Juan (international name: Megi).

Provinces currently placed under signal no. 3, including Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Mt. Province and Ifugao, will be the priority of the assessment and watsan teams.

With the declaration of state of calamity in Isabela, the PRC chapter in the province needs human resources and logistics support of PRC National Headquarters.

In response, PRC purchased sacks of rice, boxes of noodles and cases of sardines for distribution to Isabela and other areas.

PRC volunteers and staff are likewise readying prepositioned emergency supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and beddings for distribution to highly affected provinces. These supplies are sufficient to serve thousands of families.

PRC is also ready to provide emergency health and hygiene to communities in the affected areas.

In case family members get separated during the height of the supertyphoon, social workers of PRC are on standby to restore family links.

As of this writing, 909 families (3,732 persons) have been reported to be staying in 22 evacuation centers in Cagayan, Kalinga, Isabela and La Union.

The provinces of Apayao, Kalinga, Aurora, La Union and Isabela are currently experiencing power interruption due to Typhoon Juan.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

PRC braces for Tropical Storm Megi

With Tropical Storm Megi expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility between 12:00 and 2:00 a.m. tomorrow, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is preparing for the possible landfall over the eastern coast of Cagayan-Isabela area on Monday afternoon.

The PRC-Operation Center is constantly monitoring this weather disturbance.

As of 10:00 a.m., Megi, which will be codenamed "Juan" once inside the Philippine territory, was spotted 1,300 kilometers east of southern Luzon.

PRC advised its Emergency Response Units to stand by for possible deployment as Megi is expected to bring rains as much as that of Ondoy to affected areas.

Rescue equipment, rubber boats, generator sets, fuel and vehicles are likewise ready should the tropical storm cause landslides or floods.

Additional emergency supplies are being provided to PRC chapters in Luzon. PRC staff and volunteers are also starting to pack relief items such as food, sleeping items and hygiene kits which will be distributed in the aftermath of the tropical storm.

Below are some reminders on what to do before, during and after the typhoon.

Before the Typhoon
-Store an adequate supply of food and clean water. Prepare foods that need not be cooked.
-Keep flashlights, candles and battery-powered radios within easy reach.
-Examine your house and repair its unstable parts.
-Always keep yourself updated with the latest weather report.
-Harvest crops that can be yielded already.
-Secure domesticated animals in a safe place.
-For fisher folks, place boats in a safe area.
-Should you need to evacuate, bring clothes, first aid kit, candles/flashlight, battery-powered radio, food, etc.

During the Typhoon
-Stay inside the house.
-Always keep yourself updated with the latest weather report.
-If safe drinking water is not available, boil water for at least 20 minutes. Place it in a container with cover.
-Keep an eye on lighted candles or gas lamps.
-Do not wade through floodwaters to avoid being electrocuted and contracting diseases.
-If there is a need to move to an evacuation center, follow these reminders:
-Evacuate calmly.
-Close the windows and turn off the main power switch.
-Put important appliances and belongings in a high ground.
-Avoid the way leading to the river.

After the Typhoon
-If your house was destroyed, make sure that it is already safe and stable when you enter.
-Beware of dangerous animals such as snakes that may have entered your house.
-Watch out for live wires or outlet immersed in water.
-Report damaged electrical cables and fallen electric posts to the authorities.
-Do not let water accumulate in tires, cans or pots to avoid creating a favorable condition for mosquito breeding.

(source: www.redcross.org.ph)

Turnover of Transitional Shelters and Livelihood Program

PRC Chairman Richard Gordon (center), PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang (right), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Representative Selvaratnam Sinnadurai (second from left), IFRC Shelter Delegate Ahmed Nazri Zacharias (back) and PRC La Union Chapter Administrator Almira Abrazado (left) visit the beneficiaries of PRC’s transitional shelter project in Naguilian, La Union.

Hiyasmin Abenes, a beneficiary of PRC’s transitional shelter and livelihood project in Naguilian, La Union, shows her product to PRC Chairman Richard Gordon. Besides constructing 172 full shelters, PRC also provided livelihood assistance to some families in La Union to reestablish their basic means of generating household income.

La Union typhoon victims get roofs above heads

By Gabriel Cardinoza
Inquirer Northern Luzon
First Posted 21:04:00 10/09/2010

BAUANG, La Union, Philippines—For almost a year, Corazon Estigoy and her family lived in a small box-like structure she called “cubicle” in the coastal village of Pugo here.

It was built from materials found in the ruins of their house that was crushed by floodwaters at the height of Typhoon “Pepeng” in October last year.

