011923 - Las Vegas Edition

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R’Bonney Gabriel makes history as first Fil-Am Miss Universe

THE Philippines may not have secured its fifth Miss Universe crown but Filipinos in the United States and around the world are still celebrating as a Filipina American has been crowned in this year’s competition.

Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, 28, secured the title on Saturday, January 14, beating out 83 other women from around the globe at the 71st Miss Universe pageant held in New Orleans.

“Filipinos are so happy. They are just over the moon about it,” Gabriel told Good Morning America following her win. “It’s a huge win for the community

and just representation. It’s an honor.”

Gabriel, who is an ecofriendly fashion designer, sewing instructor and model from Houston Texas, made history as the first Fil-Am to earn the coveted crown; and before that, she was the first Fil-Am to win the Miss USA and the Miss Texas crowns.

The final question and answer portion asked the top 3 candidates: “If you win Miss Universe, how would you work to demonstrate this as an empowering and progressive organization?”

Gabriel answered that she would use the title to be a

US Navy celebrates naming of ship after Fil-Am o cer

“transformational leader,” crediting her experience in fashion as a “force for good” and teaching sewing to human trafficking and domestic violence survivors.

“It’s important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use our unique talent to make a difference. We have something special and we can plant those seeds to other people in our life. We transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change,” she added.

Gabriel’s triumph becomes the ninth Miss Universe win for the U.S.

Amanda Dudamel of

Fil-Am NHL player out for season

Davos trip to generate jobs,  investments – economic team

DAVOS - President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. participation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) is expected to generate billions of investments for the Philippines as well as hundreds of new jobs for the Filipinos, his economic team said.

Speaking to journalists who covered the President's visit here, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that the President has accomplished a lot in the initial days of his participation in the WEF, particularly by telling the Philippines' success story

BBM

He is expected to miss six months.

"Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson had season-ending shoulder surgery and will be out for six months," the Leafs' public relations Twitter handle wrote on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

Nick, the younger brother of All-Star forward Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars, had two goals and three assists in 15 regular season games for the Leafs.

His injury stemmed from a hit from Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Roy in a game on December 8 in Toronto. (Aric John Sy Cua/ManilaTimes.net)

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday, January 19 said the “survival” of his family was a motivation for his participation in Philippine politics.

During a dialogue with World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende in Davos, Switzerland, Marcos also described their exile as “dark days” for the family and even the country.

According to him, he initially did not want to go into politics as he had witnessed the “difficult” life in politics including the “sacrifices” that his father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., had to make “to get to do a good job.”

and encouraging investors to come to the country.

"Maraming na-accomplish (A lot has been accomplished). We have meetings with the various — saka maraming top leaders dito saka (besides, there are many top leaders here and) businessmen during our opening session with the President. Naipaliwanag naman natin iyong Philippine economy. Ang purpose talaga nito is to sell the country –nasaan tayo, ganoon (We have explained the Philippine economy. Its real purpose is to sell the country – where we are, that's it)," Diokno said in a briefing.

entry

“I was determined not to go into politics. I said, why would I go into politics? My father has done everything in politics and the life [in politics] is difficult and I could see the sacrifices that they had to make, that he had to make to get to do a good job and I said, maybe that’s not what I’m meant to be doing,” Marcos said.

But, he said, there was a need “to defend ourselves politically,” thus, he ran for congressman in Ilocos Norte after returning to the Philippines from exile in the United States.

“After we came back from the United States, after exile, when we were first allowed to come back, the political issue was Marcos,” he said.

AAPI community leader honored in Las Vegas

JANUARY 18, 2023

Vida Lin is the founder and president of the Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), which began in 2015. ACDC is a 501(c)3 non-profit Qcommunity organization established to educate, connect and empower the fastest-growing demographic

in the United States. With the establishment of ACDC, Vida created a space where vital resources and programs are shared with the Asian and Pacific Islander community, including a culturally-sensitive Asian food pantry, citizenship, translation, health navigation assistance, voter education and more. ACDC

Rappler, Maria Ressa acquitted of tax evasion charge

THE Philippine Court of Tax Appeals on Wednesday, January 18 has acquitted Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corporation  (RHC) of four counts of tax evasion.

In a decision by its First Division, the Tax Court ruled in favor of acquittal for “failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubt” on three counts of violation of Section 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) for willful failure to supply the correct information and one count of violation of Section 254 for an attempt to evade tax.

The case was filed in 2018 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the failure of Ressa and Rappler to declare P162.41 million profit from the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) in 2015.

PDRs are financial instruments used by some entities to receive foreign investment without violating the constitutional requirement of full Filipino ownership.

The CTA said the transactions of RHC mentioned in the case “cannot be considered as regularly or frequently engaged in the purchase of securities and resale thereof to customers.”

Citing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opinions, the Tax Court said “it is not repugnant to the nature of a holding company to engage in financial activities to raise capital for its subsidiaries. In fact, RHC is registered with the BIR as an entity engaged in the Line of Business-‘Financial Holding Company Activities’.”

On allegations that foreign ownership following the issuance of

LAS VEGAS Volume 34 - No. 3 • 12 Pages Also published in LOS ANGELES, ORANGE COUNTY/INLAND EMPIRE, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO, NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY DATELINE USA FROM THE AJPRESS NEWS TEAM ACROSS AMERICA JANUARY 19-25, 2023 2770 S. Maryland Pkwy., Suite 201 Las Vegas, NV 89109 Tel: (702) 792-6678 • Fax: (702) 792-6879 T HE F ILIPINO A MERICAN C OMMUNITY N EWSPAPER
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says family’s ’survival’ prompted
into politics; their exile, ‘dark days’ for PH
Maria Ressa Inquirer.net file photo has officially been recognized as Vida Lin Day in Las Vegas, Nevada by Mayor Goodman and the City Council of Las Vegas. hosts diverse community-focused events including the Asian Night
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Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel is crowned at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on January 14. The 28-year-old model and eco-friendly designer became the first Filipina American to win Miss Universe and the ninth titleholder from the United States. During the national costume segment (right), Gabriel donned a NASA-inspired outfit designed by Filipino designer Patrick Isorena.  AJPress photos by Troi Santos WASHINGTON D.C. – The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., led by Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez and supported by the Defense Attache Philippine Navy Captain Salvador Henry Quinto, joined the United States Navy in the naming celebration of the United States Ship Telesforo Trinindad (DDG 139) at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 10. NHL forward Nicholas “Nick” Robertson Photo from Instagram.com/@nickrobertson01 FILIPINO American National Hockey League (NHL) forward Nicholas "Nick" Robertson is out for the remainder of the season after his team, Toronto Maple Leafs, announced that he will undergo shoulder surgery. Vida Lin (center), founder and president of the Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), was honored with her own day in Las Vegas on January 18, 2023.

Davos trip to generate jobs,  investments...

Diokno said the President's WEF participation will benefit the planned establishment of the sovereign wealth fund, which will become the funding source of the Philippines' major infrastructure projects.

"Kasi marami tayong proyekto na nangangailangan ng funding: infrastructure projects; pinanghihiram pa natin ng pera 'yun eh from Japan, China, sa World Bank, ADB. Eh ngayon, kung mayroon tayong ganung fund pwede natin gamitin 'yun para mapondohan 'yun. 'Yun ang purpose nun ( Because we have many projects that need funding: infrastructure projects; we still borrow money from Japan, China, the World Bank, ADB [Asian Development Bank]. Now, if we have such a fund we can use it to finance it. That's the purpose of it)," Diokno said.

"So there are many projects-talagang (that are) very important projects, priority projects," the Finance secretary added.

Diokno said the exciting thing is that President Marcos is able to showcase the country on the global stage in his first year in the presidency.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said he thinks the challenge for the Philippines as an economy is articulating the good narrative about the country.

From the perspective of key decision-makers abroad, they would want to hear where the

Philippines stands at the moment, Balisacan said.

"And I think that interaction proves very useful because as I said, they would want to hear whether the story that's emerging in the Philippines is sustainable.

It's a long-term one because if they come in, it is a long-term decision," he added.

Balisacan said investors are asking how the country is moving forward, what the policy concerns and issues are, the measures being undertaken to make the economy more attractive for investors, as well as the reforms being advanced by the administration.

"An important achievement that we have made here [is] that, you know, we are able to tell and

then also to ask questions, that's also the other important points there, [being] able to ask direct, pointed, quite frank questions on the economy, on our institutions and on policies," he said.

In the same press briefing, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the President's WEF attendance aroused investors' interest in areas such as digital economy, minerals processing, logistics and transport, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operations.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista also agreed that Marcos' attendance at the WEF is important as it opens up opportunities for the country to entice foreign investors to put their money in the Philippines, particularly in infrastructure development.

