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Monday, November 28, 2022

Op-Ed: Willets Point - A Vibrant New Neighborhood in Queens By Mayor Eric Adams

Willets Point—A Vibrant New Neighborhood in Queens

Op-Ed by Mayor Eric Adams

It’s time to create a New York City where working New Yorkers can have safe, affordable homes, find well-paying jobs, send their children to good schools, and live close to public transportation so that they don’t have to spend hours commuting.

Willets Point in Queens, previously known as the “Iron Triangle” or the “Valley of Ashes,” was filled with auto repair shops, prone to flooding and lacked infrastructure.  Today, it offers our city a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a vibrant, thriving neighborhood from scratch.


The cornerstone of Willets Point will be 2,500 new homes that are 100% affordable.  That’s the largest 100% affordable housing project in New York City since the 1970s.  Many of these rental homes will be within reach to families making $40,000 a year or less.  This is a game changer for so many New Yorkers.  Environmental cleanup and infrastructure improvements for sewage, storm lines and water mains are already underway.  And we are breaking ground on the first phase of housing in 2023—one year early! 


The neighborhood will also have a 650-seat K-8 school, retail space that serves local residents, 40,000 square feet of open space, as well as a hotel and a Major League Soccer stadium.  Both the stadium and the hotel will be 100% privately financed.  The city will not be spending a single dollar on their construction.  The stadium will be New York City’s first professional soccer-specific stadium, and a permanent home for the 2021 MLS Cup champions: the New York City Football Club. 


The stadium and the hotel will be constructed with union labor, and will prioritize working with minority and women-owned businesses, and hiring locally.  Through the redevelopment of Willets Points, we will create 14,200 construction jobs, and 1,550 permanent jobs from the stadium, hotel, retail and housing.  Because that’s what New Yorkers deserve: good jobs, homes, and the chance to gain a secure financial footing so they can raise their families and grow old in the city that they love. 


Willets Point will also cement Queens’ reputation as a world-class sports destination.  With the new stadium, the Mets’ Citifield, and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, we will have soccer, baseball and tennis all in one place.  World-class sports for the World’s Borough—all just minutes away from the Long Island Railroad, the Mets-Willets Point station on the 7 train, JFK and LaGuardia Airports, and within walking distance from Flushing Meadows Park.


The Willets Point project grows out of a vision first developed by members of the community back in 2018, and local residents will continue to be heard throughout the approval and construction process.


This project delivers on my blueprint for economic recovery and for affordable housing.  It is the result of a public-private partnership between New York City, the New York City Football Club, and Queens Development Group (a joint venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities).


We are delivering housing across the five boroughs, and this Willets Point project, combined with the Innovation Queens project, would have advanced 8,000 housing units in November alone.


Willets Point gives us an opportunity to create a new neighborhood with homes, schools and economic possibilities. It gives us an opportunity to re-envision how our city can meet the challenges of the 21st Century, like housing, climate change and developing pathways to financial stability for all New Yorkers.  As our city rebuilds from the pandemic, we are reimagining our neighborhoods and our boroughs to ensure that everyone benefits from our prosperity, not just the few.  Willets Point is just the start.


Governor Hochul Announces Actions to Prevent Hate Crimes and Protect New Yorkers

November 22, 2022 - New York City - Governor Kathy Hochul, joined by Acting New York State Police Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli, DHSES Commissioner Jackie Bray and state leaders, signs two Hate Crime Prevention Bills into law Tuesday November 22, 2022. The two bills she signed will require people convicted of hate crimes to undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and establish a statewide educational awareness campaign "around inclusion, tolerance, understanding and diversity.”. They also include security grants for locations that have been targets of hate crimes in the past. (Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor)

Signs Legislation (S.6570/A.1202) to Require Individuals Convicted of Hate Crimes to Undergo Mandatory Training in Hate Crime Prevention and Education and Legislation (S.123A/A.5913A) to Establish a Statewide Campaign Developed and Run by the Division of Human Rights to Promote the Acceptance, Inclusion, Tolerance, and Understanding of the Diversity of the People of New York

