MARCH 2021




Who gets Stimulus Checks--and when? What to know on COVID-bill payments?


By Brittany Bernstein


The new payments are the largest of the COVID stimulus checks, at $1,400 per person, including dependents. A couple with two children could receive up to $5,600. Families will also receive the additional money for adult dependents over the age of 17, unlike the two earlier rounds of payments.


While individuals earning less than $75,000 of adjusted gross income, heads of households earning less than $112,500, and married couples earning less than $150,000 will be eligible to receive the full amount, the checks phase out more quickly than the first two rounds of stimulus payments.


Those earning at least $80,000-a-year, heads of households who earn at least $120,000, and married couples who earn at least $160,000 will all be ineligible for the new payment.


(Read more "Who gets Stimulus Checks--and when? What to know on COVID-bill payments?")

Save Chicago’s Rizal Center


THE LEADERS and members of the FIlipino American Council of Chicago (now known as Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago -(FACGC)) in 1974 bought a larger building, named Dr. Jose Rizal Heritage Center, to house the organizational, social and cultural events of the growing population.


AMBASSADOR Gene Calonge admiring the bust of the National Hero at the Rizal Center.


The members of the Filipino community came together in raising a large amount of money to purchase, sustain and maintain Rizal Center, a welcoming place that was developed by Filipinos as their home away from home for well over 50 years.


In early months of 2017, a hostile takeover of both the Center and the FACGC Board disrupted the welcoming environment of the Rizal Center. They even compelled the unconstitutionally termed out Board to seek redress in our court system. As a community stakeholder, I support the plaintiffs in their rightful fight to reclaim FACGC and the Rizal Center.


Your donation will help us in this effort to restore the democratic traditions of electing our leaders, bringing back the glory days of serving our Fil-Am community and ensuring that no one, let alone a stranger who had zero history of service to this community, can successfully conspire to mount a coup agains our institution ever again.


(Read more "Save Chicago's Rizal Center")


Repeal the Rescission Act of 1946


IT is time to repeal the Rescission Act. Seventy-five years ago on Feb. 18, after America’s victory in World War II and two months after Filipino soldiers completed their wartime service to the United States, Congress passed the first of two Rescission Acts stripping Filipino soldiers of their status as U.S. veterans and effectively denying them their rightful benefits.


This act of Congress, which has persisted for 75 years, amounted to discrimination and injustice against thousands of Filipinos who fought, died, and wounded for life under the American flag without compensation.


Although they were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 25, 1941 as active members of the United States Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE), the U.S. Congress rescinded the President’s Executive Order that promised them full U.S. veterans’ benefits.

(Read more "Repeal the Rescission Act of 1946")


AFIRE pushes health coverage for undocumented essential workers


By Grace Garcia-Szpytma

PINOY News Special


CHICAGO—Immigration advocates have shifted their focus to organizing around workers’ rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are many workers in our community who are frontline and essential workers, but also undocumented, said Ryan Viloria, Interim Executive Director of AFIRE in an email interview with PINOY Newsmagazine.

Ryan Viloria, AFIRE Interim Exec. Director

More than five million undocumented individuals in the U.S. are essential workers.“Undocumented immigrants are at a high rate of being uninsured which means limited access to healthcare coverage and ineligibility to enroll in Medicare, Medicaid, or to purchase insurance through the Health Marketplace,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) web site.

“The issues raised for workers’ rights include obtaining lawful permanent status for undocumented frontline workers, paid sick leave at the state level, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and raising the minimum wage,” Viloria added.

200,000 DACA Recipients

Individuals who signed up for The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Act (DACA), recently reinstated by President Biden, are not considered lawfully present and remain ineligible for healthcare coverage options, “says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

According to a press statement from Sen. Dick Durbin,“there are more than 200,000 DACA recipients who are “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

(Read more "AFIRE pushes health care coverage for undocumented essential workers")


Holocaust-themed "Quezon's Game" now streaming on Amazon Prime, Xfinity


PINOY Newsmagazine Special

CHICAGO- Are you looking for a good historical movie to watch during this pandemic-frigid winter lockdown?

David Bianco and his wife, Jennifer Blair, play the roles of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower in the film set in pre-World War II Philippines. Eisenhower was Gen. Douglas MacArthur's senior aide in the late 1930s.(Contributed)

Check out QUEZON’S GAME on Amazon Prime or Xfinity on demand and other venues listed on the trailer. The movie was on the big screen all over the country pre-Covid, but most of you may have not gone to the theatres to see it. If you did, it is worth seeing again with your family or sharing this good news to your friends and colleagues.


The film is a full length movie that tells the story of how Manuel Quezon, Philippine Commonwealth President (1935-1944), who was able to beat all odds to open the Philippines to at least 1200 European Jews saving them from Hitler's Holocaust.


(See also Steven Spielberg's Schiendler’s List). Quezon had the help of then Lt. Col. Dwight Eisenhower, the Frieder Brothers, Paul McNtt and others - who “engineered” the plan and weathered odds against it at the time when other countries including the United States, turned their doors away.


