TAKING the time out from his other engagements to give tribute to the government troops who fought the extremists in Marawi City for almost half a year, well-known Filipino ballad singer Jose Mari Chan staged a one-night concert in Lanao del Norte recently.

Chan, who became known for his love songs such “Tell Me Your Name,” “Can We Just Stop And Talk Awhile,” Can’t We Start Over Again,” “Afterglow,” “Beautiful Girl,” “A Love To Last A Lifetime,” among others, which became radio staples.

His Christmas album, “Christmas In Our Hearts,” released in 1990, is now considered a classic among Filipino music lovers. Some of its hit songs include “Christmas in Our Hearts,” “A Perfect Christmas,” “Give Me Your Heart for Christmas,” “This Beautiful Day,” and many others.

Dubbed “A Tribute to Heroism and Bravery of our Soldiers,” Chan serenaded both civilians and uniformed personnel who flocked to the Mindanao Civic Center Gymnasium in Tubod, Lanao del Norte, on December 5.

“What an inspiration it was for me to perform before true heroes last Tuesday!” said Chan on his social media post.

Chan, who’s a personal friend of Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, has been a frequent visitor of the province. This was his second time to perform there.

In an interview, Quibranza-Dimaporo said the sacrifice that the soldiers went through particularly in the recent Marawi crisis was the reason why she invited Chan to perform in the province.

“You sacrificed your lives to protect us here in Lanao del Norte. We always keep on praying for your safety,” she said, addressing the soldiers who attended the concert.

On behalf of the soldiers, Brigadier General William Alunday, commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, expressed his gratitude to the people of Lanao del Norte for helping the government troops in ensuring that the terrorists won’t be able to spread violence in other parts of the Lanao provinces.

Alunday said Chan’s performance has boosted the morale of the servicemen and women, especially those deployed to secure Marawi and surrounding areas.

For his part, Chan said he decided to hold a concert in Lanao del Norte as show of support to the troops.

“Our brave and courageous soldiers risk their lives in order to preserve our freedom. We need to show our support and appreciation,” Chan said in a Facebook interview with this writer.

He added: “[God] has blessed me with the Gift of Music and sharing my songs for a good cause is an excellent way of giving back.”