Press Release
April 16, 2009

RP needs more volunteers - Gordon

With the global financial crisis starting to enter Philippine shores, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today underscored the need for more volunteers to come forward and help the country keep its effects at bay.

Gordon, also chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), made the call as he exhorted more than two million Red Cross volunteers around the country during the organization's 62nd anniversary.

"Is it possible to change the Philippines ? Hindi ako pumapayag na walang pag-asa sa ating bayan (I do not agree that we have lost all hopes for our country)," he said.

"The willingness to work for a cause - and not just for compensation - brings out the best in every Filipino, which must be encouraged and replicated, if the nation is to rise above its present slump," he added.

No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, on several occasions, called for Filipino volunteerism, particularly in this time of worldwide economic crisis.

For 40 years now, Gordon has been with the PNRC, the country's largest and oldest humanitarian volunteer organization which has been in the forefront giving aid in the aftermath of every disasters and calamities. It boasts of 96 local chapters nationwide with more than 2-million volunteers.

"It was the people of Olongapo that did something about the bases. It's not Manila who did something about it. It was our volunteers. It was our vision, our values, our volunteerism that saw us through," he said.

"We converted the base into a Freeport Zone. We did that through volunteerism, shared values, sacrifice and unity among the people and the leaders of the city. If we were able to do that in Subic , we can replicate that in our country as well," he added.

When he was mayor of Olongapo City , he led Olongapenos in rebuilding their city after the blow that it had received with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo shortly after the Americans left the naval base in Subic .

Gordon and his more than 8,000 volunteers made it possible for Subic Bay to rise from the ruins of the former American military base and the ashes from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, converting the Subic Bay not just into a commercial zone, but also the first Freeport zone in the country.

The senator pointed out that what has been done to transform Subic could be replicated anywhere in the country, or even in the country as a whole.

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