Saturday, September 18, 2021

`Olympic diving queen Vicki was my wife`

"Sport allows us to engage in dialogue and to build bridges, and it may even have the capacity to reshape international relations. The Olympic Games embody perfectly this universal mission."

Richard Attias

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

I MET the late former U.S. Olympic coach Lyle Draves, husband of the first woman in history to win the Platform and Springboard gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics.

Victoria “Vicki” Manalo-Draves, who died in 2010 at the age of 85, was half-Filipina and half-British.

Had she represented the Philippines, we could have won our first Olympic gold medal after the World War II.


The highest we that have achieved, so far, were 1 gold medal produced by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (2020 Tokyo Olympics), five silver medals courtesy of boxers Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Olympics), Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco, Jr. (1996 Atlanta Olympics), weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (2016 Rio de Janeiro), boxers Carlo Paalam (2020 Tokyo Olympics), boxer Nesty Petecio (2020 Tokyo Olympics), and seven bronze medals.

When Vicki was invited by President Elpidio Quirino in MalacaƱang in July 1949, she was feted like a Filipina Olympic champion, Lyle told this writer in a meeting in California in 2011.

Lyle, then 96, narrated his wife’s great exploits in an exclusive interview inside his unit in a retirement village in the City of Laguna Woods.

"My late wife was half-Filipina," Lyle volunteered.

 

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He accompanied Vicki in the MalacaƱang visit and they were given a red carpet welcome.

“We hardly had any sleep then,” mused Lyle, the first pure diving coach in history who produced three Olympic gold medalists: Vicki Manalo-Draves (1948 London Olympics), Pat McCormick (1952 Helsinki Olympics and 1956 Melbourne Olympics), and Sue Gossick (1968 Mexico Olympics).

“We were herded from one party to another like real celebrities and almost everybody recognized us, especially Vicki. Man, I can’t forget that moment.”

Husband and wife visited the Philippines a year after Vicki Manalo-Draves made history: she became the first woman in history to win the Platform and Springboard gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics.

“I was her coach and Vicki narrowly beat (fellow American) Zoe Ann Olsen for the gold in her last Springboard dive,” recalled Lyle, who had been permanently enshrined in the International Swimming Hall of Fame at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 12, 1989. 

“I replaced the regular coach, Fred Cady, who got sick and could not make it to the Olympics that year.”

Lyle said Vicki was elected in the same highest sports pedestal in 1969.

 

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On October 27, 2006, San Francisco mayor and now California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a proclamation naming a two-acre park as Victoria Manalo Draves Park in her honor on Folsom and Sherman streets in San Francisco where she was born.

Vicki's father was a Filipino musician from Orani, Bataan who migrated to San Francisco, California. Her mother was British Gertrude Taylor, also a migrant in the same state.

Lyle and Vicki have four sons – David, Jeffrey, Dale and Kim – all divers. They have eight grandchildren.

Prior to competing in the 1948 Olympics, Draves won five United States diving championships. 

Draves turned professional after the Olympics, joining Larry Crosby’s “Rhapsody in Swimtime” aquatic show at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1948.

 

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When Vicki died on April 11, 2010 from complications of pancreatic cancer at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, Lyle relocated to a plush retirement village at the Rushmore Towers in Laguna Woods, California where he has been living alone.

“I missed Vicki so much. But every night I talked to her,” sighed Lyle, who was partly deaf.

Lyle coached female divers to 12 Olympic medals and 35 National Championships. His Olympic silver medalists include Paula Jean Myers and Zoe Ann Olsen, each of whom took a bronze. His divers’ Olympic medal count reads 7 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.

Lyle has been described as America’s first great diving coach beginning an era when diving coaches could specialize in divers and not coach swimmers too, or vice versa.

He was a Hollywood film editor and his showbiz background has helped his coaching or again, vice versa, since Lyle was diving in and then producing, top-rated diving water shows before he became a film editor.

An Iowa farm boy, Lyle met Fred Cady at a swimming meet in Iowa. Fred invited him to California where Lyle began coaching divers at the Lido Club at the famed Ambassador Hotel and at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

 

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One of his first pupils was a 12-year-old girl named Zoe Ann Olsen. Next, they both moved to the Athens Athletic Club in Oakland where he met Vicki Manalo. He later married Vicki, who was given away by 1948 and 1952 platform winner Sammy Lee.

After the Olympics, Vicki and Lyle toured the United States and Europe with Buster Crabbe and Dick Smith.

He described the tours as “our great opportunity to travel as husband and wife since we have been traveling a lot together as coach and diver.”

Lyle returned to his coaching, first at tennis champion Jack Kramer’s Athletic Club and then at UCLA.

The Draves boys are Acapulco and World Champion high divers who have followed the showbiz side of their father’s heritage doing high and trick dives in such places as Magic Mountain, Sea World and Marineland.

Lyle described Fred Cady as “the most brilliant man” he ever met.

“He was the team coach during the 1936 (Berlin) Olympics and he was truly a great diving coach,” Lyle said.

The secret to success in coaching diving, Lyle emphasized, is “to follow Sir Isaac Newton and his third law of motion.”

He said, “Divers should know how to utilize the muscles inside their bodies by following the third law of motion.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Kabul refugees in Western Visayas


“You know, those of us who leave our homes in the morning and expect to find them there when we go back - it's hard for us to understand what the experience of a refugee might be like.”

Naomi Shihab Nye

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

THE people deserve to know the complete details of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s revelation that the Philippines has started taking in Afghan refugees on September 8, including women and children.

It’s been a week and no follow up report came from Locsin’s office in as far as arrival of Afghan refugees in the Philippines is concerned.

I’m sure our leaders in Western Visayas, or any other regions in the country for that matter, are ready to welcome these brothers and sisters from violence-torn Afghanistan for humanitarian reason.

Some of them can assimilate with the Ilonggos and become part of the community; they can help build the local economy if they engage in business and other productive activities.

That’s why we deserve to know at least how many Afghan refugees are there in Manila or in any parts of the Philippines now and if they have been apportioned.

We can’t just speculate just because we were given a limited information.

It’s Locsin’s primordial responsibility to tell us what’s going on and who’s in town. 

 

-o0o-

 

When we prepare the plates, we need to know the number of “visitors” who will dine in the kitchen.

We need at least a figure or how many men, women and children have arrived.

For sure the refugees will not be living in Metro Manila alone. 

They will be sent to other provinces and cities, including the Western Visayas region if necessary.

Locsin cited the refugees’ “safety” and “privacy” as the reason why they couldn’t reveal further information about the matter.

What safety was Locsin talking about? 

The refugees fled Kabul because they feared the Taliban. 

Unless there are Taliban assassins in the Philippines waiting to waylay the refugees as they enter the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or the seaports, Locsin can invoke safety as valid reason not to reveal further information about the fleeing Afghans.

As to the issue of privacy, the moment they left Afghanistan and sought refuge in other kind-hearted and peaceful countries like the United States, Germany, and the Philippines, people around the world already know and fully understand their predicament, their fears and condition, and how they are expected to adjust to their new life and in the cultures they are now part of when they are accommodated and absorbed in certain countries and territories that aren’t predominantly Islam.

 

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Another thing Locsin must consider before keeping all the details of the refugees under wraps is the pandemic. 

Some of our overseas Filipinos workers and balikbayans are hard-pressed to come home due to strict quarantine restrictions and protocols imposed by Imperial Manila and the “rebellious” Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Some provinces and cities have tightened if not closed their boundaries until after everything is back to normal. 

Proper coordination and communication with the local government units is necessary before the refugees are deployed nationwide, if that’s part of the foreign affairs department’s policy on the refugees.

We need total transparency and the public should know.

“We stay steady where others waver: tonight (September 8) we welcome Afghan nationals including women & kids seeking refuge,” Locsin said in a tweet. “Our doors are open to those fleeing conflict, persecution, sexual abuse and death.”

He added: “The matter is closed. We’re not interested in publicity or thanks. This is done so one can look at himself in the mirror. Period.”

“I don’t want baduy (corny) comparisons to famous relief actions in the past,” Locsin said in another tweet.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)

 

 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Don’t be ashamed to talk about politics

“Politics have no relation to morals.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

 By Alex P. Vidal

 

POLITICIANS excited to talk about politics and their political plans for 2022 but are ashamed because there’s pandemic, should stop worrying.

It’s OK to discuss politics. It’s fine if they intend to run and disclose it today.

People will understand. 

What isn’t OK is stealing the taxpayers’ money intended to buy masks and other clinical supplies while people are dying of Covid-19.

The truth is, now is the right time to talk about politics; for political wannabes it’s not a sin to reveal their cards since the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for all elective positions will be on October 1-8, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

With or without the pandemic, the Philippine National and Local Elections have been set on May 9, 2022.

In eight months, many things could happen to any aspirant for elective public office.

Some of those who will dilly-dally and pretend they aren’t interested to run (for fear of being chastised because “it’s not proper to talk about politics during the pandemic”) but, in fact, are excited to run might regret it if they will fall by the wayside in the game of name recall.

 

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Many people will appreciate it if the discourse will shift from the boring and depressing Covid-19 stories that have dominated the news since 2020.

In the time of pandemic, what the people must hear and read from the mass media shouldn’t be only about ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ.

These alphabet restrictions or quarantine protocols are confusing if not irritating. 

I personally don’t understand these acronyms and how they were coined.

To some Filipinos, these alphabet quarantine protocols have become a curse, something that will frighten us when we think our movements and freedom to travel are being abridged if not totally crippled by authorities.

These alphabet soups may even be bad to the mental and emotional health of many people who have been distressed after being bombarded daily by such horrors in prime time and front page stories.

We aren’t saying though that we close our eyes and ears to the gnawing reports about the pandemic, which has continued to create bedlam in our society.

A little diversion from the statistics of death and infection to the exciting world of politics will at least make the events that unfold before our eyes everyday worth watching.

 

-o0o-

 

JERRY Leandro (not his real name), 49, architecture graduate at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila who overstayed his U.S. tourist visa in 2013, disagreed with a certain Rona, a caregiver, who warned that an association ran by Filipinos in New York City was charging a fee of $65 to process their money under the $2.1 billion Fund for Excluded Workers passed by New York State lawmakers in April.

“I just read this (the article I wrote about the controversy). Perhaps may maganda naman na objective ang Damayan. They will guide those senior people who don’t know how to file. If you get a minimum of $3,000, you pay $65 as a contribution to Damayan. Sana makakuha ako kahit na minimum. Marami naman purpose ang Damayan and not only the workers fund. Have a nice Saturday bro,” wrote Jerry.

In my story, I never mentioned the name of any organization; I never mentioned Damayan. 

Thank you, Jerry, for giving me an idea of what is going on there. 

Thank you for “confirming” that you and other applicants are being charged with $65 for the “registration.”

If true, I don’t agree that they should charge that amount for a “registration” or whatever purpose to all applicants.

The New York State lawmakers did not intend to pass that law only for any organization to make a killing out of the undocumented workers’ plight.

Bawal po iyan. Pinoy po tayo lahat. Magtulongan na lang without any fee, puwede?

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Forgive the ‘bastos’

  

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Thomas Szasz

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

SINCE he has already apologized, those who have been offended by Harry Roque’s rant against Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin and a group of medical experts recently, should now start burying the hatchet and forgive him.

Several medical personalities have already given Roque a dose of his own medicine by calling him “bastos” (rude or uncouth) because of his unnecessary and uncalled for outbursts. 

