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Monday, August 26, 2019

President Duterte inaugurates P550-million hybrid solar-diesel power plant in Romblon

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inspects the map of the areas to be powered by the Tumingad Solar Power Project as he leads its inauguration in Odiongan, Romblon on August 21, 2019. With the President is Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

TABLAS ISLAND, Romblon—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inaugurated on August 21, 2019 the P550-million Tumingad Solar Power Project, the country’s first and largest hybrid solar-diesel microgrid with battery facility.

Speaking before the attendees of the inauguration rites, President Duterte said the commercial operation of the 7.5-MWp hybrid solar-diesel power plant will pave the way to a greener tomorrow for Romblon and the rest of the country. It is a milestone, he said, not only for the people of the province but also for the environment.

“I thank Sunwest Water and Electric Co. [SUWECO] for being our partner in introducing and providing green energy to different parts of the country, especially in off-grid areas,” the President said.

“This pursuit emphasizes how our nationwide electrification thrust is essential in the implementation of crucial government programs and projects, especially now that we are moving fast forward with our national infrastructure development agenda,” he added.

President Duterte also led the ceremonial switch-on of the hybrid solar power plant together with Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ako Bicol Rep. and SUWECO Major Stockholder Elizaldy Co, and SUWECO Chief Executive Officer Mylene Co.

Since assuming office, it has been the Duterte administration’s policy to safeguard the environment for the well-being of future generations of Filipinos. President Duterte hopes that with the inauguration of the new power facility, SUWECO will continue to introduce technological breakthroughs and advancements to provide cleaner, reliable, and affordable power generation in the country.

The project is expected to complement the government’s aim to fast track the development of renewable energy sources in the country and, in the process, reduce the nation’s dependence on traditional energy sources, such as coal, the Chief Executive said.

And through the groundbreaking of the hybrid solar power project, the President said he is confident that other energy-related organizations will follow SUWECO’s good example.

The President also noted that the initiative highlighted the importance of having environmentally compliant power plants that prevent further environmental damage and cut emissions of harmful chemicals.

At the same time, he encouraged the people to renew their commitment in upholding their stewardship for the environment and the promotion of what is best for its welfare and protection.

“As we look ahead with optimism, I urge every Filipino to demonstrate solidarity in our shared goal of building a stronger and more sustainable society for all,” he said.

During his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July, the President called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to facilitate the development of renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s dependence on traditional energy sources.

The 7.5MWp Tumingad Solar Power Plant was developed by the SUWECO Tablas Energy Corp. (STEC), an affiliate of SUWECO. The construction of the power plant started in January 2018 and it will commence commercial operation in September.

With the solar power plant’s utilization, an estimated P180 million per annum will be saved from the universal charge-missionary electrification subsidy. It will also save 3,000,000 liters of fossil fuel per year with the carbon emission reduction of 6,567,344 kilograms per year.

The hybrid solar-diesel microgrid with battery will energize Tablas Island’s 43,400 households with the plant’s Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG), a heat exchanger used in combined cycle power plant.


The exchanger recovers heat from expelled hot gases to drive a steam turbine that generates electricity.


US Northeast Filipino-American Community Directory Now on its 3rd Edition

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (2nd from L) encouraged the Fil-Am Community Organizations in New York to register their organizations and be listed in the Filipino-American Community Directory. In the photos (from R-L) are Consul Arman Talbo, Ms. Grace Labaguis, Marketing Director, Synergy Production & Marketing, Inc. and GMA Representative in NY, and Mr. Fernando Mendez of Fiesta in America.

New York -- One hundred sixty two (162) Filipino-American organizations, most of which sent representatives to the 5th Filipino-American General Assembly held earlier this year, are listed in the 3rd edition of the Filipino-American Community Directory which was launched and released by the Philippine Consulate General in New York on 31 July 2019.

The Directory serves as a tool for community leaders and members, civic volunteers, and organizations to build a database to develop linkages, synergy and collaboration. It is one of the outcome projects of the 2nd General Assembly in 2016, and started with only 50 organizations registered with the Cultural and Community Relations Section of the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

This year, the Philippine Consulate encouraged Filipino American organizations to accomplish the Organizational Profile Update Form and update their information on record with the Consulate. The form is downloadable at the Consulate’s website. Filipino American organizations who wish to be included in the Consulate’s database are requested to accomplish the form and email it to www.newyorkpcg.cultural@dfa.gov.ph.

