Our Board

Tony Dorono, Chair

During Marcos dictatorship years, as a Catholic Priest, Tony Dorono worked building Basic Christian Communities in the Philippines using the tools of community organizing, educating, organizing and mobilizing farm workers and small tenant farmers around issues of landlessness, poverty and military abuses.  In 1986, he also worked as a community organizer in Bay Area with San Mateo County Organizing Project, an ecumenical community based organizations comprised of Catholic and Protestant churches, Jewish, seniors, youth and minorities, organizing and mobilizing around identified issues like day care, education and housing.  From 1989 to 1994, he worked with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) as Pro Bono Program Coordinator, where he initiated the citizenship program around which a network of various Asian and Pacific Island communities and organizations such as Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Samoans, Tongans, Thai and Filipinos was established.  In 1995, he worked with the Industrial Area Foundation, organizing youth and parents. In the last 15 years, he worked with unions organizing unorganized healthcare workers in Southern California.

Bev Tang, Secretary

Bev Tang grew up in Los Angeles and spent seven years of her adolescence in Taiwan before graduating from UCLA with a Bachelors in Psychology.  Bev has been one with the Filipino and Chinese communities in organizing for social change and self-empowerment for the past ten years.  Bev’s work with immigrant communities started as a youth advocate and instructor at Chinatown Service Center where she engaged high school students in leadership and workforce development programs.  She is currently actively involved in Philippine US Solidarity Organization (PUSO), a grassroots organization working for genuine democracy and human rights for the people of the Philippines.  Bev also organizes with Chinese Progressive Association of San Gabriel Valley for the rights of low-wage Chinese workers.

Terrie Cervas, Treasurer

Terrie Cervas graduated with a B.A. in Visual Arts Photography and minor in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego.  With over thirteen years experience working in non-profit organizations and over eleven years experience in grassroots organizations, Terrie has worked with diverse communities, from youth, women, the elderly, people with disabilities, and im/migrants. Presently, she serves as the National Secretary General for GABRIELA-USA, a Filipina women’s organization.  Terrie has volunteered with FMC since its inception and took part in its founding.  

Mary Ochs

Mary Ochs has worked as a community organizer and founder/executive director of numerous grass roots organizations for over 35 years. Mary worked as a Field Organizer and the Organizing Director for the Center for Community Change (CCC), a national technical assistance organization to grassroots organizations social justice organizations. While at CCC, Mary organized the Alameda Corridor Job Coalition which created and implemented the largest training and local hiring program in the country. Mary also organized and lead CCC’s national campaign for immigration reform known as the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Prior to her post at CCC, Mary directed the Community Economic Development Program at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she also provided customized organizational development assistance to hundreds of groups. Mary has pioneered work that integrates community organizing with economic development strategies.

Lito Mombay

Lito Mombay is a member of FMC Board since 2010. He graduated with an Associate in Arts in 1977 for Trinity College, Quezon City Philippines. Lito was the Program Coordinator in the Visayas of Aglipayan Resource Center (ARC), a development program that promotes social awareness among the Clergy of the Filipino Independent Church (IFI). He also worked as the Area Development Coordinator of IFI-VIMROD, a development Program of the IFI that facilitates the formation of community organization of   peasants and fisher folks in the Panay Region.  He is currently unemployed.

Cynthia Buiza

Cynthia Buiza worked on international refugee, migration and human rights issues for the past 14 years in various parts of Southeast Asia. Prior to working with CHIRLA in December 2007, she worked for three years as the Program Coordinator for the Children’s Rehabilitation Center-Philippines, working with families affected by political armed-conflict. She was the Information and Research Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Regional Office in the Philippines and its implementing partner, Refugee Services Philippines. She was Deputy Director of the Open Society Institute- Burma Education Project in Thailand; and was the Regional Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Jesuit Refugee Service- Asia Pacific Office. She also consulted with international organizations such as Child Workers in Asia, Save the Children-UK, Save the Children –Sweden and Help Age International. She holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, specializing in human security issues v-a-v traditional national security frameworks. She has a B.A. in Social Work from the Philippines, and a Certificate in Refugee Studies from Oxford University, London, England. In June 2003, she co-authored a book on armed conflict and internal displacement in the Indonesian Province of Aceh titled: “Anywhere But War.” She sits on the Executive Committee of the Rights Working Group, a national coalition of civil rights organizations in the U.S., and is a member of the board of the Filipino Migrant Center of Southern California. She is also a published author of poems and essays, the most recent of which is an anthology on expatriates and Filipino cuisine called “A Taste of Home.”

Joy De Guzman

Joy De Guzman served as the first Executive Director of FMC. Since 1981, Joy has been involved in the different aspects of the work on Filipino migrants, from doing research, organizing, advocacy and networking especially during her term as Executive Director of Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants in Hong Kong from 1989-1999 and Vice-chairperson of Migrante International from 1998-2008. Her decades of work and experience with Filipino migrant organizations in different countries contribute a broader perspective and context to the issues of Filipino migrants worldwide. Her leadership and organizational skills have played an integral role in advancing the organizing work of FMC forward.

Whelma Cabanawan

Whelma Cabanawan was inspired to join the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) as a volunteer, after witnessing the historic May 1 march in Los Angeles in 2006. She later became CHIRLA’s Administrator and served that position until she began a volunteer and academic sabbatical in 2013. Her passion for social justice and human rights led her to pursue graduates studies in Budapest, Hungary. While in Europe, she interned with the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and consulted with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. She returned to the U.S. in 2016 and served as the Accounting Manager with Organize Now and the Fight for $15 Campaign in Florida. In 2017, she joined the California Immigrant Policy Center as the Development and Operations Director. Whelma received a BA in Political Science and Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida, an MBA in Nonprofit Management from American Jewish University in 2011, and M.A. in Human Rights from Central European University in 2015.

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