FamiLigtas raises awareness for LGBTQ+ rights

Despite global and localized campaigns that aim to protect and preserve the human rights of groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, huge leaps to solve this societal problem are still a long shot.

In light of 18 Days of Activism, a campaign for no violence against women and children that runs from November 25 to December 12 each year, FamiLigtas reminds us to also include the LGBTQ+ community.

FamiLigtas is a digital campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) in the Philippines during the time of COVID-19. But because GBV is most commonly associated with spousal and domestic violence against women, the experiences of violence among lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other non-binary individuals are often left unheard.

“We advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Sabrina Gacad of Lunas Collective. “While there are numerous urgent challenges facing LGBTQ+ persons worldwide, there are many windows of opportunity to promote and protect their human rights.”

As the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in thecongress, more and more non-binary people continue to experience discrimination, and even violence, at home and in public spaces.

A lack of protection for LGBTQ+ persons

According to Human Rights Watch, only 15% of Filipinos are living in areas with ordinances against discrimination and violence on the basis of SOGIE. The same report also states that the low reporting and intervention of this kind of GBV is caused by the negative messages that the victim-survivors are receiving from authorities.  

Additionally, there is little to no statistical data on the cases of GBV against the LGBTQ+ in the Philippines. Unlike violence against women and children, which has annual report from the Philippine National Police and other government and non-government organizations, GBV cases against LGBTQ+ are often excluded due to low reporting rate and the lack of laws to protect them against discrimination and violence.

“The barangay is an important player in creating a violence-free community. And we need to remember that it is our responsibility to keep the community safe not just for women, but for all gender identities as well,” said local barangay representative.

Kasama ang LGBTQ+ sa pamilya

The family is the most common perpetrator of GBV in the Philippines—whether targeted against women, children, or LGBTQ+ persons. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, LGBTQ+ children are often verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically abused by their own families. This is due to the notion that the children’s non-conforming gender attitudes are unnatural and immoral. 

“Due to the community quarantines brought on by the COVID pandemic, GBV victim-survivors of all gender identities are trapped inside their homes with their abusers,” said a representative from LGBTQ+ org.

“That’s why we are campaigning for a safe Filipino family. So that we can keep our homes safe, LGBTQ+ persons included.”

LG Philippines revives “Laundry Love” and other aid campaigns for typhoon victims

Even as the storms have passed, a lot of Filipinos are still reeling from being ravaged by typhoon Rolly and Ulysses. Communities have been displaced with people losing their home, leaving them with no shelter and no place to go. In the spirit of makabayan, government agencies, together with private individuals, groups, and corporations, have stepped up to the plate to assist fellow countrymen in their time of need.

LG Philippines has remained steadfast in their resolves to always heed the call for help. The South Korean technology innovator has partnered with groups on the ground in order to hastily offer assistance.

For the typhoon victims from Rizal and Bulacan, LG PH closely collaborated with Walang Maiiwanan PH and JCI Ortigas Inc. to provide help with the community. Donations of shampoos, cleansing foams, toothpastes, and toothbrushes were given to over a thousand indigenous Dumagat families from Sitio Kabuoan Brgy Puray Rodriguez, Rizal, Sitio Suha Brgy San Mateo, and Norzaragay, Bulacan. 

LG Also partnered with Feed Hungry Minds to give assistance to two barangays in Guinobatan, Albay. Approximately 400 families were given the same personal care kits.

LG also visited different communities and evacuation centers in Marikina to help out. They staged their widely popular Laundry Love program in order to help residents and evacuees get access to clean clothing.

Over a span of 3 weeks, LG lent washing machines to the evacuation centers in Nangka Elementary School, Parang Elementary School, Bulelak Covered Court- Brgy Malanday, Homeowners drive Brgy Sto Nino, giving over 1,000 households access to washing machines to clean and sterilize their clothes. LG also gave free repair and check-up services to the affected households.

Speaking with regard to the company’s humanitarian initiatives, LGEPH Managing Director Inkwun Heo says, “We are in awe of Filipinos’ sense of community, especially in great adversity. There is always a natural inclination to want to help. As long as we’re here, we share the same sense of community. We’re always ready to lend a hand, wherever we’re needed.”

Share Hope with SM celebrates modern day heroes

The year 2020 has shown us the truly important things in life. It made us appreciate the little blessings even more, as well as the people who truly make huge sacrifices with even the simplest things that they do.

Since day one of this pandemic, our brave frontliners have been risking their lives to help save and protect more people. Not only are they putting their own health on the line to do the work that needs to be done, they also miss out on a lot of opportunities to enjoy life or spend time with their families without the fear of exposing them to the disease.

SM Supermalls recognizes this great sacrifice and now aims to return the favor with the launch of its Share Hope With SM program, which celebrates our modern day heroes by sharing the joy of Christmas.

Share Hope with SM is a digitized gift mailbox wherein customers can submit their holiday wishes for their nominated front line worker.

For my personal entry, I’m giving a huge shoutout to my friends Councilor Joey Hizon III and Kagawads Ponce Luistro and Doc Roy Resurreccion for all their hard work in their barangay.

It’s admirable to see our frontliners sacrifice their days and nights, and the quality time they should be spending with their families, just to ensure the health and safety of our kababayans. Sometimes, they even go the extra mile to reach out to every family/home to make sure that their needs are being met.

Their proactive efforts, resourcefulness, and resilience deserve to be recognized that’s why I am nominating them for #ShareHopeWithSM.

Show your gratitude to the brave and heroic frontliners in your family, circle of friends or community by visiting the website https://www.smsupermalls.com/sharehopewithsm/

Submit a letter about why you are nominating your chosen frontliner for a chance to gift them with P10,000 worth of SM goft certificates this Christmas.

BTS and self-care: Why BTS is good for physical, mental, and emotional well-being

Last week, August 15, 2020, I joined a panel on Rhizome Connect to talk about my personal experience on how I was able to channel my BTS fangirling into a more significant form.

Rhizome Connect is a virtual event hosted by the Rhizomatic Revolution Review to connect with ARMYs around the world at a time when we cannot gather together physically. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the impact of BTS on people and the world. 

I was invited by a friend and fellow ARMY, Ampy Corpus, who moderated the panel. Ampy is a strategic communications expert based in Singapore and she is passionate about lifelong learning, mindfulness, pop culture, film, history and trends.

Also part of the panel are fellow ARMYs and Titas of BTS members Dette Rome Dette, a seasoned communications professional and financial planner; Nicole Mangondato, an outsourcing professional who helps individuals get their dream jobs; and Chin Ann Obiedo, a fashion, beauty, and features writer.

Our panel, titled “BTS and self-care,” centered around the topic of why BTS is good for physical, mental and emotional well-being. Especially now that we are going through very difficult times, mainly because of the ongoing pandemic, people tend to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unsettled.

To the best of our abilities, we all try to find ways to cope and survive. Now more than ever, we realize the importance of self-care in order for us to stay sane and focused.

Self-care comes in many different forms. Some found their peace and calm through hobbies like baking, crafting, playing instruments or by becoming plantitas. For ARMYs, BTS became a big part of their self-care routine as they looked to the group as a source of comfort, positivism, strength, and inspiration.

Through the panel, I was able to share my story on how BTS practically stopped me from getting lost in the gloomy and dispiriting trance of the pandemic, and helped me find my path back to happiness and productivity.

You can watch the full video of our panel HERE or visit the Rhizome Connect website to also see the other panels and activities that happened during the event.

CLICK HERE to watch our panel frm Rhizome Connect

I am also sharing below my answers to the questions raised during the panel. Through my story, I hope I am able to help you find what you’re looking for in terms of self-care — regardless if it involves BTS or not. 🙂

What does self-care mean to you in general and why is it important?

To me, self-care is being able to do the things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and connected with yourself — allowing yourself to be comforted, pampered even, and giving yourself space to rest and recuperate. 

I think it is very important that we all practice self-care, especially for moms or parents who literally look after other people 24/7. When you’re responsible for the lives of others, it’s inevitable for you to lose yourself in the midst of fulfilling that role. You tend to focus on the people you need to take care of so much that you end up leaving nothing for yourself and I feel that is dangerous because you never know where you’d end up when things start to get rough. 

