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Philippines Today

Vote to be empowered

Published in On Distant Shore

For decades, Filipinos have been talking about political empowerment in the United States. Despite the many valiant efforts of many of our kababayans, we still have to prove that we are a potent force in our adopted country.


We don’t have to illustrate the importance of having Filipino votes matter or of having our representatives in America’s corridors of power. We need to show that we have the numbers to influence policies and legislation in Washington, in our state capitals, and in our cities. We also need to show that we have the vote to elect our fellow Filipinos and other candidates supportive of our concerns to key positions nationally and locally.


With our numbers, we should be able to make American politicians listen to what we have to say and therefore help protect and promote the welfare of Filipinos both here in the US and in the Philippines.


It remains a wonder that despite our huge population and our high ranking in household income among ethnic groups in the US, we have remained politically invisible. As a group, we have largely been ignored politically for decades.


But there are good signs that we will soon achieve our longtime dream of political empowerment. The new generation of Filipinos, raised in the great democratic tradition of America, is beginning to rise up and yearn to be heard and be counted.

The coming mid-term elections will give Filipino-Americans another shot at being recognized as a potent force in American politics. Many Filipino-Americans are running for key positions in various cities throughout the United States.


For example, in Texas’ 23rd congressional district, Democratic candidate Gina Ortiz-Jones, 37, a native of Pangasinan and a graduate of the University of the Philippines, is running against Republican incumbent Will Hurd in District 23. She hopes to become the first member of the US Congress of Philippine descent.


Two other women are running for Congress: Cristina Osmena in California’s 14thcongressional district; and Dr. Jennifer Mijares-Zimmerman in Florida’s first congressional district. Zimmerman is a Democrat running against Republican incumbent Matt Gaetz while Osmena of the Philippines’ Osmena political clan is a Republican.


All three are running uphill battles as Jones and Zimmerman are Democrats running in  Republican strongholds while Osmena is a Republican running in a strongly Democratic state.


Another FilAm, Joshua Price is running for US Representative of District 39 in Arkansas while Edwin Duterte tried to be an official candidate but was knocked out of the running earlier in the primary for US Representative in California's District 43 early.


 Rep. Bobby Scott, meanwhile, is running for reelection in Virginia's District 3.


Multiple times Mayor Jose Estevez is seeking a return as mayor of Milpitas City against six opponents while lawyer Garry Barbadillo is running for reelection as council member. Estevez and Barbadillo are both Republicans, according to Philippines Today editor in chief Alfred Gabot.


Here in Southern California, the foremost Filipino-American candidates are Carson Councilmember Elito Santarina, who is seeking his fifth term; Artesia Councilmember and former Mayor Victor Manalo and Melissa Ramoso, for Artesia City Council; and former Anaheim Councilmember Lorri Galloway, for Anaheim mayor.


There are other candidates running for various positions, from district school boards to city councils, but for this article, we will focus on the candidacies of our fellow Filipinos in the cities of Artesia and Carson where there are sizeable Filipino populations and where our bets are locked in tight races.


In Artesia, Manalo and Ramoso are vying for three available council seats. Manalo and incumbent Ali Raj are running for reelection while a third seat was rendered vacant by the retirement of Mayor Sally Flowers.


Filipinos have a strong chance to land two seats in the council for the first time since three seats are being contested. While five other candidates are also running, Manalo has a very good chance of being voted back to a seat he has occupied since 2007, including a stint as mayor in 2010-2011. Ramoso, who is running for the second time, also has a fairly good chance of winning this time, probably along with Manalo and Taj.


But as in any election, nothing is given. Candidates have to work hard to get the voters’ nod, not just from Filipinos but also from other voters. Filipinos can help assure this by voting and solidly supporting Manalo and Ramoso. First, all eligible Filipino voters must register and all qualified ones must make sure to go to the polls or mail in their absentee ballots with the names of Manalo and Ramoso on them.


Carson, which has seen numerous Filipinos in the city council and other key positions since the early 1990s, is an even tougher race with only longtime Councilmember Elito Santarina, who is seeking his fifth term, battling it out with seven other candidates, including longtime Councilmember Lula Davis-Holmes, former Mayor Jim Dear, and Planning Commission Chair Mona Pimentel.


The City of Carson is one of the most diversified cities in the United States, almost equally divided among Filipinos, African-Americans, Latinos and whites. Filipinos, as of latest count, comprise the biggest group, reportedly with 27 percent of the population. The other ethnic groups range from 20 percent to 25 percent.


It should have been a cinch for a win for Santarina considering that Filipinos are the biggest voting bloc in the city. But the entry of Jim Dear, who is married to a Filipina, makes it a bigger challenge for Santarina. Holmes is expected to get solid support from the African-Americans and is favored to win one of only two seats up for grabs.


For decades, Filipinos have shown it is a force to reckon with in Carson. They have produced one mayor, Pete Fajardo, and three councilmembers – Santarina, Lorelei Olaes and Manny Ontal. Many Filipinos have also occupied key posts in various commissions in the city. And candidates from other ethnic backgrounds make it a point to woo Filipino votes.


