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  1. #61
    OPINION | Why Pinoys don't bring their 'bad habits' abroad, Part 1 of 2

    By: Cesar Polvorosa Jr.,

    May 12, 2015 11:18 AM
    The online news portal of TV5

    (Editor’s note: Cesar Polvorosa Jr. is a business school professor of economics, world geography, and international business management in Canada. He is also a published writer in economics, business, and literature.)

    The streets of Manila embody chaos: Masses of vehicles crowd the roads, crisscrossing each other’s paths with buses and jeepneys stopping almost everywhere to disgorge and pick up passengers amidst the incessant assault of blaring horns and suffocating, lingering smog.

    Equally ill-disciplined pedestrians trudged across sidewalks cheek by jowl with makeshift stalls in a landscape of potholed roads.

    A sudden thunderstorm leaves commuters stranded and wading in putrid floods aggravated by overflowing clogged esteros.

    The gridlock in the streets of Manila symbolizes the glacial pace of good governance and progress in the sprawling archipelago. However, as I have observed in my three-part article on the Filipino Diaspora, the Filipino driver and commuter easily adapts to traffic conditions in say, North America and does not bring over his/her “bad habits” from the Philippine homeland. Why?

    ‘Survival of the fittest’ behavior

    The unruly Filipino suddenly transforms into a courteous and law-abiding driver and/or commuter when overseas especially in western countries (though ingrained “bad habits” occasionally surface). What is it about the West such as Canada that encourages people to obey traffic rules?

    The Filipino is acutely aware that traffic rules and regulations will be applied strictly and equally with stipulated sanctions regardless of class or status. To violate traffic rules is to stick out like a sore thumb because almost everyone else is following them. Furthermore, attempts to bribe or pull rank and exhibit arrogance from a sense of entitlement will only worsen the situation.

    The “survival of the fittest” behavior is not needed since infrastructure is much improved.

    On the other hand, what is it about the Philippines that fosters anarchy on its roads? Traffic rules are frequently violated or often ignored in exchange for a bribe or because of connections. The infrastructure is also so broken down and inadequate that drivers take “creative shortcuts” to reach their destination in the quickest possible time.

    In short, the Filipino driver or commuter’s behavior is shaped by “the rules of the game” which is the popular definition of “institutions.”

    The institutional approach spells out the role of the reward and punishment mechanism of institutions in influencing behavior.

    There is no clear incentive in the Philippine setting to follow the basic courtesy of the road. There is a widespread perception that rules are not applied equally that combines with a deep distrust of authority.

    In fact, following rules such as staying in line will almost guarantee that one will fall behind because others are not lining up properly and are getting ahead.

    Particularly in North America, celebrities and politicians are sometimes in the news for publicized traffic violations and the sanctions meted out. For instance, a popular mayor in the Toronto area struck a sign post with her car some years ago for which she was fined $110. Can this actually happen to a Filipino politician or to politicians of many other countries?

    What is the origin of this distorted incentives mechanism and flawed institutions?

    Causes: Small elite, extractive institutions

    The centuries of colonization under the Spaniards and the half century of American rule installed a small elite, extractive institutions and engendered dynasties that aggrandize themselves and controlled the country’s resources.

    The outcome over generations had been institutionalized corruption and poor governance which permeated the bureaucracy. If franchises can be granted that strengthens the oligarchy how much more for receiving bribes to overlook traffic violations?

    Vested interests and the rule of a small elite lead to corruption and class privilege resulting eventually in highly unequal income distribution and the quagmire of poverty. The people subsequently endure years of inadequate and deteriorating infrastructure. Minor functionaries had no incentive to be honest when the officials above them are corrupt. In turn, the impoverished state of the country leads droves of its citizens to immigrate.

    Poor governance, deplorable road discipline, and traffic conditions are just symptoms of Philippine under-development. Note the similar conditions in many developing regions such as Africa which has the highest road fatality rate among the regions of the world. Under-development in turn is a multi-faceted process involving history, culture, institutions, geographies, and resulting motivations.

