Daily Archives: November 2, 2007

Tanamor Wins Bronze

By Joseph Lariosa/AsianJournal.com

CHICAGO — The win assured Tañamor, the only one of the seven-man Filipino contingent still in contention, of a bronze in this qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He will be facing the Thai phenom Amnat Ruenroeng in the semifinals scheduled Friday evening for the gold. Ruenroeng beat Armenian Danielyan Hovhannes, 18-6, Thursday in the other quarterfinal match.

A native of Zamboanga City, Tañamor had already tucked under his belt another bronze in the 2001 and 2003 World Championships in Belfast, Ireland and Bangkok, Thailand, respectively.

Beating the 19-year-old hotshot from Duncanville, Texas proved to be one of the most memorable for Tañamor. He had competed in the Olympics, Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.

“The memory of my victory tonight will be high up there,” according to the Philippine Army sergeant.

Tañamor went on the attack as the first bell sounded, surprising reigning Pan American Games titleholder Yanez. Tañamor’s speed and movement masked his 29-years of age. He appeared to be the 19-year-old Texan, who struggled to keep up Tañamor’s pace.

By the end of the first round, Tañamor was able to chalk up a sizable lead, 6-2. In the second round, Tañamor continued his offensive, jabbing away at Yanez, who became an easy target.

A big crowd of Filipinos cheered mightily at every blow that hit Yanez

Knowing that he was ahead on points, Tañamor danced away at every opportunity but continued to pile up points, opening with a sizable lead at 15-6 at the end of the third round.

“I was in complete control of the bout by the opening of the fourth round,” Tañamor said. “I knew he would go after me for the next two minutes but I was ready to counter his punches at every turn.”

Knowing that the only way for Yanez to win was a knockout, Tañamor tried to keep his distance but jabbing the aggressive Texan until the final bell.

Both Tañamor and Yanez have already secured their tickets to the Beijing Olympics as do Ruenroeng, Havhannes and four other boxers. Other boxers who had earlier qualified were defending champion Zou Shiming, Ireland’s Patrick Barnes, Frenchman Nordine Oubaali and Ukraine’s Georgiy Chygayev.

Coach Patricio Gaspi paid tribute to the skills of Yanez. “Harry boxed perfectly. He had the experience and skills to beat Yanez,” he said. The hit and run tactic employed by Tañamor at the dying seconds of the bout paid off.

There had been doubts whether Tañamor could deliver because of his age. Manny T. Lopez, Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines President was supportive and had no regret in fielding.

“I believe that Harry is as capable a fighter as others younger than him. The quality of the competitions has improved greatly and ABAP is proud of Harry’s achievement.” Lopez explained.

The six other Filipino boxers who lost in the preliminaries can still qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics if they will be fielded in the qualifying rounds in Bangkok, Thailand in January or in Kazakhstan in March.

Asian countries need to fill up a quota of 60 boxers in the Olympics. Although, each Asian country is allowed to field 12 in the Olympics, because the Philippines does not have heavyweight boxers, it can only field a maximum of seven.

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Ermita Discusses Human Rights in UN Forum

By April Tiamzon/Asianjournal.com

NEW YORK — Despite the rain, Filipino-American protesters vigilantly picketed outside the Philippine Center while Executive Secretary of the Philippines, Eduardo R. Ermita discussed the current situation of Human Rights and National Security in the Philippines.

Ermita was sent by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the United Nations as her official spokesman to inform the UN that Human Rights is top of mind under her administration.

Ermita also requested a forum from New York Consulate General Cecilia Rebong to discuss Philip Alston’s report regarding extrajudicial killings of media and military groups in the Philippines.

Ermita, together with Undersecretary Coco Quisumbing and Phil Con-Gen NY Cecila Rebong were the panelists for the forum.

The forum addressed the current situation of unexplained killings in the Philippines. Ermita aired the Arroyo administration’s side on the issue.

“Our government is looking very seriously on what has been reported [about the] violation of Human rights. We must respect the human rights of our citizens. Not only for people who are being killed because of their political belief, but also [to] look after [the] human rights of women, children, and other sectors of our society,” Ermita stated.

With regards to last week’s blast at Glorietta 2 in Makati, Ermita explained that “so far, the Philippine Police report seems to point to defects in the Sewage System, and not an explosion caused by terrorists.” If it was a terrorist act, it will definitely affect our standing with the international community and [with] investors in the Philippines.”

