ZALORA Philippines Picks OSP as Community Engagement Partner 

Leading online fashion retailer, ZALORA Philippines has chosen Operation Smile’s comprehensive treatment of children with cleft lip and cleft palate as one of the causes it will support in the Philippines through ZALORA Cares, a donation platform on the web and in various social media.    

Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) joins a select group of only 11 local non-profits that can tap ZALORA Philippines customers to raise funds for their charity work.

Over the past 40 years, OSP has treated more than 30,000 Filipino children and young adults with oral cleft, providing them with free surgery, medical examination, dental treatment, and speech therapy.  

“This is a breakthrough partnership for us,” OSP executive director, Emiliano Romano said, citing the foundation’s new thrust to broaden its donor base by engaging individuals via digital marketing. 

OSP trustee Rizalina Mantaring, past president and CEO Sun Life of Canada Philippines, connected OSP to ZALORA Philippines.  

ZALORA Philippines is the second digital business to tie-up with OSP after PayMaya, a payment gateway. 

“We know there’s a lot of pent-up desire to help among ordinary Filipinos even in these extraordinary times, and our cause is one that is sure to tug at their hearts; it’s just a matter of providing them with the convenient and secure means to do so — and that’s ZALORA Cares,” he added. 

ZALORA Philippines is part of the Singapore-based lifestyle e-retailer, ZALORA group, which has strong presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 

The group launched its community engagement initiative in 2020 to support Covid-19 efforts in the region.  “We’ve decided to expand beyond the initial mission and start giving back to our community in as much ways as we can by diversifying our pool of foundations,” Ms. Jaurigue said.

Operation Smile Philippines & JCI Manila Partner To Raise Funds, Awareness For Oral Cleft Treatment in Manila

Operation Smile Philippines and JCI Manila
Seated from left is 2021 JCI Manila President Richard Tamayo, Operations Smile Philippines Executive Director Emiliano Romano and 2021 Director for Community Jason Oliva.

Operation Smile Philippines Foundation (OSP) is partnering with JCI Manila (JCIM) to undertake a Manila-wide campaign to raise funds for the treatment of indigent Manileno children with cleft lip and cleft palate, and awareness on the causes and ways to prevent cleft births.

Oral cleft severely affects the physical, mental, and psychological development and well-being of the afflicted children.  The disfigurement makes them prone to malnutrition and stunting, impairs their speech and hearing, and opens them to bullying and isolation, which could eventually destroy their self-esteem.   

The Institute of Human Genetics of UP Manila has said in a previous study that two in every 1,000 Filipinos are born every year with this highly debilitating congenital deformity. Manila was found by another study to have the highest incidence of cleft births among the country’s cities and municipalities. 

The two pioneering organizations signed a memorandum of agreement recently with JCI Manila committing to implement an extensive oral cleft education drive online and through traditional mass media channels and raising funds from its members and business and civil society network, and OSP handling the treatment.

OSP operates a cleft center at the Manila City-owned Sta. Ana Hospital that provides comprehensive care to the afflicted covering free medical examination, dental treatment, reconstructive surgery, and speech-language therapy.

It is also running a pilot nutrition feeding and education program in the city for children with oral cleft and their parents in partnership with Caritas Manila and Security Bank Corp.   

OSP is part of the global Operation Smile, Inc. which pioneered organized cleft care in the Philippines in 1982. JCIM, founded in 1947, is the first Jaycees club in the country and one of the most active civic organizations today supporting various humanitarian causes. 

Operation Smile Philippines & PNP Region 3 Inks Cleft Patient Referral Agreement

Camp Olivas, San Fernando City, Pampanga – The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) and Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) recently for the former to locate children with cleft palate and cleft lip and refer them to the latter for free medical evaluation and treatment of those deemed fit for reconstructive surgery.

The agreement will cover all seven provinces of Region III namely, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

PRO3 Regional Director, P/BGen. Valeriano T. D Leon, and OSP Executive Director, Emiliano Romano, signed the MOA at Camp Olivas’ Makatao Activity Center.

Oral cleft is one of the most common congenital birth defects in the Philippines, which, if left untreated, expose the afflicted to rejection, bullying and a host of medical and dental conditions.

“We are happy to become an instrument of hope for those children and their families,” P/BGen. De Leon said, adding the agreement with OSP expands police assistance to the region from protecting people against lawless elements to helping indigents access health care.

