Always First. Always Ready. Always There.
December 4, 1917 (as chapter) April 15, 1947
The Philippine Red Cross (abbreviated as PRC) is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The PRC was established in 1947, with roots in the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire. It was initially involved only in the provision of blood and short-term palliatives as well as participation in disaster-related activities but they now focus on a wider array of humanitarian services.
At present, the PRC provides six major services: National Blood Services, Disaster Management Services, Safety Services, Health Services, Welfare Services and Red Cross Youth. All of them embody the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. These values guide and inspire all Red Cross staff and volunteers, to whom being a Red Crosser is more than just a philosophy but a way of life.
Apolinario Mabini encouraged the Malolos Republic to form a national Red Cross organization. On February 17, 1899, the Malolos Republic approved the Constitution of the National Association of the Red Cross. The government appointed Hilaria del Rosario de Aguinaldo – the consort of President Emilio Aguinaldo – as the first head of the Association.
Filipino diplomat Felipe Agoncillo, met with Gustave Moynier, an original member of the Committee of Five and ICRC President on 29 August 1900. He sought recognition of the Filipino Red Cross Society as well as the application of the First Geneva Convention during the Philippine–American War.
On August 30, 1905, the American Red Cross (ARC) formed a Philippine Branch with Filipino and American leaders at the Ayuntamiento. After several years of continuous effort, the ANRC officially recognized it as a Chapter on December 4, 1917.
In 1934, President Manuel L. Quezon established an independent Philippine Red Cross. However, because the Philippines was a territory and later a Commonwealth under United States sovereignty, it could not sign the Geneva Conventions and therefore it could not be recognized by the ICRC. In 1942, during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the Japanese created a Philippine Red Cross that they controlled to care for internees. Once Manila was liberated by combined American and Filipino forces in 1945, local Red Cross officials and the ANRC re-established an independent Red Cross.
The Philippines gained independence from the United States on July 4, 1946. Dr. J. Horacio Yanzon was appointed the first Filipino Red Cross Manager in December 1946, with thirty-six Red Cross chapters initially set up in the country. On 14 February 1947, President Manuel A. Roxas signed the Treaty of Geneva and the Prisoners of War Convention. On 22 March 1947 President Roxas signed Republic Act 95, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Charter.
The ICRC approved the recognition of the PRC, and telegraphed First Lady Aurora Aragon Quezon, the first PRC Chairman, on 29 March 1947. Philippine Red Cross (PRC) had an inaugural ceremony on 15 April 1947.
The PRC was admitted as a bona fide member of the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on 17 September 1947.
As of 2008, the Chairman of the PRC Board of Governors is Senator Richard J. Gordon. Since 1965, actress Rosa Rosal has sat on the Board of Governors. Rosal was awarded in 1999 the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service for her activities with the PRC.
The Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009
The consolidation of the Senate Bill 3285 and House Bill 6509 was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and is now known as Republic Act No. 10072 or The Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009. The law is an affirmation of the country's "conformity with the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols, and the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement," as well as a confirmation of Philippine Red Cross' stand as a "voluntary, independent and autonomous nongovernmental society auxiliary to the authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the humanitarian field."
Apart from the apparent change in the organization's name from "Philippine National Red Cross" to "Philippine Red Cross" - included in the Act's new provisions is the organizations' exemption from real property taxes, direct and indirect taxes, duties and fees that will emerge from its operations and its exclusive importations and purchases.