APRIL 2016

The Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago Opens Overseas Voting

Mr. Mariano Santos (left) and Mr. Dominador Ramirez (right) were the first to cast their ballots during the opening of overseas voting in Chicago.(PH CONSULATE General of chicago pHOTO)

The opening of the overseas voting period began last Saturday, April 9, in Chicago at the Consulate General of the Philippines premises.
The voting stations opened at 8:00 am with several Filipino-Americans waiting to cast their vote. The very first voter to cast his vote was Mr. Mariano Santos, followed by Mr. Dominador Ramirez.
The participation of Mr. Ramirez in the overseas voting process was notable because Mr. Ramirez is one of the few surviving Filipino World War II veterans in Chicago. April 09, the start of the overseas voting period, coincided with the celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan, honoring Filipino and American soldiers for their sacrifice and valiant defense of Bataan and Corregidor during the war.
During the short program commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan, which was also held at the Consulate General, Mr. Ramirez’s confirmed active participation in nation-building was highlighted as an example that all Filipinos should emulate.
The Consulate General will be open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm starting 09 April until 09 May, including weekends and holidays, during the Overseas Voting Period for the purpose of receiving mailed-in votes and personal voting.
There are a total of 12,684 registered voters listed under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Chicago.

Call of the Times: Full Participation in the Philippine
and U.S Electoral Processes

A few weeks before the start of the Overseas Voting for the Philippine national elections and amid the ongoing primaries for the next general elections in the U.S., Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge called on the Filipino American community in Chicago and the Midwest to take full advantage of the freedom and democracy they enjoy to exercise their right of suffrage.

More than a million registered voters in various countries around the world will have a chance to select the next Philippine President, Vice-President, twelve Senators and a Party-list Representative in the House of Representatives for one month beginning on April 9. Under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, which covers Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, more than twelve thousand are registered voters.

Right Photo: Consul General Generoso Calonge

“I call on all our kababayans, Filipino immigrants, and particularly those who have dual citizenship status, to make your collective voice heard in the halls of power both in the Philippines and in the U.S. by participating in the coming elections,” Consul General Calonge said. “Regardless of personal beliefs or leanings, everyone’s participation is important and necessary for the strengthening of the democracy and freedom, considered as the bedrock of our civil and political liberties and shared values with the United States.”

“This election year is all the more important because we will be selecting the highest leaders in the Philippines who will shape the direction of our national policies in the next six years, and the impact of the overseas voters that can tip the balance in a tightly contested field cannot be overlooked,” the Consul General said.

Seven Decades Hence

While Filipino Americans have for decades contributed so much to the economic and social development of their adopted country, Consul General Calonge observed that the room for involvement in political life remains wide open.

With the formal grant of independence by the United States on 4 July 1946, the Philippines, imbued with full sovereignty, has stood on equal footing with its former colonial master in the comity of nations.

Consul General Calonge continued, “Filipino Americans can keep this bond of friendship strong by showing our commitment to freedom and democracy as a way of life. And there is no better way to do it than through participation in the electoral exercise where our sovereign will is concretely manifested.”

Immediately after the overseas voting, the Consulate General will then be gearing up for the 118th Independence Day celebration in June as well as the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-US diplomatic relations on July 4th with activities in cooperation with the villages of Skokie and Morton Grove, among others.

Full Steam Ahead

The Consulate General will be extending electoral duties in four cities where voters residing in those cities and surrounding areas can experience the Automated Election System through the use of a Vote Counting Machine (VCM) for a safer and faster counting of ballots. Field voting will be held in the following cities:

1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Venue: (TBC)
Date: Saturday, April 30

2. Southfield, Michigan
Venue: Philippine American Community Center, 17356 Northland Park Court,
Southfield, MI 48075
Date: Saturday, April 23

3. Maplewood, Minnesota
Venue: Philippine Center in Minnesota, 1380 Frost Ave., Maplewood, MN 55109
Date: Saturday, May 7

4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Venue: Midwest City Community Center, 200 N. Midwest Blvd., Midwest City, Oklahoma 73110
Date: Saturday, April 16

The Consul General has also kept the Consulate speeding ahead with its consular outreach program for the year. It has started coordination with eleven community partners in co-organizing mobile consular services from June to November.

The Consulate also intends to resume its collaboration with U.S. federal agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Labor Relations Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in raising awareness and further educating Filipino employees, as well as business owners, about workers’ rights under federal laws.

The Consulate will further intensify its efforts to promote cultural and people-to-people relations with various events in partnership with Filipino community organizations from the Piyesta Pinoy in Chicago this coming March 20 leading up to the celebration of the Filipino American History Month in October. Plans are afoot for a historical and scholarly Symposium on Filipino Migration to the United States as a joint project with the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu and Philippine Honorary Consulate in New Orleans to coincide with the Filipino American History Month.

The promotion of trade, investment and tourism ranks highly among the Consulate’s priorities and programs for 2016, which set off when a delegation headed by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Nora Terrado visited Chicago last month and conducted a forum on the booming Business Process Management industry in the Philippines particularly its value in supporting the Healthcare sector across national boundaries.

Open and Transparent Cooperation

The Consulate General also announced earlier that the Filipino community’s role is essential in advancing the Congressional Gold Medal Act for Filipino Veterans of World War II. In a recent “Pagkikita sa Konsulado,” Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor Israel Jr. explained how the bills pending in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives stand a chance of being enacted. The sixteen-state jurisdiction of the Consulate covers 113 congressional districts, each of which has a voting member in the current U.S. Congress.

Consul General Calonge expressed hope that Filipino Americans who number about 340,000 residing in the same given area would make a strong appeal to their representatives for support of the bill.

In the same manner, Filipino associations and media organizations as important stakeholders in safeguarding freedom and democracy are encouraged to take part in the overseas elections as Accredited Partners of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

“We always point to and cannot overemphasize the need to have honest, open and peaceful elections that reflect the mandate of the people and ensure a smooth and stable transition in the government,” Consul General Calonge said.

Finally, as part of the preparations for the overseas voting, the Consulate will have the Final Testing and Sealing of the VCM, which includes mock voting and is open to the public on Thursday, March 31, 6:30 p.m. At the same time, a Voters’ Education Forum will also be held, showing video messages that have been submitted by Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.

(Read more Community News)


APRIL 2016 

By Mariano "Anong" Santos




Filipinos in Chicago fondly recall their time with Sen. Salonga

LEFT PHOTO: BARACK Obama was the 2009 "Man of the Year" of the Kilosbayan Magazine. "Congratulations, your fellow Chicagoan won, he will make a great president like your favorite, Lincoln," I remember Ka Jovy telling me as he greeted me to his office in early 2009. A copy of his book, "Not by Power or Wealth Alone" (Inset) awaited me as his "pasalubong" with a dedication that read "To my dear and esteemed friend Anong Santos..." The speech of Candidate Obama, "Is there a real separation of church and state?," was added as an appendix to his book on faith and politics. Ka Jovy had written no fewer than 15 books. (PINOY Photo)

CHICAGO—Members of the Filipino American community reacted with grief to the news of the passing of former Philippine Senate President Jovito R. Salonga on March 10 at the age of 95 and expressed gratitude for the time he spent time with them many years ago.

The local Philippine Consulate in a statement sent to PINOY Newsmagazine stated in part, “The Officers and Staff members of the Consulate General, led by Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge, condole with the Salonga family.

(ConGen Calonge went to UP College of Law with Esteban “Steve” Salonga, the late senator’s son who is running for Rizal governor as an Independent.-Ed.)

“He will be missed as a towering figure in Philippine society, one whose life will be a model for future generations of Filipinos.”

Champion of democracy

It was further noted that the late statesman was “a champion for Philippine democracy and a staunch opponent of the Marcos regime. Salonga defended political prisoners detained without charges after Martial Law was declared in 1972.

“After democracy was restored, Salonga headed the Philippine Commission on Good Government, which was tasked with the recovery of ill-gotten wealth from the regime and its cronies.

(Read more PINOY Insider...)


APRIL 2016


The ‘buwaya problem’: Corruption and election 2016


Guest Editorial
By Solita C. Monsod

All our candidates in one form or another are of course promising faster growth and improved development outcomes. What has been the Philippine track record on growth?

My recent talk, “The Philippine Economy: A Long (and Wide) View” looks at the forest rather than the trees—the big picture.

And it was a long view—showing the growth rates of the Philippine economy, post-World War II (courtesy of the Philippine Statistical Authority), and then comparing these with those of other countries over a 50-year period (1960-2009). The 50-year comparison comes from the Economic Development text--Perkins, 7th Edition at the University of the Philippines.

The table shows each country’s per capita GDP (measured in international dollars) in 1960 and then in 2009, and computes average growth rates. It divides developing countries into four categories—those that showed negative growth over the period, those that showed slow growth (from 0 percent to <2 percent), moderate growth (2 percent to 3 percent) and rapid growth (>3 percent). Not all countries are included, only those for which data are available over the 50-year period—about 34 developing countries.

The Philippines was categorized as a slow growth country, its per capita GDP growth rate averaging 1.58 percent. Its Asean, East Asian (South Korea, China), or even its South Asian (India, Sri Lanka) neighbors were rapid growth countries.

(Read more of the article at http://opinion.inquirer.net/93477/the-philippines-buwaya-problem)

(Read more "The ‘buwaya problem’: Corruption and election 2016?"...)


APRIL 2016

By Jon Melegrito

Letter from Washington



March Madness


March Madness isn’t all about basketball. Here in the nation’s capital, it’s about the presidential campaign and how it’s animating voters, bringing out so much anger and rage, consequently deepening partisan conflicts in ways that are simply maddening.

Like the obstructionism among Republican Senate leaders who have refused to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee. To his credit, Republican Senator Mark Kirk is putting pressure on members of his own party “to quit playing games and do their job.” He told them to “Just man up and cast a vote.”

PHOTO: FilAm writer-activist Evelina speaks about “Comfort Women” at a conference in Washington DC. (PINOY PHOTO by Jon Melegrito)

Then there’s the obstinacy of House Republicans who continue to thwart any measure to reform the country’s broken immigration system, or block every attempt by the President to grant immigration relief. On March 17, House Republicans voted in support of the State of Texas’ suit against the President’s lawful immigration actions. Illinois Rep. Schakowsky took her Republican colleagues to task for once again “fanning the flames of anti-immigrant rhetoric with their House vote.” In a statement, she defended President Obama’s lawful immigration actions, noting that he has the same legal authority used by every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to enforce our immigration laws. She added: “Instead of using this valuable House floor time to pass comprehensive immigration reform to make our country safer and boost our economy, our colleagues have once again resorted to partisan stunts and stoking fear and hate.”

(Read more "March Madness"...)



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