You need to do your self-care, whatever that may be, to help re-instill in your mind and heart that while the people you love and others around you are integral to your life, you are important, too; and you don’t need to rely on others to take care of you because you can do it on your own through self-care.

Where does BTS fit in your definition of self-care?

Even before BTS, I’ve always subscribed to the idea that you can’t pour water out of an empty cup or you can’t give love if you don’t even have enough love for yourself. I actually built the theme of my personal blog Mommy’s Day Out around that idea. The platform serves as a space for moms to find ideas on how to love themselves while being a parent, so it’s really more of a lifestyle blog than a parenting blog.

When I discovered BTS in March this year, I somehow felt validated that the purpose of my work isn’t something ridiculous at all, but rather something that should be given importance, too.

Here in the Philippines, we were raised to become family-oriented. Sacrificing your own happiness for the happiness of others, especially your family members, is an idea that has been passed down to us by our elders. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because I think self-sacrifice is one of the most noble expressions of love. However, that line of thinking has also muddled the importance of loving yourself in the context of a relationship — be it between families, partners, friends, etc.

BTS fits into my definition of self-care both figuratively and literally, because they didn’t just inspire me to push for my ideals about promoting self-care, they’ve also literally accompanied me through my own self-care journey, which has helped me a lot in going through this pandemic. I started caring for my body again by doing intermittent fasting (something I learned from Suga) and I’ve also been exercising daily with BTS songs in the background, which is really motivating for me.

Did you build a specific BTS self-care routine around a specific bucket of self-care (physical, mental, emotional) or do you go about your self-care practice in a more spontaneous way?

I was able to develop a more sensible self-care routine, thanks to BTS. In the first month of the quarantine here in the Philippines, I literally let myself fall into a depressing blackhole. It’s not like I was crying or having fits and mood swings everyday, but more of lying on the couch all day, sometimes even missing a day of taking a bath, doing literally nothing other than binge-watch K-dramas until my head hurts, and just generally lacking inspiration and motivation to do something productive.

When I started immersing myself in BTS around late March, I got to read stories about their perseverance and hard work to get to where they are today. That made me realize that I’m wasting my life away! These boys are 8-13 years younger than me and they’ve already accomplished so much, yet here I am acting like a rotten vegetable. So I took baby steps and decided for myself that “Okay, let’s do this self-improvement thing one at a time, starting with my body,” and that’s how I got into intermittent fasting and developing my own exercise routine, which I’ve written about in my blog. That’s for the physical.

For the mental and emotional buckets, I took care of that part when I built this Facebook Group called Titas of BTS, which is a community of Filipinas born before 1992 (the year the oldest BTS member, Jin, was born) who admire the group. In this space, we all virtually gather to share BTS content and exchange whatever thoughts or feelings we have about BTS for the day. It’s fun and chaotic — much like how the BTS guys are — and I feel like I get extra boosts of serotonin and endorphins every time I interact with the members of the group.

Although this activity involves other people, I still consider this a part of my self-care routine because knowing that there are other people out there who are similar to me in terms of age range, who also share the same passion that I have for BTS, is a really comforting thought. It makes me happy and it adds to the list of things I look forward to doing when I wake up everyday. 

Why do you think BTS forms such a big part of ARMY’s self-care routine?

I think it’s because we see them as real people and not some fancy, fake celebrities. They show us their professional side, their best foot forward whenever they go on stage or do press interviews, but they’re also not afraid to show us their flaws and tell us about their insecurities, fears, and weaknesses, and I find that very comforting to know that even international artists like them are also going through the same things as I or we do.

All those seven years of social media content where they have consistently shown their true personalities — I don’t think that is something you can fake. So, when ARMYs realize how the boys have matured, improved, and gotten better over time, it allows us to think that we can achieve something, too — if only we put our heart and soul into it and never give up on that dream or goal.

It also helps that the guys are so warm and comforting in their words whenever they speak to ARMY, like they did in Youtube’s Dear Class of 2020. That was actually one of my biggest motivators to get back on track with my work and somehow start fixing my life to adjust to our new normal under the pandemic.

