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Monday, March 25, 2019

Philippine National Statistician Dr. Lisa Bersales Updates Filipino American Community in US Northeast on Civil Registration and 'PhilSys ID'

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dr. Lisa Grace Bernales (3rd from left) is flanked by PSA Director Rosalinda Bautista, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal and Atty. Lourdines Dela Cruz of PhilSys Registry Office during a Forum on Civil Registration at the Philippine Center New York. (Photo by Lambert Parong)

New York – National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales apprised the Filipino-American community in the US northeast about the recent updates on civil registration in the Philippines and the national ID system during a Forum on Civil Registration organized by the Philippine Consulate General in New York on 7 March 2019.

Members of the Filipino-American community and Philippine Consulate Officers and Staff with PSA Officials led by Dr. Lisa Bersales during a Forum on Civil Registration. (Photo by Lambert Parong)

Dr. Bersales gave an overview of the works of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), including its mandate to conduct statistical surveys relating to the country’s economic, social, and demographic profile, administer civil registration functions, and now, the rolling out of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys ID) within the year.

During the open forum, lawyers in the audience raised some of the issues they encounter when submitting their Filipino clients’ Philippine civil registry documents to US immigration agency. Among these common problems were the discrepancy in the names, unreadable or blurred entries in the birth or marriage certificates, change of name particularly those who changed their names when they became naturalized US citizens, difference in the naming conventions in the Philippines and US, as well as the lengthy and laborious process of correcting some entries on the civil registry documents.

Members of the Filipino-American community and Philippine Consulate Officers and Staff raise common civil registry problems with PSA Officials led by Dr. Lisa Bersales during a Forum on Civil Registration. (Photo by Lambert Parong)

Dr. Bersales explained that solutions to these common problems have to originate from the municipal or local civil registrar where the life event took place. As PSA is the central repository of all civil registry documents, it can only authenticate those documents submitted by the local civil registrar. She emphasized that although the process is circuitous, the ultimate goal is to ensure the integrity of the documents.

Responding to questions about the PhilSys ID, Dr. Bersales confirmed that PSA is the lead agency that will implement the PhilSys ID. She indicated that the national ID would eventually replace in a span of 5 years the numerous IDs such as, postal, voter’s, BIR, PAGIBIG, and SSS IDs. She clarified, however, that it will not replace the passport, driver’s license, and PRC license.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dr. Lisa Grace Bernales. (Photo by Lambert Parong)

Dr. Bersales indicated that the PSA is in the process of procuring a printing agency, saying that PSA is currently in talks with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas(BSP) and the APO Production Unit, Inc., both recognized government printers. She revealed that PSA is also considering the possibility of procuring private printing companies, with the assurance that these printers would adhere to the Data Privacy Act since the information to be gathered will include biometrics, full name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, blood type, address, and if one is a Filipino or a resident alien.

When asked if Filipinos overseas can apply for the new ID at any Philippine Embassy or Consulate, Dr. Bersales said that PSA plans to conduct mobile registrations at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate possibly in the next two years. She emphasized that during the initial implementation of the new ID system, PSA would prioritize indigents, people with disabilities (PWD), senior citizens, and government workers in several key areas all over the Philippines.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dr. Lisa Grace Bernales (3rd from left) is flanked by PSA Director Rosalinda Bautista, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal and Atty. Lourdines Dela Cruz of PhilSys Registry Office during a Forum on Civil Registration at the Philippine Center New York. (Photo by Lambert Parong)

Atty. Lourdines Dela Cruz, OIC-Deputy National Statistician for PhilSys Registry Office, and Director Rosalinda Bautista, OIC-Deputy National Statistician for Sectoral Statistics Office, were also present and responded to some of questions raised during the open forum.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal who moderated the Forum, encouraged the members of the Fil-Am community to reach out to the Philippine Consulate on any concern about civil registration. He said that the Philippine Consulate looks forward to receiving the PSA when it holds its PhilSys mobile registration for Filipinos in the US northeast in the next two years.

