JUNE 2017


..."Fil-Am home health care CEO sues Medicare auditor and Health Sec. Price"

...(continued from home page)

MedPro Health Provider, LLC staffers in a photo in early2016 before a Medicare auditing company ordered a stop on its Medicare reimbursement causing a massive layoff in the company. (PINOY Photo by Anong)

Villasenor notes that “The ZPIC companies are not liable for lawsuits…that’s why they use Gestapo techniques, because they think they are immune to lawsuits. …What we have found out is that they are only not liable if they follow the due process in the guidelines. That’s why we have a case. Our lawsuit says they did not follow the process.”

Class Action

On April 11, 2017, Villasenor’s company sued Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price and AdvanceMed for not following Medicare’s procedures related to the audit. MedPro is going after $300,000 it says it is owed in payments.

A hearing was held April 17 and a continuance was set for May 30. The news of MedPro’s court suit attracted the attention of home health care companies all over the United States. “About 40 firms who went through same experience as we did are willing to join our company that might result in a class action suit,” said the MedPro executive.

Villasenor expects the defense lawyers to move for a dismissal of his lawsuit, but his lawyer, Mike Raiz, believes MedPro has a strong case. “My employees also believe that we’ve done nothing wrong. We have nothing to hide…that’s is why I welcomed the demand for an audit,” Villasenor added. “[With an audit], you feel a little scare or threatened…Right now, it’s anger that I am feeling.

We were once ranked the No. 1 workplace. The worst thing is letting the team go because of this. If I’m going to close the company, I say it won’t be this way.”
Home health care, which used to be a flourishing business among Filipino Americans, has seen re-entrenchment in the last few years due to restrictions in Medicare reimbursement.

A number of owners faced federal charges of fraud and some were convicted and jailed. But a number of home health care companies actually received commendations for their efficiency and integrity in caring for their patients. Many closed their operations because they went through improper audits that were not challenged.


..."At 101, this WWII Veteran keeps getting surprises"

...continued from Home Page

Mr. Soriano and his children were so taken aback and only after they digested the unexpected treat that they shared the good news around. Virginia and her husband Winston, also a retired U.S. Serviceman, graciously shared the news and provided a brief background of the WWII hero.

After his release from the Army in 1946, her father took up law at Philippine Law School and he passed the BAR in 1950 and was subsequently sworn in before the Supreme Court. He practiced law in Mindanao where he raised his family. Labor Law was his line of expertise and he excelled in collective bargaining.

In 1960, he was sent by the National Economic Council and the forerunner of the USAID to Harvard Law School for a six-month study on Trade Industry and Labor Relations legal issues. He was active in his law practice well into the early years of this century. A little over ten years ago, he came over to be with his children who migrated to the states.

This centenarian certainly lived a fruitful life. We salute you, sir, and happy many returns!


..."Honoring Our Heroes"

...continued from Home Page

She and her family served with American missionaries prior to the war. When Corregidor fell on May 6, 1942, she was incarcerated along with the missionaries in prison camps, where she learned to speak Nippongo, the Japanese language. After her release seven months later, she joined the guerrillas. Operating mostly by herself, Leones infiltrated behind enemy lines, exchanged information with resistance leaders, carried medical supplies and, more importantly, collected information on enemy dispositions and installations. Although she was detained by Japanese Forces three times, she escaped to continue with her tasks.

Silver Star Award

For her “tenacity, determination and uncommon courage,” Col. Volckmann formally enlisted Leones into the Philippine Army with a rank of Corporal, and later promoted her to Lieutenant. On October 22, 1945, she was awarded the Silver Star. The citation reads: “For gallantry in action at Luzon, Philippine Islands, from February 27 to September 26, 1944. During this period, Corporal Leones repeatedly risked her life to carry important intelligence data, vital radio parts and medical supplies through heavily garrisoned enemy-held territory.

Although she knew that detection by the enemy would result in torture and execution, Corporal Leones fearlessly continued her perilous missions between guerrilla forces throughout Luzon with notable success. Through her intrepidity and skill as special agent, Corporal Leones contributed materially to the early liberation of the Philippines.”

Known as “Maggie,” Corporal Leones was the fifth female soldier during World War ll, and the only Asia Pacific Islander to be awarded the Silver Star. Leones passed away on June 16, 2016 at the age of 95, in Richmond, California.

Congressional Gold Medal

“Remembering Leones and the thousands of Filipino soldiers who served this country inspired us to secure the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015,” Taguba said. “This year’s Memorial Day is even more meaningful, now that Congress has unanimously passed the bill. Public Law 114-265 is now forever enshrined in the Congressional Record and in American history.”

Taguba adds: “The passage of this law coincides with our country’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of World War II. It is a small, but important triumph for the Filipino veterans who have waited for three quarters of a century to be finally recognized for their distinguished war time service. The only action that remains is the repeal of the Rescission Act of 1946, which still stands to this day. It revoked benefits and entitlements for thousands of Filipino and Filipino Americans, and stripped them of their U.S. nationality as citizens of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.”

“Remember, Register, Recognize”

To celebrate their lives and ensure that their stories are preserved for posterity, FilVetREP is launching today its “Remember, Register, Recognize” campaign. This nationwide effort aims to raise greater public awareness of the Congressional Gold Medal and its significance, intensify outreach to veterans and their families to make sure they can be appropriately recognized for their service.

“We are calling on our supporters to help us raise the funds to ensure that our veterans are able to receive the medal their service has more than paid for,” said Ben de Guzman, FilVetRep’s Program Manager.

The campaign also identifies upcoming important dates and events related to Filipino World II veterans. They include fundraising events across the country in Jersey City, NJ (May 28) and Seattle (June 5), Philippine Independence Day on June 12, and the July 26th anniversary of President Roosevelt's creation of the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East and call to service for over 250,000 Filipino soldiers to the war effort.

For more details of the campaign, go to www.huffingtonpost.com/author/ben-de-guzman.


The Philippine booth at the May 20-21 Skokie Festival of Cultures was manned by (fr. L-r) Rose salazar, Jelly Carandang, and Cesar Borja. Despite the heavy rains on the first day, the festival was attended by thousands. (PINOY Photo by Anong Santos)


Christian School Teacher Charged with Grooming; Out on $100,000 Bond

By Mariano “Anong” Santos
PINOY Newsmagazine Special

CHICAGO--A science teacher at Trinity Christian School is out on a $100,000 bond after he was charged April 14 with one felony count of grooming.

Grooming is a felony crime in which someone uses electronic means to solicit sexual activity from a minor.

Lemuel Elechicon of Crest Hill, Illinois posted $10,000 and was released from Will County Jail a day after he was charged of inappropriately texting a 13-year old school girl.

The parents of the students alerted the Shorewood Police Department to the alarming texts Elechicon had sent to their daughter since January. A parent of another student informed the couple of the texts.

According to his web site, Elechicon is a volunteer worker with the youth at Ridgewood Baptist Church in Joliet, which is about 45 miles southwest of Chicago.

Elechicon, 51, came from the Philippines when he was 12 years old. The “Joliet Patch” reported that he taught science class with a curriculum revolving around the Biblical-based creationism.

He was graduated from a Bible school in Iowa and has been teaching for 26 years—with the past 12 years at Trinity Christian school. The school board chairman, Frederick Alexander announced that Elechicon was placed on administrative leave pending resolution of his case.

His teacher’s website is reported to have posted, among other things--“By faith, Christ saved me from my sins when I was in high school,” Elechicon said on his page.

On what he teaches: “You will learn a solid creation-based worldview and that, contrary to popular belief, operational science runs counter to the idea of evolution and ‘millions of years,’” Elechicon says of his creationism curriculum. “The facts of nature, rightly interpreted, provide an irrefutable case for the accuracy and trustworthiness of the book that claims to be the inspired word of the Creator Himself!"


Consular outreach service conducted in Cornhusker State

 The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago sent a team to Omaha, Nebraska to bring passport and other consular services closer to the members of the Filipino American community in the Cornhusker State on May 6.

One of sixteen states under the Consulate’s jurisdiction, Nebraska has a population of 4,900 who identify themselves as Filipinos or Filipino-Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey in 2010.

