Smart promotes sustainability through arts, connecting communities

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. continues to uphold its commitment to promote sustainability across the country through the Paint it Forward: A Wall Mural Design Contest. 

Launched last March 2021, the Paint it Forward contest was primarily organized to encourage local artists from Cebu Province and Davao Region to become advocates of sustainability through creatively promoting the sustainability efforts of their respective local communities. The participants were given a month to finish their murals and were provided with resources to purchase paint, brushes, and other art tools. 

“It is truly a challenge to organize a contest amid a pandemic, but this does not stop us with our sustainability efforts with the communities. In this campaign, we aim to encourage not just communities, but also give an avenue to our local artists to continue their passion for arts even during these trying times. We at Smart, commit to continue providing programs that are effective and will firmly connect our advocacies to our partner communities,” says Melvin Nubla, Vice-President/Department Head of Smart Go-To-Market and Subs Management. 

A total of 102 entries were gathered from the 14 participating municipalities in Cebu and Davao. “Smart sees the significance of the public’s involvement in effectively carrying out this cause. We believe that it is best to motivate them to take part in promoting sustainability as they are the first stakeholder to greatly benefit from it. We hope that this program will inspire them to be enablers for better communities, for a better future,” says Carmencita Nancy Nacua, Smart Community Solutions and Business Development Manager.

Creative call for advocacy building 

The contest was joined by various schools and youth organizations that have existing advocacies related to environmental protection. Most of the murals highlighted the importance of the conservation of natural resources in community development. 

“We are thankful to all the participants for positively responding to this program. Despite the pandemic and the short amount of time, all teams were still able to create exceptional artworks that display various meaningful and inspiring messages,” Nacua added. 

For Macky Badayos of One Calajo-an Movement, first prize winner from Minglanilla City in Cebu, Paint it Forward is a perfect avenue for them as their movement also promotes environmental preservation and proper waste segregation. 

“This contest helped us in amplifying the message of our ongoing project, "Segregate Kalajo-an", that aims to lessen the volume of trash that end up in the open seas or rivers of our barangay,” says Badayos. “Apart from the advocacy that we are promoting, we hope that through our artwork we were able to remind the youth that we can achieve progress and development through unity and youth empowerment as they are the future generation,” Badayos added. 

Teacher Michael M. Villaret of Sta. Cruz Elementary School, the third prize winner from Digos, Davao del Sur, wanted to promote responsible ecotourism through their mural. “Being an emerging tourism destination in the region, we aim to protect Sta. Cruz by pushing reforestation of Barangay Tuban’s mangrove area and remind mountaineers to be responsible in disposing of their trash when they climb Mt. Loay,” he says. 

The winning teams received Php30,000 worth of gadgets, pocket WiFis, load cards, and SIM cards while the second and third placers received Php20,000 and Php10,000 worth of communication packages, respectively. The rest of the participating groups were also given consolation prizes. 

Forward with opportunities 

Paint it Forward also paved the way for more opportunities for other teams like Team ‘Legendary’ from Talisay City, Cebu. After winning the contest, the team was hired to do a mural for a commercial building. 

“Chances like these do not always come our way. That was why we really made sure to grab it and made the most out of it,” says Kevin Campos, lead of Team Legendary. “This contest really helped us not just in improving individually, but it also gave us the means to support our families,” he added. After the contest, the team went on to finish three more mural projects. 

“Paint It Forward--this phrase made us think of the enormous challenge we encountered since the outbreak of pandemic. Paint it forward, paint the strength, paint the resiliency, paint the solidarity. This is who we are, this is what we are. My gratitude to Smart, to the artists, to all those who are behind the success of this endeavor. This milestone has showed everyone that in the middle of this seemingly endless battle, we can create our own artwork. We can design success, not in black and white or in shaded parts, but in any color of our united efforts,” says Danao City Vice Mayor Thomas Mark Durano. 

Paint it Forward is part of Smart’s campaign that inspires people to #LiveSmarter for a #BetterWorld. This effort is also aligned with the commitment of PLDT and Smart to support the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nations, particularly Climate Action (SDG 13). 

The following are the first-prize winners from Cebu Province and Davao Region: 

CEBU CITY, CEBU: JCI Zugbuana Chapter (Team Kausaban) 
CONSOLACION, CEBU: CONSOLACION Young Artists Association (Cluster 5) 
LILOAN, CEBU: Glamorous Artsy 
MANDAUE, CEBU: SK Sitio Upper Youth 
TALISAY, CEBU: The Legendary 
MINGLANILLA, CEBU: One Calajo-an Movement and PYAP Mingla Visualize 
CARMEN, DAVAO: Brgy. Ising 
DAVAO CITY, DAVAO: Sta Ana National High School 
DIGOS, DAVAO: Digos City National High School