MANILA, Philippines - A team of celebrities joined the quest for peace in the Philippines as part of a new campaign to rally more support for the negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“Samahan ninyo ako: ihatid natin sa mas mapayapang bukas ang bawat Pilipino (Join me and together, let us create a more peaceful future for every Filipino),” Aquino said during his keynote speech in Malacañang Palace on Friday, September 14.
The President noted that despite the differences between both sides, “nagkakaisa tayong tumataya upang manaig ang kapayapaan, at ipagsigawan sa bawat sulok ng ating bayan na "I am for Peace" (we are one in having a stake on peace, and in proclaiming in every corner of our country that 'I am for Peace').”
New ambassadors for peace
"I am for Peace" is precisely the slogan for the campaign joined by personalities such as Black Eyed Peas band member Apl.de.ap, actress Anne Curtis, composer Noel Cabangon or Internet icon Ramon Bautista.
Actors Epy Quizon, Gerald Anderson, Megan Young, and Mikael Daez, and musical artists Christian Bautista, Datu Khomeini, Ebe Dancel, and Gloc-9 were also tapped as National Peace Ambassadors by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
Other personalities joining the "I am for Peace" campaign are fashion designer Arnold Galang, the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines led by its president, JC Buendia; TV personality Rovilson Fernandez, the members of the Philippine Azkals; and young comedians Kiray and Igi Boy.
Also inducted as ambassadors but not present at the ceremony were actor Derek Ramsey, singer-actress Karylle, performer Sam Concepcion and social media personality Kimpoy Feliciano.
During the launch, Aquino was presented with an official Azkals jersey with the “I am for Peace” logo by the Philippine Azkals.
The national football team, alongside the Philippine Azkals, are set to hold the "I Choose: Peace" sports program for the youth in the troubled South supported by the OPAPP.
Celebrities support peace
“Today is a beautiful day for peace,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said as she gave a warm welcome to the new ambassadors.
She noted that the “not only have popular, admired, and well-respected celebrities, artists, and athletes, but also established and successful companies have committed to join our peace campaign."
“We are glad to say that what was once a few will now become many. May this be the start of another lifelong partnership that will bring change and empower our nation amidst difficulties and tribulations,” Deles said.
The government and the MILF hope to sign a peace agreement aimed at ending a rebellion that's based largely in central Mindanao. The talks are being held amid attacks by a breakaway faction of the MILF called the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement.
Business also on board
Apart from celebrities and athletes, the business sector is also being rallied in support of peace.
The government's new “Business Partners for Peace” include the ABS-CBN television network, Golden Arches Development Corporation, Liwayway Marketing Corporation, M Concepts & Style, Philippine Seven Corporation and Zest-O Corporation.
OPAPP will tie up with these companies, committed to carry peace as their advocacy through their products and service.
The launch of the “I am for Peace” campaign is part of OPAPP's observance this year of the 9th National Peace Consciousness Month with the theme “Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan,” sponsored by the the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. - Rappler.com