“You and I, all of us should find a viable solution for lasting peace in our country. That is my bottomline. I add my voice to the One Million Voices for Peace Campaign in The Philippines.”

Thus said Philippine showbiz’ “King of Talk” Boy Abunda as he officially endorsed the One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines (OMVP) campaign calling for a political settlement to the armed conflicts in the country that was launched recently by the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a regional non-government organization based in Davao City.

Abunda, host of the popular showbiz program “The Buzz” and the no-nonsense “Bottomline” talk show explained that in understanding peace, it is also important to understand the culture and traditions of people. “The Bottomline” just won the prestigious “Best Talk Show” for 2011 at the recent Asian TV Awards for its episode on Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangundadatu besting other shows in the region including CNN’s seminal Talk Asia.

Abunda, who also holds a master’s degree in International Relations on Public Diplomacy, promised to help the campaign by likewise seeking the support of his fellow celebrities in the call for a peaceful, negotiated settlement with rebel groups in the country. While saying that the conflict in Mindanao is “extremely nuanced”, Abunda called on his followers to add their voices to the campaign for peace.

The OMVP campaign aims to gather “voices” of people from all over the Philippines and in other countries to signify their desire for an end to the conflict in the country and for the conflict actors to work for a peaceful, just and comprehensive political settlement to their armed conflict.

The “voices” can be expressed in different forms: signatures to the campaign petition, “likes” in a Facebook account and website of the campaign (www.onemillionvoicesforpeace.org,) twits, photos, blogs, articles or any other multi-media platform.

Specifically, the OMVP campaign seeks to raise the awareness of the Filipino people about the necessity for a peaceful settlement to the country’s conflicts, broaden and galvanize a peace constituency in the country, broaden international solidarity support for peace in the Philippines and provide the main conflict actors with a tangible form of support for the peace process.

Gus Miclat, IID Executive Director said, “we recognize the power of celebrities and artists not just in the field of entertainment but also in the arena of public advocacy such as the issue of peace. It is a great honor for us to have Boy Abunda as one of our principal endorsers because we respect and value his opinion and stance on various social issues. He can easily influence public opinion, and thus could help galvanize citizen’s actual participation in the peace process”.

Abunda met with Miclat and IID Program Manager Jude Cabusao and Program Officer Isagani Abunda III after his show last Sunday at the dressing room of his bosom friend popular actress and Presidential sister Kris Aquino at the ABS-CBN network compound. The two Abundas discovered that they were related.

In a free-wheeling exchange with the IID team for almost two hours, Abunda engaged his non-showbiz guests on issues ranging from geo-politics, family and religion. Abunda currently reads a book authored by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright which he brings to the set of “The Buzz”.

IID said that achieving a negotiated political settlement to the armed conflict between the main conflict actors – the Government of the Philippines (GPH) on one hand, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front ( NDF) on the other – is crucial to move towards genuine development.

According to IID, the decades-long communist-led insurgency and the Bangsa Moro struggle for self-determination in Mindanao have bled the country of much-precious resources, snuffed thousands of young bright lives and scuttled national development. In the Mindanao conflict alone, more than 120,000 persons have been killed and more than PHP270 billion have been wasted which could have been invested to build all the classrooms to educate our youth, created jobs for the unemployed and fed our hungry denizens.

Fore more details about the One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines, please visit: www.onemillionvoicesforpeace.org