Encourages Community-Based Organizations to Apply for $50 Million to Strengthen Safety Measures and Protect Against Hate Crimes - Deadline Extended for Additional Applications

Announces Plans for Unity Summit to Bring Together Community Leaders and Combat Hate, Violent Extremism, and Discrimination

Builds on the State's Hate Crime Prevention Initiatives Supported by $361 Million in State and Federal Grant Funding

Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday November22, announced actions to prevent hate crimes, promote tolerance, and protect New Yorkers. The Governor signed two pieces of legislation to support hate crime prevention and education efforts, building on the administration's efforts to increase funding to protect targets of hate crimes and increase surveillance and protection for communities at risk. The first piece of legislation requires individuals convicted of hate crimes to, in addition to other penalties, undergo mandatory training or counseling in hate crime prevention and education. The second establishes a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, including, but not limited to diversity based on religion, race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Governor Hochul also encouraged community-based organizations to apply for $50 million in available funding to strengthen safety measures and protect against hate crimes, and extended the deadline for applications.

"Our hearts are broken after a weekend during which LGBTQ Americans were massacred and Jewish New Yorkers were targeted in horrific acts of hateful violence," Governor Hochul said. "New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts - we're taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters, bigots and white supremacists. Domestic-based violent extremism is the greatest threat to our homeland security, and that is why we continue to remain laser-focused on combatting hate and keeping New Yorkers safe."

"We are sending a clear message that we protect all individuals that call New York home," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. "Amidst this rise in bigotry and violence in New York and across the nation, we are bolstering our response to prevent hate crimes before they happen to ensure all New Yorkers can live without fear."

Both pieces of legislation promote educational initiatives, which serve as key tools to further tolerance and acceptance, and in turn help keep communities safe from hateful acts and violence.

Legislation (S.6570/A.1202) amends the penal law to establish that in addition to other penalties, individuals convicted of hate crimes shall undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and education as part of their sentence. The programs, training sessions, or counseling sessions must be authorized by the court or local agencies in cooperation with organizations serving the affected community.

Legislation (S.123A/A.5913A) amends the executive law to establish and implement a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity. The campaign, which will be developed and implemented by the Division of Human Rights, will coordinate and cooperate with public and private organizations, including, but not limited to, local governments, community groups, school districts, places of worship, charitable organizations, and foundations and will develop educational materials to be published on the internet, social media, and other platforms to reach the public.

These legislative efforts build upon $246 million in federal funding that Governor Hochul announced in October to support homeland security preparedness, counterterrorism, and emergency preparedness efforts across New York, as well as $96 million in combined State and Federal funding announced earlier this month to safeguard nonprofit, community-based organizations at risk of hate crimes and attacks.

Administered by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the state-funded Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program is currently seeking proposals for $50 million, which is anticipated to support approximately 1,000 projects across the state. The Governor announced that DCJS is now extending the application deadline from January 31, 2023 to February 28, 2023 for this program, so more interested, eligible organizations can apply.

Created in 2017, the program provides funding to strengthen security measures and prevent hate crimes against nonprofit community and civic centers, cultural museums, day care centers, and other nonprofit organizations that may be vulnerable because of their ideology, beliefs, or mission. This funding can be used to support exterior or interior security improvements, including but not limited to lighting, locks, alarms, panic buttons, fencing, barriers, access controls, shatter-resistant glass and blast-resistant film, public address systems, and for the first time, measures to strengthen cybersecurity. Funds can also cover costs associated with security training. To date, a total of $83.1 million has been awarded to more than 600 nonprofit organizations to support approximately 1,700 projects.

DCJS will accept applications for up to $50,000 per project; each eligible organization may submit up to three applications for a maximum of $150,000. An eligible organization also may submit a separate application for up to $50,000 to fund a cybersecurity project. Applications must be submitted to DCJS by Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Visit the Grants/Funding page of the DCJS website for eligibility requirements, instructions, guidelines and additional information.

