By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
In the midst of mounting optimism on negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), President Benigno S. Aquino III rallied Filipinos to stand behind peace efforts during the launch of the “I am for Peace” campaign in Malacañang Palace Friday morning.
In his keynote speech, the President noted that despite the differences, “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’).”
“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),” he said.
President Aquino led personalities including world-renowned singer Apl.De.Ap, actress Anne Curtis, composer Noel Cabangon, and Internet icon Ramon Bautista in promoting peace as they pledged their support as National Peace Ambassadors.
Aside from Apl.De.Ap, Curtis, Cabangon and Bautista, other personalities were tapped as National Peace Ambassadors by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), including actors Epy Quizon, Gerald Anderson, Megan Young, and Mikael Daez; musical artists Christian Bautista, Datu Khomeini, Ebe Dancel, and Gloc-9; fashion designers Arnold Galang, and the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines led by its president, JC Buendia; TV personality Rovilson Fernandez, and the members of the Philippine Azkals; and young comedians Kiray and Igi Boy. Actor Derek Ramsey, singer-actress Karylle, performer Sam Concepcion and social media personality Kimpoy Feliciano were also ambassadors but were not present at the rites due to prior engagements.
“Today is a beautiful day for peace,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said as she welcomed new peace partners during the launch.
Deles noted how the gathering “not only have popular, admired, and well-respected celebrities, artists, and athletes, but also established and successful companies who have committed to join our peace campaign that will be launched today.”
“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,” she said.
Also under the “I am for Peace” campaign, which seeks to mobilize various sectors of society to support the peace process, is the “I Choose – Peace” and the “Business Partners for Peace” programs.
During the launch, President Aquino was presented with an official Azkals jersey with the “I am for Peace” logo by the Philippine Azkals, which officially sealed the partnership of the government, through OPAPP, with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) under the “I Choose: Peace” program.
The PFF and the Philippine Azkals are set to hold a sports program for the youth together with OPAPP in hopes of promoting peace to the youth.
Pioneers of the “Business Partners for Peace” which include ABS-CBN Corporation, Golden Arches Development Corporation, Liwayway Marketing Corporation, M Concepts & Style, Philippine Seven Corporation and Zest-O Corporation were presented with plaques. OPAPP is set to tie up with these companies that will 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.”
Other events lined-up by OPAPP for 2012 include the 1Goal for Peace that kicked off last Sept. 2, KaPEACEtahan on Sept. 21, and the I Want Peace Concerts on Sept 28 slated to happen in four areas nationwide, including the National Capital Region (NCR). The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) serves as the events’ official sponsor for the month-long festivities.