The 2013 MVR seeks to build on the success of the first MVR in 2011, which had celebrated the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers.
Volunteerism and the central role of volunteers have been brought to the fore in the last decade all over the world on account of natural and man made disasters. It is no longer the preserve of those with time and resources in their hands; volunteerism is fast becoming a personal and universal life ethic being inspired by the increasing frequency of disasters hitting the country as well as other parts of the world.
Richard Gordon, PRC chairman, said in a statement that the Red Cross Million Volunteer Run is a salute to all volunteers on whom lives depend especially in times of disasters and other emergencies. He added that now more than ever, the Philippines must be vigilant in the face of what he described as “mass-casualty events” affecting the country nearly every year by drafting more volunteers and training them on disaster-response skills.
The MVR hopes to generate greater awareness of the aspects of volunteerism aschampioned by the PRC, namely, disaster preparedness and response, health and welfare, and voluntary blood donation. It also seeks to instill the mission’s sense of urgency in the public.“We want to tell the world that disaster-prone Philippines has millions of volunteers ready to cope with and mitigate the risk of disasters—and save lives as a nation,” Gordon added.
As in the first MVR, the PRC will mobilize its Red Cross 143 volunteers—the organization’s flagship volunteer program that recruits and trains a minimum of 44 volunteers in every barangay, comprising 1 team leader and 43 members—that serve as the humanitarian arm on the ground especially during disasters.
The February 10, 2013, Red Cross MVR is open to all ages and will feature 3-K and 5-k courses, starting from Aliw Theater and the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay, respectively, at 7 a.m. The runners, to be led by Gordon, will finish at the Quirino Grandstand.
Proceeds from the MVR will go to the Red Cross Volunteers 143 chapters.
On December 4, 2011, the Philippine Red Cross MVR achieved a milestone, with around 350,000 volunteers in Metro Manila alone forming a “Sea of Red” as they emerged from three starting points on Roxas Boulevard, Buendia in Makati City, and Coastal Road in Pasay, and finished at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. It was the PRC’s biggest running event in its 64 years of humanitarian service.
The PRC, together with its valued private and public partners, is looking at staging the MVR every year to deepen public awareness of the PRC volunteer movement. Nothing is timelier, too, in light of bigger and more daunting disasters the Philippines might expect in years ahead that would pose a greater humanitarian challenge to the PRC and the Philippine government.
“We will yet forge an aspect of our national identity as that of belonging to the foremost volunteer country in the world,” Gordon said.