    There is a rich literature on modernization theory or explanations on the prosperity and poverty of nations which include a classic work such as Webber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” to a present day influential work, “Why Nations Fail” by Robinson and Acemoglu.

  2. #62
    ^^^ (Cont'd)

    Growth from achievement motivation

    For our purpose, David C. McClelland’s landmark book “The Achieving Society” (1961) wherein he argued that cultural customs and especially the motivation for achievement are the major triggers of economic growth is especially relevant for the focus of this article as he discussed the role of the need for achievement through entrepreneurship. He observed that long run economic growth is preceded by a high level of achievement motivation.

    We analyze the work of McClelland and examine their implications in the Philippine context. The achievement motivation and success is hobbled in societies where a small elite corners resources and where it is widely perceived that unequal advantages are critical for upward mobility.

    In short, personal networks and financial resources become the vital ingredients of success. Philippine society is notorious for reliance on family connections and padrinos - the patronage system.

    The amassing of wealth and influence becomes a self-perpetuating system of the elite few. As business Professor Michael Lewis noted about the Philippines, “Leadership is based on family name, age, and connections.” (When Cultures Collide: 477).

    There is distrust of outsiders for they may desire the same positions and resources and thus, hampers cooperation transcending the family and clan.

    Over the generations, Philippine politics have degenerated into dynasties and personality based contests. Laws and regulations i.e. formal institutions are not taken seriously and are weakly implemented such as in poor traffic management.

    Subsequently, informal institutions i.e. beliefs, customs value systems, etc. try to compensate and become the basis for interactions and transactions such as using personal connections in traffic violations. The distorted incentive system and unfairness leads to cynicism, apathy, and resignation - and the Philippines is certainly not unique in this regard.

    Similarity with Latin America

    Why did Latin America to which the Philippines is highly similar in culture and colonial history lagged behind North America which was also colonized by the Europeans? In both Philippines and Latin America the encomienda model was instituted by the Spaniards which concentrated wealth in the hands of the few that led to a vicious cycle of corruption and penury.

    In contrast, famed British historian Niall Ferguson (6 Killer Apps) observed the high rate of land ownership of household heads in Canada and the US compared to a Latin American nation such as Mexico. Canadian and American pioneers were motivated to work hard and become entrepreneurial as they own land and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    The historical and economic paths of the US vs. Russia are also worth analyzing.

    Independent American immigrant families settled the Western frontier and developed self-reliance and entrepreneurship incentivized by the free enterprise system and enforcement of private property rights.

    The Russian nation developed through their conquest of their Eastern frontier eventually reaching Alaska beyond Siberia and the Pacific. These rugged Russian pioneers were mostly serfs in servitude to their nobles. They were motivated to work hard to ensure survival in the harsh environment but they cannot be entrepreneurial nor become prosperous under feudalism. The Russian character of expansionism became an antecedent to Marxism and authoritarianism. For the serfs, resiliency became the imperative amidst hardships and an unjust system.

    Resiliency is basic human trait

    In the wake of the horrific devastation of typhoon Haiyan the public discourse centered on the celebration of the resiliency of the Filipino. Indeed, the Filipino is a hardy race.

    “Resiliency” or the “ability to bounce back” is however a basic human trait as self-preservation requires resiliency. Many nations notably the Japanese, Koreans, and Germans have gone on to excruciating war time sufferings, demonstrated admirable resiliency, and advanced beyond survival to unprecedented heights of prosperity in their countries’ histories.

    There are various inspiring national motivations - attaining the American dream through free enterprise and the conquest of the frontier, the passion of the Chinese to reclaim past glory, the fortitude of the Japanese and the Germans to rise like the phoenix from the ashes of defeat, the ascent of South Koreans under the shadow of a hostile North, etc.

    What about Filipinos? What is the distinct narrative that the Philippines offers to the world? What motivates Filipinos to become achievers - or are they in fact motivated to succeed? The focus has been on the resiliency of Filipinos because as Philippine history would demonstrate, the nation survives and endures through wars, natural disasters, and years of misrule - but is unable to become an achieving and prosperous society. As I posed the issues before: Is there a Filipino Dream? Is it a well-articulated, deeply and widely shared national vision? Finally, do Filipinos dare to dream big?

  3. #63
    History repeating itself

    Randy David


    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    12:09 AM | Thursday, June 4th, 2015

    In the last decades of Spanish colonial rule over the Philippines, Filipinos found themselves split into basically three groups. The first accepted Spanish rule but called on Spain to reciprocate their loyalty with better treatment. The second took Spanish rule as a given, but campaigned for a greater voice in the governance of the islands. The third group rejected foreign rule and pressed for full independence.

    The same divisions reappeared under American colonial rule. The three groups were called, respectively, “annexationists,” “autonomists,” and “independentists.” The first desired full integration of the islands into the United States. The second called for self-rule under American patronage. And the third worked for full independence from foreign rule.

    These categories occur wherever the inhabitants of a place think of themselves as constituting an entity distinct from those who wield power over them. The perceived difference typically draws from various sources of identity: race, ethnicity, religion, language, culture, history—or a mixture of any of these. Where we were as a people not too long ago, there the rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front find themselves today. They and those who came before them have long regarded our government as a foreign imposition on the Bangsamoro community. They draw their emancipatory aspirations from the same sentiments that animated the American Revolution against the British, and, indeed, the Filipino wars of liberation against Spain and the United States.

    The affiliations described are, of course, never permanent. Some start out as “reformists” and graduate to being “revolutionaries.” Others begin as revolutionaries and turn into reformists. After a long and difficult struggle, they are persuaded to lay down their arms in exchange for a political settlement that is less than their original goal but promises to be better than the status quo. Indeed, some go back to being revolutionaries after their hopes are dashed by recurrent duplicity and betrayal.

    I imagine that the same divisions exist today in Southern Mindanao. The “annexationists” demand greater attention by the Manila government for neglected Mindanao, but they think this can be achieved by a respectful integration of its institutions into a more inclusive Filipino nation. Mindanao’s traditional elites belong to this mold.

    Then there are the “autonomists.” Most of them are original advocates of secession who, having grown weary of war, agree to negotiate a political settlement that permits them meaningful self-rule within the framework of the Philippine Republic. The MILF is the current champion of this path.

    At the polar end of this political spectrum are the motley rebel groups who are still calling for secession. We can count among them the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the many idealistic but unaffiliated Moros whose disenchantment with previous peace agreements has made them totally distrustful of the Manila government.

    If it successfully hurdles the legislative process with its key provisions intact, the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region would be the most comprehensive measure ever to be crafted by any Filipino administration to address the Moro problem. It would be, by any measure, a bold and gigantic step toward curing the historical injustice that was produced by the unilateral annexation of Muslim Mindanao by an independent Filipino nation.

    A Bangsamoro law that is basically a rehash of the congressional act that created the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would only maintain the same systemic conditions that led to the failure of the ARMM experiment. I dare say that all the Mindanao peace accords that had been signed under previous administrations essentially entailed buying off the loyalty of Moro leaders in order to keep the region exploitable for the benefit of interests other than those of the peoples of Mindanao. The inevitable failure of such a law would only recruit more people into the secessionist rebellion.

    It is remarkable that the legislators who demand guarantees that the creation of a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region would not be a prelude to an independent state are the same ones who seek to strip the autonomous region’s government of the very powers and resources it needs to make genuine autonomy viable. In so doing, they are only creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    To me, the main message of the bill now pending in Congress should be: that we, the Filipino people, recognizing the historic injustices that past generations inflicted on the people of this region, now seek to bind these wounds once and for all. That we do so of our own accord—not out of fear, but in solidarity with those who, like us, have felt the oppressive hand of colonialism.

    Once upon a time, Filipinos took comfort in the words of the American writer Mark Twain, who himself might have been branded a traitor by his own people. He used to be, he said, “a red-hot imperialist,” who could not wait to see the American eagle “spread its wings over the Philippines… put a miniature of the American Constitution afloat in the Pacific….” Explaining how he turned into an ardent anti-imperialist, he said: “But I have thought some more, since then… I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way.”

    * * *

  4. #64
    E di pati nagtitinda sa bangketa Inglisero na din. Alangan naman yung lang mga naturingang pinagpala ang pwedeng umastang Kano...hehe.
    Last edited by danny; 10-18-2015 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Inglesin mo beybe!
    Understand? / ¿Entiendes?

  5. #65
    To Fil-Am Republicans: Do you really want to be part of this?

    By: Boying Pimentel

    @inquirerdotnet U.S. Bureau

    09:30 PM January 18th, 2016

    Twenty years ago, one of the biggest political questions in the United States was whether Colin Powell, the popular former U.S. general, was going to run for president and whether he would do so as a Democrat or a Republican.

    He eventually announced that he wasn’t running for president as he ended speculation on his party affiliation: Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, declared himself a Republican.

    In fact, he said he hoped to become an active member of the Republican Party, saying, “I believe I can help the party of Lincoln move once again close to the spirit of Lincoln.”

    A year later, he again used that phrase, calling on fellow Republicans to “let the party of Lincoln be in the forefront, leading the crusade, not only to cut off and kill discrimination, but to open every avenue of educational and economic opportunity to those who are still denied access because of their race, ethnic background or gender.”

    “It is our party, the party of Lincoln, that must always stand for equal rights and fair opportunity for all,” Powell said at the 1996 Republican National Convention.

    It was when I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” that I really understood what Powell was talking about.

    It may come as a shock to many that the Republican Party was once the most progressive and most courageous political movement in the United States. This was, after all, the party that led the struggle in eradicating what’s still considered the ugliest stain on American history: slavery.

    Lincoln stands out in “Team of Rivals” as a skillful political strategist and a visionary leader with a big heart, who, even on a personal level, rejected the prevailing view (held by top Democrats of the time) that African Americans were subhuman.

    Recalling his relationship with Lincoln, the African American leader and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, said, “He treated me as a man; he did not let me feel for a moment that there was any difference in the color of our skins.”

    Fast forward 150 years and we have a radically different picture: The party of Lincoln is now the party of Trump.

    Today, the most popular politician in the party of Lincoln is calling for a ban on all Muslim travel to the United States and appears to become even more popular in Republican ranks with every brazenly racist comment.

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said early in his campaign. “ They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

    The party of Lincoln is now also the party of Ted Cruz who defended Trump’s comment on Mexicans by saying, “I don’t think you should apologize for speaking out against the problem that is illegal immigration.”

    The last six months have been excruciatingly painful for anyone trying to follow and understand U.S. politics.

    This Republican presidential primary season has been the nastiest and most mean-spirited campaign I’ve witnessed since I moved to the U.S. a quarter of a century ago. Last week’s Republican debate was simply mind-numbing.

    Take one of the highlights of the evening featuring yet another one of Trump’s over-the-top fear-mongering rants. Asked if he’d consider rethinking his call for a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S., he quickly answered: “No.”

    “Look, we have to stop with political correctness,” Trump continued. “We have to get down to creating a country that’s not going to have the kind of problems that we’ve had with people flying planes into the World Trade Centers, with the — with the shootings in California, with all the problems all over the world. I just left Indonesia — bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb. We have to find out what’s going on.”

    This is also a question Fil-Am Republicans should be asking: What’s going on? What’s happened to the party of Lincoln?

    As Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke described the debate in his headline: “Fear-filled GOP debate shows candidates lack one iota of self-awareness.”

    It was entertaining to watch, until one realizes that the debate featured leaders of a political movement that still exerts considerable influence on life in the U.S. and even the world.

    Tough to disagree with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni who writes: “The only sane response was sorrow that this is a presidential election in the greatest democracy on earth, and that blowhards like Trump and Cruz are, for now, setting the pace and the terms in one of our two major political parties.”

    Again to Fil-Am republicans: Do you really want to be part of this?

  6. #66
    US bills and policies that could harm immigrant families

    By: Lourdes Santos Tancinco Esq. - @inquirerdotnet US Bureau / 02:37 AM December 27, 2017

    The year 2017 has been challenging for most immigrants. Many Filipino immigrants have been concerned with changes in federal policies and how these are affecting families and employment. The following developments are reasons for apprehensions about the future of U.S. immigration:

    Attacking Family Immigration

    A bill known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act seeks to cut current legal immigration by at least 50%. The serious impact of this bill is the big reduction in family member categories of those who can be petitioned. It includes limiting qualified family members to only minor children and spouse of the U.S. citizens.

    Under the RAISE proposal, parents, adult married or unmarried children and siblings of U.S. citizens can no longer be petitioned. In addition, the age of minor children will be reduced to those under the age of 18 (from the current 21).

    For millions of Filipinos who are beneficiaries of family petitions, this bill will be a disappointment, especially for families who have been waiting decades to be reunified. This bill definitely does not bode well for family reunification.

    Merit-Based System

    Without taking into account family unity and the needs of businesses, the RAISE Act proposes to eliminate the current employment system of immigration. It prioritizes skills over family unity by designating a point system for future immigration applicants.

    Heightened Enforcement

    In his first month in office, President Trump released his on Interior Enforcement Executive Order prioritizing enforcement. He ordered a budget to hire more than 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that may lead to more raids and mass deportations. An enforcement only bill, H.R. 243, was introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) that dramatically expands immigration enforcement and further criminalizes undocumented immigrants.

    Fixing DACA

    Young unauthorized immigrants are looking forward to legislation that will provide a solution to their predicament, given the termination of the DACA program in September of 2017. The DREAM Act bill would have provided a permanent solution by granting conditional permanent status to DACA beneficiaries and allowing them to become U.S. citizens in 5 years. Other bills like the SUCCEED Act also provided a permanent status but came with restrictions.

    Under those bills, Dreamers would be prohibited from sponsoring their children and spouses in order to prevent chain migration. There were also provisions that would compel Dreamers to sign away their rights to any immigration benefit or relief, like immediate deportation without due process if they commit minor crimes such as driving without license, or shoplifting.

    All the above bills are contained in the White House Principles on immigration and obviously will have negative impact on many immigrants. The most disheartening proposals are the attacks on family, the foundation of this nation and the spirit behind our immigration law. Our community must continue to advocate for what is right and bring the message to our legislators in their home districts this holiday season. Ask them to support immigration bills that are humane and value family unity instead of forcing them apart.

    I waited until December 22 to write about an immigration update hoping that I would bring good news about a positive development on the DREAM Act. Those who are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will have to wait until January 2018 to find out whether or not Congress will pass the DREAM Act, which is the permanent fix to the DACA program for young undocumented immigrants. This holiday season will still be spent with uncertainty hanging over the future of DACA recipients. While this is a disappointment to many, I am still hopeful that with bipartisan support in Congress, there will be an opportunity for passage of the DREAM Act early 2018.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

  7. #67
    Filipino immigrant wins case in US Supreme Court

    01:04 AM April 19, 2018

    WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Tuesday that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced.

    Tuesday’s decision involves James Dimaya, a native of the Philippines who came to the United States legally as a 13-year-old in 1992.

    After he pleaded no contest to two charges of burglary in California, the government began deportation proceedings against him. The government argued among other things that he could be removed from the country because his convictions qualified as crimes of violence that allowed his removal under immigration law.

    Immigration officials relied on a section of immigration law that lists crimes that make people eligible for deportation. The category in which Dimaya’s convictions fell is a crime “that, by its very nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force…may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

    Immigration judges would have allowed Dimaya to be deported, but the federal appeals court in San Francisco struck down the provision as unconstitutionally vague. The Supreme Court affirmed that ruling Tuesday.

