PRESS RELEASES: Filipino-American Youth Unite Against Natural and Man-Made Disasters!

19 November 2009

Anne Beryl Corotan, SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth,
Josh Rosario, Bayanihan Filipino Community Center, (718) 5658862

Filipino-American Youth Unite Against Natural and Man-Made Disasters!

NEW YORK — This coming Saturday, November 21st, the fifth annual Sumisigaw Fil-Am Youth Cultural Festival, with the theme “Youth Unite Against Natural & Man Made Disasters!” will be held at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park from 12 noon to 4pm. This production organized by SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth seeks to showcase the best talents of local Filipino-American youth and to provide awareness on several important issues affecting the Filipino migrant community in the US.

The event will feature a series of performances by young Fil-Am artists and musicians drawn from New York and New Jersey, such as John Flor Sisante, Hanalei Ramos, Paul the Magician, Bayanihan Kultural Kolektib, Kappa Pi Band, Donny Manuel, Kayumanggi and many more. Song, dance, spoken word, film and even stunning demonstrations of martial arts skills will be presented to all. It will also play host to the public premier of Roberto Ang’s short film “The Brothers of Kappa Pi“, a documentary on the community-based fraternity of young Filipino men in New York.

Intended not only as a celebration of Filipino culture and its integration within the veneers of our society, the event also serves as a vehicle for several important messages addressed to both the youth and the greater community around us. Among the concerns to be tackled by the performances will include how to deal with issues confronting our youth of today, such as drugs, gangs and teenage pregnancy.

Aside from those mentioned, this cultural festival will also serve as a venue to thank and acknowledge all the donors and volunteers of the Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and SanDiwa, an ongoing effort in response to the damage caused by the the series of powerful typhoons that struck the Philippines during the last quarter of the year, leaving many families homeless and in need of help. Performances will be preceded by a press conference to give updates and to present to the community more of NAFCON and SanDiwa’s upcoming plans of action with regards to the relief campaign.

The theme binding all these presentations aims to unite the Filipino-American youth — beyond sociocultural boundaries — against these problems currently confronting both American and Philippine society.

Admission to the festival will be free of charge. For more information, please visit ###


EVENTS: Sumisigaw Fil-Am Youth Cultural Festival 2009

Sumisigaw Flyer_2009SUMISIGAW 2009! Youth Unite Against Natural & Man Made Disasters!
Hosted by SanDiwa, the National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth

● Enjoy a FREE CULTURAL PROGRAM that showcases young Filipino talent and celebrates our rich Filipino culture.
● Learn about the updates on the NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for typhoon disaster relief and how we, the youth, are making an impact in fighting against the natural & man made disasters.
● Explore ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOUTH TODAY in our community, and find out what SANDIWA is doing to develop creative solutions.

Kappa Pi Band
F2 Dance Troupe
Paul, the Magician
Bayanihan Kultural Kolektib
Donny Manuel
Kali Martial Arts
and many more!

Saturday, November 21, 2009
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens NY 11368
(718) 565-8862


How to get to Queens Museum of Art:


Via #7 Flushing IRT. Exit Willets Point/Shea Stadium.

NOTE: Shuttle to venue will be provided upon exit from Willets Point/Shea Stadium Station.


48 to Roosevelt Ave and 111th Street.
Walk south through park (toward Unisphere)

Q23, Q58 to Corona Ave and 51st Ave.
Walk east through park.


From West and midtown Manhattan: Take the Midtown Tunnel to the Long Island Expressway. Use Exit 22B, Grand Central Parkway West toward the Triboro Bridge. Exit the Grand Central at the first exit, Tennis Center (9P), turn right and follow signs to Museum.

From Brooklyn: via Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) to LIE Eastbound, to exit 22B exit 22B (Grand Central Parkway/Triboro Bridge), then exit GCP at Tennis Center (9P) and turn right to the Museum.

From North and Triboro Bridge: via Grand Central Parkway, exit at 9E or 9W and follow signs to Museum.

From East and Long Island: via LIE to GCP West, exit GCP at Tennis Center (9P) and follow signs to Museum. Free parking.

EVENTS: Metro Honda Ondoy Relief Event (24 October 2009)


On the last week of September 2009, Typhoon Ondoy hit the Northern Philippines leaving most of the country’s capital and surrounding regions submerged in water. Severe flooding resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives that continues to increase daily, causing displacement of thousands of people. Typhoon Ondoy recorded the highest amount of rainfall ever to hit the Philippines since the country started recording rainfall levels in 1967. It even exceeded the rainfall level of Hurricane Katrina.

