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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Philippine Cinema Turns 100; Enjoy Free Screenings at 'Sinehan sa Summer 2019' Opens August 1 at the Philippine Center in New York

New York - 'Sinehan sa Summer 2019' proudly celebrates 100 years of Philippine cinema with the showing of well-curated and critically acclaimed Filipino films with English subtitles in three categories: Classic, Indie, and Short films. Talk back opportunities with directors, producers, and actors will be held for some of the films.

Sinehan sa Summer 2019 screens every Thursday in August at 6:30 PM and begins on August 1 at the Philippine Center on 556 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The feature presentation of the Sinehan sa Summer's Classic Night is award winning film, 'Noli Me Tangere' (1961), an epic screen adaptation of Dr. Jose Rizal's novel, directed by Gerardo De Leon, National Artist for Film.

This year's Classic Night is co-sponsored by Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc. (HTFI) and the Knights of Rizal- New York, Metropolitan New York, and Long Island Chapters. Special thanks to the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

The Sinehan sa Summer is an annual flagship project of the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

Admission is free but email registration is necessary (

Sinehan sa Summer 2019 is also made possible with the support of the Film Development Council of the Philippines; Cinemalaya; TBA Studios; and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. 

contributed gq/pcgny

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

2019 FYLPRO Immersion Program Now Open for Applications

FYLPRO Facebook Page Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy and FYLPRO are now accepting applications for the 2019 Immersion program to be held on 23-29 November in the Philippines.

Launched in 2012, FYLPRO is a joint initiative of the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States, the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI), and the FYLPRO non-profit organization.

Each year, the program selects ten (10) outstanding young professionals within the Filipino communities across the United States to take part in a weeklong immersion program in the Philippines. The ten delegates will have the chance to meet and interact with Philippine Government officials and various leaders in the fields of business, arts and culture, and civil society. The delegates will likewise have the opportunity to connect with their Filipino heritage through community service, cultural tours, and other civic activities.

FYLPRO Facebook Page Photo

Young leaders between the ages 25 and 40 are encouraged to apply. They must be ready and capable to travel to the Philippines; demonstrate leadership skills within their school, community, workplaces, or other areas of involvement; and have the potential or have demonstrated involvement in the Filipino community, or in issues and/or activities that align with the interest of the Filipino American community in the Philippines.

H.E. JOSE MANUEL G. ROMUALDEZ. PH Embassy US Facebook Page Photo

“We consider the next generation of Filipino-American young leaders as partners in further advancing our country’s development, and in strengthening the dynamic relations between the Philippines and the United States,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.

“The growing FYLPRO alumni network here in the United States composed of young professionals in the fields of business and marketing, public affairs, theater and the arts, multimedia and entertainment, and some even serving in the US government reinforces the bridge that connects our two countries,” the Ambassador added.

The 2019 FYLPRO application requirements may be viewed at the FYLPRO website. Deadline for submitting applications is on 1 September 2019 at 11:59 PM EST.

FYLPRO Facebook Photo

The Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) aims to build a dynamic network of next-generation, high-performing Filipino leaders who will build and strengthen bridges between the Philippines and the United States of America; capture and magnify the voice of the Filipino-American youth community in the US (ages 40 and under); and make positive impact on the lives of the Filipino and American peoples.

De Blasio Administration Releases 2019 AccessibleNYC Report to Improve Quality of Life for People with Disabilities

New York City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORKIn conjunction with the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Sapolin Accessibility Awards, Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise released the 2019 AccessibleNYC report. The fourth annual report provides a comprehensive roadmap to improve quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities in the areas of: transportation, employment, financial empowerment, housing, health, technology, access to City services and education.

While advancing the progress of initiatives laid out in the previous reports, the report adds a new section on technology. This section discusses the ways in which the City is leveraging assistive technology to remove barriers for people with disabilities, all the while ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are included in the development of future smart city projects.

“To be the fairest big city in America, we must ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities have equal access to all New York has to offer,” said Mayor de Blasio. “AccessibleNYC highlights our accessibility efforts and offers a roadmap for the future of our city while strengthening our commitment to becoming more inclusive for all.”

“Over the past year, we have continued to improve accessibility for New Yorkers with disabilities in all facets of life,” said MOPD Commissioner Victor Calise. “The fourth edition of AccessibleNYC builds on our previous reports and adds a new section on technology, the great equalizer for people with disabilities. I am extremely proud to issue AccessibleNYC 2019 and thank Mayor de Blasio for his continued support to making New York the most accessible city in the world.”

Highlights from the 2019 edition of AccessibleNYC include:

Transportation: The City has made a concerted effort to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to navigate the city. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has steadily increased the number of accessible taxis in the fleet and passed the first-of-its kind rules to mandate wheelchair accessibility in the for-hire-vehicle sector. Furthermore, the Department of Transportation has continued to increase the number of accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian ramps. In addition, MOPD is working with our partners at MTA New York City Transit to increase accessibility and efficiency of the New York State-run mass transit and Access-A-Ride paratransit services.

Employment: The de Blasio Administration is committed to improving access to good jobs and increasing the number of people with disabilities who are employed through the NYC: ATWORK initiative as well as the 55-a program by connecting a talent pool of people with disabilities directly to prospective employers through partnerships with City and State agencies as well as private organizations. Additionally, MOPD partnered with the Institute for Career Development and Cisco to launch a first-of-its-kind Cyber Security Academy that will train, certify and place people with disabilities in the ever- growing field of cyber security.

Financial Empowerment: The EmpoweredNYC program employs a consultative, three-tier approach to advance financial capability and counseling for people with disabilities and their families through broad engagement and education. Free and confidential one-on-one financial coaching is available to individuals with disabilities and their families via flexible platforms and specialized benefits advice for people with disabilities transitioning to work.

Housing: The City is continually developing additional accessible housing units, establishing new rules to obtain existing accessible units, and creating more opportunities to provide modifications in individual’s current housing units to improve and expanded the supply of accessible housing. MOPD’s Project Open House initiative uses Community Development Block Grant funds to remove architectural barriers from the homes of New York City residents who have disabilities at no cost to the applicant.

Health: MOPD is working with organizations representing individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing along with health care providers to develop a forum to be held at NYU Langone Hospital in September 2019. Additionally, MOPD is working with NYC Health + Hospitals to increase access to reproductive health care for people with disabilities.

Technology: NYC’s Digital Accessibility Coordinator working in tandem with the Department of Information Telecommunications and Technology has published the second Digital Accessibility Report. This biennial report notes the progress of accessibility of NYC websites and all other digital products. In addition, MOPD partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Creative Communications to hold the second annual Digital Inclusion Conference. This public event had hands-on workshops, panels, and networking opportunities for digital workers in public and private sectors on internet human rights, digital accessibility, and inclusion.

Access: With the assistance of the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, MOPD has expanded ASL Direct by hiring a new Program Supervisor and opening a second location in Human Resources Administration. Callers who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing can—via video call—be directly connected to a Resource Specialist who is fluent in American Sign Language and can provide information about City services. In addition, MOPD has partnered with Small Business Services, elected officials and Business Improvement Districts to provide information on making a business accessible in compliance with the ADA.

Education: Starting in 2019, DOE students with disabilities will receive priority in admissions to school buildings that are fully or partially accessible. In addition, MOPD held a convening of other government offices focused on disability from around the country. Over the course of three days, each agency shared best practices on how they are making their services and infrastructure more accessible for people with disabilities. Furthermore, MOPD partnered with DemocracyNYC to meet with disability advocates regarding access to voting and civic engagement.

For more information on these highlights and other work the City is doing to improve accessibility, the 2019 Edition of AccessibleNYC is available now at

Monday, July 29, 2019

President Duterte Wants Congress to Act on Important Legislations, Tackle Corruption

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 22, 2019. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Quezon City, The Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte spelled out last Monday, 22 July, a number of legislations he wants Congress to prioritize to realize his vision for the country before stepping down in 2022.

President Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa, called on lawmakers to reinstate the capital punishment or death penalty for heinous crimes particularly drug-related offenses and plunder.

“I am aware that we still have a long way to go in our fight against this social menace. Let the reason why I advocate the imposition of the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs,” President Duterte said.

The Chief Executive also implored Congress to immediately pass the Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program or the TRABAHO Bill, which will gradually lower the corporate income tax as well as rationalize and improve fiscal incentives.

He expects the legislation to energize the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and encourage them to expand their businesses and hopefully generate 1.4 million jobs in the coming years. MSMEs, he noted, hold the promise of improving the lives of Filipinos.