    The court’s 5-4 decision – in an unusual alignment in which new Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four liberal justices – concerns a catchall provision of immigration law that defines what makes a crime violent. Conviction for a crime of violence makes deportation “a virtual certainty” for an immigrant, no matter how long he has lived in the United States, Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her opinion for the court.

    The decision is a loss for President Donald Trump’s administration, which has emphasized stricter enforcement of immigration law. In this case, President Barack Obama’s administration took the same position in the Supreme Court in defense of the challenged provision.

    President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday evening that the court’s decision “means that Congress must close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, including aggravated felons.” He ended by saying “Keep America Safe!”

    With the four other conservative justices in dissent, it was the vote of Trump-appointee Gorsuch that was decisive in striking down the provision at issue. Gorsuch did not join all of Kagan’s opinion, but he agreed with her that the law could not be left in place.

    Gorsuch wrote that “no one should be surprised that the Constitution looks unkindly on any law so vague that reasonable people cannot understand its terms and judges do not know where to begin in applying it.”

    The case turned on a decision from 2015 that struck down a similarly worded part of another federal law that imposes longer prison sentences on repeat criminals. The majority opinion in that case was one of the last written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016 and whose seat Gorsuch filled.

    The 2015 decision “tells us how to resolve this case,” Kagan wrote.

    The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement after the ruling that it “significantly undermines” its “efforts to remove aliens convicted of certain violent crimes.”

    The decision does not, however, interfere with the government’s ability to deport people who are convicted of clearly violent crimes, including murder and rape, as well as drug trafficking and other serious offenses.

    The ruling is limited to a category of crimes that carry a prison term of more than a year, but do not otherwise comfortably fit in a long list of “aggravated felonies” that can lead to deportation.

    The case was initially argued in January 2017 by a court that was short a member because of Scalia’s death and the refusal of Senate Republicans to act on Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

    Deadlocked 4-4, the justices scheduled a new round of arguments once Gorsuch joined the court.

    The case is Sessions v. Dimaya, 15-1498.

  8. #68
    ‘Pinay Visionaries’ being honored during Fil-Am History Month

    INQUIRER.NET U.S. Bureau / 01:23 AM October 22, 2019

    SEATTLE, Washington — Filipina American women leaders, laborers, scholars, scientists, and activists who have been the backbone of the Filipino American community are the focus of the Filipino American National Historical Society’s commemoration of Filipino American History Month.

    These Filipina Americans overcame racial and gender discrimination and persevered to contribute to their respective fields and the Filipino American communinity. With “Pinay Visionaries: Celebrating Filipina American Women,” FANHS honors Filipina American women leaders across the United States, including:

    Dorothy Laigo Cordova– Founder and Executive Director of the Filipino American National Historical Society. She began organizing and advocating for the Filipino American community since the 1950s. Her vision has paved the way for FANHS, Filipino American History Month, and Filipino American Studies.
    Victoria “Vicki” Manalo Draves– the first Asian American Olympic gold medalist. She won two gold medals in platform and springboard diving in 1948.
    Felicisima “Ping” Serafica – the first Filipina American professor of psychology to receive tenure in the U.S. She helped establish one of the Philippines’ first hospitals for children with mental disabilities and the country’s first interdisciplinary mental healthclinic.
    Thelma Buchholdt – the first Filipina American elected to a legislature in the United States in 1974 and the first Asian American elected to serve as President of the National Order of Women Legislators.
    Dawn Bohulano Mabalon – the first Filipina to receive a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University. She was a professor, a historic preservationist, and the author of Little Manila is in the Heartand Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong.

    This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 (and later ratified in 1920), the 19th Amendment gave women in the United States the right to vote.

    While Filipina American women (and many other women of color) could not vote until much later, the 19th Amendment was a measure that dramatically modified the political and social landscape of the United States.

    FANHS encourages organizations and communities across the United States to incorporate this theme of celebrating Filipina American Women in their Filipino American History Month events. Stories of Pinay Visionaries in people’s lives are welcome at #FAHM2019 on social media, including Instagram, Twitter <@fanhs_national> and Facebook page @FANHSnatl.