Ermita described to FilAms, the current state of democracy in the Philippines. “If you hear a lot of noise about politicians especially coming from the opposite side throwing things at the administration, just take a look at this as part of our democratic system. Making noise is part of the democratic process; there is no reason to think that the government will collapse.”

A concerned citizen mentioned that this was her first time on the other side of the picket line and that she is on the watch list released by Security Advisor Gonzales. The list includes at least 500 other Human Rights activists, and states that these listed activists have direct ties with the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines. They are also being linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Quisumbing stated that witnesses and their family members who feel threatened or endangered can request any court to give them protection. In addition, any government official who does not honor the Witness Protection Program will be penalized.

According to the October 2007 edition of the Philippine Human Rights Digest, President Arroyo will allot 10 million pesos from the 2008 national budget
to eradicate extreme poverty and “keep the cause of human rights alive.”

Will martial law surpass again? This was one of the questions left unanswered as the forum came to an end.

Human rights organizations such as BAYAN USA, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Anakbayan NY/NJ, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns were also present in the forum.

A community prayer and candlelight vigil calling for justice for the victims of human rights violations in the Philippines followed shortly outside the Philippine Center.

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Bayanihan sa Amerika Makes New York Pitstop

By Momar G. Visaya

NEW YORK – After a successful launch in Los Angeles and a subsequent pitstop in San Francisco, “Bayanihan sa Amerika,” a conference of Filipino community centers and associations in the United States gathered more than a hundred community leaders at the Philippine Center Saturday, Oct. 20.

The conference aims to gather owners or administrators of Filipino community centers, leaders of Filipino associations, officers of Filipino-American chambers of commerce, and other institutionalized Filipino entities, to enhance networking and foster cooperation.

The conference hosted by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Philippine Consulate General, New York discussed, among other issues, sustainability factors for non-profit organizations, ways of bridging cultural and generation gaps for the new generation of Fil-Ams and new strategies for development assistance in the Philippines.

Consul General Cecilia Rebong welcomed the conference participants while Deputy Consul General Millie Thomeczek read Ambassador Willy Gaa’s keynote address.

The conference, according to Gaa, is timely and “brings to the fore the close and unbreakable bond that ties Filipino Americans to the Philippines.”

“It comes when more than 2.5 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans residing in the United States are consolidating and beginning to flex their political muscle. Indeed, it will not be long when the United States Congress will have among their ranks an elected official of Filipino descent,” Gaa’s statement said.

The first plenary session gathered speakers to discuss the situation of Filipino community associations in Northeast USA.

Vladimir James Manuel, founding chair of Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE), reported that most of the Filipino community associations in the consulate’s jurisdiction fall under the major categories of province, profession, local, alumni and religion.

There is an estimated 4,000 organizations in the entire United States, with the tri-state area accounting for more than 500.

Manuel posed some questions, among them, if we need all 4,000 or so of these organizations. “Do we need to come together as a community so that we can align and coordinate our efforts? What specific issue would galvanize is as a community?” he asked.

Audience response ranged from “behavior” to “veterans issues” to “political empowerment”.

According to ConGen Rebong, out of the more than 500 organizations that they have on their list, “only more than 100 can be considered visible”.

Dr. Jean Lobell, co-founder of Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI), talked about the effectiveness and sustainability of nonprofit organizations in the community.

Citing Census data such as Filipino families’ median income ($69,228) versus the city’s ($38,293), Lobell also focused on the fact that 6% of the community lived below the poverty line and 40% of the senior citizens have limited English skills, while 7% did not finish high school.

“To achieve greater impact, there needs to be purposeful planning, viability and sustainability,” Lobell explained.

Rey Padilla completed the panel for the first session and talked about effective fund-raising, financial management and internal controls for the organizations. He provided tips for organization’s to be able to access funds from the local to the state to the federal level.

“We do not know they exist. We do not know how to access, and much more manage the funds once we have it,” Rebong said, as she asked the participants if there is a need for a workshop where leaders will be taught to write proposals and access funds, which the consulate can organize.

“Fund-raising in our community is just amongst ourselves. We should start to learn to access funds para hindi tayo-tayo na lang ang naghihingian sa isa’t isa. Sayang naman lahat ng mga taxes na ibinabayad ninyo,” Rebong added.

The New York leg was part of a series of “Bayanihan sa Amerika” conferences organized by the Commission on Filipino Overseas, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, and Department of Trade and Industry.

The conference also endeavored to develop strategies to enhance Filipino cultural visibility through programs that will promote Philippine culture and tourism and identify ways by which Filipino community centers and associations can assist Philippine development through resources and knowledge transfer.