“We were cramped like sardines then,” says Estigoy, 51. Six of her eight children live with her. Her eldest works in Metro Manila, while another has a family of her own and stays in another house.

But on Wednesday, Estigoy and 36 other Pugo residents received “transitional shelter” from the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) in ceremonies held in Naguilian town.

“It’s called ‘transitional shelter’ because the structure is in between [the category of] emergency and permanent shelters. Transitional shelters can only last from seven to 10 years,” says Almira Abrazado, PNRC La Union chapter administrator.

Abrazado says 172 such shelters were given to typhoon victims in 19 villages in Bauang, Naguilian, Bagulin, Aringay and Tubao towns.

“We could not have built this house by ourselves,” says Estigoy, who earns P2,500 a month as barangay secretary. Her husband is a tricycle driver.

Her new house, which has a floor area of 20 square meters, has sawali (bamboo slats) for walls and galvanized iron sheets for roof. It was built with a toilet and a septic tank.

“We required every beneficiary to help construct the shelters so they will have a sense of ownership,” Abrazado says.

A beneficiary’s counterpart, she says, also includes the improvement of the house, such as providing floors and partitions.

Estigoy used plywood panels and hollow blocks in her house’s frontage. She also has glass jalousie windows.

“We hope we can also have concrete floors and partitions soon,” Estigoy says.
Judy Perez, a shell gatherer who lives about 100 meters from Estigoy’s house, says he could not still believe he and his family now have their own house.

After the flood, all he could build was a makeshift shelter made from whatever material is available.
“I was very lucky to have been given this house,” Perez says.

Abrazado says there should have been more beneficiaries in La Union but not all of the typhoon victims met the criteria that the PNRC had set.

Aside from losing their houses to Pepeng, beneficiaries should also own the land where the transition shelter would be built.

“Or if they do not own the land, they should be able to get a permission from the landowner,” Abrazado says.

The location of the beneficiaries was also important. Abrazado says they should not be in “unsafe” areas, such as riverbanks or mountain slopes.


Gordon: We wait for disaster to come, then we panic. . .

By Leila B. Salaverria, Miko Morelos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:51:00 09/25/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Former Sen. Richard Gordon is ready for an onslaught by another Tropical Storm “Ondoy”—he has fitted out his SUV with a “snorkel” which, he says, should prevent his vehicle from being stalled in floods.

But Gordon, who heads the Philippine National Red Cross, is worried that millions of his countrymen may not be as equally prepared.

According to him, the best protection people can have is to learn how to save themselves long before the disaster comes. It’s the government’s job to clean the esteros, but people need to know when to leave before a flood, or a landslide, occurs.

He considers this “national indifference” the biggest obstacle in the way of disaster preparedness.
“We’re very lackadaisical,” he says in an interview as the anniversary of the massive floods unleashed by Ondoy in Metro Manila last year approaches. “We wait for disaster to come, and when it comes, that’s when we panic and start assigning blame.”

Gordon’s “snorkel” is actually the black exhaust pipe of his SUV which he has extended high on one side of the vehicle so that it rises above its roof. Other PNRC vehicles have been fitted out with similar “snorkels.”

Gordon believes that innovation would enable him and his Red Cross team to cross floodwaters and reach victims should another deluge strike.

Such preparedness is something that Gordon fails to see in most Filipinos despite the massive loss of lives the country suffered in the wake of Ondoy.

Gordon notes that not long after the pummeling from Ondoy, many have returned to live on riverbanks and near esteros and canals, clogging the drainage systems that are supposed to drain rainwater and prevent floods.

Proactive leader

But it can change, he says, with a proactive leader.

“It doesn’t take an Ondoy, it takes a leader to change that mind-set,” he says.
This entails not just preparing for tragedy but reducing the risk of such events—such as by relocating people who live in flood-prone areas and having an urban management plan that forbids people from living in such places and requires strict compliance with the building code.

The government could also teach people how to prepare for and respond to calamities, a task that private sector groups, such as the Red Cross, is doing.

Gordon notes that the government has bought equipment, such as rubber boats, in case another typhoon ravages the country, but he also points out that there has just been a changing of the guard, and with it comes new people manning the disaster mitigation offices.

Continuity is an important factor in disaster preparedness, he adds.

Cycle of disaster

Gordon says tragedy need not strike again for people to be jolted into knowing how to take themselves out of harm’s way.

“You must stop the cycle of disaster and poverty and the only way you can do that is if the people themselves know where to go, where to live and what are the threats in their community and they prepare actively for it,” he says.

