franklin_baker_apl (second from right) holds a steel mallet as he prepares to break one of the walls of a heavily damaged school building in Talontalon Elementary School in Zamboanga to build a new one in its place. Joining the ground-breaking are DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco and Franklin Baker community development director retired general Juancho Sabban. Photo: Handout

MANILA – “The Voice of the Philippines” coach continues to give back to his home country, this time by helping rebuild schools in Zamboaga that were heavily damaged by fighting between government forces and members of the Nur Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The Filipino-American rapper recently flew to Zamboanga for the groundbreaking rites to build classrooms in three public school buildings, which was also attended by Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco and Franklin Baker community development director, retired general Juancho Sabban.

Through his Foundation, the Black Eyed Peas member has The Foundation has partnered with bakeshop chain Red Ribbon and coconut ingredient company, Franklin Baker, in the “Macaroons for a Cause” initiative, which aims to build classrooms in Mindanao public schools to address the lack of facilities for thousands of students.

“Our plan to build schools in Mindanao just got bigger because of the devastation in Zamboanga. I appreciate Franklin Baker and Red Ribbon’s support in our pursuit to help rebuild the city,” said in a statement released Monday. currently appears in commercials for Red Ribbon to increase awareness for the initiative.

An estimated 118,000 have been displaced in Zamboanga following the military standoff between government and the MNLF.

“Red Ribbon’s ‘Macaroons for a Cause’ project will expand its coverage from building classrooms in one public school to rebuilding classrooms in three schools in Zamboanga. The rehabilitation will begin immediately given the unfortunate situation of thousands of public school students,” Jollibee Group COO Ernesto Tanmantiong said in the statement.

The Jollibee group owns the Red RIbbon chain.

For his part, Franklin Baker CEO Jaime “Joel” Santos pledged to continue their company’s investment plans in Mindanao as their way of showing confidence in the government and the Filipino people.

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