Apl.de.Ap of Black Eyed Peas band begins school projects in hometown

Apl.de.Ap (whose acronym stands for his real name Allan Pineda-Lindo jr. of Angeles, Pampanga) will launch a library, a computer room, and a music room at his former alma mater Sapang Bato National High School, as well as his own music library and studio at the Holy Angel University in Angeles.

Rafael Cojuangco Lopa, president of the NCAF and executive director of the corporate-led Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), earlier announced Apl.de.Ap’s new role during a press conference last Monday (28 February) at the Ayala Foundation’s Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) in Makati City.

Among those who graced the presscon were NCAF chair Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, elder sister of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, and former ambassador Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala.
Lopa also cited the fact that Apl.de.Ap almost shared the same birthday with the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of President Aquino III.  Ninoy Aquino was born 27 November 1932, while Apl.de.Ap was born 28 November 1974.

During the presscon, Apl.de.Ap revealed that his music library and studio at Holy Angel would be furnished with musical instruments, interactive software programs, and various other materials designed to make learning in music more dynamic and engaging for university students.
At his former high school in Sapang Bato, the Black Eyed Peas member said he would provide a library as well as computer and music rooms.  This, he said, would help raise the academic achievement levels of student and address the high dropout rates in the schools, especially among Aetas in the community.

The music library and studio at Holy Angel University would be accessible to the general public as well as to the students of Sapang Bato high school.

The primary organizer of the Apl.de.Ap education projects are the Ayala Foundation and its affiliate Philippine Development Foundation or PhilDev, formerly the Ayala Foundation USA, a public charity registered with the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

As a bridge between US-based Filipino communities and individuals like Apl.de.Ap to connect with Philippine-based social development institutions, PhilDev has focused on strategic philanthropy and gift-giving in the areas of education, science, and technology.

Victoria Garchitorena, president of the Ayala Foundation and PhilDev, revealed that Apl.de.Ap’s school projects, through Ayala affiliate FHL and its MyLibrary Project, would aim to improve Philippine literacy and develop the Filipino youth’s musical abilities.

She said FHL’s initiatives through MyLibrary aimed to support the national government’s targets through the Department of Education (DepEd) to establish a library in each barangay or village in partnership with corporate donors and the local government units.

Before the Black Eyed Peas member’s school projects, MyLibrary last year put up two projects with oil giant Chevron.

The other organizers include the 57-75 Education Reform Alliance, a consortium of private sector institutions aiming to “reverse the education crisis” through focused interventions and school-community actions.

The 57-75 movement is composed of the Ateneo Center for Educational Development, the Foundation for Worldwide People Power, the League of Corporate Foundations, the Synergeia Foundation, the Philippine Business for Education, and PBSP.

The number 57 indicates the current situation of the Philippine public education system as the national average score in percentage points among public elementary school students in the National Achievement Test (NAT), while the number 75 symbolizes the state of education which the country would at least want to achieve in five years, albeit commonly known as the passing mark.
Organizers said the reversal of the numbers 57 and 75 also symbolizes the campaign of “turning things around,” even in the way that the stakeholders support the public education system.  Also present was Cecille Alcantara, a 57-75 founding member and president of both the LCF and the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Addressing the shortage of classrooms, Apl.de.Ap said he is willing to “share my talent and time” to give back to the community.

“It is important to give back, and given the opportunity, I would do the same thing (all over again),” he said.  “What goes around comes around.”

At the school where he once studied in Sapang Bato, around 20 teachers were serving 600 students with an average NAT score of 51 percent, way below the passing rate.

The Ayala Foundation and PhilDev said they are hoping that Apl.de.Ap’s music facilities would support the delivery of quality relevant education, serving as extensions of the classroom and being channels for lifelong learning, with workshops and trainings as part of their programs.
With expected completion by February 2012, other project components to come are teacher training modules and a mentor program from Holy Angel for students and teachers of Sapang Bato high school, as well as an endowment fund for the Apl.de.Ap scholarship program.

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