(Read more "Holocaust-themed 'Quezon's Game' now streaming on Amazon Prime, Xfinity")

(More Community News...)


MARCH 2021 

After 4 years, only Duterte’s vindictiveness
keeps Leila De Lima unjustly incarcerated


By Solita Collas-Monsod

(EDITOR: Numerous human rights advocates and international organizations have long demanded the immediate release of Sen. De Lima who had been arrested on Feb. 24, 2017, denied bail and unjustly detained. Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, Solita C. Monsod, has written dozens of articles (In her “Get Real column) demanding the release of the senator. Excerpts from those commentaries should refresh readers of what the case is all about. Elsewhere in this issue are related articles.)

Free Leila de Lima!

I AM obsessed with the case of Sen. Leila de Lima and her persecution by President Duterte and his minions. You should be, too, because if it can happen to the senator, the more it can happen to any of us: victims of blatant abuse of authority, victims of persecution through prosecution. Truly, this is exactly what happened during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos… We are not under a dictatorship now, are we? So why is it happening?


And…the outside world is worried, too. The 128-year-old International Parliamentary Union (IPU), composed of 176 member-countries and 11 associates (regional assemblies), has made representations that the senator should be released because the charges seem baseless…


Why is De Lima being persecuted? She has been in police custody (since Feb 2017) and counting, for the crime of trading in illegal drugs. But the Information offered by the Department of Justice against her, and which was the basis of the judge’s warrant of arrest, did not include any of the essential elements of that crime.


It failed to identify who the buyers were, who the sellers were, what the product was, and when the deliveries and the payments for them took place. There was even no presentation of the corpus delicti (in this case, the illegal drugs traded). And yet the judge issued the warrant of arrest ... And worse, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 9-6, gave its imprimatur.

(Read more "After 4 years, only Duterte’s vindictiveness
keeps Leila De Lima unjustly incarcerated")


MARCH 2021

A Filipino immigrant’s vision of America

by carlos bulosan
Guest Editorial


     PINOY Editorial Cartoon BY Jym Andalis for Mar. 2021 Issue

(WHAT follows is an excerpt from a letter written by Carlos Bulosan to the wife of Salvador P. Lopez who was thought to have been killed in the Philippines in 1943 by the Japanese for his underground propaganda activities. S.P. Lopez actually survived the war to become a ranking public official, later, to become a president of the University of the Philippines.


Bulosan migrated to the U.S. from Pangasinan at an early age with hardly any formal education. He was a self-taught writer, a farm worker and a union organizer in the West Coast. He is known for his book, “America is in the Heart.” This letter was originally published in “The New Republic” in 1943. His works appeared in “The New Yorker,” “Vanity Fair,”…among mainstream magazines. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked him to write an essay on one of the Four Freedoms---his "Freedom from Want” was carried by the “Saturday Evening Post.”—Ed)


WE in America understand the many imperfections of democracy and the malignant disease which has been corroding its very heart.


We are united in the effort to make an America in which the common man can find happiness. It has been his unhappy lot to suffer the injustices of a system that suppresses his aspirations for a better life.


I wanted to live in America where there is freedom for all regardless of color, station and beliefs.


It is but fair to say that America is not a land of one race or one class of men. We are all America that have toiled and suffered and known oppression and defeat, from the first Indian that died in Manhattan to the last Filipino that bled to death in the foxholes of Bataan. America is not bound by geographical latitudes. America is not merely a land or an institution.


America is in the hearts of men that died for freedom; it is also in the eyes of men that are building a new world. America is the prophecy of a new society of men: of a system that knows no sorrow or strife or suffering. America is a warning to those who would try to falsify the ideals of free men.

(Read more "A Filipino immigrant’s vision of America"...)


MARCH 2021

Letter from Washington

By Jon Melegrito

2,500,000 dead worldwide -United States leads with 500,000 as of Feb. 23

The nation paused on Feb. 22 to mark what President Joe Biden described as “a truly grim heartbreaking milestone.” He was honoring the more than 500,000 people who had died in the United States in a pandemic that has lasted for over a year now.

FUNERAL director Omar Rodriguez inventoried bodies of COVID-19 victims bound for cremation at a funeral home in N.Y., April 26. (Redux photo by Timothy Fadek)


These Covid-related deaths are the highest in the world. More Americans have died from this virus than did in both World Wars and Vietnam War combined.


In his remarks, the President called on all Americans to remember a loved one, or someone they knew who lost their life and took their final breath alone. “As a nation, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow … to heal, we must remember.”


The Comforter-in Chief also called for “vigilance” and “end the politics of misinformation that caused so many lives already.”

Honoring friends and loved ones

Here in the Washington, D.C. area, we know of at least half a dozen members of the Filipino American community who died due to Covid-19.


Pilar Palacios Pe was one of them. She was a nurse for almost 30 years in a small hospital in Southern Maryland. Despite some urging early on from her family to retire, she refused, believing it was her duty to give her life in the service of others.


