The Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI) recently concluded its Leadership Awards for the year 2022. And our very own Executive Director Emiliano Romano bagged the coveted Outstanding Leadership Award!
This award celebrates exceptional Italian and Filipino business leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations who continue to promote outstanding practices and global excellence in their respective fields This also aims to recognize executives who have proven significant leadership skills by being role models for their passion, integrity, authenticity, vision, strategy, perseverance, commitment and business capacity in his industry.
Fielded are thirty (30) nominees for 10 different awards categories including, (1) Woman in Business of the Year, (2) Exceptional Entrepreneur Award, (3) “ItalPinoy” of the Year, (4) Restaurateur of the Year, (5) Emerging Entrepreneur, (6) Sustainability Business/ Entrepreneur, (7) Innovation Champion, (8) Young Business Leader, (9) Outstanding Leadership, and (10) Italian Executive of the Year.
The event also had the privilege of having an esteemed group for its panel of judges. Among them ICCPI’s President Sergio Boero, Dusit Thani’s Managing Director Stanley Lo, BDO Capital’s President Eduardo Francisco, Proactive Resources CEO Hermod Allertsen, and Italian Consul Antonio Gallo.
The event also strengthened relationships within the Italian-Filipino business network creating a sense of family, very dear to both cultures due to its shared practices and common cultural heritage.
Deliberations on how to transform children’s lives are always met with heartwarming eagerness, but rarely are they executed with precision and haste.
The goal? A Cleft-Free Manila City with the support of Operation Smile Canada.
Operation Smile Philippines, the City Mayor of Manila, and Sta. Ana Hospital agreed a year ago on a project that will double down on transforming the lives of cleft patients by creating a Manila Cleft Care Center “MCCC.”
By renovating the 8th-floor surgical wing, we will ultimately double the capacity at which we can screen and conduct surgeries.
Today marks a milestone for Operation Smile Philippines as we had a ribbon-cutting day for the newly renovated Sta. Ana Hospital Ambulatory Surgical Clinic x Operation Smile brings us within striking range of the goal.
program aims to highlight women’s critical role in health care in the Philippines and globally
Operation Smile is launching its Women in Medicine program in the Asia region with an all-female international surgical and educational mission in Cebu City, from October 10 to 15, 2022, aimed at putting the spotlight on the critical role women play in the global health care system, and to encourage them to take on leadership roles in their professions.
“Women in Medicine” is central to our 10-year goal of increasing access to quality care for one million patients around the world, and to help build global health infrastructure,” said Operation Smile co-founder and president, Kathleen Magee, who is flying to the Philippines to lead the launch
The program seeks to educate women in resource-poor countries on advanced medical practices, empower them become leaders in global medicine, expand opportunities for female health care workers in underserved communities, and elevate the quality of cleft care, Magee said.
“There are 5 million patients in need of cleft care in the countries we work in, and 5 billion people who lacks access to safe surgery across the world; we can’t address this need without more women in the health care arena,” Magee said.
The Cebu launch will kick off with a one-day forum on women empowerment in the medical field for all the participants, followed by four days of free surgeries and care for 80 children with cleft lip and cleft palate at the Cebu City Medical Center.
In partnership with its in-country foundation, Operation Smile Philippines, longtime NGO ally in Cebu, the MSY Charitable Foundation, and the Cebu City Government, Operation Smile assembled a team of 60 volunteer cleft care professionals from 12 countries.
The multinational team comprises of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, dentists, speech therapists, child life specialists and biomedical technicians from the U.S., Vietnam, Australia, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Sweden, UK, Egypt, South Africa, and the Philippines.
Filipino plastic surgeon, Dr. Lora Mae De Guzman, and anesthesiologist, Dr. Rosario Loraine Moscare will lead the medical team. Both are long-time Operation Smile volunteers.
“Our ultimate goal is to inspire and enable women to take on leadership roles in the medical field so they can help shape policies that would attract more women into the fold and equip them with global-standard skills to widen access to safe surgery and quality cleft care,” Magee said.
“By empowering women in medicine at the local and regional level, we are creating a transformative change that will ripple across the health care landscape,” she added.
Women comprise 70% of health professional across the world, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
The figure is even higher In the Philippines. Women account for 75% of the country’s nearly 500,000 health professionals, said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in a 2018 survey.
Still, despite the seeming large number, the Philippines lacks 290,000 health care workers to meet the WHO-recommended ratio of 44.5 health workers for every 10,000 of the population, the Human Resources for Health Network (HRHN) estimated in a 2019 study.
HRHN, the multi-sectoral agency the Department of Health created to align public health policies and implementation, said less than 1% of employed Filipinos are working as health professionals,
Operation Smile Philippines’ executive director, Emiliano Romano, said the novel Women in Medicine initiative is being piloted in the Philippines, where Operation Smile started in 1982, as well as in Morocco, Malawi, and Peru.
The plan is to roll out the program in all 35 Operation Smile program countries, Romano added.
Today, the first 2 beneficiaries of the donations from Pigeon Philippines received products for their babies who are born with cleft lip and palate conditions. These products shall support these children to receive the right amount of nutrition that they need as newborns.
Babies born with cleft lip and palate conditions face various challenges of malnutrition because of difficulty in latching caused by the malformation of their lip and palate.
Pigeon is a brand well-known for its high-quality maternal and baby products. They are dedicated to promoting inclusivity by offering solutions that are tailor-fitted for the needs of babies so as to achieve happiness for every child one at a time.
The global pandemic has created a lot of disruptions, but the one thing it could not shut down is the power of volunteerism – people overcoming challenges to give their time and services to aid those impacted the most.
For Operation Smile Philippines (OSP), this means continuing to provide free reconstructive surgery, post-surgery speech therapy and related healthcare to children in resource-poor communities affected by a cleft lip or palate.
However, the pandemic has prevented volunteers from conducting the therapy in person. To get around the problem, they initiated an online speech therapy, or teletherapy, program in July 2021 so that they could continue their work to improve the children’s communication skills and self-confidence.
“This can have a transformative impact on the children as the goal is for them to be able to speak normally so that they can attend school and interact with other people without fear of being ridiculed,” said University of the Philippines professor, Fernando Alejandro Ligot, an OSP volunteer of 20 years. “We work with various partners, including UPS Philippines, to bring that smile back to the children.”
The global logistics provider, via its charitable arm The UPS Foundation, awarded a grant to OSP for the purchase of internet-ready tablets and headsets to equip patients with the tools to undergo therapy online. With more children, many of them scattered across the country, gaining access to the sessions, it helps OSP’s online speech therapy service – known as Assessment and Clinical Care through Electronic Speech Services, or ACCESS – to expand.
ACCESS comprises eight virtual sessions – one session per week for two months – with each patient assigned to a volunteer speech therapist. Each session is conducted in the presence of the patient’s parent or guardian who is also given instructions on additional exercises the child can practice at home in between sessions.
UPS employees are also volunteering to support the patients and their parents during therapy as well as outside of these sessions via teleconference calls. Each employee volunteer is assigned to a particular patient for the entire duration of the engagement.
“The partnership with UPS is a very significant and crucial collaboration because more kids are able to receive therapy, and therefore they have better opportunities to develop communication skills and become confident members of their communities and society,” said Emiliano Romano, Operation Smile Philippines Executive Director.
That difference is felt by those on the receiving end.
“Maraming salamat sa Operation Smile kasi hindi sila nagsasawa na tumulong sa amin, mula surgery hanggang therapy. Hindi na mahiyain makipaglaro si Reeze. Mas naiintindihan na sya ng ibang bata. Nakatulong yon breathing exercises at lahat ng speech and reading exercises. Maraming salamat rin sa UPS sa pagbibigay ng gadget. Ang laking tulong sa therapy, pati na rin sa online classes ni Reeze [Thank you very much to Operation Smile for helping us from surgery to therapy. Reeze is no longer shy to play. Other children understand her better. Breathing exercises and all speech and reading exercises helped. Many thanks also to UPS for providing the tablet. This really helped in therapy, as well as with Reeze’s online classes,” said Joanalyn Pingki-an from Caloocan. Her 9-year-old daughter, Reeze Alaina is a Grade 3 student at the Arsenio Lacson Elementary School.
As part of their #UPSGivesBack global campaign, UPSers have committed to 30 million volunteer hours by 2030, with UPS Philippines participating in Operation Smile’s programs and other charities across the country as part of UPS’s Global Volunteer Month which takes place every year in April.
“Despite the pandemic, UPSers find ways to give back to the communities we serve by sharing our time and resources and connecting with people to build purposeful relationships and engagements,” said Tessa Santos, UPS Community Involvement Committee (CIC) executive sponsor and operations manager.
The UPS CIC is also organizing activities in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, Project Pearls for the COVID-19 Hunger Relief Program and AIP Foundation for the Safety Delivered campaign which raises awareness of the importance of safe driving and child helmet use.
“Many of these partnerships have been in place for years. We’ve completed numerous projects together already and we’re looking forward to continuing new initiatives for many years to come,” added Tessa.
July 29, 2022 – Pigeon Philippines representative Ms. Catherine Que, Division Marketing Manager visited the Operation Smile Philippines Makati head office to turnover their donations for their ongoing and future missions of putting smiles on children’s faces one at a time.
Pigeon is a brand well-known for its high-quality maternal and baby products, such as breast pumps, pacifiers, and baby bottles to name a few. They are dedicated to promoting inclusivity by offering products that are tailor-fitted for the needs of babies with cleft lip and palate conditions.
With this partnership, they donated the following to Operation Smile Philippines:
108pcs Manual Breast Pump
240pcs Nursing Bottle for Cleft Palate
240pcs Post-op Bottles
This marks the beginning of Pigeon Philippines and Operation Smile Philippines working simultaneously for their shared vision of bringing happiness to children’s lives.
Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, made landfall in Visayas and Mindanao last December 16, 2021. The violent winds, torrential rains, floods, and storm surges left thousands of families homeless. The fact that it happened a few days before Christmas made the tragedy harder for communities to handle.
Because of this, Operation Smile Philippines launched “Oplan Smile!”
Working hand in hand with Operation Smile Student Programs Philippines for Cebu, Dr. Lilian Arcinas and her team for Palawan, Hope Foundation for Bacolod, and our own team for Davao – we tapped the foundation’s calamity fund to send relief supplies to our countrymen in need.
Here is our Impact Report to share how your help made a huge difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos:
Marking its 40th Anniversary Year, Global Non-Profit Scales Up Commitments to Transform Local Health Systems, Address the Most Critical Needs in Global Cleft Care
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 19, 2022 — Global nonprofit Operation Smile announced a 10-year commitment today to increase access to care for 1 million patients who need cleft care and other essential surgeries. Entering its 40th anniversary year, the organization will scale up its investments in underserved remote areas around the world.
The announcement marks an evolution for Operation Smile, which will continue to work as the leading global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care and will focus more intensely on transforming local health systems. The organization’s new vision includes creating expanded opportunities for women in medicine, investing significantly in research, innovation, surgical education, and youth empowerment, all of which are factors that impact cleft care.
“As we enter our organization’s next decade, we are deeply focused on increasing the number of high-quality cleft surgeries, which requires strengthening local health systems,” said Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Bill Magee. “We’re committing today, to transforming lives by challenging inequities in the health system head-on to serve a million people who need care.”
Founded in 1982, Operation Smile has provided free, life-changing surgical and dental care for more than 326,000 patients, enabling them to eat, breathe, speak, and live healthier lives. With each surgery, the organization has seen how gaps in health care infrastructure create barriers to access and perpetuate inequities in health care systems.
“Our experience has shown us that long-term investments in health care infrastructure and partnerships with local medical leaders are critical to serve children with cleft conditions, and that our work and presence in a country provides greater access to high-quality care,” said Kathy Magee, Co-Founder and President of Operation Smile. “Our focus will always be on cleft care, but we are also empowering our world-class medical teams fueled by 6,000 global volunteers to provide comprehensive care for patients autonomously.”
Over the next 10 years, Operation Smile will collaborate with local partners, including ministries of health, donors, corporations and academic institutions to bolster in-country health systems to reach its goal of increasing access to care for 1 million patients.
Initial investments as part of the organization’s next decade of commitments include:
$8 million investment in Guatemala over five years, which will support five hospitals across the country to provide cleft surgery for 1,200 patients and comprehensive care for 3,400 patients
$10 million investment over five years to support a network of hospitals and care providers across seven geographic areas in Mexico, which will provide care for 4,500 patients
$9 million investment over five years to support patient care in Colombia, including in Riohacha Hospital, a public hospital located at the border with Venezuela where indigenous communities and migrants receive care
$6 million investment over five years to support the CHUK Hospital hub in Rwanda and outlying locations, including surgeon and clinical support, patient nutrition, dentistry and more
To ensure the long-term success of these investments, Operation Smile is partnering with local stakeholders to revolutionize how health systems deliver surgical care in underserved areas around the world.
“Philippines has been one of the major hubs of Operation Smile and was actually founded here. So this milestone is especially important to us. It’s a great time to rededicate ourselves to our commitment to provide access to high-quality and holistic care to Filipino children and their communities. So we can continue the legacy of 40 years of learning and success,” said Emiliano Romano, Executive Director of Operation Smile Philippines.
Operation Smile is a global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care. We provide medical expertise, research and care through our dedicated staff and medical and student volunteers around the world, working alongside local governments, nonprofits, and health systems, and supported by our generous donors.
Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, made landfall in Visayas and Mindanao last December 16, 2021. The violent winds, torrential rains, floods, and storm surges left thousands of families homeless. It did not help also that it happened a few days before Christmas making the tragedy a bit more for people to handle.
Because of this, Operation Smile Philippines launched “Oplan Smile!”
Working hand in hand with Operation Smile Student Programs Philippines and Hope Foundation – we gathered resources from donors to send to our countrymen in need.
But one of the biggest challenges was getting donations from Manila to Visayas and Mindanao.
This is where AirAsia came flying into the rescue.
As a partner of Operation Smile Philippines, AirAsia was quick to charter mercy flights to bring your donations for our brothers and sisters in Visayas and Mindanao. The whole process was seamless and from packing and putting the donations on the plan to getting them on the ground for people to use.
Aside from being able to give relief supplies to Bacolod, Oplan Smile was able to gather Php 108,802.25 online monetary donations from different individuals and groups, some are even from abroad. This is on top of the initial budget we have for 150 families. Together with Operation Smile Student Programs Philippines, we will be able to reach out to 1200 more families as we also received in-kind donations.
The monetary donations we received are being used in buying basic necessities and COVID sanitation kits for families in Cebu.
Our goal is to help more families in the coming days ahead, may we invite you to take part in this initiative by donating through: