Daily Archives: August 3, 2016

DRAMA AT THE FIRST HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN FESTIVAL

CULTURAL NOTES
August 02, 2016

DRAMA AT THE FIRST HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN FESTIVAL14HFTF

By Arturo P. Garcia

Once a FilAm student leader told me, “ Filipinos are madrama” I told her back, “true, they are not Filipinos if they are not madrama.”

Still euphoric after the designation of the Temple-Beverly Corridor in Los Angeles as Historic Filipinotown, FilAm community leaders led by the newly elected District 5 member decided to hold a parade and a festival on the first year anniversary of Historic Filipinotown in August 2003.

We divided the task and I volunteered to be the parade coordinator while an Armenian was tasked to be the festival coordinator. It was a paid job that was first offered to me but when I called to accept, the reply was “sorry, the job was taken.”

So on the day of the commemorations, the parade went on as planned but during the festival, the dramas unfolded and hell almost broke loose that day of the festival.

During the start of the program, a commotion happened. One of the booths unfolded a very big banner that alleged that FASGI, one of non-profit agencies was corrupt. In bold letter the big banner said; FASGI CORRUPT. And all the names of the staff were also there written in smaller bold letters.

Leaflets charging the same was being passed around and distributed among the people during the festival at Carandolet Street. The leaflets have the picture of FASGI staff members for it was lifted from their souvenir program. Again, their names were listed.

Mang Peping Baclig , a volunteer at FASGI for Veterans Affair was so angry that he warned the booth that if they will not removed the banner, he will haul it down. The Armenia festival coordinator said, he couldn’t do it because they paid for the booth. But he stopped the distribution of the leaflet.

My boss at People’s CORE , Joe Navidad warned me, “Al, don’t get involved in that, I know you are hot headed, you might get our office into trouble.” I told him, “ I was just looking after Mang Peping, don’t worry.”

I was so concerned with Mang Peping because I know he had a heart bypass operations. But he smiled later and told me, “See I made them cut my names out of the banner.” As if it was a big victory. I just smiled an nodded my head.

After the commotion died down, the program started as planned. But later, at the middle of the awards ceremonies another person caused uproar in front of the stage. It was an old community leader who shouted at the top of his voice,” why is there no Filipino flag in the stage. Is this not a Filipino affair?”

That’s when I intervened to calm the crowd and the person who was agitating. I told him, “there was a flag at the start of the ceremony but the FACLA director brought it back to FACLA.”

I told him that “ FACLA served as the flag bearers at the parade and they brought the flag back to FACLA because they do not want to lose it.” So his charge that there was no flag at the ceremonies has no basis.

But he kept on making a scene and he said he would complain to City Hall for this transgression on the Philippines. He just stopped when people did not mind him and the program continued.

Later, we were able to learn that the banner and the leaflets were made by some FACLA people who were against FASGI Executive Director Susan Maquindang . She was the receiver of FACLA from 2001 to 2002. It was their pay back scheme. They got a booth, paid for it and they were also the ones who made the leaflets.

The person who caused the outrage at the program and who was also a publisher of the local newspaper at that time, made noise for his case at his own paper. The City Hall, The Council Member of District 13 and even the Philippine Consulate of Los Angeles and the community ignored the matter for it was not reasonable anyways.

Well, the next festival is not so dramatic as the first. There were stilllpeople who were purpodtly speaking for the majority Latino population who argued that’ the festival caused street closures that affected them” but who will listen to them when they are Filipinos anyways who envied the event.

Every year, that is their drama to complain “why there is Historic Filipinotown in a majority Latino area.”

That was the drama of the first Historic Filipinotown Festival.

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