Do you think spending too much of your self-care time with BTS is selfish? Do you feel other parts of your life suffered because of your self-care routine?

I must admit that I’m still in the process of really reorganizing my life and balancing my time for BTS self-care and my time for family and work. I can’t judge myself whether I’m being selfish towards my family whenever I start spending time consuming BTS content (which also forms part of my self-care routine because it makes me feel good watching them), but there is nothing that a little discussion with my husband can’t solve. 

If there is one thing I learned from RM, it’s that to speak yourself and also learn how to truly listen to the people around you. So for me, as long as you have an understanding with the people around you about why you are spending a lot of time doing self-care with BTS, then I don’t see how that is selfish because you, your happiness, and your sanity are important, too.

It would be nice, too, if we ARMYs can encourage the people around us to practice their own self-care routines, whatever that may be. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve BTS, but I hope we can impart the things we learned from BTS to them so they too can experience that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that we get whenever we do our own self-care routine.

Tell me about a particular song or lyrics that really touched your soul and that constantly helps you through life’s challenges?

Jungkook’s “My Time” is my all-time favorite BTS song. I understand what it means to JK as a boy who grew up in the limelight and feels like he missed parts of his youth because he was too busy with his career. In some way, that song spoke to me as a woman in her mid-30s and still struggling to accomplish something in life. I guess it’s that line “Don’t know what to do with, am I living this right?” which I’ve also asked myself soooo many times. Somehow, I interpreted Jungkook’s loneliness in that song as my own longing to be someone of value to society or at least to the people around me.

But what I particularly love about “My Time” is the way Jungkook changed up the lyrics in the last chorus from “I can’t call ya, I can’t hol’ ya, I cna’t touch ya” to “I will call ya, I will hol’ ya, I will touch ya,” which to me was a real wake up call that “Hey, I’m still alive, I still have time to do the things I want to do or need to do to get to where I want to be.” So until then, I just have to keep running ‘wearing your hat low,’ like Jungkook also sang in the bridge of the song, and just keep going because one day I will get to call and hold and touch that thing that I want most in life and that’s a really powerful message for me.

If you are going to give baby ARMYs tips on how to create a BTS-centered self-care routine, what tips would you give them?

I, too, am a baby ARMY and I am just lucky to have been hit with inspiration early in my young ARMY life. My advice: Don’t feel pressured to start something right away and just enjoy your fangirling/fanboying moments because inspiration and motivation to start your own self-care routine (whether it’s BTS-centered or not) will just hit you when you least expect it.

Perhaps you can try setting a goal for yourself — it doesn’t have to be big — then follow that with some research on what the members do about that same goal and start from there. I swear, whatever it is that you’re looking for, there is a BTS content for it, so don’t be shy to go online and read up on some BTS history. Also, try to consume your BTS content with an open mind and heart, because they really are inspiring inside and out. Even in moments when they’re being chaotic crackheads, you’ll be able to find little nuggets of joy and wisdom.

BTS has a new reality show, In The SOOP, which shows them doing self-care activities as well. What are you looking forward to see in the show?

I am looking forward to see Jungkook playing the guitar and I want to see what the others are also up to. They’ve mentioned in their recent VLives that they’re all trying to spend time learning something new over the quarantine, so hopefully we can get a preview of that.

I’m trying to set a new goal for myself to try and pick up a new skill as well, so maybe Jungkook and his hyungs can help me again with this. 🙂

Pyschologically speaking, what would you say is the biggest impact of BTS to your well-being?

One of my favorite BTS quotes was from Suga’s speech in Dear Class of 2020. When he said, “Take your hands off what you can’t control and get your hands on what you can change,” I think that summarizes the overall impact that BTS had on me when I met them in the middle of this crazy pandemic.

I used to be a neurotic mess — well, I still am — but since BTS, I have been consciously looking after that part of myself and try to be less neurotic as I can possibly be.

I super subscribe to the idea that not all of us will be given the same power as BTS to change the world, but we all have the power to change ourselves for the better so that in effect we may become useful to the rest of the world. It’s really all about loving yourself, caring for yourself, and feeling good about yourself enough that you are able to share good vibes with others.