    The celebration of Filipino American History Month in October commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States, which occurred on October 18, 1587, when “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California. In 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states, counties and cities in the U.S. have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month.

    The year 2019 also marks the 37th anniversary of the Filipino American National Historical Society. Across the nation, the 37 FANHS Chapters, colleges, universities, museums, and community groups, will be commemorating Filipino American History Month with various activities and events to bring awareness of the significant role Filipinos have played in American history.

  9. #69
    New Mexico looks to PH in filling teacher shortage

    By: Sam Ribakoff - @inquirerdotnet

    Associated Press / US Bureau / 01:34 AM October 22, 2019

    AZTEC, New Mexuci — It was a cold Monday morning at C.V. Koogler Middle School in Aztec. Students stumbled into Shannon Albores’ history class and take off their rumpled jackets. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, they greeted their teacher by saying in unison, ‘magandang umaga!‘— which is Filipino for ‘good morning.’

    Albores was born and raised in a city called Cebu in the Philippines. There she earned a teaching credential and started teaching kindergarten and elementary school. She liked it, but after learning of an opportunity to teach abroad — and with it, the chance to earn a higher salary — she took the opportunity.

    Albores, along with seven other teachers from various parts of the Philippines, started working in the Aztec Municipal School District at the start of the 2019 school year to fill persistently unfilled vacancies at the school district, especially in special education departments in all grade levels.

    “These are positions that had been vacant for seven years,” said Tania Prokop, the Deputy Superintendent of the Aztec Municipal School District, “luckily we found a local company to bring teachers here from the Philippines.”

    That Farmington-based company charges fees to those teachers, and its owner said she keeps those fees as low as possible because she, herself, paid much higher fees when she came to this country years ago through another agency that charged her twice as much.

    School districts, like Aztec, and others throughout the country have turned to an emerging international contract teacher industry that recruits teachers from around the world to teach in school districts throughout the country. One of those contracting companies, Bepauche International, has its offices in Farmington.

    “Our pool of teachers can be 500 to 1000 teachers big. We’re ready and willing to fill vacancies,” said Cheryl Marie Maghinay, the co-owner of Bepauche International, via telephone from the Philippines, where she was on a recruiting trip looking for Filipino teachers to send to schools across the U.S.

    Maghinay herself was a teacher, immigrating to the U.S. from General Santos city in the Philippines. She got her masters degree in education in the United States, and then taught in Antelope Valley, California, and then on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

    On the Navajo Nation, Maghinay said she saw the need schools in the U.S. had for teachers, especially in rural schools, so in 2015 she said she started Bepauche International to bring qualified Filipino teachers to the U.S.

    “We check to see if our teachers are legitimate,” Maghinay said. The teachers she works with not only have to have a degree in education, and years of experience teaching, but she said she also looks for teachers with a certain amount of familiarity with U.S. culture.

    Maghinay then coordinates with school districts in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Montana, and now New Mexico, for teachers that she vets to conduct interviews with school administrators over video telecommunications apps like Skype.

    The Aztec school district isn’t alone in its teacher vacancies problem. School districts throughout the state, and the country, are in dire need of qualified teachers.

    A report published in 2018 by New Mexico State University found that there were 740 unfilled public school teacher vacancies throughout the state. Some school districts have tried to fill those positions by hiring more long-term substitute teachers.

    The New Mexico State University study points to factors that may explain why there might be so many unfilled teaching positions — comparatively low salaries, working conditions and high work expectations, as well as a high level of stress revolving around job insecurity and a high rate of student testing.

    The problem, however, plagues school districts nationwide. A study from the Learning Policy Institute, an education think tank, estimated that the country currently has a shortage of 112,000 teachers.

    Maghinay first started working here in the U.S. on a temporary worker visa, called a H-1B visa.

