Monthly Archives: July 2013

FACLA and Philippine Town Inc Marks 11th Historic Filipinotown Day, Aug 2.

Press Release

    Filipino Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)
    July 28,2013

    FACLA and Philippine Town Inc Marks 11th Historic Filipinotown Day, Aug 2.

    Los Angeles—On August 2, 2002, the City Council of Los Angeles declared Historic Filipinotown as an official entity in the city of Los Angeles. Thus, FACLA celebrates the `11th year of the designation of Historic Filipinotown as a district honoring the contributions of Filipino-Americans in this city of United States.

    In honor of this day, the Filipino American community of Los Angeles (FACLA) and the Philippine Town Inc. the prime mover of the designation of Historic Filipinotown as a district will host and , honor this day by marking the historic day, with a celebrations in FACLA on Friday, August 2 at 5 ;00 PM.
    Awards for Community Service

    There will be a short program to commemorate the designation with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the invited guest.

    Awards

    FACLA and the PTI will also give awards to five outstanding community leaders who have greatly contributed to FACLA and the Filipino American community of Los Angeles. One of the awardees is Romy Borje, the “dean of the Filipino journalists in Los Angeles.”

    Music will be provided by Maestro Buddy Reyes/Letty Reyes and the occasion will be graced by candidates of the beauty pageant Ms. Philippines –USA.

    The dance party will follow the brief program that will last 11;00 in the evening.

    For more information please contact Claire Julian at (213)484-1527 or email at newfacla@yahoo.com or visit our website

My Dad Fought in Bataan But was Never Recognized

JFAV UPDATES
July 26, 2013

My Dad Fought in Bataan But was Never Recognized

By Romana Figueroa-Gella

MANILA, Philippines—It was with justifiable sadness that I read in the Inquirer the proud announcement by American ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. that “Pinoy vets got $214 million from the US last year,” in reference to the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Program.

My father, who passed away on June 16, 2010, at age 103, had the misfortune of being excluded from the “… more than 18,500 World War II veterans … who received a total of $214.4 million in benefits … from the United States’ Department of Veterans Affairs …” due to what I believe was a mere technicality.

Reason for denial

The official reason for the denial given by the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) based in St. Louis, Missouri, was that it “found no evidence” that my father served in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, including the recognized guerrillas, “in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

That he was recognized as a war veteran by the Philippine government did not seem to count.
After this rejection, my father made a subsequent request for assistance in accessing his files, but the
NPRC wrote back that the information he requested “… was lost in the July 1973 fire that destroyed millions of records at the (NPRC).”

Since my father was already bedridden and ailing on June 15, 2010, I filed on his behalf a notice of disagreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs and enclosed additional supporting papers for his claim. The claim was again denied on December 21, 2010, as a result of my father’s death.

Losing war again

For my father and for the thousands of hapless defenders of Bataan, the denial of their claims was like fighting another war and losing again.

I remembered how, as my father was getting dressed at 4 a.m. on the day of his required personal appearance at Camp Aguinaldo, he turned to me and in all seriousness asked, “Will they laugh at me?”

I thought, what a strange question! Then I recalled his story about being ridiculed while in captivity by Japanese soldiers who were in a drunken stupor. Those dreaded war memories lodged in his subconscious have a way of flashing back when the right trigger is pulled, in this case, being “ordered” to report to a military camp.

When we got to Camp Aguinaldo, however, we were turned away because they had “ran out of numbers to give out.” We were instructed to proceed instead to the US Embassy. On reaching Roxas Boulevard, we were confronted by the pitiful sight of a queue that snaked from the far end of the Manila Bay breakwaters to the gates of the embassy. Lining up patiently were confused, white-haired and bent old men, most of them in wheelchairs, with a few determinedly standing or leaning on the shoulders of their companion.

Heart-rending scene

On our second day at the US Embassy, I watched a veteran, probably in his 80s, as he struggled with the help of a relative to step down from the sidewalk to the street. He was clutching a plastic pail. Given his age, it was not hard to surmise what the pail was for.

At their age and with all their unimaginable infirmities, it would definitely take these octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians forever to negotiate the distance from their place in the line to the closest lavatory. To this day, this heart-rending scene keeps playing back in my head.

The arduous Bataan Death March scarred my father for life and to his dying day, its horrible memories hounded and haunted him. Malaria, which he contracted in the concentration camps, and an enlarged liver brought about by poor nutrition and the lack of potable water, did irreparable damage to his body. Psychological injuries, meanwhile, battered down his spirit.

Daily ration of ‘kangkong’

As prisoners of war (POWs), my father recounted how they subsisted on a daily ration of kangkong (swamp cabbage) leaves and a thin slice of beef swimming by its lonesome in a cauldron of what looked like pig swill. This was on a good day when their captors were feeling “benevolent.” The POWs were also made to dig with their bare hands trenches for the five to seven corpses a day, under the scorching heat of the sun or in drenching rain. Some had to run and catch a cow for the officers’ meal.

The long march from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac, rendered the prisoners exhausted beyond human endurance. So as night fell, they lay down to sleep wherever darkness caught up with them. There were times when they woke next to a dead comrade. But there were also times when the Japanese guards were not looking, that a handful of them managed to break away from the group, running to the bushes or taking refuge in houses of Filipino sympathizers before eventually escaping to freedom.

Unfortunately, others were not as lucky and were shot on sight. My father chose to stick it out to the end, not knowing what fate awaited him.

No sanitary facilities

Since my father was a medic in the Air Corps, he was made to attend to dysentery patients with no sanitary facilities. One time, he ministered to a fellow soldier who was so sick that he practically swam in his own feces. The monstrous health problems brought about by improvised and hastily dug latrines that were left open and which served as breeding ground for flies, were compounded by the utter lack of a decent water supply.

In our family’s genealogical tree record aptly entitled Arbol, my father proudly wrote: “I wish to be remembered as somebody who has contributed his bit to the defense of the Fatherland, being a member of the USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East) of the Second World War.”

Sadly, my father died without him being remembered as such.

Pittance for unsung heroes

It has been said that of all the virtues, gratitude has the shortest memory. If one may ask, who owes a debt of gratitude to whom in the battle waged against the enemies of freedom? Is there a price tag on gratitude? I

Indeed, what is the $9,000 for, this sum being promised to every Filipino war veteran? Isn’t it a pittance of a recompense for all the cruelties that these unsung heroes suffered?

Today, as we revisit the memories of World War II and recall once more the denial of claims for benefits among Filipino war veterans, we sadly realize that as in the Death March, these soldiers have lost another battle.

It is a battle for what was justly and rightfully theirs, a battle fought with absolute determination for what seemed like an eternity. It is a battle of attrition that, sadly, was lost not in the battlefield but in the confines of air-conditioned rooms and through the callousness of bureaucratic rigmarole.

My father, the late Maj. Ramon Guerrero Figueroa, was a bona fide veteran of the infamous Bataan Death March, and an enlisted Captain of the 54th Infantry Regiment, 5th Military District, under the command of Lt. Col. L.P. Lapuz.

( The 54th Rgmt fought bracely in Bataan and held on for four months before the American generals surrendered to the Japanese.

But still they are not recognized as America’s Veterans. What a shame to America! -Underscoring ours )

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STRUGGLE ON, FIGHT RACISM, FIGHT FOR EQUITY AND BENEFITS FOR OUR VETERANS AND WIDOWS!

JFAV UPDATES
JFAV Statement on the 72nd USAFFE Day, July 26, 1941

    July 26, 2013

    STRUGGLE ON, FIGHT RACISM, FIGHT FOR EQUITY AND BENEFITS FOR OUR VETERANS AND WIDOWS!

