Express Week

Lumen Castañeda leaves AFTA

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Highly revered and popular community leader Paraluman “Tita Lumen” Castañeda, has recently posted on Facebook her sudden decision to step down as president of the Association of Filipino Teachers in America, Inc. (AFTA) after almost 4 years of devoted service to the organization so endeared to her.

In her unquestionable capacity as the association’s head, she has exhibited enormous effort for change and advancement foremost which was the creation of the Search for “Ulirang Guro” (Outstanding Filipino Teachers of America) which has duly recognized and awarded 23 teachers from the East to the West Coast since its inception last 2008.

Another project she founded in 2011 during the presidency of Pennie Badana was the formation of different chapter organizations across the country with the vision of expanding the membership of AFTA to other states.  As of press time, there are nine bona fide chapter states under AFTA’s banner.

Currently in the height of her preparation for this year’s Ulirang Guro awarding ceremony, a tumultuous issue emerges. ‘Though unfounded but it inevitably affected her while almost every important component of the program has been organized: the venue, the guest speaker, hosts, and the confirmation from the special award recipient, Mrs. Fe Cabactulan. Ironically, it is for these same reasons that AFTA board members and other officers found her moves and decisions shrouded with conflict of interest since she was the Founding Chairman of the AFTA Chapters while simultaneously being the president of AFTA.  The drastic verdict was to remove her from office without finishing her term.

Unfazed by her colleagues surprising verdict, the soft spoken lady could only utter in disgust: “I have no recourse but to respect their decision… although it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m guilty or at fault. I just want to free myself, and those who sympathized with me, from further trouble and escalating scandal this issue might bring. My untimely resignation hopefully pacifies the issue and those behind the orchestrated scheme be pleased.” Tita Lumen grimly said but with strong fortitude.

“At least, with the way things are going, I still feel vindicated…knowing that I could now attend and concentrate on other more important matters relevant to what I honestly believe in.” Tita Lumen added sans remorseful tone. “Actually, in a couple of months, I will assume office as the newly elected PACCAL (Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc.) President and be active in the many community projects where I have been involved since but couldn’t effectively function because of my full focus on AFTA.

While taking a brief break from the AFTA issue Tita Lumen, with equally hard-working Ronnie Mataquel, is in the process of re-organizing the state chapters (that chose to be under her and Ronnie’s leadership) through a summit conference to adapt a new name. 

 

In her undiminished capacity as a born-leader, Tita Lumen has unconditionally decrees to focus on her unfinished projects and continues her advocacy of helping the community whenever she will be needed. Despite her age, Tita Lumen remains full of zest and constantly on the go… fully enjoying every bit of bliss the simple things around her brings.

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