‘Unqualified’ Gelli shuns politics: There are other ways to help

‘Unqualified’ Gelli shuns politics: There are other ways to help

By: - Reporter
/ 12:15 AM June 23, 2024

Gelli de Belen


While hosting a public service program has helped open Gelli de Belen’s eyes to the many challenges local communities around the country face, never did the idea of entering politics cross her mind.

In fact, the mere thought of it doesn’t feel right to her.


“I have no right to even consider that. I’m not qualified to do that and I can’t pretend that I will ever be. It wouldn’t be fair to our countrymen,” Gelli told reporters at a media conference for the second season of “Si Manoy ang Ninong Ko,” which airs Sundays, 7 a.m., on GMA 7.


For Gelli, being a politician or a public servant is a 24/7 calling that compels one to put duty above everything else. And she simply doesn’t have that in her, she said.

“When you work as a government official, you have to do it selflessly. You have to make the country, the people your top priority…You don’t have time for yourself. You can’t say, ‘Dito muna ako’ or, ‘Pamilya muna,’” she said. “It’s a commitment I don’t think I can fulfill. While I love my country, I don’t deserve any position.”

“Hindi ikagaganda ng komunidad ang pagtakbo ko!” Gelli quipped, laughing. “Hanggang [pagbibigay ng] opinyon lang ako. ’Di keri ng powers ko!”

Besides, there are other ways she could be of help to her fellowmen, Gelli pointed out. Hosting “Si Manoy,” for instance, exposed Gelli not only to issues of national importance, but also to local concerns and realities people deal with in their communities.

Among the stories that stood out to her during her trips around the country were those of female farmers in provinces, weavers in Mindanao and children in far-flung towns traversing dangerous terrains just to go to school. “I have seen female farmers fighting for their livelihood. But they’re struggling because young people don’t want to farm. We have a lot of weavers in Mindanao who produce textiles that can be considered art…something to be proud of. But they’re not properly promoted. Their products aren’t easily accessible. Why?” she said. “Then there are children who walk two to three hours every day just to attend classes. It’s a basic right. Why do they have to risk their safety just to go to school? They leave their homes at dawn and arrive at school hungry after walking long distances,” she recalled.

As an actress and celebrity, Gelli hopes to use whatever platform she has to raise awareness about these things. “I hope I can bring awareness to the problems we have. Doing the show, you discover and realize that there are still places with no access to water and proper roads,” she told the Inquirer. “Even if I can draw just one, five people, that’s good. Baby steps.”


‘Communities as a whole’

The second season, according to cohost Agri party list Rep. Wilbert Lee, will continue to feature inspiring stories of resilience from different regions. Joining the main hosts are special guests, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Bea Luigi Gomez and Kapuso actress Andrea Torres, who will offer their personal perspectives on different social issues.

“This season, there will be less talk and more visuals and action. We will feature stories that focus not just on individuals, but the communities as a whole. By featuring them, I hope we can inspire viewers to also help in their own ways,” Lee said, adding that one of the things that prompted the show’s second season was the desire to help people realize that they can demand the service they deserve.

“I always say that people should demand better. The government has funds and they have to be used properly,” Lee pointed out.

“People feel happy when they receive ayuda. Pero ‘yun na ‘yun. OK na tayo dun. We deserve better. If we don’t ask for it and demand for it, we won’t get it,” Gelli added.

If there’s a common thread among the show’s upcoming stories, it’s the spirit of bayanihan and the importance of empathy. “Let’s restore empathy for each other. Many of us live fast-paced lives.

People are always rushing, so much so that you no longer see the people around you or what’s going on around you. But we don’t live in isolation. Our actions have consequences to others. We are all connected,” Lee said.

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“We want to highlight bayanihan. Hindi uubra na kanya-kanya lang lagi. You have to look beyond the walls of your home. Dapat meron tayong malasakit sa kapwa,” Gelli said.

TAGS: Gelli de Belen

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