"War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing," sang Edwin Starr, protesting protesting
the Vietnam War in the 60's. One might say the same thing about the decades-long conflict in Mindanao, which has brought
little political change, but has instead wrought generations of misery, which children as the main victims.
got the word from local UNICEF officials that they've launched "Days of Peace in Mindanao,"
a program for delivering basic services for children in conflict-affected communities. Signed up as the musical ambassadors
for the campaign are Gary Valenciano and the band Bamboo.
Launched last Monday, April
16, the campaign has these music stars rubbing shoulders with UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund) officials, Health
Secretary Francisco Ducque III, Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process, and Dr. Abbas Candao, chairman of the Bangsamoro Development Agency.
The two artists lent their star power to the campaign and launch event last April 16 at a press conference held at the
Discovery Suites on ADB Avenue in Mandaluyong. Valenciano is incidentally the UNICEF National Ambassador in the Philippines.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that Bamboo will be going to Mindanao on Aoril 23 and 24 to observe the program being
The Associated Press describes the campaign as a "landmark deal" between UNICEF and Muslim rebels. Al
Jah Murad, chairman of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a 2003 cease-fire
with the government to pave the way for Malaysian-brokered peace talks, is quoted by the wire service as saying that the health
campaign should be seen "as a component (of) and tied up to the ongoing peace process."