Through the WEF, Bautista said the Philippines can show the world its economic feat, with other countries expressing admiration as the country records an economic growth rate of 6.5 to 7 percent.

He said his department has already received very strong support overseas, as former UK prime minister Tony Blair showed interest in supporting the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) initiatives, especially railway projects.

After the WEF, the transport chief expects to implement DOTr's programs not only to improve the country's transport sector but also to attract tourists to come to the Philippines. g

R’Bonney Gabriel makes history...

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Venezuela was first runner-up, while Andreína Martínez from the Dominican Republic was 2nd runner-up. Puerto Rico and Curacao also made it to the top 5. During the Miss Universe national costume segment, Gabriel donned a NASA-inspired outfit with thigh-high silver metallic boots, silver star wings and a moon headpiece. The get-up — which weighed about 30 pounds — was designed by

Since winning the Miss USA pageant last year, Gabriel has opened up about her family and roots, sharing stories about her father who migrated from the Philippines.

“My dad moved to America from the Philippines on a college scholarship with about $20 in his pocket. He wanted to pave a new life for himself. He met my mom in Texas, who is a country woman from Beaumont. I’m a very proud Filipina Texan,” Gabriel told ABC News in an October 2022 interview.

In addition to her pageant work, Gabriel is currently CEO of her own sustainable clothing line, R’Bonney Nola. She received a bachelor’s degree in fashion

Gabriel was born on March 20, 1994 in San Antonio, Texas, to Filipino Ramon Bonifacio ‘R’Bon’ Gabriel and American Dana Walker. Ramon immigrated to the United States from Manila, aged 19, to study.

Meanwhile, FilipinaItalian model Celeste Cortesi represented the Philippines, but ended her Miss Universe journey after not advancing to the top 16 in the pageant.

Cortesi failing to make the semifinals of the pageant meant the end of the Philippines’ consecutive runs to at least the semifinals in the annual beauty tilt at 12, which started with Venus Raj’s 4th runner-up placement in 2010 and ended with Beatrice Luigi Gomez making the Top 5 last year. g

BBM says family’s ’survival’...

“And for us, we, for us to defend ourselves politically, somebody had to enter politics and be in the political arena. So that at least, not only the legacy of my father but even our own survival required that somebody go into politics,” Marcos added.

After his stint in Congress in 1992, Marcos became a governor of Ilocos Norte in 1998 and then returned to the House of Representatives in 2007.

In 2010, he was elected as senator. He rain for vice president in 2016 but lost to former Vice President Leni

Robredo. He became president in 2022.

Marcos continued: “We were in exile for six years so we weren’t sure if we were coming back at all, physically coming back. My father never made it back. He died in Hawaii. So that was a very trying time, those were dark days for the family and I dare say even for the country.”

The Marcos family was exiled to Hawaii in the United States after Marcos Sr. was expelled from power during the bloodless Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986. The late dictator died on September 28, 1989. g

JANUARY 19-25, 2023 • LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL http://www.asianjournal.com • (702) 792-6678 2 From The FronT Page PAGE 1
STO. NINO IMAGES. Four men carry an image of a Sto. Nino on a platform for residents to witness inside the Pasay Astrodome in Pasay City on Thursday, Jan. 19. The exhibition of around 100 different images of the Sto. Nino has been in preparation for the feast of the Sto. Nino parade on Jan. 29 on Roxas Boulevard. PNA photo by Yancy Lim
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Filipino designer Patrick Isorena, who previously created an outfit Gabriel wore in the Miss USA 2022 pageant. design from the University of North Texas. R’Bonney Gabriel AJPress Photos by Troi Santos Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno Inquirer.net file photo

Rosen applauds new national strategy to advance AANHPI equity, justice, and opportunity

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S.

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), an associate member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), applauded the news that the White House has developed the first-ever national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities on January 18. This strategy includes national investments in initiatives to expand language access, increase opportunities,

and combat anti-Asian hate.

“After seeing an alarming surge in racist and violent attacks against Asian Americans in recent years, I applaud the creation of this much-needed national strategy,” said Senator Rosen.

“By promoting equity, increasing access to opportunities, and combating anti-Asian hate, we can support and strengthen AANHPI communities in Nevada and across our nation. I look forward to working with the Administration to meet the goals of this strategy.”

Nevada is home to one of the nation’s fastest-growing AANHPI populations. In the Senate, Senator Rosen has worked to support and protect AANHPI communities in Nevada and across the United States. She co-sponsored the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Law to address the rise of hate crimes and violence targeted at members of the AANHPI community. Senator Rosen has also worked closely with the AANHPI community in Nevada to address the issues that are most important to them. g

Despite doctors’ concerns, University of California renews ties with religious affiliates

AS the University of California’s health system renews contracts with hundreds of outside hospitals and clinics — many with religious affiliations — some of its doctors and faculty want stronger language to ensure that physicians can perform the treatments they deem appropriate, including abortions for women or hysterectomies for transgender patients.

University of California Health is in the middle of a two-year process to renew contracts with affiliate hospitals and clinics that help the university deliver care in underserved parts of the state. Many of the agreements are with faith-based facilities, including prominent hospitals operated by Dignity Health, Providence, or Adventist Health. Such arrangements generate more than $20 million a year for the UC system and help the public university approach its goal of improving public health.

The current policy, adopted in 2021, states that UC physicians have the freedom to advise, refer, prescribe, or provide emergency care, covering cases in which moving a patient “would risk material deterioration to the patient’s condition.” But some UC doctors and faculty worry that physicians would be allowed to perform certain surgeries only in an emergency.

They want to add a clause stating that physicians have the right to perform procedures in a

manner they deem advisable or necessary without waiting for the patient’s condition to get worse.

Others have gone so far as to urge the university to reject partnerships with hospitals that have ethical and religious directives against sterilization, abortion, some miscarriage management procedures, and some gender-affirming treatments. The Academic Senate, a faculty body that helps the university set academic policies, and other faculty councils urged the university’s president to avoid working with health care facilities because many have restrictions that “have the potential for discriminatory impact on patients.”

In response, university leaders have pledged publicly to ensure that doctors and trainees can provide whatever care they deem necessary at affiliated facilities but haven’t made changes to the policy language.

“We’ve made it clear that the treating provider is the one to decide if an emergency exists and when to act,” said Dr. Carrie Byington, executive vice president for University of California Health, at a fall meeting of the UC Board of Regents, the governing board of the university system.

UC Health has given itself until the end of this year to make contracts conform to its new policy. During the October board meeting, staffers estimated that one-third of the contracts had been evaluated. Administrators haven’t said whether the current policy thwarted any contracts.

Back in June 2021, the regents approved the policy governing how its doctors practice at outside hospitals and clinics with religious or ethical restrictions. Regent John Pérez made significant amendments to a staff proposal.

At the time, it was celebrated as a win by those advocating for the university to push back on religious directives from affiliates.

Pérez noted at the time that his amendments were aimed at “making clear that it’s the regents’ expectation in policy that nothing that is not based on science or [the] best practice of medicine should limit the ability of our practitioners to practice medicine in the interest of the patients.”

But some doctors and faculty said Pérez’s proposal was then wordsmithed as it was converted from the regents’ vote into a formal policy months later. Some questioned whether the policy could be interpreted as restricting services unless there is an emergency, and said it does not go far enough to define an emergency.

“It sounds pretty good,” Dr. Tabetha Harken, director of the Complex Family Planning, Obstetrics & Gynecology division at the UC Irvine School of Medicine, testified before the board. “It passes the commonsense test, but in reality, this is just the federal minimum requirement of care.”

Pérez declined to comment to KHN.

At the regents’ meetings, concerned doctors offered

US Navy celebrates naming of ship after...

The celebration was officiated by Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who announced the naming of the future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer after Filipino American Petty Officer 2nd Class Telesforo de la Cruz Trinidad on May 19, 2022.

Secretary Del Toro also presented the ships’ sponsors, namely: Ms. Christine Trinidad, a great-granddaughter  of  Petty Officer Trinidad, and retired Rear Adm. Connie Mariano, the first Filipino-American in history to become a U.S. Navy Admiral, and the first military woman in American history to be appointed White House Physician. U.S. Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, who is also of Filipino heritage, and several active military members also of Filipino heritage also attended the event.

In his opening remarks, Secretary Del Toro said, “A ship’s commanding officer will change hands, and the crew will come and go, but the sponsors hold a special bond through the ship’s entire lifetime. I am excited for the enduring partnership that Christine and Connie will build with this ship and the crew in the years to come.”

“It has been my honor to work with you (Ambassador Romualdez) these past 18 months and to visit your beautiful country and to build the strong partnership that is so deserving and has always existed between the Philippines and the United States.” He added.

“It is my country’s honor to be invited to today’s event as we name your ship, the USS Telesforo Trinidad (DDG 139), after a Filipino American hero. We sincerely appreciate it and

I am sure that the family of the late Telesforo Trinidad is just as proud and honored as we are in the Philippines,” the Ambassador responded.

Telesforo de la Cruz Trinidad was a fireman in the U.S. Navy, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Mexican waters near La Paz, on board the USS San Diego on Jan. 21, 1915. He is the second service member, and the first and only sailor of Asian descent to receive the award in peacetime. Trinidad served during both World Wars before retiring to the Philippines.*

The Embassy greatly appreciates the hard work of its friends and partners, especially Filipino community organizations, in campaigning for this momentous occasion and in highlighting the honorable military service of those with Filipino heritage. In particular, the Embassy congratulates

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Secretary Tel Doro with some of the Telesforo Trinidad Campaign Team, now recognized and working in part with the U.S. Navy as the USS Telesforo Trinidad Commissioning Committee. Photos courtesy of the USS Telesforo Trinidad Campaign Secretary Del Toro (left most) with ship sponsors Ms. Christine Trinidad (center), and U.S. retired Rear Adm. Connie Mariano (rightmost) cutting the cake Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez delivers his response remarks and extends his appreciation to the family of the late Telesforo Trinidad, the Philippines’ partners that led to the naming of the USS Telesforo Trinidad, and appreciation of the military service by active military personnel of Filipino heritage. the Telesforo Trinidad Campaign Committee, which now officially participates in the USS Telesforo Trinidad Commissioning Committee in partnership with the United States Navy. g
JANUARY 19-25, 2023 • LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL http://www.asianjournal.com • (702) 792-6678 4

Rappler, Maria Ressa acquitted of tax...

PDRs to foreign entities NBM Rappler L.P. and Omidyar Network (ON), the CTA said “PDRs are not statements nor are they certificates of ownership of a corporation.”

A Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Circular for Brokers No. 2375-99 stated that “for as long as PDR remains unexercised by its holder, the PDR holder has no right of ownership over the underlying shares and all such ownership rights pertain to and

belong to the issuer.”

In this case,  the CTA said, “there is nothing in the wordings of the PDR instruments and the PDR subscription Agreements that would show that foreign entities NBM and ON will become owners of the shares of stock of RI upon the issuance of the PDRs.”

“In sum, since the accused is not required to pay the income tax and VAT on the PDR transactions for the taxable year 2015, the elements of Sections

254 and 255 of the 1997 NIRC, as amended, are rendered nugatory and without legal support. The plaintiff, therefore, failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” the court said. With the dismissal of the tax case at the CTA, there are now only three remaining cases against Rappler–1. the appeal on the Cyber Libel case, another tax case, and appeal on Rappler’s shutdown before the Court of Appeals. g

Despite doctors’ concerns, University of...

examples of pregnancy and gender-affirming care they believe would be at risk in some hospitals.

One was tubal ligation or sterilization procedures immediately after birth to prevent future pregnancies that may put the woman at risk. It’s a simpler procedure if done postpartum because the uterus is larger than normal and it eliminates the need for additional surgery, said Dr. Jennifer Kerns, an associate professor at UC-San Francisco and director of the school’s Complex Family Planning Fellowship.

Dr. Mya Zapata of UCLA Health described cases of two patients who might not be able to get the same care at a religiously restricted hospital: a trans male who seeks out a hysterectomy based on a mental health referral for gender-affirming surgery, and a cisgender female who seeks out the same procedure for uterine fibroids.

In a hospital with restrictions, Zapata said, the cisgender patient would be able to get the surgery but the trans patient would not, despite both being considered nonemergency cases.

But it’s unclear if physicians are running into problems. UC Health leaders said there have been no formal complaints from university doctors or trainees practicing at affiliate medical centers about being blocked from providing care.

Critics said the lack of complaints may not reflect reality since physicians may find workarounds by transferring or referring patients elsewhere.

One researcher, Lori Freedman, who works at UCSF, has spoken to dozens of doctors working at religious-affiliated hospitals across the country. Many have

not filed complaints about care restrictions out of fear they’d put their job at risk, she said.

The debate stems from a partnership with Dignity Health, a Catholic-affiliated hospital system. In 2019, UCSF Medical Center leaders considered a controversial plan to create a formal affiliation with Dignity. Critics voiced opposition in heated public meetings, and the plan drew condemnation from dozens of reproductive justice advocates and the gay and transgender communities. UCSF ultimately backed off the plan.

When it became clear that UC medical centers across the state had similar affiliation contracts, faculty members raised additional concerns. Janet Napolitano, then president of the UC system, convened a working group to evaluate the consequences of ending all agreements with organizations that have religious restrictions. Ultimately, the group stressed the importance of maintaining partnerships to provide care to medically underserved populations.

“With 1 in 7 patients in the U.S. being cared for in a Catholic hospital,” the group wrote in its report, “UC’s isolating itself from major participants in the health care system would undermine our mission.”

Dignity Health, which merged in 2019 with Catholic Health Initiatives to form CommonSpirit Health, has already reached a new contract that adopts the updated UC policy. Chad Burns, a spokesperson for Dignity, said the hospital system values working with UC Health for its expertise in specialties, such as pediatric trauma, cancer, HIV, and mental health. He added that the updated agreement reflects “the shared values of UC and Dignity Health.”

Some UC doctors point out that they have not only public support, but legal standing to perform a variety of reproductive and contraceptive treatments. After California voters passed Proposition 1, the state constitution was officially changed in December to affirm that people have a right to choose to have an abortion or use contraceptives. Unlike health systems in other states, some faculty say UC Health can assert reproductive rights.

“We have a lot of latitude, being in California, to be able to make these decisions and stand in our power,” Kerns said. “I think it’s our responsibility to do so.”

Other doctors say the university system should prioritize public service. Dr. Tamera Hatfield, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UC-Irvine, testified at a regents’ meeting that she had never been asked to modify care for patients based on religious restrictions since her department formed an affiliation with Providence St. Joseph Hospital-Orange about a decade ago.

“Partnering with faith-based institutions dedicated to serving vulnerable populations affords opportunities to patients who are least able to navigate our complex health systems,” she said.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

AAPI community leader honored in...

Market, College Readiness Bootcamp, and the Run for Rice and Walk for Wellness 5k. Under Vida's leadership, in August of 2022, ACDC opened the Healthy Asians & Pacific Islanders (HAPI) Medical Center to serve the uninsured, underinsured and underserved community in Las Vegas. In September of 2022, ACDC opened a Reno location to serve the Northern Nevada community.

ACDC is honored to join Las Vegas residents in celebrating Vida Lin Day in recognition of her dedication and service to the Asian and Pacific Islander community in Nevada. g

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Filipino American community Leaders, Felipe Danglapin, Gloria Caoile and Margie Gonzalez proudly joined SEIU Local 1707 in the march through downtown Las Vegas with thousands of other community leaders and elected officials of Nevada to honor the legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, January 16. The forecast  of heavy rain for the day, did not dampen the overwhelning spirit of the marchers.  It was very encouraging to see young folks marching with pride and enthusiasm. Dr. King’s work continues to inspire generations of activists, community and labor leaders. “Dr. King’s dream remains unfufiled.  All of us must endeavor to make it real for a better America,” emphazied Grace Vegara-Mactal, Executive Director, SEIU Local 1707 to the dedicated community and labor leaders as she led them to march.
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Vida Lin (center) is surrounded by community members during the Vida Lin Day celebration in Las Vegas.

Signs of the times

IT’S a testament to the sad state of agriculture that Filipinos traveling abroad are bringing onions upon their return to the country. Onion prices in the Philippines are now, hands down, the highest in the world. Sugar prices are not far behind, refusing to come down to reasonable levels.

Because of this state of food insecurity, 10 flight attendants of Philippine Airlines who tried to bring in onions and other fresh produce from Dubai and Riyadh on Jan. 10 are getting sympathy even from some senators.

Editorial

The Bureau of Plant Industry reported that the 10 brought into the country 27 kilos of onions, 10.5 kilos of lemons and a kilo each of blueberries and strawberries without the required phytosanitary clearance and without properly declaring the fresh items, which are classified as “regulated importations.”

