Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Philippines Consul General in NY Mario Lopez De Leon Jr Honored with President Award by The Society of Foreign Consuls in New York

Consul General Mario De Leon Jr. receives the President Award from the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York 

NEW YORK – In a ceremony at the Slovakia Consulate General presided by Slovakia Consul General and current President of Society of Foreign Consuls (SOFC) Jana Trnovcova, the Philippines Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr., was recognized this past June 20th for his outstanding dedication and leadership in expanding and enhancing the role of the SOFC when he assumed the Presidency from 2013 until 2014.  He is an active member since 2011 and held the position of Vice-President for the East Asia and Western Pacific for 2015-2016.

During his term as President of SOFC, Consul General De Leon emphasized a broader role for the Consular Corps that encompassed deeper economic and cultural cooperation with New York City and US federal government agencies, and between and among members of Consular Corps.  In addition, the membership of the SOFC became more robust, adding more members from ASEAN and African Consulates General.  He also led official trips to the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in the same year as part of SOFC members’ orientation and networking tour of New York City.  He expanded the camaraderie and friendship among Consular Corps members by hosting a year-end reception and other activities at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center, and continuing the annual SOFC tradition of recognizing distinguished women in the New York community in an awarding ceremony during International Women’s month.

On 30 April 2015, the SOFC became incorporated as a 501 (c) (7) organization after 90 years of being unincorporated in New York.  This process was initiated during the term of Consul General De Leon when the SOFC officially filed incorporation papers in 2014 that led to its approval the following year.  Because of this, the SOFC became a stronger institution with a clear mandate and is now able to add different activities, including social get-togethers and fund raising, for the benefit of the entire Consular Corps.

Elections for officers were also held and new members of the executive committee were elected for 2016-2017. Hon. Brenthold Evans, Consul General from Guyana will assume the role as President of SOFC on July 1, 2016.

Founded in 1925, the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York represents the world’s largest consular corps, comprising Consulates, Consulates General and Honorary Consulates  based in New York City.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Photos | Tom Rodriguez Meets the Press in New York City

Tom Rodriguez Press Conference. Hosted by GMA International. Payag Filipino Restaurant in Woodside, Queens. June 20, 2016. New York. 

Photos by Lambert Parong for Kababayan Media/ CC BY

"I was fortunate enough that I was with very talented people who guided me and I will maintain it and I have to give credit where credit is due, my whole career I can attribute it not to myself but to the people who I've worked with, because they're the ones who have helped me grow.." 
- Tom Rodriguez, Filipino American actor on his 'young' showbusiness career accomplishments in the Philippines. 

Tom Rodriguez, Kay Habana, Lumen Castaneda and Momar Visaya.

Tom with Rena Avendula of Payag Restaurant

Tom with Boyet Loverita

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mayor de Blasio Opens Padilla Support Center to Provide Training for Lawyers Representing Immigrant Defendants

New center will ensure that criminal defense lawyers can provide the approximately 700,000 New Yorkers eligible to become citizens with high-quality information about the immigration consequences of criminal and family court convictions

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a new initiative to ensure immigrant New Yorkers receive high quality legal representation when facing a criminal charge. The new Padilla Support Center, funded by a $1.35 million grant from New York State and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, will connect criminal trial-level, appellate and family court lawyers to individualized, expert advice as well as ongoing training and technical assistance.
“Every New Yorker deserves a fair day in court and high quality legal representation – regardless of immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Equipping lawyers to provide immigrants with the best possible criminal defense is an important piece of ensuring that our criminal justice system is fair and immigrants continue to feel welcome in New York City.”
"New York City has long taken an innovative approach to providing advice and representation to immigrants navigating the criminal court system," said Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. "The new Padilla Support Center will enhance the City's ability to support immigrant New Yorkers as they navigate our complex legal systems."
There are approximately 1.5 million immigrants in New York City who are not yet U.S. citizens, about 700,000 of whom are estimated to be eligible to apply for citizenship. Entering a guilty plea or being convicted of even a minor, non-violent offense can have significant ramifications for these New Yorkers.
The plan advances the Mayor’s commitments to improve the quality of justice in New York City and ensure that City services – including education, emergency food, shelter, health care, legal services and municipal IDs – are available to every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status. Under the Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky, defense attorneys are obligated to inform defendants of the potential immigration consequences of a criminal case. The Padilla Support Center is part of a statewide network of regional immigration assistance centers announced last year by the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services to better deliver effective representation that is in constitutional compliance with the Supreme Court’s mandate in Padilla.
The Immigrant Defense Project, founded in 1997 to provide legal resources, training and support to criminal defense lawyers representing immigrants in New York criminal cases, will conduct operations for the Padilla Support Center.
New York City’s Padilla Support Center will provide key services, including:
  • Providing essential training and technical assistance. The Padilla Support Center will conduct trainings for and disseminate resource guides to all criminal defense attorneys in the City to build knowledge and awareness of the immigration consequences related to criminal and family court cases.
  • Operating a hotline for criminal defense attorneys. Staffed by lawyers with expertise in immigration law, the hotline will provide individualized and ongoing advice to the more than 2,000 appointed defense attorneys representing immigrants in criminal and family court in New York City. The hotline will help defense attorneys to understand the immigration consequences of a given criminal case.
  • Connecting individuals to immigration legal experts. The hotline will also facilitate connection to immigration lawyers who can handle non-criminal legal needs, such as residency applications or deportation proceedings. These immigration lawyers, funded by the City, are embedded in institutional defense provider offices in all five boroughs, serving nearly 6,000 immigrant New Yorkers per year.
Immigrant Defense Project attorneys are nationally recognized experts in criminal-immigration law and have years of experience providing support to criminal defense lawyers and helping public defender offices institutionalize practices that best protect their immigrant clients.
The Padilla Support Center will complement and expand the legal services already available to immigrants living in New York City, which include ActionNYC, a citywide, community-based system that provides free, high-quality immigration-related information and legal support, and NYCitizenship, a program that provides free legal help with citizenship applications at select public library branches. The Padilla Support Center expands available capacity in the City to connect immigrants with high-quality legal advice and information, with a focus on those with a pending criminal case.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Apl de Ap Back in NY for the 118th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration

Meantime here is our coverage of our Kababayan back in 2014 Back in NY Sunday June 5, 2016 at the 118th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration. Organized by Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. with the cooperation of the Philippine Consulate General, New York