Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106
04/01/2010 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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SCR 14-FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH 8:08:12 AM CHAIR LYNN announced that the first order of business was SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 14, Recognizing October 2010 as Filipino American History Month. 8:08:46 AM SENATOR DENNIS EGAN, Alaska State Legislature, as sponsor, stated that SCR 14 would dedicate October 2010 as Filipino American History Month. He said Filipinos have a rich history and culture in Alaska. The first Filipino legislator in the nation - Thelma Buchholdt - served in the Alaska State Legislature from 1974-1982. Senator Dennis Egan said Juneau, and many other communities in the state, have been rewarded by "the rich heritage and civic involvement" of Filipino Americans. He said he considers the loud, rhythmic drumming and bright costumes of the Filipino Community's annual Fourth of July parade entry a highlight. Senator Egan encouraged all Alaskans to celebrate and honor the history of the Filipino Community in their communities this October, and encouraged the committee to support SCR 14. In response to Representative Gatto, he confirmed that the proposed concurrent resolution would pertain only to October 2010. 8:12:27 AM ELLERY LUMBAB, testifying on behalf of the Filipino Community, Inc., in support of SCR 14, told the committee that he is originally from Catbalogan, Samar, Philippines. He related that his father fought with American soldiers against the Japanese during World War II. Mr. Lumbab said his family is comprised of his mother and father, 15 children, their spouses, and 62 grandchildren. MR. LUMBAB related that he is the artistic director of the Alitaptap Philippine Folkloric Group of the Filipino Community, Inc., in Juneau. He indicated that it is the intent of the group to bring cultural awareness to the new generation of Filipino Americans through unique and diverse Filipino art, music, and dance. He emphasized the importance of preserving the culture. MR. LUMBAB reported that the earliest documented proof of Filipino presence in Alaska is 1788, and since that time, Filipinos have helped to build Alaska's economy, for example, working in fish canneries, in gold mines, in the retail and restaurant industries, and as teachers, bankers, doctors, and nurses. He urged the committee to support SCR 14. 8:15:21 AM MR. LUMBAB, in response to Chair Lynn, said the statue in Manila Square, in Juneau, is of Dr. Jose Rizal, a hero who fought against Spaniard oppression on behalf of those in the Philippines. In response to a follow-up question, he said Manila Square has existed since . 8:16:03 AM MR. LUMBAB, in response to Representative Gatto and Chair Lynn, offered the pronunciation of "Alaskeros" - on page 1, line 9, of SCR 14. He explained that the Filipino language is Tagalog, and 60 percent of the language is derived from Spanish root words. 8:17:19 AM RAPHAEL CASTANOS, testifying on behalf of the Filipino Community, Inc., in support of SCR 14, offered a brief personal history. He said he moved to America in 1991. He related that he took part in the Philippine revolution of 1986, when President Marcos was "kicked out." He said former President Marcos had been his fraternity brother in university. He said a month ago he read in Filipinos Magazine that the U.S. Congress approved a joint resolution declaring October Filipino-American History Month, which gave him the idea to approach the Alaska State Legislature to recognize the event. He said he worked on the Manila Square project, which took eight months. He indicated that recognition of Filipinos does not exist in other parts of the United States. 8:19:51 AM MR. CASTANOS said if SCR 14 is signed into law, Alaska will be only the second state in the Union to have such a resolution. He related that U.S. Congress expected that more states would follow suit. In response to Chair Lynn, he said California was the first state to adopt similar legislation. He said he is anticipating a resolution by the City & Borough of Juneau recognizing October as Filipino-American History month. 8:21:30 AM ARLENE LUMBAB, testifying on behalf of the Filipino Community, Inc., in support of SCR 14, indicated that Mr. Lumbab is her brother, and said she is also from Catbalogan, Samar, Philippines. She said she moved to the U.S. in 1986, living first in Sacramento, California, then moving to Juneau, Alaska, in 2007. She said Alaska "embraced" her. Ms. Lumbab said she serves on the board of directors of the Filipino Community, Inc. She said SCR 14 would honor all Filipinos in the state. She added, "We have a special appreciation of its significance here in Juneau." She relayed that the Filipino Community, Inc., is the oldest organized Filipino organization in Alaska, having been incorporated in 1956. Many of the founding families of the organization still reside in Alaska. MS. LUMBAB related that it has been said that the Filipinos are the second largest ethnic group in Alaska, second only to Alaska Natives. She said Filipinos are thrilled that the Alaska State Legislature is giving consideration to Filipinos, and would accept the recognition with respect and honor. She urged the committee to support SCR 14. In response to Chair Lynn, she confirmed that there are [Filipino] organizations in other parts of the state. 8:24:27 AM ED CARRILLO, Vice President, Filipino Community, Inc., testifying in support of SCR 14, offered a brief personal history. He said his family came from Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines. He relayed that his late father came to the U.S. during the late 1920s and worked as a sugar cane worker, farmhand, mine worker, and custodian, and served with the U.S. Army during World War II. Mr. Carrillo said his father met his mother and they had six children. His father returned to the U.S. with the three eldest children and ended up in Juneau. When he saved enough money, he sent for his wife and youngest three children. Mr. Carrillo said he was one of the youngest children and came to Alaska in 1975, when he was 13 years of age. MR. CARRILLO said he speaks as a Filipino American to say that Filipinos would be honored through the proposed legislation, and he encouraged the committee to support SCR 14. 8:26:45 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG expressed appreciation for the resolution and said he would like to sign as a cross sponsor. He said former Representative Buchholdt served with distinction. He said his best friend's late father-in-law was from the Philippines and graduated from West Point. CHAIR LYNN said he thinks most of the committee members would be signing on as cross sponsors. 8:28:23 AM REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN noted that he has already signed as a co-sponsor. 8:28:48 AM MARIO LIM, testifying in support of SCR 14, said he is the pastor of Word of Life Christian Center in Juneau. He noted that he used to work with former Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, as well as having worked as an environmental engineer with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). He said the bill honors Filipinos who have worked and still are working for Alaska. He relayed that he has two grown children who were born in Juneau, and he said his wife has worked as a nurse for 37 years. Mr. Lim opined, "This honor has been long overdue." He said Filipinos love Alaska with all their hearts, which is why they are passionate about the proposed legislation. He encouraged the committee to support SCR 14. In response to Representative P. Wilson, he said he adapted to the environment in Juneau, and loves living in Juneau. He related that while he was working for DEC, he met a Filipino man during a trip to Prudhoe Bay. 8:31:51 AM CHAIR LYNN, after ascertaining that there was no one else who wished to testify, closed public testimony. 8:31:59 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG noted that in the committee packet there is a letter expressing support of SCR 14, written by Jenny Gomez Strickler, the president of Filipino Community, Inc. 8:32:26 AM REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN related that a neighbor of Filipino descent invited him over for Christmas Eve one year, and that has become a tradition. He stated, "They're a great group of people - hard working people and great Alaskans." He said he will be pleased to cast a yes vote on the proposed legislation. 8:33:10 AM REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN moved to report SCR 14 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, SCR 14 was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.