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Volume 17 - No. 4 • 3 Sections – 20 Pages

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Duterte: ‘Billions? Investigate me to stop endless suspicion’ by NESTOR


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, January 24, said he is open to an investigation amid reports questioning his wealth. In his departure speech before going to an official visit to India, Duterte said he wanted to stop the “endless suspicion” about his wealth. “That is why I want to… Congress to proceed. Mag-imbestiga kayo. As a matter of fact ako ‘yung mismo nag-i-insist para malaman ninyo ‘yung totoo. This endless suspicion. It’s about time that magharapan tayo. Kaya ko binibira lahat. Wala kayong makalkal sa akin,” he said. (That’s why I want Congress to proceed. Investigate. As a matter of fact, I’m the one




7 Fil-Am medical missionaries dead in Cebu after car crash A WEEKEND getaway in Cebu quickly turned into a tragedy after seven Filipino-American medical missionaries were killed in a car crash in the nearby town of Alegria last weekend. On Saturday, January 20, a group of 10 physicians and nurses from the United States were in the town of Oslob, located 73 miles south of Cebu City. The group was on its way to Kawasan Falls in Badian that morning when the driver of their rented Toyota Grandia van reportedly fell asleep at the wheel. The car then crashed into a roadside mahogany tree between 11 a.m. and noon, less than 10 miles away from the destination. According to local officials, five passengers were killed on the spot while the other five passengers were transported to hospitals; two died on the way to the hospital. Three pas-


Atty. General Becerra says Calif. will honor ‘sanctuary state’ policies Northern California prepares for rumored massive ICE raid FOLLOWING rumors of a major immigration crackdown in Northern California, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that new sanctuary state policies will be upheld in the event of a raid. The attorney general’s remarks at a press conference on Thursday, January 18 came after a report that said officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are reportedly planning an operation to detain more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area and surrounding cities. In a bombshell published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, January 16, an anonymous source familiar with the operation said that the campaign — which would be the most substantial immigration raid under President Donald Trump — is likely to oc-


insisting for you to know the truth. This endless suspicion. It’s about time that we face it. That’s why I’m hitting back. You can’t dig up anything from me.) “Billions? Susmaryosep. To my billions, I’m going because I’m late,” he added. The president’s pronouncement came days after investigative group Vera Files reported that Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, failed to declare as much as P100 million in investments. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had earlier challenged investigative group VERA Files to prove the authenticity of the bank documents mentioned in its report. Duterte and his ASEAN counterparts are in India to be the state guests of honor for India’s Republic Day celebrations on Friday, January 26. ■

J A N U A RY 2 6 - F E BR U A RY 1 , 2 0 1 8

INSPECTION. President Rodrigo Duterte examines firearms recovered from communist rebels on the sidelines of the establishment of the TienDA Para sa mga Bayani at Camp General Manuel Yan in Mawab Sr. in Mawab Compostela Valley Province on Monday, January 22. Joining the president are 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Noel Clement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante

US Congress passes bill to end gov’t shutdown Duterte denies hand Vote for DACA fix, CHIP reauthorization pushed back to February 8 by KLARIZE


in pork barrel claims against ‘friend’ Drilon

Members of Congress were to put together a spending package by midnight on Friday, but due to disagreements with AFTER receiving backlash for allowing certain bills and a refusal by Senate Demothe government to shut down on Friday, crats to support a stopgap funding meaby DANA SIOSON January 19, a bipartisan group of United sure to extend the deadline, the shutdown AJPress States Congress members presented a bill went into effect. on Monday, January 22 that would reopen Through bargaining with other Congress PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo the government and allow thousands of members behind closed doors (and knowfurloughed federal employees to return to ing that the repercussions of a shut down Duterte has denied that he had anything to do with the allegations work. u PAGE A2 tagging Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon in the multibillionpeso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as the pork barrel scam. Speaking before his departure to India on Wednesday, January 24, Duterte said he would not plot by DANA SIOSON against Drilon as he considers the AJPress veteran lawmaker his “friend.” “Senator Drilon, if I talked to THE Supreme Court (SC), sit- somebody urging a case against ting as the Presidential Electoral you sa PDAF, bring that person Tribunal (PET), has begun the in my presence and I will resign retrieval of ballot boxes in the because you are my friend,” the province of Camarines Sur on president said. Tuesday, January 23. Duterte further stressed that it Camarines Sur is among the is not his “style” to run after polithree pilot provinces tagged by ticians. former Senator Ferdinand “Bong“It is not in my system. It is bong” Marcos Jr. in his electoral not in my style na maghabol ng protest against Philippine Vice (It’s not my style to run after)… President Maria Leonor “Leni” Magdala ka ng tao dito kung siRECOUNT ROLLS. Ballot boxes are retrieved by election officials in Camarines Sur, one of the three pilot provinces identified by former Robredo. nong inutusan ko ‘yang sa (Bring Ballot boxes and other poll me whoever I ordered over that) senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for recount in connection with his electoral protest. Marcos believes he won the 2016 vice-presidential documents were retrieved from PDAF,” he added. election and that Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo benefited 538 precincts in the following Duterte made the remark affrom massive electronic cheating. municipalities: Cabusao, Sipo- ter businesswoman Janet photo by Llanesca T. Panti u PAGE A2 Napoles, who is also accused as the “mastermind” of the PDAF scam, revealed in a television interview that she provided funds by IAN NICOLAS CIGARAL for Drilon’s campaign. During her interview with Er-

Retrieval of ballot boxes on Marcos poll protest starts

Study: ‘PH should spend $22.8-B on cybersecurity’ MANILA — The Philippines should spend a hefty $22.8 billion from 2017 to 2022 in order to match “best-in-class” cybersecurity defense, a new research by global management consulting firm AT Kearney recommended. The study titled “Cybersecurity in ASEAN: An Urgent Call to AcThe study titled “Cybersecurity in ASEAN: An Urgent Call to Action”— tion”— which was commissioned which was commissioned by Cisco Systems, Inc.—said the Philippines by Cisco Systems Inc.—also said should invest as much as $8.8 billion on cybersecurity between now and the Philippines should invest as 2025 to be in line with the average benchmark for mature markets like much as $8.8 billion on cyberthe U.S., UK and Germany. photo


Sen. Franklin Drilon photo

win Tulfo over state-run Radyo Pilipinas on Monday, January 22, Napoles claimed that she gave at least P5 million to the senator’s campaign kitty in 2010. Tulfo is a supporter of Duterte. But Drilon has denied receiving funds from Napoles, branding her claim as “harassment.” “We deny having received any campaign contribution from Napoles,” Drilon said. “We will not further comment on such obviously fake news intended to harass the opposition.” The senator also added that his Statements of Contributions and Expenditures filed at the Commission on Elections were open to public scrutiny. Reacting to Duterte’s statements, Drilon thanked the president as he expressed hope that



january 26-february 1, 2018 • nOrCaL aSIan jOurnaL

Retrieval of ballot boxes... PAGE A1 t cot, Lupi, Ragay, Del Gallego, Libmanan, Pamplona, Pasacao, San Fernando, Milaor, Gainza and Minalabac. “The [SC] has also deployed security detail. So far, we don’t see any problem,” said Bernadette Sardillo, counsel for Robredo. “Each ballot box will be inspected because the retrieval team here has to make sure that all the election paraphernalia that will be sent to Manila will be complete,” she added. Based on the order from the

SC, the ballot retrieval process in Camarines Sur will continue until Friday, January 26. The ballot boxes will then be delivered at the SC-Court of Appeals Gymnasium in Manila for the recount set in February. Concerning the transport of the ballot boxes to Manila, Sardillo said the SC has given assurance that the documents will be secured. “There will be 31 Special Action Forces who will be deployed, and another 31 from the security detail of the Supreme Court. The transport will be by land, because • (650) 689-5160

From the Front Page boarding it in a plane would be expensive,” she said. Marcos has accused Robredo of benefiting from “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” during the vice presidential election in 2016. Apart from Camarines Sur, Marcos also listed Iloilo and Negros Oriental as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities alleged in his protest. The PET has yet to release the retrieval schedules for the remaining two pilot provinces. Robredo won the vice presidential race by just 263,473 votes more than Marcos. n

Study: ‘PH should spend $22.8-B... PAGE A1 t

security between now and 2025 to be in line with the average benchmark for mature markets like the U.S., UK and Germany. In 2017, the Philippines only spent 0.04 percent of its gross domestic product on cybersecurity, the research said. “When benchmarking national

trust and resilience in the digital economy and prevent the region cybersecurity spending as a per- from realizing its full digital pocentage of GDP, most ASEAN tential,” it added. “ASEAN countries have al(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries fall below the ready been used as launchpads LOVELY BUT DEADLY. Mayon volcano again spewed giant columns of ash on Tuesday, January 23, as local officials scrambled to relocate global average and well below for attacks, either as vulnerable thousands of civilians living inside the extended 9 kilometer danger zone. The wider danger zone will entail the relocation of residents in the town of Camalig. photo by Rhaydz Barcia best-in-class, creating a potential hotbeds of unsecured infrastrucrisk of insufficient spend rela- ture or as well-connected hubs to tion for DACA recipients slipped tive to a rapidly escalating threat initiate attacks.” through our fingers when SenaThe Philippine Department landscape,” AT Kearny found. tors got cold feet.” “Cyber risks could impede u PAGE A3 PAGE A1 t of Tennessee. Advancing Justice-LA also crit“Shutting down the govern- icized Congress’ inability to pass worsen as time goes on), key lawmakers on Capitol Hill voted ment was inappropriate, but I am the DREAM Act — which would overwhelmingly on Monday to encouraged by the bipartisan dis- provide DREAMers a pathway break the filibuster and reopen cussions that have occurred over to citizenship — despite overthe past few days. I will continue whelming support for it. the government. “Should we have ever shut working with my colleagues on a “The plan to bring an immidown the government? Abso- solution to the number of chal- gration bill to a vote as standlutely not,” said Senator Joe lenges still before us,” Corker alone legislation in the Senate is Manchin III (D-WV), who was a tweeted on Monday. not guaranteed, and it does not For some, the sound of biparti- include a path forward for the leader in negotiating a way out sanship to coalesce a solution to House,” Advancing Justice-LA from the shutdown. Senate Democrats relented a problem in an age where par- added. “The majority of Amerito joining the Republicans to al- tisan politics can muddy legisla- cans support a solution for DACA low the passage of a short-term tive progress was a sign of good recipients and we have the votes spending package that would things to come. in both houses to get the DREAM Although the Senate’s vote was Act passed into law, [but] the provide government funding until February 8. Democrats agreed a short-term solution to the shut- president and Speaker [Paul] to the terms as long as Republi- down, some don’t agree with the Ryan continue to obstruct a solucan leaders promised a solution Democrats’ decision to extend tion.” for undocumented youth, known the funding, arguing that putting Also, a promise guaranteed in off the DACA fix prolongs the the stopgap measure was a longas DREAMers. In other words, the GOP had uncertainty felt by many undocu- term solution for the Children’s to commit to finding a legislative mented youth, 800,000 of whom Health Insurance Program solution for the Deferred Action received benefits from DACA. (CHIP), a bipartisan-created pubLegal and civil rights organiza- lic health insurance program for for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was terminated tion Asian Americans Advancing children of low-earning families by the Trump administration last Justice-Los Angeles denounced that was not reauthorized by the vote as it extends the state of Congress in 2017. September. The bipartisan group of sena- uncertainty so many DREAMers The bill passed on Monday tors that ended the gridlock in- have been in since DACA’s ter- guarantees six years of federal cluded more than 20 lawmakers mination. funding for CHIP, which was “A number of Republicans ended on Sept. 30, 2017 when that met behind closed doors. Among the Democrats included have continuously promised to lawmakers failed to reauthorize it Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and provide a resolution for DACA re- for the first time in two decades, newly-elected Doug Jones of Ala- cipients within the negotiations which outraged public health bama. The Republicans included about a government spending professionals. Trump critics like Sens. Susan bill,” Advancing Justice-LA wrote Approximately 1.3 million chilCollins of Maine and Bob Corker in a statement. “Today, a resoluu PAGE A4

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Family thinks American filmmaker an EJK victim in Cebu by Anthony

Q. EsguErrA

42, who was accused of pedophilia and human trafficking with local children in Cebu, was THE family of an American arrested by the NBI on Decemdocumentary filmmaker is de- ber 4, 2017. manding answers from PhilipLess than 24 hours later, Phinpine authorities over the “sus- ney was found dead at the toilet picious” death of their member of an NBI-7 detention facility. while in custody of the National The NBI claims that he comBureau of Investigation (NBI) in mitted suicide by hanging himCebu City. self using a belt, according to Boston native Jesse Phinney, media reports.

