MANILA, Philippines– Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares both accepted the ALS “ice bucket challenge;” an awareness and fund-raising camapaign for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease.
On Tuesday, the two senior officials of the Aquino administration concede to having buckets of ice-cold water poured over their heads, as instigated by online efforts for the benefit of the degenerative nerve ailment, which also goes by the Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The ice bucket challenge has become an international phenomenon, with celebrities and famous personalities – political and otherwise – the world over accepting the challenge and donating money towards the advancement of ALS research and treatment. Thus far, the social media drive has generated a whopping US $ 88.5 million, from July 29-August 26; a mind-blowing amount, compared with US $2.6 million raised in the whole of 2013.
“I’m taking this challenge for a worthy cause so here we go. Go!” De Lima – dressed in her office clothes and signature shawl – said, as she sat on a chair near the flagpole at the Department of Justice quadrangle and signaled two of her aides to douse her with a bucket each of icy water.
Soaked to the skin and more than a tad chilly, despite the warm cheers of the Justice Department staff, De Lima in turn nominated Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas to accept the challenge.
“I hope they will accept my challenge. Many have already accepted the challenge all over the globe. That’s why I tell others; take the challenge, too, because it’s for a worthy cause. We can all help,” De Lima said.
De Lima likewise committed to make a donation of $100 to an institution involved in ALS research.
Henares, on the other hand, donned an Ateneo de Manila hoodie sweat pants for the challenge; quipping thus: “It was a choice between Ateneo and La Salle. I chose Ateneo so (President Aquino) wouldn’t tease me about it.”
Henares earned degrees from both universities; having taken up accountancy at De La Salle University and law at Ateneo.
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada turned down the challenge posed to him by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.
“Why? I don’t need to wash myself. Maybe it’s him (Singson) who needs it. He has many sins,” Estrada said, in a joking manner.
He added that there was no reason for him to do the ALS challenge, as he is already actively supporting other charities.
“That challenge is just for show. It’s just for show-offs. I have many charities,” he proudly claimed.