NEWSMAKERS (PHOTO - President Aquino). I think there is a difference between “partying” and attending a party, a Christmas party for the men who risk their lives every day to shield the heart of the republic by protecting the President. He wasn’t attending a party thrown by friends, relatives, former classmates or political allies.

He was attending a party of people he owes his life to but who probably have never even shaken his hand, or received a smile from him.

President Aquino knows this. He said yesterday: “The PSG, by nature of the job, is on alert 365 days of the year. Christmas Day is not an exception. Separation from their loved ones is part and parcel of the job and holidays are not exceptions.

The Christmas celebration is meant most especially for the younger members of their families who look forward to this one day where the importance of the family is emphasized. It would be most unfair to deprive them of this singular familial activity.”

The men of the Presidential Security Group live one of the hardest lives on earth. I know because I once worked at Malacañang. They wake up every day ready to take a bullet for the President. Their wives don’t know if they will come home to them at night. P-Noy, who saw PSG men die by his side during the 1987 coup attempts when his mother was President, knows this only too well.

Can you imagine how demoralized the PSG would have been if their commander-in-chief didn’t drop by their Christmas party? And who are we to tell that he wasn’t on top of the rescue and relief efforts in Mindanao even as he shook the hands of the little children of the men of the PSG?

Because he cannot be omnipresent, P-Noy, that one night, had chosen to be with the PSG. Once a year, on one silent night for them, maybe we can give the PSG that honor.


Celebs extend helping hand to 'Sendong' victimsBy ROWENA JOY A.

Big stars, big help: Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Vice Ganda, Kris Aquino, and Karen Davila (Photo from Karen’s Twitter)

MANILA, Philippines – Bayanihan among Filipinos is more palpable these days, with common folks and even local celebrities going out of their way to help victims of Typhoon Sendong (international name Washi).

Top stars of the Kapamilya network—Kris Aquino, Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis, and Angel Locsin—flew on Dec. 19 to Cagayan de Oro, one of the immensely ravaged areas due to Sendong, in order to distribute relief goods.

Through her Twitter account, Kris related feeling “overwhelmed” by the genuine “appreciation of the people.”

“We r inspired because we know we can do much to make our kapamilyas in CDO feel not alone but that we care,” she posted on Dec. 20.

The TV host-actress likewise shared how hands-on they were in packing the relief goods.

“Si anne curtis nag re pack, si vice sa water, angel & me sa care packs. Thank God we brought Pantene, Safeguard, Hapee,” said Kris.

Meanwhile, Anne called out to her over two million Twitter followers to help out in their own ways.

“Just got back from Cagayan de Oro. There's still so many that need help. Let's all try and do what ever we can may it be in cash or kind,” she tweeted on Tuesday.

Like Anne, Philippine Red Cross ambassadress Angel Locsin has been tweeting since Dec. 17 updates on the assistance needed by the typhoon-stricken provinces.

“Sa mga nais pong mag donate in kind, PRC is requesting for cleaning materials, Latrines, Medicines (for tetanus, cough, colds, infections,diarrhea, skin problems) salamat po!” she posted on Dec. 19.

Vice, meanwhile, pleaded: “The people in Cagayan DeOro and Iligan badly need our HELP. WE can help. WE just need to have the WILL to help. Please!”

More help coming

The outpour of aid from celebrities does not end there. Actor, superstar boxer and congressman Manny Pacquiao has pledged donations for the typhoon victims, reported “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Dec. 20.

“Pinapunta ko ‘yung mga tao natin mismo para hindi lang sila magbibigay kundi makatulong pa dun kung anong mga dapat gawin doon,” said he in an interview on “UKG.” Manny’s relief operation, which will be executed before Dec. 23, will include distribution of bottled water and sacks of rice.

The “UKG” report added that this is one of Manny’s first projects as the newly appointed lieutenant colonel of the 1st Sarangani Ready Reserve Battalion.

“...kikilos tayo kung ano'ng magandang gawin at makakatulong sa ating mga kababayan,” added Manny, who celebrated his 33rd birthday via a grand celebration on Dec. 17, the same day that Sendong wrecked parts of the country.

International Filipino-American hip-hop artist apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas is set to personally visit Cagayan de Oro on Dec. 23. In an abs-cbnNEWS.com report, apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda in real life), will participate in the relief operations of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF).

And as part of his “We Can Be Anything” campaign, which pushes for education among the youth, apl.de.ap will also check out the extent of damage in schools.

More, apl.de.ap has asked his friends in the US to join a charity auction on Dec. 20, according to NCAF's statement as cited by abs-cbnNEWS.com.

"Part of the proceeds of this event will go to the flash flood victims in Mindanao," NCAF added.

TV host-actress Ruffa Gutierrez, meanwhile, also vouched her support for typhoon victims in CDO.

“Canceling luxurious gifts to friends & donating to CDO instead. Time to re-think & help others in need. Christmas is all about giving. PAK!”

“There is no greater joy than giving joy to others, no greater inspiration than inspiring others and no greater gift than a selfless heart. ♥” she tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Award-winning actress-comedienne Eugene Domingo is also willing to personally fly to CDO to help hand out relief goods and give joy and inspiration to the residents, added the “UKG” report.

According to reports, death toll from Sendong has risen to 957, which is said to have exceeded the combined recorded deaths during the devastation of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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