Martin Nievera opens up about son Santino in 'Be You' concert

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2022 01:30 PM

Martin Nievera talks about his experience as a parent for a child with special needs during the Be You: The World Will Adjust' Concert held at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 22. File photo
Martin Nievera talks about his experience as a parent for a child with special needs during the Be You: The World Will Adjust" Concert held at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 22. File photo

MANILA - In what he described as a "first," OPM veteran Martin Nievera opened up about his son Santino during a concert celebrating children with special needs. 

In the "Be You: The World Will Adjust" concert held at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 22, Nievera talked about his son Santino, 15, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2. 

"We noticed something was different from the age 2 and a half and he was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Our lives were never the same after that," he told the sold-out crowd of his son with former partner Katrina Ojeda. 

"He would hurt himself, hurt the people beside him. He would throw things in places we couldn't find them again. With all the broken phones and broken dreams, we thought that we have a challenge -- and the reddest of red flags was to see that he had no eye contact so that's when we knew something was not right. My son had to go through the label autistic for the rest of his life. How do we handle this?" 

"Be You: The World Will Adjust" was described as “an extraordinary celebration for people with special needs" and featured performances from Nievera, homegrown acts BGYO, BINI and K-pop girl group Red Velvet, whose fans were eager to see them after three years.

The program opened with performances by children with special needs, which was met with thunderous applauses. For Nievera, the reception is a moment to remember for the child performers. 

"With all your applause, with all the lights that you've given tonight you've given then the moment they have been dreaming of in all their lives and they will remember this evening for the rest of their lives," he said. 

He concluded his number with a song dedicated to Santino. 

"He has made me a special father. For the rest of my life, I will be learning alongside Santino. I will be hurting and growing alongside Santino and I'm proud to say that Santino and I are very close," he said before a number that saw all the child performers go on stage with their parents.