When Philippine Red Cross Chairman RICHARD “DICK” GORDON was asked by the media what he thought about the efforts of the government with regards to the Typhoon Haiyan (YOLANDA) intervention – the former senator said that he has learned to not say anything negative about his agency’s partners and most especially those who are in government.
“I want to be on the good side of the government. We are partners, we are auxiliaries, and I am not going to comment on their effort,” Gordon said during a special Media Conference on the Philippine Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan Intervention Report.
Suffice it to say that his silence on the matter speaks volume on government integrity when it comes to Disaster Response, Relief and Rehabilitation activities.
A United Nations representative previously made a remark that government response was indeed inadequate and that they have not done enough in uplifting the lives of people in Haiyan ravaged areas.
Yes, no one could really be perfectly prepared for a natural calamity like Typhoon Haiyan but with all the help that came in (relief goods and financial support), the Filipino people are asking – WHERE DID IT ALL WENT TO?
Two years after the calamity struck, the Philippine Red Cross is now making that unwarranted gesture that we so like to have from the government. A full and transparent report on what have happened after YOLANDA – and here are the highlights of that report given to us straight by Gordon himself.
PRC Typhoon Haiyan 2-Year Accomplishment Report
- As of end of October, 884,228 people have benefitted from PRC’s Haiyan Recovery Program which includes services ranging from shelter, livelihood, cash relief assistance, water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, and rehabilitation of classrooms.
- To date, PRC’s Haiyan Recovery program has built 66,011 homes out of the target 80,203 or 86 percent of the target number of houses to be built, amounting to around 2.2 billion pesos. The Red Cross Haiyan shelter program is spread across nine Haiyan-affected provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, and Western Samar.
- During the emergency phase, the Red Cross was able to provide emergency cash relief assistance to 90,779 families, the biggest ever cash transfer programming operations in the RCRC Movement history after an emergency or disaster. A total of PhP 281,529,400 or USD 6,256,208 was disbursed to affected families in a matter of four months from December 2013 to March 2014. Unconditional cash relief given per family ranged from PhP2,000 to PhP5,000.
- Provision of shelter was augmented with livelihood assistance in the form of livelihood cash grants that beneficiaries used to start a new livelihood source or restart their lost livelihood. As of date, 59,218 families out of the target 62,289 households or 95 percent of the target number of beneficiaries, have been provided with livelihood assistance through conditional cash grants. The total amount of livelihood assistance to date is P592,180,000.
- Through the Haiyan recovery operations, there are now 32 schools with improved access to water and sanitation facilities and 38 health facilities that have been repaired and reconstructed, which will cater to 222,618 individuals based on the population of the area.
- As of date, 410 classrooms have already been rehabilitated and reconstructed, of which 39,165 students have benefitted. There were also 5,083 students who have received school kits from the Red Cross.
Gordon said that it’s not over yet and that there are still a lot more to do to really get the Haiyan affected provinces back on their feet. What they are working on is a four-year recovery plan that will run until 2017. A ceaseless recovery and renewal operation. More funds are needed and support on land acquisitions are also being sourced-out since government are not really that keen on giving out land to people for free.
One thing that Gordon is really proud of is that there have been no reports of abuse and misuse in the Philippine Red Cross during the whole operation.
“Walang nananamantala sa Red Cross and we don’t give people a reason to do so. Our procedures are always in order and if we see something that is not working, we fix it. We are in constant reinvention to make our organization stronger.” Gordon said.
After the media conference, Gordon brought us to the main control room where three large LED screens linked to a computer show maps, locations and other information needed to conduct a successful relief and rescue operation anywhere in the Philippines. It shows location of warehouses, critical areas, hospitals, a list of all available on-site volunteers and doctors, and many others.
I just hope that our government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are as efficiently organized and highly equipped like the Philippine Red Cross so they can truly be a partner to automatic disaster response and intervention and not as a liability.
The conference was held at the Philippine Red Cross Headquarters in EDSA last Thursday. It was attended by Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Secretary General GWENDOLYN PANG, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Head of Country Delegation KARI ISOMA, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Communications Coordinator WOLDE SAUGERON, and Red Cross Red Crescent delegations in Asia and other parts of the world.
Wolde Saugeron said that the Typhoon Haiyan Philippine Operation is the LARGEST and MOST SUCCESSFUL Red Cross operation in the whole world and that from it a lot of learning experiences and best practices have been discovered and rediscovered.
Two positive things that have been realized through this disaster answers the need for an efficient, fast and effective delivery of relief goods, equipment, materials and services – Strategic establishment of Red Cross warehouses in the different provinces all over the Philippines and the purchasing of a Red Cross Ship.
Here’s a video of Richard Gordon announcing the purchase of a RED CROSS SHIP:
However, Richard Gordon said that WHEN YOU RESCUE, YOU ARE ALREADY TOO LATE, so the Philippine Red Cross is not focusing on recovery but rather on the renewal of values, building community resiliency or the attitude to withstand all forms of challenges.
“The Red Cross way is not to give but to raise the dignity of the people.”