It was also an opportunity to create more awareness on business and investment opportunities in the Philippines as both Trade Representative Josephine Romero and Tourism Director Emma Ruth Yulo talked about prospects for Philippine products ad services in the US and enhancing prospects of Philippine tourism through community-led marketing and promotion, respectively. (AJ)

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Filipina Women’s Network Honors 100 Most Influential Women in the U.S.

Pinay Power in Washington DC

By Momar G. Visaya

WASHINGTON, DC – It was a veritable who’s who at the gala night of the Fifth Annual Filipina Summit as the Filipina Women’s Network honored 100 of the most influential women in the United States.

The awarding was one of the highlights of the three-day summit at the nation’s capital.

Among the awardees were business executives Loida Nicolas Lewis; Oahu state Rep. Rida Cabanilla; Washington State Legislature’s Velma Veloria; Davis, California Mayor Ruth Uy Asmundson; former President Bill Clinton’s personal physician, Dr. Connie Mariano and US Navy Capt. Paz Gomez.

The nationwide search was a key initiative of FWN’s Pinay Power 2012, a campaign to identify the Filipina women who are shaping the Filipino-American community’s influence in American society today.

The network identified these influential leaders based on their impact, innovation, involvement, mentorship, sustainability and professionalism.

“It was a daunting task to come up with the process of honoring all these wonderful women,” FWN president Marily Mondejar said.

Philippine Ambassador to Washington Willy Gaa congratulated the awardees and thanked them for their contributions in uplifting the image of Filipinos in the country.

Panels

The Filipina Summit, attended by women leaders from different parts of the U.S., had different plenary sessions for its participants.

Some U.S. congressmen joined the gathering during the first day of sessions, which was held at the Rayburn Building near the Capitol.

Rep. Mike Honda expressed his congratulations to the event organizers and called on the participants to call their congressmen and be “very angry about the veterans issue.”

“I know that Filipinos are very passionate about liberty and freedom. If we break a promise, we have to correct it. This country promised something to the veterans. We should expect no less,” Honda said.

Rep. Jim McDermott shared tat in his district in Washington state, Filipinos are the largest minority. He focused on immigration issue and said that this is an issue that the government needs to deal with in “a very humane manner.”

On the veterans issue, McDermott said, “The veterans are old and most of them are dying. They are entitled to be respected.”

Rep. Laura Richardson, who represents the cities of Long Beach, Carson and Compton in California, promised the participants that they are working very hard on the veterans issue.

That morning’s keynote speaker was Gloria Caoili, one of Washington DC’s Filipino-American community leaders.

“This is such a momentous occasion to be with a distinguished group of women. The next three days will redefine us,” she said.

Caoili shared that there are 74 women in the House and 16 in the Senate.

“Access equals influence equals power. Register, get active and vote,” she told the participants, “If our community votes, we count.”

Pinays in politics

Kris Valderrama, eldest daughter of former Maryland State Delegate David M. Valderrama, took over a post her father had for four terms. Her father was the first Filipino American to win as representative to the Maryland Legislature.

“I got into politics because of my father’s influence. I echo Gloria’s call for all of us to be involved. Let us all vote and make our voices count,” Valderrama said.

She also mentioned her support for Vellie Dietrich-Hall, a fellow Filipina running for a Board of Supervisors seat to represent Mason Dsictrict in Fairfax, Virginia. Valderrama is a Democrat while Dietrich-Hall is a Republican.

“We may not share the same beliefs but regardless of our party affiliations, I am supporting her. I want to see more of us taking the risk in running for public office because this will advance the cause of our political empowerment,” Valderrama said.

She also shared that running was “a humbling experience” and advised those who want to consider a career in politics to not be overly sensitive.

“People will say mean things just to spite you,” she said.

Ruth Uy Asmundson, Davis, California’s current mayor pro-tem and future mayor, joined Valderrama and other elected Filipinas at the panel dubbed “Run Filipina Run”.

“I never allowed anybody to discriminate me,” the Isabela-born politician said.

Asmundson said that her husband, a former mayor himself, mentored her. “I made my own decisions though, and the people in Davis know that I am my own person. I am very hard-working and I’m just as good as any other man, if not better,” she said.

Hawaii’s Rida Cabanilla, state representative for District 42 said, “We must know how to run if we want to change the face of power in America.”

A first-generation Fil-Am from Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, Cabanilla said she faced some challenges along the way, among them the language.

“English was not my first language but that did not stop me. Don’t let that stop you,” Cabanilla, a nurse by profession, said. (AJ)

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