THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE: Project LAAN

Last June, The GUIDON published a feature on Project LAAN as one of its five “newsmakers” for the year 2016.

Originally Published in The Guidon Graduation Magazine, 26 June 2016.

By Ennah A. Tolentino

The legend is this: Project LAAN started in 2011 when a professors asked his class, “Do you just want to study the problems of the health system, or do you want to do something about it?” Since then, the organization has worked on fighting poverty through health– their advocacy in sum.

Project LAAN’s main focus has been raising money to provide their partner families with PhilHealth memberships, ensuring that their potential health expenditures were covered by the government. However, with a new law that affords health insurance to up to the lowest 40% of the population in terms of income, we find Project LAAN at a shift in their story.

Their current goal is to concentrate on health literacy, or “educating and empowering partner families to be able to process health information and make decisions about their own health,” explains Celina Gacias, outgoing vice president for advocacy.

Their current goal is to concentrate on health literacy, or “educating and empowering partner families to be able to process health information and make decisions about their own health,” explains Celina Gacias, outgoing vice president for advocacy.

It seems that the group has managed to execute both in stellar fashion. The organization went big on its last year of focusing on fundraisers with their night neon run LUX, and their finals week care packages. The fun run, especially, one of Project LAAN’s biggest projects to date, attracted people from outside the Ateneo community and expanded the advocacy’s reach. The organization has also emphasized the combination of disciplines in order to better present health to their partner families and to the student body. Their HealthxDesign case studies, for example, show how innovative design solutions are utilized by the health sector.

This interdisciplinarity has long been part of Project LAAN’s advocacy. The mantra of “health for all” does not only stand for those who should benefit, but also for those who can make an impact. While health is most prominently related to doctors, other professions play a key role as well.

This interdisciplinarity has long been part of Project LAAN’s advocacy. The mantra of “health for all” does not only stand for those who should benefit, but also for those who can make an impact. While health is most prominently related to doctors, other professions play a key role as well.

Outgoing Vice President for Member Management David Garcia says that in order for the organization and the health sector to grow, it needs to have new discourses coming in from different perspectives. His fellow executive board member Todd Lazaro, outgoing vice president for branding and communications, says, “You can be a designer, you can be a sociologist…meron pa ring mapupuntahan, meron pa ring mabibigay, malalaan for health (You can be a designer, you can be a sociologist…there is still somewhere that we can go, there is still something we can be given, to be provided for health).”

Indeed, the organization started with a group of 30 or so Health Sciences majors and has expanded to around 200 students from various courses united by an earnest interest in public health.

Outgoing Vice President for Monitoring and Evaluations Colleen Yu said being in Project LAAN has made her aware of the problems of the health system. She once saw a woman bring her sick child on the Light Rail Transit to beg for hospital money. This scene only reflects the problem that there are still people being refused treatment because they cannot afford it. Project LAAN continues to fight for universal health coverage, because not everyone has access to health care when it is a right, not a privilege.

The work they do is an invitation to love and to give.


Photo by Ella A. Eralino
With reports from Henna O. Yu

We thank Frances P. Sayson, Editor-in-Chief of The GUIDON, for giving us permission to publish the article on our accounts.