Contributed PCGNY19314

Maria Ressa | Reclaiming the Truth: Fighting Fake News, How Trolls and Bots Fuel the Rise of Global Fascism

Press Conference and Panel Discussion with Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Philippine journalist Maria Ressa

March 25, 2019 Monday 1:30pm (PDT)

Bayanihan Community Center
SOMA Pilipinas, Filipino  Cultural and Heritage District

Maria Ressa, journalist and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, will brief the community and members of the press about her recent speaking engagement in San Francisco, which included top Democrats James Carville and Andrew Gillum. Ressa is the CEO of Philippine online news outlet Rappler.

Ressa, a Filipino American, recently told an audience that the Philippines’ experiences foreshadow what happens in the U.S. “The Philippines is now the tip of the arrow in a global fight for democracy - from the weaponization of social media against perceived enemies like journalists to weaponizing the law against (political opponents) - and most recently, me,” said Ressa.

Ressa spoke on the parallels between Russian bots and pro-Duterte trolls that are weaponizing the internet, and how she holds social media giants Facebook and Twitter accountable as the new gatekeepers of truth. 

Russian trolls and their role in Trump’s election are some of the subjects of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Ressa’s media outlet Rappler is Facebook’s fact-checking partner in the Philippines.

Ressa will also deliver a keynote address for the National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines this April 6-8 in Washington D.C. hosted by the Malaya Movement.

Contributed MMSEVY19325

Filipino American Academic Networking Launched in New York

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal hosted an academic networking brunch at the Consul General's residence on 2 March 2019 which aims to establish links with Filipino-Americans in the academe and explore ideas and interests in linking PH and US academic institutions for research or exchange programs. 

New York – Sixteen Filipino-American members of the academe from various disciplines in 13 universities in the US Northeast gathered at the Academic Networking brunch hosted by Consul General Claro S. Cristobal at his residence on Saturday, 2 March 2019.

In his welcome remarks, the Consul General thanked the members of the academe and shared with them the new initiative of the Consulate to meet and get to know the Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the different colleges and universities. The academic networking aims to start a conversation with them on how the Philippine Consulate could facilitate activities that will benefit the Fil-Am students and the academe. It also aspires to explore ideas and interests in linking PH and US academic institutions for research or exchange programs.

The professors shared with the group their respective academic disciplines, their interests and ideas for the Filipino and Fil-Am students in the US, as well as possible assistance to the students and institutions in the Philippines.They agreed to create a coordination group to be composed of volunteers from among themselves to initiate the work and outline the plans.

Participants to the Academic Networking enjoy a simple Filipino brunch catered by Chef Jappy Diago Afzelius of Tsismis, a soon-to-open Filipino Restaurant in Manhattan.
Present at the brunch were President of St. John’s University, Conrado Gempesaw; Dean Faustino Cruz of Fordham University and Dean Evangeline Manjares of Nassau Community College. Also present were Professors of Adelphi University- Emilia Zarco; CUNY - Jennifer Delfino; College of Mount Saint Vincent - Noel Pangilinan; Farleigh Dickinson University – John Cinco; Fashion Institute of Technology – Lorenza Wong; Fordham University – Donna Mae Odra; John Jay College – Kevin Nadal; New York University/Hunter College – Luis Francia; Rutgers University – Allan Punzalan Isaac; and Seton Hall University – Cherubim Quizon. Dr. Nerissa Calub of the New York Department of Education also participated in the brunch.

The Academe Network is open to all Fil-Am members of the academe in the US Northeast. Interested academe members may wish to contact the Philippine Consulate General New York at 212-819-9655 or email at to be notified and included in future activities.

Contributed PCGNY19313

Friday, March 22, 2019



Photo courtesy Jane Catherine Shaw

LA MAMA KIDS -- a series of creative workshops and performances for youngsters ages 4 to 12 and their families, presented annually by the Tony Award-winning La MaMa theater – returns for its sixth year this spring with special events set for select weekends from March 23 to June 9, it has been announced by Mia Yoo, La MaMa’s Artistic Director.

Curated by Denise Greber, La MaMa Kids will conduct the workshops and performances at La MaMa’s The Downstairs Theatre (66 East 4th Street) in Manhattan. This low-cost and wildly popular family series, features a line-up of creative and interactive productions to teach theatre crafts through workshops that encourage imaginative play and hands-on learning.

Held monthly, La MaMa Kids is fun for the whole family, and a complete list of details on the season can be found below:

While You Are Out
Saturday, March 23 at 2pm and Sunday, March 24 at Noon
By Sova Theater
Rod and shadow puppets by Justin Perlman & Adelka Polak

Photo courtesy of Sova Theatre

While You Are Out lands audiences in the heart of Shakespeare’s imagination as woven into Midsummer Night’s Dream where the fairies and sprites along with their king & queen play tricks on each other or anyone else who may find themselves wandering through the forest past dark.

This performance invites audiences to come both ready to dance and dressed as fairies, sprites and woodland creatures. Crystal Cymbalogy will create magical rhythms for our feet and wings. Come help to bring the forest to life at La MaMa as we dive into our dreams here among the trees, winged creatures and tricksters.

Sova Dance and Puppet Theater celebrate humanity and the environment by engaging audiences through live performance combining the moving body, puppetry, mask, video, dance, and artistic installations. The combined ingredients communicate that which cannot be described in words, and therefore are accessible to communities around the globe.

The Three Dolls
A modern American musical folktale
Sunday, March 31 at 2pm
Saturday, April 6 at Noon and Sunday, April 7 at 2pm

Photo courtesy Jane Catherine Shaw

By Jane Catherine Shaw
Music by Clayton Daniel Briggs
Lyrics by Molly Reisman
Performers: Clayton Daniel Briggs, Jennie Egerdie, and Jane Catherine Shaw

Ziv, Hermione and Pippa are three dolls living in the dark. The sun should be up by now, but for some reason, it’s still pitch black. Through friendship, puppetry, songs and musical riddles, join us in an adventure to help the three dolls on their quest to turn darkness into light, and to make the world a brighter place for all of us to live.

JANE CATHERINE SHAW (Creator/Director/Performer) is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and graduated on the Dean’s List with an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College. She is curator of La MaMa’s Puppet Slam. Ms. Shaw was puppetry co-director and master puppeteer for Mabou Mines’ Peter And Wendy and built and directed the puppetry sequence for Lee Breuers’ Dollhouse. Ms. Shaw was nominated for a 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for her work with Theodora Skipitares on The Chairs. She creates and directs her own work for puppet theatre, among them, Calpurnia Coyote Comes To The Big City, The Blue Marble, Following The Wind,
Folktales Of Asia And Africa, Pelandok The Mousedeer, as well as adult works: Thirst: Memory Of Water, The Lone Runner, Bed Of Light, and Universe Expanding, all of which premiered at La MaMa. She is a member of the La MaMa Kids Committee, helping to grow sophisticated, age appropriate theatrical work, and workshops for young audiences.

La MaMa Kids: La MaMa Moves! Dance Workshop
Saturday, May 18 at Noon
Directed by: Dan Safer

Dan Safer -- Photo by Sharkey Weinberg

In this workshop, participants will explore the basics of contact improvisation and dancing with a partner: moving up and down from the floor, rolling around, and even choreographed lifts. Sharing weight, balancing, connecting to other people, connecting to the floor. Making sure what we do is focused, fun, and surprising.

Dan Safer is a director, choreographer, performer, and teacher. He is the Artistic Directo of Witness Relocation, an internationally recognized dance/theater company known in NYC as one of the “ensembles who now lead the city’s progressive theater scene” (Village Voice), and the recipients of three New York Innovative Theater Awards.

Family Play Date

Sunday, June 9, at Noon

Hosted by Richard Ebihara & Perry Yung, of Slant Performance Group, Family Play Date is a fun-filled magical and humorous cabaret performance embracing dance, music, and theatre, that is a unique event for the whole family.