The Philippine Consulate General in New York launched the Filipino-American Community 2019 Directory
(Center) on 31 July 2019 at the Philippine Center in New York.In the photo are samples of the three editions
of the US Northeast Filipino-American Community Directories published in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

In his remarks during the launch, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal underscored the importance of the Directory as a valuable resource for our kababayans to get connected with one another. He also encouraged the Filipino American community organizations to make their presence known to the Consulate and promised that those on the list will be given priority for information, announcements, notices, invitations and Consulate support to their events.

Copies of the directory were distributed during the event. Organizations which have not received copies are requested to pick up their copies or send a flat-rate self-addressed and stamped envelope in order for the Consulate to send them their copies. The directory was printed in partnership with Synergy Production & Marketing, Inc with the support of GMA Pinoy TV, Philippine Airlines-New York, and Fiesta in America.


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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Governor Cuomo Advances First-in-the-Nation Domestic Terrorism Law to Include Mass Violence Motivated By Hate

Governor Andrew Cuomo advances First-In-The-Nation Domestic Terrorism Law to include mass violence motivated hate. August 15, 2019. New York. Gov Andrew Cuomo Flickr Page Photo.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently advanced a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate. Under this proposal, mass shootings against a group of people based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation would be punishable by up to life in prison without parole. 

This change would effectively treat these acts as they should: as terrorist crimes, carrying the same penalty as other terrorist crimes. The Governor also called on the federal government to enact a new federal domestic terrorism law that would finally define acts of homegrown terror committed on United States soil as terrorism. He also called on the federal government to ban the weapons most often used to perpetrate these mass killings--military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines - and to enact universal background checks.

"We still treat terrorism as an act committed by foreigners," Governor Cuomo said. "It is, but only in part - it is now a two front war on terrorism. It's fed by hate: hate from abroad and hate right here at home. White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ white nationalists - these are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism. American citizens who are radicalized not by a foreign ideology but rather radicalized by hate for other Americans are still terrorists. Today, our people are three times more likely to suffer a terrorist attack launched by an American than one launched by a foreigner. It is not just repulsive, immoral, and anti-American - it is illegal and we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime."

HATE CRIMES DOMESTIC TERRORISM ACT

Recent mass shootings such as those at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, a nightclub in Orlando, a church in Charleston, and synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway were crimes intended to terrorize entire segments of the American citizenry. These acts are not currently treated as acts of terror; the legislation the Governor is proposing today would classify them as acts of terror.

The new state legislation the Governor is proposing today calls these acts what they are: terrorism. Under this proposal, the intent standard mirrors the standard in New York's existing hate crimes law and creates a new domestic terrorism hate crime punishable by up to life in prison without parole.

The new statute proposed by the Governor would define mass casualty as any incident that results in the murder of at least one person and the attempted murder of at least two additional people and when that violence is motivated by hate. This definition of mass casualty would parallel the FBI's definition of a mass killing - which is defined as three or more deaths.

Finally, the bill would also create a domestic terrorism task force to study mass shootings, recommend practices to prevent potential mass shootings and shooting incidents and recommend security practices in locations likely to be targeted by mass shooters. This task force would be required to provide its finding to the Governor and the Legislature.

GOVERNOR CALLS ON WASHINGTON TO ENACT FEDERAL DOMESTIC TERRORISM LAW & PASS LEGISLATION MIRRORING NEW YORK STATE'S NATION-LEADING GUN SAFETY LAWS

The Governor also called on the federal government to enact a new federal domestic terrorism law that would finally define acts of homegrown terror committed on United States soil as terrorism. He called on the federal government to pass legislation mirroring New York State's nation-leading gun safety laws, including banning the weapons most often used to perpetrate mass killings-military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines - and requiring universal background checks.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun control laws in the nation, including the SAFE Act in 2013 which keeps guns out of the hands of convicted felons and individuals with a mental illness, ensures private gun sales are subject to a background check, bans high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and toughens criminal penalties for illegal gun use. 

Since the passage of the SAFE Act, 139,371 reports from mental health professionals have been received by state officials intended to keep weapons away from people with mental illnesses that are likely to "engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to self or others." These reports - which represent nearly 98,000 people with a potential dangerous mental disposition - are used to notify appropriate local licensing officials who suspend or revoke weapon licenses and prompt local law enforcement officials to remove weapons that are not surrendered. 

