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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Taste of the Philippines Showcased in Philadelphia

Filipino American youth of Philippine Folk Arts Society Inc. (PFASI) performed folk dances during the event.

New York – As part of the celebration of the Filipino American History Month (FAHM), the Philippine Consulate General in New York participated in the “Taste of the Philippines”, a culinary and cultural show held on Sunday, 02 October 2022 at Cherry Street Pier, Philadelphia.

Deputy Consul General Arman R. Talbo welcomed the Filipino American Community of Philadelphia and guests during the event.

The Taste of the Philippines was organized by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia (PACC-GP) in cooperation with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Filipino American Association of Pittsburg (FAAP), Philippine Folk Arts Society Inc. (PFASI), Kapitbayan Filipino American Association Inc., and Philly Pinoy, among others, with the support of the Consulate.


Folk dances such as Banga, Jota Pangasinan, Paseo De Iloilo, Kadal Tajo, Paunjalay, Tapis, and Dinagyang were performed by the Filipino American youth of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh during the event. Filipino merchants and food providers joined the festival offering Filipino products and cuisine.


Guests took interest to visit the renowned beaches of the Philippines.

The Consulate took the opportunity to set up a booth and distribute brochures to guests with information on top tourist destinations, maps, attraction, shopping, activities, eating out, nightlife, and accommodation in the Philippines.


Deputy Consul General Arman R. Talbo welcomed the guests and extended his congratulations to PACC-GP’s President Christopher Rivera and its founding president Brad Baldia for organizing the event which serves as a platform for showcasing several of our country’s cultural heritage through music, dances, traditional costumes, and food.



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Opinion: Life in the Philippines Appears "Short, Nasty, and Brutish" By Manuel L. Caballero

Lapid Fire ni Percy Lapid YouTube Channel Screenshot

ON MY WATCH

BY MANUEL CABALLERO


LIFE IN THE PHILIPPINES APPEARS "SHORT, NASTY, AND BRUTISH"


Since ex-president Rodrigo Duterte introduced extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, life to many in that country has literally become "short, nasty and brutish."


The killing of popular radio and social media commentator Percy Lapid of Lapid Fire last night is a classic example of the type of life just described. Lapid was a fierce critic of Duterte who was favoring ICC, like many, to proceed with its investigation of the former president.


Political philosopher Thomas Hobbes advanced the theory that by nature, man is evil. Apparently, Mr. Duterte was a believer of the Hobbesian philosophy. (Of course, there was John Locke who believed that man by nature is good).


Progressive groups in Manila believe that some 30,000 suspected drug users and critics were allegedly killed by orders of Duterte during his presidency.


Thus, the International Criminal Court may pursue crimes against humanity case against Duterte that may land him and his former EJK associates in jail in The Hague if tried and found guilty for up to 30 years.

Let it not be ignored that the Lapid killing happened under the watch of Bongbong Marcos. It is hoped such motorcycle tandem killing of Lapid will be the last on Marcos' watch.


***

Another big and unbelievable story in Manila nowadays are the 433 different Lotto winners of the P283 million grand prize on Oct. 1st. Yes, all are supposed to have betted on the combination of winning numbers. Those supposed 433 winners will divide the grand prize despite the fact that chances of winning for each person was one in 28.9 million. 


The PCSO Manager was seen on TV justifying the so-called multiple winners as a natural happening in the face of massive doubts aired by netizens as to the honesty and credibility of the draw. 


The PH Senate will conduct a hearing to see if the draw was proper and not rigged. In the US, it is seldom that more than 5 bettors win the MegaMillion Lotto in one drawing.


We commented that it seems this  Oct. 1 Lotto drawing was similar to the May 2022 election tabulation. 


***

In a recent talk in Manila, former VP Leni Robredo announced that she will leave for Harvard University this week in order to perform her task as one of the Hauser leaders at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for Fall Semester. We wish Atty. Robredo the best.


***

We extend our deepest sympathies to the bereaved family of my good friend, Ampy Borjal Punzalan of Quezon City who passed last Saturday due to illness. Deep condolence especially to the deceased's only child, Karla, her husband and two young children.  


Eternal rest.