I’m also trying to learn and embody RM’s mindfulness and Jin’s sincerity when it comes to listening to others, so that I may also understand how I can be of better help to other people.

PLDT-Smart Foundation leads aid for stranded OFWs and locals

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely turned our lives around — some for the better, while some (unfortunately) for the worse. Among those heavily affected are the OFWs and local workers whose workplaces are located outside the cities or provinces they live in. Due to quarantine restrictions, many of them have been stranded in places far from home.

Haira Aba, 29 years old, is the breadwinner of her family in Datu Paglas in Maguindanao. She applied for a job as a domestic helper in Qatar and travelled to Manila. But the COVID-19 pandemic came, overseas travel came to a halt, and as a result, she has been stuck in Manila for the past four months.

According to Aba, her situation is difficult since she is far away from her family. She said that what brought comfort during this difficult time was the help they have received from various organizations and individuals.

Kailangan kong magtiis. Nakikipagkuwentuhan na lang ako sa mga kasama ko dito para hindi ma-bored. Malaking tulong din ang cellphone at internet dahil na rin may YouTube, (I need to endure this. I just talk to some of the people that are also stranded here so that I won’t get bored. Having my cellphone with me and having Internet also helps a lot because there’s Youtube.)” Aba said.

54-year old Dennis Sebastian is a mechanical operator and harvester in Tuguegarao – a job he has been doing for six years now. He usually travels back to his hometown in Compra, Liloy in Zamboanga Del Norte three times a year. This year, he was scheduled to return home last April 6. But due to the pandemic, his flight was rescheduled to June 5 – and then was again cancelled.

Unable to fly home, Sebastian stayed for several weeks at a footbridge near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Last June 11, he was transferred to the Villamor Elementary School. In order to buy food, Sebastian said he had sold some of his personal belongings. This included his cellphone, which he sold for P300, a luggage for P500 and his shoes for P200.

According to Sebastian he lived like a nomad for weeks. “Palipat-lipat ako ng puwesto kapag sobrang init at umuulan. Sana hindi na maulit ito kasi apat na buwan na akong hindi nakakauwi. Wala na akong communication [sa aking pamilya]. Pero bago ko ibinenta ang cellphone ko, natawagan ko na sila at sinabi kong h’wag mag-alala, (I keep changing positions and places where to stay, especially when it is extremely hot or when it rains. I hope this never happens again because it’s been four months that I haven’t been home. I don’t have any communication with my family. But before I sold my cellphone, I was able to call them and tell them not to worry.)” Sebastian said.

Aba and Sebastian are two of the 350 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSI’s) at the Villamor Elementary School in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City. They received meals and other assistance from the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) through employee-led fundraising initiatives such as the Fairness, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability (F.I.T.A.) Video Challenge and Kapit Kapatid Program.

The PSF also partnered with the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region.

“Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters who are struggling to be reunited with their families. We understand how important being with family is in order to cope better during this difficult time. We hope that our simple gesture brought them some joy, especially during these trying times,” said PLDT-Smart Foundation President Esther Santos.

On June 25, Sebastian is scheduled to finally come home.

To know more about the efforts of the PLDT Group in beating the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit http://beta.pldt.com/covid19/.

All the numbers you can call to #SpeakOut against domestic violence

With COVID-19 forcing governments around the world to impose quarantine measures, countless women have found themselves trapped at home with their abusers — sadly, members of their own families. In the Philippines alone, around 602 rape cases have been reported to the Philippine National Police (PNP) from March 17 to May 23.

With the lockdown effectively cutting off any means of help or escape, Avon aims to address this increasingly alarming issue through its #IsolatedNotAlone campaign that gives victims of domestic violence access to the support and safety resources they sorely need.

In line with its years-long commitment to help end violence against women and girls, Avon Philippines is taking up the fight by partnering with She Talks Asia for #SpeakOut Online Tribe Meet Up, which can be viewed on June 20, Saturday, from 4:00 to 5:30PM via the Avon Philippines and She Talks Asia Facebook Pages.

