JUNE 2017


The Calamba Association of Illinois Fiesta and Picnic, June 24

The Calamba Association of Illinois is hosting its Annual Calamba Town Fiesta on June 24 to celebrate the feast of St. John de Baptist, the patron saint of Calamba, Laguna. The Calamba Association will also hold a picnic on the same day at the Harrer Park Pavilion, 6250 Dempster St. in Morton Grove, Illinois.

The chairpersons for this activity are Loy Gonzales family (1-630-414-5768) and Rey T. Elazegui(1-773-742-5322). All the activities will be held at a sprawling location with its baseball park, a playground for children and tree shaded spots for you to relax on your folding tables and chairs. There will be games also for both young and kids on the second childhood.Picnickers are requested to bring their favorite dish to share, 2 bottles of 2-liter soda and if possible white rice as well. If you have a portable cooler and can place a bag of ice in it, this will help quench the thirst of many "kababayan".
To reach the designated picnic area is tricky because it is not on Dempster per se. Here are two (2) directions to the pavilion and picnic ground: (1). On the north side of Dempster across Callie Street is a service road leading to the pavilion and picnic ground. There will be balloons on this service road to help locate it. This road leads to the pavilion with its Greek style Corinthian pillars. (2). From Dempster Street take Moody Street going north. Turn left on Lake Street. The park is a short drive of a few hundred meters at the end of Lake Street.

Chicago CERT Program offers disaster response volunteer training, June 5-July 6

The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) trains citizens to safely help themselves, their families and their neighbors in the prevention, detection and response to disasters.

Interested residents must first complete a 22-hour Chicago CERT Basic Training course to learn about how to respond to emergency events affecting families or neighborhoods. By completing the 6-hour CERT Advance Training Class, volunteers can be activated and deployed to affected areas throughout the city to provide disaster operations support.
All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. All volunteers must sign a code of conduct and complete an advanced training class. Once becoming a volunteer, members must attend at least two Chicago CERT events a year to remain on the active volunteer list. Finally, due to the sensitive nature of potential assignments, all volunteers must submit to fingerprint-background check and receive clearance approval.

To contact The CERT program, email  chicagocitizencorps@cityofchicago.org  or call tel (312) 746-9453


Jose Llana, other Fil-Am actors in top roles in an acclaimed revival of ‘The King and I’ June 14-July 2 at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre

Left pic: Fil-Am Jose Llana plays the title role of The King of Siam in “The King and I.” (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

CHICAGO – A year after Lyric Opera came out with a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “THE KING AND I”  with Filipino American actor Paolo Montaban playing the title role of the King of Siam, another acclaimed Fil-Am actor, Jose Llana comes to town in Broadway in Chicago’s Windy City’s premiere of The Lincoln Center Theater Production of the favorite and hit musical masterpiece.

One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, “THE KING AND I” boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” “I Have Dreamed” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

Olivier Award-winning actress Laura Michelle Kelly, known for her performance as the title role in the London production of Disney’s Mary Poppins, plays Anna Leonowens opposite Jose Llana. Llana returns to the role of “The King of Siam” after two starring engagements in the Tony-winning Lincoln Center revival.

(continued on Events page)


Honoring Our Heroes

FilVetREP Chairman Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret.) tells the story of Corporal Magdalena Estoista Leones, a Filipina guerrilla who was awarded the Silver Star for her “tenacity, determination and uncommon courage. ”(Photo by FilVetREP).


By Jon Melegrito

Washington, D.C--. “Today, we remember with gratitude the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have served this country bravely in all of America’s past wars,” says Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), FilVetREP Chairman. “We also honor their families who lost their loved ones in the hard battles of war. They made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today.”

One way to honor them on Memorial Day, Taguba adds, is to “tell their stories, and remember their courageous acts and uncommon valor.”

At the American Historical Foundation’s Soldier Experience event on May 25, which featured Asian American and Pacific Islanders who served in the U.S. Military, Taguba shared the story of Corporal Magdalena Estoista Leones. Leones was an intelligence agent under the command of U.S. Army Col. Russell Volckmann, who led guerrilla forces in Northern Philippines from 1943 to 1945.

“All too often, we present men who were recognized for gallantry and intrepidity in the face of the enemy,” Taguba said. “This woman is clearly extraordinary, a soldier with a distinguished record of service fighting the Japanese Imperial Forces in the Philippines.”

Leones was born to a religious family in the Mountain Province of Northern Luzon.

(continued on Community News page)


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

By Mariano A. Santos
PINOY Newsmagazine Special

CHICAGO—Rizaldy Villasenor is proud that his Tinley Park-based agency, MedPro Health Provider LLC, was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the top workplaces in the area—not once but twice in a row. He founded his company with well-vetted partners in 2011, using his experience with the giant health care corporation and Ohio-based Cardinal Health.

left pic: ceo rizaldy villasenor of MedPro Health Provider was recognized again last november by the chicago tribune as one of the 100 top workplaces.

A week after being recognized again by the Tribune last November, a Medicare subcontractor, AdvanceMed, slapped his company with an audit and determined improper payments had been made and Villasenor’s firm would no longer receive Medicare reimbursement.

The negative impact on his heath care business was immediate. Many of his patients had to be discharged before the end of 2016. Most of his employees were laid off by early January this year. His company is surviving with a skeleton staff – only due to his foresight in accepting managed care patients — those not dependent on Medicare payments.

Boilerplate response

AdvanceMed, a Medicare auditor known as a Zone Program Integrity Contractor (ZPIC), told Villasenor, CEO of MedPro, that he would have a chance to respond to the allegations of overpayments. He responded quickly. He rushed to submit a nearly 100-page rebuttal statement, highlighting patients that were used as examples by the auditors. He also included supplemental documents from his MedPro doctors.

AdvanceMed quickly responded later in December. “It was a ‘general boilerplate’ response,” said Villasenor who doubted whether the ZPIC had actually reviewed the documents.

Villasenor noted the short turnaround and lack of specificity in the response. In a later teleconference with auditors of AdvanceMed, Villasenor specifically asked if they reviewed his rebuttal, and the curt response was, “Why should we?” Villasenor believes that is a violation of due process—an important feature of this country’s jurisprudence.

(continued on Community News page...)


At 101, this WWII Veteran keeps getting surprises

by Mariano santos

CHICAGO—Virginia Axibal received a text from her sister Carmelita from an Olive Garden Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas where their father, Dominador L. Soriano, was being given a treat to mark his 101th year birthday on May 3. Mr. Soriano stays with his daughter Virginia and her family during the warmer months of the year in Chicago where weather in the 40 degrees in May is still common. But her two sisters, Leah Brickman and Carmelita Haverly, who live with their families in San Antonio, take over the care of their father during the cold season.

right pic: an anonymous diner paid the bill for the whole party in appreciation of Mr. dominador Soriano’s service to his country.

The widowed centenarian has 11 children. He is one of the few surviving veterans of World War II. In 1938, Mr. Soriano joined the Philippine Army under the USAFFE command of General Douglas MacArthur. In 1942, he was captured and tortured by the Japanese Imperial Army in Cebu. When he was released he joined the guerrillas. His war exploits were duly documented and he is one of the few holders of the Purple Heart Award.

Even the San Antonio City Council took notice of his war service and came out with a certificate of citation on his 101th birthday. Seven members of his family were with him at the celebration at Olive Garden. The day was particularly special for all of them because his son in the Philippines recently informed his sisters here that their dad will be a recipient of a P100,000 Centenarian gift check from Mayor Erap Estrada’s Office of Senior Citizens in Manila.

But wait there’s some more. When his daughter was ready to pay the evening’s meal tab, the waiter informed them that an anonymous diner paid the bill for the whole party in appreciation of Mr. Soriano’s service to his country.

(continued on Community News page...)

Rep. Salvador Belaro speaks at PIWC 42nd Gala to mark the 119th anniversary of PH Independence, June 17

CHICAGO—The 119th year of the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 will be marked with various festive events highlighted by the 42nd gala-dinner of the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) on Saturday, June 17 at the Marriott O’Hare, Chicago. This was confirmed by the PIWC 2017 Chair Lourdes Livas recently.

left pic: rep. salvador belaro was the guest speaker at piwc gala on june 17.

Meanwhile, PIWC Board of Trustee head Dely Villalon announced that PH Congressman Salvador Belaro (Party List, Education) has tentatively accepted to join Consul General Generoso Calonge as guest speakers for the June 17 gala wherein 2017 beauty queens will be crowned.

On June 12, Monday, a flag raising ceremony is scheduled at 9 am at the Daley Civic Center in the Chicago Loop to be followed by a cultural show at 12 noon. This following a community picnic on Sunday, June 11 at the Labagh Woods, from 10 am to Sundown.

Beauty queen chair Nerissa Pineda also revealed the names of the incoming beauty queens led by Geraldin Gaden (Mrs. Philippines), Rosalind Garner (Mrs. PIWC), Joi Rufina Hunter (Miss Philippines), Kimberly Agus (Miss PIWC), Doreen Magbanua (Mrs. Illinois), Mhelencia Tolledo (Mrs. Chicago PIWC), Noami Polinta (Little Miss Philippines) and Alpha Julianne Ramos (Little Princess PIWC).

Mrs. Villalon also announced the PIWC participation in the July 4th US Independence parades in the Villages of Skokie and Morton Grove with the beauty queen gracing the float with a US-Philippine Friendship theme. PIWC sponsors a Senior Day at Levy center in Chicago on June 15, an essay writing contest for the Fil-Am students and a bowling tournament that were held last month.


AFIRE moves to new location in Chicago

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) Chicago will move to a new location on the second floor of the Hana Center, 4300 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60618. AFIRE is an organization that offers community services and resources through programming, leadership, education and advocacy work to Filipino domestic workers, undocumented immigrants, seniors and community members. For more information, call AFIRE at (773) 580-1025.



JUNE 2017 


 Rizal: “I’m out of here!”

By Mariano "Anong" Santos

PINOY Publisher/Editor


“There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves.”

