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In its continuing celebration of Filipino American History Month, the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco hosted a reception at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on 20 October 2016 for elected and appointed Filipino American officials, some of whom will be running for positions in the upcoming 2016 US Elections.

Among those who attended were Union City Vice-Mayor Jim Navarro who is running for Mayor of Union City; Ms. Marjan Philhour, candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 1; Daly City Councilmember Michael Guingona who is running for a seat in San Mateo County Board of Supervisors; Daly City Commissioners Juslyn Manalo and Glenn Sylvester, who are both running for the Daly City Council; Ms. Magdalena De Guzman, candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 11, and Ms. Evelyn Centeno, candidate for Martinez Unified School Board.

The event began with a video presentation about the history and plight of Filipinos in the State of Washington, reliving the journey of the first wave of Filipino migrants and connecting it with the present generation of Filipino-Americans.

The Consulate prepared a powerpoint presentation of statistics on Filipino-American voters, such as:

  • Filipinos are the second largest ethnic Asian group in the United States.
  • The Filipino-American Community is the largest Asian population in California.
  • According to the 2010 US Census (which takes place every ten years), 4.6% of Northern California’s population are composed of Filipinos.  That is, 649,646 of the 14,573,946 Northern California residents are Filipinos.
  • According to a study conducted by Filipino Advocates for Justice, Positively Filipino and Bayanihan Community Center, only 50% of the Filipino population in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Yolo County are registered to vote. (Study attached.)
  • In the last three (3) state elections, voter turnout for Filipino Americans peaked in 2012 at 258,859, and was at its lowest in 2014, with 137,899 voting during that year.
  • From 2000 to 2010, there was a 38% increase in population of Filipinos.  Following this upward trend, the population growth of Filipino-Americans is steadily increasing.
  • According to Assemblymember of the 18th District of California Rob Bonta, there should be at least one more member of the California Assembly that is Filipino-American.

It was in this vein that the Consulate held a reception, to bring awareness to the Filipino-American Community the need to register and to exercise their right to vote, in order to have more laws representative of the Community and that of other ethnic groups.

Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. welcomed those present at the Kalayaan Hall, expounding on the need of the Filipino Community to let their voices be heard and demand for legislation that benefits the ethnic communities, particularly the Filipino-Americans, in and around the Bay Area. He thanked them for heeding the call of public service, and “for fighting to represent Filipino-Americans in the United States.”

The highlight of the event was the introduction and presentation of the esteemed guests to the audience. Each were given the opportunity to deliver their message to fellow kababayans present at the event. The candidates expressed their thanks to the Consul General for honoring the Filipino-Americans in public service, vowing to propose and enact legislation that would address the needs and improve the quality of life of the Filipino-American Community.

The Consulate encouraged the Filipino-American Community to register by Monday, 24 October 2016, and to exercise their right of suffrage.

The event concluded with a photo op, followed by a meet-and-greet session over food and refreshments. END