California State senatorial bet honors memory of Fil-Am leader

By Abner Galino

State senatorial candidate Mike Eng is flanked by Filipino American leaders (from left to right) Art Garcia, Grace Barrios, Fernandico Gonong and Johnny Chua. Photo © Abner Galino

AS he continues to make his rounds of communities in the San Gabriel Valley, California state senatorial candidate Mike Eng has been praising the legacy of Filipino American political leader Gonzalo “Monty” Manibog.

Eng has been telling people that he lives in a street that was named Bataan by then former Monterey City Councilman Manibog to honor the historic contributions of Filipino Americans to the city’s growth and progress.

Manibog is the first Filipino American elected official in the U.S.

Eng recalled that he was endorsed by Manibog when he ran for a seat in the Monterey City Council, when he ran for the State Assembly and also when he sought inclusion in the leadership of the Los Angeles Community College District.

“His endorsement brought me tremendous prestige and resulted in winning 9 consecutive elections,” Eng said in remembrance of his dearly departed friend.

Manibog was a national gymnastics champion, an Olympic wrestler, author, attorney, councilman, mayor, veteran and author. He died at age 86 on August 12, 2016.

Eng is running for the 22nd Senate District in the June 5 primary election. The said election covers most major cities between Monterey Park and west of Walnut — covering around a million residents. Its winner will run in the November general election.

Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Mark Pulido, a prominent Fil-Am public official; West Covina (WC) Mayor Pro Tem Lloyd Johnson, WC Council Members James Toma, Corey Warshaw, and Councilman Tony Wu have all endorsed Eng.

Moreover, Eng is also endorsed by Hilda Solis, Janice Hahn, Katherine Barger, Mark Ridley-Thomas, all members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors; as well as Senator Ed Hernandez, who is the current State Senator for the 22nd District; Senate Pro Tem leader Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Congresswomen Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu.

“I have been a proud immigration attorney to the Fil-Am community for almost 40 years, promoting citizenship and family reunification. At the same time I was advocating for justice for the war veterans who were treated unfairly,” Eng said.

Eng started the first Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Committee at the Los Angeles Community College District. He is widely recognized for his legislation that caused the inclusion of Filipino Americans and other Asian Pacific Islanders in the research used for allocation of resources by the California departments.

Meanwhile, Eng is scheduled to cut the ribbon during the re-opening of famous NoyPitz Bar and Grill, through the invitation of its owner Larry Calonzo, on Saturday noon at 1230 Lakes Drive, West Covina.

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