Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte honors San Jose Filam organization with Presidential award

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Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conferred Presidential Awards to Pagyamanin Likas Musika (Enrich Native Music) and 22 other distinguished and outstanding overseas Filipinos and foreign-based organizations from 11 countries during the awarding ceremonies for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) on 19 December 2016 at the Malacanang Palace. Members of the Diplomatic Corps including the newly aboard US Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim were in attendance at the prestigious event.

Founded and served as its Project Director for the last 6 years by George Gange, retired US Navy Chief Air Traffic Controller and former Airport Commissioner San Jose Mineta International Airport(2010-2014), Pagyamanin Likas Musika is a San Jose based organization of friends, schoolmates and families based in San Jose, CA. which promotes the playing and appreciation of Philippines’ native Rondalla instruments and at the same time provides scholarship programs and livelihood assistance to communities in the Philippines.

In conferring the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino(Service to Fellow Filipino) Award to Pagyamanin Likas Musika,(Enrich Native Music) the President recognizes its passion in promoting our unique Filipino musical heritage towards building the character of Filipino youth and raising funds to help in relief assistance efforts in calamity affected areas in the Philippines and other parts of the globe. Music is the language of the soul. For Filipinos who have a knack for creating beautiful melodies using traditional musical instruments, the music they produce ensure that the souls of Filipino youth are ingrained with traits that positively build their characters as productive individuals.

Pagyamanin Likas Musika (PLM) takes off from the love of the rondalla by its founder Mr. George Gange and his desire to see progress for the Philippines. Serving as a scaled up platform, PLM was established as an informal not for profit organization in February 2010. It primarily aims to help preserve and promote the playing and appreciation of the native Philippine rondalla instruments, while at the same time becoming an agent of change for the Philippines by investing in the future of the children. Aside from sharing the joy of playing the rondalla, the organization aims to train children and students of beneficiary communities and schools in playing and developing an appreciation of rondalla. It would also like the children to eventually become part of a rondalla ensemble that could further spread appreciation of rondalla music through concerts and other performances. In line with this thrust, the group organized Rondalla Festivals – Kwerdas sa Pagbabago (Strings for Change -2011), 2 Kwerdas sa Kapayapaan (Strings for Peace-2012), Manila and Davao, Kwerdas sa Kaunlaran (Strings for Progress-2013), and Kwerdas ng Puso (Kwerdas of the Hearts-2015). The Rondalla Festival serves as a platform for children members of communities and schools of the Rondalla Instruments Lending (to own) Program to showcase their newfound skills in playing rondalla instruments. It also offers them the opportunity to build important life skills such as self-confidence, working in harmony with others, and boosting morale and self-esteem that enables them to dream a better quality life for themselves. Going beyond helping the children of beneficiary communities and schools, PLM had also raised funds for calamity victims. The group has mobilized and donated a total of US$17,450.11 to various relief assistance efforts in calamity stricken areas in the Philippines, US, Haiti, and Japan. In 2015, PLM initiated a micro-finance/business development venture that has provided initial capital for a priest and his young parishioners in their Christmas medallion business project, 10 families in Bacoor, Cavite engaged in retail businesses, and women and youth entrepreneurs in Cavite and Bulacan. In addition, the organization has extended scholarship allowance to financially struggling but deserving college students. The program, which was initiated in 2014, has since supported the education of two college students. One of the students already graduated with a degree in Computer Science at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) while the other one is in his third year, also taking up Computer Science in the same school. The organization also gives out community/school service awards in recognition of high school students who make a difference in their schools through volunteer work or actions that may be considered heroic in nature.

Through their love for rondalla music and the Philippines, PLM has significantly contributed to changing the lives of Filipino children, their communities, and schools for the better.

Concidentally, almost exactly 6 years to the day prior to receiving the Award from President Rodrigo R. Duterte on 19 December 2016, PLM Founder George Gange was also bestowed a Presidential Award for personal excellence and contributions to the improvement of the lives in the community where he lives in the bay area and of those in the Philippines by the former Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III on 20 December 2010.

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