Operation Smile has been providing free surgery and related cleft care to children with cleft lip and cleft palate since 1982, and has treated more than 35,000 cleft patients all over the Philippines.

“Our agreement with PRO3 will allow us to treat more,” Mr. Romano said, emphasizing that this pioneering project with the PNP will be rolled out to other police regional offices nationwide if the desired results is achieved.

OSP Manila Student Chapter Launch “Wear A Smile” Campaign

The Manila Student Chapter, the first student chapter under Operation Smile Philippines, have successfully launched their Wear A Smile campaign.

This campaign aims to raise funds and awareness for children with cleft lips and palates by selling smile bands made by The Stairway Foundation – an NGO that advocates for children’s rights and child care. The Smile Bands come in 3 different colors – blue, red, and black. Also, these bands are handmade!

Buying a Smile Band is helping another child smile again, so get your smile bands now and #wearasmile!

To order click, tinyurl.com/ospsmilebands

Operation Smile Philippines Partners With Kratos Technologies

Operation Smile Philippines Partners With Kratos Technologies
In photo (L-R): Kelvin Lim, Co-Founder of Kratos Technologies; Emiliano Romano, Executive Director of Operation Smile Philippines

We are happy to announce that GIK “Gift In Kind” is now activated!

Let’s Welcome our first Donor Kratos Technologies.

To keep our cleft centers safe, Kratos Technologies have sent us their Ultra-Violet Germicidal Smart UVC Lamp that is proven to kill bacteria and purify the air. Kratos Technologies is our 2021 UV Light Donor for all our cleft centers!

As COVID19 is still in our country, it is important to have a safe and clean environment at all times. Let’s all take extra steps in ensuring the safety of our family.

Maraming Salamat @Kratos for Supporting Operation Smile Philippines Children!

You may check them at kratostech.co.

The Boy In The Mirror Was Smiling Back

Bal Ligot

Who would ever thought that a mirror could make one realize that he is exactly where he needs to be?

This is what Speech Pathologist Bal Ligot found out in 2005 as part of the volunteer team in Bataan.

Fernando Ligot or “Bal” to his family and friends is one of the longest-serving volunteers of Operation Smile Philippines. He has been in countless local surgical missions around the Philippines. Bal also regularly takes part in international surgical missions around the world. His expertise and compassion has also touched the lives of people across the globe.

The start of his journey

Bal had heard about Operation Smile while he was still in his teens. But it was in college at UP Manila that he got to meet Dr. Michael Van Lue, an American speech pathologist and volunteer for Operation Smile. Dr. VanLue was in the Philippines in 1999 and wanted to reach out to fellow speech therapists. At that time, UP was the only school offering speech pathology. After the meeting, Bal was invited to join a surgical mission the following year.

Being the son of a surgeon, Bal was familiar with the work surgeons do. But it was not until he entered the speech pathology program of UP Manila did he get to work and experience working with children with cleft lip and palate.  And when he did join the Operation Smile surgical mission in 2000 in Cavite, he experienced first-hand the difference he can make in the lives of people.

What keeps him going

“Changing the lives not only of the patients but their families as well keeps me going.” This is what pushes Bal forward in his time with Operation Smile Philippines. It also helps that there is a whole community of Operation Smile volunteers driven by the same desire to help other people in need.

“Surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, speech therapists, dentists, and all the other volunteers – these people working together to help make the lives of these individuals better is what keeps me going.”, he said. He also added that the word “just” does not exist in the vocabulary of Operation Smile.

He explains, “ I do not believe in the word just”  – “I am just a dentist” or “I am just a medical records person” or “I am just a nurse”.  Each and every person in the mission team who is doing something to help make the life of another better is not “just” doing something, they are doing exactly what needs to be done. So I say – “I am a dentist” or “I am a medical records person” or “I am a nurse” add to that…” and I help change the lives of individuals with cleft lip and palate”. That idea is what keeps me going.”

Most unforgettable mission

Bal was in Balanga Bataan in 2005 when he saw a child looking at himself in the mirror after receiving cleft lip surgery. This seems like an ordinary and typical thing any patient would do after an operation. You would want to check how it went and what the operation looks like. But this was not the case.

Bal said that there wasn’t anything unusual about the scene. That is until the mother of the child with tears in her eyes said “he has never looked at himself in the mirror before his cleft lip was operated on until now”.  The boy in the mirror was smiling back. This was when Bal realized that in that exact point in time, it was a life-changing moment for the boy, his mother, and for him.