COTABATO (June 22) — Lawmakers from Mindanao have credited young celebrity Kristina Cassandra “KC” Concepcion for her exemplary humanitarian work as the country’s ambassador against hunger.
“We applaud KC for her outstanding efforts to raise public awareness here and abroad of the need for effective solutions to the growing humanitarian needs of Mindanao,” Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Meñdoza said.
“The people of Cotabato and the whole of Mindanao are highly grateful to KC for using her sway as a celebrity to help address widespread hunger and the conflict-induced dislodgment of people,” Taliño-Mendoza said.
She urged donors to “abundantly support” KC’s humanitarian activities.
In her capacity as the United Nations World Food Programme’s Philippine ambassador against hunger, KC has visited the towns of Midsayap and Pikit, both in Taliño-Mendoza’s district.
During her visits, KC, 24, extended food aid to children in a bid to check malnutrition and boost school attendance.
An actress, singer, model, stage actor and video performance artist, KC is the only daughter of Gabby Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta, and had been legally adopted by Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
“KC has definitely helped to raise hope, and inspire others to do their share in easing hunger in Mindanao,” Taliño-Mendoza said.
Hunger, internal displacement and armed conflict all form part of a vicious cycle, according to the Cotabato lawmaker.
“Strife has devastated the livelihood of many people. Harvests have been spoiled. Farming communities have been kept from cultivating land and producing food for their own consumption, thus aggravating hunger,” she said.
Hunger in turn threatens to drive even more people, including those dislocated by conflict, into the arms of rebel groups, she added.
According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), the Philippines had the largest number of “conflict-induced” newly internally displaced people in 2008.
The IDMC said that last year, some 600,000 people fled fighting between the Philippine military and rebel groups in Mindanao. They accounted for 13 percent of the 4.6 million newly internally displaced people around the world in 2008.
Besides the Philippines, the IDMC also noted massive new internal displacements in Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Pakistan, Colombia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and India.
The IDMC is a unit of the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent, humanitarian non-governmental organization providing aid, protection and durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide.