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IMMIGRANT LIVING:
101 AND BEYOND
Community Journal
EVERYONEdoes.Butwerelegate
the story to children’s lit and
condescendinglyforgetthatthese
cutelittleporkersbringhomean
importantpointaboutthechoices
we make when we embark on
building something worthwhile
– like choosing the foundation
onwhichwebuildourimmigrant
life.
Thefirstpigbuilthishouseof
straw and the second one built
hishouseofsticksandwentpartying till the cows came home.
And the big bad wolf, who had
a hankering for chicharrones,
came down huffing and puffing
andblowingbothhousesdownin
asnap,muchtotheutterdismay
ofthetwohapless,lazyporkers.
Runningfortheirliveswiththeir
curled,tinytailsandthehairon
theirchinny,chinchina-quiver-
ing, they dashed over to safety,
straighttothehouseoftheirother
stolid,somewhatstodgybrother
pigwhohadbuilthishousemethodically, meticulously, slowly,
brickbysolidbrick.Enterthebig
bad wolf, now crazed with the
thoughtofwolfingdownnotone
butthreepigs.Hedoeshisblusteryhuffingandpuffing…well…
youknowhowthestoryended.
Any structural engineer will
agree with the third porker and
Searching for a kababata from your hometown, a college buddy or a Pinoy colleague? Your search is finally over.
The Asian Journal brings you Re:Union, Filipino American Associations in America -- your link to a network of kababayan associations here in the United States. As your Filipino-American community newspaper, the Asian Journal recognizes
your need to nourish and maintain ties with the people and the culture you were born with. This is our way of connecting
our kababayans to the past, of creating new opportunities for the present and of inspiring you to pay it forward by becoming active members of your association and the FilAm community at large in the future.
Council of Philippine American Organizations
of San Diego County, Inc. (COPAO)
Contact:
P.O. Box 1504, National City, California 91951-1504
Telephone: 619-477-4090
www.copao-sandiego.org
Mission statement
COPAO San Diego is
a collaborative of organizations united by
a common concern for
the economic, social
and political empowerment of its members
through developmental
programsandprojects.
COPAO is a California
PublicBenefitCorporationandIRS501(c)(3)
organization.
A brief history of
COPAO
ByAuroraS.Cudal
It is not surprising
thatthealmost200,000
Filipino-Americans in San Diego County, who
originate from the different regions and provinces of the Philippines, and who come from
allwalksoflife,haveformedavarietyofsocial
clubs, school organizations, professional societies,andsoforth.Infact,byunofficialcount,
there are close to 200 different organizations
thathavebeenformedbyFilipino-Americansin
SanDiegoCounty.
Perhapsbecauseofthisdiversity,theCouncilofPhilippineAmericanOrganizationsofSan
DiegoCounty(COPAO)wasformedtobeginto
bringthemanygroupstogetherunderasingle
“umbrella” organization. Over the years, it’s
governingbodyhasmetamorphosedintoaunicameral Executive Council, serving as the legislative and administrative body over approximately50differentmemberorganizations.
COPAOwasstartedbyretiredFilipinosfrom
the US Navy, doctors, nurses, social workers
and educators who came together in 1971, to
organizeanumbrellaorganizationinorder“to
fosterharmonyandmutualcooperationamong
Filipino-American organizations and the communityatlarge.”Otherobjectivesoftheorganizers were to work together to (1) promote
understanding of Filipino cultural heritage (2)
protectthelegitimateinterestsofFilipinosand
Filipino-Americans(3)expandopportunitiesfor
education, health, business, employment and
social services (4) advocate civil rights, equal
opportunityandsocialjustice,andto(5)build
character, integrity, self esteem and a positive
imageofFilipinosandFilipino-Americans.