Congress must also approve a new version of the Salary Standardization Law, which is intended to increase the salaries of national government workers, including teachers and nurses, he said.

“To the teachers, alam mo dito who toil and work tirelessly to educate our young. Kasali na po dito ‘yung hinihingi ninyo. Hindi naman masyadong malaki, pero it will tide you over during this hard time. A little bit bigger than before,” President Duterte said.

There will be additional benefits for solo parents, more health workers in the barangays, and expansion of the Malasakit Centers in the country as envisioned by Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

He also asked Congress to pass the remaining packages of the administration’s Tax Reform Program as well as legislations that would further raise excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

At the same time, the President wants a Davao City policy to be adopted nationally in the sale of liquor especially in bars and other establishments.

“Itong ngayon, at 12, everything closes down. Nobody works. I think that we should adopt it. Most of the states, in many states, in many countries, ganun man. Alas dose, sarado na talaga,” he said.

To fight red tape in government, President Duterte urged Congress to review and pass the Government Rightsizing Bill, reconfiguring the existing Metro Manila-centric bureaucracy. Government systems must be streamlined, he said, in order to quickly deliver services to the public.

And for the government to focus on threats posed by natural hazards and climate change, he urged Congress to fast-track the passage of the administration’s version of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

“These reforms would be for naught if we cannot avert of a ‘new poor’ every time a disaster strikes. The Philippine experience has shown that natural disasters— are poverty creators,” he said.

He then called on legislators to pass a law mandating a Fire Protection Modernization Program, which will equip the Bureau of Fire Protection with tools to respond to challenges.

To encourage the entry of more investors, the President asked Congress to urgently pass the National Land Use Act or NALUA within this year. The proposal is a science-based national land use plan that will serve as basis for the LGUs in crafting respective development plans and help disperse economic activities to the countryside.

“Paki lang po. So that we can proceed with the new… We can meet the demands of the new investors coming in. Ang lupa natin ang problema eh,” he stressed.

“The dispersion of economic and business activities to Visayas and Mindanao is not just a campaign promise. It is an economic imperative and a key to our country’s sustainable and equitable development. We will encourage investments that would develop the rural areas and Metro Manila and other mega urban areas,” he added.

The President also renewed his commitment to uplift the lives of coconut farmers in the country through the quick utilization of the multibillion coconut levy fund.

“I once again urge both Houses of Congress to pass a more responsive version of the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund to ensure the accelerated utilization of coco levy funds for the well-being and empowerment of the coconut farmers,” the President said.

“We recognize the urgent need to ensure the sustainability and availability of resources and the development of alternative ones. In this regard, I trust that Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi shall fast-track also the development of renewable energy sources, and reduce dependence on the traditional energy sources such as coal,” the President said in connection with the country’s energy needs.

Before concluding his address, President Duterte underscored the importance of sustaining the gains of a credible national security posture capable of defending the country from external and internal security threats.

“Defense Secretary Lorenzana, together with the gallant men and women of the armed forces, is at the forefront of this fight,” President Duterte said.

“We expect support for legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening defense-related systems such as the proposed National Defense Act, the Unified Military and Uniformed Personnel Separation, Retirement, and Pension Bill, and the revival of the mandatory ROTC in Grades 11 and 12.”

The President also called on Congress to study the postponement of the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to October 2022 to rectify the truncated terms of sitting barangays and also provide them with the ample time to finish programs and projects. Also, he suggested for the enactment of the Magna Carta for Barangays.

Addressing corruption
Dismayed by rampant graft and corruption in the government, the President said, “We are our own tormentors—addressing the Filipino people—we are our own demons; we are as rapacious predators preying on the helpless, the weak, and the voiceless.”

“We find corruption everywhere in government with every malefactor watching his cohort’s back in blatant disregard of his oath when he assumed public office.”

Corruption, he said, exasperates and frustrates. “It is also exasperating that there are times when I think that perhaps it is blood that we need to cleanse and rinse away the dirt and the muck that stick to the flesh like leeches.”