After being apprehended with the commodities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, a video showed the PAL crew stomping on the items, spraying them with disinfectant and poking the goods with chopsticks and pens. Customs personnel noted that one of the 10 was recorded saying on video that the destruction was meant to prevent anyone else from consuming the items. PAL management said the airline is fully cooperating in the investigation of the incident and does not condone violations of the law by its personnel.

The 10 could face charges for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act as well as Presidential Decree 1433, the Plant Quarantine Law of 1978. These are meant to prevent smuggling and to protect local crops from potentially harmful organisms from abroad. The lack of phytosanitary clearance has been cited by the government for refusing to release into the market, amid the tight supply and surging prices, tons of misdeclared yellow and red onions confiscated at the ports.

Authorities said they are studying the appropriate charges to be filed, adding they want the flight attendants penalized because similar cases have been recorded in recent weeks, which could pose phytosanitary risks to domestic produce.

Those sympathizing with the flight attendants, on the other hand, say the government should do more to stop rampant smuggling of tons of agricultural commodities instead of going after miniature fry bringing in a few kilos of precious onions.

More importantly, the public wants the government to take decisive action in significantly

Focusing on economic diplomacy

IT’S been an extremely busy week for us in Washington, DC as we prepare to host in Manila the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue with the United States.

Last Thursday, January 12, I was invited by the Center for Strategic and International Studies senior vice president Victor Cha to deliver the keynote speech for the annual forecasting conference of the CSIS on the challenges in the Indo-Pacific Region. The discussions featured experts and scholars from , and with me in the panel were Kurt Campbell, White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs of the National Security Council, and South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Taeyong Cho with CSIS senior fellow and Japan chair and deputy director for Asia Nicholas Szechenyi as moderator.

There are so many developments in the Indo-

Pacific region today but one does not really need to gaze into a crystal ball to predict what could happen in the foreseeable future, particularly in our part of the world in Southeast Asia, especially since we are cognizant of the realities we face. The challenge simply is for all stakeholders to work together in dealing with these realities in a manner that would redound to the economic benefit of all our peoples. EMBED Like any other nation, the member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the Philippines, are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with their respective economies still experiencing the negative impact of the pandemic on many aspects, including the health and livelihood of the people.

In order to fully surmount the challenges and keep the momentum of economic recovery going, the region needs to double down on economic activities and ramp up investments in a wide array of industries and sectors.

The Philippines has been

forthright in stating what we need not just from the United States but from our other partners as well. And what we need is to work with major developed countries to get over the slump and completely recover – not through aid, but through increased trade and investments.

For all of us, it is very clear that our number one priority at this time is to see to it that our economy not only rebounds, but grows at levels that are even higher than before the pandemic. And if we are to significantly and meaningfully contribute to global economic growth, we must do our part to ensure that the economic health of the Southeast Asian region remains healthy and robust.

While some forecasts indicate that the global economy will slow down this year due to the effects of geopolitical issues, growth is expected to expand in our region, and I am convinced that this will help buoy the global economy. In addition, being competitive will help thwart any form of coercion – which is why we also welcome the establishment of the ASEAN-

U.S. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the renewed interest and commitment of the United States to expand economic cooperation with ASEAN as a whole and with key bilateral partners, starting with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity or IPEF that was launched last year. Certainly, we welcome the Biden administration’s efforts to revitalize economic activities between the U.S. and the region –absent of a Free Trade Agreement – through the IPEF. Although negotiations are still in the early stages, we are determined to get to an outcome that will ultimately lead to massive outflows from the U.S. in terms of investments, jobs generation, technological assistance as well as best practices and standards.

Let me just point out that there is a strong clamor among companies – both from the region and in the U.S. – for an FTA. Given the proliferation of regional trade agreements, it is high time the U.S. started seriously exploring this possibility. Otherwise, it risks getting left behind by

other countries that are already engaged in preferential trade agreements with the region.

To say that there are massive opportunities for American companies to do business in the region is an understatement. ASEAN is definitely open for business – whether as part of the global supply chain, engaging in e-commerce and the digital economy or working together on sustainable infrastructure that will benefit both the region and the rest of the world.

Economic prosperity for the ASEAN region and for the Philippines is a key element for economic security. That is why aside from the United States, we are reaching out to countries like China – which is currently the biggest trade partner of the Philippines – that can help us achieve our economic objectives. How we deal with China is always based on what will be best for our country’s interests.

Considering the intense competition between the two super powers – the United States and China – we are hopeful that the lessons from the war in

Marcos Jr.: A world traveler?

BARELY seven months into office, President Marcos Jr. embarked on his eighth international trip. Shortly after his maiden state visit to Beijing, he will spend this week in one of the most rarified corners of our beautiful planet. For a person who has claimed to have graduated with economics-related degrees from some of the most prestigious institutions on earth, attending this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, must have been a dreamy moment.

It certainly helps that the Alpine resort town is surrounded by majestic mountains drenched in pure white snow. Mr. Marcos is reportedly the only leader from Southeast Asia to attend the uberposh confab, where the world’s most influential businessmen, thinkers, policymakers, and journalists gather annually.

Given the high frequency of his overseas travels, including a surprise visit to the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore last year, some netizens have begun to describe the President as Ferdinand “Magellan” Jr. (It goes without saying, though, that Ferdinand Magellan, notwithstanding his colonialist

excesses, was a totally selfmade man with world-renowned exploits.)

Against the backdrop of persistently high inflation at home, and an unprecedented Cabinet reshuffle affecting half a dozen prized positions, many have begun to wonder about the propriety of Mr. Marcos’ constant overseas travels. Bizarrely, the President has had as many Cabinet changes as foreign trips in his first seven months in office.

So, dear reader, let us briefly examine the merits and demerits of Mr. Marcos’ seeming penchant for “hyperdiplomacy.” A more sympathetic perspective would argue that the current president is simply airbrushing his predecessor’s undesirable legacy. After all, former president Rodrigo Duterte heavily undermined, despite his best intentions, the Philippines’ reputation among the respectable elements of the international community.

The list of policy blunders under the previous president is too long for this article, but here is a brief glimpse: A mindless “drug war” claiming thousands of lives with no sustainable results. Diplomatic subservience to authoritarian superpowers at the expense of trusted allies and friends. Puerile rhetorical outbursts coupled with toxic masculinity. And, lest we forget, the wholesale mismanagement of the COVID-19

pandemic, which triggered one of the deepest recessions in the whole developing world.

No wonder, then, Mr. Marcos made it clear during his first major overseas travel last year that he is determined to “reintroduce the Philippines” to the international community. His visits to the U.S. and Europe helped restore frayed ties with traditional partners. And his dignified, statesmanlike behavior during global summits last November was a far cry from the Duterte era antics.

And it must be said that Mr. Marcos, constantly accompanied by seasoned diplomats and accomplished technocrats, has had relatively succinct yet substantive speeches throughout all his foreign trips, so far.

During his first seven trips in office, Mr. Marcos reportedly secured $46.4 billion in investment pledges. The President has tried to justify his “jet-setter” schedule as the “best way to drum up business” for the country.

The problem, however, is that there is no credible evidence to suggest a strong correlation— never mind causation—between travel frequency of world leaders, on one hand, and investment inflow frequency, on the other. First of all, Mr. Marcos has simply secured “pledges” of investments. It’s hard to say whether the $22.8 billion

“pledges” he garnered in China weren’t simply a repackaged version of those offered to Duterte in 2016. After all, the $24 billion in investments promised to the former president went largely unfulfilled.

Moreover, all authoritative studies, whether by international financial institutions or leading scholars, show that the primary drivers of greenfield investments are more foundational factors such as good infrastructure, political stability, human capital,

regulatory certainty, and market size. This is why, for instance, even if Vietnam’s top leader rarely travels abroad, his country is now a top investment destination.

Finally, there is also a need for transparency on the exact expenditures and size of the President’s delegations during overseas visits in order to ensure we avoid potential junkets— something a developing country grappling with high inflation can’t afford. In short, I’m all for rebranding the country after six

Ukraine will make nations realize the folly of trying to take over another country. Any attempt at such will not succeed because the like-minded nations would never allow that to happen. As we have all seen, what is happening in Ukraine can impact even the farthest country in the world. In the end, everyone loses, which is why we are hoping and praying that the situation does not escalate any further and will be resolved sooner rather than later. What it all boils down to is this: each country wants to ensure economic prosperity and security – a clear direction the Marcos administration is taking today – because when all is said and done, we will only do what is best for our national interest and will remain focused on our economic diplomacy to achieve peace and security. (Philstar.com)

* * * The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff. * * *

years of populist disaster, but I’m not much given to performative diplomacy either. What we need is results-based, calibrated economic diplomacy that goes beyond resplendent overseas trips.