With an expected close race among Santarina, Holmes, Dear and Pimentel, it is hoped that Filipinos would show its unity and work together to support and vote Santarina. We cannot afford to lose a seat in the Carson City Council.


Santarina and the other elected and appointed Filipinos before him have done so much to promote the welfare and pride of Filipinos in that part of Southern California. For example, the Philippine Independence Day celebration is one of the biggest and most-attended events in Carson because of the city government’s support largely won by the tireless efforts of Santarina and other Filipino leaders.


Also, Carson remains the only California city to host a life-sized statue of our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, which is located in front of the City Hall grounds highly visible from Carson’s main street. It is the only city that celebrates a special holiday in honor of the great Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong on Oct. 25 wherein city employees are paid holiday pay. Through mostly Santarina’s efforts, the city also celebrates Rizal Day on Dec. 30, the Leyte Landing Day on Oct. 20, and the Fil-Am History Month in October, among others.


Without Filipino representation in the city council, these may all go to naught and city support and funding for these important events may be removed.


In conclusion, Filipinos should stand as one to ensure political empowerment in America. This coming election is a good start to show that as a people, we can be a potent force in American politics, with a voice that reverberates in the country’s corridors of power.(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


Support Filipinos in November polls

Published in Editorial & Other Articles

The elections in the United States is just around the corner and all candidates, especially those from the major parties, the Republicans and Democrats, are in the finishing touches in the campaign. In many areas, the races are close, influenced by the shifting of support and issues such as the economy and immigration reforms.


There are many candidates of Filipino roots who are in the running in various cities and states, some trying to make history. In California’s 14th district, Cristina Osmena, an active leader and columnist who belongs to the Osmena political clan, is in the running for US representative. In Texas’ 23rd congressional district, Democratic candidate Gina Ortiz-Jones, 37, a native of Pangasinan and a graduate of the University of the Philippines, is running against Republican incumbent Will Hurd and hopes to become the first member of the US Congress of Philippine descent. Dr. Jennifer Mijares-Zimmerman, a Democrat, is gunning for Florida’s first congressional district. Of course, US Rep. Bob Scott who is said to be of Filipino descent is running for reelection in Virginia.


In nearby Milpitas City, multiple term former Mayor Jose Estevez is trying to return as mayor while Council member Garry Barbadillo is also seeking reelection. Elsewhere, there are many other Filipino candidates.


There are now more than 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the United States, a potent force in any election. We hope that Filipinos and FilAms will unite and use this force and influence to send more of their countrymen to the US Congress and other key posts in America. Only when they succeed that the Americans can recognize and accept Filipino people empowerment, a dream of Filipinos for decades. So go to the polls this November and vote wisely.


Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal and Manny Pacquiao

Published in Sports

ASIAN GAMES gold medalist Margielyn Didal poses with Senator Manny Pacquiao during a call at his senate office. (Wendell Alinea) 



NBA SUPERSTAR Stephen Curry takes the iconic Philippine jeepney wearing his Under Armour shoes. (Under Armour photo)


PASAY CITY – Three-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors mesmerized basketball-crazy Filipinos during his second visit in the Philippines highlighted by a training camp, exhibition games and leading the oath of sportsmanship during the opening ceremonies of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) 81st season at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.


The NBA superstar whose champion team is based in Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area in Califoria planed in on September 6 and left two days later still feeling the energetic vibe he felt the first time he visited the Philippines in 2015.


Curry's visit was part of the Under Armour tour to promote his Curry 5 signature basketball shoe.


The baby-faced sharpshooter also addressed journalists during a media breakfast on September 7 at the Kerry Sports at Shangri-La BGC, a world-class fitness and leisure club, at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig before participating in a 3x3 championship game at the Mall of Asia Arena later in the day.


Reports by Philippine media stated that Curry looked very impressive during the shootaround in the presence of his father Dell whom he credited for inspiring him to excel in basketball. He also enjoyed the popular Filipino desert “halo-halo” with "pinipig" and beans.


Curry talked about winning a third straight NBA crown.


He said the Warriors have the chance to become only the fifth team in NBA history to win three titles in a row after the Minneapolis Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.


“We have an amazing opportunity to do something that is rarely done in the NBA and that is to win three in a row,” he said.


“I’m excited about the challenge. We want to accomplish the ultimate feel of winning the championship every single year. That’s why we work so hard during the offseason,” Curry added. 


The two-time MVP thanked the Filipino fans for “all the love and support” during the first day of his visit to the country.


In his message to spectators in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena, Curry thanked his Filipino and Southeast Asian fans for their support, expressing his intention to return to Manila in the future.


He said he was sure he has more titles by his next visit.


"I just want to thank everybody here in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia for supporting my family and my team. Thank you so much. I hope to come back with a couple of championships maybe. Thank you very much. Go Warriors. Keep pushing,” said Curry.


From Manila, Curry was to fly to Wuhan, China and Tokyo, Japan for his Under Armour Asian Tour.


The three-time NBA champion staged a one-man shootaround and hit back-to-back-to-back-to back 3-point shots like he normally does in the NBA.


He admitted that it’s his biggest weapon — hitting 3-point shots from a range where his defenders would not think of him taking the shots.


With media men watching, he sank 3-pointers like he took them from 10 feet.

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