Providing communities with access to safe water towards better health and sanitation has always been a commitment of Coca-Cola. In the recent celebration of Global Handwashing Day—which aims to increase awareness on the importance of hand hygiene—and its timely theme “Hand Hygiene for All,” Coca-Cola Philippines together with different local government units and non-profit organizations took the opportunity to bring this unwavering commitment, which has become ever more significant during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As regular handwashing with soap has been identified as one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus, Coca-Cola Philippines together with the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines through the Agos programs, and in partnership with the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), facilitated the installation of handwashing facilities in Tagbilaran and Cagayan de Oro.
“Water sustainability has been a core focus of the Company ever since,” said Jonah De Lumen-Pernia, Coca-Cola Philippines Public Affairs and Sustainability Director. “And we all know that in this pandemic, access to water has become even more important given its role in hygiene and sanitation.”
Eight public areas in Tagbilaran City will be installed with handwashing stations, including a seaport, fish port, bus terminal, public market, and community parks, with the support of Mayor John Geesnell Yap and the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation (BIDEF). Meanwhile, 21 public areas in Cagayan de Oro City including a public market and health centers will now have handwashing stations with the support of Mayor Oscar Moreno and the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI).
USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II agrees that the need to address hand hygiene is made more urgent by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we continue our work to beat the virus, we are reminded that handwashing is among the simplest and most effective ways to protect ourselves and our communities,” he said.
Aside from Coca-Cola’s long-term partnership with USAID especially in the implementation of its water projects, the Company has been implementing water leadership projects across the country with various strategic partners, aiding in the supply of clean water to communities.
De Lumen-Pernia stressed that the various partnerships with like-minded organizations such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Water and Life Philippines, Philippine Business and Social Progress (PBSP), United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and local governments have enabled Coca-Cola to do more for the most vulnerable communities around the country.
With these initiatives, Coca-Cola highlights the importance of bringing in key partners and actively engaging with stakeholders—where everyone can do their part in helping provide safe water for a healthier and better quality of life for more communities, thus far benefiting over 223,000 Filipinos.