For its final episode on October 30, PLDT and Smart’s Better Today Conversations will feature social media sensation and TV host Macoy Dubs and youth leaders Tasha and Bella Tanjutco of Kids for Kids PH. The final installment of the four-part series will tackle how hope enables people to thrive amid dark times. The session on hope will flow from the insights and narratives of a mental health survivor and youth empowerment advocates.

Mark Averilla, more popularly known as Macoy Dubs, is best known for his funny Filipino-dubbed Western movies and series such as Mean Girls. Most recently, Macoy rose to fame and became a viral sensation with his character impersonations including everyone’s favorite progressive tita — Auntie Julie. In 2014, Macoy was diagnosed with Dysthymia or PDD (persistent depressive disorder). This Friday, Macoy will share how he fought his demons and rose above his mental illness to be the light that spreads joy to thousands of Filipinos nationwide.

Tasha and Bella Tanjutco are the founders of the youth advocacy group called Kids for Kids PH. Established in 2015, the organization is run solely by the youth with a common goal of making a difference. To date, Kids for Kids PH has raised over P2-million for different beneficiaries and causes. These include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Philippine General Hospital and Yolanda and Marawi survivors among others. The Tanjutco sisters are youth leaders who continue to make their mark in the world as they champion advocacies that support various local groups and communities nationwide.

Promoting a culture of empathy 

During its session on Community last October 23, PLDT and Smart invited Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Kim Jong-ki, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Linya-Linya Co-founder and Creative Director Ali Sangalang, and Silakbo PH Founder and President Rissa Coronel to talk about the important role of the community in advocating for mental health and creating a more empathic culture.

Kim Jong-ki, whose son passed away due to bullying, rallied efforts to address school violence as a systematic social problem affecting students, families, schools and community-at-large. As the founder of The Blue Tree Foundation, Kim shared how his organization created a safer space online and offline for the youth by creating community platform that focuses on cyberbullying prevention.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, author of the Mental Health law, provided insights on how having a community and support system is an enabler of a kinder culture, especially when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. “My greatest hope is that this time teaches us to lean on each other, to listen to each other and to be kinder to one another because the only through this is be together,” Hontiveros said.

Linya-Linya Co-founder and Creative Director Ali Sangalang and Silakbo PH Founder and President Rissa Coronel echo this message of creating a kind and empathic culture by reaching out to friends, families and communities who are in need of support, especially during these trying times.

“If you notice that your friends or someone that you know is going through a hard time or if you simply haven’t heard from them in a while, it can help brighten their day to send them a little check in message. Saluhan tayo dito (We uplift each other). We need to support each other in our communities more than ever,” Coronel said.

The Better Today Conversations series is part of PLDT and Smart’s efforts to promote both physical and mental wellness, and is anchored on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on health and well-being.

For more updates on Better Today PH community conversations on changemaking, and on Better Today Conversations, follow Better Today PH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @bettertodayph.

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