Consul General Claro S. Cristobal welcomed the leaders of the Filipino-American community representing Filipino-American organizations in the US northeast at the 5th General Assembly held at the Philippine Center New York’s Kalayaan Hall on 9 February 2019.

Fil-Am leaders from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York participated in the annual event which served as the venue for them to be apprised on the Consulate’s calendar of activities, programs and services for 2019.

Consul General Cristobal introduced the Consulate’s projects and calendar for the year and gave a report on the Consulate’s activities last year. He highlighted new projects such as academe networking, women entrepreneur’s forum, business and career networking event, workshops on Leadership and Management for the Fil-Am community organizations, and Post-Arrival Orientation Seminar for newly arrived Filipino immigrants. He encouraged the Filipino community to support the Consulate’s annual flagship projects such as the Consular outreach services, Know Your Rights seminars,

Filipino Restaurant Week, VIP Tour, Paaralan sa Konsulado, and Sinehan sa Summer, among others. The Consul General also reminded members of the Filipino community to exercise their right to vote this coming Philippine elections, stressing that Overseas Voting will run from April 13 to May 13.

Senior Trade Representative Nicanor Bautista of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York, Tourism Attaché Susan Del Mundo of the Philippine Department of Tourism Office in New York, Member Services OfficerMichael Azucena of Pag-Ibig Fund, and Welfare Officer Josephine Sanchez-Tobia of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) were also present and gave updates on their agencies’ respective programs and services for the year.

Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, in his remarks to the Assembly, related how, as a Filipino, he got involved in politics. He expressed his readiness to assist members of the Filipino community in Jersey City. With the Filipino community being one of the biggest immigrant groups in Jersey City, he said that the Filipino community could play a significant role in community building.

True to its continuing theme “Connecting and Collaborating for Change,” the General Assembly’s highlight was the breakout sessions held in the afternoon, where the participating organizations were divided into three groups, with topics assigned to each group such as inspiring engagement with young Filipino-Americans, broadening involvement in local community building and socio-political processes, and strengthening linkages and collaboration with the Consulate. Within their respective group, each organization was able to share experiences on the topic assigned, had constructive discussions among themselves, and were able to come up with specific programs, activities, and projects that they can collaborate on.

Event partners PNB New York, GMAPinoy TV, and Philippine Airlines, were present and gave updates on their company’s new services available to the Filipino community. GMAPinoy TV’s Grace Labaguis presented a GMA network’s video dubbed as “Sama-sama nating ‘Pusuan ang Totoo’” which is the network’s campaign for safeguarding the ballot and delivering truthful, accurate and comprehensive coverage of the forthcoming elections. Philippine Airlines shared the news that the flag carrier will soon have a daily Manila-New York-Manila flight and raffled off a round-trip ticket to the Philippines. Filipino-American singer Angel Ram had the participants dancing as she rendered an upbeat version of Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me” and “All Night Long.”

The Assembly likewise discussed the community events led by the different organizations, as well as the upcoming Philippine Independence Day parade in June.

This year’s General Assembly drew nearly 170 participants representing 85 Filipino- American organizations in the US northeast region.

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