She contracted the virus in March last year. At the time, as the pandemic began to spread, the hospital did not have adequate protective equipment for the nurses and front-line workers. Pilar continued to report for work, totally exposed to infection, until she became seriously ill.

(Read more "2,500,000 dead worldwide -United States leads with 500,000 as of Feb. 23”...)



MARCH 2021

By Alberto Gonzales

Immigration Attorney

(708) 916-3077

Changes Under Biden

Note: This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to constitute legal advice. This article provides a general overview only, and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with an immigration attorney. 

As expected, President Joe Biden, who took office on Jan. 20 has instituted a number of immigration law changes via executive order.


First, the Biden administration has cancelled the Travel Ban (known as the “Muslim Ban”) of former President Trump against a number of countries that generally have Muslim majorities. Before its lifting, the Muslim Ban affected citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea.


Second, President Biden has stopped emergency funding of the Border Wall with Mexico.

Third, President Biden issued an executive order to halt deportations for 100 days. However, a federal judge in Texas issued a restraining order temporarily preventing President Biden’s order from taking effect. In this regard, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a memorandum instructing DHS officers to prioritize deportations of foreign nationals who:

1) pose a threat to national security or public safety; or


2) who are caught entering the U.S. without proper immigration documents after November 1, 2020.


(Read more "Changes under Biden...")


There is no article for March 2021.



MARCH 2021


By Fr. Tirso Villaverde
St. Julie Billiart Parish

"I heard God laugh"


For the upcoming Lent season, I will share with readers a summary of a recent book I read by Matthew Kelly entitled, I Heard God Laugh. Matthew Kelly is a Catholic motivational speaker connected with Dynamic Catholic. He has written many books that are written in a way that people of all denominations might appreciate.


Matthew Kelly, author of "I heard God laugh."


Typically, there was someone in our lives who taught us prayers to commit to memory. However, as Matthew Kelly points out, has anyone taught you how to pray?


I cannot begin to tell you how often people come to me as a priest who feel that their prayer life seems to be dry and empty. They end up getting distressed and even give up on prayer. The reason for this—as Matthew Kelly points out and I find myself agreeing with him—is that we focus too much on just saying prayers or we simply ask God for one thing or another that our prayer becomes very one sided.


Prayer—as an expression of our love for God—must truly be about developing a relationship with God. So, as I Heard God Laugh makes it clear, we must retrain ourselves and learn how to pray. That is more challenging than simply learning prayers.


Fortunately, Matthew Kelly offers a simple prayer process that focuses more on the how of praying rather than just reciting prayers from memory. Now, do not misinterpret things.


(Read more "I heard God laugh")



Featured Sponsors





Get COVID-19 vaccination reminder from V-safe


SPRINGFIELD–The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging Illinoisians who receive a COVID-19 vaccination to utilize the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker (v-safe).


Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), v-safe allows individuals who have received their first vaccination to get a text sent to their smartphone to remind them it’s time for their second shot.

The V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker is a free program that also allows people to communicate directly with the CDC regarding any potential side-effects they may experience.

Participation is voluntary and you can opt-out at any time. To register for V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker, go to


ACA Marketplace reopens for Illinoisans to buy Health Insurance Coverage until May 15

CHICAGO –President Biden signed an executive order for Illinoisans who do not have health insurance to enroll in a 2021 Special Enrollment Period for the ACA Health Insurance in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic which runs through May 15.

The 2021 SEP in Response to COVID-19 also allows people currently enrolled in an ACA Marketplace health plan to change plans. Consumers can visit for more information and to get answers to frequently asked questions about SEPs.


Get Covered Illinois (GCI) is the official health marketplace or “exchange” for Illinois consumers to purchase quality, affordable health insurance, facilitated by the federal government through the ACA Marketplace.


IL Covid-19 cases count


SPRINGFIELD- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 1,232,900 positive cases of coronavirus in IL and deaths totaling 21,203.


The total of confirmed cases in DuPage County alone is 80,723with 1,287 deaths. Cook County alone has 238,769 confirmed cases and 4,610 deaths.


U.S. Covid-19 cases count


Confirmed: 29,903,245



Philippine Covid-19 cases count


Confirmed Cases: 702,856

Recovered: 580,689

Deaths: 13,149


Pappas to taxpayers: Pay First Installment property taxes through May 3 with no late fee


CHICAGO--Cook County Property taxes are due March 2, but there is no late fee through May 3, Treasurer Maria Pappas said Feb. 26.


The Cook County Board of Commissioners in November waived for two months the 1.5 percent per month late fee on all Tax Year 2020 property taxes. Late fees also will be waived for two months for the Second Installment, due later this year.


Property owners can visit and enter their street address or Property Index Number (PIN) to:

  • Search $76 million in available property tax refunds
  • See if they are eligible for $46 million in missing tax exemptions
  • Download a copy of their bill and pay online

completely free