But Phinney’s family members believe that what happened to him was “a false arrest, failed extortion, a murder and a government cover-up.” “Jesse was a big-hearted, gentle and generous man who found his purpose in helping people in Third World countries build sustainable homes using wind and solar,” his family said


7 Fil-Am medical missionaries dead...


sengers sustained severe injuries while the driver — identified as 24-year-old Gilbert dela Cruz — survived with minor injuries. Among those killed included Dr. Nunilo Rubio, 74, of Chicago; Aurora M. Gagni, 63, a registered nurse from Orland Park, Ill.; husband and wife Reynaldo and Diane Pascual of White Plains, NY; Joseph and Juvela Huang and Berniti Rojas, according to Inquirer. The three passengers treated for injuries were Dr. Rubio’s wife Dr. Elenita Rubio and husband and wife Fred and Nora Tsai of Chicago. The traveling group were a

and honored them for their efforts in helping the less fortunate. “The death of these seven volunteers shocks me to no end,” Villalon said. “I [had] to double check what I read online. Sadly, it shows the volatility of man’s life, but our desire to serve the poor and the sick should continue as it will be this year for the PMAC despite this tragedy. The missionaries will continue healing even as we mourn those who passed on.” According to Alegria Chief of Police Efren Diaz, dela Cruz admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, but he denied drug usage. Additionally, he said that he only had an hour’s sleep before he was to drive the travelers early the next morning. Dela Cruz is currently in custody awaiting charges against him for reckless driving that resulted It doesn’t prevent ICE or any in multiple homicides and injury. other federal immigration agen- (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress) cy from performing their routine operations, but rather it’s a directive toward state and local law enforcement. Since Trump came into office, ICE has doubled down on immigration enforcement, arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants in their homes and places of work. The rumors arose a week after ICE agents descended upon dozens of 7-Eleven convenience stores across the nation, arresting undocumented employees and demanding employees’ citizenship documents from managers. Ninety-eight stores across 17 states resulted in 21 arrests, signaling the immigration agency’s escalated attempts to double down on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants. Sweeps at 7-Eleven stores In Southern California, four audit notices were served to 7Eleven locations in the City of Los Angeles and one in Culver City, according to ICE. Specific locations were not mentioned, but witnesses said they saw ICE agents at a location in Koreatown. According to witnesses, seven ICE agents arrived in three unmarked cars and closed the store for about 20 minutes. They explained the audit to the single employee there, who had a valid green card. “Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce,” Homan said in a statement. “ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found breaking the law, you will be held accountable.” Via a statement, 7-Eleven Inc. did not take accountability for the hiring of reportedly undocumented workers, noting that individual franchises are owned independently. “7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchises convicted of violating these laws,” the company said, adding that the individual franchise owners “are solely responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.” The massive sweep sent a shock across the nation, many questioning the legality of the raids. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIR) emphasized that regardless of immigration status, workers have rights and those targeted should seek legal counsel. “Workers should know they have the right to remain silent, avoid incriminating yourself, and seek legal immigration help right away,” CHIR said in a statement, encouraging immigrant families to always be prepared for possible encounters with ICE or any other federal immigration agency. (Klarize Medenilla/AJ Press) part of 48 volunteers of an annual medical mission organized by the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago (PMAC) and it’s Women’s Auxiliary that was expected to begin on Monday, January 22 in Camiguin Island. Once a year, the volunteers help treat thousands of poverty-stricken patients and bring along dozens of balikbayan boxes of medical supplies and medicine. Many of those who passed away were respected professionals in the medical world and had partaken in past PMAC mission trips. In an interview, Dalisay Villalon, a registered nurse and past president of PMAC Auxiliary expressed sorrow for the lives lost

Atty. General Becerra says...


cur in the next few weeks. The source indicated that the operation is meant to send “a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state,” according to the Chronicle’s report. Becerra did not outrightly attest to the validity of the claims laid out in the Chronicle, but he assured that there are laws in place to limit California law enforcement and private employers from cooperating with federal immigration agents should a raid of this grandeur occur. “Regardless [of] what the rumors are, the law is the law... the Constitution is the Constitution, and the people have rights,” Becerra said. AB 450, signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year, prohibits employers from volunteering access to immigration enforcement agents to enter nonpublic areas of a business or review employee records without a warrant or court order. “If you’re a business owner you have now certain rights and certain responsibilities when it comes to the people who work for you and giving access to federal immigration enforcement authorities to enter your premises and review both information documents and the individuals who work for you,” Becerra said on Thursday. “So know your rights and know your responsibilities.” Employers could be fined $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for later offenses if they do not abide by the bill. The report in the Chronicle has since sparked fear within the immigrant communities in the Bay Area, prompting advocates, activists and officials to prepare for the alleged crackdown. Last month, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan warned that if local officials in California “don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.” Many California leaders were outraged by the alleged sweep. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the rumor “deeply shameful” while Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) described the raid as a threat by Trump to “weaponize federal agencies against California.” “Rather than focusing efforts on violent criminals, raids carried out in neighborhoods and workplaces could result in deportation of individuals who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Calif. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris wrote in a letter to Homan. Sanctuary state protections As of Jan. 1, 2018, California has officially become a sanctuary state through the passage of SB 54, which restricts local and state law enforcement from turning over information that would aid federal immigration authorities in detaining those believed to be undocumented immigrants.

Study: ‘PH should spend $22.8-B... PAGE A2 t of Information and Communications Technology early last year launched the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 to implement cyber resiliency measures, as well as to ensure continuous operation of the nation’s critical infostructures. AT Kearny’s research stressed that while the Philippines has enacted the Cybercrime Prevention

Act and the Data Privacy Act, the country has “no cybersecurityspecific laws.” Nonetheless, the study said the Philippines—together with Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia— is expected to see the highest growth in cybersecurity spending “as they address gaps in infrastructure and as the managed service landscape evolves.” n

REMEMBERING SAF 44. Philippine flags are displayed at the People Power Monument in Quezon City in preparation for the third death anniversary of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF 44) police commandos who were killed while carrying out an operation to capture a terrorist in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015. PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan

Duterte denies hand in pork barrel... PAGE A1 t they would remain “friends” despite their disagreements on matters of policy. “I remain grateful for, and acknowledge, the support the president gave me, as mayor of Davao City, in all my election campaigns. I hope we remain friends. He has my full respect,” the Senate minority leader said. In an earlier statement, Malacañang also denied that the Duterte administration had something to do with allegations against Drilon

but said that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should conduct an investigation into the matter. “The Constitution in providing for accountability of public officers is the legal basis for the relevant government agency to conduct an investigation,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement on Tuesday, January 23. “I would hope that the Ombudsman on its own will conduct its probe and I think the Department

of Justice also on its own should conduct its own probe, based on the statement,” he added. Describing Napoles as the “central figure” in the pork barrel scam, Roque further remarked that she should have evidence to support her claim. “Obviously Janet Lim-Napoles is the central figure in this scam, let her speak, and I’m sure in addition to what she has to say, she would have physical evidence to back up whatever it is that she alleges,” he said. n


january 26-february 1, 2018 • nOrCaL aSIan jOurnaL

Family thinks American filmmaker...

Dateline USa


in a statement sent to Inquirer. “The circumstances surrounding his death while in police custody must be investigated thoroughly and completely.” Dominika Posseren, Jesse’s widow, suggested that what happened to her husband was a case of extrajudicial killing. “I hundred percent believe that the Philippine police murdered an American humanitarian,” Posseren told WCVB-5 in an interview. She added: “I will spend the rest my life making sure that the last thing that is known about him is not that he was some sort of a child trafficker [who] committed suicide because I will say this until my last breath: that is not true.” In the same interview, Molly Phinney Baskette, Jesse’s sister, noted that the Philippine government offered P50,000 for any Philippine police who could kill a criminal. Phinney’s career as a documentarian for National Geographic and History Channel took him to remote places around the world. He worked on hit adventure shows such as “Naked and Afraid,” “Life Below Zero” and

Jesse Phinney

on NBC’s “The Apprentice.” His family is asking the Philippine government to provide answers to their questions and to grant them full access to documents and evidence. “We have no idea what actually happened in the jail and are convinced that our beloved Jesse may have been the victim of extortion, just like hundreds of other cases in the country,” Baskette said in a statement. Inquirer reached out to NBI for comment but received no response as of publishing time. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy

Photo courtesy of Jesse Phinney’s family

in Manila confirmed to Inquirer the death of Phinney in Cebu and offered their sincere condolences to the family. When asked if the Embassy was coordinating the incident with Philippine authorities, Press Attache Molly Koscina declined to further comment “out of respect for the family during this difficult time.” Phinney’s family claimed they did not receive any help from the American government. They called for more pressure to the Department of State to act on Jesse’s case. n • (650) 689-5160

Pilot from California gets life in prison for buying and raping Filipino children A SACRAMENTO man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, January 23, after being convicted for buying Filipino children for pornography and sex — federal prosecutors described the case as “lurid, willful, and disturbing.” Prosecutors said Michael Carey Clemans, 57, was found guilty in September of attempted travel and travel with intent to engage in sexual conduct, buying children, and conspiracy to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. “His true plan was to find girls, virgins, and then go have sex with them,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andre Espinosa on Tuesday as reported by the Associated Press. “A 57-year-old man doesn’t have sex with a seven year old girl — he rapes her,” Espinosa added. Clemans’ defense attorney Daniel Olmos argued for reconsideration of Clemans’ sentence for helping authorities capture co-conspirators, but U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez Mendez described Clemans as a “danger particularly to children” and said Clemans’ crimes were greater

than his assistance. “He has taken away the childhood of those victims,” said Mendez. “Clemans committed unspeakable acts in pursuit of his sexual obsessions with children,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott on Tuesday. “He is a sophisticated offender who leveraged technology and the economic disadvantages of the Filipino children he targeted to commit his crimes.” According to court documents, Clemans began conspiring with a woman in the Philippines starting June 2014, to produce child pornography. At the time, Clemans was residing in Bangkok, Thailand where he worked as an airline pilot. In April 2015, Clemans returned to Sacramento but continued chatting with the Filipina woman online where Clemans discussed ways to get and rape minor girls, including orphans and typhoon victims. “Clemans instructed the Filipino woman on how to find vulnerable victims, directing her to look for orphans and

US Congress passes bill... PAGE A2 t dren in California are enrolled in public health programs through CHIP, the highest enrollment rate of any state that runs out of funding this year, as previously reported by the Asian Journal. Additionally, about 3 out of 4 of those children are children of color. The program provided a whole host of medical services for underprivileged children: routine check-ups, immunizations, emergency services, prescriptions and inpatient and outpatient hospital care to name a few. In addition to providing coverage for children, CHIP also provides for more than 370,000 pregnant women a year. This measure relieves some stress for states (who share responsibility for funding CHIP), many of which have been depleting their remaining funds for their state’s CHIPs.

Federal funding — which is an estimated $124 billion — will continue through 2023. For the first two years, federal funding will pay for at least 88 percent of the program’s expenses in all states; after that, the federal government’s share will decrease over two years. What happens when the government shuts down? Hearing of the government shutting down rightfully terrified people across the nation. The shutdown is over, but the frenzy still begs the question: what does it mean when the government shuts down? The government shuts down when Congress and the White House fail to pass a spending package that funds government operations and agencies across the country. When the government shuts down, only “essential” federal employees are to report for work

victims of typhoons,” said court documents. His Filipina co-conspirators Lyan Tandeg and Shellina Atad, were arrested and charged in November of 2015 for trafficking and child pornography. Tandeg was paid nearly $6,000 to buy photography equipment and conduct sexually explicit photoshoots of the young victims. Victims were as young as seven years old. “He gave her [Tandeg] explicit instructions on how to photograph their naked bodies so he could determine which ones would come to the Philippines to rape,” read documents. Clemans also indicated in the chats that he was “particularly interested in very young virgins.” Over 27,000 child pornography photos were found on Clemans computer. According to the Associated Press, investigators were able to find three of the photographed children who were aged 7, 9, and 10. Prosecutors brought them to Sacramento to testify at Clemans’ trial. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress) while “non-essential” employees will be placed on furlough. For example, if the government shutdown had persisted, more than half of workers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were to be placed on furlough. Most workers from other federal offices — like the Dept. of Education, National Transportation Safety Board and Consumer Product Safety Commission — were furloughed. Over the weekend, tourists hoping to visit the Statue of Liberty in New York weren’t able to visit because the national landmark was one of the federally-funded sites closed by the shutdown. The furlough continues until Congress can agree on a bill that would extend government funding. The last time the government shut down was in Oct. 2013 when for 16 days, the government shutdown largely impacted government employees, agencies and federally-funded buildings and landmarks. n

(650) 689-5160 •




SC won’t stop Train, but asks govt to explain by JOMAR


THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, January 23, refused to stop the controversial Tax Reform for Advancement and Inclusion (Train) Law, but issued an order to the government to lodge its explanation on the two petitions assailing the tax reform law. During the deliberations of the high court, sitting en banc, no temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the law was issued. Instead, the 15-man tribunal ordered the Duterte administration to file its comment within a period of 10 days from notice. Before the high tribunal is the first package of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program. The first petition was filed by militant lawmakers who sought to strike down the package. The petitioners were led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. Antonio Tinio. The second set of petitioners

is the consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. Included in the list of respondents was President Rodrigo Duterte, who was impleaded in the petition, and was also accused of grave abuse of discretion for enacting the Train bill “not validly passed by Congress.” Government had insisted that Train would “create a more just, simple, and more effective system of tax collection where the rich will have a bigger contribution and the poor will benefit more from government’s programs and services.” The militant lawmakers sought to void the law since Train bill’s bicameral conference committee report was ratified by the House “without a quorum and without a vote.” Grave abuse of discretion was allegedly committed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, Jr., by not allowing opposition workers to interpellate during the plenary deliberatons. The Train Law lowers personal income taxes while raising du-

ties on fuel, cars, coal and sugarsweetened drinks. Revenues coming from the new tax scheme will raise money for the president’s P8-trillion infrastructure program. The petitioners are challenging the procedural infirmities of the Train Law’s passage and are vowing pursue the case by filing a separate petition against the measures’ “regressive and burdensome new tax impositions.” Laban Konsyumer questioned the Train Law for imposing a “heavy burden” on Filipinos from low-income and poor families, as it insists that “[t]he unwarranted imposition of excise taxes on diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, and kerosene, and the increase in the excise tax on coal which are considered (or form part) of basic commodities… are in the nature of a tax subsistence.” It pointed out that Train Law would be “inequitable and regressive,” stressing that taxation was equitable only when its burden fell on those with the capacity to pay. The petition stressed that the Constitution mandates that taxation must be progressive, not regressive.

