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Home Sections NaFFAAgate The NaFFAA Is Bankrupt Not Only Financially But Also Intellectually
The NaFFAA Is Bankrupt Not Only Financially But Also Intellectually PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - NaFFAAgate
Thursday, 08 November 2007 05:11

This writer was informed by his sources in the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations, Inc. (NaFFAA) that once again its national headquarters is unable to pay its employees. The NaFFAA Chief of Staff, Doy Heredia, claims that he has not been paid his salary for nine months. The NaFFAA regional-chapter officers just passed the proverbial hat around and $12,000 in donations was raised, so as to enable the federation to continue operating temporarily in the black.

If the NaFFAA were operating a grocery business, it would have sought the protection of the bankruptcy court a long time ago. The idiom, "It is elementary, Mr. Watson," can best explain the inability of the NaFFAA national executive officers (NEOs) to raise funds for the federation. The first and foremost reason is the NEOs’ failure to follow religiously the ATIC tenets. ATIC, as I coined, means "accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility." By refusing to provide the true financial records, the public of course is peeved. When people are upset at, and annoyed by, the antics of the NaFFAA NEOs, they refuse to donate resources to it. The NaFFAA has operated since it was founded in 1997 on lies. It lies on the number of its members. The founders boasted in 2002 that the NaFFAA had more-than 3,000 members; then New Jersey-based columnist Ricky Rillera wrote that it had less than 200 associations (168, to be exact). The NaFFAA HQ never sought to disprove Mr. Rillera's column. One of its NEOs, the now-infamous Rodel Rodis of San Francisco, CA, however, called in his online posting Mr. Rillera and this writer "as_holes" for even asking questions about the NaFFAA.

The NaFFAA used to receive donations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from major foundations such as the Bank of America (BA) and Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) but hints of financial impropriety ended the grants. (For instance, the Wells Fargo Foundation gave the NaFFAA $300,000 in 2002. The grant was secured by Greg Macabenta, then a NaFFAA NEO, whose company, the Minority Media, was paid commissions that were not reflected in the NaFFAA financial statement for 2002.) For a breakdown of the 2002 NaFFAA financial statement – and proof of the financial scandal, as it did not include the revenues from the 2002 NaFFAA convention in San Jose, CA – please go to http://www.pinoyonboard.com/2004/0819_naffaa.html.)

The BA, WFB and other donors have Filipino-American employees and executives and they become aware of the non-stop exposés of the NaFFAA’s financial scams. These Fil-Am bank employees would of course tell their bosses that the grants were just being pocketed by some of the NaFFAA NEOs. Ergo, the grants are totally cut off or severely reduced to a trickle.

This writer has exposed the financial abuses in the NaFFAA, like when it paid $132,878 in consultants’ fees in 2002. To read this charge of impropriety and other "sins" of then NaFFAA national chairwoman, Loida Nicolas Lewis, please go to http://www.pinoyonboard.com/2004/0815_naffaa.html. The point of my contention was: How can a business that has gross revenue in 2002 of $445,783 spend $132,878 or 29.81% for consultants’ fees?

Intellectual Bankruptcy

The financial insolvency of the NaFFAA is compounded by the intellectual bankruptcy of many of its NEOs and some of its regional-chapter officers. Please read the message of the new NaFFAA state chairwoman for Pennsylvania, Aida Navidad Rivera, M.D. It seems Dr. Rivera suffers from suckeritis (sic), a disease that some Filipino Americans suffer. Suckeritis (sic) is the malady that dupes individuals like Dr. Rivera into acting as if they were born just yesterday. Of course, this comes from the idiom, "Suckers are born every minute."

In spite of documented evidence of the financial scams committed by some NaFFAA NEOs, some people like Dr. Rivera proudly state that they have "confidence in the leadership of NaFFAA."

In spite of documented evidence of the financial scams committed by some NaFFAA NEOs, some people like Dr. Rivera proudly state that they have "confidence in the leadership of NaFFAA."

Then Dr. Rivera repeats the same argument that the NaFFAA NEOs have been saying: That journalists like Ricky Rillera, Romy Marquez of San Diego (CA) and this writer should stop writing about the anomalies in the community because it does not "help the image of Filipino Americans and Filipinos in the United States" if they display dirty Filipino linen in public.

We think that it would be better if Filipino-American journalists and Filipino writers in the United States would preempt the mainstream press in exposing the crooks in our community. As in the case of the Menorgate portion of the NaFFAAgate in San Jose, CA, the San Jose Mercury News came up with a series of articles about the scandal. As we have been saying, the Filipino-American community had a face-saving "defense" in the Menorgate in the sense that it was a group of Filipino-American activists, led by Tito Cortez (Mr. Menor’s former brother-in-law), that tipped off the city authorities about the alleged financial scams. Remember that Mr. Cortez and Company alleged that part of the city funds (budgeted for a senior center that Mr. Menor managed) were used illegally to bankroll the NaFFAA national convention in San Jose, CA, in August 2002. Then I came up with the discovery that the convention revenues were never deposited to the NaFFAA’s bank account. Atty. Rodel Rodis, Mr. Menor’s convention co-chair, has refused so far to comment on who pocketed the convention revenues.

As I wrote, the image of some Filipino-American community leaders in avoiding the ATIC tenets led to the erroneous belief of some Americans into thinking that Filipinos introduced the culture of corruption to the United States. And this practice leads to some Filipino Americans being treated like second-class citizens in the United States. To read more about this discriminatory treatment, please to this link http://www.mabuhayradio.com/content/view/585/90/.


And so, the soap opera, "NaFFAA-ka-sakit, Kuya Eddie," continues. And Dr. Eddie AAA Calderon (of Minneapolis, Minnesota) continues to wait for the outcomes of the Menorgate’s civil and criminal trials . . .

* * * *

Dear Friends:

 

As requested, we have removed Dr. Rivera from the list of recipients. But we are reproducing her comments in the Front Page of the www.mabuhayradio.com, minus of course her e-mail address, to protect her privacy rights. We are also answering her concerns.

 

For the record,

 

Mabuhay,

 

Bobby M. Reyes

Editor

www.mabuhayradio.com

 

In a message dated 11/7/2007 9:12:22 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, anrivera@ writes:

 

I was copied this email (I request that I be dropped from your distribution list) and I am saddened that stories like these are circulated around. If you really want to help improve the image of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the US stop displaying your dirty laundry. 

I am relatively new in NaFFAA, thanks to Mr. Ernie Gange who invited me to attend the Conference in Chicago. I have heard NaFFAA for few years before that, but I thought it was an organization of the elite. If I remember right in the state of PA there were only a handful members and I did not hear much about what they did. I joined NaFFAA not because of the people who are there but because I believe in what it stands for.

I have confidence in the leadership of NaFFAA.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am aware and I respect every body has the right to express themselves but we should make sure we speak what is right (not half true/or should I say half false) and do it in a productive way. We should use all these energy to seek ways of empowering the Fil Ams, not destroy them. 

God speed.


Aida Navidad Rivera, M.D.
President, Philippine Folk Arts Society, Inc.

State Chair, NaFFAA Pennsylvania 



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