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Governor Hochul Announces $50 Million in Public Safety Funding at 2022 Division of Criminal Justice Services Symposium

Governor Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Public Safety Symposium in Albany. 09/28/22, (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


Governor Kathy Hochul on 28th September announced $50 million in State funding to invest in new technologies and equipment for local law enforcement agencies and support a continuum of pretrial services. Administered by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, $30 million will be dedicated for new technologies and body-worn cameras for local law enforcement agencies, which will help prevent, reduce, and solve crime, as well as build trust within communities. Additionally, $20 million will be allocated to pretrial services in all counties outside of New York City, which will help return more individuals to court by providing them with services and supervision. Governor Hochul made today's announcement at the 2022 DCJS Public Safety Symposium, providing an update on the State's public safety efforts and highlighting $227 million in the State's FY23 Budget to support law enforcement and community-based initiatives to combat gun violence and keep New Yorkers safe.

"My administration is wholly committed to providing the tools our partners in law enforcement need, including the largest state public safety investment in a generation: $227 million," Governor Hochul said. "Today, I'm proud to announce $50 million in public safety funding, which will help ensure all facets of the criminal justice system have the tools and resources needed to keep New Yorkers safe. New York is taking a comprehensive approach to public safety, and by investing in our law enforcement agencies, court systems, and beyond, we are untangling and supporting our public safety ecosystem to ensure that we not only reduce crime but prevent it."


From September 27 to 29, the 2022 DCJS Public Safety Symposium will bring together criminal justice professionals from across the country in Albany. The Symposium will convene public safety executives, police command staff, prosecutors, and more to share innovative ideas, evidence-based strategies, and updates on police reform and reinvention collaborations. This year's Symposium features more than 70 presentations on topics ranging from leadership, officer wellness, community-police trust building, street outreach programs, intelligence development, and more. Governor Hochul provided remarks at the Symposium, which will also feature keynote remarks from Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and Chico Tillmon of READI Chicago.


New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "Governor Hochul has worked tirelessly to ensure that my agency and by extension, the police departments, sheriffs' offices, probation departments, prosecutors, and community-based organizations that my agency supports have the resources and funding necessary to do their important work. This significant investment of State funding will help our local partners work more efficiently and effectively and provide critical resources to ensure that individuals who are justice involved receive the services they need, which will improve public safety for all New Yorkers."


During the Symposium, Governor Hochul highlighted that nearly 7,000 illegal guns have been seized by the State Police and law enforcement agency partners since January, attributable to the increased cooperation and collaboration from the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns. This work — paired with record investments in law enforcement and community-based organizations to prevent and reduce gun violence — has helped to produce significant results. While shootings across the country have dropped roughly 2 percent, the 20 major police departments outside of New York City reported a 10 percent decrease in shooting incidents for the first eight months of 2022 compared to 2021. Specifically, Buffalo has experienced a 36 percent drop in shootings, followed by Yonkers down 27 percent, Utica and Long Island down 21 percent, and Mount Vernon down 11 percent. Additionally, New York City reported a 13 percent reduction in shootings.


Governor Hochul secured funding in the FY23 Budget for technology to help police departments and sheriffs' offices prevent, reduce, and solve crimes, particularly violent crimes involving firearms. Administered by the DCJS, $20 million in State funding will be made available to police departments and sheriffs' offices to invest in new technologies. DCJS will open applications to law enforcement agencies for technology requests in mid-December, including license plate readers, mobile and fixed surveillance cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, gunshot detection devices, smart equipment for patrol vehicles and officers, and other kinds of public safety equipment, supporting up to $20 million in technology requests. DCJS will also issue a request for information from September 30 to November 18 to obtain feedback from police departments and sheriffs' offices on the types of technology they need.


From September 30 to December 2, DCJS will also issue a request for applications for body-worn cameras and associated software and equipment, such as storage, in law enforcement agencies outside of New York City. $10 million in funding will support up to 5,000 cameras and accompanying technology. This deployment of body-worn cameras is intended to improve police officer interactions with the public and serve as an integrated part of a law enforcement agency's problem-solving and community-engagement strategy, helping to increase public trust and communication.


