"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, April 27, 2008

P&G: Safeguarding against common diseases

Sen. Richard Gordon cherishes his additional role as the newest endorser for Procter & Gamble’s nationwide campaign to promote proper hygiene to Filipino children.

“This has now brought me full circle in P&G,” the Zambales-born lawmaker points out.

Before he took up law practice and rose to political prominence as Olongapo mayor, Subic chief, Tourism Secretary and now as senator, Gordon worked at the local P&G unit, his first job after graduating from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Specifically, he was brand manager for Safeguard, the leading anti-bacterial soap in the country, which is at the forefront of the “Protect 5 Handwashing Program” currently being implemented by P&G, its long-time partner Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET), the US-based Medical Wellness Association (MWA) and the Philippine National Red Cross.

This time, Gordon, who appeared in the “Limang Banta” Safeguard TV commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJFGsldkZPc) for the campaign, pitched in in his capacity as Red Cross chairman.

“It was not too difficult for P&G to convince Sen. Gordon to agree with the partnership as he did it for the love of both Safeguard and Red Cross,” said Anna Legarda, brand PR manager for Safeguard.

“One reason is because he has an affinity with the company and the brand. In the early part of his professional career, Sen. Gordon worked for P&G and he once became the brand manager for Safeguard. For this reason alone, it was not such a difficult decision for him to say yes.”

The handwashing campaign aims to teach Filipino children the proper way of washing their hands to protect themselves against five common diseases caused by germs: diarrhea, cough, colds, pneumonia and skin rashes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that common health problems such as these five diseases are at the root of over 80 percent of the incidence of illness worldwide.

However, studies have shown that frequent and proper handwashing with a good anti-bacterial soap is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to protect a person from these diseases. In fact, a study conducted by the US Center for Disease Control showed that the simple habit of proper handwashing with anti-bacterial soap can reduce the incidence of these diseases by up to 50 percent.

Safeguard’s handwashing program is anchored on the “5-5-5” mission: to teach five kids every hour for the next five years on proper handwashing as protection against the five common health threats.

As Red Cross chairman, Gordon is leading the agency in its new task of teaching Filipino children —particularly those in calamity-prone areas — the proper way to wash their hands.

He said their role is vital in the campaign as the common diseases mentioned easily plague disaster areas and evacuation centers due to unsanitary conditions that often prevail in these areas in times of disasters and calamities. Moreover, children are also the most vulnerable to these diseases.

And as a gesture of his genuine commitment to the Red Cross, Gordon also donated the full amount of his talent fee from the TV advertisement to the organization so it can sustain its social services.

By Conrado M. Diaz Jr.
Monday, March 31, 2008