The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Valenzuela City chapter is aiming for greater and more efficient services to the public as it look forward to building a new chapter headquarters in a more strategic location.
The local PRC chapter held the project’s groundbreaking ceremony on a portion of land within the sprawling ALERT (Allied Local Emergency and Evacuation Response Teams) Center along Mac Arthur Highway across the City Hall on December last year.
Joining Red Cross volunteers and officials during the groundbreaking where chapter honorary chairman Rep. WIN Gatchalian and Mayor REX Gatchalian who had expressed support to the project. The city government may be seen allotting land space measuring 682 square meters for the facility.
The parcel is twice the size of the chapter’s current office in Brgy. Marulas. Chapter administrator Criselda Torres said the new headquarters will be called Red Cross Valenzuela City Volunteers Center and they are now in search for donors who will help them complete the project.
The current headquarters is no longer enough to house the volunteer staff, including the offices of the members of the board of directors, the administrator said.
The Red Cross Valenzuela City Volunteers Center aims to house additional facilities and spaces for its various modes of operations run by its 3,500 sustained members. The two-storey infrastructure will be designed to accommodate the growing needs of volunteers in facilitating better disaster management, social, safety, health and blood services to the people of Valenzuela.
The move is integral to the city government’s “liveable city” plan that placed second best at the Liveable Cities Design Challenge (LCDC) held at the PICC in Pasay City last year. It seeks to converge all emergency and disaster offices and front liners in one convenient site, which the local government has started to develop as the ALERT Center.
The new Valenzuela City Central Fire Station is the first structure to rise at the 8,670 square-meter complex.
Torres on the other hand, stressed that the Philippine Red Cross is a humanitarian organization and not a government entity. The organization is dependent on volunteers and the generosity of its supporters to accomplish its mission, including the construction of its new head office.
From blood collector to blood banker
“The project will cost P45 million. Marami nagkakasakit, marami nangangailangan ng dugo so we need to expand our facilities,” Torres explained.
She further noted that part of the plan is upgrading the chapter’s blood services from being a blood collecting unit (BCU) to a blood bank once the new building is completed. If realized, Valenzuela will be Red Cross’ second blood center facility in Metro Manila.
“Right now, our office is under the category of blood collecting unit (BCU). It means we [are] only allowed to collect and [store] blood since we are not a blood bank,” Torres said. “Unless tayo ay blood bank na, pwede na rin na tayo na mismo ang mag-examine ng dugo natin. As of now, all the blood collected by the chapter has to be sent to the national headquarters (in Port Area, Manila) and this takes too much time.”
The PRC Valenzuela City chapter, hailed as the best Philippine Red Cross chapter in 2009 for its “unquestionable effectiveness,” has received pledges totaling P13.8 million as of April 2015 from different individuals, businesses and private institutions like G. Tecnica Equipment Corp., Polyfoam RGC International Corp. and the Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, the Philippine National Police Valenzuela City proposed “Proud Supporter Car Plate,” a fund-raising project tentatively scheduled from April to December, to be sponsored by Myit-Phils. International, Inc. Proceeds from the campaign are expected to reach P3,575,000.
Interested parties who want to support the projects of Red Cross may inquire at the Red Cross Valenzuela City Chapter office on Dahlia St., Villa Teresa Subdivision, Brgy. Marulas, Valenzuela City or may call 293-8375, 432-0273 and 293-9914.