This weekend several well-known Filipino-American entertainers and celebrities gathered in Washington, DC, to perform for a cause.
After the Storm: A Benefit Concert for the Philippines was held Sunday at the Kennedy Center. All funds from the concert will go to groups helping with recovery and reconstruction in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan – or Yolanda as it was known in the Philippines.
Presented by the U.S. Philippines Society in tandem with the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Philippine Humanitarian Society, the show was hosted by Lou Diamond Phillips and featured a star-studded lineup of artists such as apl.de.ap from the Blackeyed Peas, singer Charice, actress Lea Salonga and opera star Rodell Rosel.
After the Storm was Rosel’s second time to perform for the benefit of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. He said even though neither he nor his family was directly affected by the typhoon, performing was a way he could reach out and encourage the victims not to give up hope.
“For every storm there’s always a sun that’s going to come up, that’s always the case,” said Rosel. “Even though it’s cloudy, you know the sun is going to come up. Even though there’s a storm, there is a sun out there – you’ve just got to look for it.”
Robert Pullen, the show’s executive producer, said although the show focused on Typhoon Haiyan, he also wanted to emphasize that a natural disaster like that could happen anywhere.
“I wanted to really emphasize the fact that it happened there, yes, but tomorrow it could happen somewhere else, somewhere else and somewhere else,” said Pullen. “And that we, as a collective group of people, Americans all the way through, we are committed to this cause and that we are all together in this situation.”
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said the money raised from the show will go to groups already in the Philippines helping with reconstruction. Cuisia said recovery from Typhoon Haiyan will take a long time.
“The Filipinos who are suffering because of that devastation will continue to need the help from the international community and, of course, the Filipino community here in the U.S.,” said Cuisia. “This is why we thought it would be good to have this benefit concert, to keep awareness up.”
Cuisia said thanks to previous exercises with the U.S military, the Philippine military was much better prepared for Typhoon Haiyan than previous occasions. However, he said preparedness for future natural disasters is still a top priority.
“With the signing of that Enhanced Defense Corporation agreement, it is our hope that that is one of the things that we’ll be focusing on: increasing the preparedness of our military and civilian forces to tackle natural disasters,” said Cuisia.
The Enhanced Defense Corporation Agreement, which was signed in April by the Philippines and U.S., will allow for U.S. troops to be stationed on Philippine soil for the first time since 1992.
Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines’ Visayan Region in early November, killing over 6,000 people and displacing over 4 million.