Pia visits wounded heroes
MISS Universe Pia Wurtzbach on Wednesday took time out from her busy schedule to visit the “Heroes Ward” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center, where 36 battle-injured soldiers are confined.
Wearing a blue lace mini and her Miss Universe crown, Wurtzbach flitted from one bedridden soldier to another, shaking their hands, spending a few minutes asking after each one, gamely posing for photos with them, and personally handing out loot bags containing a commemorative shirt.
“She told me to get well,” said Cpl. Arcel Pajarob, 23. “Of course, I was excited. That will only happen once in my life. It just so happened I got hit, that’s why I met her,” he said, grinning, in Filipino.
Pajarob has been confined in the hospital since May last year, after being wounded in his right leg in an encounter with communist rebels in Surigao, and is awaiting further surgeries.
He said his “morale” for his recovery was greatly enhanced by the visit from his “kababayan” from Cagayan de Oro, referring to Wurtzbach.
“All the soldiers confined here at the Heroes Ward were wounded in battle,” said AFP Medical Center public information officer Col. Maria Victoria Juan. “And now, they are so happy, because they idolize our Miss Universe. They see the same determination in her to fight for our country.”
After the Heroes Ward, Wurtzbach was ushered into a conference room where she met with some 20 HIV advocates and young people living with HIV—some coming from as far as Cebu. HIV awareness is one of Wurtzbach’s pet advocacies.
The dialogue was arranged by Unicef, which has welcomed Pia as “a new champion for children and young people who are at risk of HIV.”
“Her influence can help end the silence against this ‘hidden epidemic’ that is happening in our midst,” said Unicef Philippines representative Lotta Sylwander in a statement.
In the same statement, Wurtzbach was quoted as saying she wants to end the stigma against people living with HIV.