- Jose Rizal

On June 16, 2015 when the bust of the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, was reported stolen from the front yard of the headquarters of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago (FACGC), 1336 W. Irving Park, I told the council president, Dr. Rufino Crisostomo, to double check before he makes a police report.

ABOVE PIC: Dr. Ramon Lopez (left) , a descendant of Dr. Rizal is pictured with Dr. Crisostomo June 16, 2015, when the bust of Rizal went missing in front of the FACGC Headquarters in Chicago.

“For all we know, Dr. Rizal finally walked away…with all the existing problems in your building and with your organization, perhaps, the hero just wants to disassociate from you guys,” I jokingly told Crisostomo, whose name, ironically, is also the name of Rizal’s main character in his influential novel, “Noli Me Tangere (Touch me not).”

Crisostomo is also a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Knights of Rizal (KOR).

The FACGC HQ carries the name, Jose Rizal Heritage Center, or popularly called “Rizal Center.” Through the years, the KORs labored to create a Rizal Library and Museum. Former FACGC vice president Rudy Tapalla, a KOR, bequeathed his personal Filipiniana book collection to the library.

Wilfredo Red Buhay, another KOR and former member of the board of FAGC directors, curated the museum. He is a descendant of Rizal as is Dr. Ramon Lopez, a great grand nephew of Rizal’s only brother, Paciano. Dr. Lopez and his family endowed the Paciano room where another bust of Rizal is displayed.

Integrity and Honor

With the stolen bust returned and Carlos Go of Seafood City donating a bust last year, there are now three busts of the National Hero housed in the Center and along with the Rizaliana library and museum, these could have been testaments to the community’s small concession for being able to use the name of Dr. Jose Rizal for its Center. Rizal exudes more than just goodwill and a bankable name recognition. Rizal connotes integrity and honor.

Why would I tell Crisostomo that Rizal could just very well walk away from the FACGC headquarters two years ago? What are the problems I was alluding to?

At that time, the FACGC was again in court spending its scarce funds on legal costs to evict a tenant which should not have been let inside the Center in the first place.

(Read more "Rizal: “I’m out of here!”...")


JUNE 2017


Trump's invitation to Duterte: A gift to Filipinos



Editorial Cartoon by Jym Andalis

I’ve seen at least two petitions calling on President Trump to rescind his White House invitation to President Duterte. One condemned the “human rights violator and genocidal killer president of the Philippines.”

I am sympathetic to the spirit of these campaigns. But welcoming Duterte to Washington may also turn out to be a gift from Trump to Filipinos.

Here’s why: A high-profile Duterte visit to the U.S. would turn an even bigger spotlight on the Duterte Slaughter and perhaps even help efforts to put a stop to the carnage.

The Duterte Slaughter has already received intense international media attention. Coverage of the mass killing even helped the New York Times win yet another Pulitzer Prize.

But a Trump-Duterte meeting would draw even more attention to the inhumane campaign. That’s probably why Duterte seemed hesitant to accept Trump’s invitation. Why would he want to draw even more attention to the bloodshed under his watch? And would he really want to be associated with an increasingly unpopular American president accused of abusing his power?

The global spotlight has been pretty harsh on the Philippine president and his murderous regime.


Take Duterte’s inclusion in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People. That should have been a proud moment.

(Read more "Trump's invitation to Duterte: A gift to Filipinos"...)


JUNE 2017

By Jon Melegrito

Letter from Washington



Of checks and balances

President Trump’s proclamation of May 2017 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month encouraged all Americans “to learn more about our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”

Days before issuing the proclamation, Trump spoke by phone to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and invited him to come to Washington. Maybe it’s Trump’s way of learning more about Filipinos.

bottom right pic: The circus folded after its final show May 21 in New York.

Recall that as a candidate he alarmed a lot of Filipinos when he thought the Philippines was a Muslim country and considered including it in a travel ban.

A White House visit from a “strong leader,” he may have figured, might be an appropriate activity for someone who has a penchant for strongmen, like Duterte. As the Washington Post noted, “Trump seems to have a genuine affinity for men of action who brook little dissent.”

Maybe Trump wants to learn from this tough-talking former city mayor how he gets away with firing disloyal subordinates or anyone who gets in his way. Trump once bragged he could shoot anyone in a crowded New York street and not lose any of his supporters. Duterte, on the other hand, admits to actually killing people and jailing political opponents, and still enjoy high approval ratings. Trump so far is getting only headaches, and more headaches, for firing the FBI chief.

Upon learning of the two leaders’ tete-a-tete, as accurately reported by mainstream media (definitely not “fake news”), human rights groups immediately pounced on the invitation. They basically said it would send the wrong signal, and may even embolden Duterte in his alleged abuses.

But Duterte’s coming to the White House may not be as easy. “If Duterte were not immune as head of state, he would be barred from admission into the United States,” noted John Sifton, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “The invitation is an abomination … and although his personality traits would seem to make it impossible, Trump should be ashamed of himself. By effectively endorsing Duterte's murderous 'war on drugs,' Trump has made himself morally complicit in future killings.”

(Read more "Of checks and balances"...)




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