By GWEN L. GAONGEN
SAGADA, Mountain Province — Water and sanitation (WASH) projects in 4 schools in Mountain Province will be completed by the Red Cross by December. Catao Elementary School and Bagabag Elementary School of barangay Buringal, Paracelis and ALBAGO National School and Dallikan Elementary School of Bontoc are the recipients of WASH projects under the Building Healthy Resilient Schools program of the Red Cross.
The schools benefit through improved water systems such as the installation of 2000 liter water tank, rehabilitation of pipes and, construction of new comfort rooms. Capacity building trainings that contribute to disaster risk reduction are also part of the program.
The program is funded by the Australian Red Cross and coursed through the Philippine National Red Cross but implemented by the provincial chapter.
Bid for a Blood Bank
Of the 102 chapters nationwide, only Mountain Province has no blood bank or blood-letting facility. Veronica Tactay, administrator of the Red Cross Mountain Province says 80% of the requisites for a blood bank are ready. This was raised through donations mainly from the National Red Cross; DOST; SLU-NSTP; Provincial government through then governor Mayaen and municipal governments of Bontoc and Sadanga. Local fund raisers such as fun runs and dinners for a cause contributed to the budget. Membership fees also augmented the local funds.
The blood bank targets to serve the District 1 municipalities and other adjacent municipalities and province of Kalinga. This will support the blood bank in existence at Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital at Bauko. Luis Hora blood bank directly serves the District 2 municipalities and nearby Ilocos towns.
Contrary to popular knowledge, the Red Cross is not a government institution. It is private but provides support to the Philippine government. Each chapter operates in specific areas and raises its own budget for operations.
This misconception of the RC being government run raises concerns as to its “neutrality”. Veronica Tactay, administrator of the Red Cross Mountain Province chapter finds this ironic. Tactay shares that they come across soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who had at times accused them of being “leftists”. She attributes this to the RC servicing far flung areas and conduct of seminars on International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
IHL is intended to make war more “humane”. It contains rights of combatants, in the Philippine context – rights of both the members of the Armed Forces (AFP) and red fighters of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and other combatants of armed movements. Civilian rights are embodied in human rights.# nordis.net