DCJS will also distribute $20 million in pretrial services funding to all counties outside of New York City. As outlined in the Governor's 2022 State of the State policy agenda, this funding will support a continuum of pretrial services, including screening and assessments, supervision, a centralized case management system, and dedicated information sharing with the court system. Probation departments and community-based providers will receive this critical funding to expand and enhance services that enhance public safety and return more people to court. DCJS allocated this funding based on the five-year average of lower court arraignments in each county and plans to notify counties of their awards on September 29.


The State's FY 23 Budget contains $227 million to fund innovative programs and partnerships implemented by law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations, including:

  • $18.2 million for law enforcement agencies that participate in the GIVE initiative, which uses evidence-based strategies to reduce shootings and save lives in the 20 communities in 17 counties hardest hit by gun violence.
  • $15 million for New York's network of 10 Crime Analysis Centers, which collect and share information and intelligence - including crime gun data - among more than 350 state and local law enforcement agencies, serving as a critical resource to deter, investigate, and solve crimes, including firearm-involved violent crimes. The Centers also assist any law enforcement agency upon request and in 2021, the Centers responded to more than 60,000 requests for assistance.
  • $24.9 million for SNUG and community-based gun violence initiatives that use a public health approach to address gun violence: identify the source, interrupt the transmission and treat those affected by providing comprehensive services and support to address the trauma resulting from long-term exposure to gun violence. This investment will also support programming to help meet the basic needs of vulnerable young people; and provide skills-based job-readiness and work-placement training, among other initiatives.
  • $2.5 million for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention within the State Department of Health to coordinate interagency gun violence reduction efforts, analyze data and support public awareness work.

DCJS is a multi-function criminal justice support agency and has a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state's Sex Offender Registry. Follow the agency on Twitter and Facebook.



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Philippine Consulate Outreach Mission in Bristol, CT on Oct 22 & 23


The Philippine Consulate General in New York invites our kababayan in Bristol, CT and surrounding areas to our consular outreach mission on Saturday, 22 October, 9 am to 4pm and Sunday, 23 October, 9am to 12nn at St. Gregory’s Church, 235 Maltby St., Bristol, CT 06010.

Kababayan can avail themselves of the following services: Passport Application/ Renewal, Retention/Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship, Registration of Birth, Report of Marriage, and Notarization/Legalization.


Kababayan who wish to avail themselves of these services are required to book an appointment by going to the link https://newyorkpcg.org/.../news-and.../consular-outreach/



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Mayor Adams, TLC, Senator Schumer, NYTWA, Marblegate Asset Management Announce More Than $225 Million in Debt Relief Already Achieved Under Historic Taxi Medallion Debt Relief Program


NEW YORK
 – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chair and Commissioner David Do, and Senator Charles Schumer announced on Friday September 30, that more than 1,000 medallion owners have already achieved more than $225 million in debt relief from the enhanced version of the Medallion Relief Program, MRP+ first announced in August. Following a finalized agreement with Marblegate Asset Management — the largest taxi medallion lender in the city — and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) on the operational terms of the program last month, renegotiated deals are now being closed, finally providing hundreds of millions of dollars in relief to medallion owners.

“Yellow cabs are New York City icons, right alongside the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, but in recent years, our taxi medallion owners and drivers have been burdened by crippling debt that has crushed people who only wanted to pursue the American Dream,” said Mayor Adams. “I am proud to announce that as of today, more than 1,000 medallion owners have closed on loans, resulting in over $225 million of taxi medallion debt relief and counting. MRP+ puts money back in the pockets of medallion owners and drivers — many of whom are immigrants — working around the clock to keep New Yorkers on the move and put food on their family’s table. This debt relief program means they no longer have to max out their credit cards, lose their homes, or be unable to pay for their children’s college education.”


“Today's achievement signals financial certainty in what has been a critically fragile market for medallion owners and taxi drivers,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "Taxi drivers are the backbone for our city and the industry is critical to our transportation network, but for so long our driver owners have faced crippling debt. Today starts a new chapter of repair and rebirth for the industry."


“After striking a deal to get medallion owners the relief they desperately need, we finally have a program in place that is very quickly providing substantial amounts of debt forgiveness,” said TLC Chair and Commissioner Do. “I am incredibly thankful for all of the hard work done by the TLC, our partner agencies, Marblegate, and NYTWA, and I am looking forward to seeing the positive impacts that this program will have on the lives of medallion owners and the health of the taxi industry.”


“I am proud to have worked hand-in-hand with New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Mayors Adams and de Blasio, local elected officials, and a city-wide movement of New Yorkers to broker a deal with City Hall to provide life-saving debt relief for cab drivers,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “The medallion debt crisis has gone on for years—taking lives and livelihoods. I commend Mayor Adams, NYTWA, TLC, and Marblegate for working assiduously to enact the deal we reached last fall and providing critical debt relief for over 1,000 medallion owners thus far with more to come. Together, we are working to bring this ongoing situation to a just resolution for the cabbies who work every day to serve this city.”


The debt relief part of these deals are subject to the agreement reached by the city, TLC, Marblegate, and NYTWA to restructure outstanding loans of eligible taxi medallion owners to a maximum principal balance of $170,000, after the application of a $30,000 grant that will be used as a down payment on the restructured loans. The restructured loans will also be guaranteed by a loan loss reserve fund. The final terms for the restructured Marblegate loans will include an interest rate of 7.3 percent or less, fully amortized over no more than 25 years — capping monthly payments at $1,234. Borrowers with lower loan balances are also eligible to participate in the program.


Medallion owners are encouraged to sign up for free legal representation and financial counseling through TLC’s Owner/Driver Resource Center . Other lenders that would like to learn more should also visit the resource center.




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Thursday, September 29, 2022

President Marcos U.S. Trip Yields At Least $3.9 billion in Investment Pledges; Thousands of Job Opportunities Seen


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s visit to the United States last week could generate close to $4 billion in investments from multiple sectors, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

According to investment data released by the Palace, business agreements and commitments secured during the President’s visit have an estimated investment value of $3.9 billion, with a potential employment generation of 112,285 jobs.


These investments will come from different sectors such as Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), data centers, and manufacturing.


Palace said, however, that the estimates do not reflect the full potential of future investments from several companies that the President and the trade department met while in New York.


It said some companies had expressed interest in considering new or further investments in the country, but their plans have yet to be firmed up.


At the grand opening of the New Terminal Building of the Clark International Airport in Clark Freeport in Pampanga, Marcos reiterated that the Philippines is open for business, and the government is ready to go the extra mile to nurture strong partnerships with potential investors.


 “And this facility is essentially a very strong signal that yes, indeed, we are open for business,” he said during the event.


The Philippines, he said, is a good investment destination being probably the most vibrant economy in Southeast Asia.

He said his administration understands potential investors’ requirements and needs, and it will do everything to build strong partnerships.


According to him, he carried this message when he traveled to New York last week to attend the United Nations General Assembly and as he met American business leaders and heads of corporations.


Wednesday’s opening is also a perfect example of a positive outcome of public and private sector collaboration as both sectors leverage their assets through strong partnership, the President said.


The newly opened facility is also important as the country strives to become Asia’s logistic center, he added.



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The 2022 International Travel Show Strengthens Its Pipeline of Exhibitors to Inform and Enlighten Travel Trade, Media and Consumers About Travel Opportunities Around the World


NEW YORK, NY – Excitement is building for the International Travel Show, with travel industry players flocking to showcase their offerings and innovations on the exhibition floor. The International Travel Show will celebrate “The Future of Travel” from Friday, Oct. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, with lively presentations, exhibits and cultural performances from global destinations, cruise lines, hotels, travel products and services to entice and inform consumers, travel trade, and media alike. 

The three-day event’s unique format features travel trade and media exclusive sessions on Friday before opening to consumers the following two days. 


A headline session for travel trade day will be a panel discussion on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism from high-level topic experts who have been leading major initiatives to mitigate negative impact of travel on the planet, including Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica; Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group; Shannon Guihan - Chief Sustainability Officer & Head of TreadRight-The Travel Corporation; Asta Lassesen, CEO Hurtigruten Expedition and Terry Dale, President and CEO of U.S. Tour Operators Association. 


Among major travel industry players set to enliven the International Travel Show with interactive, entertaining, and informative exhibits: 


Hotels & Resorts 

An international benchmark for sustainable tourism, family-run Iberostar Hotels & Resorts offers unforgettable experiences at more than 100 properties in the best locations around the world. With all- inclusive resorts in Spain and Mexico, Sandos Hotels & Resorts strives to be unique and taps widespread community practices for efficient use of energy and natural resources to reduce its ecological footprint. Mexico-based Palace Resorts offers all-inclusive luxury at nine properties and low-carbon tourism that goes far beyond sustainability. Le Blanc Spa Resorts in Cancun and Los Cabos are adults-only gems, as evidenced by recent awards from Trip Advisor and a Readers’ Choice from Condé Nast Traveler. 


Cruise Lines 

The world’s third-largest cruise line, MSC Cruises is the leader in many corners of the globe, including Europe, South America, the Gulf, and Southern Africa, and boasts a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America, and the Far East as well. Celebrity Cruises aspires to impress, providing the best vacations possible and opening the world to make lives better while inspiring others to do the same. Known for driving innovation at sea, Royal Caribbean International has been redefining cruise vacationing for more than 50 years and still proudly pushes envelopes. The leading small ship travel company, Viking offers river, ocean, and expedition voyages on every continent and has 250+ awards, including a 2022 Travel + Leisure “World’s Best” and 2021 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice. 


Tours and Expeditions 

Australia-based Aurora Expeditions has been a leader and innovator in a competitive travel genre for 30 years, and it has a World Travel Award as “World’s Leading Polar Expedition” to show for it. The Travel Corporation provides travel experiences of a lifetime from a family of 40 award-winning travel and hospitality brands across 70 countries all over the globe. Psssst Secret Italia Tours is a family boutique tour company offering a range of tours throughout Italy and Europe, from small group and private tours, to gulet cruises and custom itineraries. The Travel Bureau of Nepal organizes treks, expeditions, canyoning, culture tours, Shaman tours, and trips to Tibet, Bhutan, and Ladakh in India. 


Destinations 

I Love New York (ILNY) is proud to be a Sponsor of the travel show and to present and support destinations within the state of New York. Located in one aisle and showcasing NY locations, destinations featured include Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council who offer hiking, biking, wine tasting and more; and locations nestled in the Catskills such as Sullivan County Visitors Association which was named one of the best small towns to visit in 2022 for hiking, boutique hotels, and breweries by Travel + Leisure.

 

Florida will be all over the International Travel Show with Visit Tampa Bay, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Visit Central Florida, which promotes Polk County, working to drive tourism to the Sunshine State. Sweet Home Alabama is the Alabama Tourism Department’s effort to promote the state nationally and internationally. And across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism makes sure the Garden State blooms with visitors, vacationers, and tour groups. Farther afield, Visit Estonia represents a small country that can make a big impression on travelers, with over 2,000 islands and Tallinn, its capital, as the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe. 


The Caribbean will be widely represented at the International Travel Show. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism communicates for all of the islands – close to 30 inhabited – of the unique and exciting destination. St. Martin and St. Maarten will promote the many unique, diverse, and friendly experiences waiting on “the Friendly Island” in the northeast Caribbean Sea. The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism is making the islands the premier island destination by delivering distinctive and diverse experiences while enriching the lives of residents and visitors. The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board has much to promote about its breathtaking islands surrounded by the sparkling sea, including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. The Jamaica Tourist Board is positioning the island nation as the preeminent tourist destination in the region. 


Asia is represented by Tourism Malaysia, a melting pot of cultures offering urban exploration in one of its major cities, relaxation on the beaches, hiking in Borneo, or scuba diving around one of 800+ islands. And the name Wonderful Indonesia says it all, with a commitment to promote destinations in an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, and no end of experiences for local and international travelers to jump into between them. 



About the International Travel Show 

The International Travel Show (ITS2022), presenting sponsor Travel + Leisure, is a world-class travel industry trade and consumer travel event in New York City featuring educational seminars and activations, a major exhibition with cultural and regional pavilions showcasing hundreds of travel companies and destinations from around the world. ITS2022 brings together the travel industry to address issues that are key to the future of travel and tourism, provide educational and informational seminars to travel professionals and the traveling public and serve as a platform for emerging solutions for the global tourism marketplace. For more information, visit www.nyInternationalTravelShow.com 


About Travel + Leisure Co. 

Travel + Leisure Co. is the world’s leading membership and leisure travel company, with nearly 20 travel brands across its resort, travel club, and lifestyle portfolio. The company provides outstanding vacation experiences and travel inspiration to millions of owners, members, and subscribers every year through its products and services: Wyndham Destinations, the largest vacation ownership company with more than 245 vacation club resort locations across the globe, and the world’s foremost membership travel business that includes the largest vacation exchange company and subscription travel brands, featuring top travel content and travel services including the brand’s eponymous travel club. We put the world on vacation. Learn more at travelandleisureco.com. 



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On the Eve of Martial Law Anniversary, Filipino Americans Denounce Philippine President Marcos Jr. in New York

Photo by Ari Zeneli

New York, N.Y.
– On the eve of the declaration of Martial Law, Filipinos and allies in solidarity throughout the Northeast rallied and marched the streets of New York City to protest the participation of Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations. This demonstration was part of a National Day of Action across the U.S. to remember the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law by then-Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (father of Marcos Jr.), whose 14-year period of brutal state repression (1972-1986) led to tens of thousands of Filipinos being unlawfully imprisoned and tortured, and thousands more being executed without fair trial.


Led by the Northeast Coalition to Advance Genuine Democracy (NECAGDP), the crowd of 300 marched from the Philippine Consulate across 42nd Street to the Dag Hammarskjold UN Plaza, bearing images of victims and survivors of Marcos Sr.’s martial law and a banner that read, “Hold Marcos-Duterte Accountable! No to Fascist Dynasties in the Philippines!” Educational teach-ins, songs, and a guerilla theater were also part of the program. Individuals from a large range of organizations spoke at the action, uncovering the truths that Marcos Jr.’s own speech in the United Nations sought to conceal. 


Photo by Marion Aguas

Although Marcos Jr. focused much of his speech on the historical impact and injustice of climate change on the Philippines (and suggested foreign investments as a form of reparations by developed countries), Jon Bonifacio, an activist with Kalikasan (a Philippine-based coalition of environmental organizations), described the devastation the Marcos family – with their “well-oiled disinformation machine” – has inflicted upon the environment of the Philippines.


“Under the dictator Marcos [Sr.], 8 million hectares of Philippine forests were cut down by Marcos cronies, while farm lands were degraded under the auspices of the so-called Green Revolution,” Bonifacio explained. “With the political return of the Marcoses, we can expect all of this to happen again.” 


Photo by Ari Zeneli

A group of Marcos-Duterte supporters were present at both the Philippine Consulate and the UN Plaza to counter-demonstrate, holding placards calling for free education and economic sovereignty (promises made by the Marcos-Duterte administration) – but speakers from NECAGDP explained how the Marcos dynasty’s policies in practice have always contradicted those desires. 


One such personal testimony came from Shaira Cruz of Migrante New Jersey, who recounted her family being forced to leave the Philippines due to the implementation of the 1974 Labor Export Policy (LEP), a botched attempt by Marcos Sr. to fix the economy that ultimately led to the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. She condemned it as “a system made to profit from Filipino labor overseas, in order to pay the debt of the Philippines and grow his family’s wealth.” Almost 50 years later, millions of Filipinos remain jobless, the value of the Philippines peso continues to drop, and Marcos Jr. continues to slash the budget for social services.


Photo by Ari Zeneli

Beyond the Filipino diaspora, allies from other movements expressed the importance of international solidarity against state violence and imperialism. Basil from Palestinian Youth Movement identified that “the U.S. imperial core is the lifeblood of both of our people’s subjugation… and our freedoms are connected today by joint struggle.”


In fact, after 09/20, coalition members took initiative and launched quick response mobilizations and actions to directly counter the narratives and rhetoric that Ferdinand Jr peddled in other engagements through the rest of the week. 


Photo by Ari Zeneli

“That is why we’re here today, and that is why we’ll be here tomorrow, and the day after that, until all of our peoples are free,” he declared.


What was displayed outside of the United Nations is the unwavering determination of the Filipino diaspora for genuine democracy, freedom, and sovereignty for their home country.  For the Coalition members, the September 20 protest is a community action “to right and to write history” by rejecting the Marcos-Duterte regime. To quote the final words of human rights lawyer Ruben Carranza’s speech, “We can fight, we can win again, and the Marcoses will be defeated.” 



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Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco Tackles Plans to Revive Industry, Entices Foreign Investors in New York Briefing


NEW YORK — Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco laid down the holistic and comprehensive plan, objectives, as well as the strategies of the Department of Tourism  (DOT) to revitalize the tourism sector that has been greatly affected  by the Covid-19 pandemic.


During  the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in New York, United States of America, Frasco joined  the economic team of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. where she projected the readiness of the Philippines as a tourism destination, and the critical role that the industry plays in spurring economic opportunities across the country.


“The President has clearly identified tourism as a major tool for the economic resurgence of the Philippines, stating that it can be the economic driver upon which we herald the Filipino Brand and at the same time create economic opportunity and livelihood all over the country,” Secretary Frasco said in her opening statement.


Belonging to the panel discussion on Philippines’ Infrastructure Agenda and Investment Opportunities, Secretary Frasco recapitulated the Department’s 7-point agenda and the 3 strategies of connectivity, convenience and E(q)uality as part of the DOT’s strategy for tourism development.


The  Tourism Chief  bared the agency’s plans to enhance the visitor experience through various programs and  initiatives such as the  slated ground-breaking of 10 tourist service areas in the country allocating 3 in Luzon, 5 in Visayas, and 2 in Mindanao.


“We   plan to address the most basic aspect of travel across the Philippines: clean restrooms. I’m very pleased to inform you that in the first week of October, under the directive of the President, we are breaking ground on no less than 10 tourist rest areas across the Philippines. Three in Luzon, five in Visayas, and two in Mindanao. These tourist rest areas will have clean and decent restrooms for our tourists, a lounge for them to rest in, a complete information on tourist destinations, as well as pasalubong centers for them to be able to purchase local products and delicacies,” Secretary Frasco said.



Frasco likewise announced the prioritization of tourists’ safety and security through a partnership with the Department of National Defense (DND)  and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); establishment of wifi in tourism destinations through a partnership with the Department of Communications, Information and Technology (DICT); an improved digital platform that will provide information to tourists, and even the establishment of a tourist assistance call center.


The Forum was made specially interesting with the President of the Philippines giving the keynote address. President Marcos gave special mention to the tourism industry as one of the prime movers of the Philippine economy.


“We will also reinvigorate the tourism sector by investing in travel infrastructure and the promotion of the Filipino brand. With the Department of Tourism leading our efforts to revitalize both domestic and foreign tourism, we will ensure the safe reopening of tourist destinations and develop the Philippines’ yet to be discovered attractions,” remarked the President during his speech.


The PEB forum was organized to entice businesses from the United States and other countries to invest in the Philippines, a first of its kind done by a country’s economic team in North America.


During the forum held at the final leg of the President’s visits to the United States and United Nations, the Philippine Team highlighted the current economic status and accomplishments of the country.


The country’s economic managers strategically illustrated the aspirations and plans of the current administration in its aim to bring the Philippines to an upper middle income status economy by 2024, earlier than the administration’s end of term in 2028.


Together with the Tourism Chief at the economic briefing were Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Aboitiz Equity Ventures President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces First Long Island Investment Fund Award of $10 Million to Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research


Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the $350 million Long Island Investment Fund awarded its first grant to the The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to construct 40,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art labs to support medical and infectious disease research. The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant complements an additional $30 million in State support previously awarded to the Feinstein Institutes to modernize 20,000 square feet of its Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, which Governor Hochul opened today. New York State's assistance is part of an $85 million modernization effort at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, Nassau County, and a broader initiative to highlight the growing life science industry on Long Island. The Feinstein Institutes is the research arm of Northwell Health and is one of the leading laboratory and research centers in the country, conducting cutting-edge studies that seek to cure diseases.


"New York is leading the way in medical innovation, and the Long Island Investment Fund will support life-saving research on the cutting edge of the life sciences industry," Governor Hochul said. "Our investment in the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine is already improving the lives of everyday New Yorkers, and the additional Long Island Investment Fund award announced today reaffirms our commitment to remaining a national leader in the health and medical research fields. I am proud to support the Feinstein Institutes and their research, which will lead to life-changing medicine and treatments that will improve the lives of New Yorkers on Long Island and across the State."


