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Watsons PH: Transforming lives one smile at a time

(From left to right) Erlyn Mancao, Area Operations Manager, Watsons Visayas; April Inso, Group Regional Head for Operations, Watsons Visayas; Belle Pesayco, CSR Ambassador, Watsons Philippines; Patrick Yu, Marketing Manager, Watsons Philippines, and Camela Tancontian, Manager, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. Officials of Watsons Philippines are in Cebu City on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, in full support of Operations Smile held in Cebu City from October 10 to October 15, 2022.| Photo by Wenilyn B. Sabalo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — True to its commitment of making Filipinos “look good and feel great,” Watsons Philippines expands its purpose by giving kids born with cleft deformities a chance to smile even brighter through free surgeries.

For nine years now, Watsons Philippines, a health and beauty retailer, has been proud to support the mission of Operation Smile, a 40-year-old international nonprofit organization that offers kids with secure, no-cost cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery.

And over the course of these nine years, Watsons Philippines has helped transform the lives of more than 2,700 children nationwide, one smile at a time.

Patrick Yu, Marketing Manager, Watsons Philippines | Photo by Wenilyn B. Sabalo

Led by its marketing manager, Patrick Yu, and its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Ambassador, Belle Pesayco, Watsons Philippines now has a new goal of change lives of another 50 Cebuano children with these deformities.

This as Watsons Philippines backed the five-day Operation Smile Cebu mission held in a local hospital in Cebu City from October 10-15, 2022.

“We have been a partner with them for nine years, and we plan to continue it,” Yu said.

“As long as there is Operation Smile, Watsons will be there. It’s not only (about) aesthetics, but actually transforming their lives,” Pesayco added.

In an interview on Wednesday, October 12, Yu stressed the need and significance of medical missions like this, noting the lifetime change and impact these have on each of its beneficiaries.

Given that there are around 77,000 children in Cebu with cleft deformities (according to Operation Smile Co-founder and President Kathleen Magee), Yu said the Operation Smile initiative is quite vital for Cebu.

Pesayco said that Watsons Philippines, under the community pillar of its Sustainability Program, aims to provide free surgeries and care for more than 50 kids with cleft lip and palate by bearing the logistics costs of the operation.

Belle Pesayco, CSR Ambassador, Watsons Philippines| Photo by Wenilyn B. Sabalo

In a private hospital, a cleft surgery normally costs around P120,000, she said.

Watsons Philippines, she added, also conducts hygiene orientation for parents of the patients so they would know how to take care of their children after the operation.

After a week of operation, the children must return to the hospital where they underwent surgery to have the suture checked, and removed, and to receive medication.

READOperation Smile’s all-female Cebu mission to benefit 80 children

Moreover, Watsons Philippines is also in full support of Operation Smile’s “Women in Medicine” program, which aims to “put the spotlight on the critical role women play in the global healthcare system, and to encourage them to take on leadership roles in their professions.”

“We wanted to empower all the women, so all of the volunteers, doctors, nurses, anaesthesiologists, even the post-op care, everyone is women,” Yu said.

The event was organized by Watsons Philippines together with Operations Smile International. | Contributed Photo

April Inso, Group Regional Head for Operations, Watsons Visayas Area, said they have about 40 store personnel, from area managers down to pharmacists and sales associate level, from Cebu, who volunteered for the mission.

Operation Smile coordinated with the Cebu City government, a local partner hospital for Cebu, and assembled a team of 60 volunteer cleft care professionals from 12 countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and South Africa.


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