Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ex-Senate President Salonga Gives Books to ASG Kids

As we celebrate the 25th death anniversary of Sen. Benigno ``Ninoy’’ Aquino Jr., many people find themselves asking whether Ninoy’s faith in the Filipino was worth his sacrifice. Is the Filipino really worth dying for?
In the past, I too found myself increasingly losing faith in the Filipino. But since me and my Muslim wife launched our A-Book-Saya Group book-donation project, we found ourselves recovering faith on the Filipino people, both giants or the most lowly among us.
Yes, friends, as we said before, the generosity of the Filipino spirit remains high – at least for us Filipinos who live our lives away from the limelight and who silently work to make this work a better place one day at a time.
So, from here on, I would proceed to thank the generous souls who have been helping us so far. I would start thanking former Sen. Jovito Salonga for whom we wrote a press release last month.


Former Sen. Salonga Donates Books to Abu Sayyaf Kids

Zamboanga City – Former Senate President Jovito Salonga has donated books to the A-Book-Saya Group (ASG) book-donation project to show in a “concrete and demonstrable way’’ his deep concern for the education of Muslims in Mindanao.

Salonga turned over 15 books he recently written to the ASG project which is primarily aimed at flooding Mindanao with books to stop the rise of child soldiers and warriors in the ranks of the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); and the New People’s Army (NPA).

“The building of a better nation is a challenge not only to the Christians but also to the Muslim students and probably with a bigger impact. I want to help in a concrete and demonstrable way,’’ Salonga said of his support to the ASG project.

The books Salonga donated to ASG are titled “The Task of Building a Better Nation,” “Presidential Plunder: The Quest for the Marcos Wealth;” and “The Intangibles that Make a Nation.”

A study conducted by the USAID-Growth with Equity in Mindanao show that the survival rate of pupils in Mindanao areas is so low that only 10 out of 100 school age children actually complete secondary education on time. Only six out of 10 school children are capable of understanding what they read to help them become self-sufficient and productive.

This was blamed on the lack of basic learning tools, poverty, corruption; and shortage of competent teachers and sporadic armed conflicts.

Salonga recalls getting overwhelming support from Muslims down South when he ran for the Senate in 1965. “When I first ran for public office in the Senate, I got the highest vote from Mindanao as author of the Sabah claim. The Muslim congressmen were all out in supporting me. I was number-one in Mindanao,’’ he said.

Salonga, who recently received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, continues to work for the cause of nation-building through citizens’ groups he founded, including Kilosbayan, Bantayog ng mga Bayani; and Bantay Katarungan.

Christian Muslim couple Armand and Annora Nocum, who started the ASG book-donation project, is now in Zamboanga City to distribute the first set of books to Muslim children living in Manicahan, a barrio believed to have a sizable number of Abu Sayyaf members. Manicahan, located 24-kilometers east of the city proper, is said to be the jump-off point to Sacol Island where the Abu Sayyaf is known to keep their kidnap victims.

Those who wish to support the ASG book-donation project could drop off their books at the Satti Grill House outlets at SM-Fairview Food Court, Quezon City; and at M.H. del Pilar Corner Padre Faura, Manila. Donors may call the Nocums at Contact Nos. 3393732, 7992745, 09195897879 and 09175208013. Donors may also log in at



Armand/ Ann Nocum
09195897879/ 09175208013
Oct. 26, 2008

Photo Caption:

Former Senate President Salonga turns over books to Armand Nocum of the A-Book-Saya Group (ASG) book-donation project. Looking on are lawyer Emilio Capulong Jr. (front left) and Lincoln Remolona (back left), executive director and executive assistant of Bantay Katarungan, respectively.

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