New York State passed the laws six years ago and they have worked. No legal gun owners' rights have been violated but unnecessary, dangerous weapons are off the streets and dangerously mentally ill people cannot by guns.

The Governor also recently enacted the Red Flag bill to prevent individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm. New York became the first state in the nation to empower its teachers and school administrators to help prevent school shootings through court intervention. This law also targets the well-known link between domestic abuse and deadly gun violence. 

The Governor continued to build on New York's nation-leading gun laws this year with comprehensive legislation to: extend the background check waiting period; ban bump stocks; ban undetectable guns; expand firearm safe storage laws; prevent school districts from arming teachers; and establish statewide regulations for gun buyback programs.


Code of Conduct in South China Sea major agenda with President Xi—President Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte answers queries from members of the media following the oath-taking ceremony of the newly promoted officers of the Philippine National Police at the Malacañan Palace on August 8, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier this month said that he would discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping the United Nations arbitral tribunal’s ruling favoring the Philippines and the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea when he meets the Chinese leader this month.

It was announced that the President will make his 5th visit to China to meet President Xi and watch the Gilas Pilipinas compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Foshan, China.

In an interview with reporters in Malacañang during the oath taking of newly promoted police officers, President Duterte said the South China Sea is becoming a very big issue, stressing that he does not want trouble for his country.

“So I’d talk about the arbitral ruling itself and then the Code of Conduct. And ‘yung other sides…‘yung mga marine resources, let us first be sure that we have the access. And I’m most interested in the exploitation of the natural resources,” the President told reporters.

If it’s without touching on the validity of who’s the real owner, we can start the talks, he said.

“I’d talk first about jurisdiction, the COC, and the exploitation of the natural resources of my country since as far as I’m concerned, we own it. So that is my position.”

President Duterte pushed for the completion of the COC during his attendance to the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Thailand last June.

Leaders from Southeast Asia have also committed to fast-track the completion of an effective COC in the disputed South China Sea in the wake of the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in Recto Bank.

The ASEAN and China have so far came up with the non-binding 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Meanwhile, the President has expressed his openness to the use of Dengvaxia in the midst of mounting dengue cases in the country.

“Yes, I am open to the use of Dengvaxia again. Maraming patay ‘yan. It’s an epidemic,” he told reporters. “I want to hear the words of the experts…doctors. And we have enough bright people here to tell us.”

There is no need to rely on foreign experts, he said, stressing, “My own Filipino scientists and doctors would tell me what to do. I will be guided by their announcements.”

The Department of Health (DOH) wants the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to convene a full council meeting. It also declared a national dengue epidemic in the wake of the 146,062 cases recorded since January up to July 20 this year, 98 percent higher than the same period in 2018. There were 622 deaths.

The DOH Dengue Surveillance Report revealed that Western Visayas region had the most number of cases at 23,330, followed by CALABARZON with 16,515, Zamboanga Peninsula with 12,317, Northern Mindanao with 11,455, and SOCCSKSARGEN with 11,083 cases.

Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza Announce Easier and More Transparent Middle and High School Admissions Process

New York City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza recently announced a shorter, easier, and more transparent process for students applying to enter middle and high school for the 2020-21 school year. Now, there will only be one application round and deadline for families to keep track of. All admissions processes will have one round, from 3-K to high school. Students will be placed on a waitlist for each school listed higher on their application than the school to which they are offered admission, informed of their spot on the waitlist, and immediately offered admission off these waitlists as seats become available.

“Parents have enough on their platetangling with bureaucracy to get their child into school shouldn’t add to the load,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are changing the middle and high school application processes so families don’t have to go through the gauntlet just to get a placement. There will be one application round and one deadline to make everyone’s lives easier.”

“We’ve heard from families and educators that they want a simpler, more transparent, and more accessible system of school choice, and today we’re taking a step forward,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “This common-sense change will make a real difference for families across the five boroughs, and improve our middle and high school choice process for years to come.”

