Mel Tiangco is glad that volunteerism in showbiz is very much alive

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The GMA Kapuso Foundation believes in star power. Celebrities have helped the organization in attracting more donors and volunteers. And it doesn't matter whether they do it with sincerity or just for publicity. The head of Channel 7's socio-civic arm says, "Yung pagtulong sa tao, you have it in you."


"It is something very personal to them. Asa sa kanila na yun, e. I will not question their motives," said GMA Kapuso Foundation Vice President Mel Tiangco about celebrities who have been helping out in disaster relief, as well as in the Foundation's annual projects and activities.

PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had the chance to chat with Tita Mel, the broadcaster's popular nick name, during the press conference for Kapuso Foundation held last Tuesday, April 6, at The Old Spaghetti House on Sgt. Esguerra St.

She added, "They come and they want to help. Makikita mo rin naman kung sino yung talagang [sincere]. Hindi pa kami nag-uumpisa, nand'yan na sila Ogie [Alcasid], may dala na kung anong kailangan—mga damit, tubig... Makikita mo rin naman, magte-text sa'yo, 'Anong kailangan mo, Tita Mel?'"

The Kapuso Foundation regularly calls in celebrities who may want to volunteer in the organization's monthly activities. "Meron kaming tinatawag na pool of network artists na regular na ini-invite namin," said Programs Development Manager Marivic F. Calixto, in a separate interview. "Especially with the kids, sila BJ Forbes usually nagjo-join yan sa mga activities. Yung mga other artists ng Talent Center kapag may mga special programs kami, karamihan yung sa Starstruck, mga teenagers," she told PEP.

She also named matinee idol Dingdong Dantes as a regular volunteer.

UPCOMING PROJECTS. For this quarter, the Foundation is set to start a number of proposed projects. "This week, may Kalusugan Karavan kami in Cebu and Ms. Mel will be joning that," said Calixto in the same interview. The Kalusugan Karavan is the roaming medical mission of the Foundation that reaches out to depressed communities in far-flung areas where basic health services are not readily available.

In addition, the Foundation will also be kicking off the Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan, the yearly school opening project for Grade 1 pupils in public elementary schools. "It's a school supplies distribution [project]," Calixto added. "So by this month, magsa-start na kami ng repacking and we will be calling volunteers. We have a warehouse where we conduct the repacking." This year, over 45,000 children from targeted provinces all over the Philippines are earmarked to receive backpacks full of school materials.

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The Foundation has also responded to the urgent call to rebuild and repair school buildings through their Kapuso School Rehabilitation Project. They have targeted 20 schools as recipients for 2010, all of which are set for completion just in time for the resumption of classes this June. "Meron pa kaming due na turnover ng schools. Dalawa dun this April," continued Calixto.

Other projects by the Kapuso Foundation include Give-A-Gift: Alay sa Batang Pinoy; Give-A-Gift: Surgical; Give-A-Gift: Feed-A-Child; Sagip Dugtong Buhay; Kapuso Para Sa Kalikasan; Kapuso 20-20 Vision; Ngiting Kapuso; and Linis Lusog Kids (in partnership with UNICEF).

Aspiring volunteers may get in touch with the Foundation by calling 982.7777 loc. 9901 / 9904 / 9905 or sending an email to gmaf@gmanetwork.com.


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