ABUSED women and children advocate Stephanie Love-Patterson (Front row, 8th from L) pose with the staff of the Ph Consulate attendees of the "Ika-30 Pagkikita sa Konsulado " Dec. 1st--a monthly community forum on issues affecting the community and a program initiated by ConGen Generoso Calonge. The recent event provided resources and names of governmental and non-governmental agencies that members of the community can avail in helping those in abusive family situations. For details, call the consulate, (312) 583-0642).

..."Chicago Fil-Ams mourn death of 7 medical missionaries in Cebu"

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The Philippine American Cultural Foundation voted them recently as “Model Family” along with their three sons—Nunilo Jr., Noel—both medical doctors-- and Nate, a physical therapist.

All three sons enplaned to Cebu a day after the accident to be with their mother and to make funeral arrangements for their father. The Rubios were originally from Bacoor, Cavite.

above photo: Reynaldo & Diana Pascual of White Plaines, N.Y. were guest PMAC missionaries but became two of the seven victims of the tragedy. (Facebook photo)

Like the Rubios, Fred and Nora Tsai never let up with the community endowments despite being past their retirement age. Fred was a partner in the noted engineering firm, Sargent & Lundy in Chicago.

They have been participants in the PMAC medical missions over a period of many years. Nora is a registered nurse. The Tsais invited the Huangs to join them this year but the Huangs and Berniti Rojas did not survived the trip.

Aurora had two children with her husband Tito Gagni. Though a nurse by profession, flower arrangement was her avocation—that earned her a wide clientele for the many social gatherings in the area. She was on her sixth year of being a medical missionary with the PMAC. Reynaldo J. and Diane Pascual joined this year’s mission through her invitation.

Originally from Tibao,La Union, her family has not made final funeral arrangement as of press time for Aurora. When contacted, her husband, Tito, had begged off giving any comments.

The PMAC has been sponsoring these medical missions early in every year for about four decades now. They treat an average of one to two thousands indigent patients each time. They bring with them dozens of balikbayan boxes of medical supplies and medicine.

Dalisay Villalon, a nurse and a past president of the PMAC Auxialiary said in an interview,“ The death of these seven volunteers shocks me to no end…I have to double check what I read online…Sadly, it shows the volatility of man’s life… but our desire to serve the poor and the sick should continue as it will be this year for the PMAC despite this tragedy. The missionaries will continue healing even as we mourn those who passed on.”

Community news publisher, Yoly Tubalinal who considers the Rubios close friends posted a statement online that she and her fellow church members pray for the families of those who died and also for the healing for those injured—just like what many in this grieving community are doing.

“This reminds us all that life is so fragile. It's important to cherish our loved ones while they are around… in flesh because we'll never know when they will be taken away from us,” wrote Mrs. Tubalinal.

A memorial service was held for the departed medical missionaries by the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago (PMAC) & its Auxiliary on Jan. 28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont.

..."Filipina Greek competing to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Judo Team"

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She is ranked 24th in the IJF Junior World Ranking in the 21 and under age category.

The latest American to bag an Olympic gold in Judo was Kayla Harrison, 22, at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Nefeli will be that same age in 2020.

Nefeli fights against Olympic Gold medalist Kayla Harrison.

“I’ve only fought Kayla once and lost to her at the 2016 Senior National Championships in Dallas, Texas before she won her second Olympic gold medal. I have never fought Mayra Aguiar,” said Nefeli.

Nefeli is working hard to reach her dream. Her daily schedule consists of training four hours a day to prepare for competition.

“I go to the gym in the morning and do cardio as well as a lift for about an hour and a half every day and then have practice at night for about 2.5 hours in either judo or Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” she explained.

Nefeli is taking online college courses at the College of Lake County to study Business Administration because she isn’t always able to attend classes because of her training schedule. Her goal is to open her own gym someday and train other athletes


“My schedule is busy because in addition to training every day which is hard work by itself, I also have online college courses to complete which takes about two hours daily for my three classes.”

Nefeli’s resume so far boasts 1st place at the 2017 Iliadis Junior European Cup in Athens, Greece; 1st place at the 2017 Senior National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah; and 1st place at the 2017 Dallas Invitational National Championships in Dallas, Texas.

She was 3rd place at the 2016 Senior National Championships in Dallas, Texas, a 2015 Junior World Team Member at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; 5th place member as a member of the 2016 Cadet World Team held in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Nefeli and her father fly to 4-5 worldwide trainings and competitions annually. Her parents cover the costs. The flight costs alone this year have amounted to $15,000, Stavros said. She gets help from her parents to cover some of the expenses, but they cannot pay for everything.

To raise some funds, she offered a self-defense seminar at their family-owned gym, Arena Training Center in Waukegan, Illinois on December 9. She taught manuevers to prepare the women to punch and kick an assailant from their front or back or if the assailant tries to grab their purse.

From her mother’s Filipino heritage, she says she likes chicken adobo with rice, pansit, and Filipino spaghetti.

“My mom has Filipino traditions that she shares with us at home. Every time someone in the family has a birthday, she will cook spaghetti in the mornings to wish that person a long life.”

The next self-defense seminar is on January 20 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Arena Gym in Waukegan, Illinois. Call 224-616-4058 to reserve a spot . For anyone who would like to donate to help her get to the Olympics, visit her GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/NefeliUSA.



..."What tax reform means for you"

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Child Tax Credit Doubles

The bill increases the amount of the child tax credit to $2,000 per qualifying child under age 17. It would also create a new $500 credit for parents with qualifying dependents, whom they support, but who are not qualifying children.

Repeal ACA Individual Mandate

The final bill repeals the requirement requiring individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. This potentially puts the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions Repealed

The bill eliminates miscellaneous itemized deductions typically subject to the 2% floor under current law. This includes deductions for unreimbursed employee business expenses, home office expense deduction, and other 2% itemized deductions. There is no change to the charitable contribution deduction.

Exclusion of Gains from Selling Your Home

The new changes do not affect the rules regarding excluding a gain from the sale of a principal residence. Currently, for married couples, you can exclude $500,000 in capital gains from the sale of your home if you lived in the home for at least two of the last five years.

What to Expect Next?

There are many more changes, including changes to corporations, pass-through entities, alternative minimum tax, and the federal estate tax. Tax reform and major changes to the tax code will affect all individuals and businesses. Your final tax bill may or may not change much, but how you determine your taxes due will change significantly. For some people, the new tax bill would make filing their taxes easier. For most others, the new tax changes create uncertainty and a need to examine one’s tax situation carefully.

In my experience, changes to the tax code make things more complicated. This new tax bill does not differ from ones in the past. The new regulations must be studied, understood, and implemented, and that takes time. The impact on your taxes will be determined by how the changes impact your specific situation. It’s best to ensure you are working with a licensed tax professional to ensure the best possible result.

My name is Noel B. Lorenzana, and I would be delighted to work with you on your taxes. I’m an Illinois Registered Certified Public Accountant with over 23 years of experience, dedicated to providing outstanding tax and accounting services to individuals and small businesses in the Chicagoland area. Contact me at 847-780-6635 or info@lorenzanatax.com for a FREE consultation.



Mama Sita foundation opens contest “Mga Kuwentong pagkain” to Filipinos abroad

CHICAGO-The Consulate General of the Philippines wishes to invite all foodies to join “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain,” an annual contest by the Mama Sita Foundation (MSF) to gather and make a valuable compilation of Philippine food preparations, stories and recipes.

MSF is accepting entries from overseas Filipinos, including Filipino-Americans or those who are of Philippine descent with an interesting encounter with Filipino food. With the theme of “Regional Food Heritage,” such entries may include detailed accounts of local or regional recipes, ingredients, food preparations, and rituals or personal experiences.

Interested applicants can access the MSF’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MgaKuwe ntongPagkain/ or message them through their email address mgakuwentongpagkain@gm ail.com. The deadline for submission of applications is on or before January 26, 2018. (Philippine time).
For more information, contact the Consulate General’s Cultural Officer, Anna Liza F. Alcantara by telephone (312) 583-0621 ext. 13; and email chicago.pcg@dfa.gov.p h/chicagopcg@att.net.





Gov. Rauner signs tax credit bill to help property owners affected by July floods

CHICAGO—Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Nov. 16 a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.

Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s principle residence or land owned by a small business, but not a rental or leasing business. The allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the Internal Revenue Code for each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area.

The bill provides that township assessors shall issue eligibility certificates for appropriately requesting property owners, and that assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue listings of flood-damaged properties.
The fiscal impact to the state is estimated at $4.6 million, based on damages previously reported to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.


Citizenship Application Workshop, Feb. 2018

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) Chicago will hold a Citizenship Application Workshop in February 2018. Licensed attorneys and trained volunteers are available to help. Registration is first-come, first serve- For more information, call 773-580-1025. There is no guarantee everyone will be seen if capacity is reached.

AFIRE’s provides free citizenship classes to equip individuals with the knowledge to pass their citizenship interview and know the issues affecting the society.

Citizenship classes and this workshop are made possible by the New Americans Initiative (NAI) program run by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). The application assistance workshop is part of a series of monthly workshops taking place across the city of Chicago through June 2018. The location for the workshop is yet to be determined. If you are attending or have questions, call (773) 580-1025.


Women's self-defense seminar, Jan. 20

Come and learn basic self-defense techniques to keep yourself safe on the streets on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Arena Training Center, 500 N. Greenbay Rd. Waukegan, IL 60085 from 11 am to 1 pm.

The class is $20 and they ask to pay by PayPal. Please call ahead to reserve a spot. The proceeds will go to fund Filipino American Nefeli Papadakis to earn a spot as a member of the US Judo Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She will be your instructor.

Call Nefeli Papadakis to register at 224-616-4058.


Advisory to the Fil-Ams in the Midwest

The Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago advises the Filipino community in the Midwest and parts of the South that the UN International Open University of Humanity, Health Science and Peace (UNIOUHHSP) is NOT a UN accredited Civil Society organization and is using the name and emblem of the UN in a fraudulent manner.

Please exercise caution and prudence and conduct thorough research and verification of credentials of any learning institution prior to enrollment. For institutions claiming affiliation with regional and international organizations, the public is encouraged to inquire directly with said organizations and verify their authenticity and bona fides before engaging in transactions with them.

Rizal Day, Dec. 30

The 121st year anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal will be commemorated by the Order of the Knights of Rizal in cooperation of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago and the Ladies for Rizal on Saturday, Dec. 30, 9:00 a.m. with the traditional flower offering and flag ceremony at the Rizal Monument at Margate Park, 4700 N. Marine Drive, Chicago (north of Wilson Ave.).

A dinner cultural program is also scheduled at 6 pm and venue will be announced. Installation of new mebers will be park of the day's program.

Participating KOR Chapters are Chicago, Dakila, Magiting, Malaya and Maynilad. St Louis Chapter will mark the day separately. For more info, call Central USA Commander, Mariano A. Santos, 847-528-4991.




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