For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, has put in place various plans to bring speedy relief to calamity victims.

More prepared now

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman believes the lessons of Ondoy have not been lost on Filipinos and that people are more knowledgeable now about what they need to do when a disaster is upon them.

“I think we’re more prepared now. Citizens are more aware,” Soliman says.
She notes that in Marikina, one of the cities hardest hit by Ondoy’s wrath, many houses have been provided with boats which the residents could use if the waters rise again.

There is also closer monitoring of the rain and water levels in critical areas, she says. The environment department has also provided local governments with a geohazard map so that they could identify the areas prone to landslides during heavy rains.

Relief goods in place

Soliman says DSWD relief goods are also in place. Packs of goods have been distributed to regional offices.

Stocks of relief goods in the DSWD warehouse have been clearly labeled and stamped with expiration dates.

Earlier, a blogger claimed the DSWD had left relief goods for Ondoy victims to rot in its warehouses—a claim former Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral denied.

The DSWD has also inked a partnership with companies that provide trucking, heavy equipment, pharmaceuticals, mobile kitchens and portable toilets during calamities, according to Soliman.

They won’t leave

Housewife Cristina Cacao, 53, and her family live within swamping distance of Laguna de Bay, the third largest freshwater lake in Asia, and may well be among the people Gordon worries about.

“We cannot just leave our way of life to be relocated elsewhere,” Cacao says. Her family lives in a rented two-story house at Sto. Nino Aplaya, a community of 98 families in Muntinlupa City who rely solely on fishing for their livelihood.

“The people are okay with this setup. My family likewise don’t mind,” Cacao says.
When a storm starts battering Muntinlupa and the rest of Metro Manila, Cacao and the others scamper to evacuation centers or to higher grounds.

They return when the weather clears to resume their lives.

“We’re content with this,” she says.

‘People are stubborn’

Cacao, the leader of a women’s group called Samahang Kababaihan ng Sto. Nino Aplaya, insists that life in the community, no matter how hard, is still better than in relocation areas because they have fishing to rely on.


Turnover of Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) Equipment

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon formally turned over water search and rescue equipment and personal protective equipment to six PRC chapters—namely, Valenzuela, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Pangasinan and La Union—in order to improve the PRC’s efficiency and readiness in conducting rescue operations.

In a welcome twist, HK Red Cross pledges fund aid for ‘Ondoy’ victims

By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 06:34:00 09/26/2010

MANILA, Philippines—The bloody end to the recent hostage-taking of a bus full of tourists did not just give rise to grief, strained relations and tense exchanges between the Philippines and Hong Kong.

In an unexpected, but welcome, twist, it has led to the Hong Kong Red Cross pledging US $110,000 to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) for the program to build shelter for the thousands of victims of typhoon Ondoy (internationally known as Ketsana) whose homes were swept away by the raging floods.

Timely assistance

PNRC Chair Richard Gordon said Betty Lau, acting head of the International and Relief Service of the Hong Kong Red Cross informed him of the donation in a letter, after she thanked him for the “timely and much-needed assistance” that the PNRC provided to the Hong Kong tourists held hostage in a bus in Manila.

“Learned from you during our meeting in Hong Kong that the Typhoon Ketsana shelter program is still in need of funding, please kindly be informed that we still have a donation of USD110,000 approximately which can be mobilized for supporting the Typhoon Ketsana shelter program,” Lau said in her letter.

While the hostage-taking played out live on TV for 11 hours, the PNRC was quietly working in the background, according to Gordon.

The PNRC provided sanctuary and comfort to the passengers released early on.

As the hours crept by and tourists still remained in the hijacked bus, the PNRC placed its ambulances on standby. When the incident reached its tragic end when the hostage taker began shooting, PNRC volunteers were among those who jumped into the bus, gave first aid and CPR, and rushed the wounded to the hospital. Eight tourists, plus the hostage-taker, did not make it out of the incident alive.

The PNRC volunteers also watched over the injured 24 hours a day, even sleeping in the hospital rooms. They counseled the tourists to help them come to terms with the tragedy. One of the victims tried to give money to the volunteers to show her gratitude, but they refused to accept it, Gordon said.

Crucial task

He said the PNRC also accomplished another crucial task in the shocking aftermath of the incident.

It traced the location of the victims and was able to provide information to Hong Kong authorities, through the Hong Kong Red Cross, about the whereabouts and condition of its citizens, especially given the frenzy that marked the bringing of the hostages to the hospitals.

Gordon was, coincidentally, in Hong Kong when the hostage taking was unfolding, but was constantly in touch with the

“What Hong Kong needed was information as to where their people were,” he said.

