By: Jerry Donato
August 20, 2009
HONG KONG — Magkapatid saw how Sharon Cuneta and Judy Ann Santos could be sweet, supportive sisters onscreen. This led to offscreen sibling love. Their bond can also be seen in causes Sharon and Judy Ann engage themselves into away from the blinding lights of show business.
Case in point was the recent Register & Vote campaign/advocacy of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in Hong Kong. The good, hardworking senator also expressed his intention to run for vice president for the coming 2010 elections.
“My relationship with ate Sharon didn’t stop after the movie Magkapatid,” offers Judy Ann who is now a loving wife to Ryan Agoncillo and doting mom to Yohan. “We went a long way. Our relationship has become stronger and we have loved each other more.”
What fuels Sharon and Judy Ann’s sisterhood is perhaps the same beliefs and interests they share. Example is every Filipino’s right to vote for his future.
“Apart from the fact that we love each other and she respects me, she also got to know Kiko on her own without me,” says Sharon of Judy Ann’s participation in the event. “As a person, I think they (Judy Ann and Ryan) also fell in love with the person that he (Kiko) is — the person not much the politician — and his ideals, beliefs and principles as a politician. ”
“I never had to ask Judy Ann or Ryan to do anything for Kiko. They volunteered. How can you not love someone like that? We’re blessed with people around us even the volunteers and staff members of Kiko. They all have the same goal which is to wake everybody up and in your own little way, do what you can.”
The Register & Vote campaign, as shared by the senator’s staff, is an all-out drive to draw out around five to nine million Filipino voters come May next year. The campaign-advocacy empowers first-time voters, encourages political participation among disenfranchised Filipinos and strengthens democratic processes for good governance.
“Don’t ever give up hope on the Philippines. It is a beautiful country; the people are gentle,” says Sharon during the presscon held at a function room in The Park Lane. “(Filipinos have) to own their power to vote and choose their leaders, It is (for) everyone’s good.”
Like all the OFWs scattered worldwide, Sharon and Judy Ann find the coming elections important. It is not just about one’s right to vote but it is a vote for change.
As Judy Ann puts it, “A mother always wants to give and provide what’s best for her children.”
Sen. Pangilinan led the campaign in Hong Kong with Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, Susan Ople, Sharon, Judy Ann and Ryan.
The campaign has gone to Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Naga City, Tacloban, Ifugao, Canada and the US. The Hong Kong leg aimed at encouraging Filipino workers there to register and vote wisely. There are 18,545 new registrants in HK adding to the 71,000 old registrants. OFWs in this side of Asia comprise the almost one-fifth of the absentee voting. One of five OFWs around the world works in Hong Kong.
OFWs brought $16-B in the local economy last year, shares the senator in a statement. Their contribution is larger than any group. They deserve to have their collective voices heard. The voter registration is until Oct. 31.
“We (ate Sharon and I) are the same in thinking that we can’t help Filipinos financially but we can help them by telling who is the right person to put in the position,” says Judy Ann. “That’s why Ryan and I took this opportunity because this is the only way we can help.”
Sharon, on the other hand, thinks voters should do an investigative work on the candidates. People should find time to study the candidates’ history by going to their districts and know what they have done to the people they suppose to represent. From there, they decide who they should vote. She also adds that “we have a big need for statesmen, real patriots… who are committed to making the country more beautiful and more respectable in the eyes of the world.”
Thus, Juan dela Cruz’s vote for the 2010 elections is not just an exercise of rights, but a one-step forward to change. Before that happens, Juan dela Cruz should register first.
Read the article in Philstar.com