Wednesday, November 28, 2007


It was very cold in Hollywood last night but at Black Eyed Peas''s birthday show at the Vanguard, the atmosphere was warm and fuzzy.

His celebrity guests, including, Taboo, American Idol's AJ Tabaldo and Camille Velasco, Bai Ling, among others, praised the purpose of the event. All the proceeds of the show will go to Asian charitable organizations, including the Philippines.

"All I want for my birthday is for people to help me give more help to our kababayans back home," Apl said at his birthday bash/A.P.L. benefit show.

The Black Eyed Peas Peapod Foundation presented the event. The mission of Apl's organization - A.P.L. or Allan Pineda Lindo - is to provide material, educational and monetary assistance to specific charities in Asia, including the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and Angeles University Foundation, among others. The objective of A.P.L. is to provide the tools for empowerment, progress and self-reliance for underprivileged and marginalized Asian communities.

Apl's best friend and BEP co-founding member had one major wish for the birthday boy.

"I want him to be the president of the Philippines," said

Watch out for my interview with Apl on Balitang America this week.


Ever heard of Jazzipino? Go to the 3rd Annual Fil-Am JazzFest and find out what it's all about.

Jazzipino's creator, the lovely and talented Charmaine Clamor, who's also the first Filipina vocalist ever to have an album simultaneously on both the JazzWeek Traditional Jazz and World Music charts, will be one of the headliners at the 3rd Annual Fil-Am JazzFest, presented by ABS-CBN.

Charmaine Clamor, who has received international acclaim for blending American jazz and blues with the languages and melodies of the Philippines, will perform December 7-9, at Catalina Bar & Grill Jazz Club, in Hollywood. Critics across America have praised Clamor for bringing the music of her birth country to a mainstream audience. Her current CD, "Flippin' Out," has been heard on more than 200 radio stations in the United States and Canada and has been on the World Music Charts for an unprecedented 14 weeks. Following an appearance this month on NPR's "Weekend Edition," her acclaimed album peaked at #2 on the World Music Charts.

"I'm obviously very proud of my Filipino roots," said Clamor. "And I'm even more proud to share the stage with some of the greatest musical artists our community has ever produced."

Clamor's smash radio hit, "My Funny Brown Pinay," a reworking of the popular American standard "My Funny Valentine," has been one of the most played songs on Los Angeles jazz radio stations KKJZ 88.1FM and KCRW. She is famous for taking beloved kundiman and harana songs, like "Dahil Sa Yo," "Hindi Kita Malimot," and "Minamahal Kita" and giving them a jazzy flavor. The resulting blend is called "jazzipino."

Clamor will be joined by Filipino jazz luminaries from around the globe, including Toti Fuentes, the legendary pianist from Sergio Mendes Brazil 66; Mon David, the first Filipino to win the London Vocal Jazz Competition; and Abe Lagrimas, Hawaii's renowned ukulele virtuoso.

What: 3rd Annual Fil-Am JazzFest presented by ABS-CBN
When: December 7-9; shows at 8 & 10PM; 7PM on Sunday
Where: Catalina Bar & Grill Jazz Club
6725 Sunset Blvd. (at McCadden), Hollywood 90028
How Much: $20-35, plus drinks or dinner
Tickets and information are available at:


Kung kailangan ninyo ng legal advice about immigration matters, here's a chance to talk to immigration lawyers for free.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the Southern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will host a free immigration clinic TODAY, November 28, 2007 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. The event will be held at APALC, 1145 Wilshire Blvd. , 2nd Flr., Los Angeles , CA 90017 .

“The clinic offers people a chance to get accurate, up-to-date information and sound advice about green cards, visas, citizenship, etc.,” said Mark Yoshida, APALC staff attorney.
At the clinic, attendees will be able to discuss their immigration concerns with experienced attorneys, who are providing their assistance at no charge.

“We are fortunate to have attorneys from AILA Southern California volunteer for this program,” said Yoshida. “They bring the expertise immigrants often need to resolve their legal issues.”

Appointments are strongly encouraged; attendees without appointments may have to wait to talk with an attorney or be rescheduled for another clinic. Attendees should bring all records and documents relating to their immigration status.

For more information about the workshop or to schedule an appointment, call APALC at (213)977-7500 (English).


The Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) of Los Angeles once again joins the Asian Pacific American Legal Center , other local Asian Pacific American bar associations, APEX, and other APA community groups for our 8th Annual Holiday Toy Drive and Networking Reception, to be held on Thursday, December 6, 2007, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Holiday Toy Drive and Networking Reception will take place at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, 1145 Wilshire Boulevard (corner of Lucas Avenue), in downtown Los Angeles. PABA has selected Search To Involve Pilipino Americans as its beneficiary to receive toys from this event.

There will be a Raffle for a Pair of Round-trip Tickets to Anywhere Southwest Airlines Flies. Raffle tickets are $5.00 a ticket or 5 tickets for $20.00.

All proceeds will go toward the purchase of new toys for recipient organizations. Winner need not be present to win. Call APALC at (213) 977-7500 x 201 to purchase raffle tickets in advance.

Admission is $15 or a new, unwrapped toy with a value of at least $15, which will be donated to one of several APA charities for their respective holiday gift-giving programs. To volunteer or for more information about becoming a Toy Sponsor, please contact Cecilia Amo at

Monday, November 26, 2007


While we're celebrating Thanksgiving here, sadly, a lot of our kababayans back home are experiencing extreme hardships due to Typhoon Mitag. It has killed at least ten people, according to latest reports.

Mitag pounded the northern city of Tuguegarao on the main island of Luzon, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, knocking out power lines and causing widespread flooding, reports said.

Another tropical storm, Hagibis, hit Palawan, where officials said a Philippine air force plane went missing while looking for 25 crewmen of a Filipino fishing boat that was sunk by the storm last week.

[photo of Albay province evacuees:]

Gov. Schwarzenegger Appoints Pinoy; Announces Plans to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has recently appointed a Filipino to a state agency that manages programs and initiatives to increase the number of Californians involved with service and volunteering.

Michael Balaoing, 39, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission. He has served on the commission since 2000. Balaoing has worked for the Entertainment Industry Foundation since 2002, where he currently serves as senior vice president. He previously served as program director for the California Wellness Foundation from 1996 to 2002. Balaoing is chair of the board for the Liberty Hill Foundation. He also serves as board secretary for the Council on Foundations and the Ayala Foundation USA . This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Balaoing is a Democrat.

Schwarzenegger also recently announced a program to help residents affected by the mortgage crisis. Here's the press release:

Gov. Schwarzenegger Works with Lenders to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure; California 's Foreclosure Rate Twice the National Average

With California impacted more than any other state by the national home foreclosure crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with loan servicers from Countrywide, GMAC, Litton and HomeEq to agree to streamline "fast-track" procedures to help keep more subprime borrowers in their homes. Together these four enterprises service more than 25 percent of issued subprime mortgage loans.

"With this type of cooperation from loan servicers, we can save tens of thousands of people from being added to the foreclosure lists. This common-sense approach does not involve a government subsidy or bailout," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Borrowers need to do their part too. If these lenders are willing to meet more than halfway, it's important that consumers don't run when they reach out. It was a two-way street that got us into this mess and it will be a two-way street that gets us out."

The agreement the Governor negotiated with lenders builds off a proposal put forward by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair that encourages lending agencies to keep subprime mortgage borrowers at their initial interest rate if they are living in their home, making timely payments, but can't afford the loan "re-set"--or jump to a higher rate. A half million Californians have subprime loans that will jump to higher rates in the next two years. Bair's proposal has been endorsed by the newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times as well as public and community leaders. Governor Schwarzenegger is the first to spur servicers to publicly commit to modifying loans in a streamlined and scalable manner.

Schwarzenegger also announced additional steps the state is taking to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Through a statewide outreach campaign, which will include public service announcements, the Governor will help reinforce the importance for consumers to reach out to their lender if they are at risk of foreclosure. The Governor will also continue to lobby
Congress to raise federal loan limits so that more California families can take advantage of these secure products, rather than relying on subprime loans.

"Losing your home in a foreclosure is an emotional crash that can take years to recover from, but we don't have to sit idly by and watch the American dream turn into the American nightmare. We must take steps at both the state and federal level to make sure future mortgages are on more sound economic footing. In the meantime, by working together, we can protect the American dream and our economy without hurting the American taxpayer," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Seven of the top sixteen metropolitan areas with the highest rates of foreclosures in the nation are in California ,
according to the latest data from RealtyTrac. In the Stockton , Riverside/San Bernardino, Sacramento , Bakersfield , Oakland , Fresno and San Diego metropolitan areas, there was an average rate of approximately one foreclosure filing for every sixty households in the last quarter. The Governor made his announcement this morning at a meeting with San Joaquin Valley elected, business and community leaders in Fresno , which ranked 13 on the list.

This year,
Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation to increase protections for Californians who own or plan to purchase homes and to expand affordable housing opportunities. The Governor has also pledged to work with lawmakers in the coming year to take additional steps to protect homebuyers.
Earlier this year, the Governor directed his Cabinet to form the Interdepartmental Task Force on Non-Traditional Mortgages. California was one of the first states in the nation to form a task force to examine the alarming developments in the non-traditional mortgage market. The task force consists of leadership from two agencies and seven departments responsible for all aspects of this complex issue.
In September, the Governor made $1.16 million in Community Development Block Grant funds available to counties for consumer counseling and urged Congress to provide more funding for these programs in California.

The following additional resources are available for homeowners:
· The "HOPE Hotline" (1-888-995-HOPE or, which provides free mortgage counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

· A website with helpful information for prospective homebuyers, as well as homeowners who are experiencing difficulty in keeping payments current: and the Spanish language version:

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here's Christine Pechera's latest public service announcement. It chronicles this remarkable Pinay's courage and eventual victory over cancer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ASK A KABABAYAN: Small Claims Court

"Naloko ako. It's for a small amount but I don't want others to be victimized so I want to sue this person. May nagsabi sa akin about Small Claims Court. Ano ba yon?"

I know how you feel. The moment after you've realized na nagoyo ka by a person you trust can be devastating and incredibly frustrating. Con artists have been around since the beginning of time, unfortunately. Pero somehow, mas nakakainis when it's perpetrated by a kababayan, ano?

You can either chalk it all up to experience and say, "It's only money. I can earn it back."

Or you can sue through the Small Claims Court, and yell (like that mad woman in the picture), "No, it's not fair! I will make him/her/it pay!"

Small Claims Court is the place where regular guys like you and I can have their day in court, without a lawyer at our side, to present our case.

The fee to file a claim is from $30 to $100, depending on your situation.
The maximum award varies widely by state and jurisdiction. In California, it is $7,500.

Before pursuing the matter in court, be sure to write a "demand letter" first to the other party, setting forth the payment you expect. Mention that you will go to court if the other side does not come through.

Now, here are the caveats and things to consider before filing a claim:
- There is also a statute of limitations or time limit during which claims can be filed.
- If you win a settlement, the court doesn't collect the money for you.
- Tingnan mong maige what are the odds of collecting the judgment based on the debtor's ability and willingness to pay. Baka mamroblema ka kung yung defendants ay chronically unemployed, ang business nila ay unlicensed o wala silang assets of value.
Here are some more helpful info from an L.A. Times article written by H. May Spitz: "How much should you sue for? In Ralph Warner's book Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California, a chapter is dedicated to this important question. The amount varies based on the type of case. Do some research on the subject, since excessive claims may anger the judge. When getting ready for trial, organizing your evidence is particularly important. Photographs, receipts, bills and contracts or leases are important building blocks in establishing your viewpoint. Keep in mind you won't have lots of time to present your case; most folks are only given 10 to 15 minutes to state the situation, including presenting evidence. Be prepared to give specific dates for any details involved. Don't underestimate the importance of dressing appropriately. Although there is no formal dress code per se, the court is not a day at the beach or cocktail party. Don't expect witnesses to always be called. It can't hurt to bring the kind neighbor who saw the tidy apartment you claim to have left, but there may not be time after evidence is presented to question the person. Once both sides have presented their case, verdicts are either rendered on the spot or mailed within a few weeks."

For consumers in California, here are sites where you can get more information:

Monday, November 19, 2007


O.C. fans and residents, rejoice.

A new FBI study found that Orange County's Mission Viejo is the safest city in America.

Five other Southern California cities - Lake Forest, Irvine, Thousand Oaks, Chino Hills and Glendale - made it in the top 20 safest cities list.

The rankings are contained in the 14th edition of "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America," published by Washington-based CQ Press

They are based on statistics for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and vehicle theft and include about 400 cities of at least 75,000 residents that reported crime data to the FBI.

Two Northern California cities were among those named in the top 10 least safe: Oakland and Richmond.

In order of being least safe, here are the cities' rankings:
Detroit was the least safe city, followed by St. Louis, Mo, Flint, Mich., Oakland; Camden, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; North Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Calif.; and Cleveland. Compton, Calif. was ranked 14th least safe.


He is a 54-year-old doctor, she runs a grocery store and bakery in central Pennsylvania.

They have been Americans for two decades. Their children were U.S.-born and -educated.

But the day after Thanksgiving, they are scheduled to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to start their deportation proceedings.

This is the life-changing dilemma being faced by Pedro and Salvacion Servano. They are, by reported accounts, model U.S. residents since arriving from the Philippines in the 1980s.

Their problem stemmed from a mistake in their visa application 17 years ago. They started the application process as single but by the time their visas were approved, they have gotten married. They didn't correct their status. It was a simple oversight, they contend.

"We love this country and this is our American dream to be here," Salvacion Servano said to AP reporter Genaro C. Armas. "We've been here for 25 years. This is our home."

Many people are appealing to the government to give the Servanos a chance, arguing that they do not fit the profile of the demonized image of deportable immigrants. Even a Department of Homeland Security official has publicly signified his support to the couple.

"I fervently believe in the ICE mission. However, the Servanos did not sneak into this country illegally, they have broken no laws, and they have not been a burden to the economy. They pose no threat. I cannot fathom how deporting the Servanos fulfills any portion of the ICE mission. In fact, I would argue the action runs counter to it," DHS counterterrorism operative Bill Schweigart wrote in a published letter.
-Yong B. Chavez,

[PHOTO: The Patriot-News]
Thanks to Art Pacho for the news tip.

Balitang America's Newsmaker of the Year

The story that I did about Senator Francis Pangilinan (and Pinoy overseas voting) made him a finalist for The Filipino Channel-Balitang America's Newsmaker of the Year search.

To see the report, click on the link below, scroll down to find Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, then click on video:

To vote by text or e-mail, find the phone number and e-mail address info at the bottom of the page in that link.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Filipino photojournalist Luis Sinco wrote this poignant piece for the Los Angeles Times where he works. It is a must-read.

Sinco is known as a great photographer; this article shows he's a brilliant writer as well.

In 2004, while embedded in Fallouja, he took a picture of Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller [below].

That image, dubbed as "Marlboro Marine", made Miller famous and Sinco a Pulitzer finalist.

But their intertwined lives didn't end when they went home.

The article deftly shows what war does to young soldiers and to the people who care about them.
[Miller's photo from; Sinco's photo from]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Rex Hermogino, Yahoo's talent show champion, scored another picture-perfect win.

The San Diego native won the grand prize of a Vespa GTS 250 in the user-generated video contest. More than 100 original videos competed for the prizes.

Piaggio Group Americas, Inc. conducted a two-month contest, the “Go Green Vespa Video Challenge,” in which Vespa scooter owners and fans of Vespa were encouraged to develop creative videos that demonstrate their devotion for Vespa scooters and brand.

Below is Rex's award-winning Vespa video. To see and hear Rex's catchy song "Love On the Internet," click here, choose Video and then choose the song.

Here's the report I did about Rex last year when he won the Yahoo contest:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"At a Pinoy store I go to, the credit card receipt they give me shows my whole card number. Okey lang ba ito?"

No, it's not okay because there are two vital things that ID thieves can get from those receipts. Your name and the numbers can equal to unauthorized credit card charges.

It is a very unsafe practice, and illegal, too.

You should tell that store's manager or owner that since Dec. 1, 2006, all businesses in the U.S. have been required to show only the last 5 digits of a credit card number or the expiration date on receipts on electronically created receipts, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Due to escalating ID theft cases, Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act which deals with this thing. Baka di lang informed yung store, so let them know na bawal na ito.

The rules don't apply to handwritten or "imprinted" receipts, which are created when your plastic card is placed into a device used to physically transfer its numbers to a paper receipt, and the law applies only to electronically printed receipts, not to handwritten ones. It applies to the receipts the customer is given, not to the receipts the businesses retain for their own records.

Businesses who disobey are risking FTC civil actions and fines by refusing to comply with the law. Anyone can file a complaint by visiting the FTC website or calling the agency's toll-free number, (877) FTC-HELP, or (877) 382-4357.

Monday, November 5, 2007

BLAZING STORIES: Hope from the Ashes

How do you recover from losing everything you worked your whole life for?

If you are John Rodrigo, you try to move on with grace and hope.

The former U.S. Navy diesel mechanic and instructor worked hard for 20 years to realize his American dream: to be able to build a home and provide security for his family.

It took a while but through backbreaking effort and perseverance that Filipinos are world-famous for, the devoted husband and father was able to do just that.

But in just one day, Mother Nature intervened and burned down his dream.