House sees Sereno impeachment by March by DELON


MANILA — The House of Representatives may elevate the impeachment complaint lawyer Lorenzo Gadon filed against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to the Senate by the last week of March, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez disclosed. “Before we go on break (for the Holy Week), we might be able to file it because we have already started (drafting) the articles of impeachment,” Alvarez said in Filipino during a press conference in Iloilo City last week. He advised Sereno not to be impatient or get frustrated as she will definitely be given her day in her preferred venue – the Senate impeachment court. “I think she wants it rushed to the Senate where she thinks she has the numbers. But for me, let us do this properly… people are watching us (on TV). Her accusers are presenting their evi-

dence and her colleagues have spoken. This is the first time in the history of the Supreme Court,” Alvarez said. Her psychiatrist, he added, would also appear before the committee to shed light on whether or not Sereno met the minimum requirements to become chief justice. Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice, earlier said the impeachment complaint is just a matter of formality following the strong belief of Alvarez that the issues raised against Sereno stand on strong and solid ground. In last week’s hearing, at least two SC officials said Sereno’s acquisition of a P5.1-million Toyota Land Cruiser might have violated the Government Procurement Reform Act. “It was already pre-determined, your honor,” Ma. Carina Cunanan, procurement head and assistant chief of SC’s ad-

ministrative services, told the committee. When questioned, she conceded it was a “directive” from the Chief Justice’s camp but downplayed the infraction. “We had to ask the office of the end user what vehicle they would prefer in the event we procure a vehicle. So it was them who said Land Cruiser,” Cunanan recalled. House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas pointed out that, under existing procurement laws, preferring a brand in biddings is strictly prohibited and that only specifications should be stated in the notices to be fair to other equally reliable brands. ABS party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera said that the P6-million budget the SC prepared for the purchase of vehicles was specifically meant for the purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser. Apart from the Land Cruiser, Sereno is using another vehicle, a 2011 Hyundai Starex Gold. ■

SENATE TRIBUTE TO MARAWI HEROES. The Senate, led by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, pays tribute to the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines (PNP) for their bravery in fighting against the Maute-Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in Marawi City. The AFP and PNP Commandos, led by Captain Jommel Ray Parreño (1st row,8th from left) and Captain Aris Gerero (1st row,10th from left), graced this Monday’s session where they were presented a Senate resolution honoring their heroism in fighting off terrorists in Marawi City. Senators who are also in the photo are (1st row, left to right) Senator Gregorio Honasan, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senator Richard Gordon, Senator Grace Poe, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Migz Zubiri, Senator JV Ejercito, (2nd row, left to right) Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and (3rd row) Senator Joel Villanueva. Senate photo by photo by Alex Nueva Espana

Philippine economy grows 6.7% in 2017 by IAN


MANILA — The Philippine economy expanded within the government’s target in 2017, keeping the country’s position as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia despite a slowdown in the last three months of the year, the country’s statistics agency reported om Tuesday, January 23. The country’s gross domestic product — or the value of all finished goods and services produced in the country — grew 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter, decelerating from the upwardly revised 7 percent in the previous three months. The October-December GDP settled below market estimate of 6.7 percent, but nonetheless matched the growth rate recorded in the same period in 2016. The fourth quarter figure placed the country’s full-year GDP performance to 6.7 percent, slower than 2016’s 6.9 percent but still within the government’s 6.5-7.5 percent growth target range in 2017. “To me this is a good performance given the fact that it’s already normal for post-election years to witness a decline in economic growth,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told a press conference. “Our decline is really very mod-

erate,” he added. Farm output, which accounts for about a tenth of the Philippines’ GDP, grew 4 percent in 2017, a turnaround from previous year’s 1.4 percent decline. Pernia said public spending, which grew 14.3 percent, was the main growth driver in the fourth quarter of 2017. On the other hand, the “major contributing factor” to the economic decline was the miscellaneous services sector, which includes the business process outsourcing industry, he said. “We can take this as an indication that the current market profile of the BPO sector is ripe to move into higher value-added services,” Pernia said. The industry sector expanded at a slower pace to 7.2 percent in 2017 from 2016’s 8.4 percent. Meanwhile, services sector grew 6.7 percent last year, a reversal from the 7.4 percent growth rate clocked a year ago. Moving forward, the country’s socioeconomic planning chief said the government is hoping to “shift to the trajectory upwards some more” this year and in the medium term. In the first quarter of 2018, Pernia said he expects domestic demand to pick up on account of improvements in household con-

sumption as a result of the enactment of the Duterte administration’s first tax reform package, and employment opportunities to be generated by the state’s ambitious infrastructure program. He added that government consumption will likely “remain afloat” buoyed by the programmed increase in social spending, as well as higher compensation for government workers in line with the Salary Standardization Law. On December 19, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which aims to generate revenue to fund a multi-billion dollar infrastructure program key to the government’s economic agenda. Under the TRAIN law, personal income tax rates will be adjusted to shift the burden off lower-income segments toward the “ultrarich” while projected revenues to be foregone will be offset by higher excise levies on petroleum and automobiles, among others. The Duterte administration has set an P8.44-trillion infrastructure spending plan until 2022 to spur gross domestic product growth to 7-8 percent starting this year from a targeted 6.5-7.5 percent in 2017. The Philippines has a 7.0-8.0 percent growth target in 2018.


JANUARY 26-FEBRUARY 1, 2018 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160


Economic Cha-cha


Business groups have expressed their views on Charter change, and it would be prudent for lawmakers to consider those opinions. Cha-cha is supposed to be about uplifting the lives of the people – not just of the power elite, whose personal and family fortunes depend on maintaining their grip on political power, but of the millions of ordinary Filipinos who need meaningful jobs and livelihood opportunities. The investors are the ones who can provide those jobs and other opportunities for legitimate income generation. In the past decades, however, the Philippines has progressively slipped in national competitiveness, with investors including some Filipinos taking their businesses to neighboring countries. Despite sustained economic growth – one of Asia’s fastest – the country trails its neighbors in attracting job-generating investments. Even with economic powerhouse China becoming less attractive for foreign investors, the businesses aren’t going to the Philippines but to countries such as Vietnam. Some of the disincentives to investments in the Philippines can be corrected by amending restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution. There are only a few such provisions, and amending them can be done relatively quickly if Congress convenes a constituent assembly, with

the two legislative chambers voting separately and independently. In a joint statement over the weekend, three of the nation’s top business groups – the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines – issued a statement of support for economic Cha-cha through a constituent assembly. For a change in the form of government and other radical reforms, however, the business groups said longer deliberations are needed, through a constitutional convention. While this mode is longer, involves elected delegates and is more costly, it would be a “justifiable” investment in something that could result in “significant social returns in the long run,” the joint statement declared. Their sentiments are shared by many, who are ministration lawmakers. The case for economic worried by the undue haste by which Charter Cha-cha is clear, but still murky for federalism. change for federalism is being pushed by pro-ad- Proponents of a federal system should consider


US Indo-Pacific strategy

Babe’s Eye View BABES ROMUALDEZ EVERY year, the executive branch of the U.S. government is supposed to submit a National Security Strategy (NSS) report to the U.S. Congress, outlining the administration’s goals, objectives, worldwide interests and policies that impact the security of their nation. Many administrations however have not been submitting these reports on time, or worse, have not made any at all. President Barack Obama for instance submitted the NSS only twice during his eight-year tenure – specifically in 2010 and 2015. Last December, the administration of President Donald Trump released its NSS report and as expected, it generated — continues to generate, actually — varied opinions and disparate comments on several issues. One of the most widely discussed however is the prominence given to the

Indo-Pacific region, described in the document as stretching from the west coast of India to the Western shores of the United States representing “the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world,” and where “a geopolitical competition between free and repressive visions of world order is taking place,” the NSS report goes. It was actually Hillary Clinton — during her stint as State Secretary — who highlighted the term “Indo-Pacific” and its importance to global trade and commerce during a speech in Hawaii in 2010. Over the years, the term “Indo-Pacific has become increasingly used in diplomatic and security circles to indicate a wider area encompassing Australia, Japan and India as a counterpoint to “Asia-Pacific” where China is perceived to be predominant. “Although the United States seeks to continue to cooperate with China, China is using economic inducements and penalties, influence operations, and implied military threats to persuade other states to heed

its political and security agenda… Its efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability,” the report said, which also accused China of seeking to “displace the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reach of its state-driven economic model and reorder the region in its favor.” Not surprisingly, China reacted strongly, saying in a statement that, “It is completely egotistical for any nation to put its interests above the common interests of other nations and the international community. It will lead to a path of self-isolation,” adding that the U.S. is being contradictory as it says on one hand that it wants to develop a partnership with China but on the other, “takes an oppositional stance.” The fact is, U.S. allies like Australia and Japan are increasingly using the term “Indo-Pacific” in their policy papers and in discussing security strategies. As early as

2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who is advocating a “free and open Indo-Pacific” — has been urging India to work with Japan in promoting freedom and prosperity in the “broader Asia” where linkages between the U.S., Australia and other Pacific nations would result in a vast network that would allow the free-flow of goods and people. PM Abe’s strategy calls for a “democratic security diamond” involving Japan, Australia, the US and India. Senior diplomats of these nations met in Manila last November and agreed to uphold a rules-based, free and open international order in the Indo-Pacific region. I met with Matt Pottinger, the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for East Asia and adviser to National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster at the White House, where we briefly discussed the IndoPacific strategy. Malaysian Ambassador Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique also hosted another meeting with NSA Director Pottinger and the other ASEAN ambassadors, where the under- photo

the points raised by the business groups and assess where they want to take the latest effort to change the Constitution. (

pinnings of the U.S. strategy in Asia was discussed, along with the common challenges that nations face such as rogue regimes and terrorism, and how nations can strengthen alliances to defeat these threats. In any case, there is no doubt that India is pleased with President Trump’s national security strategy that “welcome(s) India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic partner.” Interestingly, the first foreign trip of President Rodrigo Duterte this year will be to India for the India-ASEAN summit, underscoring the great importance that the Philippine government places on its relationship with India. In November last year, the two nations inked four agreements to boost bilateral relations most especially on defense. Last December, members of the Indian and Philippine coast guards also conducted bilateral maritime exercises in Manila Bay. Not many are aware that India reached out to the Philippines following the siege of Marawi City, offering $500,000 financial assistance to help fight the ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups that attacked the city.

What is doubly significant is that it was the first time India extended aid to another nation to fight terrorists – also underscoring the growing role of the Indian government in Southeast Asia. In my view, President Duterte’s upcoming visit to India clearly demonstrates the wisdom of the president’s pragmatic foreign policy approach, proving that our self-interest is paramount in establishing warm relations with rival countries like India and China. In his message preceding the contents of the 55-page NSS report, President Trump said he envisions “a world of strong, sovereign and independent nations, each with its own cultures and dreams, striving side-by-side in prosperity, freedom, and peace — throughout the upcoming year.” It is clear that if leaders uphold cooperation, respect the dignity and sovereignty of each and every nation and develop an effective mechanism to settle disputes through dialogue — this vision of peaceful coexistence might just be realized soon, not only throughout this year, but for many years to come. (

Philippine foreign affairs: Who’s in charge here? ing what it calls freeFIRST, let’s get dom of navigation opsomething straight. Commentary erations, or “fonops,” Last time we sailing into waters checked, Secretary claimed by China, Alan Peter Cayetano like the area within was in charge of for12 nautical miles, eign affairs, while or 22.22 kilometers, Secretary Delfin from Scarborough Lorenzana handled RICARDO SALUDO Shoal. The fonops national defense. So, some seasoned government show that Washington does not recwatchers must have been puzzled ognize Beijing’s territorial claims. So, the USS Hopper was not entirewhen Secretary Lorenzana last month wanted to file a diplomatic protest ly innocent in sailing near the shoal, over reported Chinese militarization since it was out to challenge China’s assertion of sovereignty. But it was in the Spratlys. The defense chief was doing his job not defending or advancing Philipmonitoring Chinese construction of pine sovereignty, since Washington facilities on reclaimed land at Fiery does not intervene in our territorial Cross Reef, which might have military disputes. Hence, it was a China-U.S. matter, uses. But the diplomatic action over the island activities—that was up to plain and simple, and how the Philthe Department of Foreign Affairs, not ippines responded to it was a matter of foreign, not defense policy. Now, the Department of National Defense. There’s more. Just last weekend, under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Secretary Lorenzana reportedly sid- independent foreign policy of mained with the United States when China taining neutrality and cultivating decried the sailing of a U.S. guided- good relations with all major powers, missile destroyer near Scarborough taking sides is best avoided. As news headlines declared, howShoal. Now, that seemed like a DFA, ever, Secretary Lorenzana “defendnot a DND matter. Asked if the Philippines was con- ed” the U.S. warship’s sailing “even cerned about the USS Hopper sailing in territorial waters.” Now, whose near the shoal, Secretary Lorenzana waters he is referring to? Since Chisaid: “No, for as long as they are on na was the one objecting to the U.S. innocent passage. International law warship, most people would think allows innocent passage even in ter- Secretary Lorenzana referred to Chinese territorial waters around the ritorial waters.” shoal. Not-so-innocent passage In fact, the Philippine position is The U.S. Navy has been conduct-

that Scarborough Shoal is our territory, and China has no right to protest sailings of any vessels around the shoal. Moreover, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or Unclos, does not accord territorial waters to shoals and other marine outcrops. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal, both international law professors at the University of the Philippines, asserted that the shoal was Philippine territory. Batongbacal defended the USS Hopper’s freedom of navigation, while Secretary Roque declined to take sides: “We do not wish to be part of a U.S.-China intramural.” A US push to revive EDCA? Despite the Palace position texted to media, however, one leading newspaper headlined: “PH defends ‘innocent passage’ of U.S. warship near Panatag.” And there may yet be more Lorenzana statements seeming to show the Philippines disputing China and supporting America. That was certainly his perspective a year ago, when he announced a U.S. plan to build facilities on Philippine bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Soon after, he sparked the first controversy over Chinese research at Benham Rise, now Philippine Rise. President Rodrigo Duterte had to intervene. He erupted over possible U.S. nuclear weapons brought into Philippine bases. The U.S. Embassy

denied it, but that stalled U.S. construction of base facilities. And the President disclosed that he gave permission for Chinese research in Benham Rise. Now, Secretary Lorenzana is again criticizing China, even with burgeoning ties under President Duterte. Would this lead to renewed warnings about China and calls to implement the EDCA? After all, Washington needs air and naval bases in the country more than ever, for possible conflicts over Korea and Taiwan. Other prominent figures have lately called for a tougher stance against Beijing. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who spearheaded the winning case in The Hague against China’s “nine-dash line” claim over most of the South China Sea, recently said the government should not allow new Chinese research in Philippine Rise since Beijing won’t accept the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that the DFA recently allowed a research ship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but rejected a French foundation seeking permission, supposedly in the same area. It turned out that the French research was to be in “a sensitive area” in Palawan, as Secretary Cayetano put it. Its vessel was also too small to accommodate a Filipino scientist, as required by the DFA and agreed by China. UP researchers will be on board the Chinese ship.