    Initially Bepauche worked with Filipino teachers to get them H-1B visas, which allows recipients to stay and work in the country for a maximum of six years, with the option to apply for citizenship while working. But as the Trump administration began its crackdown on immigration, H-1B visas eventually came under scrutiny, and in 2019 32% of H-1 B visas were denied, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documents released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

    Now Bepauche, and numerous international teaching contracting companies across the country, apply for J-1 visas, that technically are for students and teachers participating in “cultural exchange,” programs. The visa can be extended for a maximum of five years, and recipients cannot apply for citizenship or permanent residence.

    The end result of the complex process that brings teachers from other countries to San Juan County happens in the classrooms.

    Along with teaching her students bits and pieces of the Filipino language, C.V. Koogler Middle School history teacher Albores says when she teaches aspects of world history, she tries to include snippets of Pilipino history into her lesson, and how that history connects and interacts with world history — especially U.S.-Philippine relations.

    That subject matter not only includes the American invasion and occupation of the Philippines from 1899 to 1902, but also the establishment of the first public school system by Americans in the Philippines.

    “We learn from the culture, but at the same time we share our culture,” says Albores, “Our students are very interested. They ask a lot of questions. It’s a privilege for me to be in a history class, I can share the history of the Philippines.”

    “You will learn a lot from here,” said Erika Rose-Cahilig, a fifth grade teacher who is also contracted through Bepauche at Park Avenue Elementary, “There are big opportunities for teachers to learn, at the same time, we will have a chance to share and talk about our culture.”

    Maghinay moved to Farmington in 2016 to take on a teaching position at Kirtland Central High School, and, with her, Bepauche moved into a small office on Main street. With that office space, Maghinay built and now co-owns a Filipino grocery store and restaurant attached to her office called Manila Sunrise. It is filled with Filipino snacks, frozen fish, Boba milk tea and a rotating menu of Filipino dishes cooked by Mary Grace Hundumon.

    Maghinay hopes that the market can not only serve the needs of San Juan County’s Filipino population, which she described as, “bigger than you think,” but she also hopes that the market can introduce Filipino food and culture to local people.

    “In the Philippines rice is the staple food, here it’s a side dish,” said Riva Alipin, an integrated algebra teacher at Aztec High who is also contracted by Bepauche. “We’re slowly adjusting, but we’re gaining weight because of carbs and more calories in the food here.”

    Alipin, Rose-Cahilig, Albores, and five other international teachers all live in an apartment complex in Aztec.

    They all agree that they are enjoying working in Aztec, but there are adjustments. Other than the cold weather, the teachers are adjusting to the food in Aztec, behavioral problems in their classes, and some still feel a little bit jet lagged from a 14-hour plane ride from the Philippines that ended in Albuquerque the weekend before school started,

    “Of course we miss the food, and our family, but it’s okay, through the internet we can contact them anytime,” said Alipin, “but that is the biggest challenge we have to endure, being far away from home.”

    Another challenge rarely talked about is the fee each teacher paid to come to Aztec. Bepauche itself charged $4,500 for “service fees.” Another $4,000 went to procuring visa and transcript services, and another $1,500 went toward airplane tickets and other miscellaneous travel costs.

    “That’s big money in our country,” said Alipin, “like a half million.”

    Albores described having to go into debt to a “loan shark” in the Philippines to help raise the needed funds.

    Maghinay acknowledges the high cost, and the debt that most of her clients have to take on to pay it, but, she said, “I paid a lot of money when I first got here, so I try to make our prices fair.” The $10,000 is about half of the total amount of what she said she paid when she came to the U.S.

    In 2010 a group of Filipino contract teachers filed a class action lawsuit against the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, claiming they were cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars and forced into exploitative contracts.

    Maghinay stresses that she, and her company, are transparent at the very beginning about the cost of her services.

    “I have to protect our teachers,” she said, “I know what they’re going through. I remember I got depression, I couldn’t sleep when I first got to the U.S., I know all of those things. We treat teachers like our own family.”

    The contracted teachers interviewed for this story had nothing but praise for both Bepauche and the Aztec school district.

    “Here we found a family,” Alipin said, “We are happy to be in Aztec.”

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