SPENDING one's time and talents on social, charitable, and some other worthwhile cause, particularly for the society, is one of the noblest acts one can offer.

It is not easy to do so nor is it routinary fo all of us. Despite being such, many of us are dedicated volunteers. Surely, apart from the objective of achieving welfare, the personal feelings of fulfillment are the driving factors in volunteerism.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Last January 23 and 24, 2010, the Philippine National Red Cross-Baguio City Chapter conducted the Red Cross 143 orientation for the 128 Barangays in the city of Baguio at the PNRC-Baguio. According to Lambert Bal-iyang Jr., Chapter Representative, Safety Services and Disaster Management of PNRC-Baguio, Red Cross 143 is one developed by PNRC for the purpose of fulfilling PNRC's mission to bring timely, effective and compassionate humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable.

Red Cross 143 is a program rooted on the values of volunteerism, concern for others and efficiency.

This is to organize a volunteer base in every community for the delivery of Red Cross services consisting of a group of 44 individuals composed of 9 volunteers as members of the Barangay Disaster Action Team/Barangay Disaster Response Team, 9 volunteers as Community Health and Welfare Assistants, 25 Red Cross blood donors, advocates and supporters, and 1 Barangay Team Leader/Coordinator.

The primary goal of Red Cross 143 is to promote a culture of self-help in communities by developing a formidable network of Red Cross volunteers to respond rapidly and efficiently in times of emergencies and disasters. Its principal task is to provide immediate relief assistance and emergency response in time of disasters as well as delivery of health and welfare programs including blood services in normal situations.

Furthermore, Red Cross 143 holds specific tasks before a disaster: keeping of a baseline data of the households in the area of coverage including blood types of household members, identification of possible evacuation areas and routes, participation in the planning, conduct and assessment of evacuation drills, promotion of the delivery of health and welfare programs of the PNRC in the community, promotion of voluntary blood donation, participation and promotion of fund generation activities, and the continuous recruitment of volunteers for Red Cross Membership program; during a disaster: immediate reporting of any occurrence of a disaster in the area of coverage, preparation and collection of data as required by the Disaster Response Team, assistance of chapter representatives in identifying beneficiaries for relief assistance, assistance of technical staff or specialized volunteers for health and welfare activities, and donation of blood and motivation of other identified blood donors in the community; and after a disaster: participation in the assessment for rehabilitation activities, assistance of PNRC staff and volunteers in the delivery of rehabilitation programs and capacity-building activities, participation as a member of multi-disciplinary and/or inter-agency groups engaged in post disaster assessment and other activities, and the initiation and convening together with the Chapter Administrator of a barangay inter-agency group to assess and prepare necessary follow up actions.

Indeed, Red Cross 143 is one very promising project. Baguio City had been experiencing serious calamities resulting in loss of lives and damage to properties.

Accidents are likewise part of our existence. With Red Cross 143, we are at least able to mitigate the destructive effects of disasters and emergencies. Through our sincere concerted efforts, relief is not far from reality no matter how great the destruction may be. It is not easy to render volunteer work, but the welfare of all and the sense of achievement that one experiences are enough reward for invaluable acts of charity.

***

I would like to thank Lambert Yang-ed Bal-iyang Jr. of PNRC-Baguio for providing me with the necessary information I needed for this article.