Governor Hochul has also recently provided direct support to public safety and preparedness programs in the form of $9 million in targeted Homeland Security Grant Funding for bomb squads, hazardous materials teams, explosive detection canine teams, tactical teams, technical rescue, critical infrastructure protection, local government cybersecurity, and urban search and rescue teams throughout New York. She has also directed $10 million in state grant funds to support county governments as they develop domestic terrorism prevention plans and threat assessment and management teams in the wake of the horrific white supremist attack on the Tops Market in Buffalo in earlier this year. DHSES has also launched the first state based Domestic Terrorism Prevention Unit and will require each county in the state to develop and submit a domestic terrorism prevention plan to DHSES by December 31, 2023 in an effort to stop hate crimes before they happen when the worst harm has already been done.

At Governor Hochul's direction, New York State Police has increased protection for communities at risk of hate crimes. The State Police remains in contact with the New York Police Department and will continue outreach to LGBTQ communities across New York, as well as to synagogues and other Jewish community spaces in the state. The State Police now has 97 investigators who have been through extensive training in bias-related crimes stationed across the state dedicated to hate crime investigations, more than double the number in place 6 years ago. Over the course of those 6 years, State Police handled more than 1,700 investigations into reported hate crimes.

This weekend, MTA Police, State Police, the NYPD, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force collaborated to arrest two armed men at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan who are accused of traveling to the City with plans to cause violence towards the Jewish community. Increased resources provided by Governor Hochul to the State Police and the New York State Intelligence Center contributed to these arrests.

Governor Hochul also announced she will convene a Unity Summit to bring together community and government partners to stand against hate, violent extremism, and discrimination. The Unity Summit will be held in the coming months and follow regional listening sessions, which will be supported by the New York State Police, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and Division of Human Rights.

State, local, and federal partners, community-based and faith leaders, and advocates will convene at the summit to share policies, programs, and practices to build safer and stronger communities where hate has no place. Participants will also present on their extensive efforts to address hate-motivated crimes, prevent the spread of violent extremism, and promote unity and reconciliation.


Opinion: Did You Know? By Manuel L. Caballero





Two of my good friends, who many of you know, Paul Verzosa and Roger Santos, both illustrious sons of their illustrious fathers, have prevailed upon me, even if I don't quite agree with the idea, to share with our friends and readers,  in the lightest possible spirit, a good  number of similarities in my life situation and in the life situation of former PH  Vice President Leni Gerona Robredo.

So, let's  begin the enumeration.  Former VP Leni and her late husband used to be leaders of Couples for Christ in Camarines Sur. I was leader of Servants of the Lord, a ministry of CFC in New Jersey. So, we were both  spiritually trained under CFC.

Both ex-VP Leni and I have three children each.  All our children attended American schools. Her youngest daughter Jillian and my eldest daughter MC are both degree holders from New York University. MC also earned a Liberal Arts Degree from Wesleyan University in CT.   before studying  Nursing at NYU. Tricia and  Jessica  Robredo, though studied in Ateneo, both attended Harvard. My Niña finished a dual Masters Degree in Education from Fordham University.  Niña also earned a Liberal Arts degree from Trinity College in CT. My youngest, Adrian , finished Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in NJ.  John, the spouse of  Niña as well as Natasha, wife of Adrian, are both degree holders from American universities.So, all of them from both our families earned academic degrees.

The late mother of Ex-VP Leni and my late father were both educators in their life times.

Former VP Leni and I are both products of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, QC. She finished with a bachelor's degree in economics. I graduated  with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.  Both of us experienced teaching in college level. 

The two of us, as young adults,  witnessed the early years of  Marcos Sr. authoritarian rule.

Both of us are actively involved in helping poor Filipinos. The ex-VP through Angat Buhay. While yours truly, through CFC's ANCOP USA as its former Communications Director.

As a journalist, mostly PH-related events, I write the news that Atty. Robredo makes. (I interviewed her 3 times in the past).

Finally, she is a widow. I'm a widower.

In view of all the above compatibilities, I am almost tempted to conclude this column with this question, "Will you marry me?"


Filipino Boy Band 'SB19' Brings P-Pop to New York

Consul General Elmer G. Cato, Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro, and SB19 showing SB19’s signature hand gestures. (Photo by Troi Santos)

Rising Filipino boy group, SB19, marked its maiden tour of the United States of America with a visit to Sentro Rizal New York at the Philippine Center on Thursday, 03 November 2022. Officially proclaimed the Youth Ambassador of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Sentro Rizal, SB19, aims to encourage the Filipino-American youth – particularly the second and third generations – to learn more about their Philippine culture and heritage by visiting Sentro Rizal New York, which is under the supervision of the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

Members of SB19 skims through some books of the Filipiniana collection of Sentro Rizal New York. (Photo by Troi Santos)

A five-member group composed of John Paulo B. Nase, Josh Cullen A. Santos, Stellvester Q. Ajero, Felip Jhon D. Suson, and Justin T. De Dios, SB19 is making headway in the international music scene with its introduction of P-Pop (Pinoy/Philippine) music, through songs such as MAPA, Hanggang Sa Huli, and Tilaluha. SB19’s music videos have been viewed as many as 78 million times with its hit, MAPA (a portmanteau of “mama” and “papa”), which honors Filipino parents for the sacrifices they endure for their children. Nase, the leader of the group, has a father who is an Overseas Filipino Worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Consul General Elmer G. Cato poses with SB19 in front of the Philippine Center at midtown Manhattan. (Photo by Troi Santos)

During SB19’s courtesy visit, Consul General Elmer G. Cato congratulated the group for its accomplishments, and encouraged them further to elevate the profile of the Filipino community through their music. SB19 has made history as the first ever Filipino group to be nominated at the prestigious Billboard Music Awards.

While in New York, SB19 had its first ever live appearance on American television on Fox 5’s morning show, “Good Day New York,” on Friday, 04 November 2022, and concluded its New York leg with a successful concert held at Palladium Times Square on Saturday, 12 November 2022, which was attended by fans, some of whom travelled as far away as Canada, the Caribbean Islands, and the United Kingdom. 

A promotional video of SB19 for Sentro Rizal New York was filmed to be published soon on the official website and social medial platforms of Post. Discussions have also begun to have SB19 grace the Philippine Independence Day Parade along Madison Avenue during the 125th anniversary of Philippine Independence.


President Marcos Wants Scholarships to Address Nurses' Exodus; Private Sector Steps Up Aid for Gov't Healthcare System

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday November 24, said the government may resort to providing scholarships for nurses and other medical workers as many countries scramble to find healthcare professionals to man their hospitals and medical facilities.

In a meeting in Malacańang with representatives of the healthcare cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), the President said that although the government can’t prevent nurses from leaving for high-paying jobs abroad, they must at least serve their country if they avail of the government scholarship program.

“Lahat, nurses. Naghahanap… Everybody that I talk to, especially from the States and from Europe… So the only thing is that the scholarship program, that you know, you can’t hold people back from a better life, from a better living…” the President said during the meeting.

“But I think it’s fair that if you provide scholarship, that you expect that there are… mag-serbisyo muna sila ng ilang taon. Hindi babayaran ‘yung scholarship eh. They don’t need to pay that,” the President pointed out.

Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH had started discussions with the deans of the University of the Philippines and other allied healthcare services for the government’s “ladderized” scholarship program.

The DOH official expressed hope to produce more nurses as the government implements the program, although it will take two to three years for it to bear fruit.

Vergeire also told the President that the DOH had initial talks with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) for exchange programs with other countries needing healthcare workers.

“So in turn we are going to propose that if we can provide them with these numbers that they need, they [would] provide us also, for example, scholarships for a number of our healthcare workers here,” Vergeire said, adding that graduates have to stay in the country for two years before they can be deployed abroad.

Part of DMW’s plans is to secure deals with the country’s bilateral partners or countries to provide funds for scholarships in the Philippines, Vergeire said, noting after graduation, the scholars will be required to serve their communities for a certain period before they could seek overseas employment.

