Richard J. Gordon was re-elected Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) by the majority of the 27 PRC Board of Governors who attended the first of its monthly meeting 26 January this year at the PRC headquarters on Bonifacio Drive in Manila. PRC has 30 board members all serving in a volunteer capacity for a four year-term.
This is the third time Gordon, a volunteer of the Red Cross for more than 45 years, has been re-elected Chairman since he first became PRC Chairman in 2005.
Other elected officers of the Board were: Amelita S. Navarro, Vice-Chairman; Corazon Alma G. De Leon, Secretary; Leonida B. Ortiz, Treasurer; Lorna P. Kapunan, Counselor; Rodolfo O. Reyes, Asst. Secretary and Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Asst. Treasurer.
Gordon, a UP Law graduate, was a former Senator, Tourism Secretary, Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Mayor of Olongapo City.
As Chairman of PRC, Gordon has spearheaded the PRC strategic direction that continues to transform the Philippine Red Cross into becoming the foremost humanitarian organization in the country that serves as auxiliary of the government in providing relief, health and welfare aid to the most vulnerable specially in times of disasters and other emergencies.
Gordon, popularly referred to as Mr. Action Man, was the proponent of the Red Cross 143 program, a flagship volunteer program of PRC that recruits and trains 44 volunteers in every barangay (one leader and 43 members) that serve as humanitarian arms and disaster responders on the ground.
Gordon was also instrumental in expanding and modernizing blood service facilities and equipment and the 237 emergency response vehicles including amphibians, ,rubber boats, fire trucks rescue vans and ambulances.
He was also the driving force behind the record-breaking Red Cross Million Volunteer Run that served as the country’s center activity of the UN Declaration of the year 2011 as the International Year of Volunteers. The event which was held simultaneously on December 4 2011 in Metro Manila and other key cities in the country was participated in by an estimated 400,000 volunteers nationwide.
During his terms in the Senate, Chairman Gordon has authored and co-authored several laws related to the humanitarian services of the Red Cross including R.A.10072 "Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009" An Act Recognizing the Philippine National Red Cross as an Independent, Autonomous, Non-governmental Organization Auxiliary to the Authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the Humanitarian Field, to be known as the Philippine Red Cross."
As a non-government organization, the Philippine Red Cross is not subsidized by the government. It depends solely on donations for its operations.
Other laws passed were R.A. 9851 "Philippine Act On Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity"; RA 10121 "Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2010" An Act which provides for the development of policies and plans and the implementation of actions and measures pertaining to all aspects of disaster risk reduction and management, including good governance, risk assessment and early warning; and R.A. 9803 "Food Donation Act of 2009" An Act to Encourage Donation of Food for Charitable Purposes.
Gordon also served as member of the governing board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva representing the Asia Pacific region from 2006-2010.
With the fresh mandate to serve as Chairman of PRC, Gordon vows to continue to lead the transformation of Red Cross to enable it to meet the growing humanitarian challenges in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement namely: humanity, impartiality neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
Gordon also pledged to keep the Red Cross "Always First, Always Ready, Always There" in times of calamities.