[box type=”default” size=”large”] Senator Bieda says ties have benefited both countries [/box]
State Senator Steven Bieda (9th district, Michigan) described Philippine-American relations as “quite unique” when he presented his view of Philippine-American friendship during an event held last July 15 at the St. Josaphat Banquet Center in Warren.
The event was the first Philippine-American Friendship Dinner organized by the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) headed by President Willie Dechavez.
Bieda, who was introduced by former FILAMCCO president Imelda Martin Hum, said that even though Philippine-American relations did not have “the best start” at the turn of the 20th century, the alliance has benefited both countries in terms of the ensuing vibrant trade relations and immigration.
As a result of the bond, the senator said, there has been a great influx of immigrants from the Philippines to the U.S. He also noted the many contributions of Filipino-Americans to the United States, saying that many Fil-Ams have professional degrees.
On a personal level, Bieda said, “It is always an honor to work with my Filipino-American friends.”
Filipino-American Owen Diaz, former mayor of Milan, Michigan, presented the Philippine side of the friendship, noting the change in Philippine foreign policy initiated by President Duterte.
The new policy calls for the Philippines to be less dependent on the United States and to broaden relations other nations, particularly China and Russia.
Diaz, who was introduced by Brenda Sanagustin, noted that a recent survey indicated Filipinos give low rating to China compared to the United States.
Other leaders also commented on Philippine-American friendship.
In a message, Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, national chairperson of USP4GG, said, “On behalf of the USP4GG family, we happily welcome you to this celebration of a unique friendship. This relationship between the USA and the Philippines continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of each other. And like in most human relationships, we recognize that every situation we go through together helps us to grow stronger and more appreciative of one another.”
Lewis congratulated Dechavez and his USP4GG-Michigan team “for hosting this beautiful event,” saying “it is a timely reminder for us to keep on building up the friendship, understanding and partnership between our equally beloved countries.”
Warren City Mayor James R. Fouts also delivered a remark about the event. He said, “I was informed that this event honors the ongoing and longtime Filipino and American friendship. This dinner stands as a reminder that the strength of this long-standing relationship grows with time.”
Other speakers at the event included FILAMCCO President Ryan Rosario and State Representatives Henry Yanez, Martin Howrylack and Stephanie Chang.
Another highlight of the event emceed by Michelle Oh and Ron Recinto was an entertainment program. The performers included Lucy Salud, PACCM Hula Dancers, Alysa Podwoski, Tony Ibarrola (Elvis Presley impersonator), Aiza Milton (Tina Turner of Michigan) and new recording artist Hunnah Antoinette Joseph.
The event was capped by community dancing. Music was provided by Lito Apigo.