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'WISH KO LANG' HOST PAYS TRIBUTE TO MODERN-DAY HEROES

Quezon City, July 12, 2003 GMA-7's much-praised, stirring 'Wish Ko Lang' turns 1 and makes a pledge to make more people happy.

CAN'T they give Bernadette Sembrano a break? Media kept asking her about her past romance with Noynoy Aquino, but Bernadette is smart enough to turn everyone's attention away from her private life graciously, and keep them interested in her public life as a fairy godmother. Bernadette, the GMA public affairs personality a fairy godmother?

Tell that to the many people who made a wish that came true. Bernadette is the host of Kapuso network's much-applauded, top-rating "Wish Ko Lang" show which airs segments that tell of or dramatize how people's wishes come true-with the help of "Wish Ko Lang," of course. The show had its first anniversary special yesterday afternoon (it airs every Saturday at 4 p.m.).

Early this week, Bernadette led a couple of singers, GMA folk, and the show's staff in entertaining the press at a little-known but spectacular, restful haven in Proj. 2, Quezon City, with video clips, interviews, and a song.

On the first anniversary show seen yesterday, Bernadette paid tribute to modern-day heroes like the Tagbanua tribe from Palawan which has created a marine sanctuary and protected their ancestral waters from dynamite fishermen; Ka Percy who has transformed Sitio Ferry in Batangas from a drug pusher's paradise to a drug-free zone through successful livelihood programs for former pushers and addicts, and 15-year-old Cairiya Ontong, who in spite of the ongoing chaos in Lanao del Sur, fought for the right of her community's youth to have accesss to education in the midst of war.

Well, if you've been observant about your surroundings, you'll notice that the phrase Wish Ko Lang! is often used in people's daily conversation-a new household phrase because of what it has done for people, with the granting of emotionally-stirring wishes and some simple requests such as reuniting a family that has been apart for a long time, giving a boy a chance to shine and be a star and granting a man's dream to propose to the woman he loves through a billboard. One thing that sets Wish Ko Lang! apart from other shows is that it has encouraged the Filipinos to dream the impossible dream and in the process, has given hope and inspiration to so many Filipino families.

What's Bernadette's wish? "My 'wish ko lang' is that the show last for another three, five or more years so it would make more people happy and continue to give that hope and inspiration to televiewers and the wishful individuals and groups it reaches out to."