ICRC warns Gordon: Don’t use Red Cross in politics
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has cautioned presidential candidate Richard Gordon, a senator and chair of the local Red Cross, not to compromise the nonpartisan nature of the organization as it prepares to respond to the possible explosion of election-related violence in the run-up to national polls.
Jean Daniel Tauxe, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines, said at a recent media briefing at the Crowne Plaza Galleria in Mandaluyong City that “a line must be drawn” between Gordon’s identity as chair of the Philippine National Red Cross and as a politician seeking the presidency.
Tauxe said the ICRC already had a meeting with the senator to discuss the matter. “I think it went very well. He is well aware that the Red Cross stands for impartiality, neutrality and independence,” he said.
Tauxe said the Geneva-based ICRC has no issue per se with Sen. Richard Gordon’s television ad showing him in a Red Cross jacket while helping victims of past typhoons.
He said Gordon’s “Silent Night” ad campaign was also not objectionable on its own, but that he must “take care not to cross the line.”
The ICRC official said he understood that Gordon’s ad only meant to emphasize his achievements as the PNRC chair, and not necessarily to use Red Cross to further his political ambitions.
“He is the chair of the local Red Cross, and at the same time senator of the Republic who is running for president,” Tauxe said.
Meanwhile, Red Cross is drawing up a list of election “hot spots” or areas where outbreaks of election-related violence are feared.
Red Cross officials said “first responders” as well as key emergency supplies, including blood, will be deployed in these areas, particularly in Mindanao where 57 people were killed in November in the country’s worst election-relation violence so far. With a report by Agence France-Presse