Red Cross concerned by death of civilians and volunteer due to violence in Kidapawan City
The Philippine Red Cross expressed its deepest sympathy and concern for family of volunteer Benny Balmediano who was killed during an explosion incident in Kidapawan City on 19 February 2012.
Benny, along with other Red Cross staff and volunteers was responding to the explosion incident on Rizal street, Kidapawan City after the area was declared safe and clear by authorities, when a blast from a nearby improvised explosive device that was left in the area hit him. Two others were killed while several others were wounded according to report.
"We strongly condemn this violence which killed innocent people, including our volunteer who was there to assist the wounded," said PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon.
"Civilians and humanitarian workers must be spared from harm at all times," Gordon stressed.
Benny, 53, was a volunteer ambulance driver and a member of Emergency Response Unit of Kidapawan City Red Cross sub-chapter for more than five years. He volunteered in the Red Cross after 20 years of being a tricycle driver because he was impressed by the courage and commitment of the volunteers and staff to the humanitarian mission of the organization. He was particularly awed by his sonís dedication to his work as chapter representative on disaster management.
After having undergone training on various life saving skills and emergency response, Benny participated in almost all emergency response, unmindful of the risks he had to take sometimes.
Benny, who left two children, was a compassionate and caring person. He was a role mode and a father to all volunteers who often came to him for advice.
"My father was a dedicated volunteer," said Bennyís son Bryan, adding, he was very active in organizing Red Cross 143 volunteers in all our barangays here. He was loved by everyone. "
Gordon stressed that Red Cross is a voluntary humanitarian organization that works in accordance to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movementís fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
PRC Secretary General Gwen Pang said all Red Cross volunteers are provided with proper training on safer access code especially for volunteers and staff deployed in armed conflict areas.
Pang assured that PRC will provide the bereaved family of Benny with basic support and assistance.
Volunteers also expressed their sorrow over the death of Benny. They
said that Benny will always be an inspiration and will be treasured as a
person with a big heart who had touched the lives of hundreds of people
he had helped.