MANILA, Philippines - What's the best way to make a peace campaign go viral? The Philippine Army thinks it's through a song sung by the country's Pop Princess.
In partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the Optical Media Board (OMB), and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MRTCB), the Army launched its music video "Bayanihan: Para sa Kapayapaan," on Wednesday, November 28 at the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse in Taguig City.
Sarah Geronimo, whose voice gave life to the song, was chosen as the Army's "Bayanihan" ambassador.
Army Lt Lady Chatterly Alvaro-Sumbeling, who composed the song, said she feels that it is also through music that the military can influence Filipinos to strive for peace. Incidentally, Sumbeling is one of the 19 members of the military who in July completed a workshop in basic filmmaking. Read the story on Sumbeling and other military filmmakers here.
"No auditions were held. There was no question about it. Geronimo has good following and reputation," said Col Arnulfo Burgos, military spokesman.
Sarah G is the Army's "Bayanihan" ambassador because she is the perfect model for the youth, remaining humble despite her lofty status. — Philippine Army (@hukbongkatihan) November 28, 2012
"She came from humble beginnings and look at her now (referring to the young star's fame and success)," Sumbeling added.
"She had a 10-M talent fee but when she learned that this was about promoting peace, she offered to do it for free. This also serves as the contribution of the entertainment industry to the peace proccess," according to PCOO Undersecretary Lesley Jeanne Cordero.
"This is a people-centered approach," said Cordero. "We ask people to tag and share (it to) other people on Twitter and Facebook." she added.
The Army has also networked with cinema and theater owners, as well as television and radio media, to help spread the music video. It's not for sale, said Cordero.
The military has been fighting two insurgencies for close to 4 decades now -- the communist and Muslim rebellions. While the communist New People's Army is down to just about 4,000 armed regulars, based on recent estimates, from a peak of 25,000 in the early 1990s, the Army has not quite completely defeated it.
Military strategists have thus shifted their program from combat to civil-military operations such as building roads and schools and organizing the youth, among others.
On the other hand, the Aquino government recently signed a Framework of Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Geronimo's music video is the latest of the military's "peace" projects.
"Bring it with you wherever you go. Get the message across. We're all in this together." said MTRCB's Leah Navarro.
In areas with no access to the Internet, "we have also partnered with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) to help them spread the word" about the music video, according to OPAPP spokesperson Polly Michelle Cunanan.
Watch the music video here:
What do you think of the video? Share your thoughts with us in our comments section.
Want to sing along? Lyrics below:
Bayanihan kaya natin to
Ang tugon sa ating mga pangarap
Magka-isa para matupad
Kapayapaang matagal ng hinahangad
Bawat isa ay may tungkulin
Pangarap ng bansa ay ating abutin
Sa mapayapa at maunlad na Pilipinas
May pagkakaisa't malasakit na wagas
Kaibigan iwan ang sandata
Makulay na kinabukasa'y abot na
Sama-sama para sa republika
Kapayapaang may bigay na pag-asa
Repeat Refrain I
Iisang bansa, iisang diwa, iisang lahi, iisang minimithi
Kung may kapayapaan may kaunlaran
Kung walang labanan lahat makikinabang
Bayanihan para sa atin 'to
Repeat Refrain II
Bayanihan para sa atin 'to