By Maverick Russel Flores

MANILA (Mar. 2, 2018) – Songwriter Vehnee Saturno on Friday signed a Memorandum of Agreement allowing Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) to use the song “Awit sa Marawi” in their activities, at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Office, Makati City.

Representing TFBM were Chair Sec. Eduardo del Rosario and Secretary-General Usec. Falconi Millar, as well as Asec. Avelino Tolentino III and Asec. Leira Buan of HUDCC. The Voice Kids finalist Esang de Torres, who lent her voice to the song, also attended and even sang for the HUDCC executives and staff.

TFBM Chair Del Rosario gives the opening remarks. (Photos by: Maverick Russel Flores/PIA)

Saturno said when he was approached by TFBM, he did not hesitate to grant them rights to the song, grabbing the opportunity to help the conflict-stricken city.

Ang ganda naman ng purpose nila. So sabi ko, it’s not laging iisipin natin kung magkano ‘yung magiging revenue mo for the song, but ang inisip ko diyan is papaano ka makakatulong sa nakararami,” he said.

[They have a great purpose. So I said, it shouldn’t always be thinking about how much your revenue will be for the song, but what I thought was how you will be able to help the majority.]

He said Usec. Millar told him they can use the song to help and give everyone a clearer vision on the situation in the city.

Saturno said the song was written just weeks after the siege began.

Sabi ko, ‘ano kayang pwede kong maibigay na out of nowhere?’ Sabi ko ‘sulat kaya ako ng isang kanta,’” he said. “At the same time, alaga ko rin si Esang, which is, sabi ko… the best artist na pwedeng mag-perform is an innocent kid.”

[I said, ‘what can I give out of nowhere?’ I said, ‘what if I wrote a song?’ At the same time, I’m managing Esang, which, I said… the best artist who can perform (the song) is an innocent kid.]

(from left) Asec. Buan, Usec. Millar, Saturno, Tolentino and De Torres chat before the signing.

De Torres was also glad to have contributed to and be associated with the song.

Sobrang saya ko po kasi una po, nag-trending ‘yung kanta, saka ginawa po ni Sir Vehnee ‘yung song na ‘to para sa mga nabiktima sa Marawi,” she said. “May mga iba, nagco-comment sa YouTube… sinasabi po nila parang, bilang isang Muslim daw po, bilang isang nakatira po sa Marawi, naiiyak po sila dahil… sa kantang kinanta ko po.”

[I was so happy because firstly, the song trended, and Sir Vehnee wrote the song for the victims of Marawi. Some commented on YouTube… they were saying that as a Muslim, as someone who lived in Marawi, they were brought to tears because… of the song I sang.]

She also sang a line from the song that would best convey her message to the people of Marawi, and the public as well.

Hindi kulay ang kailangan upang magkaisa / Pula, puti, asul, dilaw, tayo ay iisa,” she sang.

[It’s not color that we need to come together / Red, white, blue, yellow, we are one.]