* * * The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

* * *

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bringing down the prices of onions. If onions weren’t more expensive than pork and beef, who would bother lugging them into the country all the way from the Middle East? (Philstar.com)

Dateline PhiliPPines

PH excellent investment destination - Arroyo Five-hour House hearing on airspace outage ends without finding root cause

FORMER President and House

Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joined President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in enticing foreign investors who attended the World Economic Forum (WEF).

"In one sentence, the Philippines is an excellent investment destination. We will welcome you," the former president said.

In an interview with Radio TV Malacañang, Macapagal-Arroyo underscored the importance of the WEF where political and business influencers meet.

Macapagal-Arroyo, who is herself an economist, cited the reactions of international leaders like former United Kingdom prime minister Tony Blaire to

the President's investment pitch for the Philippines.

"First of all, their reaction to our COVID response is positive.

Second, they recognize how well the Philippines is run. In fact, historically, the country has a nice track record in picking good economic managers notwithstanding the President," she said.

Marcos, she added, understands the importance of the partnership between the government and the private sector for economic growth "That means that our economy is stable and as such we have a good economic forecast this 2023," Macapagal-Arroyo said.

Marcos' participation in the WEF resulted in investment pledges from Morgan Stanley and logistics firm DB World,

which committed to expand their operations in the Philippines.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Filipinos will feel the effects of the President's aggressive efforts to bring in more investments to the Philippines beyond his term.

Balisacan said the government has created a long-term path for the Philippine economy, dubbed "Ambisyon Natin 2040," the direction the country will take for prosperity.

Investments, supported by good policies, can get productivity growing, he said.

"But those technologies, innovations are not manna from heaven, we have to work for this and we have to get foreign investors to come in to improve productivity," Balisacan added. g

WEF: PH ‘fastest growing’ economy in Asean

WORLD Economic Forum (WEF) President Børge Brende lauded the Philippines Wednesday for its high gross domestic product (GDP) growth, describing it as the "fastest growing" economy among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

During a one-on-one dialogue with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. at the WEF here, Brende said the Philippine economy surpassed other countries in Southeast Asia.

"It is incredible --I think now, Philippines is the fastest growing of the Asean countries," Brende told Marcos.

Brende agreed with the President, who noted that the country's GDP growth is still the fastest in the region.

Marcos told Brende that his government is concentrating on the micro, small and medium enterprise because they comprise a large part of the economy, similar with most Southeast Asian countries.

"And I think that's where the growth is coming from," Marcos said as he noted that his government kept an eye on the country's unemployment rate amid reports of a recession last year.

"My theory, my belief, and I think I'm right is that, as long as the unemployment rate stays low, then the recessionary forces

are something that we can resist. So that's why I think -- that gives a good foundation for growth," he added.

Addressing delegates to the WEF's country strategy dialogue, Marcos said the Philippine economy is seen to grow "around 7 percent" this year.

During his opening remarks, the President cited the Philippines' "strong macroeconomic fundamentals" for the projected economic growth this year.

"But for the Philippines, we project our economy to grow by around 7.0 percent in 2023," Marcos told business and world leaders attending the prestigious forum here in Davos, Switzerland.

"Our fiscal discipline, structural reforms and liberalization of key sectors instituted over the years have enabled us to withstand the negative shocks caused by the pandemic and succeeding economic downturns and map a route toward a strong recovery," he added.

Last December, the Development Budget Coordination Committee said GDP growth could hit the 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent target for 2022.

However, it also said growth is likely to decelerate in 2023 to between 6 to 7 percent due to external headwinds such as the slowdown in major economies. The inflation forecast was also

raised to a range of 3.7 to 4.7 percent, from the earlier 2 to 4 percent. This follows the uptick in the price of food and energy due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and disrupted supply chains.

Inflation in December last year hit 8.1 percent, the highest since November 2008, mainly due to the higher prices of select food items including onions and other vegetables.

Meanwhile, Marcos expressed high hopes for the country's continued growth, noting its current demographic sweet spot will play a major role in fueling rapid development.

The demographic sweet spot is the period where the optimal number of the country's population would be in the working age and have few dependents.

During the same WEF dialogue, Marcos agreed with Brende that the main obstacles for the Philippines would be infrastructure, quality of education, research and development (R&D), and bureaucratic red tape, among other things.

The President maintained, the country will be able to overcome these.

"And the reason that I'm so confident about that is because we have this workforce, we have a very, very good workforce in the Philippines," Marcos said. (ManilaTimes.net)

MANILA — Only one thing was clear after five grueling hours of often repetitive questions from lawmakers part of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation: No one still knows what actually caused the New Year’s day airspace outage.

Transportation officials present during the hearing on Wednesday said they were still waiting for the interagency panel investigating the outage to wrap up its probe.

They reiterated that they are still waiting for government

cybersecurity officials to finish their forensic examination of the circuit breaker that supposedly failed, causing the system failure that affected at least 56,000 passengers rushing to get home after the holidays.

Cybersecurity officials said it may take up to six weeks for them to finish their examination, while transportation officials said a report from the interagency panel may come out by next week.

To recall, transportation officials also told senators last week that they were still waiting for the forensic findings of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination

Center, an attached agency of the Department of Information and Communications Technology. It has been 17 days since the airspace outage, which was initially blamed on faulty uninterruptible power supply units, but the progress of investigations as to what ultimately caused it has been slow.

House transportation panel chairperson Rep. Romeo Acop (Antipolo City) said that while their briefing on the airspace fiasco was adjourned, a separate legislative investigation may happen after session resumes on January 23. g

Floods across PH leave 33 people dead, affect 1.6M

MANILA — At least 33 individuals died due to floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain this month, the Office of Civil Defense reported on Thursday, January 19.

The shear line, the northeast monsoon, and a number of low pressure areas have been dumping rain across the country since the start of the year, forcing people to flee their homes and destroying crops.

More than 1.6 million people were affected by the weather disturbances. Of those, over

266,000 were displaced.

Seven people were missing, while 12 individuals were injured.

The cost of damage to infrastructure hit P206 million, while the cost of damage to agriculture reached  P414.3 million.

Assistance amounting to P86 million was provided to affected communities, OCD said.

PAGASA said on Thursday that the shear line—or the weather system formed when cold and warm winds converge—will bring scattered rain showers and

thunderstorms to Bicol region, Quezon province, Marinduque, Romblon, Aklan, Capiz, and Northern Samar.

Meanwhile, residents of Cagayan Valley, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Aurora, Laguna, and Oriental Mindoro will experience rain due to the northeast monsoon.

The state weather bureau warned that floods or landslides may occur due to moderate or heavy rains.  (Gaea Katreena Cabico/Philstar.com)

PH eyes nearly 5M foreign tourists this year - DOT

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) aims to attract 5 million foreign visitors this year.

In a television interview on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco noted that about 2.6 million tourists visited the country last year.

"As far as 2023 is concerned, the target is to double that number to around a minimum of 4.8 million tourists," she said.

The country's target for international arrivals was 1.7 million in 2022.

"We far exceeded this target by almost a million arrivals, especially considering that we've only reopened our borders in February of 2022," Frasco said.

The national government has implemented the 'eTravel' system to help the DOT achieve its goal of enticing more tourists in 2023.

It is a one-stop electronic travel declaration system that replaced the One Health Pass.

The DOT and the Department of Transportation are also working on the improvement of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, the Cebu City Pier 1, and the Davao International Airport.

The DOT also launched projects aimed at boosting the country’s tourism and ensuring the country is ready to receive global tourists.

These include "Philippine Experience" and "Bisita Be My Guest."

Asked about the measure seeking to amend the holiday economics law, Frasco said they create opportunities for families to spend time together and explore other parts of the country.

"Definitely, increasing the

number of long weekends helps domestic tourism. Our President, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr passed a proclamation recently to increase long weekends to nine and it also stoked a lot of interest and excitement among fellow Filipinos in terms of booking their trips for 2023," she added.

Under the measure, holidays that fall on a weekend would be moved to the nearest Monday.

In 2007, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9492, which moved regular and special holidays to the nearest Monday to boost domestic tourism.

However, the late former president Benigno Aquino III ended this practice under Proclamation 84 signed in 2010. (PNA)

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Can Toni fill up The Big Dome?

IT'S not just Alex Gonzaga under scrutiny this week following her controversial birthday cakewaiter brouhaha but her older sister too. With just days to go before Toni Gonzaga's 20th anniversary/birthday concert at The Smart Araneta Coliseum on January 20, social media is ablaze with questions if the multi-media celebrity can fill up The Big Dome on her special day.

