Whatever happened to EO No. 255?
We are radio people, my siblings and I. Perhaps we got it from my mom, who listens to the radio a lot. I remember listening to radio dramas on DZRH, like Ako Ang Inyong Tiya Dely and Matud Nila during daytime and Gabi ng Lagim in the evening. The latter was a family affair. We would sit in the living room where the radio was and scare each other, so each of us should make sure that we have responded to nature’s call before the program starts. We were music lovers -- we knew not only contemporary pop music but also the oldies from yesteryears. I was fascinated with 70s OPM, particularly those of Asin and APO Hiking Society, and the George Canseco movie theme songs of the 80s.
While tuned in to The Morning Rush one morning, Zia Quizon’s Ako Na Lang was played. My sister noted that it is the only Tagalog song played on RX, and it’s not even pure Filipino, with lyrics like What are you waiting for / Call my number, knock on my door / Nandito lang ako / How I wish you'll let me know. It’s a refreshing tune nonetheless.
My sister’s observation brought to mind this Executive Order issued by Pres. Cory Aquino in the late 80s, EO No. 255 which requires radio stations with musical format programs nationwide to broadcast a minimum of four original Filipino musical compositions in every clock hour (full text below). I don’t know if this was ever implemented, or if the NTC promulgated the implementing rules to effect this. With the current state of mainstream pop radio, I guess the drive went with the ebb of nationalism a few years after EDSA I.
It's a chicken-and-egg thing, this OPM issue. There aren't as many songwriters who make Pinoy music as there were before, perhaps because of our declining appreciation for anything Pinoy. Radio stations don't play OPM as much as stateside songs because nobody listens to them anymore. But if producers would just create good music and the radio industry supports them, I'm sure Pinoys will be more than willing to support OPM, too.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 255 July 25, 1987
REQUIRING ALL RADIO STATIONS WITH MUSICAL FORMAT PROGRAMS TO BROADCAST A MINIMUM OF FOUR ORIGINAL PILIPINO MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS IN EVERY CLOCK HOUR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
WHEREAS, radio programs with musical formats allot very limited playing time to original Pilipino music;
WHEREAS, to ensure the growth of the local music industry, the airplay of original Pilipino music in our radio stations must be increased;
WHEREAS, the State is constitutionally mandated to conserve, promote and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations, and to give patronage to arts and letters;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, do hereby order:
Sec. 1. All radio stations shall broadcast a minimum of four (4) original Pilipino musical compositions in every clockhour of a program with a musical format. For purposes of this Executive Order, "original Pilipino musical composition" shall refer to any musical composition created by a Filipino, whether the lyrics be in Pilipino, English or in any other language or dialect.
Sec. 2. Any franchise holder or operator of a radio station which fails to broadcast the minimum number of original Pilipino musical compositions in every clockhour of a program with a musical format shall be fined in the amount of P100.00 per violation. The National Telecommunications Commission may, after due hearing, suspend or cancel the Certificate of Registration and Authority to operate of any radio station in the event of repeated violations of this Executive Order or its implementing rules and regulations.
Sec. 3. The National Telecommunications Commission shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement this Executive Order.
Sec. 4. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of July, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven.