Perfume magnate and philanthropist Joel Cruz is lending a hand to soldiers fighting against militants in Marawi and their families by producing a concert to unite the public behind them.
“Magtulong-tulong tayong lahat para sa ating bayan,” he said in an interview.
The featured performers of the concert are Armed Forces personnel who have talent in singing.
“(I saw them perform when) they started a fundraising for the soldiers in Marawi with other AFP people. They were so good. I was really impressed. Alam kong hindi ako mapapahiya (sa publiko). Wala silang mga pangalan kasi mga soldiers sila, but the quality of the voice maganda talaga,” Joel said.
There are plans to have some of his celebrity friends perform at the concert tentatively titled “Nagkaisa Para Sa Marawi” marked for Aug. 13. With Joel during the interview were Charity Diva Token Lizares and Singing Soldier Mel Sorillano.
“I can raise up to R3.5 million kapag napuno. Paano mapupuno? Inobliga ko na ’yung mga dealers ko, suppliers ko, franchisees ko, partners ko,” he said, laughing. “Kaya nag P3.2 million na kami with the commitments (pa lang). Malakas ang loob ko (it will be a successful show).”
Joel hopes the effort will help uplift the spirits of soldiers. Reports have it that over 90 soldiers and policemen have been killed in the ongoing siege, with over 800 wounded.
“Tayo, dapat tulungan natin sila para na din makita ng ibang bansa na tayong mga Pilipino ay nagkakaisa. Na ano man ang mangyaring sakuna, kaya natin,” he said. “’Yung pera (na malilikom), ayaw kong mangyari katulad sa iba na ’yung pagkain napanis na sa storage. Ito ay dapat maibigay talaga at makarating sa mga taong dapat mabigyan.”
He laments that it seems tourism has been badly affected by the conflict.
“Kakatapos lang ng Miss Universe na pinapakilala natin ang Pilipinas na puntahan (ng mangyari ang Marawi) so medyo humina ang turismo natin,” he said. “Ipapakita natin na maganda (pa rin) ang Pilipinas, na it’s good for tourism.”
With all his success, Joel is known for paying it forward by sharing his blessings to different institutions. In 2013, Forbes Asia named Joel one of the “Heroes of Philanthropy.”
“Binigay sa akin ng Diyos ito para makapagpasaya ng mga tao. Nagiging masaya ako kapag nakikita ko na masaya ang mga tao. ’Yung happiness ko nagmumula kapag nakikita ko na masaya ’yung mga mukha ng mga tao.”
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