The Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu has provided steadfast support to the Filipino Complete Count Committee (FCCC) Hawaii in its efforts to disseminate information to the Filipino community on the US 2020 Census. Moreover, the Consulate has participated in the Zoom meeting of the FCCC for the US 2020 Census on 24 August 2020.
Organized in early 2020, the FCCC is chaired by Senator Bennette Misalucha and is composed of an ad hoc group of Filipino community leaders and volunteers. Dr. Serafin Colmenares and Dr. Raymund Liongson of the Knights of Rizal Aloha Chapter serve as the Committee’s Vice Chairs. US Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Annie Sokol has constantly guided the FCCC in its undertakings. Consul Grace Anne G. Bulos is the Consulate’s representative in the FCCC.
The Committee was primarily created because the Filipino community in Hawaii was identified as a difficult-to-reach population based on past census. With undercounting having significant ramifications, the FCCC has made it its mission to educate the public about the Census.
To fulfill its goals, the FCCC has distributed census materials and information through the Consulate, community events, schools, churches, Filipino community organizations, and other civic groups. It particularly targeted the areas in Oahu with a high Filipino population.
With the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCCC has successfully harnessed technology for its information dissemination efforts and has conducted Radiothons, media interviews, and public service announcements through its own Facebook page and Filipino community radio stations in Hawaii. FCCC partnered with Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) alumni and Ethnic Education Hawaii in “Tsismisan,” a series of Census online talk story series, which discusses the census and how it affects key sectors such as businesses, tourism, health, education, and the church. With virtual events simulcast on three Filipino community radio stations and shared by the Consulate and other relevant stakeholders on social media, the FCCC has reached audiences in Oahu, neighboring islands such as Maui and Kauai, and even the international community.
According to FCCC Chair Misalucha, the FCCC in Hawaii has been recognized to have set the pace amongst the various complete count committees and has been invited to share best practices.
While it is a United States government endeavor, the Consulate has encouraged the participation of the Filipino community in the census. Conducted every 10 years, the US Census will determine congressional representation, provide information to be used in determining annual federal funding, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.
With a sizable presence in the State of Hawaii, the Filipino community in Hawaii stands to greatly benefit from participating in the census. For the first time in the history of the US Census, “Filipino” is included as a choice on questions pertaining to respondents’ ethnicity.