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In Honor Of Filipino American History Month

Del. Eni F. H. Faleomavaega

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, together with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I rise today in honor of Filipino American History Month.

Based on the 2010 Census there are approximately 3.417 million Filipino Americans in the United States, making them the third largest Asian American group. Filipino Americans reside in nearly every Congressional district in the United States, contributing to the diversity and vitality of their communities. The largest population of Filipino Americans resides in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington State. In my district of American Samoa, the Filipino population has greatly contributed to the diversity of culture, the business community, as well as health, education, and social service sectors.

The earliest documented proof of Filipinos in the Continental United States was on October 18, 1587, when the ship Nuestra Senora de Esperanza under the command of Pedro de Unamuno set ashore in Central California during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade era. In 1988, on the 225th Anniversary of this historic date, the Filipino American National Historical Society established a year-long, national observance in order to honor the countless ways that Filipino Americans have contributed to the development of our nation over the centuries. That year, the Society also declared October as Filipino American History Month.

Immigration from the Philippine islands in the early 1900s represented the first large wave of Filipinos coming to America as they worked in the agricultural industry. During World War II, over 250,000 Filipinos served alongside American soldiers in the United States military. The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door for the next wave of Filipinos coming to the U.S.

Today, Filipino Americans are part of every sector of American life, working in health, entertainment, engineering, education, military and the public sector. In the realm of government, for example, my dear friend and colleague and fellow member of CAPAC, Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, earned the distinction in 1993 of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.

Mr. Speaker, economically, culturally, and socially, Filipino Americans have contributed in countless ways toward the development of our nation. Today we honor the Filipino American community, those who have served and those who continue to add to the vibrancy and strength of our great nation.