By Mario Casayuran
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has extended assistance to the most vulnerable families that are affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the cities of Mandaluyong and San Juan in Metro Manila.
Led by PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard J. Gordon, the PRC gave cash donations to households that lost their homes after a huge fire broke in Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong on June 1. The barangay also has the highest number of positive cases of COVID in the city with 151 confirmed cases as of today.
In San Juan, hundreds of families from Barangay West Crame, mostly those that lost their livelihood due to ECQ and do not have any means to support their families, also received cash grants. West Crame is the largest barangay in the city in terms of population.
“This is only part of the P70 million na ipamamahagi natin sa buong Pilipinas. Hindi ito abuloy. Ito ay pang-angat para mayroon kayong baon sa hinaharap at kahit na kapiraso ay makapagsimula kayo ng hanapbuhay. Nakikiisa kami sa dalamhati at babangon tayo,” Gordon told the beneficiaries.(This [donation] is part of the P70 million that was distributed throughout the country. This is not a dole out. This would help you in times of need and, though it is not a hefty sum, you might use it to start a livelihood. We share with you your suffering. We shall overcome.)
Gordon also gave the residents inspiring messages for them to not lose hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged them to help one another in times of crises.
“Huwag kayong mawawalan ng pag-asa sa buhay sapagkat pagsubok lahat ng Panginoon iyan. Ang dapat gawin, iangat ang tao at iyan ang nais ng Red Cross: ang iangat ang pinakanahihirapan, at sila ay mabigyan ng dignidad at inspirasyon para makatindig muli at nang sila ay makatulong sa iba. Ang kalayaan ay hindi seremonya at hindi parada. Ang tunay na kalayaan ay ang pagkakaroon ng kapasidad na tumulong sa iyong kapwa,” he said. (Don’t lose help. This is just test by God. The PRC wants to lift you up: From hardships, the Red Cross wants to give you dignity and inspiration so that you could help others. Independence is not a ceremony and a parade. True independence is to have the capacity to help others.)
Gordon was referring to yesterday’s Philippine Independence Day celebration.
Mandaluyong and San Juan cities are the first two out of 18 cities and municipalities that will receive cash assistance from the PRC. This program aims to support families that are affected by the national state of calamity for COVID-19 enhanced quarantine situation to meet their needs through the provision of multi-purpose cash grants.
Also present during the distribution were Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, and local officials of the two cities.