Robin thanks celebs for helping Marawi

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Robin thanks celebs for helping Marawi

MANILA, Philippines -  Robin Padilla expressed his gratitude to friends from the entertainment industry for helping out in efforts to rebuild the city of Marawi.

During a presscon for his upcoming show Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko with Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, Robin revealed that a lot of his showbiz colleagues have offered assistance since he started an advocacy aimed at aiding rehabilitation and recovery of the capital of Lanao del Sur, following a months-long siege by militants.

The 48-year-old actor and Mindanao peace advocate launched in October 2017 a movement called Tindig Marawi, reportedly donating P5M for the psycho-social needs of children affected by the war and another P5M worth of relief goods for the hundreds of thousands displaced residents.

Among the first ones from showbiz who supported Robin were Piolo Pascual and director Joyce Bernal who donated P1.5M.

Most recently, those who helped included Sharon Cuneta (his co-star on the Star Cinema film Unexpectedly Yours), ABS-CBN chief content officer Charo Santos-Concio, ABS-CBN Foundation, Vice Ganda, Vhong Navarro and even newscasters.

“Madami ang tumulong sa atin. Pero si Piolo, si direk Joyce at Ma’am Charo, nakabantay talaga sila. Si Sharon gumawa siya ng sarili n’ya, kami din yung beneficiary niya. Pupunta siya dun (sa Marawi). Yung It’s Showtime, Vice Ganda, Vhong, nagbigay din. Naka-report ako sa lahat sa kanila,” he said.

Another project Robin is cooking up for the benefit of Marawi is a movie. Capital for the film came from his friend Dennis Uy who initially made it as a donation to Marawi. All proceeds of the planned film will go to Tindig Marawi projects.

Robin with Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko co-stars Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap

“Ang pinaka-malaking project namin ay pelikula kasi dun ako nakasalalay kasi yung isang donor namin, ang pangalan ay si Dennis Uy, my friend, gusto niya magbigay ng malaking pera sa Tindig Marawi. Sabi ko, sayang yung pera na yan, kung sa Tindig Marawi mo i-ano… baka gusto mo i-produce ng pelikula tapos yung kikitain yun yung ibigay sa Tindig Marawi kasi mas malaki yun,” he said.

Robin is tapping Joyce and Piolo, who own the independent film production outfit Spring Films, to help make the film a reality. He said, who else would he trust but Joyce and Piolo, who as producers, struck box-office success to the tune of more than P400M for a low-budget film that cost them only P8M. This was 2017’s Kita Kita, the highest-grossing indie film to date.

Robin said he didn’t have any difficulty convincing both director and the actor to agree to the project. The film, which will be about the story of Marawi, will start shooting next month. “It will be about what happened there, because there are still a lot of stories that we don’t know about. It’s more important for me that we know their story, delivered in the style of the director.”

For Robin, all these efforts will give hope and show that “we understand the Moros. That’s what we need to do during this (difficult) time — to understand their culture, their problems... because their grievances are legitimate.”

According to Robin, who last visited Marawi during the Christmas holidays, Tindig Marawi has also provided a water system for 16 evacuation centers to date. “It’s very important because water is life.” Next step is housing, which will take more time to accomplish because they will not be relying on any form of government assistance. He wants it to be free of political color, and will be a completely private sector-driven effort.

“Yung pabahay ay siempre hindi naman natin pwede asahan (kaagad). Ako kasi nag-set ng standard. Ayokong humingi ng tulong sa gobyerno. Ang experience ko — mas maganda kung puro private tayo. Pag ka nag-gawa tayo ng housing ang gusto ko ay binili natin ang lupa. Ayaw ko na binigay ng gobyerno kasi baka mag palit tayo ng President, after six years, baka bawiin yung lupa, ayoko ng ganoon, ayoko ng bawiin. Kaya ngayon andun ako sa estado sa pagbili ng lupa.”

He has also partnered with an organization called Kasama Ka to provide “micro-financing, Islamic banking style” services for residents who wish to (re)start their livelihood. (For details, visit http://kasamaka.wpengine.com.)

Robin understands that the commitment to help rebuild Marawi is going to last him not just a decade or two but “forever.”

 “Until forever. Now they’ve been able to adjust to their situation. Inaantay nalang nila yung turnover ng mga pinagawa ng gobyerno na tinatawag na transitional shelter. Malapit na yun! Ang ganda!” he said.

“But it’s not good if they will remain in that situation. They’re not used to it. The Maranaos, (Muslim) royalty yan, they’re traders, they’re businessmen. The challenge now for us Muslims, because we call Marawi Islamic City, di kami papayag yan ang itsura ng Islamic City. We will not allow Marawi to look that way, especially me, I won’t allow it.”

While Marawi rebuilding efforts are a priority for Robin, it seems he’s also busier than ever with showbiz work. He just had a box-office hit Unexpectedly Yours last month and is a judge on ABS-CBN’s Pilipinas Got Talent, wherein he stirred some online furor last weekend for “forcing” a Korean contender to speak Tagalog on the talent search. He had since defended himself against critics who slammed his actions as “rude” and “racist.” According to him, his words should be taken as fatherly advice to a foreigner, who says he loves the Philippines and claims to be a “Filipino at heart” after living and studying in the country for a decade, but doesn’t know how to speak its language. (The contestant, a magician named Kim Jiwan, promised to learn it from there on.)

Robin will also star in a daytime teleserye with Jodi and Richard. He revealed that he had to think twice before signing up for the series because he felt intimidated to be cast alongside a tandem that’s already been tested and proven via the well-loved Be Careful With My Heart that lasted over two years (July 2012 to November 2014) on national TV.

“Star Creatives knows this. Naurongan ako, nung sinabi sa akin, kasama si Richard Yap. Parang teka muna, ang alam ko kasi nung una, kami (with Jodi), tapos naging si Richard. Natakot talaga ako kasi may pinagsamahan na ang dalawa kaya nag-request ako kung pwede makausap si Richard Yap. What we need in showbiz is to have respect for the leading man.”

After his meeting with Richard, all his doubts disappeared. Robin last did a soap in 2013 with Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw.

Meanwhile, Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko follows the story of Lisa and Mona, two people who look identical but live vastly different lives. Lisa is a tough lady boss, who is betrothed to Martin Co (Richard), the heir to their business rival. To evade the responsibility, she decides to hide and live with one of their workers, Leo Tabayoyong (Robin). Her doppelganger Mona, on the other hand, works as a bet collector in cockfights and crosses paths with Martin.

Robin, who has been in the past romantically linked to his leading ladies, was playfully asked if in real life, had he ever wished to possess two “hearts,” as in the title Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko.

He replied, “Since you asked it… sana labing tatlo.”

Then Robin, who is married to Mariel Rodriguez, quickly took it back. “Sana isa lang talaga. Binawi ko na, mahirap na.”

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