There's been talk that ticket sales for "I am Toni" have been slow since the artist announced her milestone show late last year. Over the weekend, Twitter was on fire with reposts of an unverified

news bit that Toni's mom Pinty allegedly bought 500 tickets to cover up for the disappointing turnout.

One of the concert's producers, Joed Serrano of Godfather Productions, has come to Toni's defense, however, with figures to categorically deny that ticket sales have been slow.

Releasing a statement via Facebook, the former "That's Entertainment" mainstay declared, "As of January 13, Friday at 4:45pm, The I Am Toni concert @ the Smart Araneta Coliseum on January 20, 2023, has already sold 55% of the tickets."

He next noted that 20 percent of the tickets had been allocated for

Toni's sponsors and endorsement principals as pledged, and while confirming that Mommy Pinti did order and pay for 350 tickets and not 500 tickets as reported, these were also sold to other concertgoers.

"Mommy Pinti ordered and paid 350 tickets for her mga friends, relatives at mga ka churchmate na sa kanya umorder. Me, as one of the producers, also reserved some 300 tickets for my friends who ordered from me instead of going to Ticketnet. These tickets [like Mommy Pinty's] are paid.

Wala ng libre sa panahon ngayon except pag kapamilya mo ang manonood. Iba ang concert sa pulitika at pelikula."

Serrano, of course, was addressing bashers with that last sentence. Vilified for supporting now President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s candidacy, Toni's detractors are taking a swipe at the 31 million voters who put him in power.

"Where are they now that Toni needs their support?"

He estimated only 15 percent of unsold tickets as of the weekend, which his camp says is much less now midweek.

Hoping to snuff any more intrigues so close to the concert, Serrano finally implored, "It's a celebration of 20 years in show business and the birthday of our dearest Toni Gonzaga. Let us all unite and be positive in life. Move on and be kind to all. Let us all give ourselves a chance to be good in this world.

"Smile, wag nega sa buhay.

Kung wala kang sasabihing di maganda sa kapwa mo, then might as well be quiet kesa magkasala ka pa at mastress. See you all on Jan. 20, 2023, Friday, 8 pm at The Araneta Coliseum."

NaFFAA LV hosts Sinulog 2023 celebration

PALM Mortuary and Ed Balecha, together with NaFFAA and Filipino Community joined the wonderful celebration of the Sinulog Festival.

“I am amazed with our community. How quickly we can come together as a community of one, together in prayer and keep a Filipino tradition alive even if we are far far away from the Philippines to which some of us call home. Many of us here one way or another has a connection with the Santo Nino. I know I do, growing up, my mother would have her prayer group come to our house all the time so that they could pray to the Santo Nino. And they were great memories growing up. Now here we are in this beautiful

garden that Palm Mortuary has created specifically for our Filipino community, dedicated to the Santo Nino, capturing our hearts and some their childhood memories. I think that is wonderful,” Balecha said.

“I have actually experienced the actual Sinulog in Cebu. I traveled to Cebu with PBSN, the Philippine Bisayan Society of Nevada with a tour group. Hosted by Marian Pearson. The Juranis were there also. What an amazing experience that was. I don’t want to give too much info until Jean Celemin tells us about it’s history,” he added.

“So hopefully today will make you feel a little bit closer to home. Let us cherish our time together here

today as we honor the Santo Nino.”

One of NaFFAA founders Gloria Caoile and NaFFAA State President Jacque deJoya led the gathering as masters of ceremony. The event featured a history lesson by Jean Celemin, Founder of Philippines Bisayan Society of NV (PBSN) and a performance by the Filipiniana Dance Co. of Las Vegas.

Father Frank Yncierto presided the mass. The first reading was led by Nadia Jurani, NaFFAA’s Board of Trustee, while Fertitta Middle School teacher Joshua Abellera followed with the responsorial psalm. NaFFAA DMR Vice President Minda Banaria gathered the assembly for the second reading.

Catriona calls Miss Universe 2022 hosting stint ‘achievement unlocked’

MISS Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was honored and full of gratitude to be part of the hosting team of the pageant's recently concluded 2022 edition.

Catriona served as a backstage commentator alongside  "American Ninja Warrior” co-host Zuri Hall  — it was Catriona's first time in a hosting capacity at Miss Universe  — while Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo and television host  Jeannie Mai Jenkins were the 2022 pageant's main hosts.

The beauty queen took to her Instagram account,  days after Filipina American R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe 2022, to reflect on her hosting stint.

"Achievement unlocked...    It's always been a dream to be in the hosting line up of Miss Universe," Catriona said, thanking the pageant's president Paula Shugart and chief executive officer Amy Emmerich.

Catriona also extended her thanks to her styling team for the last-minute preparations despite  not having fittings and for being able to to help her pack for a few hours in Manila while in the middle of the holiday season.

In previous posts, Catriona also shared how lovely it was to work with Zuri backstage, and a group photo that included the newly-crowned R'Bonney and new Miss Universe owner  Anne Jakrajutatip.

During the Miss Universe 2022  show proper, Catriona was seen backstage visibly in

Catriona

JANUARY 19-25, 2023 • LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL http://www.asianjournal.com • (702) 792-6678 8
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JOURNAL
Toni Gonzaga Photo from Instagram/@celestinegonzaga by KrisTofer Purnell Philstar.com tears during a segment that paid tribute to the late  Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who had bunked with her before as roommates. The Philippines' bet Celeste Cortesi did not make the cut for the Top 16, marking the end of the country's 12-year streak of qualifying for the semifinals. went viral for her wide-eyed yet calm surprise at the Philippines' early elimination when the Top 16 was announced, assuring that the Philippines and other powerhouse nations like Thailand and Mexico will have more chances in future editions. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray Photo from Instagram/@catriona_gray

DOST technologies at par with global technologies in the Consumer Electronics Show and Silicon Valley, USA

THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in an effort to strengthen emerging technologies such as Semiconductor Manufacturing Services (SMS), Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Space Technology industry in the Philippines, presented engagement opportunities to scientists during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2023) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and at the Business Mission in Silicon Valley in California from January 5-11, 2023.

CES is the most influential technology event in the world — the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. This year, CES 2023 highlighted technologies on sustainability, digital health, metaverse, electric vehicles, transportation, and mobility from over 4,000 exhibitors thereby providing various insights and possibilities for the Philippines to utilize market intelligence and benchmarking.

The Philippine delegation, composed of the DOST, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines

Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), sought possible partnerships with governments and key industry players through the Philippine Business Forum highlighting the country’s investment-ready environment.

DOST participated in one of the fora, World Electronics Forum (WEF), where DOST Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia presented technologies and programs of the Philippine government which are at par with the emerging global technologies.

Technologies observed in CES 2023 include:

• SentiV from France, a scouting robot for monitoring field crops;

• Agwa from Israel, an AIassisted indoor home vegetablegrowing device; and

• Land Evaluation Engine by satellite data and AI from Japan, an application for monitoring the lands of interest from space.

Similarly, DOST Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) has on-going project counterparts such as 1) Robot for Optimized and Autonomous Mission-Enhancement Response (ROAMER), designed for detecting banana plantation monitoring; 2) Gul.AI, a mobile AI-powered plant growing system

for optimum yield; and 3) DATOS, an AI-powered engine land feature detection from satellite images. The striking similarity in the functions between ASTI’s projects and CES technologies demonstrate the relevance of its R&D activities and their potential to address society’s needs.

“Similarly, as we vision to continuously be abreast with countries with cuttingedge technologies, we explored potential investment opportunities and areas for cooperation particularly with startup companies and universities in Silicon Valley,” said DOST Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia. “We also recognize the importance of having a pool of experts in achieving this vision, hence we have the commitment of continuous knowledge transfer and developing our homegrown science and engineering workforce through the Balik Scientist Program,” she added.

The DOST is the lead government agency that provides central direction, leadership, and coordination of scientific and technological efforts and ensure that the results therefrom are geared and utilized in areas of maximum economic and social benefits for the people. (DOST Release)

Health @Heart

WHEN it comes to diseases, especially contagious ones, prevention is the best strategy to avoid infection and transmission to others. And the best preventive tool we have is the vaccine, followed by hygiene, masking, and social distancing, as in the case of COVID-19. All these mitigating measures are aimed at preventing spread of the infection, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Although people are letting their guards down following President Joe Biden’s declaration last month that the pandemic was over, there are still around 67,000 cases of COVID-19 with almost 500 associated deaths on average per day for the past couple of weeks. On January 4, 2023, there were 207,391 cases of COVID-19, with 2,126 deaths, and around 47,000 hospitalizations, a 17 percent increase over 2 weeks before. After the BA.4 and BA.5, the dominant subvariant now is the BQ.1.1, with 34 percent of the cases nationwide, followed by XBB.1.5 (named kraken), with 28 percent of the cases, and vying for first place.

