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Filipino-Americans mourn death of former Clinton aide

/ 05:46 PM September 17, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) has expressed sadness over the death of Filipino-American Maria Mabilangan Haley.

“We are profoundly saddened by the passing of Maria Mabilangan Haley, a staunch supporter of NaFFAA during its founding more than 14 years ago, a faithful advocate for Filipino World War II veterans and a proud mentor of women and youth,” the NaFFAA said in a statement.

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Haley, a longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton, died of a brain aneurysm Tuesday in Little Rock Arkansas. She was 70.

“Ms Haley was a strong voice for Filipino American empowerment, providing much needed advise, assistance and encouragement to community leaders in their efforts to build a national presence in Washington, DC in the mid-1990s,” NaFFAA said.

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“As the highest-ranking Filipino American in the Clinton administration, she always made sure that our issues are in the radar screen of policy makers. She played a key role in President Clinton’s White House Initiative on AAPIs, shepherding its birth and helping guide its work,” it said.

Haley worked for Clinton when he was Arkansas governor and later when he was president—originally in the presidential personnel office and then, from 1994 to 1999, on the board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

After his term as president, Clinton nominated Haley to the board of the Export Import Bank of the United States.

Maria Mabilangan Haley. Photo from Arkansas Economic Development Commission

“During her service, from 1994 to 1999, the Export Import Bank doubled financing for small business exports,” said Clinton in a statement.

The former president described Haley as a world citizen, saying many people in the United States and the Philippine benefitted from her “life-long commitment to bring economic opportunities to more people.”

NaFFAA said Haley, despite the many demands on her schedule, would always find time to “help anyone who sought her guidance and counsel.”

“She was especially attentive to the needs of Filipino Americans who were seeking elected office or pursuing opportunities for public service,” it said.

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“We will always remember Ms Haley’s kindness and generosity of spirit. She will always remain an inspiration to us all,” NaFFAA said. “We are keeping Ms Haley and her family in our thoughts and prayers during their time of grief.”

Haley also served as executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

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TAGS: American, Bill Clinton, Filipino, Immigration, Maria Mabilangan Haley, NaFFAA, Obituary
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