Mr. Daryl Rose, President of the Nebraska Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region 3 – West, and his wife, Mrs. Lileth Rose, helped in co-organizing the outreach activity with a group of volunteers from the Filipino American community in Omaha.

The consular team, led by Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel Jr., rendered 201 various services, including 88 passport renewal applications; 12 principal and 2 derivative dual citizenship petitions; 13 civil registry documentations; and 81 overseas voting registration/certification applications.

In addition, the team took the opportunity to disseminate information materials on the upcoming 11th Ambassadors’ tour to members of the Filipino American community. On behalf of Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge, DCG Israel thanked them for their continued support to the Philippines, especially in times of calamity, as the team established closer networking with them for more sustained and cooperative endeavors in the future.


Goodman Theatre's “King of the Yees” deserves an encore

above photo: a scene from King of the Yees with Daniel Smith, Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry). king of the yees production photo.

It’s a pity that the world premier run of Lauren Yee’s “King of the Yees” ended April 30 at the Goodman Theater just when May has set in. May of course is the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Yee’s play could have been the perfect event to celebrate this annual commemoration. It is funny, engaging and relevant not only for the Chinese community but also for various Asian groups in the U.S.

The play is somewhat autobiographical-- exploring the generational divide common among the first wave of immigrants and their children. Cultural issues that parents and their Americanized children face in their goal to be an important part of their adopted country.

I came to see the play thinking of the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Flower Drum Song”—the musical about San Francisco’s Chinatown. That’s where Yee’s play is set as well but it’s more focused on one family’s long’s journey of getting integrated into the mainstream of the American way of life.

The play is also a kind of work in progress, the playwright Stephanie S. Park (Lauren) playing the main part with her dad (Francis Jue as Larry Yee) as the counterpoint. Their repartee is always lively and often humorous. The self–deprecating jokes get a pass in this time of political correctness.

The narrative particularly resonates for this writer considering the current turmoil brewing at the Rizal Heritage Center where older generations feel disrespected by younger leaders who seem to be clueless about their heritage.

The centerpiece in the play’s set is a red door and the symbolism is not difficult to fathom. Lauren Yee, educated at an Ivy League School, ultimately discovers that the key to gain passage through the doorway is to look back and understand the struggle and dreams that her father and those that came before him have brought in here.

I am hopeful that an encore run will be considered. “King of the Yees” has that important message for all of us—immigrants and their children, most especially during these challenging times in this nation. It's a serious message yet hilariously entertaining. (Mariano A. Santos)

Filipino American chef says NO to IvankaTrump.com


by Mariano Santos

CHICAGO—Angela Dimayuga is a Filipino American chef from San Jose, California and she is making a name for herself in New York in well beyond her celebrated feats in the kitchen. Now with her kababayans in the Midwest, she is now a hot item—thanks to NPR (National Public Radio) which broadcasted an interview with her May 2.

A James Beard Award-nominee, Chef Dimayuga, 31, was asked for a “non-political interview” by a writer of IvankaTrump.Com last month. Surprised and puzzled by the request, she asked to give her time to think about it.  She eventually turned down the request, and what she wrote on Instagram went viral, Trump’s fans slammed her.

above pic: Angela Dimayuga (2nd from L) with her parents and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. (Photo courtesy of Angela Dimayuga)

The April 14 edition of the New York Daily News quoted her posted response and reported, thus:

"Thank you for thinking of me. I'm glad you are a fan of my work so much that you want to provide more visibility for my career to inspire 'other working women,' "the Brooklyn resident began her message to the freelance reporter.

(Dimayuga) then turned up the heat, saying she didn't believe the writer's claim that IvankaTrump.com is a "non-political platform."

"So long as the name Trump is involved, it is political and frankly, an option for the IvankaTrump.com business to make a profit," she wrote.

"I don't see anything empowering about defunding Planned Parenthood, barring asylum from women refugees, rolling back safeguards for equal pay, and treating POC/LGBT and the communities that support these groups like second class citizens," she argued.

"As a queer person of color and daughter of immigrant parents, I am not interested in being profiled as an aspirational figure for those that support a brand and a President that slyly disparages female empowerment," she said.


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