BOSTON – Imagine being young, but having an old person’s body. Every day can be a struggle. But the reality of a short life could even be harder to fathom. We introduce you to a Filipina who suffers from Progeria — a rare genetic condition characterized by accelerated aging in children. She’s found new hope through the help of kababayans in the United States.
Monette Rivera brings us the story.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – For the second time in less than a month, home care workers and their union leaders gathered at the San Mateo County Courthouse to fight for a living wage increase from the Board of Supervisors.
The workers say that they cannot survive on their current pay of $11.50 an hour. They believe $15 an hour will provide a living wage.
“Most of the workers, the providers are Filipino and we are really affected because of the high cost of living and housing problems, prescriptions, food, and gas everything is getting more expensive,” said Faye Peralta Astrero who is a care home worker of over 20 years. “It’s not affordable to live anymore in San Mateo County.”
The workers say they only want to be fairly compensated for doing a job that they care about.
“I’m 76-years-old and my client is 86-years-old and even older or younger but I still have to go and have a mission in life,” said Astrero.” My goal is to help needy people.”
About 10 people were arrested for civil disobedience as they disrupted the Board of Supervisors meeting.
“To be perfectly honest with you, the issue is that they don’t believe in what we do,” said Tanya York, Regional Vice President of the Care Worker Union. They don’t value home care workers and what we bring to the community. We save lives!”
The workers and their union has said that they have tried to meet with the Board of Supervisors but they have dismissed their requests.
“Black, white, Asian, Latino – we’ve all come together to speak up for the people we care for and the community because what we do brings value to the community we live in,” said York.
Balitang America has tried reaching out to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors but they have not responded at this time.
NEW YORK – Since President Barack Obama issued his recent executive orders on immigration, Philippine consulates all over the United States have been reaching out to kababayans who may be eligible for this much awaited relief through workshops.
Three components of Obama’s executive action applies widely to undocumented Filipinos, Consul Khrys Corpuz said at a workshop held Sunday.
They are the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA version 2.0, the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability or DAPA and the expansion of provisional waiver for three or ten year bar.
“They do not confer lawful status upon an undocumented immigrant, so you do not have status,” said Corpuz. “They do not constitute an amnesty, and they do not constitute the much awaited immigration reform law. They do not offer a path to U.S. citizenship.”
DACA is a temporary immigration benefit for people who arrived in the U.S. before his or her 16th birthday and before January 1, 2010, regardless of their age today.
Modeled after the DACA program, DAPA provides deportation relief and work permits to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents – that have continuously resided in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010.
Their children must have been born on or before November 20, 2014 and must be physically present and out of status on November 20, 2014, as well.
The third category of relief is the provisional waiver which now allows spouses and children of green card holders and adult children of U.S. citizens to apply for unlawful presence waivers from within the U.S.
Previously, provisional waivers were available only to the spouse, parents, or minor children of us citizens.
Temporary relief from deportation and grant of work authorization if the person: passes criminal and national security background checks, pays taxes, pays a filing fee, DACA and DAPA work authorizations valid for 3 years, rather than current two year period.
Qualified DACA 2.0 and DAPA applicants may receive temporary relief from deportation and may be granted three-year renewable work permits if they pass criminal and national security background checks, pay taxes and filing fees and show proof of identity such as a Philippine passport.
“We know it takes a little while no, for the Philippine passport be here no, in other words personalization process takes six to eight weeks so they better do it now,” said ConGen Mario De Leon.
Immigration attorney Chris Hugo says that now is the right time to get started with their applications by getting paper works such as proof of identification and past immigration records ready.
“It’s important because sometimes we are not aware that we have a pending file or application to the USCIS,” said Hugo. “It may affect the process. We should save our money for lawyers and filing fees.”
The USCIS may start accepting DACA applications as early as February 2015 and around may 2015 for DAPA qualified applicants.
BEN LOMOND, Calif. – High above the Santa Cruz Mountains, a love story came full circle on Monday as Aiza Seguerra and Liza Dino tied the knot at a private ceremony.
It was a long road to the top of this mountain. The two first met over a decade ago as college students. They went on with their separate lives — Aiza continued his Philippine showbiz career as Liza moved to the US where she gave birth to her daughter Amara, her eventual maid of honor.
The two reconnected on Twitter less than two years ago while Liza, the former beauty queen turned actress, was in the Philippines. Since then, the real life love team became known as ZaZa, sharing their love for each other and love for adventure every day on social media.
This romance also became the face of the Philippines LGBTQ movement, as Aiza came out as a transgender man.
Those daily love stories have led to this moment in front of some 50 guests in a romantic and lighthearted outdoor ceremony followed by a barn house reception.
