‘Register, vote, and show our strength,’ NaFFAA, PAFCOM urge community

filam vote logo 3 “It is now generally known that Asian Americans are the fastest growing voters in the United States today,” said JT Mallonga, chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). “They are emerging as a key voting block that could significantly influence national and local elections in the coming years.”

Validating this trend is a report from the Center for American Progress, which shows Asian American voters nearly doubling in numbers from more than 2 million voters in 2000 to 3.9 million by 2012, and is estimated to reach 5 percent of the voters nationally by 2025 and 10 percent by 2044.

“As the second largest Asian American population in the U.S., our challenge as Filipino Americans is to translate these numbers into political power,” said Mallonga. “That means being actively engaged as informed citizens, exercising our voting rights and casting our ballots on Election Day.”

To achieve this goal, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, a non-partisan organization, will launch Fil-Am Vote on February 25-27. NaFFAA chapters in the following cities will kick-off this voter drive: San Diego, CA., San Francisco, CA., Las Vegas, NV., Jersey City, NJ., Chicago, Ill.

Fil-Am Vote is a national program directed at strengthening the voter registration, voter education, voter protection and get-out-the-vote capabilities of Filipino American communities nationwide.

“Our immediate objective is to register more Filipino voters between now and November 8, and mobilize a huge voter turnout by the time polling booths open,” said Juanito Amor, Fil-Am Vote National Director. “We know that by increasing the voting ranks of the Filipino American community, we will not only make our voices heard but will most assuredly make a difference in determining who will lead our country.”

Fil-Am Vote’s launching, Amor pointed out, is not only “an affirmation of our civic responsibility as American citizens, but also a commemoration of the 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines, which occurred 30 years ago this week. That historic moment taught the world what people can do collectively to assert their democratic rights to vote, fight against election fraud and ensure that the people’s will is carried out.

“Fil-Am Vote, therefore, draws from the energy, inspiration, passion and courage of the millions of Filipinos who used the ballot box to make their voices heard. Despite the threat by an authoritarian regime to suppress their right to participate in the electoral process, the Filipino people stood up to make sure each vote counted.

“Fil-Am Vote honors this powerful movement and is committed to carrying on the legacy of full, active civic engagement of the Filipino American community.”

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data indicate there are 2,790,928 potential Filipino voters nationwide. Figures from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services also show that Filipinos are among the top AAPI groups with the highest naturalization rates.

“But we have been lagging behind in terms of registered voters and voter turn-out,” explained Fil-Am Vote National Adviser Gloria Caoile of Henderson, Nevada. “Our numbers won’t matter unless we enlist community members to register and show up at polling places on November 8 to cast their votes.”

NaFFAA Regional Chair Myrna Farinas Reyes of San Diego, CA. is calling on the community to “come together and demonstrate our collective strength as an influential voting bloc. Let us proudly and unequivocally assert ‘I am a Filipino American Voter.’”

There will be a launch of the Fil-Am Vote campaign on February 27 at University Academy Charter High School at 275 West Side Avenue in Jersey City, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event is organized by PAFCOM.

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