Better health insurance, cheaper meds

The PSAC, for its part, expressed commitment to help the Marcos administration in improving the health system, particularly in strengthening the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) by providing a third-party assessment that will focus on addressing operational gaps in claims filing, membership application, digitalization and actuarial valuation, among others.

The private sector also vowed to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to upgrade its systems to obtain accreditation with various international regulatory bodies and raise awareness about the value of generic drugs.

The PSAC members also pledged commitment to bringing in cheaper medicines and addressing the shortage of nurses.

Among those present in the PSAC healthcare sector group meeting were PSAC Strategic Convenor Sabin Aboitiz, PSAC Healthcare Lead Paolo Maximo Borromeo, Filipino-American molecular biologist and priest Dr. Nicanor Austriaco, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. CEO Dr. Harish Pillai and Unilab President and CEO Clinton Campos Hess.


"Konsulado on the Go" Serves Kababayan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On Saturday, 05 November 2022, the Philippine Consulate General in New York, with the support of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh (FAAP), carried out a consular outreach at the FAAP-owned Philippine Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of the most far flung areas under the Consulate’s jurisdiction. Kababayan take their oath as Filipino citizens.  (Photo by Alex Grubbs)

The Philippine Consulate General in New York concluded this year’s “Konsulado on the Go” by serving one of the most far flung areas under its jurisdiction – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It takes approximately seven hours to travel to Pittsburgh by land.

Members of the consular outreach team, led by Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro (second from right, standing), poses with members and volunteers of FAAP. (Photo by Alex Grubbs)

Carried out with the support of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh (FAAP), the consular outreach was held at FAAP-owned Philippine Center on Saturday, 05 November 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A total of 122 consular services were processed.

The consular outreach provided the following services – passport renewal, retention/reacquisition of Philippine citizenship, civil registry (birth, marriage, and death), notarization, and general consultation with the officer in charge.

Ms. Karen Welton, the Community Outreach & Resource Planning Specialist of the Pittsburgh District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division entertains labor concerns of kababayan during the outreach. (Photo by Alex Grubbs)

Complimenting the consular outreach was a labor desk manned by Ms. Karen Welton, the Community Outreach & Resource Planning Specialist of the Pittsburgh District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division. Kababayan with labor concerns approached Ms. Welton before or after their respective appointments.

This consular outreach is the eleventh of the year. The Konsulado on the Go schedule for 2023 will be released by the first quarter of next year.


Mayor Adams Signs Two Bills Providing Support for Survivors of Domestic and Gender-Based Violence in New York City

Intros. 153-A and 154-A Will Establish Housing Stability Program and Create Online Services Portal for Survivors of Domestic and Gender-Based Violence

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday November 22, signed two bills to provide support for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence in New York City. Intro. 153-A amends New York City’s administrative code by establishing a housing stability program for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence. Intro. 154-A amends New York City’s administrative code by requiring the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) to create an online services portal and guide.

“Everyone deserves to be safe in their relationships and live a life free of domestic and gender-based violence,” said Mayor Adams. “This is a public safety issue that impacts us all. Domestic and gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere in our city, and we have a sacred duty to protect these survivors. By signing these two bills into law, we are continuing to protect those at risk and ensuring they have a chance to thrive. Together, we can end domestic and gender-based violence and build a city where everyone is safe in their homes and in their communities.”

“Today’s bill signing affirms our city’s commitment to supporting survivors of domestic and gender-based violence and ensuring they have access to the resources they need to heal and thrive,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “I look forward to working with ENDGBV and our partner agencies to implement this program and help keep our survivors in safe, stable housing.”

“We applaud Mayor Adams and the New York City Council for passing and enacting Councilmember Cabán’s ‘Support Survivors’ legislative package,” said ENDGBV Commissioner Cecile Noel. “This legislation ensures that survivors of domestic and gender-based violence have access to the resources they need to find safety, stability, and healing. In addition to spreading awareness about city and community-based services for survivors, this legislation also addresses a critical need for survivors: low-barrier, flexible funding to support the housing and safety-related needs of survivors. Domestic and gender-based violence are leading causes of homelessness in our city and across the nation, and we are proud to partner with our sister agencies and the City Council to combat this issue and to help strengthen crucial survivor supports.”

