With a total of P8,810,000 in funds raised for the benefit of children, the special UNICEF Auction for Action with Kenneth Cobonpue becomes the most successful auction organized by UNICEF Special Advocate for Children Daphne Oseña-Paez.
The auction featured six limited-edition Yoda chairs specially designed by Kenneth Cobonpue for the APEC 2015 Economic Leaders’ Welcome Dinner which were sold out within two hours of the live bidding.
“More than the amount we raised, we are also very happy that we were able to use this event as an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of a child’s first 1,000 days of life,” Oseña-Paez said.
The chairs of Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau and United States President Barack Obama earned the highest bids at the auction, fetching P2,050,000 and P2 million respectively. The chair of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III went for P1,550,000 while Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s followed with P1.5M. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s chair earned P1M, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s chair went up to P710,000.
Cobonpue, who was celebrating his birthday on the day of the auction, said the turnout far exceeded his expectations. “I am humbled and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to the chairs. Coincidentally, today is my birthday, and this is one of the best gifts I ever had,” Cobonpue said, “To be able to share it with the children of our country makes it even more meaningful.”
UNICEF’s 1,000 days campaign aims to help children get much-needed support during the first 1,000 days of life, a golden window of opportunity with benefits that last well into adulthood. UNICEF says that investing in a child’s first 1,000 days brings better outcomes for the child. It also lays the foundation for nation-building by reducing expenditures in health and education and providing the country with a quality workforce.
The amount raised will enable UNICEF to help save the lives of over 50,000 children and mothers with the following interventions: immediate treatment for severe acute malnutrition; micronutrient supplementation to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies; and essential prenatal and neonatal care in health centres located in far-flung communities.
A winning bidder shared why he participated in the auction. “I’m doing this for the children. It’s always been my advocacy to help the children, especially those in need, in whatever way I can.”
“We are totally, absolutely overwhelmed! This is way beyond anything we expected,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander says. “We are going to be able to help thousands and thousands of children with the funds raised tonight. Maraming, maraming salamat po!”
This was the fourth installment of UNICEF’s Auction for Action, which Daphne started in 2011, with the first three auctions raising P8.2 million for children’s programs.