Baguio City latest to join PLDT, Smart conversations series on mental health awareness

PLDT and Smart continues its Better Today conversations series on mental health, this time with Baguio City.

Mental health professionals Riyan Portuguez and JP Silvestre, and advocate Claudia Barretto took part in the virtual event. Portuguez and Silvestre discussed suicide, coping mechanisms, prevention, and destigmatizing mental illness, especially among peers and within communities. Meanwhile, Barretto shared her personal experience as a mental health survivor and student.

According to Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Levy Lloyd Braza Orcales, the Local Government of Baguio aims to create a safe space and platform for the youth to discuss mental health. “We hope that this will help our youth, especially those facing challenges when it comes to school,” Orcales said.

A number of universities in Baguio recently faced an alarming rate of suicide, depression and anxiety cases, especially when it comes to dealing with online classes. The City implemented an academic break to give time for the youth to take care of their mental well-being.

Baguio City Vice Mayor Faustino Atiwag Olowan shared that the City passed its Mental Health Ordinance, which was authored by Orcales, to help ensure people’s well-being. Vice Mayor Olowan recognized PLDT and Smart for bringing the Better Today mental health program to Baguio. “We hope that this will serve as a [mental health] break for our youth. Together with PLDT and Smart, the City of Baguio will continue to create mental health programs that will empower our youth. They are our future and they play a critical role in our country’s nation-building,” Olowan said.

The discussion also touched on the importance of digital technology when it comes to opening lines for communication. For PLDT and Smart, and with the youth as today’s digital natives, the Internet becomes a great catalyst of their generation, which enables them to access information and provides more opportunities to learn, to be more informed, and to be better.

PLDT and Smart seek to uplift and improve the overall physical and mental wellness of Filipinos through food security, improving nutrition, and creating awareness online.

These initiatives emphasize the Group’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. [END]

About PLDT

PLDT is the Philippines’ largest fully integrated telco company. Through its principal business groups — from fixed line to wireless — PLDT offers a wide range of telecommunications and digital services across the Philippines’ most extensive fiber optic backbone, and fixed line and cellular networks.

PLDT is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE:TEL) and its American Depositary Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:PHI). PLDT has one of the largest market capitalizations among Philippine — listed companies.

Further information can be obtained by visiting

About Smart

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is a wholly-owned wireless communications and digital services subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telecommunications company. Smart serves approximately 96% of the country’s cities and municipalities with its combined 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G network*, providing mobile communications services, high-speed internet connectivity, and access to digital services and content to over 71.8 million Filipinos*, supporting the country’s growing digital economy, and providing the best customer experience for an increasingly digital Filipino lifestyle.

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.