The two-part online event features She Talks Asia co-founder Iza Calzado and CSR Lead for Avon Philippines Ces Francisco, who discussed Avon’s long-time commitment to end Violence Against Women and Girls and the company’s most recent global campaign #IsolatedNotAlone. This is followed shortly by a panel discussion presenting insights on the issue; possible courses of action; as well as, the proper channels for people everywhere to help.

Notable speakers also join the roundtable to share valuable information and viable ways to mitigate this critical concern, including gender equality advocate and 2005 Nobel Prize nominee Sen. Risa Hontiveros, journalist and Pulitzer fellow Ana Santos, and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Luna Legal Resource for Women and Children Atty. Romeo Cabarde, Jr. She Talks Asia co-founder Lynn Pinugu moderates the panel discussion.

Local celebrities and influencers have also shown support for the #IsolatedNotAlone campaign by coming up with Trojan Horse videos that offer domestic abuse victims a lifeline without rousing suspicion from their abusers. Published in their own social media accounts, these videos feature athlete and activist Kali Huff and mental health & domestic abuse advocate Kris Ponce-Enrile, along with other personalities, seemingly doing regular, everyday activities that actually provide much-needed information on how to reach out to Avon’s partner NGOs.  

The Avon Foundation for Women has already issued P4.5 Million back in May to support local non-government organizations providing front-line services such as helplines and refuges. The emergency grant recipients include Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children, Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE), Women’s Care Center Inc. (WCCI) and ING MAKABABAYING AKSYON (IMA) Foundation. The donation is part of the $1 Million total fund that provides aid for over 250,000 at-risk women and children affected by rapidly rising domestic abuse rates in 37 countries.

While the restrictions due to the pandemic are still in place, it is important to pay attention to those who are disproportionately affected by the protocol of quarantine. With its informative online event and helpful social media videos, Avon continues to push back on gender-based violence during this global crisis, reminding women that they may be isolated, but are not alone.

Show your support for the cause by sharing it with the hashtag #isolatednotalone on your social media channels to spread the word and reach out to every woman in need. For more information, go to www.avonworldwide.com

Should you know or suspect anyone who may need support against domestic violence, especially during these uncertain times, contact the following Avon NGO Partners:

Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children

Facebook: Luna Legal Center

Phone number: (082) 306-5761

Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE)

Facebook: GWAVE Philippines

Phone number: (035) 422 84 05 | +63 915 259 3029 | +63 999 576 6679

Women’s Care Center Inc. (WCCI)

Facebook: WCCI.Manila

Phone number: +63 999 577 9631 | +63 920 967 7852 | +63 917 825 0320 | (02) 8514-4104

Ing Makababaying Aksyon (IMA) Foundation

Facebook: ING Makababaying Aksyon (IMA) Foundation

Phone number: (045) 323 4750

Domestic abuse: Avon raises voice against the silent pandemic

COVID-19 has forced people to stay home to help reduce the spread of the virus. But for many survivors of gender-based violence, being in quarantine means being in the center of a different kind of danger.

The United States’ National Domestic Violence Hotline has identified some of the unique impacts of the pandemic on victims, pointing out that the current situation has emboldened abusers to exert control over them:

  • Abusers may deny their victims essential and life-saving items like hand sanitizers, disinfectants, or even insurance cards.
  • They may also share misinformation about the pandemic to scare and control their victims, and even prevent them from going out of the house to seek medical help if they show symptoms.
  • Programs that serve victims may be significantly impacted as they buckle under funding pressure. Victims may also fear entering shelters because of the possibility of being in close quarters with others as the threat of COVID-19 remains high.
  • Travel restrictions due to quarantine may also impact a victim’s escape or safety plan.

Institutions like the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) have sounded the alarm on the rising incidences of domestic violence during the pandemic, especially in a country where 3 out of 20 women and girls aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, 1 out of 20 has suffered from sexual violence, and 1 out of 4 married Filipina has experienced spousal violence (based on the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey).

Given the new challenges victims now must deal with in escaping their abusers and calling for help, these institutions have urged everyone to be vigilant and immediately report any form of abuse in their homes and communities.