Inthefinalchapterof“BeyondtheMask”,a
book about the life and times of US Navy Filipinos, Dr. Riz Oades, writes about COPAO’s
challengesandaccomplishmentsundervarious
administrationsendingwiththatofJayV.Ruiz,
who was responsible for initiating many communityprojects,foremostofwhichisthePhilippine Faire and Parade, which has become an
annualeventtocelebratetheanniversaryofthe
declaration of Philippine Independence from
Spain.
ThelateErnieFlores,Jr.,publisherandeditor-in-chief of The Filipino Press and former
historian of COPAO, wrote that in 1967, The
FilipinoCommunityOrganizationofSanDiego
County(nowknownasthePhilippineAmerican
Community of San Diego County), received a
few thousand dollars from the City and County to fund anti-poverty programs for Filipinos.
The president of the organization at that time
was Filemon Adrid, a realtor and retired Navy
serviceman. This was the first known government-funded project ever directed to the then
growing Filipino-American community in San
DiegoCounty.
In 1972, Filemon Adrid, with the help of a
fewcommunityleadersdecidedtoformaseparateentitytoaddressthesocialserviceneeds
oftheFilipinos.Withtheparticipationofadozen or so Filipino associations, the new entity
was called the “Council of Pilipino-American
Organizations(COPAO).Adridbecameitsfirst
Chairman.
Thatyearagroupofdoctors,nursesandother
communityleadersorganizedOperationSamahan,Inc.withCOPAOasitsfiscalagentthrough
the late 1980’s until funding was stopped. For
abrieftime,COPAOalsohadanAsiancomponentprogramdirectedspecificallytotheneeds
of Chinese, Indo-Chinese, Japanese, Koreans
andPacificIslandergroupssuchasHawaiians,
Samoans, Tongans, etc. This component later
separated from COPAO to form what is now
knownastheUnionofPanAsianCommunities
(UPAC).
Through the 70’s and 80’s COPAO operated
withfundingcomingfromthecity,county,and
100505 - MW SEC B.indd 3
B
15 tips: How to build a house of bricks
“Adapt, you must. Or die early, you will.”
What the dodo bird’s mantra should have been
Remember the story of the three little pigs?
Monette AdevA MAglAyA
LA MIDWEEK ASIAN JOURNAL • MAY 5-7, 2010
allude to the biblical reference
about a house built on a rock
andthewindandraincouldnot
prevailuponit.He will tellyou
thatsolidfoundationworktaking
stress points into account is basicinbuildinganythingofvalue
that’s meant to last. The same
istrueinbuildinganimmigrant
life.
I am certain there are countless other pointers hundreds of
thousands of immigrants more
than 200 years ago can add to
the growing pool of knowledge
and wisdom in this continuing
sagaofimmigrantsshapingthis
great country called America,
but in the interest of brevity, I
haveculledoutonly15bite-size
pointers gleaned and gathered
by observation and study. The
lastsetof5tipsareinthisfinal
installment. I am guessing you
haveyourownlistthatyoumay
wanttosharewithothers.
(ContinuedfromPart2ofa3partseries)
11.Praywithoutceasingtothe
God of your being. Realize that
when you do, you will never be
alone. The single, most importantfoundationofatransplanted
life begins with the realization
that by yourself alone, without
help,youcandonothingofreal
meaning and lasting value. No
obstacleistoosteep,nosituation
toodifficult,orsetbacktoooverwhelmingthatcannotbehelped
byconstant,heartfeltprayerand
afoundationoffaithsostrong,it
canmovemountains.
12.Bringitalltogether.Once
yourcircumstancesbecomestable and you are able to choose
the type of work you love to do
andmoreimportantly,thatwhich
makesyouhappy–goforit.The
shift will be uncomfortable and
unnervingatfirst.Seekthepath
thatmakesuseoftheabilitiesand
the talents that you were born
with. Listen to what your whole
being says you were meant to
do and enter that rare, enviable
state of being that finally feels
likecominghome.
