The Queen of Emotions Moira dela Torre still delivers ‘hugot’ songs that have earned her the top spot among the most-streamed Filipino artists on Spotify. With millions of followers on her social media accounts, Moira has become one of the most recognized faces in the local entertainment industry.
But her latest contribution to “Sabi Nila,” the World Psoriasis Day 2021 Philippines United campaign video, puts her sensitive qualities to a whole new level. She immensely helps turn the emotional plea behind the video into a fighting call for the disheartened and despairing to rise up to a challenge.
Many do not know that Moira has been battling psoriasis since her high school days. Psoriatic disease is characterized by red itchy scaly patches visible on the skin. Up to 30% of individuals develop inflammatory and disabling arthritis. Several co-morbid conditions associated with psoriasis include cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, and depression.
Psoriasis also sometimes referred to as psor carries a strong stigma on patients. Most of them prefer to hide their conditions for fear of being ostracized and disliked by society that puts a high premium on flawless skin. It can also put a patient at a disadvantage in job prospects, and arguably, those that deal with the affairs of the heart.
In the “Sabi Nila” video, Moira starts to untangle myths about psoriasis to set the record straight.
Against background music that’s both chilly and weepy, Moira goes, “Nung malaman nila na may psoriasis ako, sabi nila ah galis lang yan.”
Various other patients described by how long they’ve had psor, voice out misconceptions about the skin disease like “Nanuno raw ako”, “Sa hangin daw nakukuha,” “Lumayo ako, baka nakakahawa yung balat ko” and the cruelest insult, “Sabi nila, wala raw akong kasama sa labang ito.”
In the final frame, Moira puts the myths in their proper place, declaring sternly: “Sabi ko, nandyan kayo. Panahon para itama lahat ng sabi-sabi. Kami naman ang pakinggan niyo.”
The underlying subtext is that she wishes to dispel the myths surrounding the disease which are mere hearsays that have been passed from one source to another. These unfounded and false assumptions about the disease form the barriers that patients face as stigma and it’s about time the rest of the world disabuse themselves of the foremost grave mistake because psor is neither communicable nor infectious.
The “Sabi Nila” video was produced by Psoriasis Philippines aka Psorphil, a duly SEC-registered and globally-recognized organization that represents the interests of the millions of Filipinos believed to be suffering in silence with psoriasis.
According to the latest Psoriasis Atlas, there are at least 65 million people around the world suffering from psoriatic disease. In the absence of real data, key opinion leaders have assigned that 1-2% of the population in a tropical country like the Philippines. That is easily 1 to 2 Million Filipinos.
Josef De Guzman, founder and president of Psorphil, said that Moira’s presence on the “Sabi Nila” video provides a face that most viewers can relate to. He explained, “The status of Moira as a popular and well-known celebrity provides sparkle to our advocacy. Her millions of followers, for example, would know about our plight so awareness about the disease may just improve significantly.
“Alam nyo, napakataas ng stigma about psoriatic disease dahil kitang kita sya sa balat eh. Mahirap itago. If we can start transforming the public’s perception of the disease, starting with Moira’s legions of fans, then we already hit our main objective.”
He also shared that even after passing the Psoriasis Resolution at the World Health Assembly in 2014, the majority of patients remain to have little or no access to medical care and treatment. The pandemic has added to the burden of the disease. Deaths from complications of uncontrolled illness and the alarming rise in suicidal ideation from 14% to 24% are significant concerns that require urgent attention.
Psorphil is currently focusing much of its attention and resources on the passage into law of the Psoriasis Bill. The Bill seeks mainly to respond to the needs of indigent psor patients who have no means to maintain a life-long care for a chronic, debilitating disease.