Richard Ebihara & Perry Yung, founders of Slant Performance Group, ingeniously fuses puppetry, guitars, percussion, voice, and bamboo flutes into dynamic, engaging storytelling. Performances are an exciting tapestry of original live music interwoven with social satire.


Workshops: $10 per child (Free tickets for adult chaperones); Performances: $10 to
$15 per person.

To purchase tickets, please call OvationTix at: 212-352-3101; or to buy online visit:

Contributed SMR1938

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mentoring in the Philippines: ‘2nd Gabay Mag-Aral Workshop’

The Philippine Consulate General in New York, invites the public to be part of the 2nd Workshop of the Gabay Mag-aaral Project.

March 23, 2019 Saturday 1-3PM. 

Philippine Center 
556 Fifth Avenue 
New York, NY 10036

Subject: 2nd Gabay Magaaral Workshop 
or call 212 764 1330 ext 3866

Gabay Mag-aaral Project (GMP) is an outcome of the Homecoming sa Konsulado designed to mobilize US-based mentors and volunteers to reach out to public elementary schools in the Philippines and conduct a student assembly among Grade 6 students to inspire and motivate them to achieve their dreams.

The First GMP Workshop was held in March 24, 2018. The launch was held in Maybocog Elementary School in Maybocog, Maydolong in Eastern Samar on July 25, 2018 and  in San Jose Central Elementary School of DepEd Tacloban City Division, DepEd RO VIII/Eastern Visayas on August 2, 2018.

The latter was attended by more than 100 grade 6 students.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Women Who Inspire Community Recognized by the Philippine Consulate General in New York

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal expresses appreciation to the women achievers in New York during the celebration of the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019 at the Philippine Center. (From L-R) Atty. Elizabeth Cueva, Major Jessica Alina Persad, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Heidi Mendoza, Ms. Erin Robles and Atty. Connie Montoya.

New York - Internationally respected auditor Under-Secretary-General Heidi Mendoza of the Internal Oversight Services of the United Nations, ranking female officer of the Connecticut Air National Guard Major Jessica Alina Persad, and food influencer and blogger Erin Robles sharedstories about their journeys in their respective fields with the Filipino-American community in New York during the celebration of International Women’s Day organized by the Philippine Consulate General on 8 March 2019 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in new York.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal commended the distinguished Filipino women for their courage and audacity and thanked them for sharing the experience oftheir challenges, struggles and success.

USG Mendoza stated in her remarks that she spoke for many women, especially the unknown and unnamed women whose “only” achievement in life was to raise a family, women in government as public servants who are also part-time mothers, as well as women in the Philippines who stand for what they believe in. She also honored her own mother who chose to live an “insignificant” life so that her children could live significantly. Ms. Mendoza emphasized the women’s values of simplicity, humility, resilience, as well as the principles of accountability, responsibility, ethics, trust, and honesty in public service.

Major Persad shared her 15 years of experience as a second-generation Filipino-American serving in the military, learning to protect and care for the vulnerable and those in need. Being a woman in the military, she stressed that she had to learn to find her voice and change her mindset by turning problematic situations into opportunities,steering her to leadership positions. She encouraged women to bravely take a seat and let their voices be heard.

Erin Robles, torn between staying in New York and living in the comfort of her home in the Philippines, opted to pursue her dream in New York. Aninterior designer by profession, she started her Instagram account when it was fairly unknown, and used it to show photos of food depicting Filipino traditional celebrations.Her followers eventually numbered in the tens of thousands. She stated that the social media platform opened many opportunities to a 27-year old Filipina living alone in New Yorkand made her thrive in the profession that she loves. Ms. Robles encouraged Filipino-Americans to overcome feelingsof inferiority and be proud and own their passion, as she did, notwithstanding being the “youngest, female and Asian” in many of her work situations.

