A Brief Backgrounder
In the summer of 1979, a small group of businessmen from Metro Manila and Central Luzon met to organize a team from the Task Force Maharlika, a civilian volunteer organization under the Office of Civil Relations-Philippine Information and Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). On the recommendation of Col. Honesto M. Isleta, then Deputy Chief of CRS-AFP, Brig. General Alexander L. Felix, then Chief CRS-AFP, gave the green light for the formation of an emergency communications team. Thus, the Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team or REACT Philippines, Inc. was born. It was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 23, 1982 and the first REACT Convention was held on July 16 of the same year in Covelandia Resort in Cavite.
Now, REACT Philippines Inc. is considered as the largest civic communications organization in the country. It is composed of at least 12,000 regular members and extensions belonging to 163 groups located nationwide, from Aparri to Jolo, Sulu. The assistance of REACT is often sought especially when rapid information gathering and dissemination is required. As a testament of this recognition, REACT Philippines Inc. sits as co-chairman for the annual Search for the Cleanest and Greenest LGU's and Bodies of Water since the inception of the program several years ago.. It is a regular member of the Social Mobilization Committee of the Department of Health, the Presidential Task Force on Traffic Improvement, Monitoring and Management (TRAFFIM) and NAMFREL. Most of its local groups are members of the Peace and Order Councils in their respective communities. REACT maintains agreements with the AFP, PNP Traffic Management Command, the NDCC, DENR, DSWD, ABS-CBN, DZRH/DZMB, government and private agencies.
Notable among the assistance extended by REACT includes the rapid gathering of results during the national elections and elections of private organizations, retrieval of results of the Oplan Alis Disease, Knock-Out-Polio and Garantisadong Pambata programs of DOH, traffic monitoring and assistance during public gathering and celebrations. React was tapped by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum to provide communication support on their regular summer motorists assistance, dubbed as Gabay Manlalakbay. This is an offshoot of the cooperation between Shell and REACT during the last days of 1999 rolling over to the year 2000 when REACT was commissioned by shell to provide communication assistance in the event of the Y2K.
At the time of the APEC convention several years ago, REACT was commissioned to provide communication assistance to the security aspect of the delegates and dignitaries. Perhaps one of its distinguished achievements was the timely alert of the Manggis Group of the malaria outbreak in Laminusa Island in Sulu. Through its network, the incident was immediately relayed to the Disaster Management Unit of the DOH. With the expeditious information, the DOH was able to send relief and medicines immediately averting a more calamitous situation.. The organization was also cited for their assistance during the Cebu Pacific plane crash in Cagayan de Oro and to a wayward Pal plane that plowed to a residential area in Bacolod City. It was the REACT operatives that first relayed the devastation caused by the 1992 earthquake in Baguio City and neighboring provinces since other system of communications were disabled by the incident. Some groups now own and maintain ambulances and fire fighting units manned by members trained in first aid and rescue operations. There are numerous communication assistance extended by REACT during troubled times highly beneficial to the security of the nation which until now shall remain classified.
REACT membership represents a cross section of the society, diverse in their vocations, unified by a common goal to render humanitarian service. It is composed of businessmen, professionals, from government and the private sectors, the clergy and even students which comprise the bulk of its Junior members. During non-emergencies, REACT local groups conduct free medical clinics, anti rabies missions, tree planting or clean up drive. REACT supports the campaign against illegal logging and for the protection of wildlife, marine life and the environment.
The national headquarters is strategically located at the penthouse of the V. V. Soliven Complex along EDSA, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. It houses the national secretariat, the national homebase, a conference room where the national board of officers meet regularly and sleeping quarters for visiting members from the provinces.