More than 160,000 Filipinos have pledged to make proper handwashing with soap and water a habit after the successful run of the month-long and country-wide celebration of the 2016 Global Handwashing Day (GHD) spearheaded by Manila Water Foundation (MWF), the social responsibility arm of the Manila Water group of companies in the Philippines.
MWF has been one of the most active and visible proponents of the GHD, which is an international campaign celebrated every October 15 that promotes proper handwashing to eradicate the spread of communicable and easily preventable diseases, as part of its commitment to educate the nation about proper water use in relation to hygiene, sanitation, and health.
The month-long celebration that MWF has brought to various schools, malls, and communities in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao united several local government units, institutions, communities, and individuals in making lasting pledges for a healthier future through proper handwashing, which is a cost-effective and simple, yet often overlooked, way of maintaining one’s well-being.
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte was one of the noted leaders who has shown support for this advocacy as she expressed its importance for her constituents during the special GHD leg held at the Quezon City Hall. “Sa araw po na ito nakikiisa ang ating pong mahal na lungsod sa pagdiriwang ng Global Handwashing Day dahil ang isa sa mga adbokasiya po natin ay mabawasan ang child mortality. Ito po ay bahagi ng millennium development goals at ngayon ay patuloy pa rin nating ipinaglalaban,” (On this day, our beloved city joins the celebration of Global Handwashing Day because one of our mandates is to decrease child mortality, which is part of our millennium development goals.) she said.
Belmonte’s staunch backing of the advocacy was equaled by other leaders of the other areas where MWF has brought the GHD celebration. Sta. Rosa City, Laguna Mayor Dan Fernandez also indicated his support for proper handwashing by highlighting its crucial role in taking care of every Filipino’s health. “Mahal na po ‘yung pagpapa-ospital, mahal na po ‘yung pagkakasakit and one of the basic things we can do [to prevent these] is to wash our hands and educate our people. So rest assured that the city government [of Sta. Rosa, Laguna] is with you in this endeavor. We are very thankful to Manila Water Foundation for coming up with this kind of project.” (Getting sick and hospitalization can be costly and one of the basic things we can do to prevent these is to wash our hands and educate our people. Rest assured that the city government of Sta. Rosa, Laguna is with you in this endeavor. We are very thankful to Manila Water Foundation for coming up with this kind of project.), he stated.
The warm reception to this year’s GHD celebration has reinforced MWF’s steadfast commitment to further spread the advocacy of proper handwashing to more places in the country. During the main event held at Circuit Makati on October 15, MWF President Ferdinand M. Dela Cruz reiterated that commitment as a reaffirmation of the organization’s vision to become an enabler of change that will help uplift the lives of Base of the Pyramid (BOP) communities resulting in a better future for all. “We at Manila Water Foundation believe that more Filipinos are sure to live healthier by practicing proper handwashing and making it a lifestyle. Healthy Filipinos are productive and empowered citizens who are driven to uplift themselves and effectively contribute to nation building,” he said.
This was echoed by MWF Executive Director Carla May Beriña-Kim as she enjoins everyone to live by and pass on the advocacy of proper handwashing. “Let us encourage our family, our friends, and our children to make handwashing a habit. Let us all be life-savers; let us all be protectors of public health by promoting Global Handwashing Day,” she remarked.
MWF’s month-long and nationwide celebration of the 2016 Global Handwashing Day is co-presented by Scholastic and sponsored by Pilot, Ayala Mall Cinemas, Generika Drugstore, and Globe. Institutional partners include the Department of Education, The Mind Museum, Quezon City Health Department, Manila Water, Clark Water, Laguna Water, Boracay Water, and Cebu Water while the venue partners are UP Town Center, Market! Market!, Ayala Center Cebu, Solenad, D’Mall Boracay, Abreeza Mall Davao, Marquee Mall Pampanga, Glorietta, Local Government of Quezon City, Circuit Makati, and Hennan Regency Resort and Spa, Boracay. Helping promote the month-long activities and events are official radio partners Play FM 99.5 and Wish 107.5, as well as regional media partners Yes FM 91.1, Easy Rock 93.5, GMA 7 Boracay, and Paradise Cable Television Network, Inc.
MWF President Ferdinand Dela Cruz headed the washing of hands during the Global Handwashing Day celebration held at the Circuit Makati on October 15. Also in the photo are DepEd Makati School Governance Operations Division Chief Claudio Rojo, Makati Health Department Head Dr. Bernard Sese, Makati 2nd District Councilor Evelyn “Bing” Villamor, and MWF Executive Director Carla May Beriña-Kim.
Schoolchildren of Balara Elementary School actively participated in the fun and interactive learning session, which was followed by a ceremonial washing of hands during the GHD kickoff on October 3.
Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte shared how the advocacy of proper handwashing can help address the problem on child mortality which is also one of the commitment of the local government.
Sta. Rosa City, Laguna Mayor Dan Fernandez expressed his support towards proper handwashing by highlighting its importance in maintaining one’s health.
More than 2,000 schoolchildren, teachers and parents attended the 2016 Global Handwashing Day main celebration led by MWF at Circuit Makati and pledged to make handwashing a habit.