Filipino is the Newest Language Requirement for the City of San Francisco

April 2, 2014

Contact: Terry Valen
Phone: 415-203-0696

Filipino is the Newest Language Requirement for the City of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA — After months of dialogue with city officials, Filipino community members and
advocates will celebrate San Francisco’s certification of Filipino as the 3rd language required for city
communications. Today, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will be joined by Board Supervisors, the
Filipino Community Center (FCC), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and Filipino community
leaders and supporters to announce this historic achievement.

In 2009, the city of San Francisco passed a new Language Access Ordinance (LAO), which requires
improved language access for city residents, with certain requirements for populations which exceed a
threshold of 10,000 limited English proficient or “LEP” community members. Using the latest
Federal American Community Survey data for the years 2009-2013, the city’s planning department
was able to verify that Tagalog speakers with limited English proficiency surpassed this threshold.

Rachel Ebora, a Filipino immigrant, native Pilipino (Tagalog) speaker, and Executive Director of
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center attests, “Ikinagagalak namin ang pagpapatunay na ang Pilipino
ay magiging ikatlong wikang kailangang isalin ng lungsod ng San Francisco para sa mga
komunikasyon nito. Sa mga higit na sampung libong Pilipinong nagsasalita ng wikang pambansang
ito’y nawa’y madadagdagan ang kanilang pagkamit ng mga serbisyo at iba pang mga pangangailangan
sa pamumuhay dito sa San Francisco.”

(‘We are delighted at the certification of Pilipino as the third language that the City of San Francisco is
required to translate for its communications. To the over 10,000 Filipinos who speak this national
language, our hope is that this certification will provide additional access to services and other
resources to live in San Francisco.”)

Community advocates stressed the urgent need for San Francisco to certify Filipino (the official
language of the Philippines based primarily on Tagalog) as soon as possible because for decades
thousands of Filipino residents were not getting basic services due to language barriers. These
incidents include Filipinos facing health and safety emergencies and also those feeling excluded from
the civic life in a vibrant city like San Francisco because of language capacity. (read more)

View photos here.

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