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Feb 04th
Home Columns Unsolicited Advice “Desperate,” as in “Desperate Grandstanding,” Seems to be the Ultimate Adjective for the Filipino
“Desperate,” as in “Desperate Grandstanding,” Seems to be the Ultimate Adjective for the Filipino PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Unsolicited Advice
Saturday, 20 October 2007 05:46

Sir Lito A. Gajilan of the Knights of Rizal (New York chapter) wrote an editorial in his newspaper, The Filipino Express. Sir Lito said: "IT is bad enough that Filipinos were discriminated on ‘Desperate Housewives’.

"However, with the way some Filipino-Americans groups and individuals are acting in response to the issue, it seems that we deserve to be discriminated.

"These groups and people are fighting for the limelight brought upon by the aired racial slur. Everyone wants to be the hero. Everyone is grandstanding. Everyone wants to take credit for being the defender of the brown Malay race. (Snipped)"

To read The Filipino Express editorial in its entirety, please click on this link:

It is indeed a pity that many Filipino-American community leaders are that desperate in grandstanding and demonstrating their grabbing-the-limelight syndrome (GTLS). Of all the community organizations, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) is the guiltiest of grandstanding and the GTLS.

The Filipino Express was one of the few community newspapers to take up as early as 2001 the cudgel for the popular demand that the NaFFAA practice the so-called ATIC slogan. ATIC, as I coined, stands for accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility. Its columnist, Ricky Rillera, picked up the bat and scored hits after hits, if not homeruns, on the ATIC issues. It was Mr. Rillera, for instance, who leaked out the truth that the NaFFAA had only 168 members in 2003 and not the 3,000 that its founders proclaimed to its gullible supporters. The NaFFAA national executive officers (NEOs) never bothered to dispute Mr. Rillera’s findings. However, Atty. Rodel Rodis, then a NaFFAA NEO and still chair of the federation’s chapter in Northern California, called Mr. Rillera and this writer as "as_holes" for attacking the federation. The use of "as_hole" from Mr. Rodis, then the president of the San Francisco Community College, was revelatory of the leadership quality of the NaFFAA NEOs.

Just like the folks back in the Philippines, Filipino Americans are desperate for honest and pragmatic leadership. As what happened in the "Desperate Housewives" Comedia (as this writer has labeled the brouhaha), even Filipino congressional and national leaders – just like the NaFFAA NEOs – criticized the ABC Network for the supposed slur. But they refuse to address the needs for accountability and transparency. They refuse to address the issues of corruption among their ranks.

Atty. Rodis and the other NaFFAA NEOs like Lourdes Corrales of New Jersey (the NaFFAA national treasurer) could issue press release after press release of criticism against the ABC Network. But . . . they refuse to provide the financial report of many of the conventions and global conferences that the NaFFAA has organized for the past nine years. For instance, Atty. Rodis, the cochair of the NaFFAA national convention in San Jose, California, in August 2002 (2-0-0-2) has adamantly refused to present an accounting of the tens of thousands that his committee and the NaFFAA treasury (as headed by Ms. Corrales) collected from the more-than four hundred delegates who paid $175 per head. Up to now, nobody knows who pocketed the convention-registration fees, which were never deposited in the NaFFAA headquarter’s bank accounts. And yet, Atty. Rodis, Ms. Corrales, et al, have the temerity, the audacity, the nerve and thick faces to volunteer themselves as the community’s spokesmen in the "Desperate Housewives" Comedia. How can people who have been accused of corruption represent the community at large?

I wrote on Oct. 9, 2007, "Desperate NaFFAA NEOs Use ‘Desperate Housewives’ Brouhaha to Grandstand and Avoid the ATIC Issue." To read it again, please go to this link

It is really amazing to note that many Fil-Am community leaders and Filipino diplomats in the Tri-State Area and New-England States continue to honor the former NaFFAA national chair Loida Nicolas-Lewis of New York under whose watch many of the anomalies in the federation happened. How can Filipino Americans not confront Ms. Lourdes Corrales, a former deputy mayor of Jersey City, NJ, of her failure as the top NaFFAA financial officer to produce the requested financial reports? Why can’t Filipino Americans tell these NaFFAA leaders to shape up or ship out, to use an oft-quoted naval adage?

And speaking of ships, these NaFFAA NEOs have been proclaiming their federation as the supposed vessel of unity for Filipino Americans and even for Overseas Filipinos. But at the rate things are going in the NaFFAA circle, many Filipinos fear that their proverbial vessel is becoming the metaphorical Filipino equivalent of the SS Titanic.

To borrow the words of Sir Lito, "with the way some Filipino-Americans groups and individuals are acting in response to the issue, it seems that we deserve to be discriminated."

I wrote in an earlier article in this column, "Can the Filipino-American community not find honest people with untainted track records of advocacy to become their spokesmen and lobby leaders? And Filipino Americans refuse to ostracize the crooks in their midst and in their community organizations because they say that it is unkind to be displaying dirty Filipino linen before the American public.

"Perhaps, American citizens of Filipino descent (ACFD) must ask themselves why some of them feel that they are ‘second-class’ citizens of the United States. Perhaps the ACFD ought to remember what the cartoon character, Pogo, said: ‘We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.’ Yes, you, ACFD, are your own worst enemy, if not your own worst nightmare." To read the previous article, please click on this link  # # #

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Last Updated on Sunday, 21 October 2007 05:59

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