Sea monster The new subvariant of omicron called XBB.1.5 or kraken, named after the legendary gigantic sea monster, is drawing a lot of concerns among scientists. It is showing rapid rise in hospitalization, especially among those 70 and older, in certain states in the U.S.

Kraken, which caused a huge outbreak in Asia the fall of 2022, is highly transmissible (the fastest yet) compared to the other past sub-strains, doubling weekly in the United States. It could already be in the Philippines, but under the radar. As long as there are people out there who are unvaccinated, and people who do not wear masks to protect themselves and others, the virus will continue to replicate in the bodies of those individuals and mutate to newer (potentially more deadly) strains and sub-variants. The more bodies the virus infects and goes through, the more it mutates. Kraken has been shown to be highly immune-evasive and has the highest immune-escape ability, 63 percent more resistant to antibodies. Scientists do not know if kraken will respond to the

DOST Balik Scientist taps Pinoy experts in US to support PH STI

THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Balik Scientist Program (BSP), in efforts to strengthen Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) capabilities in the Philippines through knowledge transfer, provided a recent orientation amongst Filipino scientists in the U.S. through the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and Philippine Business Mission.

The BSP strategically holds promotion and orientation to spark the interest and patriotism among our Filipino scientists. As part of this mission in the U.S., three scientists immediately signified commitment to participate in the program this 2023. These scientists’ expertise falls under the industry and health sectors.

The BSP continuously encourages Filipino scientists abroad in several strategies and promotions to generate awareness of the compelling impacts they could bring along with them to the Philippines. Balik scientists are engaged to conduct capacity building, knowledge transfer, assessment activities, R&D activities, production of policies and publications, curriculum development, and building

linkages that creates impacts.

Two Balik scientists shall be focusing on the industry sector. One, a creative director and expert on packaging and design shall help improve and bring new ideas and technologies that the country can adopt in terms of packaging and design of Philippine products for which to be at par with the packaging and design of global standards. The other, a biochemist and molecular and computational biologist, shall focus on the turning Philippine plastic waste back to its raw form and be able to create new and sustainable products. Both Filipino scientists plan to engage themselves as a Balik scientists with the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of DOST where research and development have been implementing such initiatives.

The third Filipino scientist shall be engaged as a Balik scientist under the health sector. He is an expert in mass spectrometric techniques and applies them to environmental biomonitoring, clinical toxicology, and therapeutic drug monitoring. His works pioneer the application of highresolution mass spectrometry to the suspect screening of

environmental chemicals present in biological samples which can be extracted not just from blood nor urine but from human hair. He plans to engage with the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) in close coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“The Philippines has a reservoir of talents among our young and local researchers that promises to make the Philippines spectacular,” said DOST Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia.

“We can strengthen the Philippine science community and STI ecosystem by having you and the rest of our Filipino scientists. We hope that you will consider the Balik Scientist Program to share your ingenuity in giving back to the Filipino people,” she added.

The BSP was established in 1975 to counteract the nationwide concern on “brain drain” or the emigration of highly trained professionals from our country, in search of a better standard or living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide. (DOST Release)

Zanjoe finally admits relationship with Ria

KAPAMILYA actor finally confirmed  that he and actress  Ria Atayde are  now in a relationship.

In his interview with ANC's "Headstart" Zanjoe made his confession after ABS-CBN  host Karen Davila asked him if the rumors between him and Ria are true.

“Yes, parang it’s out in the open naman na, so yes," Zanjoe responded.  When asked if they are planning to get married soon, Zanjoe just responded with a laughter.

“Ang aga, 9 o’clock pa lang,” he said.

“Sobra lang akong nag-e-enjoy ngayon sa sitwasyon ng buhay ko, sa career ko, sa personal life pero yung mga [kasal na usapan],

XBB.1.5 is kraken!

current vaccines.

Protect yourself Still the best way to protect oneself is to update your COVID-19 vaccine and get vaccinated with the latest bivalent vaccine. The recent news about its side effects have been shown not to be true among the general population. The vaccines are safer than COVID-19 infection. In view of these new waves, resume using your NIOSH-approved N95 mask when outdoors, in stores, etc., engage in frequent handwashing, and continue to do social distancing and avoiding crowds. When exposed to any infected person or someone coughing and when you develop a cough, with or without fever or malaise, test yourself. If positive, let your physician know, and stay home; isolate yourself to protect other members of the household.

Foods for ED

There are about 30 million men in the United States who have erectile dysfunction, the inability to maintain good erection to perform effective penetration and sexual intercourse.

The following food items are suggested by food experts (and items to avoid) for those with ED for sexual health – Mediterranean diet is recommended by the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, with mostly veggies, whole grains, fruits, healthy fats (olive oil, avocados), and the following items: fish, blackberries, and other berries, chocolate, spinach, oatmeal, watermelon, pistachios, avocados, pomegranate, bananas, chili peppers, and most green and multi-color leafy vegetables. Items to avoid are soy-based products, licorice, alcoholic beverages, and sugary drinks, like soft drinks, which are general toxic to the body. If the above preventive measures and trial with prescription ED pills (like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, etc.) fail, medical consultation is prudent.

Cervical cancer

Cancer of the mouth of the womb (cervical) could now be prevented with a vaccine, thank God for medical science! The first-generation Gardasil was produced by Merck in 2006 for young girls and boys to prevent Human Papillary Virus (HPV, the cause of cervical cancer in 96 percent of cases). In 2021, there were almost 15,000 cases of cervical cancer, with almost 4300 deaths in the U.S. Women 21 to 65 are recommended to have a Pap smear test every 3 years.

Oropharyngeal and anal cancers are also (sexually) caused by HPV infections. Since 2017, Gardasil-9 (effective against 9 strains of HPV) is the only available HPV vaccine in the United States.

But the problem is some mothers refuse to allow their young (as early as 9 years old) sons to get Gardasil for fear of possible complications (rare and mild). This then exposes these young boys to HPV and spread it to the girls they have sex with who would then have HPV and a high risk for future cervical cancer. The 99-plus percent preventive power and efficacy of Gardasil is sadly severely reduced when boys are not also vaccinated. That translates to thousands of deaths annually from an otherwise preventable cervical cancer.

A great lesson Science is clear: If the U.S. was locked down (no-one-in without quarantine first, noone-out) since January 1, 2020, masking and social distancing required when the first case was diagnosed in Washington State, and vaccination for all federally mandated when the MRNA vaccines were first developed, this pandemic in the U.S. could have been prevented. And so with the national economic devastation (countless billions of expenses), mental anguish, disrupted education of our children and the negative impact on their and our psyche and emotion, etc. A medical situation should be managed by medical scientists, epidemiologists, and not by politicians or misinformed mothers, or civil right activists/ protestors, or radio-TV anchors.

If we haven’t learned our lesson yet from the way the government and we, The People, have poorly handled and mismanaged this pandemic, the next severe one could possibly annihilate countless millions of us in the United States.

* * * The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

* * * Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday. com, and philipSchua.com; Email: scalpelpen@ gmail.com.

pang maaga,” he added.  Rumors of romance between Zanjoe and Ria began last year when they were always seen together on  various  social media

(702) 792-6678 • http://www.asianjournal.com 9 LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL • JANUARY 19-25, 2023 Features
DOST Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia (left photo) presented DOST’s programs in 2023-2028 at the World Electronics Forum together with officials from DTI, DICT, PEZA, SEIPI and PTIC, and participants from the government and industry sectors. Photos courtesy of DOST Agwa from Israel, an AI-assisted indoor home vegetable-growing device (left) and Gul.AI a Philippine made mobile AI-powered plant growing system for optimum yield Ria Atayde at Zanjoe Marudo Photo from Instagram/@zanriofficial masyado posts by their friends. Ria's mom Sylvia Sanchez admitted last October that Zanjoe was courting Ria.  (Jan Milo Severo/Philstar.com)

Vegas PBS receives American Rescue Plan grant for workforce development

LAS VEGAS, NV – As part of the American Rescue Plan, Vegas PBS has received a collective grant of $1,070,000 from Clark County and the City of Las Vegas to bolster Southern Nevada’s workforce by helping students and under/unemployed adults get matched with the right careers and employers. Vegas PBS will achieve this through the use of the Jobtimize Nevada platform.

