Case marks Filipino migrants’ contributions
U.S. Rep. Ed Case said Tuesday's approval of a resolution honoring Filipino migration to the United States by the U.S. House of Representatives gives "richly deserved" recognition to a people and culture that personify the "essence of our American experience."
Case, D-Hawaii, who sponsored the resolution, said it would help launch year-long festivities in Hawaii this week to celebrate Filipinos' contributions to Hawaii and the nation.
The first wave of Filipino immigrants arrived in Hawaii on the Big Island in 1906 to work on a sugar plantation south of Hilo.
"It is not just my Hawaii that has benefited from the growth and maturity of our Filipino-American community," Case said. He estimated the number of Filipinos in the United States at 2.4 million, including 1.1 million in California alone, Case said in a speech on the House floor.
In a release from his Washington, D.C., office, Case credited the early "sakada" -- the first 15 Filipino farmers who arrived in Hawaii from Luzon aboard the ship Doric -- for sparking a steady flow of Filipino immigration to the United States, which have numbered about 60,000 a year over the last century.
"Early generations worked long and backbreaking hours to provide the means to bring their families to Hawaii, and then those generations fought for basic rights and benefits," Case said.
Case said Filipinos slowly began to move into other sectors of the islands' economy and society, building a "broader base in the political, economic and social fabric of Hawaii."
"A century later, the successes, both individually and collectively, are everywhere," Case said.
The Filipino Centennial Celebration Commission is planning year-long festivities that began Saturday. As part of the events, Gov. Linda Lingle will lead a delegation of more than 200 people to the Philippines in January.