Being called a “bastos” in a national television can be humiliating for someone in the presidential spokesperson’s stature. 

It’s probably enough to bring this angry man back to his senses.

Since they may find it hard to forget Roque and his rib-tickling blabber, they might as well forgive him. 

Forgiving but not forgetting him means they can hold Roque accountable for his slip up as President Rodrigo Duterte’s mouthpiece and the malediction will probably blow him away if he seeks an elective post in the future.

Whether Roque needs to relinquish his post because of the controversy isn’t necessary. He isn’t Japanese. 

Roque loves his job which has given him national exposure he never dreamt of getting when he was a partylist representative best remembered for having lambasted President Duterte’s “poor human rights record.”

 

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IF Iloilo’s Senator Franklin Drilon will decide to run for vice president  against President Rodrigo Duterte in the May 2022 election and defeat him, it will settle the score who between the two is credible.

But Drilon has not revealed his next political plans and is apparently supporting Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who has announced his candidacy for vice president under standard bearer Senator Panifilo “Ping” Lacson.

Mr. Duterte has been self-destructing these past months with his incredible attacks on prominent members of the opposition, especially senators handling the investigation of companies owned by Chinese characters with alleged links to illegal drugs, which had cornered billions of pesos in questionable government contracts in the fight against pandemic.

Instead of just letting the legislative body, a coequal branch in government, do its oversight job under the constitution, Mr. Duterte has engaged in shocking personal and ad hominem attacks.

After six years of being president, Mr. Duterte has continued to rely on cuss words and slander to stymie his perceived political opponents.

He also has the tendency to revive his innuendos and mind-boggling hatred against innocent characters who didn’t support him in the last presidential election like former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who has opted to live in peace and tranquillity with his family in Canada and has not even fired back from Mr. Duterte’s wild and gutter attacks.

 

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ONE thing that is good about Leylah Fernandez’s magical performances in the U.S. Open is that the Philippines has been mentioned several times in the major TV networks, newspapers, podcasts, news websites  in more than a week since the tournament blasted off in Flushing, New York City.

It’s very healthy in as far as name recall for the Philippines is concerned.

Because of Fernandez, Hidilyn Diaz, Manny Pacquiao, and other universal athletes with Filipino blood in their veins, the Philippines gets a remarkable and positive publicity internationally.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)

 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Don’t pay the New York stimulus ‘fixers’

 

“There was a lot of me trying to be a 'fixer.' I was that kind of guy. I'd meet someone who had 'so much potential' that needed 'help.' I think that was kind of my curse for a long time.”

Adam Lambert

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

I HAVE reiterated my advice to several undocumented Filipino workers in New York not to pay any amount to fixers who will approach or have already approached them when they applied or about to apply for payments from the state of New York under the $2.1 billion Fund for Excluded Workers passed by lawmakers in April.

I have been tipped by several undocumented Filipino workers they were asked to shell out at least $65 for “registration” to a certain Filipino-run immigration organization based in New York City before they could be accommodated.

The immigration organization reportedly promised to facilitate their applications once they have paid the amount.

But not all Pinoy undocumented workers are qualified, I was informed.

Some of those who have paid the “registration” don’t have the assurance that they are eligible.

“Sabi nga ng isang fixer, ‘kayo na po bahala sa akin’ if he facilitates my application,” Rona, a caregiver who arrived in New York in 2016, told this writer. 

Rona, 53, thinks she is qualified because she has been paying her taxes for five years now.

“Even if I am undocumented, I continued to file my income tax for the last five years,” she added.

Some undocumented workers in New York have started their applications for an aid payment of $15,600 or $3,200, minus tax, in early August 2021.

 

-o0o-

 

We must always remember that in every paradise there is serpent. 

In every forest there is snake.

If someone offers or has offered help to apply, they shouldn’t trust them.

Qualified applicants should only apply for these benefits from the official Department of Labor website and get help only from trusted organizations, I was told.

