New Zealand’s gift: New Philippine Red Cross center
Before leaving the country on Friday after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made a quick stop in Mandaluyong City to inaugurate the P29-million logistics and multipurpose center of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), a project cofunded by his government.
The center, built behind the PRC headquarters on Pinatubo Street, Barangay Barangka Ilaya, is one of eight facilities nationwide supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme.
Apart from being a storage facility for relief goods, supplies and equipment for emergency response, the 2,200-square-meter building can also serve as a mini hospital that can accommodate at least 500 patients in mass-casualty events, according to PRC Chair Richard Gordon.
In a speech, Key stressed that “preparation is key to saving lives” especially in a country like the Philippines that is vulnerable to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes. “It’s great that we are able to assist [PRC] in a very practical way.”
Since July 2013, the partnership has also enabled PRC to retrofit its eight warehouses in the country, including those in Subic, Laoag and Cebu, to make the structures more quake-resistant.
Key said his government, which extended aid totaling P159 million to PRC, would continue exploring ways to help the organization.
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