• Activists denounce all U.S. wars • Catch flick in Jersey theater • A busy week for new ambassador

Yves Nibungco of the Anakbayan Filipino Youth Group

FilAm activists formed part of the Asian American contingent during the April 9, 2011 United National Anti-war Coalition mobilization at Union Square. Demonstrators called for an immediate end to U.S. wars in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world, as well as a reallocation of public funds towards public services, such as health care, education, housing and employment.

Members of Bayan USA joined Korean Americans and other Asian Pacific Islanders in the march. They drew attention to U.S. military strategy in Asia.

Gary Labao of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) said it’s important for progressive Filipinos in the U.S. to keep “bringing up the Philippine situation to the public conversation of the U.S. anti-war movement.” He was referring to the deployment of 3000 U.S. troops to the Philippines as part of the U.S.-R.P. Balikatan Joint Military exercises. Balikatan falls under the bilateral military treaty known as the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“Under the unequal VFA, the entire Philippines is virtually one big permanent U.S. military base. It’s a violent assault and trampling of Philippine national sovereignty for the benefit only of US interests,” Labao said. “The Filipino people have gained nothing from U.S. military presence in the country but suffering from countless rapes, indiscriminate killings, disease, displacement, and even toxic waste.”

Bayan USA was joined by members of the Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. A similar rally was held in San Francisco.


The Sarah Geronimo-Gerald Anderson starrer, “Catch Me… I’m In Love,” is now playing till April 21 at the Clearview Bergenfield Cinemas in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

The movie drew record crowds, according to an ABS-CBN statement, raking in P89.73 million in less than two weeks. A modern Cinderella story, the plot revolves around the unlikely romance between a social worker played by Sarah and the spoiled, mysterious playboy and only son of the country’s president played by Gerald. Joining them are Christopher de Leon, Dawn Zulueta, Joey Marquez, Ketsup Eusebio, Arlene Muhlach, Sam Pinto, Janus del Prado and up-and-coming teen idol Matteo Guidicelli, among others. At the helm is Mae Czarina Cruz.
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. led the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) April 8, to remember the Fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942. A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Bataan marker of the World War II Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He extolled the valor and gallantry of the defenders of Bataan and the sacrifices of the Filipino and American veterans of World War II. In attendance were five veterans Angelino Tugado, Jesse Baltazar, Celestino Almeda, Rudy Panaglima and Ray Cabacar.

Earlier, the new envoy met with consuls general, trade and tourism attachés representing eight Philippine Foreign Service posts in the U.S., to set the country’s diplomatic agenda for the rest of the year. Cuisia mapped out areas in Philippine-American relations where progress can be achieved. He also conveyed the directives of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario in moving the bilateral relationship forward.

Cuisia (third from right) with Chicaco PCG Trade Representative Glenn Peñaranda, Chicaco PCG Tourism Representative Vernie Morales, Los Angeles PCG Consul General Mary Jo Aragon, San Francisco PCG Consul General Marciano Paynor Jr., Los Angeles PCG Trade Representative Archie Gomez, Honolulu PCG Consul General Leoncio Cardenas, Saipan PCG Consul General Medardo Macaraig, New York PCG Tourism Representative Emma Ruth Yulo, Washington DC PE Consul General Domingo Nolasco, Chicago PCG Consul General Leo Herrera Lim, New York PCG Consul General Mario de Leon and Agana PCG Consul General Bayani Mercado

On April 11, Cuisia hosted a reception for the Rotary Districts of Long Island for giving recognition to the Philippines as the birthplace of the Rotary’s Polio Plus Program, a global initiative to eradicate polio. He expressed his gratitude to the Rotary for the honor: “We take pride in the fact that through an idea which came from the Philippines, Rotary launched a global initiative to eliminate polio and continues to work hard to ensure that the job will be completed.”

Polio Plus, known as the Rotary’s greatest humanitarian program, traces its roots in the Philippines when Filipino Rotarian Dr. Benny Santos sought the help of Rotary International in the efforts to eradicate polio in the Philippines. The Rotary then launched a global campaign and since 1986, more than two billion children have been inoculated by the polio vaccine.
An outreach team, led by Deputy Consul General Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, was in Stratford, New Jersey on March 26 to offer consular services, such as the processing of passport applications. A separate outreach team, headed by Consul General Mario de Leon, was at Milford, Connecticut on April 2. He administered the oath of Allegiance to 17 applicants for dual citizenship. The team completed 66 transactions in Connecticut.

Two more scheduled visits by consular outreach are listed below:

May 7
Needham, Massachusetts – Pamana, Inc.
VFW Post 2498, #20 Junction Street, Needham, MA 02492
Contact: Bill Solar at 781-329-8214; Frank Celoza at 617-755-3948; Rudy Hermosa at 781-326-1103

May 21
New London, Connecticut – New England Filipino American Association, Inc.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1650 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT 06335
Contact: Nity Oris at 860-464-231

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