Metro Honda of Jersey City extended its helping hand to the Filipino community in sponsoring a relief event last October 24th, 2009, 12:00pm to 4:00pm. Metro teamed up with local drop off sites associated with NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) to demonstrate its empathy with the Filipino community. Donations (clothes, blankets, medical supplies, can foods, monetary) were received at the event and free food and drinks were offered to those who came down to support the cause. The event was held in the front lot of Metro Honda: 540 Rt. 440 N Jersey City, NJ 07305.

IMG_2925IMG_2932IMG_2934IMG_2933IMG_2931IMG_2930IMG_2929IMG_2928IMG_2927IMG_2926Handing Over Donations to NAFCON Reps

PRESS RELEASES: “Community Action Indeed Fruitful, with or without Calamity” – NAFCON

05 November 2009

Reference: Anne Beryl Corotan, Chairperson, SanDiwa National Alliance of Filipino American Youth

“Community Action Indeed Fruitful, with or without Calamity” – NAFCON

From East to West Coast, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) in the United States can finally send the 800 balikbayan boxes full of donations for typhoon victims in the Philippines — TAX-FREE — to its partner alliance, Migrante International, the worldwide alliance of grassroots organizations addressing concerns of Filipino migrants with chapters in Europe, Hongkong, Australia, Canada and Middle East. And this victory of the Filipino people overseas did not just come about without the community coming together and making it happen through collective action.

“While it is true that the OFWs keep the Phil. economy afloat thru remittances, it is the power of US wide organization and mobilization that made this an inevitable succcess,” Rico Foz, Executive Vice President of NAFCON, said.

More than a month into the Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief — accentuated by community forums, mobilizations, fundraising events, sorting and packing of donations by volunteers from the Filipino communities and people’s organizations throughout the US — the Philippine government has finally dropped the taxes for the boxes that NAFCON will be sending to the Philippines.

Dialogue between NAFCON and Philippine Consulate in New York

In a dialogue with the Philippine Consulate in New York last November 3, NAFCON presented its demands with regards to the relief goods. The discussion concluded with all 800 boxes (approximately) of donations to be delivered duty-free and VAT-free, with the consulate and DSWD accountable in ensuring that all donations sent through the sending organization (NAFCON) will be received by the intended recipient (Migrante). The only requirements asked would be contact information of both sending and receiving organizations and a packing list which gives details of the contents of the boxes. Moreover, the ban on sending used clothing has been lifted and will be observed as long as the “calamity period” is still in effect. As of press time, there has been no set deadline as to when the calamity period ends.

NAFCON has also clarified from the consulate the procedure on how to send the boxes. According to the consulate, the donations must be addressed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as a consignee with a note that says “further delivery to Migrante International”. Upon arrival of the goods into the Philippines, DSWD will call recipient and Migrante will pick up the boxes. The procedure goes the same for all NAFCON regions, with the Philippine consulate in New York to notify other Philippine consulates and the embassy.

The dialogue was attended in by Rico Foz (NAFCON Executive Vice President), Anne Beryl Corotan (SanDiwa National Alliance of Filipino American Youth Chairperson), Jonna Baldres (Migrante International Coordinator in US East Coast), and Atty. Felix Vinluan as legal counsel from the NAFCON side; and Consul General Cecilia Rebong and Consul Leandro Lachica from the Philippine consulate side.

Transportation of donations still remains a challenge

In light of the taxes being dropped, transportation of the donations, however, remains a challenge.

“NAFCON regions have agreed to raise $10,000 nationwide in two weeks to pay for shipping costs. We have sent solicitation letters to different airlines and cargo shipping companies and we are still waiting for replies. There were some who gave positive responses and there were some politicians who expressed their willingness to help, but what’s heartwarming is that our own kababayans themselves, even if they have no money left at all in their pockets, are finding ways to help raise the funds,” Bernadette Herrera, a coordinator in the Filipino Community Center in San Francisco, member organization of NAFCON, said.

According to NAFCON, while there are more than sufficient donated cash received, the alliance will NOT touch that as their donors’ intention is to give it to the typhoon victims and not to cover shipping. NAFCON will continuously hold fundraising events and awareness campaigns until such time that our kababayans struck by the typhoons in the Philippines have recovered, as stated earlier when the relief campaign has started.

To thank all the volunteers and everyone who helped in the relief campaign and to acknowledge the Filipino community’s successes in conducting the relief drive, NAFCON and SanDiwa will be holding events in their own regions within the next few days, such as the Sumisigaw Fil-am Youth Cultural Festival in New York with the theme “Youth unite against natural and man-made disasters” at Queens Museum of Art on November 21.

Donations upon arrival into the Philippines

With constant communication and coordination with Migrante, NAFCON has secured all logistics for the relief drive in the Philippines in place — including storehouse where the boxes will be delivered, volunteers, trucks for transporting and all other important details needed for the distribution of the goods. As a grassroots alliance, Migrante will be coordinating with other sectoral organizations and alliances for the distribution of the goods to the most affected areas of the typhoons — with Pepeng, Ramil and Santi closely following Ondoy.

“NAFCON has chosen that the donations be sent to Migrante as it has a wide organized national network of OFW families and badly hit poor communities for distribution. With Migrante, we trust that the goods will reach their intended beneficiaries as their members are immersed in the community of migrants’ families themselves,” Father Ben Alforque, NAFCON President, based in San Bernardino, said.

With the disasters that hit the country, Filipino migrants all over the world have shown their strength and compassion for the homeland despite being thousands of miles away.

“Here in US alone, there are 4 million Filipinos scattered throughout different regions, and with the Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief, Filipino migrants have displayed a strong force and integrity to contend with. It is sad, however, that the Filipino migrants’ voice have been continuously repressed and silenced as shown in the delisting of the Migrante Sectoral Partylist in the upcoming 2010 elections,” Jonna Baldres, coordinator of Migrante in the US East Coast, said.

Despite the calamity, and even without calamity, Migrante has continued to render aid and assistance to Filipinos abroad. Its unfailing service to Filipino migrants has been shown in several campaigns with NAFCON, such as the Sentosa Nurses Campaign, Justice for Fely Garcia Campaign and a lot more.

“The services that Migrante has offered our kababayans here in the US are insurmountable, not even the Philippine government can overcome. For that, we will continue to work with them and serve the Filipino people hand in hand with them, with or without calamity, elections or not,” Fr. Ben added.

Now that the proper procedures for the sending of donations have been secured and clarified, NAFCON urges our kababayans to continue to be vigilant, cautious and to continuously keep an eye on the Philippine government.

“When the donations reach the Philippines, Migrante will be our watchdog in making sure that the donations are intact upon receipt from DSWD and will guarantee that the goods will be distributed to the affected communities,” ended Fr. Ben.

For updates on NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief, please visit

VIDEOS: NAFCON Mobilization in Washington DC by Balitang Amerika

NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief Team goes to Washington DC for the annual NAFCON Conference!

THANK YOU: Bayanihan For Typhoon Disaster Relief Volunteers in NY

Thank you so much to all the volunteers who helped us in the Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief efforts:


Abigail L. Santos
Albert Cansino
Albert Villaroman
Alice Malabanan
Amerito Gerodus
Amy Ignacio
Angelika Padunan
Avic Veridiano
Bernadette Ellorin
Bernard Perez
Bianca Robles
Blair Ortega
Bonnie Batac
Brandon Walker
C. Baxter
Cailey Cambell
Carlo Joaquin
Carlos Garcia
Chris Jazmin
Christian (XL) or (Vendetta)
Diana Diruy
Don Gutierrez
E Galano
Eddie Veridiano
Elmer Arroza
Eric Cayanan
Erika Calamanan
Felix Ortiz
Francis Leo Bronola
Frank Apol Inario
Gayle Bathan
Geraldine Recaido
Grace Park
Gwen Cato
Ian Nickson Junio
Isaiah Niko Junio
J. Gibbs
J. Morales
Jacklyn Nemenzo
James Austria
Jason Chin Fatt
Jennifer Armas
Joana Pangilinan
Jobeth Arceo
Joey Alex
Johann Zinamon
John Joshua Rosario
Jonathan Do
Joseph Ongsohu
Joyce Pena
Jun Rose Mantalia
Karen Borja
Kate Begonia
Kaycee Trabado
Kenneth Camara
Kevin Zhou
Kim Tansiongco
Kristene Enriquez
Liaa Marquez
Loreto Gaddi
Marc Bucauto
Marc Cruz
Marco Countryman
Maria Cruz
Marie Denoga
Marlon Cruz
Mary Santiago
May-May Parcon
Melanie Dulfo
Michael Padunan
Michelle Cruz
Michelle Saulon
Munir Arbison Jr.
Nancy Labares
Nancy Zemana
Norman Yu
Normin Edora
Paul Gallas
Paulo Villaroman
Pewee Recaido
R. L. Macasinag
Ramel Racelis
Ramon Mappala
Rene Bersamin
Roberto Meneses
Rocelyn Edora
Rolando Katigbak
Rudy Pasion
Rusty Fabunan
Salcedo Reyes Jr.
Sol Dela Cruz
Sylvia Jocson
Tatiana Paula Laude
Tejaswi Khadka
Teresita Sapio
TJ Cruz
Tonette Eliazo
Yancy Gandionco
Yoko Liriano
Zeno Enriquez


For those who would still want to help and offer their support to our kababayans who had been victims of typhoons in the Philippines, we invite you to spend your free time with us at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center (40-21 69th St. Woodside, NY, 11377). Let us continue to spread the spirit of Bayanihan. 🙂

If interested to volunteer please call 718-565-8862.