Atty. Elizabeth Cueva and Atty. Connie Montoya, two women achievers in the field of immigration and law and volunteers in the Filipino-American community, applauded the journey and insights of the resources speakers. Atty. Montoya recognized their dedication to duty, staunchness to identity, and courage.

A vibrant discussion with the women and men in the audience followed the speeches of the three resource speakers.

Now on its 5th year, “An Evening with the Distinguished Filipino Women” is an annual activity of the Philippine Consulate General in New York aimed at focusing the spotlight on Filipina women in the US Northeast who have gained recognition in the US.

Contributed PCGNY19314

Sunday, March 17, 2019

MIRACLE IN RWANDA Written by Leslie Lewis and Edward Vilga Directed by George Drance; Off-Broadway engagement April 4 – April 21

MIRACLE IN RWANDA – a play by Leslie Lewis and Edward Vilga about one young woman’s remarkable survival during the Rwandan genocide 25 years ago – will be presented in NYC following an acclaimed world tour, with previews beginning April 4 prior to an official opening April 9 at the Lion Theatre on Theater Row (410 W. 42 St.) in Manhattan.  

This Off-Broadway multi-character solo show stars Rwandan actress Malaika Uwamahoro, and is directed by George Drance.   MIRACLE IN RWANDA is based on the true story of New York Times best selling author of Left to Tell, Immaculée Ilibagiza.  

MIRACLE IN RWANDA depicts an uplifting message of forgiveness and compassion, chronicling the dramatic events of Rwandan genocide survivor Ilibagiza. The story is one of personal empowerment, of overcoming all obstacles through the power of faith, and ultimately finding peace of mind amidst unbelievable hardship. Often called “our generation’s Anne Frank”—yet one who thankfully survived — the true miracle of Immaculée’s story is her ability to forgive.

This engagement of MIRACLE IN RWANDA coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi people, when they were slaughtered by the Hutu government in power – and by their own neighbors -- during the Rwandan Civil War in 1994. 

MIRACLE IN RWANDA will perform Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7 pm; Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm; and Sundays at 3 pm.

MIRACLE IN RWANDA tickets at Theatre Row are available now. Tickets range in price from $39 to $90 and can be purchased by calling the Telecharge phone number at 212-239-6200 or online at  

Please also check out Theatre Row’s website, and the MIRACLE IN RWANDA website for additional information,

Design credits for MIRACLE IN RWANDA include: Schele Williams (Set Design), Donna Lea Ford (Costume Design), Erich Keil and Gina Costagliola (Lighting Design), and Taiwo Heard (Sound Design). 

MIRACLE IN RWANDA is produced by Broadview Phoenix, Magis Theatre Company and Acuity Productions.  

MALAIKA UWAMAHORO is a Rwandan actress, poet and activist.  She is a graduate of Fordham University in NYC, with a BA in Theatre Studies. US Theatre includes: Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre), Measure Back (Dixon Place), Bishop (Fordham/Primary Stages), and Africa’s Hope (USC Bovard Theatre, CA). International theatre: Les Os que Craquent (Theatre de Poche, Belgium).  Film: Notre Dames Du Nil (Dir. Atiq Rahimi), Loveless Generation (Dir. Thomas Petkovski), Un Plain Parfait (Dir. Pascal Chaumeil), Shake Hands with the Devil (Dir. Roger Spottiswoode). 

GEORGE DRANCE has performed and directed in over twenty-five countries on five continents. He is Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Magis Theatre Company, praised by the NY Times for its skill and daring (Great DivorceShakuntalaOccupy Olympus*markCalderon’s Two Dreams) Theatre: Metropolitan Opera, Public Theatre/NYSF, ImprovBoston, ART, and La MaMa ETC - touring Europe and Asia with "Fragments of a Greek Trilogy" (Andrei Serban/ Elizabeth Swados.) and as a close collaborator with Ellen Stewart. He is an Artist-in Residence at Fordham Lincoln Center, and has held several prestigious fellowships at universities nationwide.

