Community pushes for more Tagalog-friendly resources and services in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — A packed room of Filipino organizations, community members, and officials from different offices of San Francisco listened to the latest findings in a report about the need for more Tagalog-friendly resources for city programs.

The report is entitled “Speaking Up, Speaking Out.”

Back in 2014, the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs recognized Tagalog as the city’s third top language spoken by those with limited English skills.

Tagalog was expected to be used in all city department information services to the public by 2015.

The report said the city failed to do so.

“The report basically says that the city has to fund more interpretation and translation services, whether it’s from the community-based organizations or with city departments, because Filipinos need the services they are entitled to,” says Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez.

According to Francisco-Menchavez — the report took about six months to complete.

San Francisco State University students, who live in the Filipino communities where many could benefit from the ordinance, were responsible for the data collection.

“We’re still having service workers do two to three or more jobs just to help their clients understand the different documents and maneuver through the different resources that the city is supposed to provide for our community,” said Angelica Cabande.

The report revealed institutional barriers at play and that community workers are bearing the brunt of interpretation and translation services for San Francisco residents.

“On any given day when someone who’s speaking Filipino might need basic services from the city, they may or may not be able to get applications for housing, health care, education in their language.”

“That’s why it’s really important that we request for Filipino workers when we go to the city departments or different non-profit organizations.”

Members of the Filipino community hope that due to the findings of this new report — the city will be able to provide the necessary resources to help Tagalog speakers.

Organizers also said they are happy to have the support of Supervisor Matt Haney and Sandy Fewer, along with various city offices.

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