Saturday, November 28, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
The worst flooding the Philippines ever experienced in 40 years occurred this past week.
Many of us abroad have a love/hate relationship with our native country. There's no question: we love the people and our family there, the food, the place we grew up in. But we are often exasperated by some government officials and a few of the negative attitude and lack of discipline among kababayans.
Here are the facts: There are almost 300 dead; 500 thousand Filipinos are left homeless. Lots of our kababayans were trapped on the roofs for hours: wet, sick, hungry, helpless. People are still missing. Many are still suffering. Rescue is slow. Food and clothing and monetary donations are desperately needed.
There's a sliver of light at the end of this tunnel: Our collective spirit of Bayanihan rose amidst the tragedy. Kababayans and other generous people all over the world are giving and pledging help.
How/where to give help:
4.) TXTPower.org Inc
added info 9/28/09:
Account Name: BAYAN-USA
Account Number: 340-209749-3
If you have any question, contact Ramiro at email@example.com
added info 9/28/09:
added info 9/29/09
I WILL UPDATE THIS LIST AS INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE OR NEED MORE INFORMATION. -Yong
Native to the Philippines, Apl.de.Ap Requests Global Support
to Assist Thousands Displaced
Los Angeles, Calif., (September 27, 2009) Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas and founder of Jeepney Music pledges immediate aid and asks people from around the world to assist the thousands affected by the typhoon that swept through Manila. Apl, a native to the Philippines and the creative ambassador to country, requests those interested in helping victims to donate through the Apl Foundation relief fund by logging onto www.jeepneymusic.com.
Apl.de.Ap says, “My heart is broken to see so many of my Filipino brothers and sisters hurt by this disaster. We must all bond together and move forward to restore the city we hold dear. I’m asking the global community for their support and donations to assist the thousands of Filipinos affected by this tragedy.”
Alia Mahi Henson
Exposure Public Relations
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
This is an issue that will affect most if not all of us, and so we should take the time to learn the facts. Dito na po tayo nakatira sa Amerika kaya dapat lang na sumali tayo at pag-aralan ang anumang bagay na makakaapekto sa buhay natin dito.
As you (should) know, President Barack Obama’s endorsed healthcare reform bill include extending insurance to all Americans - but there will be no health insurance Federal aid to undocumented immigrants. ERs will still be obligated to treat all patients, including TNTs - this is not a new procedure. That system has been in place in previous administrations. It's a legal (and moral) obligation of U.S. hospitals and their staff.
Question: Where do most people in America get their insurance now?
Answer: An estimated 253.4 million people had coverage in 2007, according to the most recent analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau. The majority of those had private insurance, most of it obtained through an employer. Eighty-three million people got health insurance from the government through Medicare, Medicaid or some other program such as the Veterans Health Administration.
Q: How many people don’t have coverage?
A: The Census Bureau estimated that 45.7 million people in the country under age 65 did not have insurance in 2007. (Most discussions focus on those under 65 because senior citizens have access to Medicare.)
Many experts believe that the number of uninsured is higher now, perhaps more than 47 million, because so many people have lost coverage in the economic downtown. Even more people may go without coverage for a time as a result of changing jobs, leaving school or some other event. An analysis by the consumer group Families USA estimated that about 64.5 million people were uninsured for at least six months in 2007 and 2008. The majority of the uninsured, more than eight in 10, are in working families.
Q: Can any of the uninsured afford coverage?
A: Probably. Many younger people and healthy people choose not to get coverage. Some 4.5 million of the uninsured make at least four times the federal poverty level — or $43,320 a year for an individual and $88,200 for a family of four — according to an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute. The analysis estimated that 15 million of the uninsured are below the federal poverty line of $10,830 for an individual and $22,050 for a family of four.
Q: Couldn’t those people qualify for government assistance?
A: Many probably could. One of the challenges that has confounded policymakers is how to get more poor people to sign up for aid. Congressional Democrats pushing health care legislation want to expand eligibility for Medicaid — the federal-state health insurance program for the poor — and ramp up outreach efforts.
Q: How many of the uninsured are undocumented immigrants?
A: As many as 7 million. An additional 3 million are legal immigrants, according to the U.S. Census.
Q: Will all of the people without insurance be covered under plans being developed in Congress?
A: Not all of them. The bills written by senior House Democrats and by the Senate health committee would explicitly prohibit undocumented immigrants from getting federal aid for health insurance. Although all the major proposals would require everyone to get health insurance, millions of people are expected to not sign up.
Under the House bill, the percentage of people with coverage (excluding undocumented immigrants) is expected to go from about 83 percent in 2010 to 97 percent in 2019, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which is charged with analyzing the cost and impact of proposed legislation. The Senate health bill would boost the coverage rate to 90 percent.
Q: Where will people be getting their health insurance if the bill succeeds?
A: The CBO estimated that in 10 years, most Americans under 65 will get private insurance though their employers. In fact, the number of people with employer-based coverage is expected to grow.
As many as 30 million people would get their insurance through exchanges created by the legislation. These new, highly regulated marketplaces would offer people a choice of health plans provided by private insurers and the government. Of those in the exchanges, fewer than 11 million are expected to get their insurance from the government plan, according to CBO.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
If you get a call from someone saying that they are debt collectors from “Financial Accountability Association” or the “Federal Legislation of Unsecured Loans", the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says that you take extreme caution before you deal with them - even if they rattle off your personal information to get you to believe that they are legit.
Debt collector scammers might have your Social Security and bank account numbers, home addresses, driver's license numbers, employer information, and even the names of personal friends and professional references. They will mention them when the call you.
“Because the scammers have so much information about potential victims, BBB is concerned that this may be the result of a data breach,” said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson, said in a press release.
The organization recently issued a national alert about calls coming from lawyers claiming to be from those two companies.
These callers say that the consumer has defaulted on a payday loan and will be sued and immediately arrested and extradited to California to stand trial unless as much as $1,000 is wired. They will ask for bank account or credit card numbers if you say you can't wire the money.
According to complaints online, phone numbers that the scammers are calling from include: 949-468-5107, 415-200-0274, 415-200-0274, 213-784-5745, 408-715-1614 and many others.
More info from the Better Business Bureau website
What to do consumers receive a suspicious telephone call about an outstanding debt:
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I update it daily (as of now) and I often mention the stories I'm currently working on.
This week, I'm doing a story on Sharon Anne Santos' case. It's become a cold case, unfortunately, and her family is still seeking justice for her death 5 years after. Watch for my story on Balitang America.
Next week, I will cover the Joseph Ileto 10th year memorial service.
After my run of fun features, it's a bit jarring to jump into serious stories again but it's important to tell these stories. As a community reporter, that's my primary responsibility.
But, I hope to do more features again soon. I'm going to pitch a number of fun interviews again and hopefully they'll get approved.
I might also be doing a regular series dealing with consumer advocacy. It's a project close to my heart. I hate scammers and wish to be able to warn and help our kababayans deal with them. More on that later this week.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
By Yong B. Chavez
"K. O. T. S. Kim Owns The Stage." That's what Kim Molina says to herself over and over again to conquer her stage fright before she sings. Last week in Hollywood, she did own the stage. The 18-year-old music student was World Championships of Performing Arts senior vocals gold champion. The annual competition attracts talents all over the world each year. Performers compete all week in elimination rounds as the best contestants move on to the finals.
The daughter of Saudi Arabia overseas foreign workers (OFWs) took the grand prize in her category by singing "New York, New York," a song she learned only a week before her performance.
"I don't even know the lyrics to the whole song. I just learned one minute of it," she says.
She was the lone contestant from Saudi Arabia, although the Philippine team fielded 20 contestants. In the end, Filipino singers got 25 golds in different categories. Rhap Salazar was the biggest winner, taking home the Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World prize.
Molina's voice has attracted talent scouts and has people calling her the next Charice Pempengco.
"Parang I'm still floating actually, I don't know what's happening now but I'm really thankful to God for everything, for all the blessings. Just really thankful," Molina says.
She almost didn't make it to the competition because the trip to the U.S. was expensive. But through the support of OFWs in the Middle East where she sang at fundraising shows prior to her departure, she was able to go.
Watch TFC's "Balitang America" tonight for my full story on Kim's victory.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
By Yong B. Chavez
Two years ago, I wrote a story about Meraly, the brave, funny and adorable girl who needed a heart surgery to save her life. Many responded with help and Meraly got her operation and a new life.
I wrote this letter to ask for your support to our only daughter Janine Marie Victoria. My daughter Janine was born with a life threatening disease called “Biliary Atresia” . It is a congenital condition characterized by the absence or closure of the bile ducts that drain bile from the liver. Biliary Atresia is a progressive inflammatory process that begins very soon after birth. In Janine’s case, she was diagnosed initially with Neonatal Hepatitis at 2 1/2 months and after two weeks of medication nothing changes with her color and stool that make her paediatrician decided to have another biopsy, eventually it turned out to be Biliary Atresia. During that time, there was already a significant amount of damage to her liver. White blood cells invaded the ducts, which became damaged or closed completely, bile was then trapped inside the liver and rapidly caused liver cirrhosis.
An operation called “KASAI Method” was done on Janine by Dra. Esther Saguil at the Philippine General Hospital last April 14, 2009. It is an operation that removes the damaged biliary ducts ouside the liver. Then, the small intestine is directly attached to the liver at the spot where bile is found or expected to drain. This procedure is not a cure but rather a temporary solution to be able to give Janine more time to find the necessary funding for her operation and the matching liver type. Unfortunately, although the operation was done, her liver continued to fail. Our doctors told us that there is no other course but to have a liver transplant.
Unfortunately, liver transplant is not yet available locally but it can be done in Taiwan for P3 Million pesos (approx. $60,000 USD). This amount is simply beyond the means of our family. If my daughter will not be able to have a liver transplant soon, she will die. All we want is to see our daughter live that’s why we are appealing for you charity and compassion.
We are entrusting Janine to God’s hand and we believe that He will deliver Janine from this ordeal, through your help and prayers. Thank you for your time in reading my letter and we are hoping for your kind help. God Bless.
40 Kennedy Drive Tandang Sora
Quezon City, Philippines
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
They were doing volunteer health mission in Tarlac when they disappeared. After 5 days, in which time Philippine and international groups actively spread the word about the incident, Roxas surfaced. She has not talked about what happened to her yet. Handoc and Carabeo have also surfaced.
[video taken by Janine Chavez]
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
By Yong B. Chavez
After President Obama approved the lump sum payment for World War 2 veterans, many of them have been anxiously awaiting for their checks in the mail. They did receive something from the government recently, but it's not for the money they've been waiting for.
Instead of rejoicing, Jim Catral became worried when he recently got a letter from the federal government saying that he will be receiving $250.
"Nagkaroon sya ng confusion, na-confuse sya...'what about the $15 thousand, you think I can receive that?'" Cora Boyd, Catral's caregiver said.
Catral thought it was from the Veterans' Compensation Fund.
In recent weeks, senior citizens receiving Social Security benefits have been getting checks.
The money is part of the stimulus bill which 55 million American seniors are receiving, not just Filipino WW II veterans, as Catral thought.
Catral was relieved when he found out that there's hope that he could live to see and enjoy his $15 thousand check.
The latest data released by the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund has this information:
Claims received: approximately 31,000
Number of claims in process: 15,962 Phils. /7,407 US
Number of claims completed: 2,011
Payments made: 1,661 checks sent, plus 242 approved
Disapproved: Less than 200
Average days to process: 46.6
Source: US Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Out of 31 thousand claims, almost two thousand checks have been sent and approved.
The idea that one of those checks could be his delights Catral.
He was a former prisoner-of-war who alter became a Philippine Constabulary general.
A widower, Catral says that apart from getting calls from his family, getting the check is one of the few things he still looks forward to when he wakes up each morning in the retirement home where he lives with his caregiver.
The veteran says that he has memory lapses and sometimes forgets the details of his compensation claim but there is one thing he is always sure of: the simple things he would buy when he gets his money.
"I think I have enough clothes...so for something to eat, our food here," Catral says.
Catral is turning 90 in a few months. More than money, he says that he cares more for what the check symbolizes: the pride and glory of being a finally fully recognized war veteran while he's still alive.
[video taken by Janine Chavez]
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
If you're in the Los Angeles area and have some free time this week, go to the Bauer Daffodil Gardens in Ranch Springs. It's about an hour-and-a-half away from Los Angeles but in terms of tranquility, it might as well be a different planet.
My family drove up there yesterday and I swear, until now, I can still smell the flowers. The place is so peaceful and pretty. We saw several kababayans there and we were greeted back with a hearty "Mabuti!" when we said "Kumusta!" to every Tagalog-speaking visitor we encountered.
Parking and admission is free. The highway going up the mountains is curlier than Cheez Curls so if you get dizzy easily, be warned. Here's the address to St Anne's Church where you will park: 30480 Fredalba Road Running Springs, CA 92382. Hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
Monday, March 16, 2009
By: Yong B. Chavez
He enters a room, and immediately, loud applause and cheering break out. And that's just the press room.