Intro. 153-A — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán — would require ENDGBV, in consultation with the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) and community-based organizations, to establish a program to provide survivors of domestic and gender-based violence with a low-barrier grant and supportive services that would help survivors with expenses related to maintaining housing. The bill would require ENDGBV to report on the program on an annual basis. The legislation also updates the definitions section used in this section of the code.

Intro. 154-A — also sponsored by Councilmember Cabán — would require ENDGBV to establish an online portal and a written resource guide of available services for survivors of domestic or gender-based violence in New York City. The portal and guide would be aligned with ENDGBV’s NYCHope and be available in the designated citywide languages. The guide would also be available in Braille. The portal would include a clear and conspicuous link to any other relevant city-run websites and portals that provide information on survivor services located within the city and a description of the types of such resources. Finally, the bill would require ENDGBV to conduct outreach on the portal and guide and to ensure the portal is secure and confidential to protect the privacy of survivors.

“When I first became chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equity, I shared that my focus this term would be on shifting resources and power away from patriarchal systems of violence and punishment and toward the compassionate, life-giving systems which we have sidelined and devalued for too long,” said New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán. “I am very proud to be delivering on that promise with the two bills the mayor is signing today. These two laws will save lives. The online portal and written resource guide, available in all major languages and in Braille, will make it much more likely that survivors will know about, and take advantage of, the great life-saving programs already available in our city. And the low-barrier urgently accessible grant program will directly address one of the most significant barriers survivors face in leaving dangerous situations: economic precarity. I look forward to working with the mayor to fully fund and thoughtfully implement these laws and can’t wait to celebrate many survivor success stories together.”

Today’s bill signings for survivors help usher in the city’s annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign,’ which kicks off later this week. The campaign starts on November 25 (International Day to End Violence Against Women) and ends on December 10 (Human Rights Day) — encouraging New Yorkers to learn more about the consequences of gender-based violence and urging government, community, corporate, and philanthropic sectors to take concrete and impactful actions to eliminate gender-based violence. New Yorkers can learn more, join the campaign, or help share the resources and services available to survivors throughout New York City by visiting the 16 Days website.


Friday, November 25, 2022

President Marcos Administers Oath of Office to the Newly Elected Officers and Board of Trustees of the KBP

Pinangunahan ni Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ang panunumpa ng mga bagong opisyales ng Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas ngayong araw, Nobyembre 25. Ang Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas ay isang organisasyon na naglalayong isulong ang malayang pamamahayag, responsableng pagbabalita, at pagpapaigting ng serbisyong-publiko sa brodkasting sa bansa.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Opinion: US VP Kamala Harris in Manila, while PH Ex-VP Leni Robredo in New York; Current US Events Testing American Political System and Constitution By Manuel L. Caballero

VP Kamala Harris Facebook Page Photo




VP Kamala Harris Facebook Page Photo

US Vice President Kamala Harris visits Manila and Palawan on Nov. 20-22 to reinforce the long-time alliance between the Philippines and the United States. Meetings are to take place with Pres. Marcos, Jr. and VP Sara Duterte.

VP Harris will proceed to Palawan from Manila in order to demonstrate America's resolve in countering China's aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea. The Spratlys, one of the territories claimed by China to be their own which is also claimed by the PH and four other SEA countries is close to Palawan.

The Veep will also hold dialogues with local residents, particularly fishermen negatively affected by Chinese behavior in the maritime area. She will also meet with women's groups to discuss women empowerment. The lady Vice President is also scheduled to meet with members of the Coast Guard guarding the interest of the Filipinos in the Spratlys.

The VP's PH visit is another proof that the US is ready and willing to abide by its treaty commitments to the Philippines.

