Pacquiao, Tessa Prieto, Cesar Montano named ambassadors against hunger

International humanitarian group Global Village Champions Foundation (GVCF) on Wednesday named their newest Asian goodwill ambassadors against hunger, among them People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao. GVCF, which advocates eradicating hunger through humanitarian relief and feeding programs, also named socialite Tessa Prieto-Valdes, actors Cesar Montano and Alvin Anson as its Philippine goodwill ambassadors. Representatives of the GVCF, led by its founder Yank Barry, arrived in the Philippines mid-February together with former heavy weight champion Evander Holyfield. They were here to provide 2 million meals for typhoon victims of Pablo. The typhoon battered the southern Philippines late last year and took the lives of more than 1,000 people. The Global Village Champions Foundation introduced their Asian goodwill ambassadors (L to R) Camilla Sundman, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, GVCF founder Yank Barry, Cesar Montano and Alvin Anson. Photo by Rouchelle R. Dinglasan “I would like to thank Evander Holyfield and Yank Barry for personally coming to the Philippines, especially to my province to help me feed the typhoon victims and the needy,” Sarangani Rep. Pacquiao said in a statement. Apart from Sarangani, the group also conducted screenings for the feeding program in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, which were hardest hit by the typhoon. The current Mindanao feeding program adds to the 900 million documented meals already provided by GVCF

since 1993. Based on its 20-year program operation, the international humanitarian group aims to serve 1-billion meals before the year ends. In a press conference, Barry said that he chose to lend a hand to Filipino typhoon victims, as he would like to “help victims without a voice.” He added that Pablo survivors “have less than nothing.” “[Those hit by] Typhoon Pablo is in worse shape than Fukushima in Japan,” Barry Lamented. A huge tsunami struck the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan on March 2011, killing nearly 16,000 with 3,300 still unaccounted for. The Canadian philanthropist, who is also a former musician, also challenged Filipinos, especially private sector leaders, to help raise money for Pablo victims. “I challenge CEOs, whatever you raise here, I will match.” Pledges Meanwhile, Barry was appalled that the Philippine government, rather than helping GVCF's efforts to feed typhoon victims, was instead throwing up stumbling blocks. “There are two million meals sitting on the New York dock because the government asked [the group] for $70,000 for tax,” he said. Those who attended the Global Village Champions Foundation’s press conference were fed the same hot meal that will be served in the feeding programs. The porridge is made from organic soya beans. Photo by Rouchelle R. Dinglasan However, Wally Sumbero, GVCF Asia head, explained that the government’s hands were also tied regarding tax exemptions. “May proseso ang gobyerno for tax exemption,” he said. He clarified that the group was not looking for an exemption, but rather was asking the government to help expedite the procedure. For his part, newly designated Philippine goodwill ambassador Cesar Montano hoped President Benigno Aquino III would look into the matter. “I pledge to support you all the way... I am knocking on the door of the government to support [us in this endeavor]… Mr. President please help us.” Prieto-Valdes promised to donate the proceeds from her annual Red Cross ball to the organization. She said that she may also organize a concert to “send the message across [and to] get the word out.” She added that a concert will also be a “hip way to help.” — DVM, GMA News