    Today, we in the Filipino American community in the United States commemorate the 72nd year of Conscription Day or what they call here in the United States as USAFFE Day, July 26, 1941.

    On July 26, 1941 by an Executive Order by US President Franklin Roosevelt, the Army of the Commonwealth of the Philippines was placed under the command of the United States Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), six months before WWII erupted.

    We call it conscription day, the day Filipinos were placed under the USAFFE and were forced to fight for America as conscripts or as soldiers of the United States armed forces. That day, the newly formed 120,000 Philippine Army, the Philippine Constabulary (PC), the newly formed Philippine Army Air Corps and naval units of the Philippine Commonwealth formed in 1935 together with the 26,000 US Army in the Philippines was formed as one integrated military unit, the USAFFE under the newly re-activated General Douglas Macarthur.

    The Largest Garrison Outside of the Mainland

    By a stroke of the pen, President Roosevelt made the Philippines as the largest US armed garrison outside of the US mainland. Whether he liked it or not, the Philippines became a magnet of Japanese attack for it was the largest garrison that blocks the Japanese expansion in the Pacific.

    No wonder the Philippines was the subject of the Japanese attack at the same tie Pearl Harbor was bombed. Japanese planes from Formosa (Now Taiwan) bombed and disabled US military bases in the Philippines including Clark Air Base, Fort McKinley, Sangley Point and major Philippine cities.

    Days after, the Japanese land forces invaded the Philippines forcing the USAFFE to retreat into a defensive pocket in Bataan and Corregidor forcing it to surrender after four months fighting on April 9, 1942. They forced the surrender of the whole Philippines after Corregidor fell on May 10, 1942.

    But even after the surrender, the Filipinos and a few American officers fought a war of resistance against Japan using guerilla troops for more than three years against the Japanese Occupation. Filipinos suffered untold hardships and brutalities under the Japanese yoke but they continued to fight for freedom until the US liberating forces came back on October 20, 1944.

    More than 500,000 Filipinos under the US force, as guerillas of independent units and under the Philippine Republic fought the liberation of the Philippines until the nation was finally liberated from Japan on September 6, 1945 after more than two years of a war for national liberation.

    Rescinded/Discriminated for Three times

    Yet, the United States only recognized 250,000 guerillas and Filipino forces under the US Army as World War II veterans. But on February 18, 1946, they rescinded this recognition by law calling their “military service as inactive for the purposed of benefits and rights’ in a racist act of discrimination.

    Again on October 2008, they passed the second rescission act by deleting the provision for SB 1315 the Equity provisions for the Filipinos or the New GI Bill of Rights of 2008 and instead gave the Filipinos a lump sum. They legalized this by inserting the lump sum provision in the Stimulus Act or the ARRA Law of 2009.

    Again, in a final act of insult, for the 3rd time, the US Senate marked up the Heller Bill , recycled it to be called Sander’s Bill or the Improved Filipino Veterans Health benefits Bill , two days before the July 26 USAFFE Day.

    This so called improved bill will “reconsider” giving benefits to 4,000 Filipino veterans who filed their appeals disregarding the Shatz Bill or the Senate version of the Filipino Fairness Act of 2013. By this act they disregarded the 20,000 denied claims of Filinos veterans and again excluded the 60,000 widows of departed Filipino Veterans.

    What a shame, what a shame, what a shame!

    The US Congress again for the third time perpetrated to the remaining 41,000 Filipino veteran and 60,000 widows the racist and discriminative fiats like the Sander’s Bill and SB 744 or the the punitive immigration law of 2013 that they wish to punish the 11 million immigrants of this nation.

    As if the US Congress is saying that we cannot get any kind of justice or equity from this legislative constitution they call “ the chapel of democracy” for racist and bigots alike.

    So today we raise our voices not to celebrate or commemorate the USAFFE Day but to gather our strength to fight on these evils of racism and discrimination we suffered at the hands of the legislative branch of this government that masquerades for equality.

    In the face of institutionalized racism and discrimination to our veterans and widows, let us gather our strength and we must FIGHT ON!!

    We made this promise to our departed and living heroes who started this struggle for equity and rights in 1993. We will fight for our community in the United States and our nation who were insulted and despised by these legislators who passed these racist laws.

    TO THE LAST VETERANS, TO THE LAST WIDOWS, WE WILL FIGHT!

    AND WE WILL WIN!!!

    Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)
    National Committee

    July 26, 2013

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Facla Ballroom Dancing No Entrance Fee

Facla is a non-profit organization serving the community for recreation, fitness and socialization. To serve the  Filipino community better and economically. We are opening a Social Ballroom Dancing by donation every Wednesday from 7 pm to 11pm . Come and Enjoy the affair  at 1740 West Temple St. Close by Union St. freeway.

Maestro Alex is the best DJ in Town, DI and offers  styles of Line Dancing.

FACLA DOUBLE CELEBRATIONS FOR 4TH OF JULY, A SUCCESS.

Press Release
Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)
Contact: Letty A. Reyes
July 18, 2013

FACLA DOUBLE CELEBRATIONS FOR 4TH OF JULY, A SUCCESS.

Los Angeles- The double celebrations of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) for the 4th of July on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 was a resounding success.

The double celebration was held last July 10 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM for the Philippine-American Friendship Day was well attended by hundreds of guests.

Speakers

FACLA Director Marc Caratao set the tune of the celebrations in his speech by recounting the Spanish-American War that got the Americans embroiled in the Philippines as America’s first colony in Asia.

He also recounted the bitter Filipino-American War from 1899 to 1916 “that proved that Philippine-American relations were sealed in blood and fire “.

FACLA President Austin Baul Jr. in his speech spoke about “hyphenated-Americans that up to know are being viewed with suspicion as having a dagger in his back ready to stab America in the back.”

He called on the FACLA members to prove the naysayers wrong by “disproving the theory of hyphenated Americans for we Filipino-Americans are all-Americans, loyal and true.”

Crowning of Several Queens

The celebration was capped with the crowning of several beauties during the dance celebrations and were given bouquets of flowers and crowns were awarded by FACLA officers and consorts.

Crowned as queens of the night were Ms.Linda Nery as Ms.Filipino American Friendship Day Queen; Ms. Ofelia Legazpi as Queen of U.S.A. Independence Day; Ms. Letty A. Reyes as Queen of the Philippines: Ms. Amparo Pabalan as Queen of Luzon; Ms. Ana Mendoza as Queen of the Visayas and Susan Del Rosario as Queen of Mindanao.

After which they were serenaded by a band of singers led by FACLA president Austin Baul Jr and by the King of Filipino Kundiman, Rudy Ferran of the Knights of Rizal and other singers like Phil Del Rosario and Johnny Longue.

History of the 4th of July.

July 4 was the former independence day for the Philippines. On July 4, 1946, the United States granted its colony, the Philippines its independence as provided by the Tydings-Macduffie Law of 1934.

But in 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal changed the date of the Philippine Independence to June 12 from 1962 and declared every July 4th as “Philippine-American Friendship Day. “

Thus FACLA will celebrate on July 10, two events, the Philippine-American Friendship Day and the US Independence Day or the “Fourth of July.”every year.

The emcees for the celebrations were Ms. Nila Jamias-Baul and FACLA Director Arturo P. Garcia.

For more information please call FACLA at (213)484-1527 or Letty Reyes at (323) 644-2827 or visit our website at www.newfacla.org.

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JFAV Statement On the So called “Second Chance” for Denied Filipino WWII Veterans

JFAV UPDATES
July 12, 2013

JFAV Statement On the So called “Second Chance” for Denied Filipino WWII Veterans

Los Angeles –The Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) mass campaign coordinator, Ago Pedalizo said today that ‘ although the JFAV welcome the news from the Philippine Embassy in Washington that said, “ over 4,000 ageing Filipino World War II veterans have been given another chance in their bid for eligibility for benefits under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) Fund,” it came too late and not good enough.”