Members of Congress are free to investigate cases of corruption and if there is anything wrong in the executive department, legislators have a free hand to open an inquiry anytime, he noted. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Legislation Decriminalizing Marijuana Use

Governor Cuomo Flickr Page Photo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.6579A/A.8420) further decriminalizing marijuana use in New York State. New York's existing marijuana laws disproportionately affect African American and Latino communities, and this legislation will address those racial and ethnic disparities by reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine, and by creating a process for individuals who have been convicted for possessing small amounts of marijuana to have their records expunged. The Governor first proposed the further decriminalization of marijuana in 2013, and again in the FY 2020 Budget. The bill will take effect 30 days after becoming law.

"Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all," Governor Cuomo said. "By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process."

This legislation will make marijuana enforcement fairer and more equitable by:
  • Reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine and removing criminal penalties for possession of any amount of marijuana under two ounces; and
  • Creating a process for individuals with certain marijuana convictions to have their records expunged both retroactively and for future convictions.

In Photos: Protesters in New York Participate in 'United People's State of the Nation Address' in Response to President Duterte's SONA; July 22 Demonstrations Held in Major US Cities

Malaya Movement Photo

NEW YORK – Despite torrential rain, Filipinos and allies numbering over a hundred, gathered outside the Philippine Consulate on Monday evening, July 22, for the People’s State of the Nation Address (PSONA). The action was organized by the Malaya Movement—a U.S.-based coalition of individuals and organizations critical of the Duterte administration in the Philippines. The Multi-city rally across the United States was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s own State of the Nation Address.

Malaya Movement Photo

A 12-foot tall collectively-produced mural was erected for the event, to obscure monitors that play Philippine tourism ads on loop along 5th Avenue.

Chairperson and Co-founder of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance Loida Nicolas-Lewis. Photo by Jimin Kim.

Malaya Movement convenor, journalist, and award-winning poet Luis Francia. Photo by Jimin Kim.

Photo by Jimin Kim.

Malaya Movement Photo.

Malaya Movement Photo.

Shirley Atienza of Migrante USA. Photo by Editha Mesina.

Carla Bertulfo of Kabataan Alliance. Photo by Jimin Kim.

contributed mm19724

Forum on Estate Tax Amnesty in the Philippines Held in New York

Members of the Filipino-American community,Consul Arman R. Talbo and Atty. Betheena C. Dizon during a Forum on Estate Tax Amnesty in the Philippines. (Photo by NYPCG)

New York – The Philippine Consulate General in New York (PCGNY) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (PACC) hosted a forum on estate tax amnesty in the Philippines on 23 July 2019 at the Philippine Center Kalayaan Hall.

Republic Act (RA) No. 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on 14 February 2019 and took effect on 15 June 2019. It aims to provide the taxpayers a one-time opportunity to settle estate tax obligations through an estate tax amnesty program that will give reasonable tax relief to estates with outstanding estate tax liabilities.

Atty. Betheena C. Dizon, Senior Director of SGV & Co. and Head of the Philippine Desk of Ernst & Young in New York, gave an overview of this new law and cited examples/illustrations of how it applies. More than fifty (50) members of the Filipino American community in the US northeast, many of whom are lawyers and landowners in the Philippines, participated in the event.

Atty. Dizon’s presentation was followed by an open forum where the attendees were given the chance to ask questions regarding their properties in the Philippines.

Mr. Aureo Sales, President of PACC, said that this topic is of interest to many Filipino Americans who are entitled to benefit from lower estate taxes as a result of the amnesty.

Consul Arman R. Talbo moderated the event which was streamed live on Facebook and watched online by members of the Filipino American community who could not personally attend the forum.

contributed pcgny19725

Monday, July 22, 2019

'FOR SAMA' Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts; Powerful Look at A Young Mother’s Experience Through Five Years of the Uprising in Aleppo, Syria, Opens July 26 in NYC

The award winning documentary FOR SAMA, directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, begins its theatrical release this Friday, July 26th in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco with a nationwide rollout to follow.

FOR SAMA tells the story of one woman’s journey through love, motherhood, war and survival during five years of the Syrian conflict. Directed by Emmy award-winning filmmaking duo Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (Escaping ISIS), the film chronicles the experiences of 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab, who filmed her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo over five years from age 21 - 26.

FOR SAMA is the first film to document the Syrian conflict from a woman's perspective. 

