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House to honor Campbell

April 27, 2007 4:33pm
The House of Representatives will posthumously bestow upon slain US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell its highest accolade, the Congressional Medal of Achievement.

Speaker Jose de Venecia said the award will be presented to US Peace Corps director Ronald Tscetter, who along with the American government have "accepted [the award] with great gratitude."

In a statement, De Venecia referred to Campbell as a "martyr." The award will be given when Congress reopens in June.

He said the 40-year-old American volunteer "touched thousands of Filipino lives during her posting in Luzon as a high-school teacher of English and Western literature."

Giving up the metropolitan life of New York after the 9/11 attacks, the former freelance journalist worked in the Philippines as a Peace Corps worker for two years.

Campbell helped set up a school and a library in Donsol, Sorsogon. She campaigned for age-appropriate reading materials as part of a library project called, "A Book and A Buck."

Aside from these, she helped launch an ecology awareness campaign and worked for the construction of an Eco Center in Bohol. Right before her death this month, she served as an English teacher at the Divine Word College in Legazpi City, Albay.

The citation of the Congressional Medal of Achievement for Campbell reads: Julia "brought light and joy into the lives of many Filipinos. She epitomized the ideals of the Peace Corps and of the American people."

De Venecia said US Embassy political counselor Scott Bellard informed him that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Tschetter "are grateful for the Philippine congressional medal, one of the first in the world for the US Peace Corps and its martyred volunteer."

Campbell was found buried in a shallow grave at Batad village in Banaue, Ifugao on April 18, or 10 days after she was last seen in the same area.

Investigators are currently looking for a 25-year-old woodcarver, Juan Duntugan, who is the "lone suspect" in her death. - GMANews.TV