ILOILO – Passi City, the province’s sole component city, has been chosen by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to be in the fore front of saving in lives in times of conflict and disaster in Panay Island.
PRC, with the support of Korean Red Cross, will build its Regional Logistics and Training Center in a 1.5-hectare lot in Barangay Sablogon, a government-owned property situated half a kilometer away from Passi City Hall.
Costing around P88-million, the construction of the new facility will be funded entirely by Korean Red Cross headed by its President Kim Sungjoo as part of their assistance for the recovery of Philippines from Super Typhoon Haiyan.
“This is for the youngsters here who will be our future. Youngsters from Korea can also come here to train. For sure, this place will not only serve the region but the whole country and other countries in Asia,” Kim said during the groundbreaking ceremony held on Wednesday (January 8).
Kim, one of South Korea’s successful businesswomen, was accompanied by Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Hyuk and former Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs Delia Albert during her visit.
When asked why Koreans kept on helping Filipinos, Hyuk replied that their assistance were just pay back to what Filipinos have done during the Korean War in 1950.
“When Korean War broke out, Philippines sent 70,000 young Filipino soldiers to the Korean Peninsula to fight alongside us. About 200 Filipino soldiers were either killed or missing during their mission. It was their noble sacrifice for our freedom,” Hyuk explained.
He added that since then, they felt close to Filipinos. “We share the same family value. We are both hospitable and hard-working people. Through this project, I hope that our people can live together, work together, grieve together and rejoice together,” he said.
South Korea, particularly the Korean Red Cross, has donated USD$6-million to Haiyan- -hit Philippines in 2014 – the highest donation in the history of their fund-raising campaign, according to the Korean envoy.
Moreover, PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Gordon said the groundbreaking event would mark “the transformation of Iloilo community”.
“We are facing great challenges in the world today. We have to realize that typhoons are a lot bigger, the disasters are a lot more humungous, and if we do not prepare for them, we will be the looser,” he stressed.
The Regional Logistics and Training Center in Passi City will house PRC’s prepositioned equipment which will shorten the response time of the organization in times of disaster like that of Haiyan.
Equipment for debris clearing, water purification, search and rescue, among others will likewise be there. A blood bank will also be provided after the completion of the project.
On his part, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. thanked KRC and PRC for choosing Passi City. “We are building here today a living monument of our lasting friendship and cooperation. Thank you very much for your help. Ilonggos will forever treasure this,” he said.
Prior to the event, KRC has built 77 houses and extended shelter repair assistance to 3,487 affected families affected by Haiyan in Northern Iloilo. A total of 5,177 households, mostly farmers and micro-entrepreneurs, also availed of their P35-million livelihood assistance.
KRC is also planning to improve the birthing clinics in Lemery and Carles as well as to provide the later with land and sea ambulances in support to the prevention of maternal death in the province. #2015News