Friday, May 26, 2006

Mindanao Needs Brad Pitt!

MANILA (Mitch Confessor / 26 May) If the temple kingdom of Cambodia had Oscar winner Angelina Jolie promoting tourism, then the Southern Philippines could have her beau Brad Pitt pushing for peace and conflict prevention and resolution in the whole island.

Praises for Hollywood’s powerful “Brangelina” couple were just a few of the many sidelights during the two-day Roundtable Discussion on Social and Economic Reintegration held recently at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.

Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza told Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Markovic and other participants of the forum on the Stockholm Initiative on Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (SIDDR) that the Khmer Republic was lucky to have Jolie promote the kingdom in the aftermath of the government-communist guerrilla peace talks.

To which Markovic jestingly replied to Dureza: “Then we can have Brad Pitt for Mindanao.”

Jolie, who is pregnant with Pitt’s child, earlier starred in the film version of the computer game “Lara Croft Tomb Raider,” the first version of which was shot in the famous Ankor Wat towers in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

Herself an Ambassador of Goodwill of the United Nations (UN) who has performed real-life international charity works and portrayed the role of a Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders/Frontiers) volunteer in the film “Beyond Borders,” Jolie had also adopted a Cambodian boy which she named Maddox.

People Magazine last April named the Jolie-Pitt clan as the “World’s Most Beautiful Family,” showing a photo of them in the middle of the desert of the central African nation of Namibia together with Maddox and an African girl, which the two Hollywood celebrities earlier adopted and named Zahara.

In 2001, Hollywood was abuzz with talks that either Pitt or his “Interview with a Vampire” co-star Tom Cruise was about to shoot a movie in Mindanao called “Fertig,” a World War II story of the daring Cabanatuan raid wherein each of them was to portray the role of American Army lieutenant colonel Henry Mucci.

Miramax Films later shot the film “The Great Raid” in the Gold Coast in Australia, featuring Filipino actor-director Cesar Montano, Welsh actor Joseph Fiennes, and American actor Benjamin Bratt portraying the same Lt. Col. Mucci role based on William Breuer’s book “The Great Raid on Cabanatuan” and Hampton Sides’ work “Ghost Soldiers.”

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently encouraged the Philippine government to consider the process of disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating of rebels into society like those in Africa, Aceh, Ireland, and Cambodia to help build peace in the community.

Amb. Lena Sundh of the Swedish Foreign Ministry has revealed that the SIDDR is a process which gathers representatives from donors and host nations, international organizations, academic institutions, and civilian, military, and police experts.

One of the programs of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) under Dureza involves a Disarmament-Demobilisation-Reintegration (DDR) program.

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