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HAPPY WALK FOR DOWN SYNDROME BREAKS RECORD IN ATTENDANCE, EXPANDS TO CEBU AND DAVAO

US Ambassador Sung Kim and SM Prime’s Hans T. Sy with the children with Down Syndrome during the Happy Walk 2018

US Embassy in Manila continues its support for Down Syndrome

The yearly Happy Walk for Down Syndrome is continuing to “level up” not only in terms of attendance and awareness but its reach all over the country.

Today, the annual Happy Walk for Down Syndrome broke record attendance with more than 5,000 participants attending the event at the SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia in Pasay City. It was also held simultaneously in Cebu City and Davao City.

More then 5,000 gathered for the annual Happy Walk.

Hans Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings Inc., US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and Thai Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Urawadee Sriphiromya were also in attendance during the event taking part in the dance numbers and the main walk around MOA.

H.E. Sung Kim, US Ambassador to the Philippines, Hans Sy of SM Prime and Ms. Urawadee Sriphiromya of the Royal Thai Embassy, Manila, interact with a child with Down Syndrome.

This year marks the third consecutive year that the US Embassy led by its ambassador has taken part in the Happy Walk, which is done in celebration of the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month.

Ambassador Sung Kim & Hans T. Sy gather on the stage with the children.

In a statement, Kim said he is grateful for being invited once again to the event. “I am grateful to SM for hosting this wonderful event with the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. (DSAPI),” he said during the event.

The Happy Walk for Down Syndrome, now on its 16th year, was held in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc.

The Happy Walk for Down Syndrome had come a long way since it started on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City with only a handful of parents with Down Syndrome participating. Last year, Happy Walk was able to gather together some 4,000 attendees.

Elmer Lapena, Chairman of DSAPI, said aside from the Happy Walk, they have launched their health clinic which caters to children with Down Syndrome. “This is important because a child with Down Syndrome needs to see at least ten doctors with different specializations because of their various health conditions,” Lapena said adding that at least thirty percent of children with Down Syndrome have heart problems.

Elmer Lapena, Chairman of DSAPI.

He pointed out that the health clinics will be conducted in different parts of the country starting this coming April.

He added they have partnered with different companies to employ some of their members with Down Syndrome as part of their continuing efforts for full integration into society.

Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which an extra genetic material called chromosome 21 causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. There is no known cause or cure but Lapena said 80 percent of babies with the condition are born to mothers aged 35 year and below but the risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome increases as women get older.

Health data show that one person with Down Syndrome is born in the Philippines every four hours. That accounts for around 1,900 cases each year in the Philippines in a population of 1.5 million live births. That means over 100,000 families in the country are living with a person with Down Syndrome

Lapena said contrary to popular belief, Down Syndrome is a common genetic disorder that affects one in every 800 Filipino children. Which is the reason why, he said, it is vital that their inclusion to Philippine society is achieved.

Lapena stated that DSAPI is also engaged in various activities to promote awareness on the condition and to help parents cope with their situation. Lapena said DSAPI has the Early Intervention Seminar which has been designed to answer questions of parents of children with Down Syndrome and provide important information and services.

“The program aims to help the child’s development and meet the needs of the child and the family at different developmental stages. Early Intervention is necessary to arm the family with the information needed to bring out their child’s fullest potential and to provide a checklist of activities to be done to assure the child’s healthy growth and development,” Lapena stated.

Engr. Bien Mateo, SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities, said they are humbled and honored by the continuing faith of DSAPI in SM. “We have not only become partners, but we are now family and we will continue to support you and your worthwhile advocacy, Mateo said.

He further stated that that advancing the causes of People with Disability (PWD) is one of the advocacies of SM Cares. “We at SM Prime Holdings Inc. consider our yearly hosting of the Happy Walk for Down Syndrome a privilege to show these special children that we truly care. SM Cares.We want to make our own contribution to ensure that people with Down Syndrome can and do make meaningful and productive contributions to the community throughout their lives. We want to bring about positive change to ensure that people with Down Syndrome have opportunities to contribute and have their rights guaranteed,” he said.

He added SM Cares, through the years, has instituted key programs to address the needs of PWDs which earned it the reputation of being the most PWD-friendly mall in the country. All malls have dedicated areas for parking and disembarking for PWDs, special restrooms, ramps, Braille signages, designated areas for PWDs in theaters and dining rooms as well as utilities within accessible height like pay phones and wash room sinks. Mall security guards and personnel are also trained to respond to the unique needs of PWDs,” he pointed out.

