Filipino American Coalition revived for continued Filipino empowerment

The political action committee Filipino American Coalition (FAC) was recently revived and revitalized to continue from where they left off and work on current gains to assert the rightful place of Filipinos in the in the political arena.

At the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Rene Medina, who played as the graceful hosts for the event, coalition officers and members invited leaders and members of the Filipino community from different counties in the Bay Area for a meet and greet to get acquainted or reacquainted with the united vision for Filipino political empowerment.

Founding president and current director of the FAC Mario Panoringan, who also served as the emcee in the event, reminded everyone that the FAC was founded in 2005 and has spearheaded and conducted numerous undertakings to promote political awareness.

“Among those the activities in the Filipino Community include Voters Registration Drives/Workshops, Leadership Conference, Business & Youth Summit, Outstanding Filipino American Women Award (OFAWA), Testimonials, Candidates Forums, and Endorsement of Filipino Candidates among others. It has also contributed financially to campaigns of its chosen candidates,” Panoringan recalled. “Since its founding in 2005, Ademan Angeles, Marico Enriquez, Rene Medina and myself (The Founders) continue to work together in promoting the Mission Statement: “The Filipino American Coalition plays a leadership role in promoting educational, economic, political and social empowerment of our communities.” Empowering People by Building Relationships.

In the present roster of FAC officials are President Francis Espiritu (Interim President since 2014), Vice President Gary S. de Guzman, Secretary Olivia Parina, Treasurer Edwina Esporlas Aniag, and Board Directors Ademan Angeles, Marico Enriquez and Mario Cendana-Panoringan, who will also serve as Adviser.

Other activities cited that FAC undertook in the past was the awarding of Outstanding Filipinas, organized and recognized some of the Filipino community leaders like Charito Benipayo, Sherri Burke, Milpitas City Mayor Jose Esteves.

Also in attendance are Colma Mayor Joanne Del Rosario (Past Board Member) Rene Malimban, Mayor Jose Esteves Dellilah Merano (Past Board of Director), San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo, Vice Mayor Ray Buenaventura, Councilor Glen Sylvester, Dolores & Perry Diaz, Rommel & Lisa Medina, Ben Menor, Michael Pangilinan, South San Francisco City Council candidates Mark Nagales and Flor Nicolas, Congress candidate Cristina Osmena and Myrna Lim.

 

In his speech, Espiritu explained that those in attendance were invited “because you have been a friend even from way back. Each of you has been a player of the community organizing.”

“If today were a couple of years earlier, there would be someone sitting here in front and center. Tita Alice Bulos could no longer be with us after her death October 2, 2016. Linda Galleon also is now also gone. Luckily we still have Tita Perla still mentoring us. In death as in life Tita Alice brought us together to teach us how to on our place in our adopted country,” Espiritu reminisced. “You may still remember the time when Tita Alice gave us the most important lesson in political empowerment. And I witnessed that during the past four Democratic conventions. The minute she walks in all politicians from Governor to state senator school board officials will acknowledge and pay homage to her service. And that inspired me and I witnessed how she was loved by everybody be they Democrat, Republican or Independent.”

Espiritu added that when the Bulos family became involved in the Filipino American community, “we had the opportunity to connect with advocates fighting for equality for Filipino Americans. Fil Ams were beginning to find their voices, building relationships with the political establishment especially the visionaries who saw the Filipino Americans as the emerging force.”

Colma City Vice Mayor Joanne del Rosario waxed nostalgic when she was first told of the event “because when I first ran in 2016, the coalition was a great help to me in finding my way in the political scene.”

“When I was asked to be in the board then, I thought that was a great honor because we have so much talent here in the Bay Area, in California on the Peninsula. I was glad that I had the support of the coalition behind me because it encouraged a lot of Filipinos who would not otherwise go out and vote. And that our voice mattered. Today is the start of the new beginning. It encourages all of us to go out there and to try to get all of our kababayan to go out and vote because obviously if they don’t vote, they have no say. And we want them to have a say ant just complain about what is happening. If you don’t take any action, you are stuck with whatever you get. If you are out there and get your friends to vote, then you are making a difference. And there is enough of us out there that we can get all our other kababayans get elected to office,” del Rosario advised.

David Canepa observed that what FAC is doing Espiritu as a huge leader is really transforming California politics.

“And what you have is a grand vision. And so we talked about Asian representation, we have to look at it in not only the San Mateo or nine county level, but we have to look at it at a state level. So what we do today in terms of sowing the seeds. To see all these leaders really ascend is truly truly important. For my district, and me the Filipino American community is extremely important.  Make it sure that we make connections. Make it sure that we understand the values we all share, whether it is inclusion, it is healthcare, safe school, public safety that is just not one community’s issues but all communities’ issues,” Canepa believes.

Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo is glad to see everyone from all different parts of the Filipino community uniting together.

“As a Filipino American growing up here in the United States and taking on the culture that my parents have taught me, the Bayanihan spirit is something we need to honor and respect, and if we are going to unite together because empowerment is one of the key things we need, for our generation, is unity. That is ht first step we are doing today. It is important to take on the legacy that was taught to us, ensure that we take action to register more people to vote, and to really make sure that we go to the polls. And that is really important. As we move forward, we need to uplift one another. We need to raise the next generation up and we have to band together,” encouraged Manalo.

Candidate Mark Nagales who is running for South San Francisco city councilor laments that South San Francisco that has a total population of 61,000 with 30,000 registered voters 30% of which are Asians but it never had a Filipino in the City Council.

We are lucky to hear that Flor Nicolas and I are running making it two Filipinos who have the chance to make it to the city council. We hope to make it history if one or both of us make it there. I am running because we want to make a change in the community. We need a new voice in the community. None of them in the current city council has children of a young age. I bring a different perspective on this being a young candidate. I want to make sure that there is an advocate in the city council that will fight for Filipinos, for regular families, and for those who wants to stay, live and work in South San Francisco. I want to make sure that that happens with your support we make it happen,” Nagales vowed.

Congressional candidate Cristina Osmeña feels so blessed to see the rising empowerment of the Filipino American community.

“Having come from the investment community, let me rattle off some statistics. We are almost 1.5% of the U.S. population. At this very moment, we have nobody in Congress that is of Filipino descent. There is someone who is a quarter Filipino descent. In order to have affair representation of Filipinos, we should have four to six representatives in Congress of Filipino descent. So we are underrepresented in Congress, in the Senate where we should have at least one senator of Filipino descent. And I have no doubt that this is going to happen in the future. And if it s not with me, although I hope it will be, it will be with somebody else and I will work to make that happen. Let us work together and make this happen. With enough time, the impossible becomes possible which become probable and the probable virtually certain. Let us put our unique ethnic stack on the national stage in this country,” Osmeña urged.

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