As soon as Manny Pacquiao was sighted at a public appearance in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, the boxing superstar, who was looking dapper in an Amerkana, was besieged by the most tenacious sort of crowd: the autograph seekers and picture-posers.
They jostle and jockey to get his attention, shoving a piece of paper, a picture, a pair of kiddie gloves, even a guitar, in front of him. The clamoring appeared interminable.
"Manny, pa-sign! Manny. Manny! MANNY!" They yelled louder when he had to stop signing and posing to go do his previously arranged celebrity chore.
On that particular day he was accepting a plaque of recognition from no less than the mayor of the second largest city in the United States. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, possibly the next "celebrity" California governor after Arnold, has plenty of public and camera appeal. He just won his reelection without breaking a sweat, previous marriage scandal notwithstanding. Villaraigosa is just that successful and popular.
But even the shine of the mayor's star in his own city was easily eclipsed by Manny's.
It was interesting to see Villaraigosa get a bit flustered when an insistent Manny fan kept on egging his idol to sign a shirt while Villaraigosa was making a speech. Later, while addressing the crowd onstage, the mayor had to gently shush the enthusiastic cheers for Manny so that he could finish his own tribute to the boxer.
In Pac-land, that ever-growing space that Pacmanians call home, there's never a question of who the star is and how far they would go just to be near him.
Exhibit A: Pushing her way into a tight circle of reporters chronicling Pacquiao's every move, a lola was nonchalantly risking suffocation and multiple fractures just to be near the boxer.
"MANNY!" She screamed like a tween girl at a Jonas Brothers concert. It was over the top and completely normal at the same time. That's just the way it is for Manny Pacquiao and his adoring public.
And who could blame the fans' enthusiasm? Pacquiao is a bona fide megastar, and not just to Filipinos.
He is now part of American pop culture. At a recent Flashpoint episode, one of the leads in the CBS TV show mentions that he spent his weekend watching a Manny Pacquiao fight.
"It was brutal," the character said, seemingly surprised. Well, any boxing follower can tell him Pacquiao's fights always are.
But one of the things that make Pacman so darn likable to fans is that he keeps his brutal moves inside the boxing ring. In person, he gives off a completely non-threatening, friendly and polite vibe.
Exhibit B: At the same event, I sort of winced when a too-excited guy tapped Manny's shoulders with a little more force than he probably (I hope) intended to get Manny's attention. Dude, the man has beaten up boxing legends, what were you thinking?
But Manny just looked over his shoulders and shook the man's proffered hand. All in a day's work.
He's funny, too. After seeing what must have been a lengthy prepared speech, he said with his mic on, "Sasabihin ko ba ito lahat?"
When his audience laughed, he added that public speaking makes him much more nervous than boxing for his life during his bloody fights.
To see him interact with his fans – signing and shaking hands and smiling likes there's no tomorrow – is to understand why he is so idolized. He never seems to intentionally ignore anyone, a wicked trick found in some douche-y celebs' goodie bag. And when he connects, there's a sincerity that looks as if it naturally oozes out of him. It must be his humble roots or the God-fearing way he was raised by his nanay. Or maybe he's just a really decent guy.
Others can say that, sometimes, he can be detached and unengaged, and they might be correct, too. He is human, after all.
But one thing he isn't is a trash-talker. For us reporters always looking for good sound bites, that isn't exactly good news. But it is a refreshing celebrity attitude.
Told that his upcoming fight opponent Ricky Hatton downplayed his victory over boxing legend Oscar dela Hoya, Pacquiao's famously mustached lip just curled up into a smile.
"Hatton said that he's better than dela Hoya," a reporter presses, "do you agree that he is better than dela Hoya?"
"Totoo naman na magaling s'ya at hindi pwedeng i-underestimate. Pero pareho rin siguro. Boxer din s'ya, at may dalawa rin lang kamay," is all a still smiling Pacquiao would say about Hatton. The two are slated to go mano-a-mano on May 2 at the MGM Grand garden arena in Las Vegas.
Well, here's hoping Hatton doesn't think the same way and treat Pacquiao like "another boxer with two hands" because that would be a bloody mistake. I don't think the British bruiser will do that, as all evidence point to him as being a savvy fighter.
But apart from Pacquiao's might, he should also be prepared to face a tough crowd of Pacmanians come fight night. They will be there, autograph paraphernalia and unceasing devotion on hand.