Many were teary eyed and all were happy for the new husband and wife.
“Aiza, we are commiting ourselves to each other and I think that’s what matters the most — that we are ready, that we are publicly declaring this commitment because we know that it’s us,” Liza told Aiza during the reception.
Among those giving a toast was Sylvia Sanchez who played Aiza’s mother on “Be Careful with my Heart”.
The newlyweds encouraged guests to take to social media with the hashtag #ZaZagothitched, their way of sharing with the world their special day that took 13 years in the making.
But the wedding bells have just begun ringing. The happy couple will tie the knot again as they’re scheduled to have a Philippine wedding next month.
Seven years ago, the story of a violent motorcycle gang premiered on cable TV to huge ratings. Geared for mature audiences, “Sons of Anarchy” has a wide fanbase that’s eagerly awaiting tonight’s final episode. One of its stars talked to Yong Chavez about how he thinks the series will end. Here’s tonight’s Balitang Showbiz.
By Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – As Tropical Storm Ruby exits the Philippine area of responsibility, authorities now focus on getting help to citizens who were affected. Disaster management officials say some 13,000 homes in Eastern Samera were crushed. Families are now being provided with relief goods so they can start rebuilding. Raffy Santos has this story from Eastern Samar.
By Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - The Philippine government and the Philippine Red Cross disagree on the death toll in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ruby. However, the government is grateful that the number of casualties is much lower than the number following Typhoon Yolanda.
Chiara Zambrano reports from Manila.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Sagip Kapamilya (Family Rescue), an ABS-CBN Foundation disaster relief program started its relief and rescue operations immediately after Ruby’s first landfall on Saturday in Eastern Samar and now in other parts of Luzon.
According to the ABS-CBN Foundation, there is an immediate need for food and medication among other basic relief goods to serve as many evacuees as possible.
Should you wish to help in Sagip Kapamilya’s relief and rescue operations, ABS-CBN Foundation has provided you with convenient options. Here’s how to donate:
1) Send check payable to Sagip Kapamilya to ABS-CBN Foundation International at 150 Shoreline Drive, Redwood City, CA 94065
2) Visit www.abscbnfoundation.org and click donate to Sagip Kapamilya located at the homepage
3) Call (800) 527-2820
Oscar-winning Fil-Am composer Robert Lopez is not letting go quite yet, as his co-written song for the movie “Frozen” gets another acclaim – this time from the Grammy’s.
While in the Philippines, pop princess Sarah Geronimo shines with a Disney moment of her own.
Yong Chavez has this report in Balitang Showbiz.
An online campaign to find the top cities in the world that represents global diversity in urban society has named a Philippine city to its list.
Vigan in Ilocos Sur was chosen as one of the “New7Wonders” cities by Swiss foundation New7Wonders.
Organizers said more than 1,200 cities from 220 countries were nominated in the campaign.
Votes are cast online on smart phone apps, through international telephone voting lines, and text messaging.
The winning “New 7 Wonders” cities for 2015 were: Beirut, Lebanon; Doha, Qatar; Durban, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; La Paz, Bolivia, and Vigan, Philippines.
Big wins for Filipino athletes competing throughout the globe.
Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez finished in 6th place at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia over the weekend.
Martinez, who was among 22 international competitors scored 204.45.
In contact sports, the “Hawaiian Punch” Brian Viloria, beat Mexican Armando Vasquez over the weekend in Glendale, California.
Viloria dropped the Mexican with a left hook during the 41 second mark of the fourth round.
Since losing his Super flyweight titles in Macau last year, the former champion has won three straight fights – the last two by knock out.
Meantime, former boxing champ Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton defeated Walaa Abbas of Egypt in her second mixed martial arts fight over the weekend at the ONE FC event in Manila, improving her MMA record to 2-1.
Julaton’s camp say Top Rank CEO Bob Arum plans to promote her fight in Macau early next year, as she hopes to become the first fighter in history to simultaneously hold world titles in boxing and MMA.
On the same ONE FC card, former Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Brandon Vera had a happy homecoming, knocking out another Filipino Igor Subora.
This was the Virginia-raised Filipino-American’s first fight in the Philippines.
By Atom Arullo
SAMAR – A stadium with its roof ripped off, buildings of the Eastern Samar State University damaged.
Even this school which had just undergone renovation just last October was not spared. It was also severely damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.
“Mahirap magkaroon ng eskwelahan,” said Lyn Abella, principal of Dapdap National High School.
Many homes were destroyed as well.
“Di kami nakakabangon ngayon, washed out na naman,” said Pedro Mainiti.
