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Oct 04th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Filipino Americans Defy Congressman Filner And Show Unity
Filipino Americans Defy Congressman Filner And Show Unity PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Friday, 16 January 2009 05:55

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Friday, January 16, 2009 

T wo Filipinos are among the nine candidates seeking to fill up a council seat in National City, the suburban Navy town heavily-populated by Filipino Americans. In what may be a first in local political history, a sizable crowd both lobbied and spoke for the woman candidate, Ms. Ditas Yamane, to be appointed to the position left vacant early this month, thus defying the wishes of their congressman idol, Rep. Bob Filner. A newly-formed coalition of Filipino-American individuals and organizations is inviting other groups to join, an act that may finally put an end to endless bickering and petty intramurals in the Filipino community.


Voters' Coalition, Other Individuals Throw Support for Filipino-American Woman Candidate for National City Council Seat


By Romeo P. Marquez


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

F ilipino community activists, defying the wishes of their revered congressman, strongly lobbied for the appointment of one of their own in a suburban council seat, setting the stage for a head-on political confrontation unprecedented in local politics.


A diverse crowd, many of them Filipinos, had swarmed the council chamber of National City in a highly-partisan show of support for their candidates competing for the vacancy in the city council.


The four-member Council of the City of National City led by Mayor Ron Morrison  conducted the one and only interview with each of the nine aspirants, among them Filipino candidates Ditas Yamane and Fidelis Ungab, through late in the evening of Tuesday (Jan. 13).


PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 3, Issue No. 2 / News Without Fear or Favor /

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

A decision will be announced next week as to who would occupy the post left vacant by the resignation of Councilmember Luis Natividad and continue on with the remaining two years of his unexpired term.


Before the council could even schedule the interview, Congressman Bob Filner, who is idolized in the Filipino community for his unflinching support for Filipino veterans' equity, had advocated for Ms. Mona Rios, the daughter of his Hispanic aide, Al Alvarado.


Congressman Filner's appearance at the council chamber had surprised many, including Ms. Yamane who bemoaned his "undue" interference in municipal politics. In terms of party affiliation, Filner, Yamane and Rios are all Democrats.


Judging from the number of people who spoke in support, and from the ranks of those who came to show solidarity, Ms. Yamane, a businesswoman and the immediate past president of the National City Chamber of Commerce, appeared to be the most popular.

The Filipino-American community has yet to find out if such considerable lobbying for one of its own would translate into something concrete – the appointment of Ms. Yamane to the vacant position – and thus have a Filipino American in the city's decision-making process.

If that happens, that'll prove that Filipino Americans could already wield some clout as to sway the outcome of the whole process. It would also show that they could stand united behind a candidate of their choice despite bitter feuds and acrimonious differences over community issues.


In the case of Ms. Yamane, a lone woman dissenter tried to rake up her past involvement in some controversies but was timed out before she could succeed in opening old wounds. The effort failed, and in the face of overwhelming support for Ms. Yamane, looked like a pathetic gamble to discredit her.


A succession of speakers, all nine of them and all strongly vouching for Ms. Yamane, spoke glowingly about her and her qualifications and accomplishments. In contrast, none vouched for or against Fidelis Ungab, the other applicant, who had occupied the office until his loss in the Nov. 4 election.


The recent formation of the Filipino Voters Coalition headed by retired university professor Rizalino Oades, Ph.D., might have contributed to the selection of Ms. Yamane as the unofficial standard bearer for Filipinos, who comprised 20 percent of the population of National City.


The coalition is inviting other political action committees and individuals within San Diego County to join its mobilization and unification efforts to energize the entire community into action.


Top city officials earlier visited by coalition members had advised them to get their acts together in support of only one Filipino-American candidate instead of diluting their backing by advocating for every Filipino who runs for office.


The show of support for Ms. Yamane, though not as massive as can be expected from a large pool of Filipino voters, may be regarded as the first unified action by a group of Filipinos in San Diego County. # # #


This Breaking News is sent 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 Friday, 16 January 2009 06:01

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