Ramona residents John Rodrigo, 61, and Jeanette Rodrigo, 62, and their grownup children lost three houses, several cars and a lifetime's worth of possessions amounting to more than 2 million dollars to the devastating Witch Fire which burned 195,000 acres in San Diego County. The fire gutted over 640 homes, damaged 250, and injured many firefighters. Heavy Santa Ana winds knocked down power lines causing the fires, according to reports.

"My children were asking me, 'What are we going to do now?' Rodrigo said.

The houses of the Rodrigo children were gifts from their parents.

"Those houses, masakit talaga na nawala kasi 'yun ang pamana ko sa kanila eh. Di bale na sana kami ng asawa ko, kaso yung mga anak ko tsaka yung mga apo ko, kawawa naman, nawalan ng bahay."

What's worse, the two houses did not have fire insurance. It was their worst-case scenario realized: They couldn't get coverage for the 24 acre-farm due to a lack of fire hydrant.

"Wala sa water district eh so we have our own water well," he said.

Rodrigo's property was full of fruit-bearing trees, a barn, lots of farm animals, and wide-open spaces where his children grew up. He said he is sad that his grandchildren won't be able to enjoy their place the way they used to.

When I spoke with Rodrigo a few days after the fire, he was at a doctor's clinic, getting his wife's blood pressure checked.

"Na-high blood ang misis ko dahil sa nangyari eh," he said.

"But I told my family that we have to move forward," he said. "We have a lot to do. We can't keep thinking backwards. I'm hoping for the best."

"Pasalamat ko lang sa Diyos, walang nasaktan sa amin," he said. "We'll be okay."

Below is his account of how this tragedy changed their lives forever.
–Yong B. Chavez,

"Matagal na kami sa Amerika, yung misis ko, 1961 pa. Dati syang nurse sa Long Beach, ako naman nasa US Navy, 20 years ako doon.

We bought the land in 1976. Ako mismo ang nagtayo ng bahay namin. Bumili ako ng sarili kong gamit, even a bulldozer, at meron din akong kaibigan sa construction na tumulong sa akin.

In 1978, finally natapos na magawa ang bahay namin. It was on a 3,000 square feet land with 3 bedrooms, a second floor, and a full basement.

Blood, sweat and tears talaga pero sulit naman. It was a very nice place, very peaceful. We had all kinds of animals and fruits. My two kids grew up here.

Even if they have left to live on their own, they still lived near us. We gave them their houses: one has 2 bedrooms, the other has 3 bedrooms.

I'm retired, and my hobby is taking care of and fixing antique cars: a GTO 1970 and a Jeepster 1941.

We haven't experienced a fire before so when it happened, we were really surprised.

My son called me, sabi nya: "Dad, I think the fire is coming so I'll move the truck and then I'll come back."

However, once he left he was not allowed to come back anymore. Too risky daw. Sayang, kung pinabalik sya, we would have time to save the antique cars and other things.

But the fire was so fast. My wife and I evacuated as fast as we can.

Later on, we found out that all of the houses were gone.

Masakit talaga. Nawala ang bahay namin, ang mga tools ko, ang mga kotse namin, all of our trees, gone.

Pati yung mga wedding pictures namin at saka yung mga pictures ng mga apo ko, nasunog lahat. We were able to save our house deed pero yun naman we could have gotten a copy even if the original burned.

The other day was the first time I returned to the house. I knew what to expect already so I prepared myself before we went. I have to accept it. Mother Nature ang dahilan eh, so there's nothing I can do about it.

We were told not to touch anything. The water line was contaminated so I had our well repaired so that there will be good water available for our area. My neighbors also lost their houses. Only three homes were spared.

Our insurance guy is coming soon. I have to prepare a list of what we lost. It will be a long list.

Right now, we're staying at a friend's house. Another friend has lent us their RV. But after the insurance talk, I told my wife we have to look for a place to rent already.

We lost our house and we lost our sense of security. I really feel bad for our children, but I have hope that everything will still be all right."
-John Rodrigo, Ramona, Calif.

Two Pinoys' Reactions
"What we learned from this disaster"

By Yong B. Chavez,

A family close to Beth Tagle - Leo and Juliet Pastor of Rancho Bernardo in San Diego - lost their beloved house to the fires. The Pastors are one of the original residents of Azucar Way, a once pristine hillside community where a ravenous fire leaped over a hill and consumed half a dozen houses in its wake.

"We were not able to visit them because [officials] won't let anyone in the area for security reasons. The smell of gas, smoke, and electric cables are still in the air and on the ground. They are still in shock and are not yet ready to face anyone. They are too hurt and devastated," Tagle wrote a few days after the Pastors' house burned down.

"They didn't have a chance to save anything except for some legal documents, everything else turned into ashes. It was 4 a.m. when a neighbor called them and woke them up to tell them they had to evacuate because a neighbor's house was already burning. They were in their pajamas so they panicked and just got some legal papers and drove their two cars out of there.

They were not able to save their wedding pictures nor the baby pictures of their two grownup children. Not her favorite dress nor favorite nightgown. All the memories of their almost 40 years of marriage are gone.

They are going to start all over again just like the first day they set foot in America more than 40 years ago."

From the Pastors' experience, Tagle, who's from Chino Hills, Calif., learned a valuable lesson:

"In just a moment, people's lives can change forever... Make everyday special, do not save anything that you like in your closet: Use it, wear it, or give it away. Let someone else be helped by it. Be always prepared by preparing ourselves spiritually so that we will always be ready to face God. We don't know when our time will come, who's next and what's next."


Jon dela Cruz resides in Northern California, far, far away from experiencing first-hand the treachery of the Santa Ana winds whose fury fanned and transported embers, resulting in one of Southern California's most fiery days, but he felt immediate kinship and sympathy for everyone whose lives were turned upside down by the blaze.

"What a difference a week makes. One previous Saturday most people from Southern California, especially San Diego area, did what they usually do on a lazy weekend: kicked-back, relaxed, ate breakfast with their families, walked the dog, jogged by the seaside, washed their cars, watched a movie.

The next weekend, many of them woke-up and saw what was once their sanctuary: charred ruins of their homes underneath smoldering pile of ashes.

To most, the only thing they could keep were the memories. On TV, as I watched the news, the only structure you can see standing on some of the burned-down homes were the fireplaces: a special part of the home to warm themselves on a chilly winter and bond with friends and families through - what else (as Pinoys) - karaoke sessions.

This is a grim reminder that material possessions can be taken from us in a flash.

Others may contend that these earthly possessions are theirs to keep for good. Not! These are just a loaners from up above.

To the ones whose homes were spared: We pray that the Lord continue to blanket them to safety.

To the families whose homes were burned to the ground: We pray to the Lord that they will be showered with comfort and relieve them with their pains, anxiety and sufferings. We pray that they will be given the strength as they start rebuilding their lives again."

[photo: LA]

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Action Agad from the Philippine Consulate

Responding to the community's need during the wildfire crisis, the Philippine Consulate of Los Angeles quickly sent a team led by Vice Consul Jim San Agustin to San Diego to find out where and how they could help Filipinos affected by the disaster.

While visiting the evacuation center, they met with Filipino community leaders and offered the Consulate's assistance in acting as a "clearing house for disaster relief and coordination."

The consular team was happy to know that the Filipinos affected by the disaster were getting the help through FEMA and other organizations, but they worried that there might be Filipino fire victims who were afraid or ashamed to come forward.
Not everyone might be able to get any help through traditional sources so the Philippine Consulate wanted to spread the word that all fire victims can contact the Consulate to see what type of assistance they can render.

"Major concerns are elderly, those with disability, and undocumented workers. These people may not know how to access assistance, are ineligible for assistance or have difficulties accessing assistance (language, sense of intimidation, hiya, etc.)," wrote Vice Consul Ed Yulo, who led the Philippine Consulate team when Katrina hit.

Any assistance from the community need not be coursed through the Consulate but they encourage everyone to give in any way they can in any form or manner.

Fire victims who have lost their documents, particularly for passports, can be assured of immediate assistance on this matter.

Filipinos affected by the fires may call 213-268-9990.

The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles wishes to remind Filipino associations to refrain from mentioning the Philippine Consulate General as an organizer or sponsor of fundraising activities in view of existing Philippine government regulations prohibiting Philippine foreign service posts from soliciting funds from the public in any form. Promotion materials, posters or fliers bearing the name of the Philippine Consulate General must have prior written consent from the Consul General prior to printing or distribution. However, the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles can assist Filipino organizations involved in disaster relief activities in terms of facilitating the flow of relief goods and resources, recommending appropriate forms of assistance to recipient organizations, matching the resources of donors to the requirements of identified recipient agencies, and disseminating vital information during emergency situations.
[photo: Philippine Consulate website]