Songs and games for peace
ALEOSAN, North Cotabato - Celebrity ambassadors have begun their crusade to promote peace through arts and sports.
Hundreds of residents from Aleosan, North Cotabato, most of whom were forced to flee their homes when trouble erupted after the failure of the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2008, came here to see celebrity peace ambassadors in the covered courts of Barangay San Mateo, Monday, October 29.
The visit comes 3 weeks after the government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement that sets the stage for the setting up of a Bangsamoro region.
"Iisang Pilipino tayo. Iisa lang naman ang lukso ng dugo natin," actor Epi Quizon told the crowd.
Applying his craft as an actor/director/producer to campaign for peace, Quizon will be featuring footages of his first immersion as a peace ambassador in the music video he is directing. The song was composed by fellow peace ambassador, singer Ebe Dancel.
"I'm helping the OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] with promotions. I am using the footage here for the music video that will feature the people and what we're doing here," Quizon said.
Dancel, former vocalist of the band Sugarfree, has composed a song entitled "Iisa" dedicated to the people of Mindanao, which can be downloaded online for free here.
When asked on how he plans to fulfill his role as peace ambassador, Dancel quipped, "Why don't we just express it in a song?"
The song's chorus reads: Kapayapaan ang hinahanap ng puso/Bagong umaga para sa akin at sayo/Abot kamay na magandang kinabukasan/Ngayon na ang panahon para sa kapayapaan.
During the five-hour land trip from General Santos to Aleosan, Dancel and "King of Moro Music" Datu Khomeni came up with an idea to write a song combining the language of Tagalog and Moro.
Khomeni, who prides himself as a Muslim peace ambassador, will also be collaborating with another peace envoy, international rap artist apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas.
"Dinadaan po namin sa kanta dahil kahit mga bata naiintindihan nila, kahit hindi na po natin isa-isang pagsabihan kung anong dapat gawin (We use songs because even children can easily relate to songs.)," he said.
All songs, including a composition by Quizon, will be in an upcoming album to be distributed online. In December, OPAPP is planning to stage a peace concert featuring various artists.
The efforts are part of a plan to spread the message of unity by developing a program for each ambassador, said OPAPP spokesperson and director of communications Polly Cunanan.
"They all have their own audiences. Ebe has his loyal fans who listen to his music. Epi has people who watch his films, his comedy. That's what we're aiming for - to tap each of their talents and audiences," she said.
The ambassadors also took part in a feeding program, a medical mission, and the distribution of footballs to the kids.
Football players Roel Gener and Nestorio Margarse of the Azkals, and Ashley O'Connor of the Malditas, launched a mini-football clinic and showed the kids some basic football skills.
Other peace ambassadors include rapper Gloc 9, singers Christian Bautista and Karylle Tatlonghari, actors Gerald Anderson And Mikael Daez, and actresses Anne Curtis and Meagan Young.
Most of the peace ambassadors hail from Luzon.
Quizon said they had to undergo workshops about the history of the conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, including the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain in 2008 and the 2012 Framework Agreement.
"Iniisa-isa na kami (We were trained one by one). They sent us an email where you have to read about ARMM, MOA-AD. Then I went to the OPAPP office and I had 5 people representing OPAPP who explained to me detail by detail what will happen. Actually, there were around 15 steps. It's not an easy process. It will not happen overnight," he said.
Stressing that much still needs to be done after the signing of the Framework Agreement, Quizon said he is proud to represent his father, the late Rodolfo "Dolphy" Quizon, as he goes out of his way in promoting peace.
"Kaya po nandito kami para sabihin na kung mag-kakaisa tayo, maiimplemento po yung napagusapan (The reason why we're here is to spread the message that if we unite, what was talked about can be implemented). I am not for the government, I am not for the MILF. I am for peace. I represent my father and he is for peace. Siguro isang pangarap din po ng tatay ko na magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa buong Pilipinas (I think it was also one of my father's dreams -- for the entire Philippines to have peace)." he said. - Rappler.com