The Philippine Red Cross volunteer

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By Jojo La Maria

RC Volunteer

Monday, November 7, 2011


IT’S BEEN quite some time since the last time I was read as a columnist and here I am again. This time around, I will be writing for the Philippine Red Cross, from the time I spent as a volunteer of the Red Cross Youth (RCY) until the present.

Yes, I was a RCY volunteer during the 70s. Back in the days, the RCYs were activated during summer helping various civic organizations in the City of Baguio conducting emergency assistance activities. Today, the Red Cross Youth Volunteers are active all year round.

I am in constant contact with the Philippine Red Cross Baguio City Chapter personnel and involved in several of their activities. Just recently, I was invited to participate in the orientation on Blood Services for Donor Recruiters. This seminar virtually opened my mind and rekindled the spirit of volunteerism in me.

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Initially, I was surprised to learn there was a change in the name but this is not a major change. Before, it was called the Philippine National Red Cross – Baguio City Chapter (PNRC-BC). Today, it is known as the Philippine Red Cross – Baguio City Chapter (PRC-BC). The volunteer organization is now at par internationally as far as the name is concerned.

I have been inside the new PRC building several times before but I never really noticed anything until the orientation. Our PRC Baguio Chapter building has been completed and actually considered to be a CLASS B Blood Bank in the country. Being classified should already be an honor because there are just a few classified Red Cross chapters in the Philippines.

Class B classification of the Baguio City Chapter of the Philippine Red Cross indicates the chapter is capable of testing blood donation against viruses, capable of reproducing plasma and is also capable of storing blood for up to, at least, a couple of months and for emergency uses.

This is what the seminar was all about - beef up the blood supply in the blood bank by recruiting regular donors from the barangay level and up. This is the process being implemented nowadays to remove the “BLOOD FOR SALE” attitude. This is another re-invented approach in bloodletting – donate blood without any compensation. I was told people will not be allowed to sell their blood anymore. Same is true for students giving blood in exchange for passing grades. All these are provided for under Republic Act 7719 known as the National Voluntary Blood Services Act of 1994.

The process includes reeducating the barangay workers about the benefits of donating blood, which is a common question by would be donors – “what do I get from it?” The barangay workers are the barangay officials themselves. They were oriented to be the voice of the Philippine Red Cross in this level of society. The objective is to gather 100 qualified blood donors per barangay to assure a continuous supply of blood in the bank.

In the same orientation, participants were provided with the knowledge to determine who the qualified donors are and how these barangay workers retain the donors in their list of volunteers.

In the weeks to come, I will relate in this column what we have learned in the orientation of the Philippine Red Cross. This way, you will be able to determine if you are qualified to be blood donors.

BE A PHILIPPINE RED CROSS VOLUNTEER

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 08, 2011.

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