This was the reaction of JFAV- a nationwide alliance of veterans organizations and advocates who are also lobbying for veterans rights and benefits in the US Congress to the statement of the Philippine Embassy.

The PH Embassy hailed the release of the report of the Interagency Working Group created by the White House to look into the application of Filipino veterans for benefits under the FVEC Fund signed by President Obama in 2009 and called it a “second chance” for Filipino veterans.

“Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?”

JFAV asks:” How about the more than 20,000 veterans who were denied and 40,000 widows or what the DVA called the survivors who were also denied and excluded from the FVEC?

JFAV also questioned: “ Why is the Aquino III government is quiet about this? .

JFAV Coordinator Ago Pedalizo also pointed out: “ besides it’s another too late the hero effort of the Obama government. It’ s a pity it took almost four years since 2009 before the US government allowed the use of Philippine documents for FVEC.

And only for 4,000 who appealed the denials. How about the remaining 20,000 who did not even bothered to appeal because of frustration and disgust of the DVA process, what will happen to them?

Sa Pilipino : “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” JFAV asked.

For more information on jfav please call (213)241-0995 oe email at pilipinokami76@yahoo.com or visit the jfav facebook at jfav-los angeles.facebook.com

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FACLA DOUBLE CELEBRATIONS FOR JULY 4th AND PH-US FRIENDSHIP DAY ON JULY 10.

    Press Release

Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)
Contact: Letty Reyes
July 8, 2013

FACLA DOUBLE CELEBRATIONS FOR JULY 4th AND PH-US FRIENDSHIP DAY ON JULY 10.

Los Angeles- The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) cordially invite the public to a double celebrations of July 4th, the American Independence Day also known at the “Fourth of July “and the Philippine-American Friendship Day on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The double celebrations of the 4th of July will be on July 10 will be under the supervision of FACLA’s 3rd Vice President Letty Reyes and the music will be provided by musician Maestro Dr. Buddy Reyes.

July 10th “Fourth of July”

The belated 4th of July party will be on July 10 from 11:00 AM to 5’:00 PM will also be the commemoration of the Philippine-American Friendship Day.
July 4 was the former independence day for the Philippines. On July 4, 1946, the United States granted its colony, the Philippines its independence as provided by the Tydings-Macduffie Law of 1934.

But the date of independence slated in 1945 was delayed due to the outbreak of World War II. From December 7, 1941 to September 6, 1945, the Philippines were occupied by Japanese forces from May 6, 1942 to September 6, 1945.

The Americans and the Filipino forces later liberated the Philippines and defeated the Japanese forces from October 20, 1945 to September 6, 1945. Almost a year later, the US granted the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946.

But in 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal changed the date of the Philippine Independence to June 12 from 1962 and declared every July 4th as “Philippine-American Friendship Day. “

Thus FACLA will celebrate on July 10, two events, the Philippine-American Friendship Day and the US Independence Day or the “Fourth of July.”

For more information please call FACLA at (213)484-1527 or Letty Reyes at (323) 644-2827 or visit our website at www.newfacla.org.

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Newly Elected LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Assumes Office, July 1st.

FACLA News Bulletin
July 05, 2013

Newly Elected LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Assumes Office, July 1st.

Los Angeles – Mayor Eric Garcetti assumed the office of the City Mayor of Los Angeles with a simple but regal ceremonies last June 30, at the bottom of the steps of City Hall, giving credence to what he called himself the “ back to the basics” Mayor. Of Los Angeles

Promising that “ You’ll have a local government that’s off your back and on your side”, he laid out his agenda to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles. During his inaugural swearing in ceremonies.

