Peace envoy Gerald Anderson skipped trip for historic peace deal signingBy Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Celebrity peace ambassador Gerald Anderson canceled an out-of-town trip just to be at Malacañang last October 15 for the signing of the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to create a Moro homeland.
In a rare occasion, Anderson, one of the country’s hottest young stars, was barely noticed at the jam-packed Heroes’ Hall where more than 500 people, led by President Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, witnessed the historic event.
The chairmen of the negotiating panels—Marvic Leonen for the government and Mohagher Iqbal for the MILF—signed the historic document.
“I felt it was a day of celebration. It is a stepping stone for everyone to have peace. It was also a very emotional day. I felt the joy, excitement and happiness from everyone in the room. I couldn’t help but become teary-eyed from the magical moment that happened,” Anderson said in a press statement released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process on Thursday.
Anderson was tapped by the OPAPP to be a pro bono celebrity peace envoy. Anderson stressed that the signing of the framework agreement was only the first step toward the full realization of having peace in Mindanao.
“We all have to come together so this will go through and we will all live in peace,” Anderson said.
Another OPAPP peace envoy, Datu Khomeini Camsa Bansuan, known as the King of Moro Songs, was exuberant “as a Moro and as a Filipino” as he witnessed the signing in Malacañang.
Admitting that he got quite emotional last Monday, he described the ceremony as the “most productive historic event that I have ever witnessed as a Moro and as a Filipino.”
“Let us laud ourselves for keeping our faith and for believing that anything is possible. At last, the war in Mindanao will be put to end and peace will reign. There will be no more children evacuees but children who can freely go to school without fear and worry,” Bansuan said in the OPAPP statement.
Other celebrities who attended the signing ceremony were actor Epi Quizon; Aly Borromeo, captain of the Philippine national football team Azkals; and fashion designer JC Buendia, who noticed how everyone smiled and that even men “shed happy tears” at the Heroes Hall.
“The euphoria was infectious… It felt like Christmas,” Buendia said.
Of course, presidential sister Kris Aquino was the most noticeable show-biz celebrity at the event, catching the eye even of MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim, who made special mention of her as he greeted the VIPs in the hall before reading his prepared speech at the signing ceremony.