"Dreamers, Doers... Together!"
Since the turn of the century, 1999
A Fun Club is Formed, DJLF Emerges
Through emails, five former cadets of the Philippine Military Academy living in various parts of the US –Maryland, Virginia and Florida – exchange notes on what they can do now to “give back to Loakan what we got from it during our youth.” Loakan is where PMA, their alma mater, is situated.
- A group of Loakan “bugos” toying with the idea of forming a fraternal organization for the primary purpose of helping each other manage whatever kind of funds they have – be it savings or investments in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
- This first five DJLFers who would call themselves DJLFools later, a group of dynamic and forward-looking individuals, bound together by a common cause, hunting for a “few more good men;” soon enough, word getting around about what this group is doing and many coming on board within a span of 2 years; and in 2002, the formal organization as a non-profit in the state of Maryland.
- A transformation in the principal focus of the new organization – from self-help to helping others, from “Stock 101” whose purpose was to help each other learn the ropes of investing to “Philanthropy 101”, whose purpose was to raise some money for the education and development of the youth, to give back to the community of Loakan whence the members all started from at one point in their youth and hence their project, LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project.
Through emails, five former cadets of the Philippine Military Academy living in various parts of the US- Maryland, Virginia, and Florida – exchange notes on what they can do now to “give back to Loakan what we got from it during our youth.” Loakan is where PMA, their Alma Mater, is situated.
After several exchanges of proposals and counter-proposals, they ultimately agree on December 12 to raise money for a fund- to be known as the Loakan Fund- dedicated to a project on youth education and development. As conceptualized, the project would start with a scholarship program that will benefit students at a high school in Loakan. They are joined by seven others, so, a total of 12 members participate in the first fund-raising event held in December.
They go by the initials DJLF, for Dumb Jones Loakan Fun club. As plebes or freshmen at PMA, they were called “dumb johns” by their upperclassmen. Dumb Jones, the “DJ” in DJLF, thus becomes a sentimental reference to their Academy days. It is also a pointed reference to Dow Jones, that well-known index of economic health. And for a good reason- part of their plan was to consider Wall Street as a vehicle for investing the Loakan Fund for growth, which dovetailed to their intent to familiarize the members with Wall Street, the stock mar-kets and investment as a whole. This knowledge, the members feel, can serve their personal goals, especially their preparations for retirement. Relying on the internet as a medium of communication, the members develop DJLF as an e-organization.
Call-to-Quarters is Sounded
Conducted Call-to-Quarters as a regular fundraising event.
Following the successful, if modest results of that fund-raising in 1999 – $52.50 was raised from the 12 partici-pants – a decision is made to conduct it once every quarter, the recurring event to be known as “Call-to-Quarters” or CTQ. Call-To-Quarters evokes among DJLF members an event at Loakan barracks by the same name when they, as cadets, listened to the bugle’s call for them to refer to their respective quarters each day after dinnertime. Then and now, they heed that call.
Building the Foundation for LEAP Intensifies
The building of the Loakan Fund continues, not missing a beat, like it did during its first full year in 2000. Like clockwork, CTQs are held every quarter without fail, each rendition adding to the Loakan Fund. DJLF, seeking to broaden its base, launches a drive to recruit more members. Setting a goal of 55 total members the campaign is dubbed as “Duh Drive to 55.” Irwin Ver is designed as overall coordinator- and the man “behind the wheel.” If the vision was to grow the fund from which the scholarship monies will come from, it was but logical that the membership, which the main source of these contributions, should also grow. The CTQ’s become the “bread -and-butter” of the Foundation’s scholarship fund.
In 2002, Articles of Incorporation are drafted following consensus of a majority of members on formalizing the DJLF organization. A corporate structure is discussed basically consisting of a Board of Directors and a number of Foundation Offices. 15 DJLF members in the Washington area sign their names as incorporators of DJLF Foundation, Ltd. a non profit organization. Papers are submitted to the state of Maryland on July 5 which are approved July 7. Upon the Foundation’s incorporation in July, the final two slots of Founding Members were filled from extreme ends of the PMA classes, a Loakaneer from the 90’s, Luisito Angeles, Class of 1992 and another Loakaneer from the 50’s, Brillante Ochoco Class of 1955.
All 55 DJLF members approve the By-Laws. 15 members compose the Board. DJLF is operated by the Foundation Offices: Office of the President and the Offices for Coordination, Communication & Quality Control/CCQ; Operational Deployments/OD; Operation goals; Solicitation-General/SG; Funds and Investments/FI.
Other positions are added during the year: Counsel-General; two Assistant Solicitation-Generals; and a General Counsel.
True to form as an e-org, the first meeting of the Board of Directors in Manassas, Virginia at the residence of Gil and Carla Osorio was an electronic meeting, with Board Director Irwin Ver participating in the Board deliberations from his home at Walnut Creek, California.
Year 2003 ended on a sad note. In December, DJLF’s general membership was reduced when DJLF members said their final goodbye to one of its members.
DJLF Prepares for the Launching of LEAP's Youth Scholarship Program
A decision is made to proceed, as originally scheduled in 1999, with the formal launching of the Youth Scholarship Program in February 2005 during the Alumni Homecoming Week of the Philippine Military Academy. The Rotary Club of Metro Baguio whose jurisdiction include Loakan is chosen as DJLF’s partner-in-country for the scholarship program. A Memorandum of Agreement is in the works for this partnership to be formally signed in February 2005.
With the proximity of the launching of the program, DJLF launches Operational Plan/ Oplan LOFTY, for Loakan Fast Track of the Year, to encompass fund raising outside of the regular Call-To-Quarters. LOFTY signals a shift from the previous CTQs which involved out-of-pocket contributions from each member to diversified fundraising from without. In pursuit of the latter, DJLF pursues Community Sale, Family Nights and in partnership with the PMA Alumni Association of the East Coast, a Golf Tournament Series. Thus, DJLF’s fund-raising now comprises two; the bread-and-butter Call-to-Quarters/CTQ and Call-To-Quarters Plus, the latter to include all activities to raise funds outside of the former.
Three golf tournaments are held- one in spring at Fairfax; another in the summer at Williamsburg and the last one in the fall at Fairfax National Golf Course- the culmination of what would henceforth be a year-round activity.
Upon further deliberation, the Board determines that to ensure the success of its Youth Scholarship Program, a larger project is necessary; thus, the creation of LEAP, for Loakan Educational Assistance Project. With the Youth Scholarship Program as its core component, LEAP will include four other programs: Faculty Enrichment; Facility Improvement: Equipment and Learning Aids Support; Leadership Development and Placement.
October 30th, on the occasion of the fellowship dinner following the Dual Meet between the East Coast Chapter and North East Group of the PMA Alumni Association, the names of five DJLF members are drawn: Dan Jimenez; Jude Tadeo; Levi Cleofe and Rhyss Hizon. They will be the “mentors” of five scholars that will be chosen for LEAP Scholars, Batch of 2005.
On September 9, 2004, the DJLF Scholarship Committee is formed with Jake Duller accepting the offer to chair the committee. He is joined later by Bob Avisio, Del Lorenzo, Danny Alonzo and Rolly Malinis. The Duller-Aviso-Lorenzo-Alonzo-Mailinis Committee becomes known as D’ALAM Committee, or The Knowledge Committee. Alam, in Filipino, roughly translates to knowledge.
November 13th, during its monthly meeting, the Board of Directors approve the interim Memo of Agreement between DJLF and Rotary Club Metro Baguio. In accordance with this agreement, RCMB screens candidates from among the seniors of the Baguio City National High School, Fort del Pilar Annex and chooses 10 scholars. The D’ALAM Committee deliberates and chooses the 5 principal and 5 alternate LEAP scholars.
At year-end OPLAN LOFTY, the Loakan Fast Track of the Year, also comes to a close, achieving its goal. From $52.50 in 1999, the Loakan Fund reaches the $30K mark. There is a prevailing sense of accomplishment among the general membership.
There is a growing confidence among the members, the officers and Board of Directors that the Foundation has done well in its formative years, 1999-2004. The basic infrastructure has been put firmly in place for LEAP be-coming a reality- in 2005 and beyond.
Youth Scholarship Program is Formally Launched
A watershed, a milestone year for the Foundation. LEAP, in particular its core component, the Youth Scholarship Program (YSP), is formally launched with the Awarding of LEAP Scholars Batch of 2005. All 10 candidates – not only the 5 principals, as originally planned –are awarded scholarships when DJLF member Jun “Playfool” Paynor announces during the awarding ceremony that an anonymous donor pledges to support the tuition and other expenses of all five alternate scholars for one year.
Program Develops Deep Roots
February 18-20 is the year’s traditional Alumni Home-coming Day at the Academy. It is also the much-anticipated awarding of the scholarships for the batch of Loakan scholars Leading the DJLF delegation to this life-changing event in the lives were members of host class PMA Class 71.
Clearly, the scholarship program has taken deep roots in the community of Loakan and the City of Baguio. To further cement this relationship, DJLF Executive Vice President Dan Perico, together with some Foundation members and members of the Rotary Club of Metro Baguio, scheduled a visit to the University of the Cordilleras and the Benguet State University, the two area universities where DJLF scholars were enrolled. School officials gave presentations on the history, administration and programs of their respective institutions. On their part, members of the Foundation made initial arrangements to facilitate the transfer of funds from the Foundation thru RCMB to the schools for the timely payment of the scholars’ tuition and other authorized fees.
Following the cordial university visits, RCMB hosted a fellowship dinner for the DJLF delegation at a local hotel. The LEAP Scholars of Batch 2005 were invited. Basically a “getting-to-know-you” affair, members of the DJLF delegation and their ladies, meet their local partners, most of them for the first time, including RCMB Overall Coordinator for LEAP, Tom Panis. As to be expected, there is plenty of goodwill that went around during this occasion that it is not surprising a unanimous decision is made to make this fellowship a regular feature of the awarding of LEAP Scholarships.
The next day comes the formal scholarship awarding ceremony. As has become the “tradition” since 2005, it was held at the Fort del Pilar Annex of the Baguio City National High School inside the Philippine Military Academy.
The ceremony, attended by PMA Superintendent Major General Leopoldo Maligalig and his staff, the faculty and students of the school, members of the RCMB and DJLF delegation from the United States, current LEAP scholars and members of the media, is a little more elaborate than last year’s. The audience is treated to breath-taking folk dances preformed by groups from the high school and the LEAP Scholars Batch 2005.
In his speech, General Maligalig makes mention that Benedict Milo, one of the 10 LEAP Scholars Batch 2005, was among those who passed the academic, physical and mental examinations for the PMA Class of 2010. Milo is now a thirdclass cadet and continues to maintain close touch with and is considered to be a member of LEAP Scholars Batch 2005. Following the awarding ceremony, the 2006 LEAP Scholars are invited as guests to a lunch-eon with the Cadet Corps Armed forces of the Philip-pines at the cadet mess hall.
In August of 2006, DJLF Chairman Winston Arpon and his lady who is herself an ardent advocate of the program, Pilar Arpon, pay a surprise visit to the scholars just to see for themselves how the scholars are doing. During the simple “working dinner” – as described by DJLF Chairman – that he and his lady hosts for the scholars and members of RCMB, the Chairman’s message is frank and direct: Disabuse your mind from the notion that because DJLF Foundation happens to be in the land of milk and honey, it is easy for us to support LEAP. DJLF members go through hoops too undertake several activities throughout the year to raise funds for the Loakan Fund that supports LEAP. You can show your gratitude and appreciation for the Foundation’s efforts by doing the best you can and complete the course that you have chosen and become productive members of your families and community.
Another significant development in 2006 is the participation of the scholars in various community development activities and leadership seminars designed to get them started on their community involvement as well as hone their leadership skills in anticipation of not only becoming “big brothers and sisters” to future scholars but also becoming future leaders of their communities.
2006 also saw the kick off of the Leadership and Placement Program, which is envisioned to help ensure the success of the LEAP’s core component, the Youth Scholarship Program. This particular component of LEAP also endeavors to work with local and national companies for possible employment for the scholars upon completion of their college degrees.
As has become part of the annual routine for both DJLF and RCMB, the screening of possible candidates for LEAP Scholarships Batch 2007 starts. RCMB’s Batch 2007 Scholarship Committee Chairman Joan Tan states in no uncertain terms that “the task will not be easy as it is our desire, just like in prior years, to select candidates who are truly deserving of the scholarship, but we find joy in what we do for what better legacy can we leave our youth, especially the underprivileged, than education.”
With these words, 2006 comes to a productive close with great but reasonable expectations that the year 2007 more productive or at least will be no less.
Visions of Hope Permeates the Foundation
The usual fund-raising activities thru the CTQ, golf tournaments, caroling and personal solicitations were carried out in true DJLF fashion of begging, cajoling, but often-times just merely clarifying the goals of the Foundation.
Five new scholars were picked from the batch of graduating high school seniors of the Baguio City National High School (Fort Del Pilar Annex.) On hand to award the scholarships on behalf of the Foundation were Jimmy Masferre and Nebu Alejandino, the former a member of Class 77, the senior host class in PMA’s Alumni Home-coming and the latter, an original member.
2007 also saw the scholars coming out of their chrysalis. Cherry Mae Dacyon and Wela Langoyan, Batch 2006 LEAP Scholars, conducted English and Math tutorials for five days for about 30 pupils at the Atok Trail Elementary School, just outside of Loakan. Both agreed that the tutorials were such a humbling and rewarding experience as it crystallized in their minds the notion that those young minds were like sponges ready to soak up knowledge that is available out there.
Sheryl Belwa, Batch 2005 LEAP Scholar, led a group of LEAP Scholars in a community-awareness project dubbed “Clean and Green,” designed to inculcate awareness in the surrounding communities the importance of keeping the environment clean and green. The scholars made signs heralding the Clean and Green initiative as well as painted trash bins that were distributed in the nearby barangays.
Meanwhile, Muller Bato, Batch 2006 LEAP Scholar, was fortunate to have been awarded some funds to attend the National Rover Scout Jamboree in Metro Manila. He and other senior scouts gathered to fulfill their testimonials of “who I am,” “why I am,” and “to whom I am” culminating in his investiture as a River Scout.
Finally, the most significant development in Foundation Year 2007 was the formal adoption of the Scholarship Guidelines diligently crafted by members of the DJLF Scholarship Committee, with their appointed Scholarship Guideline team leader, Rolly Malinis, a distinguished member of PMA Class 71.
DJLF Faces A Tough Year
2008 has certainly been a tough year. But it is becoming apparent that the toughest part was knowing it was in-deed a tough year towards the end of the year when such an unprecedented number of people (at least that many have seen in their lifetimes) were like the legendary lemmings on their annual jump to death over the cliffs of Dover. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, retirement fund earnings dipped so low it was not even an option for those getting ready to retire to do just that. Home foreclosures simply went through the roof. And the still scarier part is what seems to be now an intuitive notion that it is going to get worse before it gets better, that many are wondering when we are going to hit the bottom.
So it is truly amazing how DJLF seems to have not been significantly impacted by the economic down turn. For the most part, DJLF members and supporters continue to show their support for the ideals that the Foundation has set for it self. While overall, monetary contributions dipped somewhat from previous years’ levels, support in kind have gone up. A case in point: In all the three fund-raising golf tournaments we held this year, the number of golfers remained at about the same level as in previous years but the number of volunteers have gone up. But the one really big indication of how our members and supporters step up when the situation demands is when no other than the Arpon Family, who is already considered the “First Family” of DJLF in terms of its contribution – monetary or otherwise – to the “upkeep” of the Foundation. This beloved DJLF Family has come forward to support the college education of one lucky young person from Leyte province – where both Winston and Pilar Arpon were born and raised, under the LEAP-Pilar Arpon Nursing Scholarship, following the demise of Mrs. Pilar Arpon – lovingly known as “La Ninang.” This scholarship would have become a reality regardless of the passing away of La Ninang. Her death just made it much more quick – and remarkable – in its fruition.
(This part of DJLF’s History/Timeline was written without the knowledge of El Ninong, Winston Arpon, that he will have no chance of looking it over, for our fear, not unfounded to be sure, that this would not have found its way to the printed page if he even had the slightest hint that something of this sort about him, Mrs. Arpon or his family was coming out. For such is his nature: not wont to tooting his own horn, nor allowing somebody else to toot it for him, particularly in regard to what he and his family have done for the Foundation. Needless to say, while he has been the rock of the Foundation upon which the members and supporters have laid their weights on, La Ninang, Pilar Arpon, has been the inspi-ration for the involvement that rivals, without necessarily competing with, the members’ participation.)
2008 saw the fruition of DJLF’s efforts at sponsoring college scholarships for the young people, first from Loakan, and now in two communities outside of PMA’s abode. Three scholars belonging to the first batch of LEAP Scholars in 2005 have graduated and are now gain-fully employed: Sheryl Belwa and Maria Luisa Sinaking, who both completed their Accountancy course from the University of the Cordilleras and Maria Cristina Burlaza, who finished Hotel and Restaurant Management at St. Louis University. Congratulations to all three of you and welcome to the world of work. You have not only done yourselves proud but also positively shown that you de-served the scholarships awarded to you.
We believe we can never say enough thank you’s to our benefactors and friends so as a final note, we would like to once again extend our appreciation to those who through these years DJLF has endeavored to put its scholarship program in place, have been there with us, providing us the reassurance that we are doing the right thing.
DJLF Consolidates and Expands
The years 2009 thru 2015 encompass two stages of DJLF’s basic Strategic Plan promulgated on its inception in 1999: Stage III, years 2006 through 2010 for CONSTRUCTION and CONSOLIDATION, and, Stage IV, years 2011 through 2015 for EXPANSION.
On June 23, 2009, DJLF Charity Foundation, Ltd. which had been domiciled in the state of Maryland since the approval of its incorporation as a nonprofit on July 7, 2002 found a new home in Virginia and a new corporate body, DJLF Charity Foundation, DCF, with no change whatsoever in its structure, goals and objectives but for the name and domicile.
Expansion in Stage IV of the DJLF Strategic Plan was achieved when DJLF Charity Philippines Inc., DCPI, was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2012, informally set up as a subsidiary of US-based DJLF Charity Foundation.
Following a review of its financial status and the long-perceived need to ensure the viability of DJLF’s core advocacy – youth education and development – under the aegis of LEAP, a change in the number of LEAP Scholars per year was set in place, Heretofore, five LEAP scholarships were awarded annually. Starting with the awarding of LEAP Scholarship, Batch 2012, the earnings for a given year of the LOAF, the LOAkan Fund in support of LEAP would henceforth determine the number of LEAP Scholarships to be awarded for that year. Pursuant to this new financial strategy, there would have been no LEAP Scholarship awards for Batch 2012. Nevertheless, it was decided that at least one would be awarded for that batch, as proposed by Bob Aviso to his fellow members of the Board of Directors, convincing them of the awkwardness of a break in the chain of LEAP Scholarships that started with 10 in 2005 and five every year thereafter. This change, now known and referred to as the Aviso doctrine, has been adopted. So, in 2012, only one – Lorry Ann David – was the recipient of a LEAP Scholarship, the first time in the number was less than five; as it turned out, the only time in the entire history of LEAP. The LS Batch the following year had three LEAP Scholars.
In 2013, the Memorandum of Agreement between DJLF Charity Foundation, Ltd. and the Rotary Club of Metro Baguio, RCMB in 2005 with the launching of LEAP was abrogated and the function provided by RCMB in providing administrative and operational support to LEAP was taken over by the LEAP Associates, Inc., LAI, that was incorporated as a nonprofit in Baguio City upon the instigation of DCPI. All LEAP scholars become LAI members upon their graduation. Tom Panis, the Coordinator
Expansion also took the form of the diffusion and dispersal of leadership for both DCF and DCPI, essentially spreading of the distribution of work, expanding it to an even broader base, the involvement of more people especially in the leadership role. Accordingly, Winston Arpon was replaced as President of DCFI by Marciano Paynor, Jr. on April 15, 2014 and as President of DCF in December of 2014, by Harold Ochoco and the DCF office moved from Lyme Bay, Herndon to Colin Chase Place, Fairfax. Further diffusion would be accomplished a couple of years later with the transfer of chairmanship of the Board of both.