13. Rein in the spirit of the
crab.Putanumberoflivecrabs
inabasketandwitnesshowcrabs
behave. Any crab successful
enough to rise above the heads
oftheothercrabstoescapethe
confines of the basket will be
pulleddownbythepincerclaws
oftheothercrabsunderfoot.The
crab mentality is nothing more
thanenvyindisguise–aliveand
well in human nature. Lest you
thinktheSevereAcuteCrabSyndrome(SACS)–anameIcoined
for this social phenomenon – is
endemic or unique only to our
community,takeheart,forwe’re
notalone.Otherimmigrantcommunities report the same thing.
To counteract this, try and be
happy for others (even if it kills
you).
14. Strive to learn any way
you can. Learning is a lifelong
process of adaptation. And to
copy Yoda’s transposed way
of making a point, “Adapt, you
must. Or die early, you will.”
The dodo bird never learned to
adapt, never learned to defend
itself against predators and becameextinct.It’sbeensaidthat
the human mind is like a cup
with a hole at the bottom. You
justhavetokeeptryingtofillthat
bottomlesscup.Butbewarned:
intelligence alone is sorely inadequate. The whole person’s
mindandheartmustevolve.Of
the two, the heart should lead.
Draw from the strength of our
own culture and weave it into
thenewone.Thehybridisoften
bettersuitedtothenewenvironment. The American Jews have
been remarkable because they
knewthevalueofeducationand
hitthelibrariesearlyinthehistoryofthiscountryandwentall
thewaytothehighestlevelsof
learning. Many now dominate
multiple areas of achievement.
Takeacursorylookattheyoung
ones who frequent your local
libraries and those who do volunteerworkandyoucantakea
peek at what the future holds.
See a preview of which immigrant communities today will
replicate the patterns of excellence and achievement seen in
earlier groups of immigrants.
Yet,wemustneverlosesightof
thefactthatintheend,alllearning means nothing if we never
learnhowtolove.
15. See the big picture. Betweenbirthanddeathislife.How
youliveyourimmigrantlifeisup
to you. Many of the wisest men
who have pondered the meaning and the purpose of life over
thousandsofyears,havedefined
life according to their own perceptions and circumstances. In
theend,ifyouareinfullcontrol
ofallyourfacultiesasanaverage
humanbeing,youandyoualone
defineyourownlifewiththeset
of gifts and the circumstances
thatlifegivesyou.
Immigrant or native, rememberwhatsomeoneelsewroteso
succinctlylongagoabouttheessenceofanyworthwhilelifeand
thatis–TOLIVEWELL,LAUGH
OFTENANDLOVEMUCH.
May the house of bricks you
buildallowyoutodoallthat.
***
Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP
of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. Read her
book, “The Complete Success Guide for the
Immigrant Life: How to Survive, How to Thrive,
How to be Fully Alive.” She also edited its
companion book of quotations. Your local
public library might have these books available
or you can request your librarian to purchase
copies. These are also available at amazon.
com or immigrantsuccess.com Past articles
are on the internet at www.asianjournal.com
To ask questions, send feedback and requests,
e-mail [email protected] or
[email protected]
Apportionment of retirement benefits…
PAGE B2 t
the United Way. At one time funds were also
coursed through the Metropolitan Area AdvisoryCommittee(MAACProject),abasicallyLatino-orientedprogramintheSouthBayarea.
Throughtheyears,COPAOhadbeenheaded
byasuccessionofChairpersons(seelistbelow).
In 1992, COPAO’s ByLaws were amended and
a House of Delegates was organized to serve
asthelegislativearmofCOPAO.TheSpeakers
of the House of Delegates were Roy Bautista
(1993-1994), Zenaida Mascardo Ravelo (19951996),OscarSa.Garcia(1997-1998)andGreg
Alabado(1999-2000).