If a person tries to charge money or collect personal information to help then apply, they should not give them anything.

The law was created to allow undocumented people who were not eligible for unemployment insurance due to immigration status to “finally” get some aid.

There are about 275,000 undocumented immigrants in New York, and at least 164,000 in Brooklyn, according to Jessy Edwards of BKReader.

Workers who can provide written proof of income from before the pandemic—like paystubs or tax returns—are eligible for $15,600. But those who cannot will only be able to get $3,200.

Below are eligible for the stimulus money: Those who lived in New York before March 27, 2020, and still live here; those who didn’t get unemployment insurance; those who earned less than $26,208 from April 2020 to April 2021; those who lost their income between Feb. 23, 2020 and April 1, 2021; and those who became responsible for most of the household income due to death or disability of the main income earner in the house

 

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How much will they get? They will either get $15,600 or $3,200, minus taxes. 

The amount they get will depend on what documents they can provide.

The Department of Labor hasn’t said yet how much tax will come out of each payment.

More than one person in a household can apply. The application is individual. Every working person in the home who might be eligible can apply.

They will have to present the following documents:

1.   Proof of identity through your passport, ID cards, or other official documents like marriage or divorce licenses.

2.   Show proof that you lived in New York before March 27, 2020 and that you live in New York now.

3.   Proof through letters, pay stubs, W2, tax return, wage notice or other documentation that you were working before the pandemic.

If they provide 1, 2, and 3, they may be eligible for $15,600 minus taxes.

If they can’t do 1, 2, and 3, they may still be eligible for $3,200 minus taxes if they can show proof of their identity, proof that they live in New York and some sort of work documents that the Department of Labor hasn’t announced yet.

Their documents will only be used to prove their identity, that they live in New York, and information about their work history, the Department of Labor said even if it assured them it will not share documents with anyone unless required by law.

The Department of Labor reportedly cannot share the information internally, either, to its unemployment insurance bureau or anyone else.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)

 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Let’s unlock our hidden geniuses


 “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”

Aldous Huxley

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

NEW YORK CITY — I stumbled into another self-help book copyrighted in 2000 that promises to multiply our mental power with "simple and enjoyable" exercises scientifically designed to make us smarter, more creative, more intuitive, and more successful in achieving our goals.

"Super Brain Power" author Jean Marie Stine explains that the readers will find exercises to help us: turn our mind into a mental tape recorder that captures every word we hear and read; jump-start our intelligence at will and leapfrog to logical solutions to the toughest problems.

Also, it will increase our creativity by pre-programming  our unconscious idea processor; win the enthusiasm and cooperation of others and form a personal championship team; learn physical tasks instantly by tapping into our physical intelligence; develop an emotional radar that automatically steers us toward success; and expand our vocabulary--without word-of-the-day lists or dictionaries.

 

MEMORIZE

 

Have we ever struggled to memorize a list of complicated names, dates, and rules for a forthcoming exam, or felt at a loss when unexpectedly called upon to provide the solution to a difficult problem during a company or group meeting?

Have we ever puzzled over a problem for hours or weeks without a clue and later realized the solution was right before our eyes all the time?

Have we ever been fooled by deceptive advertising, or been misled by a corporate prospectus, or overlooked an important flaw in our own or someone else's position -- and ended up feeling sorry for it later?

Have we ever longed for a creative way to tell someone we love them, needed a world-class inspiration to save a tottering business, or been challenged to come up with a new theme for the parish fundraising campaign?

 

LEARN

 

Have we ever struggled to learn how to repair a drainpipe, master a tennis stroke, give a permanent wave, or work with an unfamiliar keyboard configuration?

Have we ever had an abrasive relative we just couldn't find a way to deal with, or been unable to figure out why we failed to "click" at an important job interview, or failed to see what was preventing us from welding a promising group of people into a team that realizes its potential? Of course we have. Everyone has.