Included as part of Governor Hochul's FY 2023 Enacted Budget, the Long Island Investment Fund focuses on projects that will support and grow the regional economy, enhance communities, and have lasting economic impacts across Long Island. The Fund's $10 million award to the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research will support the renovation and construction of 26 new state-of-the-art research labs on two floors as well as the hiring of 10 new principal investigators and 60 research employees. These modernized labs will advance research efforts to develop novel therapies for cancer, diabetes, obesity, lupus, and other conditions



The Feinstein Institutes is the global scientific home of bioelectronic medicine, a growing scientific field that uses technology to read and modulate electrical activity within the body's nervous system. The new, modernized labs at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine will support discoveries to find cures that will reduce the need for drugs, reduce painful side effects, and give life back to people who are suffering. Early discoveries have emerged from its labs, opening new treatment options for patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, paralysis, and even cancer. Clinical studies in bioelectronic medicine have already yielded results with those who are paralyzed: recent research utilizing an over-the-skin spinal cord stimulation patch has allowed participants to regain their ability to move and feel. 


The Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine's renovation includes wet-lab bench space, multiple tissue culture rooms, cold storage rooms, workstations for researchers, and a brand-new Biosafety Level 3 facility to allow new research into infectious diseases and other complex viruses, such as COVID-19. The expansion also supports the hiring of 13 new principal investigators and 100 new research employees.


Long Island is at the forefront of the life sciences industry as new research and discoveries in bioelectronic medicine - a new scientific field born and bred on Long Island - will attract the best and brightest researchers and world-leading strategic partners to create the cures that can transform lives. The life sciences industry has become a powerful engine of economic growth and innovation for New York, turning key regions of the State into dynamic life science hubs. Investing in life sciences is crucial to identify the next scientific or medical breakthrough that will develop new life-saving technologies. Through its support of the Feinstein Institutes' growth, New York is expanding its ability to commercialize research and spur the growth of a world-class life science industry on Long Island and across the State.



Investing in the Future of Long Island


The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant announced today complements historic initiatives and investments for Long Island:

  • $157 million investment -- repaving 300 lane miles of state highways to date.
  • More than $457 million for school aid - a 12.7 percent increase compared to FY 2022.
  • $63 million for addiction treatment, recovery and prevention services.
  • The homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, with an average benefit of $1,300 for 494,000 Long Island homeowners.
  • $500 million to develop New York's offshore wind infrastructure and supply chain - ultimately creating more than 2,000 green jobs.
  • Completing Long Island Rail Road's historic Third Track project, allowing trains to run more often and creating a smoother ride for LIRR commuters.



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Opinion: Marcos US Trip Busy, But Seems Unproductive; Pursued by Demonstrators in NY Activities

Photo by Lambert Parong © KMC 2022

ON MY WATCH

BY MANUEL CABALLERO

MARCOS US TRIP BUSY, BUT SEEMS UNPRODUCTIVE; PURSUED BY DEMONSTRATORS IN NY ACTIVITIES


'Pres.' Bongbong Marcos 7-day trip to  New York last week was busy with meetings and speeches, but he has not announced concrete results nor investment pledges from US business groups unlike in his recent trips to Indonesia and Singapore.


In a story published by Manila's GMA News, Mr. Marcos assessed his trip as "successful".


No story about his activities was published by the two leading international newspapers in NY, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal nor aired by any NY TV station.


Instead, the New York Times published a story about the 50th Anniversary of Martial Law under Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Nine former Filipino victims of Martial rule, who are now in their 70’s, were featured in the Times story.


The Washington Post, on the other hand, featured the sideline meeting at the UN between Pres. Biden and Mr. Marcos. Although, the highlight of the story was what the US president said, not what the PH president said.


It was interesting to observe that in all the president's events, the address in an empty UN Hall, the speech in the New York Stock Exchange, the talk in Asia Society, the meet and greet with Filipino Americans, Mr. Marcos was followed by demonstrators who were mostly Fil Ams, either college students or recent graduates. 


The rallyists, who keenly analyzed the Marcoses, denounced the president for supposedly being an election cheat, corrupt and for lying and revising history in order to get votes. They also accused the Marcoses of bankrupting and plundering the coffers of the PH during Marcos Sr. years. Human rights abuses were also among the leading denunciations.


The Marcos travel entourage, composed of cabinet members, as well as, members of his nuclear and extended families, have reportedly returned to Manila.



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