Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Philippine Daily Inquirer Blinks on 'Red Cross under fire' Editorial

This is a personal reaction to a rejoinder to an editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled "Red Cross under fire".

Corazon Alma De Leon, secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross has already issued a rejoinder to the Inquirer editorial (posted 23:57:00 01/26/2009) with particular reference to its last paragraph:

“If this is so, this will have an effect on domestic humanitarian workers, particularly as the emerging presidential candidacy of the current Red Cross chair, Richard Gordon, might provide a pretext for such syndicates to think Red Cross workers are actually campaign workers — and so subject to the ‘usual’ election-related violence and intimidation.”
De leon asserted that:

First, Red Cross staff and volunteers are not Gordon’s campaign workers. And those who were kidnapped are ICRC members, not PNRC’s; they are not the least bit interested in the political developments in this country. In fact, as humanitarian workers, they are not allowed to engage in any political activity.

Second, the insinuation that Gordon is using the PNRC or the ICRC for his political ends may severely undermine our operations and fund-raising efforts and prevent us from addressing the humanitarian concerns of numerous communities and victims of war, disease and abuse. Since its establishment in 1947, the PNRC has been relying on donations for our humanitarian activities.

Third, Gordon has been a Red Crosser for 40 years. Since he became chair of the Red Cross, he has raised hundreds of millions of pesos to help alleviate human suffering in this country. Not a single centavo was ever used to promote Gordon’s political ambitions.

Under Gordon’s watch, the PNRC has become a donor society (having given relief assistance to Burma, Indonesia, China and Louisiana, USA) and the leading international humanitarian organization in the country, in terms of quality services provided and the number of people served. And Gordon has made the PNRC modern and efficient. He was awarded the 2001 Silver Humanitarian Award for his outstanding volunteer efforts in alleviating human suffering and the 1991 Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award, Philippine National Red Cross (Highest National Award). His accomplishments speak for themselves. They are not political gimmicks.

The Inquirer had what it thinks is the final say stating that:

The editorial merely pointed out that with Gordon being talked about as a possible presidential candidate, terrorists may use this “buzz” as an alibi to justify “an evolving tactic of assaulting even humanitarian workers.” It did not mean to insinuate that Gordon is in fact using Red Cross people for political ends. We regret that Ms De Leon and others in the PNRC came away with this interpretation. — Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer
In my view, I think the Inquirer may have conveniently reached into the realm of the hypothetical without any basis in fact.

It appears to assert what is clearly an insinuation that Gordon as Red Cross Chairman and Gordon as emerging Presidential candidate equals assaults on humanitarian workers.

The thing is, if this can be said of Gordon as an EMERGING Presidential Candidate, proof of this line of thought would be found if Mar Roxas' Botika ng Bayan or Markets were attacked. Or perhaps if Manny Villar's Villar Cup Billards competition were attacked.


professionalheckler said...


after all, the inquirer is the inquirer.

Admin said...

Heckler!!! Salamat sa iyong pagbisita sa aking blog! HUWAW!

Well, nothing really is new if you are referring to the Inquirer's penchant for coming out with OFF editorials.

I think they don't hit Mar or Villar because bata sila ng may ari ng Inquirer. The typical elite barkada.

Apart from the fact that the terrorists themselves probably haven't thought of using Gordon's emerging candidacy as justification to attack humanitarian workers.

Probably, if they do attack red cross workers, they will probably say that they got the idea from the Inquirer.

IN ANYCASE, the CPP-NPA and the MILF have not attacked Red Cross workers. They seem to understand what the RED CROSS symbol stands for, regardless of who the Red Cross chairman is.

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