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Home Columns San Diego Happenings Filipino-American Political Activists Set to Form Broad Coalition
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Saturday, 15 November 2008 14:05

It is still 24 months to the next elections and now, San Diego Filipino political activists are laying the groundwork for potential Filipino candidates and prepare them to slug it out fully equipped and solidly-backed by the community. A new call has been sounded to rally the Filipino voters and make a reality of the "Filipino voting bloc". The community is picking up the pieces from the dismal failure of Filipino candidates to win any seat in the Nov. 4 election. A broad coalition of voters and residents may be emerging.

 

ELECTION AFTERMATH

Political Activists Set to Form Broad Coalition;

Existing PACs Called 'Ineffective and Inefficient'

 

By Romeo P. Marquez

 

The author is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

A brainstorming session about the bleak outcome of the Nov. 4 election in the Filipino community turned into an impromptu grievance forum with the organizer himself bluntly calling Filipino political action committees "ineffective and inefficient".

 

Joining the chorus of what appeared like a condemnation of promised assistance that never materialized, two Filipino Americans who lost in their election bids decried the lack of financial and moral support from Filipino voters.

 

Rizalino Oades, Ph.D., a retired professor of history at San Diego State University, had called for a community meeting on Wednesday night (Nov. 12) to consider forming a non-partisan, independent voters' coalition after two of the most prominent Filipino candidates in the county failed in their races.

 

At least 25 people showed up, including Mitz Lee, incumbent trustee of the San Diego Unified School Board whose term ends in December; and Ditas De los Santos Yamane, a local businesswoman, who ran for a council seat in the City of National City. Both Ms. Lee and Ms. Yamane lost.

 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 2, Issue No. 25 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . . . . .

Ms. Lee attributed her bad luck to the spate of negative television ads paid for by the state-wide teachers' union that attacked her performance in the past four years. Scarce campaign funds, she claimed, had inhibited her from rebutting the false charges that could have neutralized the situation.

 

Ms. Yamane, on the other hand, grieved over her failure to win the National City council seat -- her third attempt in the last six years -- because her alleged backers did not deliver on their pledges of support.

 

"Where were they who claimed to have influence?" she asked as her listeners watched passively and sat silently at the meeting's venue at Kalusugan Community Services office in National City.

 

"We have a PAC (political action committee) to empower Filipino Americans, but look at their endorsements. They opted to endorse a Latino for a second seat! Where were they?  . . . They don't walk the talk," Ms. Yamane roared.

 

Ms. Yamane landed fourth place in the seven-way election contest for two seats in the city where 18 percent of the population is Filipino. The seats went to two Hispanic candidates, one of whom is half-Filipino. The other Filipino in the race, Fideles Ungab, an incumbent councilman, took sixth place.

 

Dr. Oades, who disowned any intention of running for political office, was pursuing the issue of why Filipinos in general have been apathetic in terms of politics. He said there's a sense of "powerlessness" among Filipino voters, a feeling embedded in their cultural traits.

 

While politics is a favorite pastime of Filipinos, there's so much apathy and indifference, he said. In National City, "politics there can be considered within the realm of crab mentality (pulling another down to prevent the other from reaching the top)," Dr. Oades stressed.

 

Besides, Filipinos are personality-, rather than issues-oriented. "We tend to be insular in our thinking," he said.

 

Julio de Guzman, a known community organizer, questioned the need for another PAC when there are already several, at least three or four, in existence. To which Dr. Oades responded without batting an eyelash: "Because they are ineffective and inefficient".

 

At least two Filipino PACs made ballot recommendations in the Nov. 4 polls. One, the so-called Filipino American Community Empowerment (FACE), is notorious for endorsing friends who are non-Filipinos. It's the PAC that Ms. Yamane described though she did not identify it by name. FACE, ironically, had endorsed Ms. Yamane for one of the seats.

 

Towards the end of the meeting, participants agreed that a body – a non-profit organization or a voters' coalition – needs to be established to empower the Filipino community. A meeting is set again on December 3rd. # # #

 

 

This Breaking News is written by Romeo P. Marquez, editor, Philippine Village Voice, San Diego, California. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA 92038.

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 15 November 2008 14:05
 

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