PRESS RELEASES: NAFCON Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief mobilize to Washington, DC!

28 October 2009

Reference: NAFCON National Office, 718-565-8862, 718-565-8856 (fax)

The National Alliance For Filipino Concerns (NAFCON–US) Mobilizes 18 Filipino Community Organizations at the Philippine Embassy, Washington DC to Protest GMA’s Directives on Typhoon Ondoy Relief  and State Sanctioned Human Rights Violations in the Philippines.

Washington, D.C.–On Sunday, October 25, 2009, close to 100 Filipinos gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy to protest Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s directives on restricting and imposing taxes on relief aid for Typhoon Ondoy and other similar disasters. Protesters also condemned GMA for the documented 2,300+ state sanctioned human rights violations in the Philippines under her presidency.  The mobilization was organized by The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON–US) as a community action component to their annual national conference which carried the theme “Strengthen and Broaden the Rights and Welfare of Filipinos in the US.”  The mobilization was followed by a Lobby Day on Monday October 26.

The rally included a march around the perimeter of the Philippine Embassy.  Washington DC residents and visitors read placards such as “People First!  No Tax on Relief Aid!” and “Stop the Killings!  No US Tax Dollars for Military Aid that Supports Violators of Human Rights!” Speakers at the rally spoke on these issues and called on US Filipinos and allies to join NAFCON’s efforts.

President of NAFCON-US, Father Ben Alforque, underscored the historical significance of the October 25th mobilization, “This October 25th mobilization is a significant moment in US Filipino American History and Filipinos organizing our communities here in the US, in that not since the height of the anti-martial law movement in the 1980s, have Filipinos in such large numbers gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy in the nation’s capital to demand justice.  Even more of an accomplishment is the strength of our alliance and the unity that members have in relation to the Philippine issues we are addressing.”

People First: No Tax on Relief Aid

There has been a national outpouring of aid and support from US Filipinos for the over 1.8 million victims of Typhoon Ondoy and other similar disasters in the Philippines that are linked to multinational corporations’ illegal mining and logging, deforestation, and land conversion. NAFCON-US has lead relief efforts under our BAYANihan campaign, raising over $15,000 in monetary aid and packing several hundred balikbayan boxes of donated relief goods through our regional offices.  But, once again there is corruption in the Arroyo government’s profiting from disaster-prone policies as GMA imposed taxes on relief goods coming from the US and restricted the distribution of aid in the Philippines, causing a backlog.

In this time of urgent need for the vast majority of Filipinos impacted by Ondoy and other natural disasters, NAFCON-US appeals to supporters in the US to join us in our demand that GMA rescind her directives taxing and restricting disaster relief. The lives of the Filipino people should be her first consideration, not government profit.

No US Tax Dollars for Military Aid that Supports Violators of Human Rights

Philippine Attorney Rex Fernandez of Karapatan gave these facts to participants: “To date, there are over 1090+ extrajudicial political killings and assassinations, over 1000+ cases of torture, and over 250+ abductions of political, labor and environmental activists, religious leaders, and journalists that have been perpetrated by the Philippine military under the US backed presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Dozens of reports by international human rights groups such as Amnesty International, UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s findings, and even the yearly US State Department Report on Human Rights, and concrete cases including that of US citizen Melissa Roxas and Father Ben Lucero expose this situation.

Attorney Fernandez congratulated NAFCON-US for bringing together so many Filipino organizations to Washington, D.C. to address and take action on this urgent Philippine Issue.   He encouraged NAFCON-US members to stand strong in their demand that the US should be ensuring that any military and direct aid contains restricted language and justice for the victims.

Overall those who participated in the NAFCON-US mobilization at the Philippine Embassy were pleased with the outcome. “The solidarity statements from NAFCON member organizations and analysis of the Philippine situation provided by speakers affirm the need for a national alliance of Filipinos that can address and support community organizing and advocacy work in our communities.  In order to strengthen and broaden the struggle for rights and welfare of Filipinos in the US, we must continue efforts to educate and work with our community, our allies, and our government representatives,” ended Mara Ibarra, NAFCON Vice President of Membership and Chapter Building.

For more information, please contact (718) 5658862 or email NAFCON at ###


The Mobilization

The Lobby Team

Photo Credits: Filipino Community Support (FOCUS)-San Jose, Philippine Forum-New York, Munir Arbison Jr.