MANILA - Actor Robin Padilla is heading the communications panel of the Philippine Army’s Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (MSAB), a role that will allow him to help in the military’s efforts to curb terrorism and violent extremism, Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said Wednesday.
“We see him as a Muslim youth advocate, someone who can influence the Muslim youth… (and) veer them away from terrorism,” Zagala said of Padilla, who was formally elected as the MSAB’s Strategic Communication (StratCom) Committee chairperson last July 30.
In a phone interview, Zagala told ABS-CBN News that Padilla, a Muslim, joined the Philippine Army in trips last year to Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga City where he reached out to young Muslims to explain that Islam is a religion of peace.
Former Army chief, retired Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, with whom Padilla travelled with following bombings in Sulu, nominated the actor to the MSAB, according to Zagala.
“To be fair to Robin, ayaw niya (sana). Sabi niya, kung puwede, ‘wag na lang ako kasi, you know, there’s politics, people think I’m a supporter of the President,” Zagala said.
(To be fair to Robin, he declined. He said, ‘If possible, don’t elect me because, you know, there’s politics, people think I’m a supporter of the President.)
President Rodrigo Duterte, who Padilla staunchly supports, is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Zagala said Padilla’s position has a term of one year, although he can be reelected as with his predecessor, Atty. Alexander Lacson, who served for four years.
The MSAB StratCom also has Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon as vice chairperson, and the following as members: Davao de Oro Rep. Ruwell Peter Gonzaga, HRS Media and Communications CEO/Managing Director Harold Clavite, and actor Matteo Guidicelli, according to a Philippine Army press release.
The MSAB, which was established in 2010 as part of the Army’s transformation roadmap, has three other committees, with members coming from various sectors in society, including businessmen, lawyers, communicators, and politicians, among others, said Zagala.
“It’s a cross section of society that we get from the outside, that will look into us, advise us what we are doing,” he said of the board, which, he added, all other Army units also have.
“It serves as the organization’s accountability partner in transformation strategy and shared responsibility in upholding transparency,” the Army said about the MSAB.