PP Bogs Rivera
RC Manila South
November 17 is no ordinary day, especially for women worldwide. This day marks the first anniversary of a historic movement, celebrating the world’s commitment to eliminating a cancer for the first time.
Northeast of Metro Manila, women from different points of Luzon, converged at the Quezon Memorial Circle to witness and take part in a global event that will give Filipino women a fighting chance to survive cervical cancer.
Statistically, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Filipino women. Despite being curable and preventable, there are still 11 women who die every day from this disease in our country. The dismal turnout of women getting screened, the lack of screening facilities, and the limited knowledge about this disease are the contributing factors that led to the untimely demise of stricken women. In addition, the pandemic has aggravated the condition making the dire situation worse.
Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines Inc. (IWCPI), a not-for-profit organization, would no longer take this sitting down. This group of committed women heeded the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) to address cervical cancer as a public health problem globally. Aptly dubbed as “Wheel Can Cerv”, IWCPI will mobilize its national network to ensure the success of this worthwhile project.
According to Past District Governor of Rotary International District 3770 and the incumbent IWCPI National President, Yolanda “Yolly” Wycoco, “As I look into the project, I become more and more convinced that this is the project that I’m looking for. Primarily, cervical cancer is a woman-specific issue that we can all empathize with as an all-women organization. In addition, this is something that we can act upon as cervical cancer is preventable and curable.”
Ebe Martines, International Inner Wheel President, based in Italy, echoed National President Yolly’s sentiments. She added, “This campaign is in perfect tune with this year’s theme, ‘Service Project: Strong Women. Stronger World.’ The International Inner Wheel Presidential Theme is ‘Pink First’ — Women, helping Women. But in this case, we can say, Women, saving Women.” with an enthusiastic commitment to implement the project internationally.
For these reasons, IWCPI partnered with CerviQ to establish a formidable alliance and undertake a mission to use modern technology to advocate awareness, prevention, and treatment toward eliminating cervical cancer in the Philippines.
CerviQ, a social enterprise company founded by Rotary International District 3810 District Webmaster and member of the Rotary Club of Manila South, Dr. Jesus Randy “Bogs” Rivera, aims to deliver a technologically-advanced approach in detecting and treating cervical cancer patients putting high priority in rural areas.
Back in the event, the intermittent downpour did not dampen the festive atmosphere of the occasion. Instead, a rainbow-laced sky served as a majestic background of the Luzon kickoff in Quezon Memorial Circle — a sign of hope and promise of better times to come.
All participants, donned in teal-colored shirts, can’t contain their excitement while awaiting the countdown to the simultaneous ceremonial lighting of landmarks in three key locations in the Philippines — Quezon City, Cebu City, and Cagayan de Oro City. Members of the media were also present to capture every moment of the momentous occasion.
Among those monuments outside of Manila lighted in the color of teal – the color of cervical cancer elimination include: Cebu City Hall, Rizal Library, Fuente Osmena Circle, Mandaue City Hall, Marcelo Fernan Bridge, Cordova Centennial Road, Cordova Municipal Hall, Consolacion Municipal Hall, DPWH 6th Engineering District Office, Naga City in Cebu, Plaza Rizal in Lapu-lapu City and the Talisay City Hall – all in Cebu. Cagayan
At exactly 5:30 PM, the imposing structure of the Quezon Memorial Circle trilon, illuminated in teal, filled the city skyline with pride — symbolizing a beacon of hope for all women, that cervical cancer will no longer be a concern in the years to come. Rotarians who took part in the event include Dr. Enrique “Eric” Tayag, Department of Health, Director for Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, and Assistant Governor Carlo Gono.
The ceremony ended on a high note, but the mission to spread awareness, promote screening, encourage vaccination, and provide treatment just commenced. The women of IWCPI, along with CerviQ, will join hands and take action to pursue a unified goal to end cervical cancer in the Philippines as they exclaim in unison, “Together, We Teal As One!”