As for the PCA ruling, Secretary Roque, a professor in international law, said that the decision is binding and valid even if Beijing rejects it. But more important, President Duterte’s reversal of his predecessor’s rabidly anti-China, pro-U.S.policy has eased tensions, and led the Chinese to halt reclamation in the Spratlys, and allow Filipino fishermen back to Scarborough Shoal—actions that even Western analysts see as compliance with The Hague decision. Now, with North Korea’s missile threats, most Filipinos would be scared to host American forces likely to be targeted by Pyongyang. But the U.S. and its supporters won’t stop trying to get the EDCA going. And the Seventh Fleet’s freedom of navigation operations could do just that. Fonops stir up Beijing and escalate tensions. And China’s People’s Daily newspaper, the country’s largest, has warned of massive military build-up if “wanton” provocations intensify. So, if Washington sends more USS Hoppers to raise the temperature, Beijing may just take the bait and deploy more ships, planes and missiles, or even impose restrictions like the air defense identification zone it declared over the East China Sea near Japan in 2013. All the more reason to keep cool heads in Asian capitals, and get the Code of Conduct between our region and Beijing done fast. (ManilaTimes. net)

The views expressed by our Op-Ed contributors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect the predilection of the editorial board and staff of Asian Journal.

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Now hiring in the Bay Area On-the-spot job offers We are hosting walk-in hiring events for part-time opportunities. Visit our website for event details. FIERY PERFORMANCE. Street dancers and a fire-breather perform along ROTC Hunters Street during the procession of the feast of Sto. Niño in Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City on Sunday, January 21. PNA photo by Joey O. Razon

Alvarez on zero budget threat: ‘It was a joke’ by DANA


HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has dismissed his recent threat to cut the budget of lawmakers who will oppose the proposed shift to a federal form of government as a mere “joke.” In a television interview on Monday, January 22, Alvarez clarified that he was “not serious” when he previously warned solons that they may receive “zero budget” if they refused to support the federalism initiative of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. “Alam mo… ‘pag nag-speech ka, kailangan mo ng konting birubiro, di ba? ‘Yun lang naman ‘yun eh, ewan ko ba kung bakit sineryoso nila yan (Sometimes you need a joke when making a speech, right? That’s all it is about. I don’t know why they took it seriously),” Alvarez told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart. Last week, the House speaker said he would respect politicians who will not support the push for federalism but added that they, in

House Speaker Pantaleon Alavarez photo

turn, must also respect his decision to give no funds for projects in their provinces. He pointed out that it would be “unfair” if both supporters and critics of federalism get funding from Congress. “Siyempre, ‘yung ibang probinsya ayaw nilang makisama, o ‘di zero sa budget... Alangan namang pantay? (Of course, provinces that refuse to cooperate, will get zero budget...Should there be equal treatment?),” Alvarez said in a speech on Thursday, January 18.

He continued, “Kung ayaw ‘nyong sumama, okay. Ginagalang ko ‘yun, karapatan ‘nyo ‘yun, pero ang sabi ko nga, igalang ‘nyo rin ang karapatan ko para ma-zero kayo sa budget, ‘di ba? (If you won’t go along with the plan, it’s okay. I respect that. It’s your right, but you should also respect my right to give you zero budget, right?).” But Alvarez later dismissed his threat as “empty words,” noting that he could not decide alone on the distribution of the government’s budget. He further pointed out that budget proposals needed concurrence of the Senate. Malacañang, for its part, said the House cannot decide alone on budget matters because Congress consists of two chambers. “With regard to the budget, the passage of such law needs the concurrence of the House and the Senate,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said. “For us, it is hard to happen because in order to give a zero budget, the Senate and the House [have] to agree.” ■ ¼âÖïäãÞèÖãÀæêÖáÊååäçéêãÞéğçâÖéÞëÚ¼ØéÞäãÀâåáäîÚç”ÈÞãäçÞéî—ÁÚâÖáÚ—¿ÞèÖ×ÞáÞéî—ÑÚéÚçÖã—ÂÚãÙÚçÄÙÚãéÞéî—ÎÚíêÖáÊçÞÚãéÖéÞäã



january 26-february 1, 2018 • nOrCaL aSIan jOurnaL • (650) 689-5160

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Your Immigration Solution BRITTANY MILLIASSEAU AND NANCY MILLER OVER the last few months there have been numerous changes in immigration law and policy. In fact, it is extremely difficult to browse through a newspaper or flip through television channels without reading or hearing at least one story about immigration. While many of the headlines have focused on topics such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the travel ban, immigration raids, and the end of Temporary Protected Status for thousands of individuals from war-torn and disaster-stricken countries, there have also been several changes in employmentbased immigration that generally have not been as extensively covered by mainstream news media. One particular employmentbased immigration program that has seen various changes within the last few months has been the H-1B program, which allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign nationals in a “specialty occupation.” A “specialty occupation” is an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s degree. Certain positions that may qualify as specialty occupations include engineers, teachers, physicians, lawyers, and architectures. Traditionally, one of the biggest hurdles to obtaining an H1B visa was being selected in the H-1B lottery system. The yearly number of H-1B visas allocated by Congress is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 allocated for individuals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university. Typically, there are far many more H-1B petitions submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which creates the need for a computer-generated random selection process, or H-1B

Recent changes in H-1B adjudication you should know about before filing lottery system. For example, last year USCIS received nearly 200,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period. As mentioned above, traditionally one of the most difficult parts of the H-1B application process was actually getting selected in the lottery, however as of recently, selection under the H-1B Cap is just where the process begins as adjudication of H-1B applications has become highly scrutinized. In April 2017, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Buy American and Hire American” which was aimed at creating higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers and protecting their economic interests. The executive order specifically discussed the H-1B visa program and directed federal agencies to make sure that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” Following the implementation of this executive order, there have been widespread reports of governmental challenges to H-1B visa adjudication such as an increase in the number of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) issued by USCIS. Certain reports show an increase of 44% as compared with last year. In addition, USCIS updated its policy guidance instructing officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial H-1B petitions and requests for H-1B extensions. As a result, individuals who have been in H1B status for many years have begun receiving complex RFEs or even denials, after USCIS has already previously approved their application. Under prior policy, officers were allowed to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition as long as certain elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of fraud, however this is no longer the case. In addition to substantive changes, USCIS also slowed down the H-1B adjudication process by suspending “premium processing” of all H1B petitions which has resulted in lengthy adjudication times, often placing a strain on employers

and beneficiaries. Recently, reports surfaced stating that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was considering new regulations that would change H-1B extension rules, limiting the ability of H-1B workers who are in the process of receiving their green cards to obtain H-1B extensions beyond the sixth-year maximum. While these rumors have been debunked, USCIS has confirmed that the “agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programs.” As approvals of initial and extension H-1B petitions become increasingly difficult, it is now more important than ever to ensure that you are represented by knowledgeable and highly competent immigration counsel throughout the entire H-1B application process. During the first week of April, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B cap-subject petitions. As such, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible to begin the preparation process as well as to discuss options in the event of a petition rejection or issuance of a complex RFE. It is also important to meet with an experienced immigration attorney to explore whether an H-1B visa is the most suitable option for you or your company.

PH, Netherlands to craft Manila Bay masterplan File photo by Manila Times by MAYVELIN


THE Philippines and the Netherlands will be working on a masterplan for the development of the Manila Bay area following the signing of a memorandum of agreement on Monday, January 22. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia signed on behalf of the Philippines while and Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx represented the Netherlands. The two governments agreed to work together towards the formulation of the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan, which is expected to

guide future decisions on programs and projects — ranging from coastal protection, waste and water resources management, transport and reclamation activities, among others — to be undertaken in the Bay area. “We are fortunate to have the Dutch with us in this endeavor. Their extensive knowledge and experience in implementing programs and projects that protect vulnerable coastal zones are unparalleled,” Pernia said in a speech. Derckx, meanwhile, noted that the Duterte administration has “so many plans for infrastructure and the Netherlands already has quite some experience in the Philippines in this field.”

The Netherlands, which is mostly flat with many areas below sea level, is known for having developed integrated and innovative coastal management solutions. Preliminary activities for the master planning exercise began in 2015 when the Philippine government asked for the deployment of Dutch disaster risk reduction to conduct a scoping mission, which confirmed the need for a development and management framework for the Manila Bay area. The findings prompted the Philippine government to appropriate P250 million under the 2017 NEDA budget and the Netherlands committed to provide at least P75 million. ■

Dominguez defends balance between business tax cuts, perks

*** Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza is one of the oldest, largest and most experienced immigration firms in the United States by BEN O. DE VERA with offices in Pasadena, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Manila and China. Telephone: (800) 795-8009 EVEN as the planned cut in E-mail: corporate income tax rates will website: depend on the revenue gains of the second tax reform pack*** The analysis and suggestions offered age, Finance Secretary Carlos G. in this column do not create a Dominguez III expressed confilawyer-client relationship and are dence that investors will undernot a substitute for the personalized stand the government’s thrust representation that is essential to of balancing the grant of fiscal perks. every case. (Advertising Supplement) Asked last week if investors

could be deterred by the conditional reduction in corporate income taxes, Dominguez replied: “No, I don’t think so. I think it focuses the issue—what do you want: lower income tax, or less incentives that are targeted, time-bound and measured? So it focuses the mind. So if you are a File photo by Inquirer company, you will balance it—do I really need this incentive, or am For the second tax reform I better off with lower income package as a whole, Dominguez tax? So it’s always a balanced ap- told reporters that “our plan is proach giving them a choice.” u PAGE CJ3



Petitioning children of your spouse from a previous marriage A STEPPARENT may file an immigrant petition for a stepchild even without the stepparent having to legally adopt the stepchild. However, before a stepparent may be able to file an immigrant petition for a stepchild, the stepparent–stepchild relationship should have been created before a stepchild turns 18 years old. This means that the stepparent and the biological parent of the stepchild must get married before the child turns 18 years old. If the petitioner can no longer file an immigrant petition for the stepchild because the child has turned 18 years old, the child can still be petitioned by the biological parent after she obtains his or her permanent residency status. The significance of having a U.S. citizen stepparent file for a stepchild is so that they could avoid the visa backlogs for visa petitions filed by legal permanent residents for their minor children (2d preference category). But considering the current visa priority dates being processed under the 2d preference category, the stepchild may be able to im-

Community Journal

biological parent, both parent and child can file their respective applications for adjustment of status to have their status changed from K to permanent resident status. The decision whether to file a fiancé petition or an immigrant petition is crucial especially if Atty. Dennis ChuA, esq. the child is aging out or turning 21 years of age. The decision to migrate sooner than later even just get married instead of filing if petitioned by a legal perma- a fiancé petition could mean a nent resident biological parent. long wait of at least eight years If the biological parent is about before the child can be able to to get married to the U.S. citizen immigrate to the United States petitioner and the biological par- and join the biological parent. *** ent has a child who is already Atty. Dennis E. Chua is a partner in The over 18 years of age, it might be wise to consider postponing Law Firm of Chua Tinsay and Vega (CTV), a full service law firm with offices in San Franthe marriage to give the child an cisco, San Diego and Manila. The informaopportunity to enter the United tion presented in this article is for general States faster. information only and is not, nor intended to Instead of marrying the bio- be, formal legal advice nor the formation of logical parent, the U.S. citizen an attorney-client relationship. Call or epetitioner can just file a fiancé mail CTV for an in-person or phone consulpetition for the biological parent. tation to discuss your particular situation Once the fiancé petition is ap- and/or how their services may be retained proved, both the biological par- at (415) 495-8088; (619) 955-6277; Dchua@ The CTV Attorneys will be at ent and child can be issued the Max’s Restaurant in Vallejo on October corresponding K visas for them 19, 2009 from 5pm to 7pm to hold a FREE to enter the United States. Upon legal clinic. (Advertising Supplement) marriage of the U.S. citizen to the

The CTV Files

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Health@Heart PhiliP s. ChuA, MD, FACs, FPCs ADVANCES in science and technology bolster progress in almost all facets of human endeavor, making most (unfortunately, not all) people more comfortable, more efficient, and productive, not to mention other benefits we derive from them as individuals and as a society. The birth of the mind-boggling computer ushered in one of the brightest inventions of man, which enabled the exponential developments and proliferation of very efficient machines, devices, and gadgets. Just like most progress, the computer age also brings with it some health, behavioral, social, and even legal consequences. Its abuse leads to electronic addiction. Much like dealing with drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, personal and societal discipline is fundamental. Of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6.8 billion have mobile phones. In the United States, 92 percent have their own mobile phone. In the Philippines, there are about 30.4 million mobile phone users in 2017. There are 84 percent of Americans who have a computer, and 73 percent of them have Internet connection. Tablets for kids are very popular today. When was the word “computer” coined? It was in 1613 when the word “computer” was first used, describing a human who performed calculations. This word lingered until the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century developed machines whose main purpose was calculating. The first automatic computing machine was developed by Charles Babbage in 1822, but it was 15 years later when he proposed the first general mechanical computer, which was called the Analytical Engine. The first electromechanical binary programmable functional computer, called Z1, was created by Konrad Zuse, a German, in his parents’ living room between 1936 and 1938. The computers then were huge, occupying an entire room, compared to today’s miniature and a lot more powerful devices. But the foundation for theories on computing and computers were originally proposed by Alan Turing in 1936, called the Turing machine. The fundamentals Turing set have enabled the development of our computers of today. When was portable computer born? Osborne I, released on April 1981, was truly the first portable computer or laptop, developed by Adam Osborne. It weighed 24.5

