AJ Perez as ABS-CBN's 'Larunungan' envoy

By Reyma Buan-Deveza, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jun 10 2011 03:55 PM | Updated as of Jun 11 2011 02:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- The late actor AJ Perez was named as one of the ambassadors of ABS-CBN's newest educational campaign dubbed as "Larunungan: Kalinga Kapamilya Toy Drive."

Gelo Perez, AJ's only sibling, gave a speech during the official launch of the campaign on Friday morning at ABS-CBN's Studio 10.

Gelo stressed how much his big brother valued education and believed that through education we can have a brighter world.

"Learning has a soft part in the heart of my brother AJ. He has always valued education and made it a priority together with his love for family. I remember very clearly, that no matter how busy AJ was, he always made it a point to devote time and attention to his studies and was blessed with good grades," Gelo said.

"For someone as young as he was with the help of our parents, I'm very proud of my brother's determination to prioritize education. [It] made a strong foundation in his very short but meaningful life. AJ also became a good example. He's always an inspiration and emphasized the great need and importance of home study. If AJ were here today he would have wanted every kid to start valuing education as much as he had," he added.

Gelo said his brother wanted education for everyone.

"AJ always dreamt of living in a harmonious world. Part of his dream was education for everyone especially for the less fortunate brothers and sisters. AJ believed that through education the ultimate goal of having a harmonious world to live in will be achieved.... For my kuya, education is a universal right. He firmly believed that learning will surely contribute to growth and well-being thereby making all of us productive members of society," Gelo ended.

AJ was killed in a highway accident in Barangay San Julian, Tarlac last April 17. He was with his father and 4 others aboard an ABS-CBN van that collided with a Partas provincial passenger bus along MacArthur Highway.

Toy drive for 1.9 million kids

"Larunungan: Kalinga Kapamilya Toy Drive" aims to raise 1.9 million educational toys to be given to 1.9 kindergarten children from 38,000 schools and day care centers nationwide.

The campaign is a joint project of the Department of Education (DepEd) and ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service headed by Fr. Tito Caluag.

"Tatlong mahalagang values ang gusto nating ibahagi (sa campaign na ito). Una sa lahat ay gusto nating turuan ang mga kabataan na habang maliit pa ay pagpahalagahan ang pagbabahagi sa kapwa mga bata. Pangalawa po, sa katulad nating hindi mga bata na (alalahanin) ang sinabi ni Dr. Jose Rizal na 'ang pag-asa ng bayan ay nasa kabataan' at 'yung pagpapahalaga natin sa pag-aaral at karunungan ng kabataan.

"Panghuli sa lahat, ay sana paniwalaan natin na ang kinabukasan ay para sa mga kabataan. Sana tayong mga binibigyan ng panahon ngayon ay ihanda ang kinabukasan para sa ating mga kabataan," Fr. Caluag said.

Also present during the launching was DepEd Assistant Secretary Tonisito M.C. Umali.

Child stars Bugoy Cariño, Xyriel Mabanat and Zaijan Jaranilla also graced the launching to show their support for the campaign.

The Kamuning Elementary School in Quezon City is the first kindergarten school that will benefit from the said toy drive.