At the presser, Cristobal said that Filipinos should participate in the Census for it is a tool that ensures equal opportunity and protection, Federal affirmative action plans and funding, and a way to understand the demographic changes of a locality.
“The idea is to make our impact better known to society, to attend to our basic needs, raise our profile, and family welfare through the Census. We in the Philippine government need a solid ground as to the real numbers of Filipinos here,” he told members of the FAPCNY.
Cristobal explained that if Filipinos wanted to make waves in the American political arena or their voices heard in policy advocacy, they should start with responding to the Census. “Political leaders would know if we are a force to give attention to if the Census shows the numbers,” Cristobal said. Federal and state funding for socio-economic programs are also dependent on the Census, he added.
The 2010 Census roughly estimated Filipinos in the US to be 4 million, with an estimated 360,000 Filipinos in the East Coast. In Queens neighborhoods, program undercuts were particularly high in immigrant populations, such as East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, because of non-participation of residents during the 2010 Census.
The inclusion of the citizenship question in the upcoming Census has already created a cautious attitude among Filipinos here in participating in the population count. Of late, the Supreme Court has struck out the question on citizenship from the questionnaire.
During the ConGen Hour, Consul General Cristobal also shared his experiences in connecting with the Filipino communities in Egypt where he served as the Philippine Ambassador and in Hong Kong and Tokyo where he was Consul General. He entertained questions raised by the media on various topics like the usual problems of Filipinos overseas and how he assesses the Filipino community in the US East Coast, his most rewarding post.
The members of the FAPCNY thanked Consul General Cristobal for his time and the information he shared during the meeting. (From the press release of the Philippine Consulate General New York and an article of OSM! Online Magazine; Photo by Lambert Parong)