LESLIE LEWIS is an actress, writer and producer best known for creating Miracle in Rwanda, which she has performed on five continents to over 15,000 theatergoers. She’s the author of four books, numerous articles and was nominated for an Audelco and a Jessie award for acting.  She produced the feature films With Child and Dead Broke and has several other creative projects in the works, including a musical version of Dangerous Liaisons set during the Harlem Renaissance. She graduated from Harvard and UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television, and is a member of Actors’ Equity, The Actors Center and the Magis Theatre Company.

EDWARD VILGA has had seven books published and has written and directed two feature films including Dead Broke(Warner Brothers DVD; Paul Sorvino, John Glover, Jill Hennessy, and Justin Theroux).  His novel "Downward Dog" -- the adventures of a bad boy yoga instructor -- was published in paperback in June 2014 by Diversion Books. Prior to co-creating Miracle in Rwanda with Leslie Lewis, Vilga produced the Obie-winning "My Left Breast" by Susan Miller. He is a Yale graduate.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Beware Impostor Scams; Criminals Pose as Businesses or Government Agencies to Steal Your Identity

FTC Attorney Cora Tung Han warns that Medicare scams are on the rise.

AARP has found that older Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are often targets of certain fraud ( Scammers often use caller ID spoofing to mask their true location, making it appear that they’re calling from a legitimate or local number to raise the odds that you’ll pick up. If you do, the robotic voice on the other end might claim to represent a utility, name-brand company or government agency, like Medicare, the Internal Revenue Service, and Consulates. It might tell you to press a particular key to learn more, or to get off a call list.

Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director for the FTC’s Division of Privacy & Identity Protection, said “We’re happy to be a part of getting the word out to Asian American Pacific Islander communities and encouraging people to report scams to the FTC. The more we hear from people, the more we can help fight scams.”

FTC Attorney Patty Hsue counsels those who receive calls from scammers claiming that they're from the Chinese Consulate to hang up and report the call.
Whatever the message, don’t engage. Doing so can lead you to a real live scammer, who’ll pressure you to make a purchase or pump you for personal information, like a credit card or Social Security number. Even just pressing a key or answering a question alerts scammers that they’ve hit on a “live” number, and they’ll call it again and again.

  • Do hang up on illegal robocalls.
  • Do put your phone number on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. It won’t stop fraudulent calls, but it will make them easier to spot because most legitimate telemarketers won’t call you if you’re on the registry.
  • Do consider using a call-blocking app or device to screen your calls and weed out spam and scams. You can also ask your phone service provider if it offers any such tools.
  • Do review a company’s privacy policies before you give it permission to call you. You might be authorizing them to share your contact information with others.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. The FCC recommends letting them go to voicemail.
  • Don’t press any keys or say anything in response to a prerecorded message. This lets scammers know yours is a working number and will lead to more spam calls.
  • Don’t follow instructions to “speak to a live operator.” This will likely transfer you to a call center for an aggressive sales pitch or a phishing expedition.
  • Don’t judge a call by caller ID alone. Scammers mask their location by tricking your phone into displaying a legitimate government or corporate number, or one similar to your own (a practice called “neighbor spoofing”).

“We must all vigilantly protect our information and can all play an active role in trying to stamp out potential fraud by reporting any suspicious activity,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “Report fraud at and visit for more information.”

Contributed NIWAPR1937

In New York, Filipino Women Leaders 'Disrupt' the Philippine Consulate General

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (second from the right) poses with Filipino Women leaders 'disrupting' New York. Consul Arman R. Talbo, Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro and cultural officer, Ms. Olivia Osias-Magpile were also present. (Photo by NYPCCG)

New York – Filipino Women Leaders of the Filipina Women’s Network 'disrupted' the Philippine Consulate General on 04 March 2019, with the book, 'Disrupt 3.0 Filipina Women: Rising' the third in an anthology series of leadership stories frompreeminent Filipino women making a distinctive mark on their chosen careers.