Gordon said the PNRC's operations have been set up in such a way that there is an organized system of collecting information and tracking people, as these data are as important as the medical and physical assistance it provides.

The PNRC chair also said the organization continues to be involved in helping the victims of Ondoy, which, a year ago today, submerged parts of Metro Manila and damaged homes, vehicles and property.

The PNRC has been building houses for the victims, including 1,100 in Antipolo, 200 in Pangasinan and 120 in Bulacan. It has also repaired over 5,000 damaged houses, and has the budget to repair more.

The PNRC is also more equipped than ever to come to the aid of those who may be stranded in floods. It recently acquired two amphibian vehicles that could navigate submerged streets and collect people trapped in their homes.


Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis

     On August 23, 2010 the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis occurred when a dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) officer took over a tour bus in Intramuros, Manila. Disgruntled former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, from the Manila Police District (MPD) hijacked a tour bus carrying 25 people – 20 tourists, a tour guide all from Hong Kong and 4 Filipinos in an attempt to get his job back.
 PRC Emergency Response Team coordinates with Ground Commanders in Quirino Grandstand

     Six (6) ambulance teams from the Philippine Red Cross(PRC) National Headquarters and the Manila Chapter, Pasay Chapter and Caloocan Chapter were immediately dispatched to the scene that morning. PRC also activated other Metro Manila Chapters for possible assistance and alerted the Blood Bank for possible blood supply needs.

     PRC Social Services conducted critical incident stress debriefing to the nine (9) hostage victims released that afternoon from the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis. PRC facilitated the transfer of the nine freed hostages from the Command Outpost back to the Manila Pavillon Hotel where they were checked in.

     After about ten hours into the siege, negotiations broke down and the ensuing rescue assault and shootout resulted to the death of eight (8) hostages and Mendoza and nine (9) other people were injured. PRC ambulance teams transported four (4) victims to Manila Doctors Hospital and one (1) to Ospital ng Maynila when the hostage crisis ended that evening.

      PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon, who was on vacation in Hong Kong at that time immediately communicated with the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) and provided a tracing report of all victims that night.

In an interview with CNN Rosemarie Church the following Tuesday morning August 24 in Hong Kong, PRC Chairman Gordon commiserated with the victims and the families saying that “what is most important is that we express our deepest condolences and prayers to the families and victims and I think I speak for the entire Filipino nation who don’t want this tragedy to happen but things go haywire that is where the investigation will clear a lot of things, hopefully.”
He further told CNN about the initiatives of the organization during the crisis with PRC immediately responding and sending ambulances and medical personnel and rendered psychosocial support and tracing to all victims as well as his subsequent communication and meeting with HKRC counterparts that day.
In an interview with CNN’s Anna Coren from an interview in Manila on August 24 with survivor Li Yik Bun mentions that it was Red Cross who facilitated his release after they were informed by his wife of his medical condition. PRC had passed on the information to Ground Commanders who negotiated his release. The Chinese newspaper Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), in an article dated August 28, 2010 also mentions in detail PRC humanitarian care and assistance of victims particularly Mrs. Fu and her two children who lost their husband and father, respectively.
Mrs. Fu’s daughter Fu Chung Yin, four years old could not discern the meaning of death but her son Fu Chak Yin, ten years old could not bear to lose his father Fu Chuk Yan and had nightmares and cried a lot that he had to be comforted to sleep by PRC Social Worker Noemi Abon. Mrs. Fu even offered money to Ms. Abon to express her appreciation to the PRC but that the latter refused to accept, stating that it was their duty in the PRC to help and if they want, they may donate instead later through HKRC.  HKRC Secretary General KM Chan thanked PRC Chairman Gordon saying that during the latter’s visit on August 24 to the formers office where they had a fruitful exchange “We are also so deeply grateful for the care your staff and volunteers had done to the HK hostages.” And that they would look for a suitable occasion to visit the PRC.   HKRC Acting Head for International Relief Services Betty Lau expressed her deep gratitude for Gordon’s visit to HKRC office and “ the timely much needed assistance rendered to the needy during the tragic hostage taking incident in Manila.”   HKRC Acting Head Lau even committed the assistance in the amount of US$ 110,000 for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana or known locally as Typhoon Ondoy when informed by Chairman Gordon of their continuing plight.   Above the criticism, finger pointing and blame fixing during the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis, we must recognize the PRC for their courageous efforts during the tragedy being “Always First, Always Ready, Always There” during every disaster or tragedy.