The DOE is eliminating the second application rounds for middle and high school. The main round application process and timeline will remain the same, with middle and high school applications opening in October with a December deadline. Students will receive their offer in March. Families can still appeal for travel, safety, or medical hardships; if families have any hardship, they will be able to access in-person support at Family Welcome Centers, rather than wait to participate in a second process. The waitlists will open after offers are released and will be a simpler, clearer process for families, increasing:

  • Transparency:  By knowing their waitlist position, families have a better understanding of their chances of getting into a preferred school option in the event that seats become available.
  • Ease: This is a shorter process that requires less paperwork. Rather than having to complete a second application and wait weeks—often into May or June—for a second decision or offer, families will complete one process, receive one offer, and receive any additional offers based on waitlist position.
  • Consistency:  Families will now have one admissions system at all grade levels, with the changes to the middle and high school process making it more similar to the elementary school admissions process. Currently the elementary school process has one round, and the middle and high school processes have two rounds with different names; now, families will not need to learn a different process each time a child applies to a new school—allowing them to focus on school options and not process.

There will be a robust set of resources available to schools and families to ensure educators and families have information about the changes being implemented, and the DOE will engage families once school is back in session. Schools will have resources to support families, and Family Welcome Center staff will be fully trained in these new processes to help guide and support families. The DOE will also share information at middle and high school fairs this fall, and update the website and family-facing materials.

Information will be distributed to all principals and throughout the fall, the DOE will conduct training for school staff on the application process. In February and March, the DOE will provide targeted, in-depth training on waitlist management and systems.


UgnaySining’s Contemporaneo Filipiniana Artworks Displayed at The Philippine Center New York

Consul Arman Talbo (2nd from left) together with the artists (L-R) Henry Lim, Art Zamora, and Rene Canlas during the talkback at the Opening Reception of Contemporaneo Filipina. (Photo by Philippine Center New York)

New York– Visual artworks of eight Filipino UgnaySining artists from the Philippines and the United States were on display at the Philippine Center in New York from 29 July 2019 until 9 August 2019.

Art Zamora’s landscape acrylic paintings. (Photo by Philippine Center New York)

Dubbed as “Contemporeano Filipiniana,” the exhibit featured the varying styles showcasing the ingenuity and artistic talents of Art Zamora, Rene V. Canlas, Maryrose Gisbert, Henry Lim, Ted Luna, Oying Madrilejos, Bonnie Jimenez, and Erwin Canlas. Their collaborative works range from painting, wood art to photography.

Henry Lim’s intricate wood sculpture depicting the Philippine eagle, Manny Pacquiao and Efren “Bata” Reyes. (Photo by Philippine Center New York)

During the opening cocktail reception on 29 July, the artists were able to convey the inspiration behind their personal art journeys at UgnaySining Manila, which was established to unite visual artists in the Philippines through arts regardless of the medium they used or genre they are accustomed to.

MaryroseGisbert’s acrylic paintings entitled “Woman” (left) and “Mother and Child” (right) (Photo by Philippine Center New York)

Consul Arman Talbo thanked the artists for choosing the Philippine Center New York to display their recent works. He added that the Philippine Center supports Filipino and Filipino-American artists by providing them the venue where they can promote their artwork to the Filipino-American community and mainstream American public.


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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Mamang" Directed by Denise O' Hara at 'Sinehan sa Summer 2019: Indie Night' Screens August 15 in New York


The 3rd night of the Sinehan sa Summer presents the indie film "Mamang" directed by Denise O' Hara. 

This Indie Night is co sponsored by: Association of Christian Evangelist, Assumption Alumnae Association Abroad - Northeast, Ateneo Alumni Northeast, Inc., Catholic Action of Mary (CAM), De La Salle Metro New York Alumni Association, Filipino International Communities of America (FICA), LC Legacy Foundation, Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League (PACCAL), Philippine American New Jersey Jaycees and Team United Maharlika Foundation, Inc.


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 (newyorkpcg.events@dfa.gov.ph).

Philippine Consulate General Conducts Consular Outreach In Manchester, New Hampshire

The outreach team of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, led by Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro, (center, in white), together with volunteers from the Filipino-American Friendship Society of New Hampshire pose for a photo opportunity after successfully completing the outreach (Photo by NYCPCG)

New York – The Philippine Consulate General in New York held aconsular outreach in Manchester, New Hampshire last 20 July 2019, Saturday, in partnership with the Filipino-American Friendship Society of New Hampshire.

