By Patricia Simone Dauz
The Gusi Peace Prize aims to “recognize and give proper recognition through the conferment of awards of excellence and distinction to individuals and groups worldwide who have distinguished themselves as brilliant exemplars of society or who contributed toward the attainment of peace and respect for human life and dignity.
Last November 25, Philippines’ one and only Superstar became the solitary Filipino to ever receive the prestigious Gusi Peace Prize at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). She was one of the four female honorees amongst the 18 international dignitaries.
When news broke out that she was an awardee, the Facebook group of Pinoy Entertainment Newsmakers (PEN), where debates between Vilmanians and Noranians often occurred, had trending topics on the subject. Some of the comments included “low blows” against the Superstar for having taking on a supporting role in Little Nanay together with her Thy Womb co-star Bembol Roco. The fans of course wasted no time in defending their idol.
“Sa aking asawa na si Bembol Roco sa Little Nanay, maraming salamat po. Kuya Germs…’ni…I love you,” said Aunor in her acceptance speech. In the Kapuso teleserye, she plays the role of Lolay, Kris Bernal’s grandmother.
Prior to the awarding, Nora allegedly voiced out her uncertainty with regards to deserving the award since she was the only one engaged in the field of entertainment. The others were from the field of science and got the peace prize for their contribution to the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity. She got the award for being and continuing to be an inspiration to many Filipinos. This is because of her dedication to her craft which translated to cinematic excellence. Despite her misgivings, she has the respect of her fellow awardees and they were awed by the warmth of applause and the standing ovation she received when it was her turn to get the award. One of the Gusi 2015 Laureates reportedly said, “How do you top the speech of a national treasure?”
Gusi is a Filipino word which means “antique jar of treasures”. Founded by Barry Gusi in 2002, the four ideals of the foundation are godliness, unification, service, and internationalism.
Other awardees included Dr. Mary Pinder (Australia), Hon. Shykh Seraj (Bangladesh), Ex-President Stanislav Shushkevich (Belarus), Hon. Hun Many (Cambodia), Dr. Huang Jiefu (China), Prof. Petr Blizkovsky (Czech Republic), Dr. Zurab Vadachkoria (Georgia), Dr. Hans Lehrach (Germany), Dr. Syunji Sano (Japan), Dr. Zuriyadda Sakipova (Kazakhstan), Ex-President Askar Akayev (Kyrgyztan), Dr. Rob Veerporte (Netherlands), Ex-President Antonio Eanes (Portugal), Hon. Ali Hamad Mohammed Said Efaifa (Qatar), Dr. Alexander Chumakov (Russia), Dr. Ivan Mazur (Ukraine), and Dr. Susan Briggs (USA).
Ironically, around late June last year, Aunor made the headlines for being dropped from the list of possible National Artist awardees. This was because of her drug conviction and Pres. Noynoy Aquino even said “If I made her as a national artist, how would she be as a role model?”