Even Albert Einstein, possibly the supreme genius of the 20th century, wished he were smarter when he found the math underlying his Unified Field Theory, intended to explain and unify all physics, was wrong.  

Stine explains that the super brain program is designed to take much of the work out of expanding our six intelligences.

 

PROGRAM 

 

There are three ways Stine's program unlocks our brain power: 1. Only logical intelligence was developed and rewarded. 2. The other five intelligences were devalued and unexploited. 3. Those who did not excel at this kind of thinking saw themselves as less able and intelligent than others. 

Here are the power of our six intelligences, according to Stine: 1. The power of our verbal intelligence 2. The power of our visual intelligence 3. The power of our logical intelligence 4. The power of our creative intelligence 5. The power of our physical intelligence 6. The power of our emotional intelligence. 

Power professions where verbal IQ counts: Journalist, novelist, poet, playwright, editor, advertising sparkplug, sales rep, marketing director, spin doctor, stand-up comedian, humorist, news commentator.

Restaurateur, hotelier, publican, politician, clergyperson, motivational speaker, attorney, judge, paralegal, translator, diplomat, mediator, psychotherapist, counselor, facilitator, television anchor, disc jockey, talk-show host, publisher, printer, bookstore owner.

 

VISUAL

 

Power professions where visual IQ counts: Mechanic, inventor, engineer, electrician, sailor, pilot, astronaut, race-car driver, athlete, acrobat, jockey, daredevil, surgeon, paramedic, radiologist, paleontologist, anthropologist, geologist, photographer, sculptor, painter, architect, cartographer, genealogist, television, motion picture or theatrical director or producer; photographer; actor; lighting or scenic designer; cinematographer, photographer or video and film; fashion designer, hairdresser, makeup artist; guide, scout, soldier.

Power professions where logical IQ counts: Scientist: biologist, physicist, chemist, astronomer, zoologist; physician, medical researcher, laboratory technician, computer designer, programmer, repair technician, mathematician, statistician, accountant, CPA, banker, financial analyst, market-fund manager, stock broker, clerk, cashier, bank teller, time-management, performance, productivity or systems analyst, personal assistant, secretary, office manager.

Power professions where creative IQ counts: Enterprenuer, small-business owner, CEO, graphic arts: illustrator, photographer, designer, inventor, creator, idea person, manager and marketer of art and artists, electronic media: radio, television, cable, video; live theater: plays, performance art, improve comedy; music: singer, instrumentalist, composer, landscaper, architect, community planner, advertising, marketing, salesperson, fashion designer, cosmetician, coiffeur, toy and game designer, children's books and records artist.

 

PHYSICAL

 

Power professions where physical IQ counts: Singer, actor, "slaptick" comedian, craftperson, jeweler, computer repairperson, plumber, mechanic,  carpenter, butcher, gardener, anyone who works with his or her hands; chauffeur, truck driver, airline pilot; gymnast, ballplayer, swimmer, ice skater; sculptor, muralist; law enforcement officer, anyone serving in the military, firefighter, surgeon, nurse, paramedic; naturalist, veterinarian, animal trainer, anthropologist, archeologist.

Power professions where emotional IQ counts: Teacher, mentor, consultant, politician, attorney, minister, psychologist, peer counselor, social worker, marketing person, salesperson, public relations person, customer service manager, receptionist, greeter, negotiator, mediator, conflict manager, manager, administrator, team leader.

 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Pinoys in NY among those who lost labor benefits


 “Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.”

Orson Scott Card

 

By Alex P. Vidal

 

STEPHEN and Leonidas, both residents of the Filipino community in Elmhurst, Queens are among the 1.6 million New Yorkers now facing uncertainties when the federal unemployment benefit programs expired across the country, per federal law, on September 5, 2021.

