(The Philippine Star) Updated October 18, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – Debbie Gibson visits Manila, not to stage a concert but to campaign for greater support for the improvement of the health and education of children. The stage of her visit is not the Araneta Coliseum of her 1991 concert. She journeys in impoverished communities and shelters in shanty homes where poor children live.
She is here as a spokesperson in a film project of Children International dubbed A Child is Waiting. The story follows the real day-to-day lives of children in need. Children International is a non-government organization helping more than 78,000 children and youth in Metro Manila and the Bicol Region. It aims to rally more people to support health and education programs benefiting children not only the Philippines but in other countries where the organization operates.
Gibson’s campaign for the welfare of children can be traced back to as early as 1991, when at the peak of her career, she donated to Children International’s social welfare services for more than 22,000 children and youth in 31 communities in Metro Manila.
But she stages a concert. On her final day, she regales children and their parents waiting to receive medical and dental care in a field office of Children International in Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City, with an energetic rendition of her hit songs. Poor children and youth share her stage. It is a rare treat for the small crowd to listen to her up close.
It is rarer still that they have a sustained advocate in her.