Finally, oral health is getting the attention it deserves.
The University of the Philippines College of Dentistry Alumni Association (UPDAA) has launched Smile Pilipinas to promote healthy teeth and gums. The campaign, while initiated by professionals, needs the support of consumers to succeed.
Just by buying toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride, a consumer is already taking a major step in ensuring the oral health of every member of his/her household.
People should be aware that oral health can affect physical health. Teeth and gums, if not kept clean, harbor many disease-causing organisms.
Unfortunately, many people don’t practice proper oral hygiene and don’t visit the dentist until toothache becomes unbearable.
Dentists are even used as bogeymen to scare kids into behaving.
The Smile Pilipinas program was launched to mark the centennial of the UP College of Dentistry. UPDAA partnered with Oral-B, a global oral care brand, for the project.
UPDAA president Dr. Jocelyn L. Tan said studies have yielded alarming figures—nine out of 10 Filipinos suffered from dental caries or tooth decay. The Philippines had the second worst rate in Asia for decayed, missing and filled teeth.
Suranjan Magesvaran, Procter & Gamble vice president for home products, power and oral care in Asia, pointed out that the campaign would need the involvement of professionals and consumers.
‘Cleared of obstructions’
Pacifico J. Detoyato Jr., manager of Duty Free Philippines (DFP) Resorts World Manila (RWM) branch, has informed Gerard Calderon, officer-in-charge of the Department of Trade and Industry’s consumer trade and policy division, that the DFP’s RWM store is “cleared of obstructions,” making it more convenient and safe for people with disabilities (PWD).
Detoyato added that the store’s security guards have been reoriented to give priority care and assistance to PWDs.
DFP-RWM’s attention was called by DTI after Ma. Socorro K. H. del Pilar sent a complaint on behalf of her sister Mary An K. Gonzales, who uses a wheelchair. Gonzales and her son were barred from entering the store ostensibly because her wheelchair might break something.
Although the store’s entrance was lined with shelves filled with bottles of liquor, Gonzales said “the aisles were big enough for my wheelchair to get through.” She reasoned to the guard that if a customer broke anything, he/she would pay for it.
But the lady guard manning the entrance countered that she was following instructions from her supervisor.
Gonzales said her son wanted to talk to the supervisor but was told he was absent.
But when Gonzales’ son said a case could be filed against th store for violation of the building code, among others, the lady guard had someone call the supervisor. When reminded she had just said the supervisor was absent, she replied it was another supervisor.
Gonzales said they were finally allowed inside, not to shop but to see the supervisor, who explained it was a case of miscommunication. The supervisor said those who were not allowed to enter were people with trolleys.
He invited Gonzales and her son to look around the store; but Gonzales said that, by then, she was no longer interested.
She pointed out to the supervisor that she has never barred from entering Duty Free stores in other airports like in France and Singapore, and even at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
Gonzales wondered if the store would have treated a foreigner in a wheelchair the same way.
Detoyato said he had been in touch with Gonzales to personally apologize and assure her things would be better should she visit the DFP-RWM store again.
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