The consular outreach, led by Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro, provided one hundred thirty-three (133) consular services.

The first batch of clients arriving (Photo by NYPCG)

The next consular outreach will be held on 07 September 2019 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Shootings in Dayton, Ohio & El Paso, Texas

Governor Andrew Cuomo Flickr Page Photo

"In the last 24 hours, this nation witnessed two mass shootings that left 29 people dead.  Who was protecting the right of those 29 people to live their lives in peace?  Where is the outrage?

"Our country is under attack from within, and continuing to ignore what is happening around us will only lead to more bloodshed and more tragedy -- all of it preventable.

"This insanity must stop and it must stop now. Those who are unwilling to do anything about it are complicit. I am sick of the excuses. I don't want to hear 'we can't' -- because we know we can, and you just 'don't'.

"In New York we are standing up for sensible gun safety laws to keep our families and children safe and speaking out against the bigotry and hateful rhetoric fueling many of these attacks. Washington must do the same.

"Our hearts break for these families. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I'm sorry you live in a country with a Federal Government that allows this to happen and does nothing."



Saturday, August 3, 2019

USCIS to End Certain Categorical Parole Programs; Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program and the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (2nd row standing, 3rd L-R) and US Army Major General (Ret.) Antonio Taguba (2nd row standing, 4th L-R) with Capt. Pablo Barros (seated 2nd L-R), surviving World War II veteran, and family members of other veterans who received the Congressional Gold Medal Award on 8 September 2018 at the Philippine Center in New York. Photo by Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday August 2, its intention to terminate two categorical parole programs, consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and to better ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law. Parole is a process that allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter or remain in the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible. The programs to be terminated are the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program and the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program.

Under both of these categorical parole programs, individuals with approved family-based immigrant petitions have been authorized to enter and work in the United States while waiting for their green card to become available. The decision to end these parole programs ends the expedited processing that was made available to these populations in a categorical fashion. It follows an extensive review to better ensure that parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act is exercised on a case-by-case basis when there is a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reason. Categorical parole refers to programs designed to consider parole for entire groups of individuals based on pre-set criteria.

“Under these categorical parole programs, individuals have been able to skip the line and bypass the proper channels established by Congress. With the termination of these programs, these individuals will no longer be permitted to wait in the United States for their family-based green card to become available, consistent with the rules that apply to the rest of the world,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Parole is to be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. USCIS is committed to exercising this limited authority in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage aliens to unlawfully enter the United States.”

While USCIS begins the process to terminate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole and Filipino World War II Veterans Parole programs, the agency continues to review all remaining categorical parole programs. USCIS will not terminate any program until we complete required administrative changes to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and the form is approved for public use. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) process will provide notice to the affected individuals, explain the reasons USCIS is taking action, and provide public comment periods on the termination of these programs.

Current parolees will maintain their current period of parole until its expiration, unless it is otherwise terminated. USCIS will also process all pending cases to completion. In addition, parolees who have not adjusted status or been admitted may request parole under the non-categorical process by filing Form I-131, in accordance with the form instructions. Additional information on applying for non-categorical parole is available on the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page.


Friday, August 2, 2019

'Filipino Heritage Diskubre Tour' for Young Filipinos Open for Registration


Manila, Philippines - Young Filipinos with a sense of adventure and a wish to connect with their Filipino roots are invited to participate in the second Diskubre Tour from 3 to 13 January 2020 in the Bicol Region in Southern Luzon.

Covering Manila and the provinces of Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Camarines Sur, this year’s Tour will include historical and city exposure trips. 

Activities will include the opportunity to walk down the historic streets of Intramuros, ride an all-terrain vehicle and admire the beauty of the Mayon Volcano, swim with the butanding (whale sharks) in Donsol, behold the Bicolano’s devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, as well as experience life with the local communities and participate in their activities. 

During the tour, the participants are expected to document their trip – through social media, blog, or videos featuring the sights and their experience to help in tourism promotion among their peers and spheres of influence.

Diskubre is an immersion tour for second-generation Filipinos and young foreign-born Filipinos which aims to promote a deeper appreciation of Filipino heritage, and a spirit of giving back to the motherland. It is open to Filipinos and persons with Filipino lineage aged 18-40 years. Younger participants are allowed provided they are accompanied by their parents throughout the tour. 

