Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, September 28, 2005





Southeast Asian Red Cross Leaders from ten countries convened for the 2005 Secretary Generals Forum held at the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel to discuss and address various issues vital to the strengthening of inter-society cooperation in the region.


Secretary Generals from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Timor East and the Philippines together with their respective teams gathered for a leadership meeting and three-day round-table discussion which started yesterday (26 September).


Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon welcomed the participants and urged them, especially those from tsunami-hit communities, to share their personal experiences in working for relief and rehabilitation during disasters.


“Your experiences will be valuable to all Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in boosting the regional response capability,” Gordon said during the Secretary Generals Forum opening.


Gordon also noted the urgency posed by the breakout of avian flu in the Southeast Asian region, leading to the heads of participating national societies to have their respective Red Cross leaders discuss the issue more thoroughly and come up with specific plan of action.  The participants concurred and agreed to clarify the priorities in the public health services which need more specific purposing of activities and programs that address issues like HIV/AIDS, emerging diseases and potential pandemics.


“Disasters are changing in scale and intensity, like the successive hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the US Gulf Coast and last year’s tsunami and, now, the avian flu that is rearing its ugly head as a potential global public health disaster,” noted Gordon.


He emphasized that there is a need “to advance on a roadmap that will bring us to a faster, more friendly, flexible and forward-looking Red Cross Movement.’  He added that the ongoing forum will serve as a preparation for the various leaders who will participate in the Red Cross World General assembly to be held in Seoul, Korea on November.  


The forum took steps toward the creation of a Regional Disaster Management Training Center, which will ultimately serve as the platform for training, logistics coordination and exchange of best practices and lessons learned from past disaster management experiences in Southeast Asia.


The participants also discussed the mid-term review of the Strategy 2010.  They noted a strong sense of engagement, communication and interactive cooperation between the national societies and the Federation Regional Office which will lead to the substantial strengthening of individual national Red Cross societies.


Among the highlights of the current forum is the presentation of each country’s operational systems to be presided over by forum Chairman Dr. Keedaeng Thammalangsy, Chairman of the Lao Red Cross
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