DAVAO CITY — Filipino actress Jodi Sta. Maria visited the indigenous people evacuees housed inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound on Tuesday, July 19.
Photos of the actress and the Lumad evacuees inside the UCCP compound were posted on Facebook by Glades Jane Maglunsod, the regional coordinator of Solidarity Action Group for the Indigenous Peoples and Peasants, who invited her to visit the Lumads in Davao City.
Lindy Trenilla, regional program director of Children’s for Rehabilitation Center in Southern Mindanao and secretariat of the Save Our Schools Network, said Sta. Maria arrived at the evacuation camp around 1:00 pm, Tuesday.
“We had a short program with Lumad students performing a play which presented their situation to the actress. Although she cannot understand the local dialect, you can see that she knows why the students and their families have evacuated,” Trenilla told Davao Today in a phone interview.
She said that Sta. Maria even encouraged the Lumads to “continue defending their ancestral lands.”
This was not Sta. Maria’s first time to help the Lumads. Maglunsod said Sta. Maria donated food packs to the Lumads who joined the human rights caravan to Manila, dubbed Manilakbayan, in October last year.
“After that, she always request for updates on how the Lumads are doing,” said Maglunsod.
Trenilla said Sta. Maria distributed school supplies to students and committed to provide other material support for teachers and students.
“She also said that she will share her experience to her fellow actors,” said Trenilla.
Sta. Maria was known for her role as “George” in Tabing Ilog, a youth-oriented show during the 1990s where she starred together with actors John Lloyd Cruz, Patrick Garcia, Paolo Contis, Baron Geisler, Kaye Abad, Paula Peralejo and Desiree del Valle.
She also starred in the remake of Pangako Sayo and her recent film, The Achy Breaky Hearts.
Trenilla said the actress left the compound at around 4:30 pm to catch her 7:00 pm flight to Manila.
Aside from Sta. Maria, other personalities who have visited the Lumad evacuees in Davao City include global rights activist and feminist playwright Eve Ensler, showbiz couple Liza Diño and Aiza Seguerra, former beauty queen and veteran actress Maria Isabel Lopez, and presidential son, Sebastian Duterte. (davaotoday.com)