The previous Tour was launched in July 2018 by the Philippine Consulate General in New York, in partnership with The Filipino Channel’s web series “Discovering Routes”. The series has garnered more than 20K views on Youtube on its episodes. Participants, parents, and community organizations considered the program a worthy and valuable experience for the youth.

This year’s Tour, organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Office of Strategic Communications and Research-Cultural Diplomacy Unit, will be held in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, Bicol Region’s local government units, and Philippine Embassies and Consulates General around the world. 

Prices start at US$ 1,090 for triple sharing, US$1,125 for double sharing and US$1,365 for single.  The package price covers accommodations, tours, transport and meals, the services of an English-speaking guide, porterage fee for two pieces of luggage, passenger accident insurance, taxes and service charges.  Participants are responsible for airfare, insurance, and other incidental expenses outside the tour program.

For more information and to register for the Tour, interested participants can log in the Tour’s website, www.travelwiseonline.com/diskubre


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Filipino Americans Bagged Numerous Awards at the WCOPA 2019 | By Luis Pedron

Isabella Salangsang, Overall Division Champion Jr Dance; Grand Finals - Gold Medalist.

The Filipino Americans led by National Director for USA, Jeanette Marco garnered high points, medals and awards at the recently concluded World Championships of Performing Arts WCOPA held last July 12 to 21, 2019 at Long Beach, California. Venues were at Westin Hotel Long Beach and at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

The following are the participants and their respective awards: 


Arato Brothers (Finalist) 
GRAND CHAMPION (STAR) TROPHY: GRAND CHAMPION VOCALIST GROUP OF THE WORLD; OVERALL DIVISION PLAQUES for Instrumental (Open), Instrumental (Contemporary), Instrumental (Original), Vocal with Self Accompaniment (Rock); 6 GOLD MEDALS: Grand Finalist GOLD Medal, Instrumental (Open), Instrumental (Contemporary), Instrumental (Original), Vocal with Self Accompaniment (Rock), Vocal with SA (World); 3 Semi-Finalist SILVER MEDALLIONS
Vocals with Self-Accompaniment (Rock), Instrumental (Contemporary); 2 SILVER MEDALS: Vocals with Self-Accompaniment (Open) & Vocals with Self- Accompaniment (Original).
____

Shane Selloria (Finalist)
Jr Grand Champion of the World -Variety Act
Overall World Champion - Division Winner - Variety Act Gold Medalists- Variety Act
Silver Medalists - Acting TV
Silver Medalists- modeling Swim Wear
Semi- Finalists- Variety Act
Grand Finalist- Variety
____

Isabelle Salangsang (Finalist)
Overall Dance Division Recipient for 11-15 Years Old Jr DANCE Category Grand Championship Finalist
Semi Finalist
Gold (Ori Tahiti Dance) in Ethnic/Folk
Silver (Kahiko / Ancient Hula) in Song and Dance Bronze (Aparima) in Open Category
 ____
Artemio John Tecson (Semi Finalist)
Vocal A25-29 -Semi-finalist Gold Broadway Gold Open Silver RnB Gold Variety Silver World
____
Denise Kara Almario (Semi Finalist)
GOLD, BRONZE and Overall CHAMPION OF THE WORLD & Semi Finalist Medal
GOLD - VOCAL Self Accompaniment Original works
BRONZE - VOCAL ORIGINAL WORKS
PLAQUE - CHAMPION OF THE WORLD DIVISION WINNER
SEMI FINALIST - MEDAL
____
Lirazen Rose
Vocal with Accompaniment Silver Open
Gold Original Works
Silver Pop
Silver Rnb
Gold World (original Tagalog song)
Overall Champion
• Vocal with Accompaniment - Original Works
____
Pia Pascual
Silver Pop Vocal Age 30-over
____
Paz Herrero
Gold County Music Vocal
Plaque - Overall Division Champion 
____
Maurice Flores
Bronze Dance Hip-Hop/Funk
Silver Dance Contemporary
Silver Modeling Commercial Formal Silver Modeling Commercial Casual


WCOPA National Director Jeanette Marco, beems of pride for her team, "I am very proud and blessed of this year’s delegation. We manage to bring 3 of our delegates to the majestic stage of the Grand Finals and bagged 2 Jr World Champion trophies!


Everyone is equally talented and have shown the entire world their best! We are grateful for the experience!

