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Red Cross: Pinoys may ‘text’ donations for Japan

Filipinos who wish to help earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Japan may send their monetary donations via text message to the Philippine Red Cross, the humanitarian organization’s secretary-general Gwendolyn Pang said Sunday. People who wish to donate must type on their mobile phones 'RED (space) AMOUNT’ and send the message to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart). Globe subscribers may also send donations through the G-Cash transfer scheme by typing ‘DONATE (space) AMOUNT (space) 4-digit M-PIN (space) REDCROSS’ and then sending the message to 2882. The Philippine Red Cross website also lists donation schemes through PayPal, cash or check, or bank deposits. In an interview with GMA News Online, Pang said the Philippine Red Cross and its counterparts worldwide can extend their assistance by initially assessing the situation in Japan, tallying the casualties and taking charge of the logistics. She explained, however, that the Philippine chapter is waiting for the go-signal of the Japanese Red Cross before mobilizing a team of experts to Japan. She noted that Japan, which continues to experience aftershocks, remains unstable. “We also have to check if we are clear to enter," Pang said. Medical teams Other groups from the Philippines have volunteered to pitch in their services for relief assistance to Japan. Philippine Medical Association spokesperson Mike Aragon has disclosed plans to send an "elite volunteers' group" to the disaster-stricken country. In a comment posted on GMA News Online, an Internet user identified as “Democracy_In_Action" also suggested that the government tap the Philippines’ unemployed nurses to help in the relief efforts. “In this way, we can help our nurses' experience requirements, financially support them, and most of all do our share as a Christian Asian neighbor," the Internet user said. Due to an oversupply of nurses, Filipino nursing graduates have found it tougher to look for opportunities to gain professional experience, which will serve as their ticket for better-paying jobs abroad. PHL once a beneficiary The Philippines itself largely benefited from international aid after tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) inundated Metro Manila and nearby provinces with up to two-storey high floods. Less than a week after Ondoy unleashed its wrath on the Philippines, half-a-billion pesos in foreign assistance poured in. The Philippine government then pegged the damages at almost P5 billion. No less than the United Nations also called on the international community, at that time, to extend assistance to the Philippines.