“Dugo Ko Alay Ko”
During the Iraq-Iran war, Saudi Arabia required all those renewing or applying for a driver’s license to donate blood to the Ministry of Health. The blood collected was sent to Iraq where these are used in the operation of Iraqi soldiers who got hurt in the field. Years later, whenever the Ministry of Health needs blood to augment the inventory of its blood banks, it pays the donors a good amount of money.
Starting today, the Ministry of Health will be receiving a steady supply of blood for free. It does not even have to ask for it because the donors are giving it voluntarily.
Dugo ko Alay ko, a blood donation project spearheaded by the Philippine embassy and the Philippine overseas labor office in cooperation with the Filipino community in Riyadh and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, was officially launched at the Philippine embassy compound this morning.
The project, which is said to be the first of its kind, is the Filipinos’ way of expressing their thanks and appreciation to the people and government of Saudi Arabia, who for more than two decades have provide home and source of income to the growing number of overseas Filipinos. Indeed what could be a better way to express gratitude than to let ones blood mix and run with those of his friends?
A big round of applause should be given to the organizing committee that managed the project from conceptualization through its eventual implementation. The launching alone this morning speaks a lot. Banners and streamers decorate the chancery both inside and outside; colorful posters are stuck on bulletin boards, some even cleanly pasted on rear windows of some cars; shirts and caps bearing the project’s logo are worn by volunteers; and almost everybody were given buttons to pin to their shirts.
What the recently concluded overseas absentee voting lack in information campaign materials, the Dugo Ko Alay ko project had so much in abundance.
The embassy gates were even left wide open through out the day, as if telling passers by to come in and join the celebration. An early celebration of success it looked like indeed. The chancery was filled with people that it was even a bit hard for the lady volunteers distributing free bottled water to squeeze into the crowd. That size of a crowd was never seen during the voting period.
The blood letting will run through out the year. The first group of donors this morning came from members of Alpha Phi Omega. Because pre-screening of would be donors is required, those who registered as donors, and passed the requirements, will be scheduled during the succeeding weekends. Where a group of donors is located in one area, the mobile blood bank facility may even go onsite instead of requiring the donors to go to the embassy.
The launching was capped by a light noon snack hosted by no less than His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Villamor and Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente. The food provided by a catering company was good, and added more color to this all new experience of A Life Giving Lives. * May 25, 2007 By: Ka Ambo