“If you want to lead, you must disrupt. And to make change disruptive, leadership is required,” stated Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro, who delivered the welcome remarks for 'DISRUPTing New York' after Consul General Claro S. Cristobal yielded the floor to the Vice Consul in honor of International Women’s Day.

Selected snippets from the 'Disrupt' anthology series were read by various authors duringthe event, such as Lirio Sobreviñas-Covey PhD, a licensed psychologist and Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center also the Founder and President of the Association of Adults with Autism Philippines, Inc; Isabelita Marcelo Abele, President and CEO of the South Jersey-based family-owned lumber supplier, US Lumber; and Rebecca Murry, an architect and Math Coach at the United Nations International School who uses an innovative 'constructive-based instructional approach' to teach about numbers, amongst others. 

A leadership discussion with the event’s guest of honor, Ms. Hydra Mendoza, Deputy Chancellor for Community Empowerment, Partnerships, and Communications of the New York Department of Education, followed the book reading, with Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, Chairperson of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation serving as facilitator.

Through the sharing of amazing stories of courageous, passionate, and fierce women who disrupted the status quo, the event became source of inspiration for 
"Pinay" Empowerment.

Ms. Marilyn Mondejar, Founder and CEO of Filipina Women’s Network, aims to bring the 'Disrupt' series globally, with a similar event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in the offing.

Contributed PCGNY19311

Friday, March 15, 2019

Video: Why Filipinos Support President Duterte, Explained by Carlos H. Conde of Human Rights Watch

Carlos H. Conde, Philippines Researcher for Human Rights Watch, while in New York took a moment to engage with some members of the Filipino community. The forum was organized by the Filipino American Press Club of New York. It was held at the Asian American Writers Workshop. February 28, 2019. New York. 

Video by Lambert Parong ©️ 2019 Kababayan Media.

AARP Campaign Warns: Beware of Immigration Fraud in the Filipino American Community

AARP presents “Immigration Fraud Prevention,” a nationwide public service announcement produced by NextDayBetter in collaboration with the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York, and the Asian American Bar Association of New York. 

Older Filipino Americans are particularly vulnerable as targets of certain fraud. According to AARP’s “Facing Fraud or Saving Face? A Survey of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 50 Years and Older on Fraud and Scams” (, many con artists use immigration scams to falsely promise cheap, quick, or easy paths to work permits and green cards.

Scammers pretend to provide quality legal advice, help with paperwork, or other tasks involved in the immigration process. The scammer usually asks for an upfront fee, takes the money, and disappears immediately. Or worse, they provide ineffective or even harmful representation by filing the wrong paperwork, using fraudulent measures, or misrepresenting facts. The American Bar Association believes immigration fraud is underreported because many victims are often ashamed to report it to authorities or are afraid it will affect their immigration status.

“The immigration process can be confusing and intimidating, especially for Filipinos and Asian immigrants who face language barriers,” says attorney Amanda Bernardo, Board Member at the Filipino American Bar Association of New York and Co-Chair of the Immigration Committee at the Asian American Bar Association of New York. “You need to carefully vet the right immigration attorney, who can lend the right immigration services based on their client’s complex immigration needs.”

Some tips on how to protect yourself from immigration fraud include:
  • Work only with people who are authorized by the government to help you.
  • Real government website URLs should have .gov domains.
  • Always verify the person’s credentials. You should call the appropriate government agency and confirm that whoever has contacted you is a legitimate representative.
  • Don’t let anyone keep your original documents, like your birth certificate or passport.
  • Never pay for blank government forms or sign a form that either isn’t filled out yet or that you don’t understand.
  • Keep a copy of every form you submit and every letter from the government for your own records.
  • Avoid notary publics for legal advice. They are not licensed lawyers and cannot talk to government agencies on your behalf.

“Con artists often target immigrant communities because they are particularly vulnerable, but knowing how they work can help you spot and avoid scams,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “The focus of our fraud initiative is to provide the community tools needed to outsmart con artists before they strike.”

For more information, visit or

Follow @AARPAAPI for more news and videos.