Even without mentioning his last name, I am sure Martin Nievera is undoubtedly the foremost figure in the minds of most Filipinos when the name “Martin” is mentioned, being the most prominent person with that name in the country.

For me, Martin has consistently been a source of positivity, always ready to lift the spirits of his fellow artists. I’ve long admired his compassionate nature, which I’ve witnessed over the years while watching his television shows, and firsthand when he was invited to sing the national anthem on February 19, 2024, during a Senate session, coinciding with the Third Reading approval of the “Eddie Garcia Bill” for showbiz workers and the “P100 Daily Minimum Wage Increase Act of 2024” for private sector employees.

As the senators were explaining their votes, particularly on Senate Bill 2534 regarding the minimum wage increase, I found myself in the company of Martin in one corner of the Session Hall as he waited to converse with his longtime friend, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who signaled him to wait a while.

When the Senate President gestured for Martin to have a seat in the Senate Secretariat corner while awaiting a break in the session, Martin genially responded “It’s okay! I’m having a good briefing here.” The nearly hour-long conversation with him was memorable for me, an experience I must document for posterity.

Pointing to the Senate President, he reminisced fondly, “Who would have thought this guy would come this far? His brother, he, and I were very close. His brother and I would sometimes wait for him for hours at the school’s parking lot before going home together.”

Throughout the senators’ explanations of vote, Martin nodded in agreement, commenting on the necessity of enacting the minimum wage increase law. Along the way, he asked me about the legislative process, impressing me with his quick grasp of the workings of Congress and his empathetic stance toward the plight of workers.

“Even if there are two people working in a household, a combined P1,200 income would still not be enough,” he lamented. When I asked him if he could survive on P700 a day, he replied, “No, that would just be for breakfast—for myself alone, not the entire family.”

Martin Nievera has always been an artist I hold in high esteem for complementing and supporting his fellow artists. He remains the same to this day.