A modest crowd of more than 4,000 people attended his swearing-in ceremonies and the other new elected officials including eight new council members, the City attorney and the City controller at the City’s newly built Grand Plaza

He took his oath of office at the bottom of the stairs of the Los Angeles City Hall to signify his humble start as a Mayor. This is to differentiate his swearing in the former Mayor who took his oath eight year sago on top of the city hall steps as the first Latino Mayor of LA.

“Leaner and Efficient” City Government

The new mayor also promised a leaner and more efficient city government. Starting by cutting the number of his vice mayors into four from 12 during former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s eight year term.

Garcetti’s agenda includes private and education sectors cooperation, keeping Hollywood production in LA and cutting down red tape and business taxes for job growth. He also promised to “fix the roads, patched the pot holes and trim the trees”.

He also asked all the city managers their courtesy resignations and a plan for cost cutting , savings and income generation plans in order for them to be re-appointed .

Political Patronage?

But it seems his appointment of former council member Jan Perry as the economic development czar reeks of political patronage. Former councilwoman and mayoral candidate Jan Perry will serve as Interim General Manager of the new Economic Development Department. A mayoral spokesman says that once Perry gets the agency up and running, she’ll hand it off to a permanent director.

“I’m excited that Jan Perry and I will be working closely together on getting people back to work and helping businesses open and grown,” Garcetti said in a statement.

“Jan’s work in revitalizing downtown and South Park exemplify the kind of leadership and expertise we need to turn this department into a true economic engine for our city.”

For Council member for 9th Disrict and City Council Protem Perry ran for mayor after being termed out of the City Council, where she represented South Los Angeles for 12 years. She supported Garcetti after she lost the in March 5 primaries.

The new department Perry will help launch is actually the successor to the city’s community development efforts. Its $16.3 million budget is coming from existing operations, including the former Community Development Department, which is also providing most of the staff.

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JFAV AWARDED MOST OUTSTANDING MIGRANT ORGANIZATION BY THE MHC

JFAV UPDATES
July 01,2013

JFAV AWARDED MOST OUTSTANDING MIGRANT ORGANIZATION BY THE MHC

Los Angeles—The Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) was awarded the most outstanding migrant organization award by the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) based in Virginia during the 8th Annual People’s Ball last June 22 in Washington DC

The award was accepted by Arturo P. Garcia , the JFAV National Coordinator and FACLA Director during the Grand Ball in Washington DC’s Marriot’s Wydman Park Hotel attended by more than 1,300 Filipino Americans and guests.

On hand to give the award to JFAV were MHC Directors Arnedo Valera, Grace V. Jaramillo and PH Ambassador to the united States, Jose Cusia Jr.

First Award for JFAV

The JFAV, an national alliance of Veterans, youth and advocates based in the United States was given the award because of its advocacy for Filipino World War II Veterans and their survivors since 1993

It was the first award that JFAV received from a prestigious organization like the MHC based in the East Coast state of Virginia and holds the largest gathering of Filipino-Americans in the United States every year to commemorate Philippine Independence.

JFAV is a nationwide alliance of Filipino World War II Veterans organizations based in the United States. It originated from another alliance named Kilusan Disyembre 7 or the December 7 Movement (D7M) based in Los Angeles that spearhead the first political mobilization for veterans rights and welfare on December 7, 1993.

More on JFAV

On March 2006, JFAV in a regional conference held in UCLA sponsored by Samahang Pilipino took the steps to form a separate national organization from a west coast regional organization not just to campaign to relentlessly but pursue the issue of equity and justice into reality.

With the JFAV as a pro-bono lobby group for the veterans and widows, the drive for total equity became more pronounced when 24, 000 or 52% of the more than 41,000 Filipino Veterans who applied for the lump summed were unjustly denied by the DVA..

Also awarded by the MHC were different media personalities from the east coast for their advocacy for human rights as members of the press.

The media awardees were Marivir Montivon from New York and Ben Cal from Washington DC,his award was accpeted ny Rodney Jaleco, a Washington DC based journalist and Nimfa Rueda from Los Angeles.

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