Undocumented California Youth Can Get Health Care, But Many Don’t Know It


Philippine Daily Inquirer
by Allyson Escobar

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Many undocumented youth don’t know they have the legal right to health care access in California.

LOS ANGELES — A California-wide study on health care access conducted by undocumented immigrant youth for their peers shows real-life barriers and challenges that undocumented people in the US face in trying to get access to health care coverage.

The report, “Undocumented and Uninsured,” recently released by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Dream Resource Center (DRC) revealed that many undocumented youth do not get needed medical attention because they cannot afford to buy insurance or they do not want to reveal their undocumented status. Many young immigrants, however, do not realize that they have the lawful right to receive medical care.

Since January 2014, California recipients of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, who meet certain income requirements, are eligible to enroll in Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance and medical assistance program that serves individuals and families with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

However, many immigrants who qualify for these benefits do not realize it, or don’t know how to apply—resulting in a low turnout, especially among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Step-by-step guide

In partnership with The California Endowment, the DRC’s “Your Health Matters: Enrolling in Medi-Cal as a California DACA Recipient” report is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to Medi-Cal eligibility and enrollment.

It covers all of the basics of applying for Medi-Cal, taking the confusing language of health care coverage and making it easier for people to understand.

It breaks down each step of the process, from gathering documents to applying online to using the healthcare benefits, and makes everything look less daunting.

The Dream Resource Center (DRC), through the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, aims to promote the education and leadership of immigrant youth nationwide. Since its founding, the center has emerged as a national source for innovative research, education and policy on immigration issues.

In light of administrative relief and the debates on Obamacare, the DRC’s current focus is on health care—most importantly, getting everyone access to coverage, regardless of their status.

The California Immigrant Policy Center and Educators for Fair Consideration organization also released “Take Control of Your Health,” a guide that addresses frequently asked questions that often arise for low-income DACA recipients navigating the Medi-Cal process often for the first time.


“Many DACA recipients are being unfairly denied Medi-Cal coverage, are fearful or hesitant when enrolling into Medi-Cal, or don’t know that they may qualify,” said Carlos Juarez, a DACA recipient and Medi-Cal Enrollment Counselor from UMMA Community Clinic in South Los Angeles, who helped put together the report.

There is a lack of knowledge among both immigrants and enrollees about the program, Juarez said.

People are being unlawfully denied Medi-Cal because enrollment counselors are also told the wrong information without understanding that DACA recipients do qualify.

A lot of the confusion and barriers stem from inconsistency between the federal and state laws, providing misleading information to both counselors and patients.

“Everyone is entitled to receiving healthcare,” Seth Ronquillo, the communications coordinator at the Dream Resource Center, also commented. “There are so many stories of immigrants who have just had to wait out their sickness, either because they are too afraid to get help or they simply cannot afford it.”

Ronquillo, a DACA recipient whose family immigrated from the Philippines, has been involved with the DRC since participating in the Dream Summer Internship program in 2011 as well as ASPIRE – Los Angeles.

An outspoken activist and recent UCLA graduate in film and linguistics, Ronquillo believes it is important for people like him to feel safe, welcomed, and not alone. In 2014, he released a short documentary titled “Us,” which highlights his own family’s immigration story, depicting the intimate and very real narrative of the life of an undocumented immigrant.

“History has proven that being involved and active has paved the way for future leaders to make lasting change and be empowered, regardless of their race or color or status,” he said.

“Undocumented and Uninsured” is the first study about and by immigrant youth, from interns to people who have been involved with the immigrant rights movement for years.

Researchers surveyed over 500 immigrant young people between ages 18 and 32 throughout California, including undocumented youth, students, and DACA grantees (known as “DAcAmented” immigrants).

The five-part report highlights important issues that undocumented immigrants face regarding health care; such as the lack of knowledge, constantly living in fear, and having to “suck up” their pain because they do not have access to health insurance—a practice known as “Band-Aid Care.”

