President Aquino urges Filipinos to continue promoting OPM

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 19 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday urged aspiring Filipino artists, composers, musicians, media practitioners, academicians and the like to continue promoting Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in the country and around the world.

Keynoting the Pinoy Music Summit held at the LandBank Building in Malate, Manila, the President mentioned how music has been a part of Filipino culture for the longest time.

He cited how there were specific songs that mothers would sing to their children to lull them to sleep, songs students could identify themselves with in going to school, songs which symbolized freedom after a revolution and songs of love and death.

“…Palaging may nakapares na soundtrack sa bawat yugto ng buhay nating mga Pilipino. Masaya man tayo o malungkot, ganado man o naiinip, gusto man nating mag-relax o umindak — ano man po ang ating emosyon o disposisyon, nariyan at handa tayong sabayan ng musika,” President Aquino said.

The President noted that as long as a friend has with him a guitar, it would mean that a jamming session would follow whether or not one could carry a tune.

He said that it is known to the world that Filipinos could do more than just sing — they have a lot to offer in the world of music.

President Aquino even shared this trivia: That it was a Filipino who was behind the campaign jingle of Malaysia entitled, “Malaysia, Truly Asia” during his recent state visit to Malaysia.

“Tuwing bibisita nga po tayo sa ibang bansa, ang laging bukambibig ng kanilang mga pinuno tungkol sa Pilipino: sa larangan ng musika ay pambihira ang ating kakayahan at talento; kinakatawan at isinasatinig ng ating mga awitin ang kultura, katangian, at kolektibong hangarin ng atin pong lahi,” he said.

President Aquino said that music has the power to connect people’s emotions because it is universal and that the collective goal of the Filipino people is to promote Original Pilipino Music.

He also noted how technology and new media made it relatively difficult for the music industry.

“Dahil sa teknolohiya at takbo ng mundo, maging ang mga ibang bansa, nakakaranas din ng pagbaba sa sales ng kanilang music industry,” the President said.

“Hindi lamang tayo ang may hinaharap na hamon sa pagpapaunlad ng industriyang mahal nating lahat. Kaya nga po, talagang napapanahon ang kauna-unahang Pinoy Music Summit na ito,” he added.

He then thanked the individuals, groups and organizations that worked hand-in-hand to have the initiative of holding OPM events such as the Pinoy Music Summit.

“Kayo ang nagpapatunay na sa alinmang larangan, kaya nating makapaghatid ng positibong pagbabago — basta’t nagkakaisa ang ating mga tinig, sa halip na nagsasapawan; basta’t ang lahat ay nagtutulungan, imbes na nagpapaligsahan lang at nag-uunahan,” President Aquino said.

He mentioned some reforms made in the OPM scene, one being how his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, signed Executive Order 255 in 1987 which called on radio stations to play at least four OPM songs each hour.

There is also the continuous anti-piracy campaign of the Optical Media Board (OMB) which, since 2011 until 2013, has confiscated more than nine million pirated optical media products costing over P3 billion.

The OMB, in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Customs, has also shut down at least 2,705 establishments selling pirated products upon inspection and clearing operations.

“Batid naman natin: Marami pang balakid ang kailangang pagtulungang lampasan upang tuluyan nating mapaarangkada ang industriya ng lokal na musika,” President Aquino said.

“Sa kabila nito, mulat din tayo: Mag-iba man ang mga kasangkapan o paraan ng pakikinig sa tugtugin — mula plaka, casette tape, CD, DVD, hanggang sa online media — hindi kukupas ang pagmamahal ng Pilipino sa musika,” he said.

President Aquino said that as long as there were Filipinos who create OPM and Filipinos who support it, it would continue to be part of the Filipino culture which could also be known worldwide.

“Nasa kabanata na tayo ng kasaysayan kung saan boses na ng ating mga Boss ang nananaig at pinakikinggan ng inyong pamahalaan,” the President said.

He ended his speech by urging Filipinos to continue to support the OPM industry and said that the government is open to ideas such as holding dialogues to further boost sales of OPM products in the future. (PNA)