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond Monette ADevA MAglAyA A ‘SELFIE’ is a do-it-yourself self-portrait using a handheld digital camera or the now ubiquitous cellphone. A ‘selfie’ can be taken for laughs. But more often than not, it is for the purpose of immediate electronic posting in any one of the social networks, usually Facebook or Instagram for all to see. In our electronic world, it is a way of attracting or demanding attention, sort of saying to your world of followers or connections, “Look at me. Look at me.” The most famous ‘selfie’ is the one taken by one of 3 heads of state (USA, Denmark and the UK) during the funeral of Nelson Mandela. That ‘selfie’ created a big flap for its impropriety considering the somber occasion. It also reportedly became a source of jealousy and frosty discord in the White House. The blonde Danish head was flanked by 2 men in that photo while Michelle Obama sat on one side of the President, looking appropriately somber and visibly unimpressed by the juvenile stunt. I have used that cellphone feature myself a few times. It is convenient not to have to impose on someone else to take a photo of yourself on your cellphone. Although I must say the results of all those close-up ‘selfie’ shots with a moon face and all the eye bags and the wrinkles magnified are strong arguments against selfies. Not to worry though, vanity will always find a way. There are telescopic, retractable stick-like gadgets you can buy that you can place your cellphone at one end that enables one to take shots of yourself farther than your arm and hand can manage. There are even apps you can use to correct that physical limitation of arm’s length. The ‘selfie’ is a telling indicator of the age we live in. We cry for • (650) 689-5160

Electronic addicts

pounds, with a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two floppy drives, and ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system, and a modem, priced at $1,795. It was in 1975 when Ed Roberts came up with the term “personal computer, introducing his Altair 8800, although many considered Kenbak-1, which came out in 1971 for $750 as the first personal computer. Is computer addiction real? Yes, it is. I know because I love electronics and feel the temptation. Usually it is a combination of computer (internet) addiction and cell phone (text or call) addiction. The signs and symptoms are very obvious among young and old alike, and even among toddlers. They would rather delay everything else, even their meals or sleep, in favor of computing, browsing, doing social media, or gaming, or texting or calling. They sleep and wake up with a cell phone or tablet or laptop in bed. Lo-bat drives them anxious and angry, and toddlers have been known to throw tantrums and cry. How serious is the problem? The situation is getting more and more serious around the world where these devices are available. Parents are quite aware of this addiction, saying this is a new form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), labeling it computer/mobile phone ADD. Pediatricians and psychologists are seeing more and more adolescents and even toddlers with this problem. School performance suffers too. Those addicted to computer games have increased risk for restlessness, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. Carpal Tunnel and vision problem is also common from computer abuse. The question of radiation is still an unsettled matter, even with the use of mobile phones. What is the social impact of this addiction? Electronic addicts keep to themselves. They are in their own private world for hours, not talking to anyone, not even to one another, much less their parents. The same goes true with toddlers, who would develop attention deficit, with their external (non-electronic) environment, poor eating habit, slower speech development, and diminished social skills. These are also found among older children and some adults. There were reports that kids had threatened to shoot their parents for cutting their computer use. Misuse or abuse of social media could also ruin privacy, invite identity theft, expose children/teenagers to dangerous situations from criminals, and potential legal dilemmas. Does this addiction affect family life? Definitely. When everybody, parents included, go separate

ways at home, in their own little cocoon, their own private world, with their electronic device, and not talk to each other, or even eat or pray together, family bonding is negatively impacted. Unless wise and sober house rules are promulgated by both parents and siblings with regards to the use of electronic devices, including computer toys, electronic addiction could destroy the family and the individual members. Imagine the children not paying attention to their parents, or grandparents, or to each other, or even to their friends in school, who are likewise addicted. When electronics is not only a part of children’s life but the only life they have, they will face a future of health, social, and psychological issues. To the addicts, the real life becomes boring, the virtual world, exciting. Are electronic devices that bad? Of course not. These wonderful devices can enable adults, children, and toddlers to expand their vision, knowledge, skills, and help fulfill their dreams with a treasury of information and data, all available in split seconds, at their fingertips. The regular use of Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant, or Google itself is not only convenient but efficient and a joy. They are enhancers, enablers, and facilitators, providing the user instant access to information, time, weather, music, restaurant or movie reservations, shopping, and hundreds of other uses. Artificial intelligence, robots included, would someday be a regular household fixture for most, if not all, homes. The Internet today allows you to journey all around the galaxy, without having to leave your home or office, saving you gasoline and airfares. And they are very entertaining too. When used for family game or entertainment, etc., electronics are good for bonding. The kitchen knife could be used to prepare meals for your loved ones, or used to hurt them or yourself. All really depends on how you intelligently and wisely you use the electronic devices you have. They are actually magical gems that even elevate the level of the happy hormones in us. *** Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. For more data, visit; Email: scalpelpen@ (Advertising Supplement

The ‘Selfies’ generation idolatry on steroids (Part 1 of 2)

“Vanity of vanities; All is vanity.” and demand attention from oth–Ecclesiastes ers. There are those who are falling in love with their own images, their own thoughts and their cyber persona thinking they have thousands of followers. Some even think they have become legends in their own minds. They believe the world revolves around them and that their personal happiness is paramount. Following the lead of celebrities in the sports and entertainment world, we are being led to believe that life is all about I, Me and Myself at center stage. The songs and stories in popular media all amplify and sell the story of self-love as the highest form of love. It isn’t. We have all the electronic tools for self-absorption at hand these days: camera phones, computers, tablets, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of social media and the unceasing, unrelenting advertising messages that prick and capitalize on our vanity. Advertisers know our hot buttons and the messages they cleverly craft and send are designed to keep pressing those buttons until we succumb and buy what we are being sold. Self-absorption is certainly not a new phenomenon. It is probably written in the human DNA from the beginning but is just more widespread because of the available technological platform to profess self-love. Advanced, wealthy civilizations in history have fallen for the same trap. Maybe it’s time to dredge out those stories from mythology, told and retold from the distant past, so we can better understand how to deal with this interesting yet disconcerting trend and see how too much self-absorption driven by obsession can eventually lead to despondency and unhappiness. The antidote to self-absorption, just like for many ills that plague

our world today, is still the same as it was in the past — love and concern for others, interest in the well-being of someone or being involved in something bigger, higher, loftier than one’s self. The idea of sacrifice still remains the most concrete, visible form of love for another. In an age of instant gratification, sacrifice has become passé, a thing of the past. And that, perhaps, is the reason for much of the world’s troubles these days. In the end, happiness finally comes with the humble awareness and quiet appreciation of what was, what is and what is yet to come — right now, right here where we live our days and nights, just within the small circle consisting of ourselves and our loved ones, without demanding attention from others. Do remember that not everyone is rooting for you. If we think we have become stars in the firmament because of our own self-absorption, here’s a story from Greek mythology to help bring us down a notch back to terra firma with a soft, gentle thud. Long ago when enchanted creatures peopled the earth, there was a nymph called Echo. She probably rated a nine and a half on a 10 point-attractiveness scale, gorgeous, knowledgeable and perfect in every way except for one thing — she was a chatterbox without equal. She liked to hear herself talk far too much and perhaps, with a tinge of hubris, would insist on having the last word in every conversation. Juno, the queen of the Gods, was so irked by Echo’s habit that she meted out a punishment just for her. Echo will no longer be able to talk, except for one tiny concession — she will be


(650) 689-5160 •

Immigration Corner ATTY. MICHAEL GURFINKEL, ESQ DEAR Attorney Gurfinkel: I am a green card holder, and petitioned my adult single child in June 2015 in the F-2B category. When I recently checked the USCIS website for processing times, it shows they’re processing F-2B petitions filed in late May 2015. Does this mean my adult child will be eligible for his green card in about a month, as May 2015 is a month away from June 2015? I’m so confused about processing times, priority dates, and visa bulletins, and what they all mean. Very truly yours, RD Dear RD: For family petitions, there are two basic lines or processing times: • The processing time for USCIS to approve the petition; and • The waiting time for the visa to become available, based on the priority date (or date the petition was filed with the USCIS). Just because USCIS approves the petition, does not necessarily mean the visa is immediately available. It could take many years after a petition has been approved for the priority date to become current and the visa to be available. For example, if a person wants


Two different lines, processing times for family petitions to go into a theater, they must first stand in line to get the ticket at the ticket counter. After they get the ticket, they must now stand in another, longer line, to get inside the theater. In the same way, a person files a petition, and USCIS eventually approves that petition. That is the “processing times” on the USCIS website. But after the petition is approved, they now must wait for their priority date to become current, which can take many years, depending on the type of family petition. In your case, although USCIS may be processing F-2B petitions filed in late May 2015, the priority date (or waiting time for the actual green card or Visa) is now July 2006 as of February 2018. It is estimated that your child’s F2B visa will not become available (or the priority date will not become current) until sometime in 2030. Just because the petition is approved, does not mean the person will be immediately eligible for a green card. They now must wait in the “second line” for the priority date to become current (unless they are an “immediate relative” (spouse, child under 21, or parent) of a U.S. citizen, in which case a visa is immediately available.) You may want to consider other ways to bring these family members to the U.S. faster, such as through an employer’s

petition, which might take about two or three years versus 10 or 15 years. The employer does not need to be a Fortune 500 company. It can even be a six-bed care home, as long as the employer is earning enough money to afford the alien’s wages. You may want to consult with an attorney to consider if there are other, faster ways to bring your family members to the U.S. *** Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different. The information contained herein including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. WEBSITE: Follow us on and Twitter @GurfinkelLaw Call Toll free to schedule a consultation for anywhere in the US: (866)—GURFINKEL Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES · SAN FRANCISCO · NEW YORK · PHILIPPINES

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Dominguez defends balance...


always to have two sides of the coin—one revenue raising, one revenue reduction.” “We will balance it; our approach is always balanced,” Dominguez said, citing the same tack in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which slashed personal income tax rates but jacked up taxes on consumption. Based on DOF presentations before industry associations, the second package aims to broaden the tax base by repealing 150 special laws on investment tax incentives and consolidating them into a single omnibus law. It will likewise repeal exemptions of government-owned and/or controlled corporations, proprietary educational institutions and hospitals, regional headquarters, regional operating headquarters, incomes of resident foreign corporations from foreign currency transactions, nonresident cinematographic film owners, lessors or distributors, as well as owners or lessors of aircraft, machineries, vessels and other equipment. While cutting down on incentives, the second tax reform package will bring down the corporate income tax rate start-

ing Jan. 1, 2020 by 1 percentage point for every reduction in investment tax perks equivalent to 0.15 percent of gross domestic product in 2018 or an estimated P26 billion. “The goal is to reduce the corporate income tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent by 2022, while expanding the base by 0.75 percent of GDP or P130 billion in 2018 prices,” the DOF said. Dominguez said the DOF expects the target to cut the foregone revenues from fiscal incentives to be easily attainable. The second tax package will also improve compliance by simplifying the tax rules for corporations, including slashing the optional standard deduction to 20 percent of gross income for both individuals and corporations from 40 percent at present; allowing deductions, including net operating loss carryover and depreciation; as well as defining medium and large (on a conglomerate basis) taxpayers. To avail of incentives, investments must be performancebased, with an independent body or the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to measure it; timebound, to enjoy five-year income tax holiday and/or reduced rate with no extension except for the

Business News Foreign businessmen upbeat on Philippines, see FDI soaring to all-time high

PAGE CJ2 t able to say only the last word. In the same forest where the nymphs lived, there was a young man named Narcissus who was so classically handsome and perfectly proportioned that all the nymphs oohed and ahhed and fell in love with him at first sight. Picture Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of “David” in flesh and blood. If he were real person today, he would have made the cover of People’s Sexiest Man of the Year.” His fans became legion. All that adulation got into his head. He became extremely vain. No nymph was good enough for him.

One day, Echo espied Narcissus while he was hunting with his peers and fell in love with him like a ton of bricks. She longed to tell him of her feelings, but in her afflicted state, she became painfully shy and simply contented herself silently watching him from a distance, shadowing Narcissus’ every move. Narcissus, however, became aware of her shadowy presence and talked her out of her hiding place. Echo could only repeat the last words of what Narcissus was saying in their conversation so she may have came out sounding like a mindless idiot, vexing the vain Narcissus. Besotted with love for the hunk

however and believing Narcissus’ plea that she come out so they can be joined together, she finally overcame her crippling shyness and revealed herself. However, Narcissus felt she wasn’t good enough for him and snubbed her. He scorned her for her bold presumptuousness and repudiated her. He sent her away in the most cutting words swearing he would rather die than be with Echo. (To be continued …) *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.



SIPA hosts Pinay Empowerment Brunch in Los Angeles Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) will host its second Pinay Empowerment Brunch on Sunday, January 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be held at BARKADA (1253 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA). The event will feature a panel with Cher Calvin (KTLA 5 TV), Isa Fabro (Chef, Unit 120), Janelle S. Foster (BET/Viacom), and Kimmy Maniquis (California Conference for Equality & Justice). It will be moderated by Rob Asghar (author/commentator whose work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, etc). To purchase tickets, please visit: $30 online pre-sale/$40 general admission. Ticket includes a gourmet Pilipino brunch by Barkada.




