The Red Cross’ ‘Amazing Grace’

“PRC Amazing Grace” is the name of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) vessel which was formally launched last Tuesday at the Philippine Navy Headquarters on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

The ship, PRC National Chairman Richard Gordon said at the launching rites, is “the realization of our vision to establish the Philippine Red Cross as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country, capable of delivering timely humanitarian services that save the lives and restore the dignity of the most vulnerable.”

President Duterte added: “May this ship serve as a concrete reminder that we must prioritize the safety, well-being, and welfare of everybody.” He said slow response to disaster should not happen again, recounting the country’s experience when super-typhoon “Yolanda” struck Eastern Visayas in 2013.

The Red Cross ship can hold up to 120 passengers, 20 vehicles, and 35 tons of cargo. In an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, this is probably the best way emergency relief goods can be transported to disaster areas when even airports are closed down. The Red Cross ship is a twin-hulled vessel capable of cutting through choppy seas and hauling itself onto shore in times of emergency.

President Duterte mentioned typhoon “Yolanda” in his speech, whose powerful winds destroyed countless houses and sent the sea surging many kilometers inland, causing further destruction and taking many lives. To this day, relief and rehabilitation work to help the victims continues. If in 2013, there was already an “Amazing Grace,” the suffering of the Samar and Leyte people who were hit by “Yolanda” would have been considerably eased.

The Red Cross ship will not only haul much-needed relief goods in times of emergency. It will have a staff capable of undertaking rescue operations. It will be a floating hospital. With all its capabilities and its promise of swift relief in our country of many islands constantly threatened by typhoons and volcanic eruptions, it will be truly “Amazing Grace” to the people it will be helping in the coming years.

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