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PIA Press Release

Rock Band Bamboo joins UNICEF in "Days of Peace Campaign"

Koronadal, South Cotabato (28 April) -- In a landmark victory in the campaign to deliver the basic rights of every child, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in cooperation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Regional Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), rock band Bamboo and other non-government organizations (NGOs) attended to the basic medical needs of children in some of the remote, conflict-affected areas of ARMM.

The group administered immunization, de-worming treatment and Vitamin A supplementation to the children in the Barangays of Pilar and Pandan in South Upi, Maguindanao - among the highly inaccessible communities in the region, and Barangay Tapayan, Sultan Mastura, Shariff Kabunsuan.

"Conflict should not be an excuse to miss out on these children," said Dr. Nicholas Alipui, UNICEF Representative to the Philippines. He referred to the situation of the children as an injustice, an exclusion that should not be tolerated in the 21st century.

The two-day activity of the group in these areas is part of the first round of the implementation of the "Days of Peace" campaign, launched this month in time with the nationwide observance of the Garantisadong Pambata (GP) campaign of the Department of Health (DOH). The group is slated to do two more rounds this year, on July and October.

ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan said that the magnitude of the problem of the region in delivering basic health and social services requires a creative and forceful response. "We are quite pleased to continuously receive assistance from partners in the donor communities and international organizations," he said.

The "Days of Peace (DoP): Kayang-Kaya, Sama-Sama, Bata Muna" campaign is a landmark undertaking of the UNICEF together with partners in the government and popular artists like rock band Bamboo.The band, composed of Bamboo Maņalac on the vocals, guitarist Ira Cruz, bass guitarist Nathan Azarcon and Vic Mercado on the drums, decided to throw in their support in hope that they can somehow make a difference in improving the lives of children in these areas.

Decades of armed-conflicts have made numerous children in remote communities in the ARMM suffer severe consequences of the lack of basic health and social services.Members of the band were aghast with what they saw - the disparity and the large extent by which years of armed-conflicts and isolation have taken its toll on the lives of people in these areas particularly the children, depriving them even of their basic rights.

Dr. Alipui recounted a mother who carried a child with a severe skin disease. When asked when was the last time she had bathed and put on a soap on the child, the mother only gasped and couldn't recall at all."Change can happen if we stand together," Dr. Alipui said.

Bamboo Maņalac, lead member of the band, was lost for words in describing their experience. "It was very emotional, overwhelming - the way it hits you when you are there.

"The band intends to spread the word, serve as storytellers of the plight of children in areas they have visited thru their music and influence. "By music, we cross boundaries," Bamboo said. (bpi-armm/PIA 12) [top]

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