FOREIGN business leaders are bullish on their outlook for the Philippine economy this year as they expect foreign direct investment (FDI) levels soaring to new highs. Economic expansion is likely to continue this year, thereby sustaining investor confidence and keeping the country an attractive investment destination, according to foreign business leaders polled by The STAR. “FDI should remain at its new level since 2015 above $6 billion, but may surprise us by reaching $10 billion,” American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines senior advisor John Forbes said. “The President’s Memorandum Order 16, instructing agencies to reduce restrictions on foreign investment in eight areas, when implemented by passing laws reducing restrictions and, in due course, amending the constitutional restrictions on foreign equity could attract many billions of dollars in new investment,” Forbes added. European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Guenter Taus pointed out that government actively acting upon the memorandum order would have a substantial effect on the Philippine economy as it would “open the floodgates to investors who see the high potential and wealth of opportunities in the Philippines.” “The Philippines has done well in 2017 to match the very high level (of FDI) seen in 2016, and it could well be exceeded in 2018 if the soon-to-be-published Foreign Investment Negative List will really open up certain sectors for higher foreign participation, as indicated in statements from the administration,”

capital equipment duty perk; targeted, or based on the three-year investment priorities plan (IPP) covering both local and foreign investors that will serve both domestic and international markets; as well as transparent, with the name of beneficiaries and tax incentives to be reported by the FIRB. Also among the proposed reforms under the second tax package include a regular review to be undertaken by the FIRB on all tax and other perks given away by the various investment promotions agencies (IPAs). Under the DOF proposal, the Secretary of Finance can cancel or suspend the grant of incentives upon the review and recommendation of the FIRB, a power that the official does not have at present and currently held only by IPAs. Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, who chairs House ways and means committee, confirmed to reporters last Friday that they already received last week the DOF’s draft bill containing the second tax reform package. Cua said Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua will brief the House leadership about the new tax package on Wednesday, January 24. ■

The ‘Selfies’ generation idolatry on...

Calendar of Events across

ABANDONED BY HER BIRTH PARENTS, WILL NIKKA BE LEFT BEHIND AGAIN WHEN USCIS CHALLENGED HER ADOPTIVE PARENT’S ELIGIBILITY TO PETITION HER? Lilia (right) and her husband Peter filed a petition to adopt Nikka (left) when the child was 12 years old. The adoption decree was issued six (6) days before Nikka turned 16 years old, and the certificate of finality came out two (2) months after Nikka’s 16th birthday. When Lilia and Peter filed an Immediate Relative Petition for Nikka, the USCIS served a Request for Evidence (RFE), challenging their eligibility to adopt Nikka. Lilia and Peter were devastated, depressed, and in despair. Would this mean losing the chance to be reunited with their adopted child - whom they loved and considered their own? Watch how leading U.S. immigration attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel came to the rescue and secured approval of their petition in a mere two months, on an encore episode of “Citizen Pinoy” – on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement)


TFCU talks heads to UC Davis TFCU Talks will be in Davis, California on Saturday, February 3, 2018. An affiliate of ABSCBN International, TFCU Talks Davis will feature a lineup of top industry leaders to connect, inspire, and empower college students and young professionals to help them realize their full potential. TFCU Talks Davis is co-presented by Mga Kapatid (My Brothers and Sisters) - a social, political, cultural, and academic organization for the Pilipino-American community at UC Davis. The event takes place at the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre in UC Davis (Arboretum Dr, Davis, CA 95616). Speakers include Christine Gambito (comedian, YouTube personality), Sydney Loyola (trans choreographer), Rudy Corpuz Jr. (co-founder of United Playaz), and Mike Sagun (career coach). TFCU Talks Davis is an exclusive free event with limited seating

F E B R UA RY 2 0

“Usapang Pagkain”: A monthly series exploring wellness with Filipino cuisine in Chicago, IL Philippines European Chamber of Commerce president Guenter Taus

Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president Bo Lundqvist said. Latest figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed FDI inflows to the Philippines from January to October 2017 reached $7.86 billion, 20.5 percent higher than the $6.52 billion registered in the same period the previous year. The BSP earlier raised its net FDI inflow target for 2017 to $8 billion from an initial $7 billion after FDIs reached a record high $7.9 billion in 2016. “We expect continued strong economic growth in 2018, hopefully moving above seven percent,” Forbes said. “It is realistic to expect a GDP (gross domestic product) growth of seven percent in 2018. This may increase if the planned infrastructure spending is executed according to plans, and if the tax reform is implemented as planned, giving almost all income earners a higher disposable income for spending,” Lundqvist added. For this year, the business leaders said investors have set their sights on the government’s

File photo by Philstar

Build Build Build initiative. Lundqvist said the lack of proper core infrastructure is the biggest challenge to the country’s continued growth, as the Philippines continues to lag behind its Asian neighbors in this area. He said the proposed Build Build Build plan should be able to address key areas of infrastructure “if implemented on time, as planned, and in a transparent and fair conduct.” For Forbes, 2018 should be the year to start many major infrastructure projects for new bridges, toll roads, rail lines, water projects, telecommunications and airports. “We are very supportive of the administration’s Build Build Build initiatives. What we would like to see now is as clear roadmap of the projects under this program and the next steps that need to be taken in order to get things going. Specifically, we need to see a clear plan to really show potential investors that, not only is there political will to get the Philippines on the right track, but there are already steps taken and a solid plan moving forward,” Taus added. ■

Community-based organization AFIRE (Alliance of Filipinos For Immigrants Rights & Empowerment) and food media and events group Filipino Kitchen will explore wellness and health with Filipino Cuisine in a monthly series, Usapang Pagkain. The event series is free and open to the community. Each event will highlight a Filipino dish or dishes, including recipes. During the weekday evening events, a light dinner of the highlighted dishes will be provided. Made possible with a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the purpose of the series is to explore how Filipino food can best serve our community. On Tuesday, February 20 from 6 to 8 p.m., the focus is “Healthy & Happy Hearts.” The event will take place at the Hana Center (4300 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL). Schedule and venues are subject to change, please check and for the most up-todate information. - first come, first served. For all ticketing information, and to reserve your spot, please visit

F E B R UA RY 22

Immigration forum in Anaheim, CA There will be an immigration forum on Thursday, February 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Brookhurst Community Center (2271 Crescent Ave., Anaheim, CA 92801). RSVP is a MUST to attend. No registration fee required. Please contact (714) 657-7460 or The immigration forum is about employment-based immigration information regarding FAST TRACK Work Visas ( H-1B1, TN, E-3), green card by marriage, family-based immigration employment sponsorship for green card and work visas after graduation. Candidates with H-1B, TN, F-1, OPT & other visas issues are encouraged to attend for a FREE immigration consultation & immigration assistance. As you have already seen there are many changes happening in the field of immigration with regards to the new executive administration and their agenda. Global Law Centers strives to inform the immigrant community of its rights and make sure it is knowledgeable about what immigration processes might be available. The forum will also update everyone about new and recent changes which may affect immigrants and their families.

If you have an upcoming event and would like us to post it, please email us the details at or



JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 1, 2018 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160

People & Events

Americans with Disabilities Act information THE Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and to bring persons with disabilities into the economic and social mainstream of American life. The City of Hercules is committed to complying with both the intent and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Information regarding the City’s designated ADA Coordinator and Notice of Non-Discrimination is available here: Notice under the ADA In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), the City of Hercules will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs, or activities. The City of Hercules will seek to provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in the City of Hercules programs, services, and activities. The City of Hercules will make reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity

to enjoy its programs, services, and activities. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service, or activity of the City of Hercules should contact Mike Roberts, ADA Coordinator, as soon as possible but no Photo courtesy of later than 48 hours before the scheduled event. Complaints that a program, service, or activity of the City of Hercules is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to Mike Roberts, ADA Coordinator. ADA Coordinator The ADA Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the City of Hercules to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and investigating any concerns or complaints regarding access to City programs, services or activities. Mike Roberts, Public Works Director and City Engineer, has been designated as the ADA Coordinator. Mike Roberts may be reached at: City of Hercules, 111 Civic Drive, Hercules, CA 94547 Email: Phone: (510) 799-8421 FAX: (510) 799-2521 For TDD/TTY access call 711. ■

Traffic? potholes? bike paths? tell us your transportation funding priorities

JOIN a Get Us Moving San Mateo County Town Hall to tell us what you think are the County’s critical transportation needs. You can also participate by taking our short survey Get Us Moving is a collaborative effort between the City of Daly City, SamTrans, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and partner agencies and groups to develop a San Mateo County Transportation Funding Plan. Attend one of the following Town Halls: San Mateo – Thurs. January 25, 6:30 p.m.

Oak Room, San Mateo Public Library, 55 W. 3rd Ave., San Mateo Pacifica – Thurs. February 1, 6 p.m. Auditorium, Pacifica Community Center, 540 Crespi Drive, Pacifica Menlo Park – Thurs. February 15, 6:30 p.m. Ballroom, Menlo Park Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park South San Francisco – Thurs. February 22, 6:30 p.m. Council Chambers, Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Dr., South San Francisco. ■

Asian Journal Launches the 2018 Love of Country Global Ambassadors Program Starting in the USA Dare to lead, dare to inspire, dare to be great. As part of their continued mission to empower Overseas Filipinos and to promote tourism, investment, studying abroad, entrepreneurship, and retirement in the Philippines, the Asian Journal officially launches the 2018 Love of Country Global Ambassadors Program. The Love of Country Global Ambassadors Program seeks highly competitive and ambitious Filipino women and men who aim to fuel the economic growth and development of the Philippines, inspire their local Filipino communities, and thus, transform the Filipino future. The program welcomes women and men in four different age brackets to apply—that no one is too young or too old to create a positive change in the world and pursue their dreams, goals, and ambitions. Individuals selected to participate will receive prizes, invaluable professional networks and career opportunities in addition to a 14-Day all expense paid trip to the Philippines which will be filled with cultural immersion, exploration of tourist destinations, philanthropy and humanitarian work, artist, business, and leadership training, to investment insights. “In its pure essence, the Love of Country Ambassadors Program is about the sustainability and continued progression of the Overseas Filipino Community, Balikbayans, and also supporting the present and future economic health of the Philippines. Our great nation relies heavily on the support of overseas Filipinos to provide a quality of life for their loved ones back home. They pay for real estate, health insurance, a car, education, food, a smartphone, internet—you name it. But with immigration policies becoming stricter worldwide, the volatility of the global economy and geopolitics, coupled with an ageing population such as the baby-boomer generation preparing for retirement and a disconnected 2nd and 3rd generation of overseas Filipinos, we may see a profound slowdown in remittance,” said Roger Oriel, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Asian Journal Media Group.

“This not only supports loved ones, but drives consumption which supports many businesses and so there is a ripple effect. If consumer spending is down, think about all those jobs in the Philippines and the loved ones that those jobs support. So number 1, our program hopes to ignite, drive, and fuel foreign travel, investment, studying abroad, entrepreneurship, and retirement in the Philippines. And number 2, the opportunity to win a free trip to the Philippines is truly a gift to all Overseas Filipinos—our modern day heroes,” he continued. The Concept of the Program In an interview with Raphael John Oriel, the program’s co-founder, current Editor-in-Chief of Balikbayan Magazine, and Chief Business Development Officer of the Asian Journal Media Group said, “For several years now, one of the recurring questions that I’ve encountered from both readers and clients was how can we connect Overseas Filipinos back to the country, especially those who have already assimilated to the country they moved to or were born and raised in—that 2nd and 3rdgeneration of Filipinos. I see on my Facebook that my Filipino friends and family go travel to other Asian Countries and I’m thinking, why? How do I make them choose the Philippines instead? Why are they going to Thailand or Hawaii or wherever really instead of going to the Philippines? So for quite some time now, I’ve been studying what other countries do. So when I travelled to Israel for 3 weeks a few years ago to study and learn about their culture and tourism, I came across their program, Birthright Israel, which is an incredibly brilliant and spectacular program that truly connects and educates young Jewish people all around the World. It’s fascinating—those who participated in that program either visit Israel once a year, invested in the country, or actually moved back. But the most important thing was having an amazing sense of cultural pride after the program. After that trip, I returned to the Philippines and attended a beauty pageant—one of the more popular ones in the country. I spoke to

many of the contestants after the competition and came to learn that there is no life sustainability or career support after they participate in those programs. The women who participate in those things end up getting exploited— have no choice but to become escorts, lack college degrees so they can’t find jobs, or even end up as single mothers. It made me incredibly angry— so we designed a program to help resolve some of these pressing issues. To be clear, I’m certainly not saying that beauty pageants are evil because they’re not. I have good friends in that industry who are truly good people. And those who participate can be incredibly inspiring and can receive a livelihood after joining. But there’s a dark side to that light. Our program, despite having a coronation and gala night is not a beauty pageant—our program is a cultural pageant and educational tourism program.” The Trip To The Philippines “We are greatly looking forward to welcoming our inaugural class’ arrival in the Philippines. We’re putting together a comprehensive, exhilarating, challenging, yet fun 14-day cultural and adventure tour of the Philippines. Our goal is to create life-changing experiences and have our delegates say that they don’t want to leave or can’t wait to come back. And lastly, to encourage their friends, families, and colleagues to participate in our program. We are starting with the Filipino-American community this year, but by next year in 2019, we are looking to activate the program all throughout the World,” said Shannon Bridgman, Program Director of the 2018 Love of Country Global Ambassadors Program and former Miss Philippines Earth-Air 2016. The Asian Journal Media Group, now approaching three decades in business, is a leading Filipino multimedia agency serving the global Filipino industry. Asian Journal publishes over 7 million weekly communaity newspapers annually in the USA from California, Nevada, New York, to New Jersey. In addition to this, the Asian Journal also publishes a quarterly mag-

The Founders of Pageantry Global, Inc. and 2nd batch of participants of the Love of Country Ambassadors in different categories (Mrs. Love of Country, Miss Youth Love of Country and Miss Love of Country Ambassadors met at the office of Asian Journal Publications, Inc in Glendale, California last weekend for orientation.

