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By: Elsie Sy-Niebar


*The ‘Merry-go-round’ in the PIWC Leadership

*Maywood Bataan Day Organization celebrates the 75th BATAAN DAY on Sept. 10; Fil-Am community, please don’t miss this…

*Pres. Duterte: ‘No martial law nationwide… I don’t want to look stupid’

*Pres. Trump’s latest proposal on Immigration: ‘admit few unskilled workers; phase out chain migration; simplify admission of immigrant with exceptional talents’

* ‘Made in America’ products, atop President Trump’s agenda

*Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich speaks his stand on LGBT and same-sex marriage; sent a personalized Thank you’ card to this columnist for giving him a copy of Via Times Newsmagazine

*To folks leading the ‘Opening Prayer’ in Community Gatherings: Ask God to bless everyone; bless the food they are about to partake and the hands that prepared it’. For Heaven’s sake: DO NOT deliver a speech or a sermon!

MAYWOOD, Illinois: “Maywood Veterans: A Century of Service and Sacrifice” As it has been done for three quarters of a century, Maywood will celebrate the Maywood Bataan Day Organization (MBDO) on September 10, 2017, at Maywood Veterans Memorial Park,” Steve Gibson of the MBDO, announced. Everyone is invited – churches, community organizations, and World War II veterans, especially the Filipino Americans residing in the United States whose number is getting smaller and smaller today. With a few American surviving soldiers, they will again, reminisce their near-death survival from the Death March or “Marcha ng Kamatayan” ordered by the Japanese Imperial in the Philippines in April 9, 1942. According to war historians compiled by Wikipedia, “the Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese in the Philippines – of an Army of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war from Saisaih Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles, to Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, via San Fernando, Pampanga, where the prisoners were loaded onto trains. The transfer began on April 9, 1942, after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. The total distance marched from Mariveles to San Fernando and from the Capas Train Station to Camp O’Donnell is reported by differing sources as between 96.6 and 112.0 km., with casualties of 5,000 Filipino and 650 American soldiers. The march was characterized by severe physical abuse and wanton killings by the Japanese Imperial soldiers. Here’s how the Maywood Bataan Day Organization reflects on the “Bataan Death March”:

“It was 75 years ago this fall when the citizens of Maywood were feeling helpless in the face of terrible events on the other side of the earth, that had endangered the lives of nearly 100 of their finest young men, we know today as the Death March of Bataan. But they were not passive. They quickly arranged an astounding show of support. On September 11, 1942, an estimated 30,000 people lined Maywood’s 5th Avenue to watch hundreds of children marched in support of the war effort. Later, a larger parade followed which lasted for three hours. Involved were thousands of participants. Bands, floats, celebrities and politicians all marched to show their support for Maywood – and for all the small towns, that had placed their loved ones in harm’s way, in the Philippines, to fight for freedom.

From that day to this day, Maywood has continued to mark the second Sunday in September with a Memorial Service. Due to the changing economics and the loss of many of the veterans of that great war, the parades were discontinued years ago. But the Memorial Service continues. This coming Sunday, September 10, marks the 75th Anniversary of that first Maywood Bataan Day. The Village of Maywood and the MBDO have put together a special program, which will not only remember the brave men of Bataan, but will also include special events, that mark the century since the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I. Just as they would in World War II, the men of Maywood answered the call and signed up to fight across the ocean. They would join other units of the Illinois National Guard to become part of the vaunted 33rd Division. Concert of military will precede the service at 2:30 pm. The music will be provided by the 144th Ceremonial Band of the Illinois National Guard, under the direction of Sgt First Class Robert Reed.

Master of Ceremonies will be MBDO Vice President, Edwin H. Walker IV. Colors will be presented by several area American Legion, VFW, and ROTC Color Guards. In past years color guard units from Maywood, Melrose Park, Berwyn, Hillside, Des Plaines, Chicago, Palatine, Elmhurst, Frankfort, Mokena, River Forest, LaGrange, Northlake, and many other Chicago and suburban cities have participated. A Rifle Squad Gun Salute will be provided by the American Legion Post #974 in Franklin Park, Illinois.

Keynote Speaker will be Major General Richard J. Hayes, Jr., Adjutant General of the State of Illinois. Major General Hayes is a repeat guest and his presence underscores the valued memories, that the men of Co. B, 192nd Tank Battalion continue to hold for members of the Illinois National Guard.

The ceremonies will also include a guest speaker from the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, and Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins. Daniel J. Perkins, Event Coordinator and Consultant, will make a special presentation on the history of Maywood in World War I. Other highlights of the Memorial Service include a dedication of a Veterans Memorial Wall, a new Memorial Plaque for a WWI-era British Cannon, that has been located in the Village of Maywood for nearly a century as a memorial to the men who fought in WWI, and a Wreath Laying Ceremony, featuring members of all branches of our Armed Forces, as well as related community organizations.

Col. Richard A. McMahon, Jr., President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, extends an invitation to the entire community, saying, ‘Maywood Bataan Day today is one of the largest and longest continuous World War II memorials still being marked annually. Educational resources are preserved in our archives and our website ( The organization is a non-profit 501(c) (19) supported by donations of time and money from the community, as well as relatives and friends of those who have served their country.” ***

‘America First. Made in America Roundtable’. Recently, President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, with Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Director of the White House Office of Trade, and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, and members of the White House staff, hosted a ‘Made in America Roundtable in the White House. Earlier this week, the White House held its Made in America Product Showcase, invited companies from all 50 states to Washington, D.C. to highlight their products that are made in the United States.

The President said: “We’re here today to continue our celebration of American manufacturing as part of Made in America Week. The leaders and innovators around this table create the products that fill our homes, defend our nation, and enrich our lives. And each one of these products proudly carries the label, Made in the USA. We’re more determined than ever to protect our jobs, our industry, and our workers. Every day we are putting America first.”

On Immigration: President Trump wants to limit immigrants to unskilled workers, senior citizens and to shorten processing of documents for immigrants with excellent professional talents. ***

“NO MARTIAL LAW…I don’t’ want to be called stupid,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, responded to the question about his threat to declare martial law nationwide. His response was based on the nation’s code ‘there is no reason to declare martial law nationwide, unless there is a revolution everywhere’. If I do that, I will look stupid before the eyes of the public. I don’t want to be called stupid,” Duterte, pointed out. He also does not want to be compared to the late President Marcos who declared Martial law in 1972, which lasted nearly two decades. However, the Philippine Congress okayed Pres. Duterte’s request to extend Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of 2017, while the war in Marawi continues. ***

CHICAGO CARDINAL BLASÉ CUPICH (pronounced Shupits), on the issue of LGBT and SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. Last July 17, his Eminence was the guest speaker at the City Club of Chicago. (I am a member.) At the pre-sold-out luncheon forum held at downtown Maggiano’s, as ViaTimes editor/columnist, I asked the Cardinal about the “stand of the Catholic church on the LGBT issues and on same-sex marriage.” The Cardinal replied: “The church leaders must address the LGBT people in terms they (LGBT) want to be addressed to.”

He explained: “We have always wanted to make sure that we start the conversation by saying that all people are of value and their lives should be respected and that we should respect them. That is why I think that the terms gay and lesbian, L.G.B.T., all of those names that people appropriate to themselves, should be respected. People should be called the way that they want to be called rather than us coming up with terms that maybe we’re more comfortable with. So it begins with that.” On same-sex marriage, the Cardinal explained in a non-conclusive statement like along this way … in the Bible, marriage is always related to procreation between a man and a woman… but Time has changed today.

At a brief “Meet the Press” conference with the media, I also asked Cardinal Cupich how far has Ecumenical Movement had reached out specially among non-Christian faith. In a runabout way, he said the Catholic church is working hard on this issue. Overall, his message was more on the social problems in Chicago, which he says, is on his agenda and has been working on it with his people at the Archdiocese. His knowledge and recommendations to solve Chicago’s social problems is so amazing. During a brief conversation with him, I kidded him: “Cardinal, you should be the Mayor of Chicago.” He smiled. He was very pleased when I gave him a copy of Via Times wherein I wrote something about him with his picture. Two days later, I received a personalized “Thank You” card from him, saying:

Dear Ms. Sy-Niebar: “Many thanks for kindly giving me a copy of this month’s Via Times NewsMagazine, with the nice write-up of my speaking engagement at the City Club of Chicago. It was very thoughtful of you to do so. Please know of my prayers and good wishes. With kind regards, I remain.

