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At the recent NaFFAA conference in San Francisco, California. From left, NaFFAA National Vice Chair JT Mallonga, CFO Chair Imelda Nicolas, NaFFAA National Chair Engr. Ed Navarra and NaFFAA National Youth Chair Brendan Flores.

 

The Philippine Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) “to work together in initiating and implementing projects and programs in the interest of Filipinos both in the United States and the Philippines.

The agreement was signed on Nov. 20 by newly-appointed CFO Chairman Imelda Nicolas and the newly-elected NaFFAA National Chairman Engr. Ed Navarra during the 9th NaFFAA Empowerment Conference, also known as Empowerment 2010 (or E-2010), held in Burlingame, California, Nov. 19-21.

New York’s JT Mallonga, Esq. was elected NaFFAA national vice chairman.

The MOA, which will be ratified by NaFFAA’s board of directors at its next meeting, aims at strengthening the partnership of CFO and NaFFAA to promote the welfare of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

CFO, established in 1980, envisions “a community of Filipinos overseas widely recognized as a competitive world-class community with productive roles in the countries where they live and with strong economic and political and cultural ties with the Philippines.”

NaFFAA also shares the same goals.

Formed in Washington, D.C. in 1997, NaFFAA is “now recognized by Washington policy-makers, private industry and national advocacy groups as the Voice of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans throughout the United States.”

“We will undertake these initiatives not as an umbrella organization but as an equal partner with other national formations and local groups that have a stake in protecting and promoting the interests of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in this country,” said Navarra, following the signing.

Navarra, a retired mechanical engineer for Ford Motor Company and former chairman of the Filipino-American Community Council in Michigan, told “Balitang America” he wants to advocate for the rights of overseas workers especially those undocumented who endure abuse from employers for fear of deportation.

He said he also wanted to help Filipinos in the middle of the housing and job crises.

“NaFFAA is not just about Filipinos assisting the Philippines. But our problems here should come first,” he was quoted as saying.

He said he also wants to fight for more benefits for the Filipino World War II veterans, and promote political empowerment by supporting political candidates — Filipinos and non-Filipinos — who support the causes of the community.

Navarra, of Bloomfield, Michigan, and chairman of NaFFAA Region 3, succeeds Greg Macabenta, of San Francisco, California, as national chairman for 2010-2012.

Mallonga succeeds Rozita Lee as national vice chair.

Brendan Flores was elected NaFFAA national youth chair, a position vacant during the previous term.