By: Elsie Sy-Niebar


*Philippines’ PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) represents ASIA PACIFIC at SU PONY World Series, July 18-21, at Mt. Vernon, Illinois

*One more Youth Sport Hero: Fil-Am gymnast Brandon Briones, 17, is 2018 Junior Pan American AA Champion at tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

*IL Lieut. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti welcomes students from 18 nations to International Student Science Fair *Cook County Treas. Pappas holds a very ‘homey’ Philippine Independence Day reception at her office

*POTUS Donald Trump: at war with the illegal immigrants, 3,000 children separated from their parents…

*Cook County Commissioner ‘Chuy’ Garcia’s statement about police officer who ignores a woman being verbally assaulted for wearing a Puerto Rico T-shirt

For the first time ever, “Pilipinas Agilas” (Philippine Eagles) will compete in the Protect Our Nation’s Youth (PONY) Eight-U Coach Pitch International Baseball Classic (World Series) in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on July 18-21, 2018. Pilipinas Agilas is a team of 12 baseball players, aged 7-8 years old — for the first time ever — are champions in the Philippines’ annual premier baseball league. The Philippine TOT Baseball Foundation gave them the right to represent Asia Pacific this year at the 8U PONY World Series. Pilipinas Agilas is the youngest national team ever recorded in Philippine baseball history.

Indeed, the PILIPINAS AGILAS is a Pride of the Philippines and wakes up our souls to the vision of the late Dr. Jose Rizal: “YOUTH, HOPE OF THE FATHERLAND.” Sadly, the Philippine government and the general public in the Philippines seems to forget Rizal’s Hope for the Youth, by not giving any monetary support to the kids, even for bus transportation from their hotels to the playing field in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, from July 18-21. The first concerned Filipino who moved heaven and earth is Nurse Faye Mendiola, a very active volunteer of the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago (PMAC), and a host of other community events like being the current President of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC). In desperation, she asked me if I could get help from the city, like I did before when I was Asst. to the Commissioner, Department of Human Services. I tried. I was told the city has no budget for this community event. Even the local Philippine Consulate did not move until Faye got hold of Deputy ConGen Romulo Israel, Jr. It was then that Faye presented the problem to The Philippine Medical Association in Chicago (PMAC) which gained the approval of PMAC President Dr. Lourdes Floro to cover “Philippine Aguilas’ team transportation from their hotel in Mt. Vernon, Illinois to the baseball field, for six days. BIG THANKS TO THE PMAC and Lady President Lourdes Floro! And, of course, to Ms. Faye Mendiola whose faith “moved mountains.” Kababayans, try to follow up the “Philippine Aguilas” game and pray for their success. And, for their parents who shouldered all their travel expenses and also are with them in their heroic game. Indeed, our Youth are The Hope of the Philippines, especially today. ***

Hold on! For another Philippines’ “Youth, Hope of the Fatherland” BRANDON BRIONES, Filipino-American Gymnast, is 2018 Junior Pan American AA Champion at the tournament held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 11-15, 2018

Brandon Briones, a 17-year-old Filipino American gymnast brought the Gold from Buenos Aires, Argentina putting the USA Team on First place! Here’s Brandon’s brief background from the “Balquiedra Club”, slightly edited: …..Brandon has been in Buenos Aires, Argentina to compete in the Junior Pan Am Championships. He was one of four boys that made up Team USA (plus 1 alternate), to compete for the Team Championship as well as the individual All Around, and event Finals. This competition brings together gymnasts from North, Central and South America and some countries represented were USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Columbia, Chile, etc. We wanted to share the wonderful news that BRANDON WON 1st PLACE ALL AROUND!!! Also, TEAM USA TOOK THE GOLD 1st PLACE!! Brandon qualified for the event finals on all 6 events.

Brandon lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his parents, Deo Briones and Laurie Dalman Briones and his siblings: Natalie and Dylan. They are all gymnasts. Their Dad, Deo, is the son of Manuel Briones and Marita Balquiedra Briones, from Quezon province. The proud grandparents, Deo and Marita (sister of Emma Balquiedra Nemivant) are both active in our Filipino American community. They live in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. ***

IL Lt. Gov. welcomes students from 18 nations to International Student Science Fair hosted by the IMSA, or Illinois Math & Science Academy, world-acclaimed program, first time in United States.

In her welcome speech, Liet. Gov Sanguinetti said: “We are honored and so excited that this amazing event is being held in our country for the very first time, and we couldn’t be prouder that IMSA in Aurora is the host this year. I commend IMSA for hosting this incredible program that offers young people from all over the world opportunities to gain hands-on STEM exposure.”

