Aboitiz family joins campaign to combat COVID-19 in Metro Manila & Cebu
CEBU CITY – The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz family, has partnered with the Cebu City government and the Metropolitan Cebu Water District for #HUNAW (Cebuano for “to wash one’s hands”), a handwashing campaign launched as an intervention to fight the severity of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are addressing something basic here yet proven to be the most effective way to prevent getting and spreading the virus. Unfortunately, there are some areas with low water supply and without clean handwashing facilities, this is why we are installing sinks with the support of the local government unit and the water district. More than that, we are deploying handwashing trucks that can reach impoverished communities,” said Riella B. Guioguio, RAFI Chief Operating Officer.
The World Health Organization advises that the two most basic ways to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus are maintaining social distance and proper handwashing.
With #HUNAW, RAFI aims to provide such facilities and raise awareness of the importance of proper handwashing through the deployment of portable sinks called “Hunawan Stations” at bus terminals, parking lots, jeepney stops, and other places where people convene around the city.
A prototype Hunawan Station is currently installed outside the RAFI Building in Cebu City for a trial run. The #HUNAW campaign is set for an initial run of one month which started last March 26.
RAFI will also deploy a roving “Hunawan Truck” with a sink facility and loudspeakers to Cebu City’s underserved areas to address the hygiene concerns in densely-populated informal settlements.
RAFI continues to conduct further site assessments to identify additional areas to set up Hunawan Stations and deploy the Hunawan Truck. The Foundation is also looking for partners—organizations and individuals—to help further amplify its campaign to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Cebu City has been placed under enhanced community quarantine effective March 28 as a preemptive measure to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As of March 25, RAFI has already activated its Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response team to serve as the conduit of local and international donations on identified RAFI interventions. Including grants, the running total of this effort already stands at P6 million.
To date, these interventions include the provision of PPE kits (hazardous material suits, face masks, and face shields) to 2,000 health practitioners (in partnership with AMRO), health kits for 600 families (via non-government organization World Vision), and food and hygiene products to over 150 senior citizens and 1,175 children.
Complete sets of alcohol, masks and thermal detectors will be delivered to these facilities by March 27, 2020. Relief goods and food packs will also be distributed to local government units and more PPE will be deployed to the hospitals and health care centers.
Kind individuals and organizations who wish to join the fight against COVID-19 may visit www.rafi.org.ph and RAFI’s Facebook Page, or e-mail email@example.com for more details.
Donations in Manila
Aboitiz family members in Manila have also been conducting their own donation drives to provide much needed personal protection equipment (PPE) to medical frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.
Around 6,000 masks, 16 boxes of disposable gloves, 60 gallons of alcohol and 20 gallons of hand sanitizers were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, which is the main facility handling the COVID-19 testing.
PPE donations were also sent to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, including 6,000 masks, 86 gallons of alcohol, 50 gallons of hand sanitizers and 200 face shields.
Dr. Reinalyn Cartago Luceno of RITM acknowledged that the PPE donations are very much needed. “My heart is full of gratitude! There is always something to be grateful for – maraming salamat po,” Dr. Cartago – Luceno said in a text message to Bettina Aboitiz, wife of Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz.