Why Aubrey Miles, Candy Pangilinan love SM malls

A lot of resources and efforts are devoted to training SM employees in supporting customers on the autism spectrum and those with physical disabilities — because everyone deserves to feel welcome.

From left to right: Atty. Rhealeth Krizelle Ramos, Programs Management Division Chief for the National Council on Disability Affairs; Gian Carla Neyra, Information Communication Division Chief for the NCDA; Richard Caluyo, Assistant Vice President for SM Cares; Celebrities and autism awareness advocates Candy Pangilinan, Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles; Karen Sagun, Executive Director of the QC Kabahagi Center; and Dang Koe, Autism Society Philippines Chair Emerita. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SM FOUNDATION

Filipino celebrity couple Aubrey Miles and Troy Montero recently shared with an audience of co-parents their personal journey in raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Along with fellow entertainment personality Candy Pangilinan, they talked about their range of experiences — from their child’s diagnosis to finding spaces sensitive to their family’s different needs.

For parents of children with ASD, awareness, acceptance, and accommodation are crucial steps to achieving genuine inclusion in their community.

At a panel discussion held at SM Megamall for the 27th National Autism Consciousness Week, Miles remarked on how accommodating the SM mall branches were to her family.

The ‘AOK Pilipinas Live!’ discussion was a project of SM Cares, in partnership with the Autism Society of the Philippines, the City Government of Mandaluyong, and the National Council on Disability Affairs.

Miles recalled how SM staff knew how to give assistance without any prompting.

“Sa totoo lang, dito sa SM, any SM, ganun sila lagi — alam nila. Kahit hindi ka artista, ready talaga sila. Naramdaman ko yun,” she said. (The truth is, here in SM [Megamall], at any SM, they’re always ready — just know how to help you even if you’re not a celebrity. And I felt that).

“The guard already knows, even before you enter the premises,” ASP Chair Emerita and panel host Dang Koe added.

“They’ve really got it all for you!” Candy Pangilinan quipped.

In addition, when Miles shopped with her mom, who needed assistance because of a limp, it became clear that SM was not only a child-friendly mall, but mother-friendly as well.

“Yung mom ko kasi medyo iika-ika before. Sabi nila, kailangan nyo ng wheelchair? ‘Yung mga ganun, ‘yung mga accommodation at appreciation ng mga tao,” Miles added. (Back then, my mom used to have a limp. The guards asked us if we needed a wheelchair. Things like that — accommodation and the appreciation from others).

As part of its continuing commitment to creating an inclusive environment at every mall, SM Cares recognizes that promoting this advocacy must start from within.

A lot of resources and efforts are devoted to training SM employees in supporting customers on the autism spectrum and those with physical disabilities. After all, public spaces should be accessible to all — and everyone deserves to feel welcome.

“SM Cares shares the advocacy to help our communities,” said Program Director for SM Cares’ PWD Advocacy Engr. Bien Mateo at the discussion. “And if there’s a major project that contributes to this endeavor, it is this sensitivity training for our employees.”

Positive impact

From encouraging mall-goers to adopt more sustainable ways to dispose of their solid waste, to promoting emergency and disaster preparedness that is inclusive of persons with disabilities and the elderly, to employee engagement efforts that ensure a happy and productive workforce, SM Supermalls and its corporate social responsibility arm SM Cares are known for their advocacies that continuously leave a positive impact on communities and the environment.

In recognition of their commitment to these advocacies, SM Supermalls and SM Cares took home a total of three awards at the recently concluded “Gabi ng Parangal” of the 58th Anvil Awards, organized by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines last 8 March at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

SM Cares took home a Silver Anvil award for its efforts to help address solid waste pollution in the country through its Trash-to-Cash and Plastic Waste Collection initiatives, which are part of its Environmental Programs on Solid Waste Management.

By the end of the eligibility period, SM Cares successfully collected a total of 1,247 tons of solid waste, and has helped many SM mall-goers develop the habit of disposing of their solid waste properly.

SM Cares also took home a Silver Anvil award for the 2022 iteration of its “Emergency Preparedness Forum,” an event designed to provide emergency preparedness training tailored to the unique needs of PWDs and senior citizens.

Held from 13 July to 3 August 2022 in four of the most disaster-prone cities in the country — Baguio City, Quezon City, Legazpi City, and Cebu City — the forum was able to help more than 1,900 participants become better equipped to keep themselves safe during disasters.

Meanwhile, SM Supermalls won a Silver Anvil award for its initiative SM LIFE, which aims to promote purpose, performance, and passion and help employees adapt and grow to the evolving needs of the business, and to stay happy, resilient and productive at work.

Through the initiative, SM Supermalls was able to retain 93 percent of its high-potential talents, and saw an average of 98 percent in terms of training coverage, with participation in engagement programs at 100 percent, among other positive results. The company also recovered and sustained its mall revenue, foot traffic, and occupancy through 2021 and 2022.

Read more Daily Tribune stories at: https://tribune.net.ph/

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial