Marily Mondejar in Morning Consult: Filipina Network Supports Congress Setting Net Neutrality Rules



Marily Mondejar's op-ed in Morning Consult:

Accessing the internet in a place where it was previously unavailable, or accessing high-speed internet where there was once only dial-up, is an incredibly empowering experience. Robust access to the internet helps minorities and entrepreneurs — such as Filipina women like me — to engage with each other and the world, start businesses, cultivate ideas and share stories.

This kind of empowerment is at the heart of the Filipina Women’s Network, an ever-growing association of Filipina leaders and policymakers who have created a global network to give our community a stronger voice. I started FWN years ago after being inspired to change people’s perceptions, and the online representations, of Filipina women as “exotic” objects. Today, FWN is a sisterhood connected from all over the United States, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Dubai, Hong Kong, Israel, Latin America, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore and Switzerland.

Keeping our far-flung members informed on issues that affect us, our families and our kids is not always easy, with some living in places that do not enjoy the same internet freedoms that we in the United States do. Networks like FWN that lean so heavily on social media and messaging applications to organize, resist and empower rely heavily on a stable, fair and innovative internet — without one, we’d have no means by which to engage our Filipina sisters in the diaspora about women’s rights and educational programs.

That is why the core principles of net neutrality are so vital. Net neutrality is a concept that can be hard to pin down, but it essentially represents the preservation of the freedoms Americans currently enjoy, and have always enjoyed, online. All major internet service providers and internet companies agree on the core of this issue: ISPs should never slow down or block services and websites consumers access over the internet.

A better, faster and more widely accessible internet is necessary for communities like ours to access economic and civic opportunities, as well as to share our culture and perspectives with the world. But the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 decision to classify ISPs as “Title II” carriers puts in jeopardy the future expansion of a robust, easily accessible internet to places in the United States where it isn’t currently available.

Classifying ISPs as Title II carriers was a misguided attempt to implement net neutrality by fiat. It has led to regulatory uncertainty where the “rules of the road” for ISPs can fluctuate with each new presidential administration. Title II classification has inserted government regulations where they are not needed, stifling expanded investment and innovation with complex and overreaching rules.

As Pat Fong Kushida, president and CEO of the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce warned prior to its implementation, the Title II ruling would be “a body blow to the internet economy and the jobs and investment it produces.” In February, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made similar remarks to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: “After the FCC embraced utility-style regulation, the United States experienced the first-ever decline in broadband investment outside of a recession.” In the year-and-a-half since reclassification, the many warnings about its negative impacts have come to pass, with ISP investment in the United States dropping 5.5 percent in 2016 compared to 2014 levels.

I believe ISPs and all other internet companies need to play by the same rules. And as I have stated before, I agree that a set of basic, codified principles for net neutrality is necessary for a flourishing internet economy. But legislation in Congress is the better way forward. Not only would this approach provide regulatory stability, it would prevent unnecessary government intervention in the private marketplace.

There is no question that the principles of net neutrality are vital. But these principles need to be codified in federal law so that there is an enduring and transparent regulatory framework in place to help foster broadband investment and innovation and ensure fairness online. Utility-style regulation of the internet won’t cut it for broadband access and innovation that allows for quick deployment of fiber, new developments of high-speed wireless networks and cutting-edge solutions to reach underserved Americans. Congress should act swiftly to enact net neutrality legislation and help ensure a stable, fair and open internet for decades to come.

FWN Member Spotlight: France Viana (US FWN100 '11)

O.M. France Viana (US FWN 100, 2011) recently earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Mills College in Oakland, and her MFA Thesis exhibition is ongoing at the Mills Art Museum until May 28, 2017.  Her photographs, sculptures and installations celebrate Filipino food as agents of reverse colonization. As salsa overtook ketchup as the most popular condiment in the U.S. over 20 years ago, France chronicles how Filipino immigration is changing and what it means to be American.

She recently received the Hung Liu Award for excellence in Studio Art, juried by Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (DeYoung Museum and Legion of Honor), and Jodi Roberts, Curator for Modern & Contemporary Art at Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. Earlier in the year, France also won a Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Arts award, administered by the San Francisco Foundation, and given to outstanding MFA Bay Area freshmen; she humorously exhibited a tuyo, a Philippine dried fish, hanging from dental floss, at the awards exhibition.

Philippines Vice President Robredo Keynotes Filipino American Symphony Gala


The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, will hold “A Night of Symphony,” its first ever gala benefit dinner on June 17 at the majestic estate of Hollywood legend Mary Pickford in Hancock Park, Los Angeles.

This will be a unique chance to be on the sprawling grounds of the former home of Mary Pickford, the original America’s Sweetheart, and the location of movies, including the 2011 Oscar best picture winner, “The Artist,” and “Rocky IV.”

The special evening is chaired by Rocio Nuyda (US FWN100™ 2012 and Global FWN100 2016).

Edwin Raquel, one of FASO’s board members, and his family will graciously open their home for the event which will raise funds to sustain FASO, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Filipino music and artists and for its music education programs.

Filipino chefs who are part of the movement that’s making Pinoy cuisine a worldwide sensation will prepare the sumptuous dinner.

Guests will be serenaded by FASO, which has been giving enthusiastically received concerts over the years, under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder. Select performers and the Music in Excellence awardees will also entertain the guests.

In addition, guests will have the opportunity to bid and win unique auction items, including a week’s stay at an apartment on Champs-Elysees in Paris; a round-trip ticket to Manila via Philippine Airlines plus a trip to Coron, Palawan; a stay at the Handumanan estate in Kalibo, Aklan, with complimentary river cruise and sightseeing to coincide with the popular Ati-Atihan Festival, and a stay at Boracay; and a chance to conduct FASO, no less.

Another highlight will be the Rigodon de Honor, the traditional Filipino dance by couples.

The exciting gala, sponsored by Bank of Hope, Pacific Western Bank and Silver Saddle Ranch & Club, will feature two parts. There will be a meet and greet for a limited number of guests, starting at 4:00 p.m., with a guest of honor Philippines Vice President Leni Robredo, the awardees and other distinguished guests. The second part will be the main event – awards program and dinner – which will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Limited tickets still available by contacting FASO board members Rocio Nuyda, the gala’s chairperson (, or Jose Luis Garcia More info at

Net Neutrality

The principles of net neutrality are vital--everyone involved in this conversation agrees. We now need to ensure that those principles are codified in federal law, ensuring clear and permanent rules that will spur broadband investment and innovation to the benefit of diverse communities and small businesses. The Filipina Women's Network implores Senator Markey and all members of Congress to support legislation to cement net neutrality principles that instill regulatory certainty and ensure a thriving future for the internet.

San Francisco: FWN New Year Museum Visit: Madeleine Albright's Iconic Pins Exhibition

San Francisco: FWN New Year Museum Visit: Madeleine Albright's Iconic Pins Exhibition

Connect with your FWN sisters at Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, a showcase of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's extensive collection of decorative diplomatic pins.

Enjoy full-access to all exhibitions at San Francisco's beautiful Legion of Honor and bond over lunch at the Legion of Honor Café. Limited tickets. RSVP now:

WooHoo! Analisa Balares (U.S. FWN100™ '09 and Global FWN100™ '14) Recognized as "Global Visionary" By UBS

WooHoo! Analisa Balares (U.S. FWN100™ '09 and Global FWN100™ '14) Recognized as "Global Visionary" By UBS

Analisa Balares (Global FWN100™ '14)  was recently handpicked by Swiss global banking giant UBS as one of its inaugural batch of “Global Visionaries,” described as a select pool of 10 extraordinary people who dedicate their lives to projects, research, movements and technologies that have the potential to profoundly impact our lives and the society we live in. 

“Analisa understands the economic benefits of higher participation rates of women in the workforce and that a holistic approach needs to be applied to women’s education and development,” said Simon Smiles, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management." News story from The Inquirer.

WooHoo! Franklin Ricarte Appointed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to Immigrant Rights Commission

WooHoo! Franklin Ricarte Appointed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to Immigrant Rights Commission

Devoted FWN volunteer Franklin Ricarte was recently appointed to San Francisco's Immigrant Rights Commission by Mayor Ed Lee. “I’m honored that I was appointed by the mayor to serve in this commission. And my experiences as a Filipino-American and as an immigrant…will inform the kinds of things we need to discuss and work on in the commission,” quipped Franklin. News story from ABS-CBN.

Chef Charleen Caabay Becomes First Filipina-American Female Chef to Win Food Network's "Chopped"

Chef Charleen Caabay Becomes First Filipina-American Female Chef to Win Food Network's "Chopped"

Bay Area Fil-Am Chef Charleen Cabaay of Kainbigan Restaurant recently won the New Year’s Eve edition of Food Network’s cooking competition show “Chopped”. Chef Charleen showcased inventive Filipino dishes using surprise ingredients to win a cash prize of $10,000. News story from ABS-CBN News.