FOR SAMA was a hit at this year's 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it took home the Best Documentary Award. Audiences around the world have been moved by this incredible and personal story captured on film by the subject herself. The film had its World Premiere at SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Documentary. Since then, it continues to gather more awards every time it screens. The growing list of awards includes the aforementioned SXSW; Cannes Film Festival; and  Sheffield Doc/Fest; Telluride MountainFilm; Hot Docs; Nantucket Film Festival; River Run; LA Asian Pacific Film Festival; Newport Beach Film Festival; and many more.

FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. 

Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.

The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts.

President Duterte Reports Major Accomplishments in 4th State of the Nation Address SONA

President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by PCOO

Quezon City, The Philippines - President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reported to the nation on Monday significant accomplishments made by his administration aimed at reducing poverty, fighting graft and corruption, and improving peace and security.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) he delivered at the House of Representatives, among the accomplishments he mentioned include the signing of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, a legislation that aims to improve service delivery and fight corruption.

He admitted, however, that much has to be done to ensure government’s responsiveness to the people’s needs. The President wanted top government agencies— Transportation Office (LTO), Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG)— to drastically improve their services.

“I reiterate my directive to the government and instrumentalities, including the LGUs and the government corporations: simplify. Nandito ba kayo? Simplify. Just like the others. You can do it electronically,” he said.

The administration’s Build, Build, Build Program has already gained momentum through the efforts of the economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade have also made major improvements in the country’s infrastructure.

The government has also recently paved the way for the entry of the third telecommunications provider that is expected to break the duopoly of the existing telecommunications companies in the Philippines.

“I challenge this new player to fulfill its commitment to provide fast and reliable telecommunications services to our people, especially in the underserved areas. DICT Secretary Honasan will be the lead man in this endeavor. I hope he is here,” the President said.

To attain national peace and reconciliation, the President said that after almost two decades of peace negotiation, the Bangsamoro Organic Law was finally passed and ratified.

“It is my hope that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will fast-track the establishment of regional government that will secure a comfortable life for Muslim brothers and sisters, and all indigenous communities in the Bangsamoro Region” he noted.

And to address communist insurgency, the President said that he has taken the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and assigned a Cabinet member to each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development and security.

The administration also made major strides in the education sector, President Duterte said, commending the efforts by Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the Department of Education (DepEd).

This year, more Filipino learners have received basic education with over 27 million enrollees from Kindergarten to Senior High School. Out-of-school youth and adult learners were able to access non-formal education through the Alternative Learning System.

To prop up the economy, he reported that almost 86,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have received over P3 billion worth of loans since 2017, thanks to the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The government was also able to pursue tax reforms to fund poverty reduction programs, the President said, asking Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, or the TRABAHO Bill, which shall gradually lower corporate income tax, and rationalize and improve fiscal incentives.

Government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), infamous for high salaries and bonuses paid for their executives and employees, have started to shape up, he said.

As of July 9, 2019, the national government collected more than P61 billion from GOCCs, 32 percent of which, or P16 billion, from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the President said in his address. GOCCs remitted more than the P36 billion posted in 2017.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC), known as a corruption-ridden agency, managed to collect P585 billion in 2018, according to the President.

The President also raised the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. With estimated economic losses of P3.5 billion a day due to traffic congestion, the President asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and all concerned local officials in the National Capital Region to undertake immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

He wanted the government to reclaim all public roads that are being used privately.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Complaints about Government Imposter Scams Reach Record High, According to New FTC Data

The Federal Trade Commission is reminding consumers that scammers are increasingly trying to make a buck by falsely claiming to be Uncle Sam. Monthly complaints to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network about scammers pretending to be from the government reached the highest levels on record this spring.

Since 2014, consumers have filed nearly 1.3 million reports about these cons, far more than any other type of fraud. The FTC received about 46,600 complaints in May alone from consumers who were contacted by someone falsely claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, or another government entity, according to the latest FTC Consumer Protection Data Spotlight. These scammers may tell people that their Social Security number has been suspended, which does not happen, or that they are facing arrest because they owe back taxes, and demand payment from the consumer to avoid getting into trouble. Often, they demand that a consumer pay with a gift card, which is a dead giveaway that the consumer is dealing with a scammer.

While only 6 percent of consumers who report a government imposter scam say they lost money, when people do report a loss, it is a significant amount. The median amount consumers reported losing to a government imposter scam from January 2018 through May of this year was $960. Consumers under the age of 60 report losing money at higher rates than consumers over that age, but median individual reported losses increase with age.