Next year as we celebrate our 24th Anniversary of this prestigious global event, and many exciting activities are being planned as we partner with Disney, we want everyone to come prepared to enjoy one of their most thrilling experiences of their lives.

History is being made! Always remember that you will receive from this International meet is exactly what you put in! The main objective in attending this event should be the competition,training, experience, education, and the opportunity to explore your talents! See you in 2020!"

Griff O'Neil CEO of WCOPA states that " the best of the best talent and models from all over the world gathered to experience this life changing priceless journey. Contestants can be signed to entertainment deals in Hollywood."

Gwen Wilson, President of WCOPA says " Our wish for you is you will embrace your dreams, focus on your future and learn how to strategically plan your successes.


The WCOPA contestants performed 1 minute renditions of their particular field may it be Vocals, Modelling, Acting, Instrumentalist or Variety Act for the first step of the competition, then if you are blessed enough you move on to Semi Finals held at Centennial Hall Westin Hotel and then to the Grand WCOPA Finale at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Amongst Jeanette's Filipino American team Artemio John Tecson (Vocals) and Denise Kara Almario (Vocals) reached the Semi Finals. The Arato Brothers (Band) and Shane Selloria (Variety Act) reached the Finals and won their respective Divisions (Awards listed above.) Both were approached after the show by the America's Got Talent Scout. Also part of the group and Finalist was Tahitian Dancer Isabelle Salangsang.

The Opening night event featured WCOPA 2018 alums Jennifer Cuneta and Sophia Bianca who wowed the thousands of delegates from around the world.

Jeanette Marco is also the WCOPA National Director for Japan , UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Extending the Background Check Waiting Period and Banning Bump Stocks

Governor Cuomo Facebook Page Photo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed this past 29 July, legislation to establish an up to 30-day waiting period for individuals who are not immediately approved to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (S.2374/A.2690) and to close existing statutory loopholes to prohibit ownership or sale of a bump stock (S.2448/A.2684). This legislation builds on New York's strongest in the nation gun laws, including the Red Flag Bill signed in February that prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

"For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children," Governor Cuomo said. "By signing these measures into law we are strengthening our nation-leading gun laws - banning devices whose sole purpose is to create the most bloodshed in the shortest timeframe and providing law enforcement the tools they need to stop firearms from falling into dangerous hands."

"As gun violence continues to affect communities across the state and the nation, we are advancing our efforts to strengthen our laws and protect New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This legislation extending the background check waiting period and banning bump stocks will help to ensure that firearms do not get into the wrong hands and bans the use of devices that have been used to wreak havoc. We are committed to building on our nation-leading policies to stop senseless gun violence and save lives."

Extending the Background Check Waiting Period

Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm, which immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications. These notifications include "proceed," "denied," or "delayed." In the case of a "delayed" response, the dealer must wait three days before completing the sale. The FBI may continue to investigate the individual past the three-day timeframe but oftentimes by the time law enforcement has determined that the potential purchaser is ineligible, the sale has already been completed. By extending the waiting period up to 30 days, law enforcement is provided with sufficient time to complete a background check and help ensure that only those eligible to purchase and own a firearm are able to do so.

Banning Bump Stocks

In 2017, bump stocks and other devices that accelerate the rate of fire of firearms came to national attention after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that killed 58 people. These devices are attached to semi-automatic weapons and allow shooters to fire ammunition faster than any human could. Machine guns, and firearms that simulate machine guns, are already illegal under New York law, because of the immense public safety risks these weapons pose. Bump stocks and similar devices pose a similar threat to public safety, and this legislation will prohibit the possession, manufacture, transportation, shipment and sale of any items that accelerate the firing rate of firearms, rifles or shotguns.

The scourge of gun violence throughout the nation is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Currently, the U.S. has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world's most developed nations. In the most recent year of national data, gun deaths rose to their highest level in fifty years.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun control laws in the nation, including the SAFE Act in 2013 which keeps guns out of the hands of convicted felons and individuals with a mental illness, ensures private gun sales are subject to a background check, bans high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and toughens criminal penalties for illegal gun use. The Governor also recently enacted the Red Flag bill to prevent individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm. New York became the first state in the nation to empower its teachers and school administrators to help prevent school shootings through court intervention. This law also targets the well-known link between domestic abuse and deadly gun violence.