Event participated by more than 1,427 members & residents from Metro Manila, especially in family units
A total of 500,000 pesos to be donated to 100 household affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro
The International WeLoveU Foundation (Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, hereinafter referred to as the WeLoveU), an organization associated with the UN DGC (Department of Global Communications), held the 25th New Life Love Family Walkathon (hereinafter referred to as the Family Walkathon) on the 18th of June in Parañaque. The Family Walkathon, which is the WeLoveU’s annual welfare event, supports underprivileged neighbors, vulnerable groups, and victims around the world. Its activities continued in South Korea where its Headquarters is located, then expanded to the Philippines, the US, and Peru. The event is the second Walkathon held in the Philippines since 2019. Through the Family Walkathon, the WeLoveU will donate 500,000 pesos to 100 households that have been affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro. This is to deliver strength and courage to the locals who are struggling to make a living after the incident.
From six in the morning in Aseana City, people were already beginning to arrive. People wearing matching T-shirts, blue in color, gathered in the square, which was then filled up with people. The Family Walkathon commenced with the screening of the WeLoveU Foundation’s introduction video. Ardent cheer from 1,200 participants who joined with their families, neighbors, friends, and colleagues made the whole venue alive. Participants excitedly engaged in additional events such as face painting and photo zones after Part 1 and 2 of the Family Walkathon, which comprised of the Opening and Donation Ceremony and the actual Walkathon respectively.
The Family Walkathon was graced by the presence of Mr. Vincent Gahol, Incident Commander of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Mindoro, Eva Nono, Chief of Staff from the Office of Congressman Edwin Olivarez, Mr. Brian Garcia, Representative of Chief of CENRO Paranaque City, Dr. Joy Mendoza from Paranaque City Health Office, Mr. Donald Matias, Deputy Head of Paranaque Traffic Police Management Office, Mark Allen Besa, CENRO Chief of Paranaque City, and representatives from the office of Paranaque City Vice Mayor Joan Villafuerte. The event provided a space for them to participate in conveying love to the local community.
In his opening speech, the National Director of the International WeLoveU Foundation Philippines, Michael Lee called the event “one of the many tangible expressions of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah’s unchanging love and concern towards the global village.” He then quoted the Chairwoman’s words saying “[I]f we help one another with compassion, the global village will become a world of peace and happiness.
Mr. Vincent Gahol, Incident Commander of PDRRMO praised the large participation of members and volunteers from all ages and all walks of life, calling their presence “a testament of the formidable resilience of volunteerism.”
Ms. Eva Nono, Chief of Staff from the Office of Congressman Edwin Olivarez stood on the podium delivering words of gratitude saying “the ordinary citizens are key to achieve positive results, so please accept my gratitude. Sama-sama po talaga tayong lahat. I would like to say that this is really an amazing and wonderful act of humanity.”
Oscar Kim, one of the heads of the WeLoveU emphasized, “(So) this is why we got together, we got motivated. And so many of our WeLoveU foundation members and guests are participating in this walkathon. This is already the 25th Walkathon. We gathered donations and many of our members also donated to help the victims in Mindoro. Because we are a global family and every family has love and is taken care under the love of Mother. And so, we also with the thought of Mother, we regard all people as one family, a global family. They are all our family. How can we just turn our face from them, even when we heard what happened to them? This is why we all gathered today and we carried out this event to help them.”
The Walkathon’s course ran through Bradco Ave., Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Aseana Ave., J.W. Diokno Blvd, and back to the starting point. The venue was packed with various touching scenes such as a father giving his child a piggyback ride, a little girl holding her mother’s hand, friends putting their arms around each other, a couple enjoying their walk, and spectators fascinated and curious about what is taking place. Many signboards with phrases relating to the purpose of the event and encouraging environmental protection caught the attention of passersby.
Creating a Warmhearted Global Village through ‘Mother’s Love’
The 21 st New Life Love Family Walkathon, held at the University of Philippines Sunken Garden in 2019, was a large-scale welfare event sponsored by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Quezon City. More than 3,000 people, including people from all walks of life, members of the WeLoveU Foundation, and local citizens participated in taking a big step as part of the global family. Senator Cynthia Villar, who attended the event praised that “activities like these demonstrate unity and commitment to achieve our common goals.”
Over the past decade, the WeLoveU has been supporting the local community in need and the lives of neighbors through various activities. As part of the WeLoveU’s environmental welfare activity, ‘Clean World Movement’ was carried out throughout the nation, including Metro Manila, Mindanao, Luzon, and Ilocos, providing a pleasant place to live for the people. Earlier in January and February, the ‘Worldwide One-Two Blood Drive’ was held in Quezon City, General Santos City, San Pablo, Tacloban, Bacolod, IloIlo, Tarlac, and Baguio. Through the Blood Drive, the WeLoveU contributed to the stabilization of blood supply and raised awareness of voluntary blood donation, which is pursued by the World Health Organization (WHO).
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WeLoveU donated 10,000 masks and 24 hospital beds to the Quezon Institute Modular Hospitals affiliated with the Department of Health in order to help people recover their normal lives as soon as possible. The foundation also supported the children in Tanauan, Tarlac City, and Navotas by building and repairing teir classrooms as well as providing school supplies.
The WeLoveU’s altruistic endeavors continue all around the world. The foundation donated pandemic prevention supplies, daily necessities, and food to around 30 countries for those in need, and actively carried out relief activities in disaster areas in countries such as the United States, Honduras, Ecuador, Laos, Nepal, and Mozambique. Recently, 2,870 boxes of relief supplies prepared by the local members were delivered to help the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye. Moreover, blood donation, environmental protection, poverty, and hunger relief, water and hygiene guarantee, and educational support are being provided constantly.
John Paul Flores (31, Parañaque), whose entire family participated in the event encouraged the beneficiaries and said, “Through this event, we were made aware about the impact of climate change and climate disasters—especially with what happened in Mindoro. […] We hope the youth and family units will also participate in these kinds of events.” Ellen Leocadio (24, Las Pinas), who was holding up a sign that he made himself, delivered a message of support, saying, “I believe this event is not just for the victims in Mindoro, but also makes us warm-hearted, remembering that we have each other. Sharing love with the affected families is like sharing the love of a mother who only wants to comfort her children.” Joyce Manoharan (28, Cavite), a volunteer of the side event, who joined the 2019 Family Walkathon as a participant expressed her thoughts saying, “Being part of the walkathon itself in 2019 was already fulfilling. This time around, as a working young adult, I had the privilege of donating as well as volunteering for the photo booth. I am glad that through this, somehow, we can help our fellow countrymen in Mindoro. And seeing the beautiful smiles of our members, the families, especially the kids walking towards the photobooth with excitement, I really felt that it was well worth it. Family love is incomparable. It felt good to see families having a good time while advocating for a good cause.”
The International WeLoveU intends to continue with the ‘Save the World’ project, which encompasses all its activities, to convey Mother’s Love to the global community more abundantly. It plans to take the initiative in promoting three key activities: “Saving the Earth,” “Saving Lives,” and “Saving Humanity.” The Philippine chapter of the WeLoveU will carry out Mom’s Garden— a series of tree planting activities, this third quarter of 2023. In addition to these, the foundation aims to raise the public’s awareness in various areas and move toward a world where no one is excluded. Countries around the world have shown support for the organization by rewarding several awards, including the U.S. Presidential Volunteer Service Award (8 times), the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Royal Order of the King of Cambodia, and the National Assembly of the Republic of Ecuador Dr. Vicente Rocafuerte Medal.