OPINION: UN PEACE ENVOY ROBIN AND PGMA PEACE ENVOY PACMAN
I just read the news about Robin Padilla being open to the proposition of mediating between the warring political clans in Maguindanao. Indeed, I am impressed since he is not a politician and he is not even thirsty for fame because he is already famous. He is just doing his role as an "AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE" of the United Nation’s Action on Conflict and Transformation for Peace.
I wonder what Manny Pacquiao has to say about the Maguindanao Massacre and the issue on political clans being an appointed AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Maguindanao is almost near his province and I am sure that if people in Luzon and Visayas care enough, he should be concerned as well for the law and order in Mindanao.
If a local actor not having any intention or inclination to politics can offer himself to Mindanao Peace Process, I am sure that the People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao who is eyeing a congressional seat this coming 2010 Election should be caring enough to promote peace and order in Mindanao. He need not be told. It is not politicking if people will get to see you out helping people less the clamor for recognition.
ANOTHER OPINION: THE REAL FILIPINO HEROES
Look at our CNN HERO OF THE YEAR Efren Peñaflorida. In his own little ways and means, he was able to put our country on top of other nations with pride and honor not because he was a good puncher or an athlete doing his profession for fame and money but because he was out in the street for years educating the less fortunate kids initially uncompensated, unrecognized but with great honor.
Efren Peñaflorida was doing his own contribution to the society not because it is his professional job to teach nor it is a bread and butter for him but because he wanted to uplift the lives of his countrymen by educating the kids who cannot afford to go to school. While some are enjoying fame, honor and perks showered by the public for winning bouts, he is pushing his cart to reach the poor.
I am not against the People’s Champ. Besides, I am a fan as well but I do not think that he is a NATIONAL HERO to consider because like any athlete doing his own sports and competing in his own matches, no one wants to fight and end up a loser. Remove all the prize money and the title perhaps, would someone fight alone just for his own country’s pride? I don’t think so. Thus, promoters negotiate for the pot! Right?
I admire Robin Padilla and Efren Peñaflorida plus all the other not-so-famous Filipinos who are giving their time and effort to help people less the need for credits and media exposure. I admire the brave journalists, bloggers and even ordinary citizens shouting for justice and peace amidst threat and hardship. I admire the youth of today who continue to take their own stand on national issues.
For me, Manny Pacquiao is but just another proud Filipino professional athlete winning his titles as how he was trained for. This may have added us pride since his victory tagged his nationality but until we all get to see what he has done to his own people and to his own country given his fortune, he remains a champion but not a hero in my eyes. More than his feats and his close relation to the president, he’s just an athlete.
CONCLUSION: JUST MY TWO CENTS… AND IT’S NOT PERSONAL!
A hero is often seen as someone who sacrifices for the greater good of the nation. Ninoy Aquino has sacrificed his political career, luxury of life and family to fight for freedom. Thus, he deserves his title! Heroes are not housed in mansions and pampered by women while collecting luxury cars. Heroes have their own principles. They will never side with the oppressor and dictator for safety.
To conclude, I am proud of the few good men working to fight hunger and poverty. I am proud of all the people trying to shout their condemnation of political violence and media killing openly to the public. I am proud of those who took their own stand to seek justice for the Maguindanao Massacre. They may not be as famous and as rich but they are THE REAL FILIPINO HEROES OF TODAY! Mabuhay kayo!
ROBIN OFFERS TO MEDIATE MINDANAO CLAN FEUDS
By Tito N. Fiel, Orlando Dinoy
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—Actor Robin Padilla, who is an "ambassador for peace" of the United Nation’s Action on Conflict and Transformation for Peace, said he was willing to mediate in clan feuds in Mindanao, including in Maguindanao, but added that warlords should be disarmed first.
Padilla spoke before an Interfaith forum held at the Elena Hotel here Friday.
“I was asked if I was willing to go to Maguindanao. Seriously I am more than willing to go if my presence is needed there so that warring clans make peace with each other,” said the actor, a convert to Islam.
Padilla was referring to the clan war between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus.
On November 23, several Mangudadatu clan members, their supporters and at least 30 journalists were killed by a group of armed men allegedly led by Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao.
At least 64 people are known to have been killed in the carnage based on the number of bodies found strewn about on a grassy field and buried in a mass grave in Maguindanao.
Padilla, who once served time for illegal possession of firearms, said peace was possible only if if nobody points a gun at anybody.
“The manifestation of peace is a gunless society,” he said in Filipino.
Padilla later told reporters he hoped “no efforts will be spared to prosecute those responsible for the Maguindanao carnage so that justice will be served to the families of the victims.”
Padilla said it was a shame that the incident took place when Mindanao was celebrating the Week of Peace.
“Warlords should be disarmed so that peace will reign,” he said.
Padilla also quoted a Koranic verse saying all people belong to one family and that there was no need to fight each other, when he called for unity among Mindanaoans.
In Digos City, Muslims also urged warring families to stop the violence, saying innocent civilians were always at the losing end.
