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Philippine President Records Song

August 25, 1999

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Joseph Estrada has recorded a song he wrote 30 years ago and plans to sing it live with a 72-piece orchestra to raise funds for the poor, a record company official said Wednesday.

Estrada’s ballad, titled ``Endure I Will,″ is part of a compact disc of compositions of the late Ernani Cuenco, one of the country’s foremost musicians and a close friend of the Philippine leader.

Estrada’s song is a slow, sentimental piece he wrote in 1968 while despondent over his apparent loss in a mayoral election in the small Manila suburb of San Juan, said Tito Ty, executive vice president of BMG Records Pilipinas Inc., which produced the album.

After writing the song, which was set to music by Cuenco, Estrada protested the election result and was proclaimed winner the following year.

Estrada began a movie career when he was 24. He acted in dozens of low-budget action movies, usually playing tough downtrodden characters who stood up for the poor.

Estrada, 62, plans to sing the song live at a $255 per plate fund-raising dinner at the prestigious Manila Hotel on Sunday.

The CD, which has a cream-colored cover embossed with a gold presidential seal, will not be sold commercially but will be given as gifts by the president to diplomats and foreign visitors as a way to promote the Philippines, Ty said.

Estrada plans to give copies to President Clinton and other leaders who will attend next month’s summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in New Zealand.

Estrada recorded the song at his residence in Manila’s Malacanang presidential palace, Ty said.

``It’s not always that you see a president recording a song in front of you,″ Ty said. ``He was an amateur but he did well, he sang it with feelings.″

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