Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Ongoing through April 15, AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service. Since its inception, the program has served more than 68 million taxpayers.

Tax-Aide started in 1968 with just four volunteers working at one site. Today, nearly 35,000 volunteers serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers at almost 5,000 locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers nationwide. There’s no fee, and AARP membership is not required.

“AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides free tax assistance to those who need it most,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “With the support of bilingual volunteers, some Tax-Aide locations offer assistance in additional languages to help taxpayers who don’t speak English or speak English as a second language prepare their returns.”

Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. In 2018, the program’s volunteers helped 2.5 million people navigate complicated tax codes, ensure proper credits and deductions, and file their federal and state tax returns. Taxpayers who used Tax-Aide received $1.3 billion in income tax refunds and more than $212 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). They also avoided tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or refund loans.

To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site or more information, including which documents to bring to the tax site, visit  or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in conjunction with the IRS.

AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connections. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope.

To learn more visit

Contributed NIWAPR19213

Consul General Claro Cristobal Meets Filipino Law Students in US Northeast

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (6th from left, 2nd row) with Filipino-American lawyers (1st row, L-R) Betheena Dizon of SGV/EY), Connie Montoya (FALA-NY), Amanda Bernardo (FALA-NY), Elizabeth Cueva (NYS DHR), Patricia Sta. Maria (Yale), (2nd row) Vice Consul Tanya Faye Ramiro, Graciela Base (Yale), April Lacson (NYU), Agatha Ramos (Columbia), Christine De Castro-Lejano (Columbia), Patricia Peña-Drilon (Columbia), Christian Drilon (Harvard), Tim Dauz (Fordham), Julianne Alberto (University of Michigan), Dr. Nona Helena Palarca, (3rd row) Jayson Lopez (Harvard), Alex Custodio (Columbia), Luisa Mauricio (Columbia), and Consul Arman Talbo. (Photo by NYPCG)

New York – Consul General Claro S. Cristobal met with Filipino lawyers taking up post-graduate studies at select universities in the US northeaston 25 January at the Philippine Center. The students are currently enrolled at Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, Yale University, and Harvard University. One student from the University of Michigan also attended the event.

Consul General Cristobal noted the steady increase in the numbers of Filipino law students taking masteral programs in the East Coast, particularly in New York, and that the Consulate will continue to reach out to Filipino student groups and help them establish networks with professionals from their chosen professions and with the Filipino-American community in the region. He likewise encouraged them to be the Consulate’s partners in assisting members of the Fil-Am community particularly in legal matters.

The meeting afforded the students the opportunity to listen to insights from practicing Filipino-American lawyers Atty. Elizabeth Cueva of the New York State Department of Human Rights, Atty. Connie Montoya and Atty. Amanda Bernardo of the Filipino- American Lawyers Association in New York (FALA-NY), and Atty. Betheena Dizon of SGV/Ernst and Young, on their experiences practicing law in New Yorkvis-à-vis law practice in the Philippines.

The students expressed their appreciation to the Consulate for reaching out and organizing the meeting, saying that the valuable information they gained from the fellowship had widened their perspective and networks. They committed to assist the Consulate in strengthening the program so that future students from the Philippines would have a support system while studying in the East Coast. Consul General Cristobal assured the group that the Consulate will organize similar events at least twice a year and expand it to cover other professions as well.

Contributed PCGNY 19213

Philippine Consulate General in New York Hosts 5th Filipino American General Assembly

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (front center) together with the leaders and members of the 85 Fil-Am organizations represented at the 2019 General Assembly. (Photo by Mr. Michael Azucena)
New York – Consul General Claro S. Cristobal welcomed leaders of the Filipino community representing Filipino American organizations in the US northeast at the 5th General Assembly held at the Philippine Center New York’s Kalayaan Hall on 9 February 2019.

Fil-Am leaders from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York participated in the annual event which served as the venue for them to be apprised on the Consulate’s calendar of activities, programs and services for 2019. Consul General Cristobal introduced the Consulate’s projects and calendar for the year and gave a report on the Consulate’s activities last year. He highlighted new projects such as academe networking, women entrepreneur’s forum, business and career networking event, workshops on Leadership and Management for the Fil-Am community organizations, and Post-Arrival Orientation Seminar for newly arrived Filipino immigrants. 

He encouraged the Filipino community to support the Consulate’s annual flagship projectssuch as the Consular outreach services, Know Your Rights seminars, Filipino Restaurant Week, VIP Tour, PaaralansaKonsulado, and Sinehansa Summer, among others. The Consul General also reminded members of the Filipino community to exercise their right to vote this coming Philippine elections, stressing that Overseas Voting will run from April 13 to May 13.

Senior Trade Representative Nicanor Bautista of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York, Tourism Attaché Susan Del Mundo of the Philippine Department of Tourism Office in New York, Member Services OfficerMichael Azucena of Pag-Ibig Fund, and Welfare Officer Josephine Sanchez-Tobiaof the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) were also present and gave updates on their agencies’ respective programs and services for the year.

Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, in his remarks to the Assembly, related how, as a Filipino, he got involved in politics. He expressed his readiness to assist members of the Filipino community in Jersey City. With the Filipino community being one of the biggest immigrant groups in Jersey City, he said that the Filipino community could play a significant role in community building.

True to its continuing theme “Connecting and Collaborating for Change,” the General Assembly’s highlight was the breakout sessions held in the afternoon, where the participating organizations were divided into three groups, with topics assigned to each group such as inspiring engagement with young Filipino-Americans, broadening involvement in local community building and socio-political processes, and strengthening linkages and collaboration with the Consulate. Within their respective group, each organization was able to share experiences on the topic assigned, had constructive discussions among themselves, and were able to come up with specific programs, activities, and projects that they can collaborate on.

Event partners, PNB New York, GMAPinoy TV, and Philippine Airlines, were present and gave updates on their company’s new services available to the Filipino community. GMAPinoy TV’s Grace Labaguis presented a GMA network’s video dubbed as “Sama- samanating ‘PusuanangTotoo’” which is the network’s campaign for safeguarding the ballot and delivering truthful, accurate and comprehensive coverage of the forthcoming elections. Philippine Airlines shared the news that the flag carrier will soon have a daily Manila-New York-Manila flightand raffled off a round-trip ticket to the Philippines. Filipino-American singer Angel Ram had the participants dancing as she rendered an upbeat version of Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me” and “All Night Long.”

The Assembly likewise discussed the community events led by the different organizations, as well as the upcoming Philippine Independence Day parade in June. This year’s General Assembly drew nearly 170 participants representing 85 Filipino- American organizations in the US northeast region.

Contributed PCGNY 19213 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


“I’ve really made such an effort every step of the way to remain humble through it all, because with this great success I always remember what I went through to get here, all the people that helped me get here, it was definitely not done by myself. I’m so blessed to be able to really think and consider that next year I could buy a retirement house for my parents, be able to provide for them in that way and really have this platform to do all that work in those projects that I’ve been dreaming about for my charity, so it is such a magical time for me, so many things that I would love to do and now that I have the opportunity to do that, I’m just so excited.”
– Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018 during a media availability hosted by the Philippine Consulate General in New York. Kalayaan Hall Annex, Philippine Center. February 4, 2019. New York City. Photo by Lambert Parong ©️ 2019 Kababayan Media.