(L-R) Jacqueline Albay-Yenney, Jeddah Berame, Maria Arianna Conechado, Kimberly Pearl Marquez, Nathalie Barry, Gabbie Pangan, Trinity Foliente (CEO of Pageantry Global, Inc.), Cora Aragon (President of Pageantry Global, Inc.), Ammilyn Deita, Angel Soliven, Hannah Angelica Marte

(Cultural Pageant Coordinators) Ruby Pangan, Bettie Francisco and Priscilla Marte, LOC Ambassadors Participants Jacqueline Albay-Yenney, Jeddah Berame, Maria Arianna Conechado, Kimberly Pearl Marquez, Nathalie Barry, Gabbie Pangan, Trinity Foliente (CEO of Pageantry Global, Inc.), Cora Aragon (CEO and President of Pageantry Global, Inc.) respectively and other participants Ammilyn Deita, Angel Soliven, Hannah Angelica Marte, the Parents of the candidates are Lorna Conechado, Amelia Deita and Mayette Pacis

(L-R) Hannah Angelica Marte, Maria Ariana Conechado, Angel Pacis, Kimberly Pearl Marquez, Gabbie Pangan and Nathalie Barry

azine that is distributed in 60 countries and 101 cities throughout the World in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Tourism Promotions Board, and Department of Tourism of the Philippines. To know more about Asian Jour-

nal and the Love Of Country Global Ambassadors Program, visitAsianJournalMediaGroup. com and The deadline for applications is March 18, 2018. To learn more about applying visit

(650) 689-5160 â&#x20AC;˘



Apply now at








JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 1, 2018 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160

Friday, January 26, 2018


cover story The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - January 26, 2018

StorieS of creatureS from PhiliPPine folklore come alive in ‘aSwang, mga kwentong halimaw’ GrowinG up in the Philippines we always hear from our elders stories of creatures from our folklore. Most of the time, they use these tales to scare us, but oddly, we yearn for those stories that piqued our curiosity. on Sunday, January 28, these stories will come alive in an 80minute live concert, “Aswang, Mga Kwentong Halimaw.” The concert is the precursor to an upcoming feature film of the same title. Created, written and produced by husband and wife team Florante Aguilar and Fides Enriquez, “Aswang” is a dramatized song cycle exploring stories of these creatures from Philippine folklore, with themes of resilience, survival and persistence. “Aswang is inspired by the Philippine ghost stories that we enjoyed telling each other when we were growing up in the province,” said Aguilar, when asked what inspired him to do “Aswang.” “i wanted those creatures to come alive and tell their own stories from their point of view.” Enriquez shared that after she and Aguilar completed their first film together — the awardwinning documentary, “Harana - The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade” (which told Aguilar’s journey to the Philippines in search of what’s left of the Philippine tradition of serenade), it felt right to explore the other side of the coin of their culture. “As ‘Harana’ was about the music and romance of Philippine courtship, ‘Aswang’ would be the opposite. it would be about the monsters and ghosts and about story telling,” she said. “Aswang” was also created as a result of a grant to create new work that Aguilar received from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the SF Foundation, in collaboration with

Kularts. in “Aswang,” the featured monster is the “Manananggal,” a commoner by day and a hideous creature by night capable of severing her upper torso and flying into the night to satisfy her hunger for human flesh, and is presented within the context of colonial history. Also featured are the stories of the “Tumao” (a mysterious ape-like beast who roams the mountains of Mount Banahaw in Quezon Province), the “Syokoy” (a fearsome being of the deep, dark seas), the “Tikbalang” (a horrifying trickster with a human body and the head of a horse), and the “Lady in white” (a tormented soul wandering the streets of modern day Manila). The power of myth depends on who tells the story. in this concert, the “Aswang” tells their side of the story. who among us is the real aswang? Cast, music and crew “Aswang” consists of a Filipino-American cast headed by Kristine Sinajon, Leon Palad, Charmaine Clamor, Giovanni ortega and Kyle de ocera. Enriquez is very proud to share that she is deeply honored to be working with “incredibly talented, deeply instinctive and magnificently seasoned” artists. She is also equally grateful and excited to be working with veteran designers like Kevin Myrick (lighting), and Mindy Sugino (make-up), as well as co-producing with actress Esperanza Catubig. But the biggest highlight of the concert is, of course, the music; which is all written by Aguilar and will be performed by the Fandangueros, an allacoustic band composed of Chus Alonso, Sage Baggott, and Greg Kehret. “i would say that the music is the result of my admiration of Stephen Sondheim and

Fandangueros (L-R) Chus Alonso, Sage Baggott, Florante Aguilar, Greg Kehret

Leon Palad as ‘Tikbalang’

Co-writer and director Fides Enriquez

Kyle de Ocera as ‘Isagani’ and ‘Syokoy’

Kristine Sinajon as ‘Lady in White’

Composer, writer and musical director Florante Aguilar

Led Zeppelin, plus traditional Filipino music with a dash of flamenco,” said Aguilar. “i know that sounds almost comical but i think in some way that reflects the Filipinos’ cultural mix and affinity with western music. “ Although song lyrics will be sung in what Aguilar calls “provincial Tagalog” (an unadulterated form of language rarely used today), they have painstakingly worked on providing English supertitles. Enriquez believes that it’s important to share our culture

to the community to know where we’re coming from. She explained, “Every culture has their stories. There are millions of Filipinos today living in California alone. Florante and i both immigrated to the U.S. about 30 plus years ago. we bring with us our stories, our myths, our lore. ‘Aswang’ is my and Florante’s way of telling and exploring the origins of the scary monster stories of our childhood. “‘Aswang’ is not so much about trying to terrify people,

it’s more about revealing the tragic and human side of how these monsters came to be. For me it’s about questioning our colonial history and challenging assumptions about our myths. How did these stories come to be? who was telling the story and what was their perspective? “’Aswang’ is also about exploring the deep connection between people and the environment we come from. it’s about the anger and rage of the displaced and historically persecuted, and the power of love and how it persists through time. what is the story behind the myth? And how does the storyteller change the narrative?” Enriquez also said that the concert will also be filmed live and will be part of the “Aswang” movie they are developing. This means that the audience will get to experience not just a concert, but will be able to witness a film in the making as well. “The main idea behind “Aswang” is that these monsters and ghosts are among us in the present time, telling their

Giovanni Ortegas as the host and ‘Tumao’

Charmaine Clamor as ‘Manananggal’

own stories, challenging the common held notions of their origins. So we take the audience beyond time and place. The stories of each aswang traverse centuries in the Philippines, and we attempt to reflect that in the concert,” she said and added, “The format is a dramatized song cycle. we hope to ensnare you through the strength of the story, the music, the acting, costumes and lights.” “Aswang, Mga Kwentong Halimaw” is a non-profit project of Theater residencies inc. and will go onstage only once on Sunday, January 28 at 4 p.m. at the state-of-the-art napa Valley College Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $12 - $35. Advance tickets and group rates can be purchased at For more information please visit http:// floranteaguilar. (AJPress) On the cover: Charmaine Clamor as “Manananggal” (top photo), Leon Palad as “Tikbalang” (middle), Kristine Sinajon as “Lady in White” (bottom left) and Giovanni Ortega as the host and “Tumao”

Korina Sanchez reveals diet and active lifestyle Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu large part of ‘dramatic’ transformation on moving on and being friends by Niña

V. GuNo

by Tessa


KorinA Sanchez’s new thin and tanned look has stunned and surprised many, especially as she was made the face of a celebrity cosmetics clinic. The newscaster shared that apart from procedures that tightened and lifted her skin, she had been dieting and exercising with discipline. “There are no shortcuts to getting fit,” she said in an earlier instagram post. in an instagram post, the 53-year-old said the “dramatic” transformation involved physical activities like deep sea diving, walking and hiking. And for the tan: “i stayed under the sun a lot by choice because i like having color.” “The improvements were a process,” she explained. Her new look began turning heads even in 2017 when she graced the Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho wedding in France. in a September 2017 post, she said she abides by a ketogenic diet with the help of an app. But while she was 15 pounds lighter, the weight loss had an effect on her face. “My face was starting to tumble down,” she revealed. it was then that she turned to cosmetic procedures, giving her a fresh look despite de-

Korina Sanchez

cades on the screen. She said part of the shock factor of the billboard ad was possibly also because she showed more skin than usual

in the summer of 2017, popular actors Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson were feeling a bit jittery. They had been cast in the new ABS-CBn series “ikaw Lang Ang iibigin,” which meant they would be working together again after a lengthy seven years, and more significantly a highlypublicized breakup. The Times attended the media conference announcing the show back in May last year where the exes made a genuine effort to make light of their past in front of the press, both agreeing they looked forward to giving the fans of their onscreen tandem—where their relationship had begun as well—the reunion for which they had patiently waited. Just before the weekend— eight months since successfully airing on ABS-CBn’s daytime lineup—Kim and Gerald faced the press anew, this time completely at ease with each other, excited to end the series amid high ratings. “There were many firsts for Kim and i in doing the show,” Gerald recalled. “it was our first time to be assigned to a daytime slot, and i must admit at the start, Photo from Instagram/@belobeauty i was a little sad not be on prime and that her hair was in curls. time like before. i was also very “Alam niyo na (as you know), a nervous knowing the audience in newscaster is always in corpo- the mornings are different, but as rate attire, balot na balot (all ‘ikaw Lang ang iibign’ went on, covered up), haha!” i realized it doesn’t matter what

Besides their shared passion for acting, Kim and Gerald also enjoyed blossoming personal lives during the eight-month run of their TV series. ABS-CBN photo

timeslot you get so long as the show satisfies the viewers. it felt good to do something new and to entertain a new audience.” Addressing the “Kimerald” [the Kim-Gerald tandem’s nickname] reunion, the “Pinoy Big Brother” discovery continued, “on working with Kim for the first time after so long—and yes, after we broke up,” he chuckled, reading The Times’ mind, “we realized that despite everything we’ve been through—all the issues from the past—that we really love what we do, and we didn’t let any of that get in the way of working together. All we wanted was to give our best in show, for our viewers and i’m happy everything turned out really well.” in a separate conversation, Kim shared Gerald’s sentiments

as she revealed, “we’ve really both matured—that’s what i realized. not just in acting but as individuals as well. we were able to set aside all the issues from before, and even during our run, and just focus on the work. So instead of feeling sad the show’s ending this coming week, i’m just thankful that it was successful and grateful for the opportunity to keep doing what i love.” indeed, 2017 was a banner year for Kim, especially in the last quarter where, besides “ikaw Lang Ang iibigin,” she had her first ever solo starrer on the big screen with “The Ghost Bride” from Star Cinema. “To this day, i’m still thrilled to see myself on TV and in the cinema, and i’m looking forward to an-other year of projects this 2018,” she added.

entertainment SF3

Why newbie actor Joshua Garcia is considered John Lloyd Cruz 2.0 By Monet

The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE – January 26, 2018


I HAVE written about John Lloyd Cruz in my column, and while the title (above) seems deprecating to him, allow me to say that it has nothing to do with his performance nor his overall personality. John Lloyd will always be John Lloyd. This has more to do with the fact that these two actors would hold their own and have their own distinct style and persona that make each one unique. However, there is no denying that young actor Joshua Garcia has the makings of a “John Lloyd Cruz.” And while the latter is taking a hiatus from showbiz, people are really noticing how these two can be two sides of the same coin. If Joshua could learn all he could from his ‘predecessor’s’ craft and his life choices, he may actually turn out to be a 2.0 version. Joshua Garcia started out on the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother” back in 2014. Back then, he was this young, awkward 16-year-old boy from Batangas. Now 19 years old, the boy has turned into a young man and is considered one of ABS-CBN’s fast-rising male stars. He starred in three hit movies and three teleseryes. Joshua is the quintessential boy-next-door. He can play the role of a childish, hopeless romantic teenager and still pull off a serious and drama-heavy role with minimal effort. His smile can make a girl swoon but it’s his playful personality that makes him loveable to his fans and coactors. Joshua strikes one as the guy who is still bewildered by their success, yet knows how not to waste it. I mean the guy takes his craft seriously! “Nineteen years old pa lang ako, pero sobrang sineseryoso ko ‘yong craft ko.” Joshua said in his YES! Magazine interview. “Ayaw nila ng pangit na pelikula. Kailangan talaga makipagsabayan. Pinipilit ko, ang hirap, ang galing ng mga kasama ko,”

Joshua Garcia

he said. His efforts do pay off as his movie “Vince & Kath & James” was an MMFF top grosser. Even though the movie’s material may not be as groundbreaking compared to its contemporaries, it became the festival’s highest grosser commending Joshua and his loveteam Julia Barreto’s acting. A year after their first movie together is a sophomore effort helmed by acclaimed rom-com director Antoinette Jadaone, Love You to the Stars and Back. He also starred in one of the top-rated MMK episodes. His latest and current teleserye, “The Good Son,” is getting even greater reviews, viewers are raving about it. The story may seem too familiar to Filipino viewers but it captures the familial aspect in the situation. In this case, it revolved around the ‘sons’ hence, the title. “The Good Son” is about a philandering husband who had two families, with one on the verge of falling apart. Victor Buenavidez (Albert Martinez), a successful businessman who toiled his way to the top is married to Olivia (Eula Valdez). They have two sons Enzo (Jerome Ponce) and Cal (Nash Aguas). The “other” family is a much meager home. Racquel (Mylene Dizon) who now has a son Obet (McCoy de Leon) with Matias (Ronnie Lazaro). Victor has a son,

