In December 1998, the United Nations Children's Fund conferred on Mr. Gary Valenciano the title UNICEF National Ambassador, the first in the Philippines. Gary was singled out for his unwavering commitment to helping underprivileged children.
Since then, Gary has become the face of UNICEF's work and made people talk about, understand, believe in and take action for the rights of Filipino children.
Gary visited affected children and families in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda and gave them comfort and hope. Gary held concerts in evacuation centers during the Typhoon Ondoy and Sendong emergencies to uplift people's spirits. Gary went to remote villages in Davao City, Guimaras, and Eastern Samar and interacted with children, mothers, fathers, teachers and local leaders. He visited schools and asked children: "If you were the school principal, what would you do to make schools a better place for children?"
Gary went to jails and youth reform centers in Manila and Cebu City where he met boys who badly needed his comforting words. His mere presence let them hope that indeed they deserved a second chance.
Gary went to villages in the Mountain Province where children had little access to basic services. He visited Muslim villages in North Cotabato, Mindanao, where he felt safe with and accepted by a people whose faith is totally different from his. There he found that peace and the rights of children should know no boundary, class or faith. He brought joy to children affected by conflict in Datu Piang, Mindanao, and Sitio Avocado, Negros Oriental.
Gary went to Southern Leyte and Bicol and brought messages of hope to families whose lives were forever altered by storms, floods and mudslides. There his songs, brief they may be, soothed the pain of loss and rekindled people's will to live.
In 2014, as Gary celebrates his 30th year in the entertainment industry, he is also celebrating 16 years of admirable work as UNICEF National Ambassador. His star power and his unique ability to inspire people will definitely help propel urgent actions for children into fruition.
Daphne Oseña Paez
Daphne is an award-winning television host, TV producer, former magazine editor, online publisher and lifestyle brand.
Daphne was tapped to join UNICEF as a Special Advocate for Children early 2010 for her work in breastfeeding. Since then, Daphne has been an important partner in advocacy and fundraising, focusing on infant and young child feeding especially breastfeeding, maternal health and maternal mortality, universal primary education, nutrition and child protection.
"My immediate role is to encourage more women to breastfeed. I want to show them that it truly is the best and should be the only thing you give your newborn for at least the first six months of his/her life. If you breastfeed your baby exclusively, he/she won't even need a drop of water for the first six months," Daphne said.
Daphne visited a relocation site in Laguna during Typhoon Ondoy to learn about how UNICEF works with partners organizations during emergencies. She also shared her own experiences as a breastfeeding mother to mothers in the community. Daphne witnessed how the Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Program in Mindanao has helped children. In Davao Oriental during Typhoon Pablo, Daphne spoke about the 'silent threats' of the emergency, including malnutrition, threats of exploitation for children and young women, and children failing to return to school.
Daphne's flagship project with UNICEF is Auction for Action, a fundraising event that brings together her love for art and children. Over a hundred artists contribute paintings, sculpture, furniture and jewellery items in her yearly auction, raising PHP4 million so far for children's programs.
Anne Curtis officially joined UNICEF as a Celebrity Advocate for Children in November 2014 after having been a staunch supporter and donor since 2009.
As a UNICEF Celebrity Advocate for Children, Anne will focus on promoting Early Childhood Care & Development. She will also help in mobilizing support and resources for the most vulnerable children and families, those living in abject poverty, are affected by violence, abuse, exploitation, and particularly in emergency and conflict situations.
In the Philippines, Anne joins UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano and UNICEF Special Advocate for Children Daphne Oseña Paez in upholding UNICEF’s mandate to protect and promote the rights of children worldwide.