Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Gordon praised the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders for recognizing the contributions of the Red Cross Movement in providing protection and humanitarian assistance to those affected by disasters in the region.
The ASEAN statement made particular reference to the “unique role and service of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in humanitarian endeavors” which is in line with the vision to build a safer and disaster-resilient region.
The same statement, which was released during the recently concluded 31st ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, also noted the adherence of the Red Cross Movement to its fundamental principles of humanity, independence, neutrality, impartiality, voluntarism, unity and universality.
“I am heartened to learn about this recognition by our ASEAN leaders to the Red Cross Movement’s vital role during disasters, conflicts and other humanitarian challenges. This only shows that ASEAN practically recognizes the Red Cross Movement as the partner of choice,” Gordon said.
The ASEAN Chairman’s Statement, which was issued by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, also welcomed the launch of the humanitarian assistance by the Red Cross Movement in cooperation with the Myanmar government to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar.
The ASEAN is also looking forward to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and Engagement between ASEAN and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to enhance the region’s goal towards resiliency.
Meanwhile, the IFRC commended the ASEAN recognition citing “this as a great achievement and milestone in strengthening the partnership between us and the ASEAN community on its 50-year anniversary.”
“I know that this outcome would not have been possible without your own investment of time and effort since the South East Asia Red Cross Red Crescent Leaders meeting in September,” IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said in a letter addressed to Gordon.
During the ASEAN Summit, Gordon was also personally asked by Myanmar State CounsellorAung San SuuKyi to assist in the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.
Prior to that, Gordon was also asked to lead a high-level humanitarian diplomacy mission in Myanmar, which led to the fast access and safe provision of relief goods and personnel of the Red Cross Movement to Rakhine State.