Leni Robredo Facebook Page Photo

While VP Harris is in the PH, former VP Leni Gerona Robredo  is in New York for speaking engagements at New York University and Columbia University, both Ivy League schools like Harvard where Atty. Robredo is currently a Hauser leader at the Kennedy School of  Public Leadership.

She just returned from Zurich where she delivered two speeches as resource person in an international conference.


After discussing about those two outstanding women, let's talk about men.

Immediately after former US Pres. Donald Trump announced that he was running again for president in 2024, the US Department of Justice announced the appointment of a special counsel to oversee  the investigation whether Mr. Trump committed illegal act with his obvious involvement in the Jan. 6 attack in the US Congress which resulted in deaths and destruction of properties in an attempt to subvert the will of the American voters in the 2020 elections.

The Justice Department also wanted the former chief executive investigated on the handling of confidential government documents that Mr. Trump brought and kept at his Florida mansion.

In his comments about this topic,  Mr. Trump said the Justice Department move was another unfair witch-hunt and that it was an abuse of presidential power on the part of Pres. Biden and that it was politically motivated. Such reaction can be expected.

We will know what will happen in the months or even years ahead. 

The outcome of the decision of the Justice Department to pursue those two cases with a special counsel against a former president will have a lasting impact on the Office of President and the US Constitution. While no one could unilaterally amend the provision of a Constitution, it could be interpreted according to public interest. No Constitutional provision is absolute. Nobody, not even a president, is above the law.


Happy Birthday, BERT PELAYO in Heaven. He is the late Founder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of the then Filipino Reporter in New York where this column started.




U.S. Vice President Harris Reaffirms Defense Commitment in Meeting with President Marcos

United States Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed American commitments to the defense of the Philippines during a meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Malacañang on Monday.

“We must reiterate always that we stand with you in defense of international rules and norms as it relates to the South China Sea. And armed attack on the Philippines, armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US Mutual Defense commitments,” Harris said during a courtesy call to the President.

“The basis of our relationship is multifaceted. Our relationship is based on mutual commitment to the economic prosperity of the region and our respective nations,” she pointed out.

The US official said she expected to have a conversation with the President on issues of mutual concern such as the climate crisis, investments, renewable energy, job creation, as well as the two countries’ bilateral relationship.

President Marcos said he was delighted to welcome Harris to the Philippines, her first visit to the country, after a very brief conversation in Bangkok, Thailand, during their participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

“The relationship between our two countries is something that we both — both our countries have really come to depend upon. And the more the upheavals that we are seeing, especially in the region, this partnership becomes even more important,” the President told the US official.

“The situation is rapidly changing. We must evolve to be properly responsive to that situation,” he added.

Also part of Harris’ three-day trip to the Philippines includes a stop in Palawan on the edge of the South China Sea, where she is expected to board a Philippine coast guard vessel.

Harris arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, the first visit in five years by a high-ranking US official since former President Donald Trump visited the country in 2017.

She was accompanied by her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Steven Raga, First Filipino American Assembly Member in New York State

On Tuesday, 08 November 2022, Steven Raga (D) made history as the first ever Filipino-American elected to any state-level position in New York.

“Raga’s groundbreaking victory is a triumph of the entire Filipino community,” said Consul General Elmer G. Cato. “For the first time in history, Filipinos finally have a voice in the New York State government,” he added.

Garnering more than 54 percent of the votes cast over opponent, Sean Lally (R), Raga will be serving as the Assemblyman for Assembly District 30, an area of the Borough of Queens, where “Little Manila Avenue” is located. Located in Little Manila are Filipino businesses, such as Jollibee, Max’s, Philippine National Bank, Filipino convenience stores, and cash remittance centers.

Raised by a single mother, Raga, has a long track record in public service and community organization. He currently serves as the executive director of “Woodside on the Move,” a grassroots community organization in Western Queens.

Raga, an alumnus of FYLPRO (Filipino Young Leaders Program), is also staunch partner of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, especially on the issue of Asian Hate.

Raga will be serving as an Assemblyman for a two-year term.

