MANILA (JGL) – A Filipino American lawyer, Billy Dec, who led this year in the donation campaign for super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Chicago, Illinois, has been appointed as one of the 14 members of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
A statement from the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 24, said Dec, CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, a hospitality and entertainment development company in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the 14 individuals President Obama intends to appoint to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
This Commission is charged with working to improve the quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) through increased participation in and access to federal programs. These members will advise the President on innovative ways to engage AAPIs across the country and to improve their health, education, environment, and well being.
Hailing from all over the Nation and from across a wide range of disciplines, these accomplished individuals will work to advance the inclusion of the AAPI community and to uplift the community’s contributions to America.
The announcement was made public four days ahead of President Obama’s two-day state visit to the Philippines starting Monday (April 28) when Mr. Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Aquino followed by a joint press conference.
An active Filipino American community leader, Dec is a regular Entertainment Contributor to ABC TV’s Windy City Live, a television program in Chicago that started in 2009. He is involved in several philanthropic organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Maggie Daley’s After School Matters. Dec also served as Director of Cultural Relations on the 2016 Chicago Olympic Committee.
RECEIVED AN EMMY
He has received an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Broadcast/Advanced Media and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Asian Pacific American Business Leadership Award. Dec received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
When interviewed by this reporter during a fund-raising held in his restaurant shortly after Yolanda/Haiyan struck, Dec said, “I am half-Filipino, my family is still there (in the Philippines). I just want to help the Philippines. Thank you very much, salamat po.”
Theresa Mah, Ph. D., Senior Policy Advisor & Director of Asian American Outreach in the Office of Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, in a statement quoted Governor Quinn as saying, “I am pleased to congratulate you (Mr. Dec) on being appointed as a new member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“Our country relies heavily on the talent of its citizens, who are willing to volunteer their time to help shape policy by tackling challenging issues. I am immensely proud that an Illinois resident has been appointed to the prestigious Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The traits of compassion, dedication and intelligence that you have bought to providing typhoon relief and your other philanthropic endeavors will serve you well in your new position.
“I value your friendship and you have the gratitude of the people of Illinois for your public service. Your commitment to serving others is admired and appreciated.”
Governor added, “When a typhoon ravaged the Philippines last year, the Illinois Filipino community rose up to lend a hand through clothing drives and donations. One person showed extraordinary generosity. Billy Dec opened up his wonderful Sunda Restaurant for a fundraiser to help those in need. Illinois is a place with a big heart and Billy Dec personifies it. I am immensely proud that such an outstanding Illinois resident has been appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I send heartfelt congratulations to my friend Billy.”
According to the Philippine Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago, Dec, along with others, are going to be sworn in during the AAPI Heritage Month Opening Ceremony on May 6, 2012 at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time in Washington, D.C.
As Commissioners, they will serve as the eyes and ears of the AAPI Community for the Obama Administration. The Commission is charged with working to improve the quality of life of AAPIs through increased participation in and access to federal programs. These members will advise the President on innovative ways to engage AAPIs across the country and to improve their health, education, environment, and well being.
Dec’s mother, Celia Dec (nee: Bumanlag), is a native of Vigan, Ilocos Sur in the Philippines.
FIL AM LAWYER APPOINTED TO PRESIDENT’S ADVISORY COMMISSION: Illinois Governor Quinn (center) is shown with Filipino American lawyer Billy Dec during a community event and Dec’s mother, Celia Bumanlag Dec recently. Dec, CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, will be among the 14 individuals, who will be sworn in as members of President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on May 6 in Washington, D.C. (JGLPhoto courtesy and used with permission by the office of Governor of Illinois)