The Philippines’ case is part of a global pattern, a consequence of the pandemic and the lockdown orders that followed. This is why Avon is joining women’s organizations and advocates from all corners of the world in appealing to the public to not to turn a blind eye on gender-based violence during COVID-19.

To further support grassroots efforts in securing the safety of vulnerable women, the Avon Foundation For Women has pledged $1 million to non-government organizations providing front-line services such as helplines and refuges, building on its 15-year commitment to help end violence against women and girls.

Avon is also launching a communications effort among its five million Representatives worldwide, their customers, and their communities.

Isolated Not Alone focuses on raising awareness on domestic abuse amidst COVID-19; signposting where to go for help and how to identify and support those at risk; and calling on governments to support the provision of life-saving services, which are in danger of further funding cuts and de-prioritization.

“Domestic violence is already an epidemic which is hidden behind closed doors,” says Angela Cretu, Avon CEO. “Like COVID-19, it’s a silent killer. We’re going to make sure those who are isolated know they are not alone. In addition to giving funds to NGOs through the Avon Foundation For Women our Avon teams will be donating vital products—from personal care to hand sanitizers and soaps—to refuges across the world.”

In the Philippines, Avon is embedding emergency hotline numbers and other life-saving information into lifestyle content delivered digitally through local celebrities and digital influencers, so that women can access the support they need with reduced risk of exposure to abusers. Partner NGOs’ hotlines are also open 24/7 to accommodate victims with capacity-building programs for service providers, food and hygiene packs, and counseling and legal consultations.

“Empowering women is Avon’s long-standing legacy, and their safety is our priority,” says Razvan Diratian, General Manager of Avon Philippines. “As the community quarantine is extended in various regions here, the risk of women and children isolated with domestic violence abusers increases too. Please join us by speaking out if you know a friend or a neighbor who needs support.”

Spread the word. Show your support for the cause by sharing it with the hashtag #isolatednotalone on your social media channels. Let’s reach out to every woman in need. For more information, go to www.avonworldwide.com.

Should you have any information about anyone who may need support against domestic violence during the enhanced community quarantine, contact the following Avon NGO Partners:

Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children
(082) 306-5761

Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE)
(035) 422 84 05 | +63 915 259 3029 | +63 999 576 6679

Women’s Care Center Inc. (WCCI)
+63 999 577 9631 | +63 920 967 7852 | +63 917 825 0320 | (02) 8514-4104

(045) 323 4750

URC, GBF design face shields for essential workers

Universal Robina Corporation (URC) and the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) are currently producing much-needed face shields using URC’s available resources.

The Gokongwei-owned food firm has temporarily repurposed some parts of its production line to manufacture 100,000 reusable face shields vital to frontline health workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

According to GBF Director Grace Colet, these will go to some of the hospitals that have been at the forefront of the country’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

GBF is targeting over 25 beneficiaries including: Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Rizal Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, The Medical City and Chinese General Hospital.

“We (GBF) were experiencing problems securing our personal protective equipment (PPE) orders from suppliers,” related Colet “Sometimes they’ll back out a day or two even after placing the order. And prices were increasing. It was a struggle to secure the very valuable PPE that we needed for donation to our health workers.”

Colet related, “Being an engineer, David Lim of URC got inspired to study the design and make it more efficient in terms of using available resources. We consulted doctors and specialists from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to ensure we are providing appropriate PPEs.”

URC senior vice-president for quality engineering, sustainability and technical services David Lim created the face shields, taking into consideration the urgency for these protective gears. “Some face shields are generally disposable. That’s why they had to make a lot. Our team decided to come up with a face shield design that can both be easily manufactured and is reusable,” he said.

For Dr. Maria Julieta Germar from PGH’s obstetrics and gynecology department, disinfecting URC’s face shield is easy because it doesn’t have foams. “The distance from the mask makes it easy for us to use goggles, loop and N95 masks underneath it. It is also not prone to fogging which is important when we do our surgeries,” she added.

