Red Cross says its distribution system is tried and tested
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Wednesday reiterated its procedure for distributing relief goods in an effort to settle the issue between the agency and Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. of Maribojoc town in the quake-hit province of Bohol.
“Over the many years of experience in the field of disaster response we have developed tried and tested systems for distributing humanitarian aid in an equitable and efficient way,” the PRC said.
Relief assistance, it said, “should be given directly to beneficiaries of a disaster by our staff and volunteers and not through other organizations and entities such as the local government.” This, it pointed out, “is consistent with our guiding principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality.”
The PRC noted that efficient and effective relief depended on many factors, including coordination with government agencies, such as the National Disaster Management Committee and local and international NGOs, so that resources could be maximized and duplication reduced.
While its auxiliary status with the government extended to supporting, sharing information and coordinating closely with government agencies at the national and local levels, the PRC said “our ability to act independently is critical to maintaining our credibility and our accountability to the communities we work with and those who support us.”
It enumerated the general criteria for distributing relief items:
* Exclusively for families affected by a certain disaster or legitimate beneficiaries.
* Distribution per family, not per individual.
* Items to be given to beneficiaries belonging to economically disadvantaged family or those whose livelihood is being halted due to the disaster.
Beneficiaries identified as the most vulnerable are:
* Families with incurred damage to housing or loss of essential household items.
* Those staying in the evacuation centers, female-headed households, with more than one elderly or person with disability living in the house, and those who have not received similar assistance from other organizations.
* Minimum wage-earners.
* Families with members who have died in the disaster
Since the earthquake, Red Cross staff and volunteers from Bohol have been among the first to respond. “We are developing a relief and recovery plan to support at least 10,000 families and we will be with them through the months ahead,” the PRC said.
“Conducting an operation of this scale requires good planning,” it said. “This means carrying out assessments to determine where the needs are most acute and then providing relief according to our capacity on the ground.”
“Invariably, mobilizing the required resources and supplies and establishing the logistics pipeline for an operation of this scale takes time,” the statement said.
“Now is a time for solidarity. It is a time for everyone working in the interests of the survivors of the Bohol earthquake to come together and work towards the common goal of helping shattered communities recover from this terrible tragedy,” the PRC said.