Electric posts and trees fell, leaving roads impassable. Ruby left a trail of destruction in Dolores, Eastern Samar, and neighboring town Can-avid.
“Ruby” made its first landfall over Dolores over the weekend. In the nearby town of Oras, many homes were also washed out.
“Yung iba naanod na yung iba nawalan ng gamit,” said Marla Caraga, a resident in the area.
In the town of Taft, residents have become desperate for food and water. In Calbayog, a three-month-old baby, Princess, was killed after a big tree fell on their house.
Princess and her mother were trapped inside for an hour.
“Natumba nalang po bigla, said Maricel Repamonte, “ako naipit yung kamay ko. Pero siya, yung buong katawan po. Linagari pa nila yung mga kahoy para makuha kami.”
The Philippine Red Cross says at least 23 died in Eastern Samar – 16 of them in Borongan alone. Many of them drowned.
With the worst already over, many evacuees have returned to their homes.
Although power and communication lines are still down, many are relieved and grateful to be alive.
“Dahil talaga yan sa preemptive evacuation naming,” said Chat Gonzaga, Calgayog City administrator. “Kahit na mas malakas ang pagtama ng bagyong ito kaysa sa Yolanda o Glenda, maliit lang ang damage.”
A lesson learned from past storms and a practice, LGU’s hope to meet their zero casualties goal.
Typhoon Ruby has weakened to a tropical storm, as it makes its way through Central Luzon and Manila. As the storm slows down, it is expected to dump more rain, which may cause heavy flooding.
The Philippine Red Cross reports that at least 20 people have died in the Visayas.
The typhoon has reportedly destroyed more than one thousand homes.
It is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Wednesday afternoon.
NEW YORK – After a two-year ban, the traditional “Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado” is back for good.
“It’s the only time that people from all walks of life, and from Connecticut, Philadelphia, and counties that are far away, they can converge in the Philippine Consulate and enjoy the mass,” said Lumen Casteneda, an organizer for the event.
In 2012, after more than two decades of celebrating Misa De Gallo inside the Philippine Consulate, the Archdiocese of New York required the Filipino community to celebrate this Pinoy tradition at cathedrals or nearby Parish churches only.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan cited the Catholic Cannon law that says masses should only be held inside sacred grounds.
But early this year, Dolan lifted the ban after community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis wrote him a letter and asked him to reconsider his “decision that created a negative impression among Filipino-American.”
And so he did.
“We are grateful that we have this privilege to be able to worship in our territory consulate,” said Monsignor Oscar Aquino, “and that is very, very important for all of us Filipinos, by the way, wherever Jesus is, that’s the Holy place.”
“The Filipino community’s very happy that Simbang Gabi has gone back here,” said Mario De Leon, Philippine Consul General, “as far as they are concerned, the Philippine Consulate, the Philippine Center, is their home away from the Philippines.”
Included in their prayers Sunday night is the safety of Filipinos living on the path of Philippine storm Ruby.
A number of these Simbang Gabi goers are natives of Samar.
“I’m from Borongan, Eastern Samar,” said Liza Galon. “Thank God sa mga prayers, although we have baha, may mga flooding duon, at saka may mga houses na nasira, but lives were saved because of the evacuation, nakinig naman ang mga tao.”
For nine consecutive days, the pre-Christmas masses will be celebrated at the consulate’s Kalayaan Hall at 6:45 p.m. on weekdays and at 3 p.m. on weekends.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Prayers of thanksgiving flooded the Tagalog mass at Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, as Filipinos were relieved to hear from family and friends that they are safe after Typhoon Ruby made its way through Central Philippines.
“Answered prayers kami, kasi alam ko hindi kami ni Mama Mary na hindi talaga kami na bina bayaan,” said Rene Clemente, who has family in Carigara.
“I was happy to hear they’re fine,” said Orville Tuca. “There’s no electricity, but they were able to use their cell phones through their battery in the car.”
The past 13 months have been difficult for many Filipinos whose families were still rebuilding from Typhoon Yolanda.
“They were telling me about the experience again,” said Glen Mesa. “Yung pag medjo lakas ng hangin sumisigaw mga pamankin ko, even my mom. But the prayers helped a lot. Some of our houses are not yet fixed and here comes a typhoon again, so I hope there’s no third typhoon so at least they will be able to fix it.”
These kababayans believe the early evacuation of residents, and the organization of relief goods, have made Typhoon Ruby less catastrophic than last year’s Typhoon Yolanda, where more than 6,000 died.
“My mom is working for the municipality of Telosa, so since Monday, the already had the operations,” said Kim Malate. “I guess they set up the team and prepared for the evacuation.”
