Red Cross pushes for blood donation ordinance in Laoag

Denis Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2017 03:56 PM

LAOAG CITY – Despite regular bloodletting activities to build their stock, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in Ilocos Norte still has an insufficient blood supply to meet the needs of the local populace.

Around 10 patients needing three to fives bags of blood would go to the PRC office every day, said chapter administrator Edna Orcino. Given the demand, she said the organization would sometimes fail to meet patients' needs because of short supply. 

This is why the PRC is pushing for the passage of a local ordinance filed last month that would require blood donations from barangays in Laoag City. 

“Binibigyan natin sila ng dugo pero kulang. We really need more donors na regular na nagdo-donate ng dugo,” Orcino said.

“Malaking bagay ito (ordinance) kung magma-materialize. Itong mandatory, it’s a way of encouraging the community because donating blood is a social responsibility [for] every citizen in the community,” Orcino said.

The PRC expressed support for the measure as it faced a hurdle this month, when it was returned to its author, Councilor Roque "Rbee" Ablan on May 15.

The city’s Committee of Laws, Rules and Regulations said that there were conflicts in the proposed ordinance’s provisions. The measure seeks to strictly implement bloodletting or blood donation programs across Laoag’s 80 barangays,

Committee Chair Franklin Respicio said that while the ordinance makes blood donation mandatory, it defeats the underlying principle of volunteerism in the act of giving blood.

“It mandates and yet it’s a donation, so we could not reconcile these two things. Ang donasyon ay boluntaryo,” Respicio said.

The proposal's penalty clause also runs against the purpose of the ordinance to make blood available to all constituents during emergencies. This as the proposal provides that a barangay with no donors will not be allocated any blood. 

No less than one percent of a barangay’s population is required to engage in the proposed mandatory blood-giving. 

Respicio clarified that the committee returned the ordinance to Ablan not because members were against it, but to allow the Sangguniang Panlungsod to assist in its improvement.

Ablan said he would revise and refile the ordinance as he believes the measure would help guarantee sufficient blood supply in the city.