Philippine Post Magazine: Dr. Carlos Manlapaz
The scion of Dr. Jose Carlos Manlapaz and Guadalupe Paredes of Bangued in the northern province of Abra in the Philippines , grandson of Senator Quintin Paredes and nephew of Justices Lourdes San_Diego and Jose Ma.
Years after former President Ferdinand Marcos had been deposed , after President Cory Aquino had stepped_down and then President Fidel Ramos had assumed power , Dr. Manlapaz
would fight vehemently against the appointment of Tomas ‘Buddy' Gomez as Philippine consul-general in Los_Angeles.
also created different committees to rally against the mandatory collection of three years' income tax as a pre-requisite to renew Philippine passports in Los Angeles. He
notes that Philippine Consulates in San_Francisco , Chicago , New_York and Washington , D.C. do not implement this policy.
When then Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia filed a bill for dual citizenship for Filipinos , Dr. Manlapaz
was again at the forefront , believing that natural-born Filipino citizens should not lose their Filipino citizenship if they obtain citizenship in another country..His
ability to organize and mobilize people for causes he
personally espoused has not gone unnoticed by the community , nor by the powers-that-be in the Philippines.In 1996 , he
was elected by members of the Filipino-American community to head the Philippine Independence Centennial Coordinating Council of Southern California
) , and to lead the annual Philippine Independence Day celebration until the Philippines' Centennial Anniversary last year.Again , digging deep into his
personal coffers to defray costs of the events and activities ( There was no budget for those things , he
avers , but I had to see it through. ) , Manlapaz
lived up_to the community's expectations of a true leader by breaking the attendance record for such events.On May 30 , 1998 , in celebration of the Philippines's Centennial Independence Day , the controversial yet soft-spoken dentist led his
countrymen and other Americans along the streets of Downtown Los_Angeles all the way to Echo Park , in what has_been billed as Southern California's biggest Filipino parade and exposition.His involvement in U.S. mainstream politics led to his selection as the first Filipino delegate to the Republican Convention in Dallas , Texas in 1984 during the Reagan-Bush campaign , his election as Chairman of the Filipino-American Republican Council of California ( which he co-founded ) in 1990 , and Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Los_Angeles Dental Society in 1981
co-founded the Brown for Brown Movement , a statewide grassroots organization which was largely credited for getting Jerry Brown re-elected as Governor of California.His
current involvement in community affairs includes the national chairmanship of the Ilocano National Association
, USA and Chairmanship of the Board of the Federation of California Dentists.He is also the treasurer of the Lynwood Chamber_of_Commerce and has held the presidency of several professional and civic organizations based in California
.Recently , when longtime friend Joseph Estrada became a candidate for the highest office of the Philippines , Dr. Manlapaz gave his unconditional support during the campaign , acting_as political campaign strategist in the U.S. West Coast
.After winning the election , President Estrada appointed the Lynwood-based dentist as his chief coordinator for JEEP-West Coast , USA ( Justice , Economy , Environment and Peace ) , which had evolved from a campaign organization into a consultative body to help the new president in the implementation of his administration's platform
Dr. Manlapaz smiles as he
recalls a conversation he
had with the newly-elected president immediately after the elections. He
asked me what I wanted in exchange for helping him win.I told him , ‘you know , if you give me a job in the Philippines , I would probabaly earn , say P50 , 000.That's just a little over a thousand dollars.I make much much more than that as a dentist in America.' So I said to him , ‘no , I don't want anything from you.All I ask as a friend , is that whenever I call you , day or night , you will take my call , or return my call if you're busy , and you won't hide from me because you know I'm not calling to ask you for anything..Dr. Manlapaz
friend --the new president -- was silent for a few moments.Then he
smiled and hugged me. He
said , ‘I wish all Filipinos were like you.'.A few days before being interviewed for this article , Dr. Manlapaz received his appointment as Planning Commissioner of the city_of Lynwood
.Asked what his job and responsibilities would be as Planning Commissioner of a city where only three percent of the population are Filipinos , he rattles off a long list of duties that includes overseeing and approving all structures , extensions , buildings in the city. Typically , the man is undaunted by the seeming magnitude of the job
.His wife Perla , who is his office_manager , and daughter Cathy who is his dental assistant and girl friday , are equally elated yet composed about the appointment , perhaps because they have witnessesed -- more than once -- how their boss can get things done
So , is he
still shunning local politics in favor of dentistry at this point.Dr. Manlapaz
gaze from his
wife , to his
daughter , to his
11-year-old son who has_been patiently waiting for his
father to end the interview.Then he
Almost inaudibly , he
finally says , We'll see.We'll see..
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