by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
For community leaders, the Obama administration was an issue they watched closely for 8 years — some with mixed sentiments on what the past president both accomplished and did not.
This weekly Talakayan in Historic Filipinotown began in 2012, around the time of the re-election of President Obama.
Since then, he’s been a popular topic in this weekly meeting that tackles burning issues affecting the Filipino American community.
“Palagay ko maganda Kay Obama, Yung relationship Yung America sa pilipinas maganda Para Kay Obama,” said Al Capati. “Hanggang ngayon.
Democrat and Republican community leaders say that Obama’s impact on the Filipino American community was a mix of both good and bad, on a variety of issues.
Many Filipino WWII veterans felt unsatisfied after be awarded lump sums and congressional medals of honor, rather than full equity.
Advocates like Arturo Garcia continue to fight.
“JFAV wrote him a letter asking him to issue an executive order giving him the benefits to the veterans, but he never did it,” said Garcia from Justice for Filipino American Veterans. “And what he gave, pakong swelo de bobo — gold medals and the lump sum.”
When it comes to the hot topic of immigration, two and a half million undocumented immigrants were deported between 2009 and 2015.
While his executive orders spared some 700,000 under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“He was the deporter-in-chief at the same time he gave DACA…how do you balance that,” said leader Dondi Monzon.
Obama did visit the Philippines twice during his terms, continuing partnerships, and even giving the Philippines $37 million in aid during Typhoon Haiyan.
Some of these members believed Obama was “soft” when it came to foreign conflicts and issues, especially during the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China.
“If America is an ally, why did they let China build up artificial islands in the South China Sea,” asked Garcia.
While Obama’s presidency did coincide with three Philippine presidents, he wrapped up his final term without speaking to President Rodrigo Duterte, who insulted the American on several occasions.
Filipinos now await to see what President-elect Trump’s relation with their homeland will be like.