Friday, December 20, 2013

NEWS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS | A Great Review...and an Official Government Seal of Approval

NEW YORK CITY |  See that "Philippine Transparency Seal?" That's a government seal of approval from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Republic of the Philippines.

It was already very nice of the DFA to publish an article that reviewed my recent performance at the Philippine Consulate General of New York's Kalayaan Hall. But it was a whole other matter to get an Official Seal of Approval from the state.

That means that the article reprinted in its entirety below was thoroughly and completely vetted by every stakeholder inside the DFA before they published it on their official website.

What the article does not mention is that the evening I participated in raised some $40,000 in funds that will go directly to the Philippine Jesuit Foundation in New York, which will hand over the funds to Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines. The evening was a launch of a Build a Shelter program that would allow for actual homes to be built for all those Filipinos in central Visayas who lost their homes.

In the initial aftermath of the typhoon, people around the world gave money. However, those funds were geared for emergency relief. This flash funding will not specifically address the actual re-building efforts that needs to be undertaken long after the world has moved forward and the victims of the super typhoon stop becoming a huge part of the current news agenda. By then, it will become even more necessary to re-build new homes, perhaps even schools and buildings, in central Visayas and other regions severely impacted.

Build a Shelter Program (BASP) is a continuing program. For the time being, companies, organizations and individuals that would like to support the BASP can contact the Philippine Consulate General at email address: They may also send check (with “Build a Shelter Project Fund” written in the memo line) to the Philippine Jesuit Foundation, 39 East 83rd St., New York, NY 10028.

It was a pleasure to be part of this important and necessary evening. How very nice of the DFA to say nice things about my performance and giving it a stamp of approval.


Filipinos in New York Celebrate
150th Birth Anniversary  
of Andres Bonifacio 
with Poetry Reading, Film Screening

05 December 2013 – Love for country and hope for a better future was the theme of the Philippine Consulate General’s celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio last November 26 at the Philippine Center in New York City.

A fundraising town hall to launch the Build-A-Shelter Program for typhoon Yolanda victims took place earlier in the evening, where Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. spoke about how ordinary citizens can emerge as a hero during times of crisis, much like Andres Bonifacio during the Spanish era.  The audience were then entertained and educated with a program in commemoration of the man oftentimes called the “Father of Philippine Revolution.”

Theatre actress Debralee Daco, who appeared in the Imelda Marcos bio-musical “Here Lies Love” read excerpts from the Lakambini ng Katipunan, Gregoria De Jesus’ life account that describes her marriage and family life with the Supremo and her participation in the Katipunan.

A poem written by Gat Andres himself, “Pag Ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” was brought to life by a rousing interpretation by Randy Gener.

The highlight of the program was a film showing of “Prologo to the Great Desaparecido,” by Lav Diaz.  The movie depicts Gregoria De Jesus’ desperate search for her husband’s body in the mountains for 30 days.

To relate the celebration to community fundraising efforts, Vice Consul Khrys Corpuz highlighted some messages in the film that resound to the community post-Yolanda: that we must not lose hope and that as a community we will find a cure for our kababayans’ misery.

The evening ended with Debralee and Randy reading Gregoria De Jesus’ 10 Advices to the Philippine Youth. END

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