While the worst of Ruby is believed to be over, these community members know that relatives and local community groups back home will need all the help they can get, including financial assistance.
Though the physical and structural damage may be smaller compared to years past, Filipinos with Visayan roots fear that a bulk of the damage is emotional, and the trauma that their family lives with during every disaster.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A Filipino family that just began their American dream about a year ago was hurt in a highway accident on Friday.
Teddy and Delora Gomez, along with their son Ted, are now being treated for injuries after a jeep crashed head-on to their vehicle along the 21-mile road in Chesterfield, Michigan.
Authorities say the driver of the jeep may have been in some sort of dispute with a driver of a pick-up truck when the jeep swerved and crashed onto the GMC of the Gomez family.
A local station in Detroit says Teddy and his wife are being operated on for severe injuries.
Police continue to investigate this crash. Anyone with information on it should contact Chesterfield Township Police at (586) 949-2322.
After Janine Tugonon became Miss Universe first runner-up, she embarked on a life here in the US.
On tonight’s Balitang Showbiz, Yong Chavez finds out what’s the latest on the beauty queen.
SAN FRANCISCO – In New York, protesters carried black symbolic caskets across the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. In Washington D.C., demonstrators staged a “die-in,” blocks near the White House.
An in the Bay Area, protesters continued to fill the streets.
In San Francisco, Rudy Corpuz Jr. – founder of United Playaz, which has a violence prevention and youth mentorship program – says he disagrees with the destruction but understands the message.
“People are angry and you can’t blame how they are feeling,” said Corpuz. “What comes with anger, comes destruction sometimes.”
Corpuz, a former gangster and drug dealer, says the reason there is some distrust between minorities and the police is because there is no relationship between the two.
“I think a lot of officers need to be trained in the lifestyles of people living in these communities in the inner cities,” said Corpuz.
Corpuz says the first step into fixing the justice system is better communication.
“Until I started meeting good officers and having dialogue and realizing where they come from and what their job is – they have one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet – I started understanding and building relationships,” said the youth program leader.
Corpuz uses his past to teach children in one of the toughest neighbors in San Francisco on how to avoid possible confrontation with the police.
“When I have the police come through the doors, and they see me interact with them in a way we’re respectful and cool, I’m sure they start saying, ‘Rudy does it. Why can’t I do it?” said Corpuz.
Rudy says that the relationship that he has built between his program and the San Francisco Police Department has helped the community in dealing with recent issues in the justice system.
“We’re here always, talking about that issue, [it’s] nothing new,” said Corpuz. “We had the cops here and they talk to kids. They have good relationships with the kids.”
In New York, police officers are being re-trained following the death of Eric Garner. The training consists of de-escalation tactics and using less force when possible. NYPD will also begin to test body cameras on officers this week.
NEW YORK – Growing up in America, many of these young Filipino-Americans knew their family came from a far-away land called the Philippines. For many of them, it’s 7,107 islands about 8,000 miles away and that’s about it.
But thanks to Philippine Ambassador to the US, Jose Cuisia Jr.’s advocacy to reach-out to the Fil-Am youth, a program called Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYL-Pro) is reconnecting a few outstanding young Fil-Ams with their Filipino roots.
Now on its third year, FYL-Pro is an immersive program where delegates get to visit the Philippines – all expenses paid – to meet the Philippine leaders from government and various sectors.
“We hope that by immersing them, they will reconnect with their country in their own personal way,” said Mario De Leon, NY Philippine Consul General, “and number two, they can use their knowledge, their skills, their education to give back.”
For Adette Contreras, after a life changing trip to the Philippines, she now vows to give back by painting a positive image of the Philippines through arts and tourism.
“I feel like I can recalibrate it even just a little bit and start with a core group of influencers that can then spread it out and start getting people excited to go to the Philippines,” said Contreras, a delegate for FLY-Pro.
For Fulbright Scholar to the Philippines Attorney Chris Laping, his new mission now is to help OFW’s who are victims of labor and human trafficking.
“My application is to do public interest work, legal work with the Filipino community in Southern California, to help labor trafficking victims in the Filipino community,” said Laping.
For Next Day Better Chief builder and founder, Ryan Letada, FYL-Pro’s Immersion PH is the first step towards understanding his roots.
“The biggest take away about immersing yourself is beginning a conversation with Filipino in the Philippines to understand what the problems are, what are important to them,” said Letada, “in turn, begin to understand what are your skills and talents that you could give to collaborate with Filipinos on the ground. The biggest thing is that the Philippines could actually solve their own problems.”
Letada says Filipino-Americans like their outstanding group are just there to help to amplify some possible solutions and help the Philippines get there faster.