Sincerely (signed),

Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich/ Archdiocese of Chicago

You are most welcome, Your Eminence. Thank you for your prayers. It was timely for my medical procedure. Although we don’t belong to the same Christian Faith denomination—I am a Protestant Presbyterian — we worship the same God Jesus Christ. God bless you, too, Your Eminence, Cardinal Blasé Cupich. ***

PHILIPPINE AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN GRETER CHICAGO (PACCGC) last July 19 was a success! Cynthia Flores, most dedicated officer of this organization, reported. “It was held at the Lincolnwood Town Center with LEN BATTERSON as guest speaker. It was a huge success! Good attendance. Good food from 90 Mile Cuban Café. Mr. Batterson is the CEO and Founder of Venture Capital, LLC, based in Chicago which focuses their business in the Midwest. It is an investment company with their own innovation for economic growth and wealth creation. His talk was straight-forward, practical and informative. If you plan on building wealth, Venture Capital will help you! Thanks to the PACCGC Board of Directors for their excellent coordination; to the attendees, and BIG THANK YOU to Veronica and Joe Mauricio, for covering the event, capped by their interview with Len Batterson.” ***

The “MERRY-GOROUND” in the PIWC Leadership: At the outset, HATS OFF to LOURDES CORVO LIVAS, the Executive Chair of the PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE WEEK COMMITTEE (PIWC) 2017, for her heartrending leadership and hard work which earned the success of PIWC 2017, notwithstanding some criticisms from “doubting Thomases” who could not accept other people’s success out of honesty and hard work.

It’s true. For the first time during these past many years, the PIWC 2017 saw a “most transparent accounting report” immediately following the Appreciation Night. Credits to the professionalism of the Treasurer, Edwin Pineda, a corporate accountant for a huge construction company in Illinois. To get the records “straight from the horse’s mouth,” I called Edwin how the fund was distributed. Here’s what he told me: Lourdes gave $7000+ to the PIWC Board of Trustees (perhaps, the first time in the history that BOT had this amount?); $4000 to Lourdes for a charity of her choice, and paid $4000 for the Appreciation Night dinner which some people thought was being “sponsored” by Lydia Rhoton like in two previous chairs’; paid all other miscellaneous expenses, all accounted for on the report. This was confirmed by Lourdes. Well, of course, Lourdes is no stranger to doing a “corporate financial report.” That is her life as President of the Livas Real Estate Corporation and for the Medical Practice of her husband, Bernardo Livas, MD/Psychiatry.

So, Congratulatons, Lourdes and Edwin for a Charity Work Well Done… and, of course, to all the Beauty Queens and Committee Chairs of PIWC for all your hard work. Mabuhay Kayong Lahat! Many of our Kababayans who have been aware of some “cloudy” or “malabo” (Not TRANSPARENT) PIWC accounting reports in the past… hope to see the same TRANSPARENT ACCOUNTING report from the PIWC 2018!

Here’s another “exciting drama” related to the PIWC 2019 overall Chaimanship: In spite of the fact that PIWC leadership today is no longer as “glamorous” as it used to be, there are still Kababayans who want to challenge the challenge, so to speak. Someone just told me that there are three “community leaders” who are interested to run for the PIWC 2019 overall Chairmanship! And PIWC BOT is demanding for “qualifying credentials” from those interested to run. So I called current BOT president Dely Villalon and asked her what those “qualifications” are. Dely explained that “the candidate must be a member and past PIWC Committee chair.” I told her that the incoming 2018 PIWC chair Loudes Mon was not a member (her husband is) nor was a PIWC committee chair. Why was she qualified to run last year? Dely explaned: “Last year, nobody from the PIWC expressed any intention to run. So, we allowed Delfin Masangcay and Lourdes Mon to compete, although both of them were not members.” “ “But Delfin is a long-time member,” I said. Dely said, “Delfin was NOT a (bonafide) member. “How could that be? Delfin had been a part of the PIWC ever since?” I insisted.

Dely said “no, Delfin was not a member of PIWC. Yes, I know he was helping and was in-charge of the decoration for which he was paid for.”

Today, I heard that there are three interested individuals who would like to run for the PIWC 2019 Overall Chairmanship. One of them is ANGIE FRANCISCO, who headed several successful “CALENDAR MOM” fundraisers for the PILIPINO AMERICAN SOCIAL SERVICES (PASS). . Without her, PASS could have folded up long time ago if it were not for Angie’s efforts. Surprise, Surprise. Dely insisted that Angie Francisco is NOT QUALIFIED TO RUN BECAUSE SHE IS NOT A MEMBER of PIWC. “But everyone at the PIWC knows that Angie has been helping the PIWC all these years. In fact, most of the PIWC Beauty Queens were PASS’ Calendar Moms”, I explained to Dely, who still insisted that Angie is not qualified to run. Mama Mia. JUDGE JUDY, please help!!!

Seriously, I have no personal agenda nor I am siding with anyone. But allowing a non-PIWC member like Lourdes Mon to run before meant that PIWC can “bend its laws.” Which is great, particularly if these interested persons have the leadership capabilities like Lourdes Mon, or have been serving the PIWC all these years like Delfin and Angie. Now, Dely insisted that “Angie Francisco is not a PIWC Member, she is disqualified to run.” Wow! Looks like the “PIWC’s bending of its laws” is SELECTIVE? I think this is a “repetition” from way back when? Not Fair.

“Kung gusto ng majority sa PIWC ang candidates, they will bend their laws. Pag hindi, pasensya na,” someone who asked not to be identified, told me. Oh, well… more on this drama next issue. Anybody who wants to share me a Feedback or an enlightenment Please email your Rejoinders to elsyniebar@msn. com “The Truth must be told to set us free.”

Dely told me the “deadline for Candidates to send their applications for PIWC 2019 Over-all Chairmanship is on August 30.” For more information, call the officers of PIWC BOT first. You might be dis-Qualified! (esn)


His Eminence Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks at the Chicago City Club.


A reminder of the horror of the “Death March of Bataan” which started on April 9, 1942, under the inhumane cruelty of the Japanese Imperial Army where 18,000 Filipino and American soldiers died, some during the Death March and at the prison where they were starved and beaten to death. (Wikipedia photo)


Len Batterson, CEO & Founder of Batterson Venture Capital, LLC, guest speaker at the recent investment forum sponsored by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago’.


Models at ABCTV Ch 7 last June 17: Joi Hunter, “Miss Philippines PIWC 2017” Mar Lapena Creation ‘17


Models at ABC TV Ch7 last June 17: Patron Sisters Cece and Crisza Mar Lapena Creation ‘17




What ‘dya know? “Donna Sommers” and “Barbra Streisand” performing at the 15th Wedding Anniversary of Chaz and Jhun Patron last June 25 at the Wildwood Tavern in Schaumburg? Wait a munite! Don’t they have a semblance of da famous Hairstylist Robert Chavez and Couturier Mar Lapena? (ESNphoto)


Silliman Alumni International, Chicago Chapter, held its election of officers 2017-2018 at their annual picnic last July. In photo are (sorry for those I can’t identify) seated, Tonette G. Geary, president, Romy Abiera, Daisy Schmookler, Ellen Garbrecht, Rose Gallosa, etc. Standing, 1st row: Dottie Llosa, Rev. Rudy Mayol, Rev. Digna Campanano,, Eden Auste, Mila Emperado, Rev. Edl Navarro, Stella Cabanban, Rose Reinstra. Standing 2nd row: Ed Klemz, unidentified, Edith Grumia, Ding Macasieb, Ben Cabanban, identified, and Reyvii Gallo. ( photo by Elsie Sy-Niebar, past SAI president, three terms)

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