Officials of the Davao del Sur Agama Islamic Center cited the Maguindanao carnage as one example of unarmed individuals being caught in conflicts.
Ibrahim Rimakuta, an official of the center, said the massacre was unspeakable and has to be condemned.
Alimun Dimapundog, another Muslim leader, said if only politicians learned to live by the teachings of the Koran and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s teachings), there would be no violence.
He blamed hunger for power as the culprit in the Maguindanao massacre.
PACMAN AS PEACE ENVOY
Written by BEN CAL
“The appointment of boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao as ‘ambassador for peace and understanding’ will greatly help the government’s peace process.”
This was the statement of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Avelino I. Razon Jr. after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday named Pacquiao as envoy for peace.
Razon said Pacquiao’s appointment was timely as the government is vigorously pursuing to resume the stalled peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
“It is my belief that Pacquiao, a boxing hero, can contribute greatly to the peace process, considering his popularity and influence to the Filipino people, including the rebels,” Razon said.
Peace talks with the NPA bogged down in 2004 after the United States tagged the NPA as a foreign terrorist organization.
On the other hand, negotiations with the MILF collapsed in August last year following the aborted signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) which was declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
But Razon said the government will never give up on peace, saying that “Pacquiao will be an asset to the peace process,” Razon said.
The President named Pacquiao “as ambassador for peace and understanding” during his visit to Malacanang where he was given a hero’s welcome as the best “pound-for-pound” boxer in the world after he knocked out British champion Ricky Hatton in the second round in their title fight in Las Vegas last May 3.
During a victory party in Malacanang, the President congratulated Pacquiao for his outstanding performance in the ring arena that has brought honors to the entire Filipino people.
Source: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON PEACE PROCESS
PENAFLORIDA ARRIVES TO A HERO’S WELCOME
By Nina Catherine Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida arrived in the country on Wednesday night, somehow helping uplift the country’s mood soured by the slaughter of at least 57 people, including more than 20 journalists, in Maguindanao on Monday.
Beaming while holding the CNN plaque, Peñaflorida was welcomed by a hundred students and Dynamic Teen Co. (DTC) co-teachers, who screamed and waved Philippine flaglets upon seeing him.
They mobbed, hugged and kissed him, while chanting “Kuya Ef” and “Bayani!”
Reacting to the roaring crowd, a woman at the airport said, “Wow, it was pure joy!”
CNN honored him for starting a “pushcart classroom” to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership.
He created a program that brings books to children in slums and on the streets. His DTC has brought reading, writing and hygiene to 1,500 children.
Clad in T-shirt and jeans, Peñaflorida arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via Northwest flight (NW281) at 11:25 p.m.
The 28-year-old native of Cavite City will be receiving the Order of Lakandula from President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Resolutions in the Senate and other provinces to honor his deeds have also been passed.
Unlike the hero’s welcome for boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, the CNN Hero said on Wednesday night that he was expecting ordinary days ahead except that he was scheduled to meet Ms Arroyo in Malacañang for a courtesy call.
“I will still push carts. Don’t think Kuya Ef has changed. I just represent all the selfless and hardworking Filipinos,” Peñaflorida said.
His mother Lucila said no feast would await him at home.
“We don’t have money. What Efren got from the award was not his,” Lucila said but she kept reiterating how proud she was of her son.
Lucila, who earns money from repacking fish crackers in the market, said that what the family earned was just enough for their daily needs.
“He knows that. And he might get mad at us if we prepare a lavish treat,” she said.
Peñaflorida said he would build a Center for Learning somewhere that would be accessible to street children.
He said 90 percent of the $125,000 cash prize he bagged from the CNN award would go to DTC for its expansion, while 10 percent would be donated to the Church. He received $100,000 for being named CNN Hero of the Year and $25,000 for earlier making it to the top 10 CNN Heroes.
“We are happy to say that the pushcart classrooms have been replicated in various places in Metro Manila, Bacolod, Zamboanga, and as far as Kenya and Indonesia,” Peñaflorida said.
He said the CNN award served as an inspiration for Filipinos with hearts for heroism. “We just need to open our eyes and hearts for those who need help the most,” he said.
A full-time teacher at the Palm Ridge School in Cavite, the CNN hero remains a bachelor with no girlfriend at 28 years old. “There were no sacrifices at all because this is a calling and I enjoy helping the kids,” he said.
Asked about his reaction to the massacre of civilians and journalists in Maguindanao, Peñaflorida said he was not aware of the killings while he was abroad until a CNN employee told him about it.
“A (staffer) of the CNN was the one who first told me. And I was really shocked and saddened,” he told the Inquirer.
An employee at the NAIA terminal said Peñaflorida’s arrival might change the country’s mood at least briefly.
On Friday, Penaflorida is expected to get a hero’s welcome in his home-province, Cavite.
Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi, who also welcomed Peñaflorida at the airport, said the provincial government would donate P1 million for Peñaflorida’s pushcart classrooms.
Maliksi has also offered Peñaflorida a job at the provincial capitol as consultant for education.