 

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JOURNEY TO THE 2018 HAPPY WALK FOR DOWN SYNDROME

Photo from last year’s Happy Walk for Down Syndrome, gathering some 4,000 attendees comprised of persons with Down Syndrome, together with their families, supporters and advocates.

The annual Happy Walk continues to promote awareness on Down Syndrome with this year’s theme “A Journey DOWNtown.” The event aims to share the unique experience of raising a child with Down Syndrome through the various activities throughout the day.

Happy Walk for Down Syndrome will be held at Halls 1 & 2 of the SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia in Pasay City on February 18, 2018 starting at 8:00AM, to be immediately followed by a parade around the SM Mall of Asia Complex. There will also be walks to be held simultaneously in Cebu City and Davao City.

The event, which is done in celebration of the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month, aims to gather once more thousands of people in support of the condition.

Held in partnership with the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. (DSAPI), SMX Convention Center and SM Cares, the event will be also be participated in by the United States Embassy in the Philippines led by US Ambassador Sung Kim. Officials from the Royal Thai Embassy will also join the advocacy walk.

Happy Walk for Down Syndrome has come a long way since it started on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City with only a handful of parents with Down Syndrome participating. Last year, Happy Walk gathered more than 4,000 attendees as it commemorated the 25th anniversary of DSAPI.

Elmer Lapena, Chairman of DSAPI, pointed out that Happy Walk had come a long since 2002 when it was started. “In 2002, we were just a few parents of children with Down Syndrome who started this Happy Walk. The attendance keeps increasing every year until SM offered to host their event at the Skydome of the SM North Edsa until the venue was transferred to SMX at the Mall of Asia to accommodate the ever-growing attendees.

People with Down Syndrome have also started to be integrated in the workplace with many of them gainfully employed.

Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which an extra genetic material called chromosome 21 causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. There is no known cause or cure but Lapena said 80 percent of babies with the condition are born to mothers aged 35 year and below but the risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome increases as women get older.

Health data show that one person with Down Syndrome is born in the Philippines every four hours.

Lapena said contrary to popular belief, Down Syndrome is a common genetic disorder that affects one in every 800 Filipino children. Which is the reason why, he said, it is vital that their integration to Philippine society is achieved.

Aside from Happy Walk, DSAPI initiates various programs to provide support for families and help parents cope with their situation.

Lapena said one of DSAPI’s major programs is the Early Intervention Seminar, which was designed to answer questions of parents of children with Down Syndrome and provide important information and services. This program is also held in various cities across the country to reach as many persons with Down Syndrome as possible.

Engr. Bien Mateo, Director of the SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities, said recognizing the needs of PWDs is one of the top priorities of SM and the Happy Walk for Down Syndrome is part of their strong commitment for PWDs.

“SM Cares, through the years, has instituted key programs to address the needs of PWDs which earned it the reputation of being the most PWD-friendly mall in the country. All malls have dedicated areas for parking and disembarking for PWDs, special restrooms, ramps, Braille signages, designated areas for PWDs in theaters and dining rooms as well as utilities within accessible height like pay phones and wash room sinks. Mall security guards and personnel are also trained to respond to the unique needs of PWDs,” he pointed out.

DENR’S ORDERS CLOSURE OF SOME 300 ESTABLISHMENTS IN BORACAY, MAKES ANNOUNCEMENT AT SM’S GREEN FILM FESTIVAL

Acting on direct orders from President Duterte to clean up Boracay within six months, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu today ordered the immediate closure of some 300 establishments in the island found non-complaint with environmental laws particularly the absence of a sewage system.

Cimatu made the announcement today at the launching of the Green Film Festival at Cinema 2 of the SM North Edsa, an environment project for college and high school students of the DENR, Commission on Higher Education and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc.

Cimatu said he has already instructed his Regional Director having jurisdiction over Boracay to serve the notice of closure to some 300 establishments found to have not connected with the sewage system and with no proper water system.

Sec. Cimatu as he delivers his remarks during the relaunch of the Green Film Festival 2018.

“I have already ordered the Regional Director to start closing the establishments that are non-compliant. Ibig sabihin lahat ng mga establishments na hindi nag-comply kasi meron kami yung environment office namin na similar we have now here I gave them a mission to go to the resorts and see kung sino ang nakakonekta sa sewage system at kung sino ang hindi naka-comply. So effective today ipapa-close ko yung ngayon,” he said.