“They aren’t blameless because they waited for September before they decided to go back to work,” lamented Camelo “Jun” Galinea, 64, who availed the federal stimulus package when the CARES Act became effective on March 2020 to address the unemployment problem faced by Americans amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stephen, Leonidas and other Pinoy workers had the chance to be reinstated in their employment but they opted to avail the government’s full unemployment benefits under the Americans Rescue Plan stimulus package.

In March 2021, Congress extended these unemployment benefits only until September 5, 2021.

Bumalik na ako sa trabaho noong pinatawag na kami ng employers namin. Yung iba ayaw pa, hinintay pa kasi nila bago mag expire ang unemployment benefits sa September kaya tuloy wala na silang trabaho (When our employers asked us to go back to work, we complied. Others who waited until the federal employment benefits expired in September lost their jobs),” disclosed Galinea, who works in a bar in Manhattan.

 

-o0o-

 

Stephen, 51, used to work as electrical technician in a midtown Manhattan hotel, while Leonidas, 47, was a doorman in lower Manhattan apartment.

“It feels good to receive unemployment benefits from the government while doing nothing, but it’s different if you are working and earning as a full time employee because you contribute for your social security,” sighed Felipe Madrazo, 58, security staff in a recording company.

The federal benefit programs that expired according to the Department of Labor were: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); Extended Benefits (EB); $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC); and $100 Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits will continue to be paid to eligible claimants. 

To be considered eligible for UI after September 5, 2021, the Department of Labor said a claimant must be unemployed and be in the first 26 weeks (or 104 effective days) of benefits. 

“Claimants can find their effective days remaining in their online Payment History. Because FPUC is ending, any weeks a claimant is eligible to receive UI benefits after September 5, 2021 will no longer include the additional $300 in FPUC,” announced the New York State Department of Labor.

NYS DOL said it will still review eligibility for federal benefits for weeks of unemployment on or before September 5, 2021 once the federal programs expire. 

 

-o0o-

 

Claimants should always certify for weeks they are seeking and if due benefits, claimants will be paid once determined to be eligible. 

New PUA claims will be accepted for a period of 30-days after September 5, 2021. 

NYS DOL said it would accept those claims, evaluate for eligibility, and backdate where appropriate as required by USDOL.

New York State, meanwhile, has recently fallen below the rate established by the federal government in order for the state to qualify for the highest level of EB. 

Effective August 9, 2021, EB will be available for a maximum of 13 weeks. 

Claimants who have received 13+ weeks of EB will no longer be eligible for EB on their existing claim after the benefit week of August 9, 2021, but may be eligible for PEUC or PUA benefits through September 5, 2021.

New York State will not extend federal pandemic unemployment programs that expired over Labor Day weekend. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state's unemployment insurance trust fund has a deficit of $11 billion. 

This as many employers continue to need help filling jobs and many remain unemployed. 

 

-o0o-

 

But states are reportedly allowed to extend the unemployment programs, according to the CARES Act. 

However, that will not happen in New York state.

Hochul said during a briefing September 5 about the Hurricane Ida cleanup, "What we determined was that the federal government has to okay allocations to us and secondly because our unemployment system was so overtaxed last year and a half that we now have an $11 billion deficit (unemployment insurance trust fund deficit) and the state law does not allow us any increases in resources as long as there is a deficit."

Instead, the governor said she was focused on job retraining for those who are unemployed. 

"So, I know where the programs are and it's about connecting people helping them get retraining for a job because some of these jobs may never come back," Hochul said. “With unemployment at 5.7 percent in the Buffalo-Niagara region, we continue to see a lot of job postings around Western New York.”

There has been no indication that Congress will extend these enhanced unemployment benefits as of this writing.

These unemployment insurance program were always intended to be temporary and tied to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Zack Friedman of Forbes. 

“It’s possible that Congress could authorize new unemployment benefits in the future due to a further resurgence of Covid-19. However, there are no immediate plans to extend relief beyond today. That said, in the American Rescue Plan, Congress authorized $350 billion to the states to provide for unemployment financial relief,” Friedman added.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)