In 2000, the COPAO ByLaws were again
amended,leadingtoseveralsignificantchanges
inthestructureofCOPAO.Overtheyears,it’s
governingbodyhasmetamorphosedintoaunicameral Executive Council, serving as the legislative and administrative body over about 50
differentmemberorganizations.
So,in2000,theHouseofDelegateswasabolished,aBoardofTrusteeswascreated,andthe
title of Chairman was changed to “President”.
The first member to hold the title of COPAO
President was Oscar Sa. Garcia. Click here or
on“Members”intheNavigationBarontheleft
margin to view the list of Member Organizations.
In 1997, Aurora Cudal, then Chairperson of
COPAO, approached Joel San Juan, Executive
DirectoroftheOperationSamahanHealthClinic and appealed to him to provide temporary
officespaceforCOPAO.Thesupportextended
by Operation Samahan Health Clinic and the
successful fundraisers and popularity contests
held in connection with the Philippine Faire
during the Philippine Centennial Celebration,
ledtotheaccumulationoffunds.Thisencouraged the Cudal, Oscar Sa. Garcia (Speaker of
theHouseofDelegates)andMarcDeGuzman
(ChairoftheFinanceCommitteeandtheBuilding Committee), to pursue the purchase of a
real estate property to house a permanent office for COPAO. A four bedroom house with a
separatetwodoorgaragelocatedat832EAvenue,NationalCity,California,wasselected.The
owners,AmadoandJulieQuintanilla,agreedto
sellthebuildingtoCOPAOfor$145,000,minus
$10,000,whichtheygenerouslydonatedtothe
organization.
In October 1998, to augment its own funds,
COPAOappliedforamortgageloanfromWells
Fargo Bank. This was facilitated by an unexpected no-interest loan of $25,000 from Mrs.
Remy Broas, which completed the required
downpayment.Thedealtopurchasethebuilding from the Quintanillas was completed on
April 9, 1999. The Building Committee, then
chairedbyOscarSa.Garcia,mobilizedfriends
and volunteers to transform the garage into a
usableofficeandmeetingplace,nowcalledthe
COPAOCenter.
In April 2004, COPAO officers presented a
checkfor$67,000toWellFargoBank,thereby
livinguptoitscommitmenttopayforthebuildinginfullby2004.Withthatfinalpayment,COPAObecamedebtfree!Thebuildingitselfhas
alreadytripledinvalue!
Since its inception in 1972, the Council of
Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc. has accomplished much. Its
informationprogramsandavarietyofservices
have provided countless men and women referral and counseling on matters pertaining to
theirhealthproblems,accesstosocialservices,
immigrationandnaturalization,trainingandjob
placementandlegalproblems.Ithasalsobeen
an advocate on issues affecting ethnic minoritiesandhasjoinedhandswithotheragenciesin
itsdriveforpoliticalempowerment.COPAOhas
collaboratedwithvariousagenciessuchasthe
aremoreappropriateforthecircumstancesanduniquenatureof
theretirementplan.
Whereanemployeespouseis
single throughout employment
and marries only after retirement,pensionorotherdeferred
compensation is separate propertyeventhoughreceivedduring
the marriage. An exception to
apportionmentofanon-employee spouse’s right to share in a
community pension interest are
certain preexisting obligations.
A non-employee spouse’s right
toshareinacommunitypension
interest may be subordinate to
otherliabilitiesassertableagainst
that interest such as where the
benefits are already committed
toathirdpartyunderapreexisting legal obligation. Situations
like this arise in instances such
asobligationsarisingoutofprior
divorcecasesoraspouse’spior
tax deficiency liability enforceableagainsttheretirementben-
efitthroughtaxlevy.
***
Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes was President
of the Philippine American Bar Association.
He is a member of both the Family law
section and Immigration law section of the
Los Angeles County Bar Association. He
has extensive CPA experience prior to law
practice. Law Offices of Kenneth Reyes, P.C.
is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700,
Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611
or e-mail [email protected] Website
kenreyeslaw.com
(Advertising Supplement)
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