According to the study, 74 percent of immigrant youth report that they have received basic health care from cheaper public safety-net programs, such as emergency Medi-Cal, public hospitals and county health clinics.

Cheap resources

While these services provide some pain relief, they are often understaffed, underfunded, overcrowded and unable to meet patients’ needs. In the absence of formal care, many youth have been forced to pull resources together and find their own ways to care for one another, a dangerous practice of delaying crucial formal care.

One of the unique aspects of the new reports are the focus on people affected by this serious issue are also the ones doing the research themselves, as a way to educate and empower their own community.

“These reports took extensive time and research tailored to the audience they were written for,” said Nidia De Leon, a former Dream Summer intern and Covered California enrollment counselor, and one of the authors of the Your Health Matters report. “People are living in fear of their status being revealed—we are here to tell them not to be afraid, and to know their rights.”

“These reports have opened up a dialogue about such an important issue, allowing us to develop different strategies, and making people aware of the lack of access to institutionalized health care,” Juarez added. “People should know that there are options, ways for them to access health insurance through a safety net, without having to worry.”

All of the research, the first two reports, and a list of resources and ways to get involved are available on the Undocumented and Uninsured website, www.undocumentedanduninsured.org.


Philippine Daily Inquirer
by Allyson Escobar


Essay-writing Contest on Overseas Filipinos Attracts 250 Plus Entries, UP Student Wins Top Prize


The Filipino Australian
Posted by the TFA Staff
February 24, 2015

More than 250 students from across eight countries shared their research findings, insights and in some cases personal experiences in the recently concluded international essay-writing contest on “The Overseas Filipinos and their Impact on the Philippines.”


In the interview with USP4GG Essay Writing Ad-Hoc Committee chairperson Dr Celia Lamkin, TFA also gathered that the eight countries with students participation are Philippines, United States, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, China, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Greece. Philippine-based students are from schools in Nueva Viscaya, Benguet, Central and Western Luzon, National Capital Region, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.The contest, divided into two divisions: college and high school, was sponsored by US Pinoys For Good Governance (USP4GG) in conjunction with the Third Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora (February 25-27) in Manila.

The list of winners was released on Tuesday February 24.

UP Diliman student Justin Keith Baquisal was First Place in the College division with his winning entry, “Saviors and Spectators: Overseas Filipinos and the Politics of Continuity and Change in the Philippines.”

In the High School division, the First Place position was a tie between Patrick Duane Noche (Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc., Lucena City) for his essay, “Mockingjay”, and Eugenie Marie Pranada (Phil School of Bahrain, Bahrain) who entered an essay titled “Overseas Filipino Workers: The Scattered Stars”.

College students Dia Marmi Bazar (Misamis University, Misamis Occidental) and Jeremy Mosquito (Saint Mary’s University, Nueva Viscaya) were second and third place, respectively. Hazel Ivy Jeremias (The Lewis College, Sorsogon) and Yvone Dayne Luis (Durat Al Sharq International School, Jeddah KSA) were declared second and third place, respectively, in the High School division.


College Division: Justin Keith Baquisal, Dia Marmi Bazar, Jeremy Mosquito, Clark Arthur Robles (National University Manila), Jasper Alcalas (University of Sto Tomas), Guillian Mecate (Lyceum of the Philippines University), Jericho Concepcion (De La Salle University), Argie Sumiguin (Malayan Colleges Manila), Alfonso Manalastas (Fr Saturnina Urios University Butuan City), and Christine Joan Din (The Lewis College Sorsogon City).

High School Division: Patrick Duane Noche, Eugenie Marie Pranada, Hazel Ivy Jeremias, Yvonne Dayne Luis, Patricia Mae Dacanay (Lagro High School Caloocan City), Jeni Ruth Olarte (The Lewis College Sorsogon City), Hannah Mimbisa (Dural Al Bhara International School, Jeddah KSA), Ezekiel Gumaru (Taj International School, Riyadh KSA), Julie Ann Asuncion (Philippine School of Bahrain, Bahrain), Samantha Mae Jeanine Sacdalan (Philippine School of Bahrain, Bahrain), Rex Meynard Cervales (Capiz National High School, Roxas City), Ericka Lacsamana Pare (Philippine Emirates Private School, United Arab Emirates), and Trischa Sheen Dumanjug (Ozamiz City National High School, Misamis Occidental).

The winners will receive their awards on Thursday February 26.

Panel of Judges

The judging panel comprised of:

Dr. Josefina G Tayag DPA – retired Vice chancellor of UP Manila;

Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay – grand winner of 2013 Essay Contest on West Philippine Sea and a community reporter of Sunstar;

Romy Cayabyab – multi-award winning publisher-editor of the Filipino Australian Online News;

George Chua – CEO and President of Bayan Automotive Manufacturing, and Chairman of the Philippine Association Manufacturing Industries;

Atty Lolita Farmer OAM – immigration lawyer in Australia;

Mithi Aquino-Thomas – a Hospitality and Human Resources specialist, wife of former US Ambassador to the Philippines Mr Harry Thomas;

Nimfa Gamez – CEO and President of California USA-based hospital and health-care provider Mission-Hope Developmental Services, Inc.

Gene Alcantara – Chair of ENFID and an immigration consultant in the United Kingdom;

Zaldy Dandan – Editor of Marianas Variety newspaper on Saipan; and

Dr. Celia Lamkin MD – retired Physician, chair of USP4GG Marianas chapter CNMI and Guam and chair of Global Filipino Diaspora Marianas and chair of Ad Hoc Committee of Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos.

Impressive Turnout and Quality

The contest is the second international contest sponsored by USP4GG. The first contest on “The West Philippine Sea and Its Impact on the Philippines” was conducted in February 2013 during the Second Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora held in Makati.

“The turnout and quality of the entries are very impressive, excellent and have met the focus of the theme,” said Dr Lamkin in the interview with TFA.

Dr Lamkin also said that during the judging, her email provider’s spam-filters mistakenly blocked her bulk transmissions to the judges and she had to send her messages with attachments in small batches which delayed the judging process.

“We encountered technical problems, but I am glad we overcame those hurdles”, Dr Lamkin said adding that she would like to acknowledge the support of CFO Secretary Imelda Nicolas, Atty Ted Laguatan, Atty Loida Nicolas-Lewis and many others including those in the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Education.



The Filipino Australian
Posted by the TFA Staff
February 24, 2015


Japan Grants One-Year Extension for Filipino Nurses and Caregivers


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)
5 March 2015

The Japanese government has decided to extend work visas with an additional year to Filipino and Indonesian nurses and caregivers.  The additional year will enable them to further their training and retake their qualification exams to work in Japan.  This decision is aimed at giving potential nurses and caregivers a better chance of passing their exams and securing permission to work in the profession.  

This third extension will affect 93 nurses and caregivers from Indonesia who arrived in Japan in 2012 and 300 Filipino and Indonesian candidate nurses and caregivers who arrived in 2013.  This move will benefit those who failed the exams but were able to meet certain conditions such as having a relatively good scores in the last qualifying exams they took. The low passing rates has been due to the language barrier.   

New candidates arriving will take language lessons for six months as well as on-the-job training. Candidate nurses are given three chances to take the exams, but caregivers are given only one  This extension will make it possible for prospective nurses to sit the text four times and caregivers twice.

Japanese Consul General Maria Teresa Taguiang has advised Filipinos to learn how to speak and read Nihonggo in order to look for employment in Japan as the demand for English teachers and caregivers are high.


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)
5 March 2015


Winners of Overseas Filipinos Essay Contest Honored


25 March 2015

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Dr. Celia Lamkin with Justin Keith Baquisal of UP Diliman, grand winner of Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos during the awards ceremony on February 26, at Manila Hotel. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

MANILA – Winners of the Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos were feted during an awards ceremony February 26 at the Manila Hotel during the gala dinner of the Third Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora held in Manila.