The FTC warns consumers to be suspicious if they receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government agency. You can find additional tips on how to avoid government imposter scams in the FTC’s latest data spotlight. Visit the FTC’s new interactive infographic to explore data about government imposter scams.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Statement From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Following Reports That The Trump Administration Will Send ICE Agents Into Cities To Deport Immigrants This Sunday

Governor Andrew Cuomo Facebook Page Photo

"There are multiple reports that the Trump Administration will launch its previously announced blitz of ICE raids across the country this Sunday, including here in New York. This shameful assault on families across the country will no doubt lead to further separations of children from their parents and 'collateral arrests' by ICE, where individuals with no orders of deportation will be detained.

"This politically motivated directive is despicable and inhumane, and New York will fight it.

"I have asked the state's Liberty Defense Project to be on high alert to assist families in need of legal services. I encourage all New Yorkers to be familiar with their rights - especially when confronted by ICE or CBP - and anyone in need of assistance may contact the Liberty Defense Project via the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or  

"As I said when the Trump raids were first announced: America's only threat is from within, and while this federal administration governs by fear and division, in New York we know that diversity is our greatest strength and we will do everything in our power to protect our immigrant communities."

Governor Cuomo's Office for New Americans has issued tips and guidelines so that residents know their rights if they are confronted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The tips, available in English and Spanish, ensure immigrants fully understand their legal rights if they are confronted and/or intimidated by ICE/CBP agents.

Duterte government to push for immediate establishment of Department of OFWs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the "Araw ng Pasasalamat" for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on July 12, 2019. REY BANIQUET/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Dismayed by continuous abuses of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he will work for the speedy passage of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, which will ban recruitment of OFWs abroad and will put Philippine-based recruitment agencies under strict government regulation.

During the Araw ng Pasasalamat sa OFWs held in Camp Aguinaldo, the President instructed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for the establishment of the Department of OFWs, which the President said must be implemented by December this year.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who was also present during the event Friday, said he has filed a proposal for the creation of such department, one of his campaign pledges during the last midterm elections.

“Kaya apurahin ko ‘yang Department of OFW,” President Duterte said in his speech. “Bawal na ang recruitment sa abroad…sa labas. Kung gusto nila, diyan sila maglagay ng mesa. So under the supervision of government at walang horrendous charges.”

“By December… buong Pilipinas ‘to. Bawal na ‘yang recruitment diyan sa labas…napunta ka doon. Doon ka makipag-deal, may listahan doon, mamili ka na lang kung sinong gusto mo,” he added.

President Duterte stressed that he has the power to create such mechanism to prevent abuses of Filipino workers abroad.

He warned unscrupulous recruitment agencies saying, “Kaya kayong mga recruitment, bilang talaga ang araw ninyo. ‘Pag hindi ko kayo nadala sa usapan na maganda, brasohan tayo. ‘Pag nag-brasohan tayo, kayo ang matatalo. Sigurado ‘yan.”

President Duterte also promised OFWs to designate police attachés to countries with huge population of Filipino workers. OFWs can approach the police attachés whenever they encounter abuses or security concerns abroad.

“The police attaché will connect you to…dito sa Pilipinas kung ano ang problema. And they will be trained to help you in legal matters of how to do it in the meantime that you are not here to solve the problem,” he explained.

The chief executive also vowed to equip a hospital intended for OFWs located in Nueva Ecija with state-of-the-art medical equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans.

“Karamihan kayo mga nurse, you will have the MRI, CT scan, and… Just like what I did to the military hospitals,” he told the OFWs.

Providing livelihood to returning OFWs is also a priority for the Duterte administration.

“Equally important is the availability of livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities for returning OFWs. Meron tayo. MSMEs,” he said.

“Tuturuan kayo. Or if you want a new skill na ‘yung mabili, mag-training kayo dito kay Sid [Lapeña]. Libre ‘yan.”

One of the highlights of Friday’s event was the signing of a memorandum of agreement between government agencies for the welfare and protection of OFWs.

Among the agencies involved were the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

The Araw ng Pasasalamat sa OFWs is a joint initiative of the Duterte Diehard Supporters (DDS) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) through the PNP Global Police Community Relations Program.