According to Dr. Germar, the face shields are used by their medical personnel but later on, they intend to provide to patients who may need additional protection. URC’s face shields are made from just three basic materials, making mass production easier: a polypropylene (PP) strip that is 14mm thick and about a meter long; an 8-by-13-inch PET sheet; and some staples.

The company buys the PET sheets and staples, but it produces the PP strips in its facility in Calamba, Laguna. With minimal materials needed, URC is able to produce 3,500 face shields a day at two of its production facilities in Laguna. To date, it has delivered 40,000 to various hospitals and will complete deliveries by May.

According to Lim, the demand for the face shields is continuously growing. “This COVID fight is a battle for everyone. It is an honor for URC to be able to contribute and collaborate with GBF and hospitals, with safety, quality and sustainability in mind. That is the URC way.”

The Gokongwei Group’s URC is one of the largest food and beverage manufacturing companies in the country, producing Filipino favorites like C2, Great Taste and Jack ‘n Jill snacks. Also from the same parent company is GBF, a foundation dedicated to contributing to the country’s progress by helping educate its workforce in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Lung Center of the Philippines launches 155225 LCP-OPD hotline with PLDT

The Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) today launched its emergency OPD consultation number 155225 dedicated for COVID-19-related concerns and cases.

Through PLDT Enterprise, the Lung Center of the Philippines deployed the said emergency hotline to provide health assistance and consultations to Filipinos experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, Asthma, COPD, Bronchiectasis, and Tuberculosis without them needing to personally visit the hospital.

“With this partnership, we aim to support the initiatives of the Lung Center of the Philippines in battling the COVID-19 pandemic so they can efficiently provide timely medical assistance to our fellow countrymen,” said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.

The hotline was established in line with the designated COVID-19 referral center’s response initiatives against COVID-19. Recently, the Lung Center of the Philippines launched its own “COVID AskForce” which is its online portal for all inquiries regarding the novel coronavirus with over 600 volunteer doctors.

“By having an emergency hotline, we can quickly give out necessary health information to Filipinos needing medical attention if they suspect of having COVID-19 or know someone experiencing possible symptoms,” said Dr. Jessica Catalan-Legarda, Supervising Head of LCP OPD Hotline of the Lung Center of the Philippines. “This also helps us manage our frontlines in extending immediate health assistance and care to those who need it the most.”

The 155225 LCP-OPD hotline, which will operate from 8am to 5pm, is also a channel through which the Lung Center of the Philippines can accept donations such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies.

Jollibee and McCann World Group Philippines pay tribute to moms of frontliners

A mother’s nurturing love indeed leaves a lasting impact on her children’s lives. From teaching them their first lessons at home, instilling values that help shape their attitude and personality, to providing unending support and encouragement, the heroes of today have learned how to draw their character from the example of their mothers.

This May, Jollibee and creative agency, McCann World Group Philippines, pay tribute to strong and brave mothers as they release a touching Kwentong Jollibee Mother’s Day special that shows how a mother’s earnest parenting can determine how far a child can go in life.

Inspired by true stories, the special Mother’s Day tribute presents the realities in the lives of front-liners who are helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It follows the stories of front-liners and volunteers who, even in these trying times, continue to fulfill a higher purpose by carrying out their duties to those they serve. Despite their own circumstances, they set their heart on bringing joy to people, with a love that’s deeply anchored on the nurturing care they received from their moms.

“Our front-liners go out every day, braving different challenges that help flatten the curve and provide aid to those in need. As a brand that is one with the nation in recognizing our front-liners, our Mother’s Day tribute pays homage to their dear mothers — the first person who molded them to be the kind-hearted and noble people they are today, said Francis Flores, Jollibee Global Brand CMO, JFC Philippines Country Business Group and concurrent PH Marketing Head.

Through the guidance and example that mothers have set, many COVID-19 front-liners are able to fulfill their duties not only in their respective families, but also in the communities they lend a hand to. The material brings to light a powerful truth about how a mother’s love can enkindle a hero out in all of us.

Watch the video here:

Mother’s Day Tribute 2020: Pasasalamat

Galing sa puso, galing kay Nanay. Happy Mother’s Day! #SalamatPoNay

Posted by Jollibee on Saturday, May 9, 2020