The essay contest with the theme “The Overseas Filipinos and their impact on the Philippines” was launched by the US Pinoys for Good Governance Marianas chapter (CNMI and Guam) Chairperson Dr. Celia Lamkin in collaboration with the Commission on Overseas and its chairperson, Secretary Imelda Nicolas.

There were 257 essay entries received by the USP4GG Ad Hoc Committee from both College and High School Categories from nine different countries: Philippines, USA, Greece, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China, Bahrain, Qatar.

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(From left) Mrs. Jeremias, mother of Hazel Ivy Jeremias, 2nd prize winner (High School category) of The Lewis College in Sorsogon City, Dr. Celia Lamkin, Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, Hazel Ivy Jeremias, 2nd prize winner, Justin Keith Baquisal, grand winner (College category), CFO Secretary Imelda Nicolas, Atty. Lolita Farmer, Mr. Jefferson Baquisal, father of Justin Keith Baquisal, and Jeremy Mosquito, 3rd prize winner (College category) of St. Mary’s University at Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya.

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III sent congratulations to the winners: “Our countrymen have sacrificed much so that we can build upon the foundations they toiled for us. Let your perspectives and insights motivate our kababayans to intensify their support for our fellows in distant shores.”
The winners are the following:

College Category
Justin Keith Baquisal – First Prize of the University of the Philippines, Diliman
Dia Marmi Bazar – Second Prize of Misamis University at Misamis Occidental
Jeremy Mosquito- Third Prize of St. Mary’s University at Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya

High School
Patrick Duane Noche – First Prize of Calayan Educational Foundation,Inc at Lucena city
Eugenie Marie Pranada – First Prize of Philippine School of Bahrain
Hazel Ivy Jeremias – Second Prize of The Lewis College at Sorsogon city
Yvonne Dayne Luis -Third Prize of Durat Al Sharq International School at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Grand winner Justin Keith Baquisal said, “As mass out-migration has become a trend since the 1970’s, the task for today’s generation is to critically examine the phenomenon and its effects on our private lives and public issues. I think we should continue to locate the overseas Filipino community in the narrative of our nationhood. They may be geographically far from us, often becoming citizens of other states either by economic necessity or free will, but I think their experiences should vitalize rather than be relegated from talks about national development.”

Eugenie Marie Pranada said, “The topic of the essay contest is timely, challenging, and relevant. The contest provided channels from the youth around the globe to come to one destination -the hearts of the OFWs. Also, this aided the realization and the discovery of the reader on what views the author has to offer to the world. Lastly, like any other writing competitions, all the contenders let their hearts speak. That’s how we won…the experience.”

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(From left) Dr. Celia Lamkin, USP4GG Marianas chapter chair; Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, USP4GG national chair; Aurora Aguinaldo, USP4GG member from New York; Treenee Lopez, Chairperson of Global Pinoys Diaspora in Canada.

The judges of the essay contest were:

Dr. Josefina G. Tayag,DPA, retired vice-chancellor of UP Manila; Zaldy Dandan, editor of Marianas Variety, Atty.Lolita Farmer,OAM, an immigration lawyer in Australia; George Chua, President and CEO of Bayan Automative Industries Corporation and President of Philippine Industries ( FPI) ; Mithi Aquino-Thomas, an experienced instructor and trainer in the customer service industry and wife of former US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Jr.

Gene Alcantara, chair of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora ( ENFiD) and immigration consultant in London; Juanita Nimfa Gamez, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the US in 2007 and CEO and president of a home care business in California; Romy Cayabyab, founder and publisher of the award-winning Internet publishing and media company in Sydney, Australia.

Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay, grand winner of USP4GG Essay Contest on West Philippine Sea and a community journalist/reporter for the Sun Star Publishing,Inc; and Dr. Celia B. Lamkin, chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee for USP4GG Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos, founding chairperson of Global Filipino Diaspora Marianas and founding member, Board Member and Secretary of Global Filipino Diaspora Council.


25 March 2015


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