The funds come as Nevada’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.9% is higher than the national average of 3.7%. Vegas PBS, which has provided workforce training and certification testing to Southern Nevadans for over a decade, will work with a coalition of public and private partners to implement Jobtimize Nevada for education and employment optimization and career placement. Jobtimize is an evidence-based, virtual platform that helps job seekers discover their individual traits and behaviors while employers can use it to find the best candidates for their job openings, careers, apprenticeships, training platforms, credentials and

career pathways. Vegas PBS has previously found success with Jobtimize through projects with veterans, the Spring Mountain Youth Camp, and several nonprofits and private education partners

“This will definitely be one of our largest endeavors,” said Debra Solt, director of Workforce Training and Economic Development at Vegas PBS. “We’ll be coordinating with a diverse group of educators, training providers and businesses on how to administer and interpret results of the Jobtimize platform

and ultimately ensuring that the populations we serve find gainful and satisfying employment.”

The project will serve ARPAqualifying organizations in Clark County, such as nonprofits, trade associations, micro to small businesses and private and charter schools in qualified census tracks in the City of Las Vegas, and throughout our urban and rural communities within the county.

To learn more about Vegas PBS Workforce Education, please visit vegaspbs.org/workforceeducation

Dolly nominated in BAFTA for ‘Triangle of Sadness’

VETERAN actress Dolly de Leon sets another history as she becomes the first Filipino to be nominated at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

The announcement was made Thursday night (Manila time) wherein De Leon is among the nominees for the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in Ru-ben Östlund's satirical black comedy film "Triangle of Sadness."

With her in the category are 2023 Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Hong Chau of "The Whale," Kerry Condon of "The Banshees of Inisherin," Jamie Lee Curtis of "Everything Everywhere All At Once," and Carey Mulligan from "She Said."

Known as the British Oscars, BAFTA is an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to honor

the best British and international contributions to film.

This is the 16th international nomination of De Leon for her role as Abigail, a toilet manager who ends up becoming the leader of the group of ultra-rich passengers after being stranded on an island when their luxury cruise ship sinks.

On January 12, De Leon walked the red carpet of the Golden

Globes after her nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

A couple of days later, she formally accepted her Best Supporting Performance award at the 48th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards in L.A. alongside "Everything Everywhere All At Once" star Ke Huy Quan.

The 2023 BAFTA ceremony will be held on February 20.

45th annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker sent on February 18-19

CELEBRATING 45 years, the L.A. Chinatown Firecracker is one of the largest and oldest running races in the U.S. with its upcoming Lunar New Year run, walk, cycling, Kiddie Run and dog walk events held over the weekend of February 18-19, 2023, at the historic Los Angeles Chinatown Plaza. Lunar New Year is  a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar.

Registration is now open for the February 2023 Firecracker L.A. Year of the Rabbit Chinatown events with a choice to participate in-person or virtually. Each registered participant receives a commemorative 2023 Firecracker race bib, exclusive collectible finisher’s medal, limited edition commemorative t-shirt, goody bag, and much more. In addition, participants and their guests will enjoy the Lunar New Year Celebration in the heart of historic Chinatown with an opening ceremony filled with lion dancers and the traditional lighting of 100,000 firecrackers. The Firecracker post-race expo includes vendors and booths as well as a new Chalk Art Festival and Boba Garden. There is also a children's carnival just for Kiddie Run participants.

Virtual participants can take part by downloading and activating the RaceJoy App and between now and February 19 to partake in an event. The 45th Annual Firecracker has been approved as a 2023 USATF Sanctioned Event. The 45th Annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker is produced by the nonprofit L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run Committee (LACFRC), a group of volunteers who donate their time and energy to organize and stage events and programs promoting health, fitness, and cultural awareness to the greater Los Angeles community. All proceeds are reinvested in the community, supporting elementary schools and nonprofit organizations, providing service and programs that benefit local neighborhoods.

Sponsors include ABC Laboratories, Young Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc., Longo Toyota Lexus, Payden & Rygel, CXN Freight Systems, Inc.,

Phoenix-PDQ, Inc., RSM, ZWIFT, LANDSEA, Assam Beverages, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Chinatown Corp., RMJ Property, AEC Consultants, Inc., VCA Engineers, Inc., The Wonderful Company, Angel City Brewery, Canton Food Co., LA Central City Optimist, City of Los Ange      les, The Lab @Chinatown, GoGo Squeez, Asian Pacific Community Fund, Bicycle Angels, among others.

WHEN: February 18-19, 2023

• Sat, Feb 18: 40-mile Bike Ride; 8:00 a.m.

• Sat, Feb 18: 20-mile Bike Ride; 8:20 a.m.

• Sat, Feb 18: 1-mile PAW’er Dog Walk; 9:00 a.m.

• Sun, Feb 19: 5K Run/Walk; 8:00 a.m. Run / 8:20 a.m. Walk

• Sun, Feb 19: 10K Run/Walk; 8:40 a.m. Run

• Sun, Feb 19: 1K Kiddie Run: 9:00 a.m.

*All Times are subject to change

WHERE: Los Angeles Chinatown Plaza 943 N Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

REGISTRATION:  $30 - $65

HOW TO REGISTER AND MORE INFORMATION:

• Firecracker L.A. Website: https://firecracker10k.org/

• Registration: https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/LosAngeles/ LAChinatownFirecracker

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefirecracker10k

• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firecracker10k/

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/ firecracker10k

• Email: info@firecracker10k. org or call 818-925-8434

• #firecrackerLA; #45years

• Firecracker L.A. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=jw5h2HgDdCo&authuser=1

LACFRC will continue to monitor the continuing pandemic and will make adjustments together to reach the shared goals in support of healthy and thriving communities and could not accomplish its mission of community involvement without the continued trust and support of its participants.

Why Kim cries whenever  Regine is around

COMEDIAN Jerald Napoles recently outed girlfriend, singeractress Kim Molina about being so in awe of Songbird Regine Velasquez that she always would cry whenever she is around.

Molina shared a short video of   her recent    guesting on “Magandang Buhay” through her    Instagram post on January 13 where Napoles revealed that his girlfriend would suddenly feel emotional in the presence of    Velasquez.

“Kapag nakikita niya si ate (Velasquez) umiiyak siya, eh. Parang may atraso si ate sa kanya. Umiiyak siya talaga. ‘Yung parang… sabi ko sa kanya, umiiyak ka palagi kapag nakikita mo si Ate Reg. Baka nao-awkward na si    Ate Regs sa iyo,”    Napoles said in the video. (When she sees Regine she cries. It was as if Regine did something wrong to her.    She’s really crying. It’s    like… I told her, you are always crying when you see Regine. She might feel awkward already)

Molina explained her emotional state stemmed from her memory when she was younger and her father, who is also her music

trainer, would tell her what to do to improve her singing.

She recalled that Velasquez was her inspiration, even though sometimes she could not reach her idol’s high notes.

As she was explaining, Velasquez sneaked behind her and Molina could only sigh in disbelief as fresh tears crept into her eyes when she saw the MB host.

“Oh, my God,”   said Molina, adding that she was led to believe by MB hosts Jolina Magdangal and Melai Cantiveros that Velasquez could not join them that day.

“Kasi po naaalala ko talaga noong bata po ako, ‘yung tatay ko po gusto niya ma-gets ko po ‘yung kakantahin ninyo. Tapos po, kapag    aaralin ko, itataas nyo uli    so mahihirapan po    ako uli.    So,    ‘yung paghihirap ko po noong bata ako, naaalala ko po ‘yun,    eh,” she recalled.    (It’s because I remember when I was a kid, my father would ask me to reach the song that you will sing.    Then, she would sing it high so it will be hard for me to copy.    So, all those hardships when I was a kid, I remember that).

But

).

JANUARY 19-25, 2023 • LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL http://www.asianjournal.com • (702) 792-6678 10 Features
$1,070,000 from Clark County and the City of Las Vegas to help job seekers and businesses
Dolly de Leon Photo from Instagram/@dollyedeleon “Sabi po, nu’ng bata po kayo ay nilulublob kayo    sa tubig. Ginawa    din po sa akin ‘yun ng tatay ko.    Pero sa Saudi    po ako lumaki sa disyerto po ako nilublob,” she said in jest. (It’s said that when you were a kid, you were immersed in water. That was also done to me by my father. I grew up in Saudi so I was immersed in the desert After that, she did a short duet with Velasquez. Kim Molina with Regine Velasquez Photo from Instagram/@kimsmolina
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JANUARY 19-25, 2023 • LAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAL http://www.asianjournal.com • (702) 792-6678 12
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