THE Black Eyed Peas stars WILL.I.AM and APL.DE.AP were awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit in the Philippines yesterday (27JUL06). The Presidential Medal of Merit is bestowed upon foreigners who portray the Philippines in a positive light through literature, science, the arts or entertainment. Executive Secretary EDUARDO ERMITA handed the awards to the MY HUMPS rappers at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, because President GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO had been hospitalised with the flu, according to was born in Sapang Bato in the Philippines, to a Filipina mother and an African-American father. He was adopted by an American family aged 14 and moved to the United States. He said, "It's a great honour to be in the Palace. I'm grateful to the Filipinos supporting the Black Eyed Peas, this was a big day for me."