Cimatu said he had ordered the inspection of the resorts upon the order of President Duterte to clean Boracay within six months and he is starting his undertaking with the island’s sewage system.

“So we expect this will continue until we are able to solve the problem in Boracay pati ang waste water and water doon na ginagamit.  Ayoko na hindi matupad na utos ni Presidente. Inutos ko na ito sa regional director so expect na umpisa na itong ating campaign. I’m cleaning the environmental of problem of Boracay starting with the sewage system,” he stressed.

He said the regional office is Boracay has identified at least 300 establishments up for closure because they are not connected to the sewage system.

“I have instructed my regional director there na ibigay na ang notice of violation sa mga establishment. Then mag-usap-usap sila kung talagang wala na, isasarado na yan ngayon din. Kasi meron kami na listahan na hindi nakakonekta (sa sewage system) at yung tubig nila bumubukas na lang doon eto na ngayon ang uunahin ko,” he said.

The 300 establishment comprise 40 percent of the total number of establishments in the island.

In accordance with his mission to clean up Boracay, Cimatu also inspected the waste water system of the SM City North Edsa to give him an idea on how to properly implement a proper waste water facility in the island.

“Tinanong ko kung ilan ang comfort rooms dito sa SM at sabi ay more than 40 clusters daw e maganda daw ang ginagawa at yung waste water facility nila na tinitreat nila ang maraming excess recycled water bago ilagay ulit ang gray water sa lines sa MWSS, Maynilad at Manila Waters. So I’d like to see for myself para masabi ko sa kanila sa Boracay na you also can do it,” he said.

Sec. Cimatu as he checks the sewage treatment facility of SM North EDSA.

He also said he had already instructed his DENR undersecretaries to meet with the Ayala group since the company is the concessionaire of the waste water system in Boracay.

Cimatu also vowed to complete the clean-up within the six months given to him by the President.

“Kakayanin ko talaga kasi katulad ng mga estudyante na binigyan sila ng oras na mag-aral sa school, ‘finish or not finish pass your paper’. Parang ganun lang sa akin yun. I have to do my best to complete it within 6 months,” he said.

The Green Film Festival is a CSR initiative of SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environment Management Bureau, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, SM Supermalls and SM Cinema.

Green Film Festival’s main objective is to educate the public, especially the youth and students from public high schools, on issues about climate change and the current state of the environment, through a film showing which is offered for free.

Several screenings have also been scheduled in other SM Malls in the coming months.

SM PRIME & DENR GIVE ANOTHER PUSH FOR GREEN ADVOCACY THROUGH GREEN FILM FESTIVAL

 

Staying true to its commitment for “green” advocacy, property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc.  (SMPHI) will hold another round of its annual Green Film Festival.

The Green Film Festival will kick off with a free screening of educational films and documentaries highlighting climate change and the current state of the environment. It will be held on February 13, 2018 from 8:30AM to 10:30AM at Cinema 2 of SM City North Edsa.

Held in partnership with the government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), Department of Education (DepEd), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED), several screenings have also been scheduled in other SM Malls in the coming months. The project is supported by the SM Cinemas.

The Green Film Festival will be participated in and attended by various elementary, high school and college students from both public and private schools in the communities where an SM Mall is present.

Aiming to target 1 million public school students, the film showing will be offered to students for free.

“SM has always been committed to helping promote disaster risk reduction and resiliency and through the Green Film Festival, we are holding partnerships with the government in order to support the communities where we are present, through information and education,” Liza Silerio, Director of the SM Cares Program on Environment, said.

Some 520,000 students have already taken part in the Green Film Festival since it was launched in 2009.

“This is our way of reaching out to the youth to make them more aware of the real state of our environment so in their own way, they can contribute and make this world a better place for us and the future generation,” Silerio said.

SM Cares is the CSR arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Its advocacies include Programs on Persons with Disabilities, Children and Youth, Women and Breastfeeding Mothers, Environment Sustainability, Senior Citizens, and Overseas Filipino Workers (SM Global Pinoy).

As a responsible integrated property developer, SM ensures that its CSR programs serve as a catalyst for positive change for the community that it serves. To know more about SM Cares, please visit www.smcares.com.ph, www.facebook.com/OfficialSMCares or email smcares@smprime.com.

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