Tuguegarao City- As part of its Balik-Eskwela Program, Uniqlo Philippines in partnership with the SM foundation turned over a handwashing facility to Caritan Norte Elementary School (CNES) earlier today, January 25, 2023.

Mr. Mateo Pamittan, the SM City Tuguegarao Asst. Mall Manager together with other SM employees joined the ribbon cutting and the ceremonial opening of the handwashing faucets. In a short message, Pamittan highlighted the importance of handwashing with soap and water as the easiest way in preventing diseases.

“Now more than ever, people see the importance of handwashing with soap and water as an easy, effective way to prevent diseases and save lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), promoting good hand hygiene is one of the most basic and powerful tools that member states can implement to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” Pamittan said.

He also stressed in his message the usual support of the SM Foundation (SMFI) on the programs of government against Covid-19. “SMFI has always been a staunch supporter of this advocacy even before the pandemic. Given ample space on school grounds, SMFI includes the installation of handwashing facilities whenever it turns over school buildings to grassroots communities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Marilen Tappa, CNES principal, expressed her gratitude to Uniqlo and SM during the program’s closing remarks. “We are truly very grateful to your generosity to our school. Sana pagpalain pa ang Uniqlo, SM Supermalls, at SM Foundation para patuloy na mapagsilbihan ang Rehiyon Dos at buong Pilipinas,” Tappa said.

In a separate activity, Uniqlo Philippines holds a mural competition by which student winners received gift certificates. Valemae R. Calubaquib, 12, got the 1st prize in the said competition with her coach Mr. Feliciano B. Aquino.

 “Maraming salamat po sa Uniqlo at SM Foundation,”Calubaquib said.  Meanwhile, Aquino said in an interview that Valemae included in her art the importance of planting trees, water conservation, and volunteerism in battling Climate Change. The coach also expressed his appreciation to Uniqlo and SM Foundation for installing a wider handwashing facility in their school.

Even long before the coronavirus swept the globe, the SM Foundation has been creating a culture of good hygiene in grassroots communities with the confidence that it can play a critical role in fighting not only the spread of Covid-19 but also the spread of other diseases. (SMTU PR- Gerina Malubay Torno)