Press Release
May 29, 2024


Top international and local Red Cross leaders paid a courtesy call on newly elected Senate President Francis "Chiz" G. Escudero at the Senate Ceremonial Hall last Tuesday.

Escudero warmly welcomed Kate Forbes, President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chair and former senator Richard Gordon.

During the meeting, Escudero cited the critical role of the Red Cross in disaster response and its status as the top supplier of blood to government hospitals.

Escudero expressed his gratitude for the invaluable services rendered by the IFRC and the PRC, particularly during natural calamities, disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also emphasized the importance of amending the charter of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to streamline the donation process during emergencies, aiming to reduce bureaucratic delays that have previously hindered the timely arrival of relief goods.

"We are looking at amending the DSWD charter to make it easier for people and organizations such as yours to donate during calamities and disasters," Escudero said.

"There were instances in the past that relief goods did not arrive on time due to current procedures and requirements," he pointed out.

The new Senate chief also praised Gordon's leadership for significantly strengthening the PRC.

Forbes agreed, emphasizing the Red Cross team's commitment and the need for effective disaster preparedness and response.

She cited a 2023 study showing that the Philippines has the highest natural disaster risk in the world, underscoring the importance of their efforts.

Forbes acknowledged that the Philippines serves as a crucial training ground for emergency responders due to its frequent natural disasters.

For his part, Gordon informed Escudero of the PRC's capacity to assist other countries affected by disasters, having recently sent doctors and emergency responders to Turkey, Syria, and Nepal.

Other attendees at the courtesy call included Gwendolyn Pang, Secretary General of the PRC; Alexander Matheou, IFRC Regional Director for Asia Pacific; Sanjeev Kafley, Head of Delegation, IFRC Manila; Susan Malandrino, Communications Advisor to the IFRC President; and Athena Althea David, Chief of Staff to the PRC Chairman and CEO.

Forbes, who is on a five-day visit to the Philippines from May 28 to June 1, is the second woman to hold the highest position in IFRC. She oversees the operations of 191 national societies worldwide.

Five months after winning the election in December 2023, Ms. Forbes chose the Philippines as her first destination in Asia.

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