Aside from Raga, Filipino-Americans in elected office in the U.S. Northeast include Mayor Arvin Amatorio of Bergenfield, New Jersey, and Councilor Constantino Alinsug of New England.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Op-Ed: As Democrats Celebrate Averting Election Disaster, We Can't Ignore the Voters we're Losing By Mayor Eric Adams

As Democrats celebrate averting election disaster, we can't ignore the voters we're losing

By Mayor Eric Adams

Election Day is over. And though Americans did not speak with one voice, working-class voters sent a clear message: They are deeply concerned about the economy, crime and inflation. They are also increasingly looking for leadership that acknowledges their concerns and defends their interests, regardless of party.


Because for America’s working-class voters, elections aren’t about their identity – they are about their survival.


A majority of Americans are in a precarious economic position, many just one illness or job loss away from financial ruin. They will vote for candidates who acknowledge those problems, even if the solutions on offer are less than effective.


So, despite an overall better-than-expected showing for Democrats on Tuesday, working people continued the long trend of voting more often for Republican candidates. We cannot ignore the continued erosion of their support while we celebrate avoiding electoral disaster.


Democrats' support – and base – is wavering 


Many of these voters are from previously reliable voting blocs for Democrats, including Black voters, Latinos and Asians. Those groups seem to be increasingly unenthusiastic about Democrats, and many voters have already switched teams.


Exit polling by The Associated Press showed that people of color seemed to have voted at lower rates for Democrats on Tuesday, the latest dip in a trend of decline. Just 6 in 10 Hispanic and Asian Americans voted Democrat, down from 7 in 10 and 8 in 10 respectively just four years ago, according to the data.


As the working-class Black mayor of New York City, I hear it over and over again: My street is not safe. I can’t find work. I lost my job, my apartment, my health care. What are you going to do about it?


And I can do more than listen – I can empathize. I am the son of a single mother, who grew up not knowing if I would come home to food on the table or an eviction notice on the door.


On Tuesday, Republicans from those communities in Queens and Brooklyn – traditionally deep blue areas – made very strong showings, capturing seats that are traditionally Democrats’.


One thing I learned during my campaign for mayor last year, though, was that just addressing basic concerns is not enough. Public officials need to be able to say what they will do today for those who are struggling and not just make promises for tomorrow.


Republican Party asking the right questions 


Republicans do this well. The Republican Party asks the right questions even as they supply the wrong answers.


Democrats have the right answers, but the wrong attitude.


New York is the safest big city in America, but this statistic means nothing to a mother mourning a child lost to gun violence. We might have nearly two jobs available for every American who is unemployed, but that doesn’t help the person laid off from the only job they’ve ever had.


That’s why my administration adopted the mantra of "Get Stuff Done," and my team has embraced it. When working people say they want safer streets, we put more officers on them. When they say they want more housing, we move heaven and earth to start building. We’ve immediately helped working families by expanding the earned income tax credit and creating a massive new child care initiative.


None of this is radical. It’s practical. It’s radically practical. And that’s what Democrats should be, too.

Voting is an act of emotional trust, not straightforward logic. It’s about acknowledging peoples’ needs, their emotions, their reality – and doing something about it.


Democrats, put working people first 


Democrats have to put working people and their communities first, which includes three critical actions we seem to have forgotten how to do: listening, responding and organizing.


The Democratic Party has the right policies, but it must focus its messaging on immediacy, not grand plans. We must put “right now” solutions – such as investments in income tax credits, child care, housing, health care and public safety – front and center and keep them there.


If we fail to hear what working people are saying, to empathize with their concerns and take action on their behalf, we will lose that bond of social trust that holds small towns, big cities and multicultural democracies together.


Republicans will also continue to press their advantage in congressional maps, controlling more seats with fewer votes than we can as we become the party of only upper middle class urban and suburban residents, relegating us to long-term irrelevance.


My fellow Democrats: This is our mission going forward. We’re not here to tell people how to feel. We are here to show people they are being heard. The people – working people – are our north star. Their priorities must be our priorities. Their values must be respected. Their voices must be heard.


And following their lead is not just our responsibility; it is our future.