Sponsored by the Office of the Governor’s Bicentennial Commission, the Science Fair convenes 32 STEM high schools from 18 countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the Netherlands, United Kingdom; and three states, New York, Georgia and Rhode Island.

By collaborating on an international stage with these schools from across the world, IMSA will begin work on finding solutions to fight hunger, increase access to clean water and create affordable energy. Illinois is celebrating its 200th Birthday on Dec. 3 and throughout the year, the Bicentennial Commission has been implementing and promoting educational programs to celebrate Illinois’ history. “We are very proud to partner with the Illinois Math & Science Academy on the Bicentennial Stem Fusion campaign and to sponsor ISSF,” said Stuart Layne, executive director of the Illinois Bicentennial. “Illinois has always been a worldwide leader in innovation and technology and these programs are truly an investment in the next 200 years.”

COOK COUNTY TREASURER MARIA PAPPAS, held a very welcoming Philippine Independence Day reception: This Lady Treasurer is one government official who is closest to the hearts of Asian Americans like the Filipinos. Unless, you don’t know her personally like I do. For a long time. And I am very proud of this honor. A Lady with a very welcoming smile. She’s also the one and only government official who holds an annual CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD party at her office, focusing on the different Christmas Trees. Last month, in honor of our PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY, she hosted a simple get-together, SURPRISE RECOGNITION party at her office, giving out CERTIFICATE of RECOGNITION to attendees for their contributions to Community and Nation building. As one of our Philippine folksong goes: “The Welcome in your face, gives Beauty to the Place.” That was it at Treasurer Pappas’ reception. She opens her heart to us – about 30+ Fil-Ams. More about her PROPERTY TAX service next issue. To Treasurer Maria: MARAMING SALAMAT PO SA IYONG PAGMAMAHAL GALING SA IYONG PUSO. THANK YOU so much for your Love straight from your heart. GOD bless you. Why don’t your run for Mayor of Chicago? Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia reacted to police officer who ignored helping a Woman harassed for wearing a Puerto Rico Tee-Shirt at Forest Preserve: Chuy Garcia, who is running for US Congress to fill in the position of retiring Congresman Luis Gutierrez, reacted to the case of a Cook County Forest Preserve police officer identified as Timothy Trybus, (now resigned) after a video went viral showing him ignoring a woman’s pleas for help as a man insulted her for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt. Mia Irizarry filmed the scene at the Caldwell Woods forest preserve on Facebook Live. The man, according to reports, told her that her Puerto Rico shirt showing a Puerto Rican flag “should not be worn in the United States of America.” The video shows the woman asking a nearby officer for help, but the officer did not stop the man, who continued to rant as he came closer to Irizarry. Does the police officer know that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and residents on the island are American citizens? Com. Garcia’s letter says (partially shortened for space): “On June 14th a young woman was verbally assaulted and forced to endure a racially-charged tirade that has now been witnessed by thousands on social media. I am repulsed that this incident took place at a Cook County Forest Preserve and that a Forest Preserve Police Officer seemingly stood by and watched this young woman being assaulted. I demand that the Forest Preserve Police and the State’s Attorney take immediate action to ensure that the individual shown on video, verbally harassing the young woman and approaching her in a menacing manner, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A charge for simple assault or disorderly conduct is not sufficient, this incident must be investigated and charged as a hate crime. The Forest Preserve Department stated that they have been investigating the incident since it took place on June 14th. That timeline is not acceptable. The Forest Preserve must complete the investigation swiftly and discipline the officer involved accordingly, up to and including termination.

Cook County is a Fair and Equal County by legislation and a Welcoming County that embraces people of all races and ethnicities. We have a responsibility to protect all of our residents and that means protecting them against that this type of racist harassment. The harasser exhibited the type of violent and baseless rhetoric we are increasingly witnessing across the country against people of color and we cannot allow that ugly rhetoric to be the norm in Cook County. The Puerto Rican community deserves an apology and the young woman deserves justice from the Cook County Forest Preserve and the Cook County Justice System.

(Latest report) follow up: “The officer’s resignation is a common sense decision after his inaction and failure to serve Cook County. However, this still leaves many questions unanswered. Cook County Government must not only review the types of trainings that officers and staff in all departments receive, but how they are implemented and held accountable. I am committed to exploring how Cook County can better address racial and social equity to ensure that all people in Cook County can feel safe and welcomed while receiving our services and utilizing our grounds and facilities. I will be closely monitoring the developments of the ongoing investigation and will work to guarantee that potential hate crimes in Cook County are fully prosecuted.” Sent to Via Times by: Victoria Moreno, Legislative Analyst for Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García

Rep. Maxine Waters to President Trump’s Immigration Reforms: ‘You have gone too far’ Rep. Maxine Waters, who’s been at war with President Trump immigration reforms who keeps encouraging protesters to heckle and harass members of Trump’s Cabinet in public spaces, just spoke at the L.A. rally, where she told the President he’s gone too far with his zero-tolerance policies that led to separating families.

She said: “How dare you? How dare you take the babies from mothers’ arms? How dare you take the children and send them all across the country into so-called detention centers? You are putting them in cages. You are putting them in jails. And you think we’re going to stand by and allow you to do that? I don’t think so. Donald Trump, you think you can get away with everything, but you have gone too far when you are trying to break up families in the way that you do.”


THE late AUDIE, 61, (a veteran Navy) and lone survivor MARY ROSE TRINIDAD FAMILY of Teaneck, New Jersey, who, except Mary Rose, all died in an accident last July 6, with their four daughters, namely: Kaitlyn, 20; Danna, 17; and 13-year-old twins, Melissa and Allison. According to the news reports, the deeply-grief stricken Mary Rose, 51, a nurse, is currently recuperating at the hospital. The whole Fil-Am community is grieving for them. According to the news, the family was heading home from their vacation when their minivan was hit by a Ford pick-up truck which was moving in the wrong direction. The collision happened in Townsend, Delaware. The Family were all wearing seat belts. Please, let us pray for lone survivor Mother: Mary Rose to survive not only from the accident but to cope from her deep emotional sadness and that we could not fathom. (Photo from GoFundme)


Brandon Briones (with medal) 17, whose dream to make and compete on a World Team and make it to represent USA, came true is shown with fellow gymnasts.


Above photo was taken at Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ r Philippine Independence Day reception last June 15, when she presented Certificates recognizing the Community contribution of the Filipino Americans to Nation-Building. From left are Pat Michalski, former dedicated employee; Veronica Fertig (Lion President); Phlippine Consul Melchor P. Lalunio, Jr.; Treasurer Pappas; this columnist, Elsie Sy-Niebar, for EXCELLENCE in Journalism as VIA TIMES NEWSMAGAZINE Senior Editor/Columnist; and Dr. Ben Butuyan for Church and Community Service.


The jolly Fil-Am guests at the PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY celebration hosted by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, shown at center. Names are not all identified except those known to me (Elsie). Front from left are Dr. Zosimo Herrera, Ben Butuyan, Dr. Maria Herrera, Gloria Simon, president, PNAI-IL, Nieva Panis, Elsie Sy-Niebar, Imelda Cuevo, past PNAI-IL president; Treasurer/ Host Maria Pappas; Veronica Fertig, Ruben Salazar, Phlippine Consul Melchor P. Lalunio, Jr., Jan Paul Ferrer, Via Times Financial Columnist, and Florence Palmaira, PNAI-IL president-elect. Seated are Estrella Alamar, Founder, Chicago Philippine Historical Society, and Pat Michalski, an “adopted Daughter of the Filipino American Community in Chicago”. (ESN photo)


On Father’s Day like Mother’s Day is one day in a year when children most expresse their love and admiration to their Dads. Above photos show the Dads at my church– Faith Community Presbyterian Church (FCPC) in Chicago last Father’s Day, June 17. It takes to be a great father, whether you have children none. Picture above: Ben Butuyan, Nien Vo, Ding Tamanio, Kit Hernandez and Rudy Navarro.(ESN photo)


FCPC Dads: David Rickert, Ramon Fernandezm Dr. Noel Bonje, Gregas Gregorio, Pastor Dennis Bartolome, Vic Canoy and Ernie Ramos.(ESN photo)


Ernie, Resty, Don Quaioit and Jojo Villegas.(ESN photo)


Photo on left: The best blessing is to be loved by persons we are not related to by blood but by Christian Love as always manifested to me by Edwin Pineda, incoming executive chair of PHILIPPINE WEEK COMMITTEE 2019, and Lourdes Livas, past PIWC 2017 Chair. The same Best Gift I am looking forward to receive on my 80th birthday this coming August 24th. Thank you, Lord. (your Notebook columnist, Elsie Sy-Niebar)

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