June 22, 2009


Los Angeles-- "Ati cupong singsing, metunyan timpukan"

With the Kapampangan music sung by the choir, amidst heavy security and with a intimate mostly Kapampangan crowd, Philippine President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo met and greets the Filipino American community in Los Angeles in a breakfast meeting at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel last Saturday, June 20.

The President paid tribute to the Filipino American overseas workers PGMA also mentioned the fact that “ more than two-thirds (2/3) of all overseas remittances to the Philippines comes from the more than3 million Filipinos in the United States.” She also acknowledges that these remittances keeps the Philippine economy floating.

“ If the US economist are right the recession will be over by March next year. That is why we should not only focus on the effects of the crisis but might as well prepare for recovery next year.” The president assured her adoring crowd.

“ Filipinos are eternal optimist. And I know you are (Filipinos in the US) are the eternal optimist. You bear with us the crisis. We did our best, but with the crisis or the slow down we should have a better economy but as you know where America goes, the Philippines goes. But we tried everything. We used the additional taxes, investments, added stimulus to stem the tide of the slowdown and we had limited success.”

The President Retinue

Also present at the event were Philippine ambassador to the US Willy C. Gaa, Foreign Affairs secretary Bert Romulo, Consuls Jo Aragon and Marciano Paynor, First gentleman Miguel Arroyo, cabinet secretaries and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The well-attended event was sponsored by FILUSA, a new national federation of Filipino leaders. Different regional associations were present including the United Pampanga Leaders (UPLA) led by Chito Mandap, Circulo Pampangueno of Southern California led by Jay Valencia,Ilokano National Association (INA) led by Dr. Manlapaz, and local Pampanga hometown organizations all over the United States.

It was noticed that the president was at home at the event. Going from table to table and greeting her leaders and supporters and had her pictures taken. Un like other events where she did not stayed for long, the crowd was ecstatic to have their “kabalen’ (town mate) with them.

As usual. Outside the hotel, a small and motley group of protestors picketed minutes after PGMA left the hotel.

It was a job well done for GMA consolidating her forces in the United States for the coming political campaign in the Philippines.