Jopet (Joshua Garcia) with Racquel. Things have gotten complicated as confrontations stared when Victor suddenly died. They wondered what had caused Victor’s sudden demise, or who was behind it—a fact that would turn their worlds upside down and baffle the minds of viewers. Playing Jopet’s role, Joshua’s talent shines like you’ve never seen it before. He shows depth in his acting–something that’s not easy for such a young actor but he is indeed showing some fine acting chops. And though we’re trying not to compare him to JLC (John Lloyd Cruz), his ability to stand out with or without a leading lady is just undeniable. Speaking of leading lady, his onscreen partner Julia Barretto is a contributing factor to his success onscreen — maybe off-screen too — who knows? Their team-up is oozing with chemistry. It actually has the makings of the John Lloyd-Bea Alonzo magic. It may be too soon to tell but as far as the looks, charm, chemistry and acting skills are involved, they have what it takes. Aside from Julia Barretto, Joshua was also paired with Loisa Andalio, Kira Balinger, and Jane Oineza. And just like JLC, he pairs seamlessly with them, not outshining them or overshadowed by them — his Continued on Page SF4

Paulo Avelino

Aljur Abrenica

ABS-CBN photos

Aljur & Paulo: From each other’s toughest competitor to being friends

nakikita ko ang galing kumanta nito sana napunta na lang sa kin ‘yung talent n’ya sa pagkanta.” IT’S a nice feeling to bring Aljur added, “I remember back memories especially the how my aunts so admired Paulo. ones that make you smile while Crush na crush nila si Paulo for recounting them to others. his good looks and charming Those who tuned in to “Tonight smile.” With Boy Abunda” recently The two never denied still probably remember Paulo about the rumors linking them Avelino and Aljur Abrenica romantically to each other. having fun reminiscing their That was years ago but the “StarStruck” days. Both were in issue nevertheless made Paulo the same batch which got them and Aljur smile. to becoming rivals for a while “I don’t want to remember and friends until now. anymore, hahaha, naka-move on Looking back, Aljur revealed na kami,” Paulo said. that he knew Paulo would be his “They said I looked soft na toughest competition the first mukhang totoo naman (laughs) time they saw each other. He but everyone in the batch said, “When I saw Pau, wow this became close at na-misinterguy’s dashing. Paulo is handpret lang ng mga tao,” Paulo some even before. Kumbaga, sa ruminated. competition, ito ‘yung makakaAnd 11 years later, no one laban ko.” had ever imagined that Paulo Paulo felt the same. He reck- and Aljur will be seated side oned Aljur’s singing talent got by side doing an interview as him miles ahead in the auditions. among the formidable actors in “(He’s) talented. I often saw him the Kapamilya network. Paulo singing during the auditions; caught the public attention for by Boy


his impressive acting in film and on TV. Just recently, Olivier and Tony Best Actress Lea Salonga was all praises for his acting in “Ang Larawan,” one of the entries in the just-concluded Metro Manila Film Festival. She posted on her Twitter, “If you’re a fan of Paulo, I urge you to watch his stellar performance in ‘Ang Larawan’. He doesn’t sing as well as the others, but his acting! He will be one of the greatest as he continues to grow!!! Congrats!!!” Asked to comment, Paulo admitted to feeling good whenever he receives compliments for his acting. More so now that it came from a Broadway star. With much appreciation and humility, Paulo said, “It’s good to hear praises, especially coming from well-renowned artists. But I don’t get easily swayed by compliments because as much as I am thankful or grateful, one of my problems as an actor is that I don’t content myself with my previous work. I always think Continued on Page SF4


celebrityworld The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - January 26, 2018

celebrity world By Ferdie Villar

Actor Gerald Anderson said that he and actress Bea Alonzo are both very happy of what they have at the moment. He also added that they haven’t put any labels on their relationship. “We’re good, we’re happy. We’re just enjoying what we have and isa sa mga dahilan siguro kung bakit hindi pinaguusapan, siguro kasi we want it to be normal,” he said in an

Gerald Anderson on Bea Alonzo and settling down

interview with Push. “Even by now hindi naman kami open na pag-usapan out there so okay na ‘yun. Saya, happy.” For the holidays, Gerald and Bea went to the U.S., describing the trip as a fun-filled one. the actor also shared his thoughts about settling down and having a child. “...Siyempre sa edad ko ngayon as a man kahit papano

naging mas mature, alam mo ‘yun mas malapit na ako don. Hindi naman ako ‘yung teeny bopper na lumabas ng ‘PBB’ or ‘yung 20 or 22 years old, so malapit na ako don,” he said and added, “I am not saying na I am going to do it this year or ngayon, hindi. I’m just saying na mas malapit na ako don. ‘Pag naramdaman ko na, boom. Let’s see.” *** Despite the news that John Lloyd cruz has taken a break from showbiz, his hard work continues to reap its benefits. News came out this week about his performance in Lav Diaz’s revenge drama “Ang Babaeng Humayo (the Woman Who Left)” earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 15th International cinephile Society. the movie also stars actress charo Santos-concio. John Lloyd is competing against seasoned American actors Willem Dafoe, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhbarg. the film is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film not in the English language category. Winners will be announced on February 4, so we are hoping John Lloyd gets the award. *** Actor James reid broke his silence about the news that he was drunk and the cause of delay in shooting his movie with girlfriend Nadine Lustre. “Actually, I didn’t even know about that issue until today. I didn’t know about it,” he said in an exclusive interview with Darla Sauler last Saturday, January 20. “For one, I wasn’t drunk. “two, I never go out [without Nadine].” the controversy started when the film’s director, Antoinette Jadaone, posted on twitter her frustration about the Shown in photo is Rema Zafrani with Filipino preacher Bo Sanchez, taken last January 16 at the wedding cancellation of their shoot last of Jerra and Josha Tram held in Marco Polo Hotel, Cebu City. Sanchez was one of the principal sponsors and he is Rema’s nephew. Sanchez’s work as a lay preacher has brought him all over the world and he has January 13. the director added received many awards and recognition in the Philippines and the Church. These include the Ten Outstanding that it wasn’t even the first time Young Men award in 2006 and the Serviam Award, the highest award a lay Catholics may receive, from the that they’ve cancelled a shoot. Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2007. He is the founder of one of the religious communities in the PhilipAlthough the director didn’t pines, the Light of Jesus Family. The community, as of 2016, has 35,000 members in the Philippines and the elaborate on the reason for the rest of the world. Through this, he founded two gatherings, the annual inspirational convention Kerygma pack-up, speculations about Conference (which was founded on 2006) and the weekly fellowship and worship called “The Feast” in 200 James being drunk the night areas in the country “Philippines” and other parts of the world.

Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson have not admitted the real score between them but the actor said that they are good and happy with whatever they have. now.

Actor Gerald Anderson shared that he and actress Bea Alonzo are happy where there they are right now.

Actor John Lloyd Cruz recently received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 15th International Cinephile Society for the film, “Ang Babaing Humayo (The Woman Who Left)”.

Beautiful and talented actress Julia Montes is the lead actress of the newest teleserye, “Asintado,” on The Filipino Channel with actor Paulo Avelino.

before the shoot came out. James confirmed that he did go out the night before, but clarified that the shoot for the following day was already cancelled. coming to his defense, Nadine said that she knew about James night out with his friend from Australia. She added that the real reason why the shoot was cancelled was because she wasn’t feeling well. the actress was recently diagnosed with having an inverted cervical curve and scoliosis. “Actually naman, kasi medyo...for me, ha, medyo ridiculous siya. Kasi ang reason talaga kung bakit na-pack up yung shoot, kasi may sakit ako,” she explained. “Uncalled for talaga siya.”

Actor James Reid broke his silence to explain that he was not the cause of delay for the cancellation of shooting for his current film with girlfriend Nadine Lustre.

Actress Nadine Lustre explained that boyfriend James Reid was not the cause of the cancellation of shooting for their newest film. She said that the reason for the cancellation was she wasn’t feeling well.

Judy Ann Santos faces all her fears Why newbie actor Joshua...

you take a break and just do one film at a time, mas mapapansin pa trabaho mo. So I had to really JUDY Ann Santos-Agoncillo, tell myself, what’s important is whether in films or in her many ginawa mo ’yung film kasi gusto advertisements, has always mo.” She adds, “Most of my life evoked the image of the Ultihas been dedicated to making mate Filipina. She’s the woman films and teleseryes, and wala you put a ring on, the woman you akong masyadong chance pumili bring home to mom, the woman ng gusto kong gawin. Pinipili ako you’d like to call mom, the kung trabaho at pinipilit ako ng mare you run to when things are manager ko na. ‘Gawin mo to.’ dicey and a compassionate shoulSo ngayon, nasa sitwasyon ako der is necessary. And to sit down na pipili ako ng trabaho hindi with her is to know that what you dahil pihikan ako, kundi dahil I see is what you get for the most gave so much of my life already part, with a little bit extra. to this business. I have three lives For instance, when Ms. na binubuo, including my marSantos-Agoncillo talks about riage, and kung gagawa ako ng dealing with criticism, she shares pelikula, it should be something instances when she regularly really worth it.” had to come face to face with Is it worth it? writers who would publish the She seems to be incredibly most ridiculous and unnecessary happy with her decision, and insults and lies about her. At a lauds the film in its handling of press conference, she ran into LGBtQIA matters. “We really one particular writer who didn’t In her latest film, Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo stars opposite Angelica Panganiban in “Ang Dalawang Mrs. live in a modern world, and it’s think she knew who he was and, Reyes” — a story of two women who find out that their husbands are having an affair with one another. nice to see that being bakla isn’t playing dumb, asked her what photo by Regine David funny anymore. It isn’t a punchshe thought about others saying happy ko. Sabi ko, ‘Bibigay ko line, and it goes so much deeper itawan, pero kaya ko ba siyang she was suplada and fat. She than someone just being lesbian gawin? Si Lianne, hindi mo siya na nga to sayo Juday, okay lang quickly and without hesitation or being gay. there are so many pwedeng gawin ng half-hearted yan. Pagkatapos ng lahat nito, replied, “Ah, ’yung sinulat mo?” classifications that, to me, it gets ka. Kasi ‘pag nagdalawang-isip tawagan mo na lahat ng coach It’s worth noting that as she tells ka, liligwakin ka ng pelikula. Ikaw confusing.” She stops for a bit mo.” She talks about her husthis story, it is without any air or ’yung rotten tomato sa basket ng and asks questions from others in band having to set her straight trace of salacious excitement, the room as to whether somemagagandang hinanda ng pelievery so often because she can no “Look at me, I’m so wicked.” fetch every excuse in the book to kula. If you’re not fully involved in one who is transgender can be a “She’s not here to cause a scene; avoid working out. But she says this project, sayang ’yung pagod lesbian (yes), and whether there she’s just not here to take anyone that she has designated 2018 as are more lesbian sub-groups ng lahat ng tao kung ikaw ’yung else’s sh*t. She shrugs lightly apart from butch or femme (yes). kaisa-isang taong hindi gumawa the year to face all her fears, and and says, “Kung matapang ka sa she’s started by buying a white “can you imagine, for someone ng trabaho ng tama,” says Ms. papel, kailangan matapang ka sa bathing suit. She says that when who’s transgender, na feeling Santos-Agoncillo. “’Yung mga personal.” pa-boobs, ’yung mga mura, hindi mo tutubuan ka ng pechay kasi she turns 40, she wants to take a that has always been the alam mong babae ka, pero ko naman ginawa yan sa kahit photo in that bathing suit and be draw when it comes to Ms. Sananong pelikula nung bata pa ako! yung katawan mo lalaki? Gaano proud of the shape she’s in. tos-Agoncillo, lovingly referred kahirap at gaano kasakit nun para And it’s actually refreshing.” No more fears to by many as Juday: that she is sa isang tao? And all these clasMs. Santos-Agoncillo says Facing her fears includes the so real. She says that she thought work she’s done on her current sifications and groups deserve a it took some convincing for her she was ready for her current lot of understanding and respect. to take on the role, not only film, Jun robles Lana’s “Ang circuit doing promos for her new Dalawang Mrs. reyes,” starring I’m glad to be part of a film that’s because it was unlike anything film, but finds herself coping by helping to explain at least some she’d done before, but because opposite Angelica Panganiban. eating everything in sight. “Isang It’s the story of two women who of these things.” her having slowed down in mall show namin, pag pasok ko Audiences also seem to be making films to take care of her find out that their husbands are ng backstage, may donut, may happy with her decision, as praise having an affair with one another, young family made her more chicken, may cake, may dinuopen and vulnerable to criticism. for her work in the film has been and how they plan to exact guan. Tinira ko silang lahat,” she revenge. “Sa pelikula na ‘to, si Li- “You can make one film after nonstop. Praise that, she admits, says, positively tickled. “Sirangnever gets old. “I looked up to another na patse-patse lang traanne, ang ganda ganda ng charsira ’yung diet ko, pero ang women like Maricel, Sharon, baho mo, but sometimes when acter niya at hindi ko siya mabby Gabbie


From Page SF3

versatility is outstanding. to Joshua Garcia, I see what people see in you — dedication. And though we see so much of JLc in you as well, we know that you can make a name for yourself. Version 2.0 or not, I hope you continue to love your craft by improving each time and make your own new and improved version. Good luck!

*** Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, awardwinning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit or email him at

Aljur & Paulo: From each... From Page SF3

I could have done it better. “the messages that I have read help boost my confidence, or like what I tweeted or replied back to Lea, to tackle more challenging roles and to look for films where I can do more.” Aljur, on the other hand, had already appeared in such shows as FPJ’s “Ang Panday” and “Wansapanataym”. Beginning this week, he and Paulo are starring in the new revenge drama series Asintado with Shaina Magdayao and Julia Montes. the two actors, everybody knows, are already dads. Paulo has a seven-year-old son with LJ reyes while Aljur has Alas with Kylie Padilla. reports have it

that Kylie’s dad, robin Padilla, wants Aljur and Kylie to get married. Aljur, for his part, said that he understands that any father only wants what is best for his child. “Even my dad said that any father would want what is good for his child which is to have a good family. In regards to wedding, Kylie and I have been talking about it and we are taking our decision step by step. Every decision we will make is always for the good of our son Alas. “Whenever we talk about marriage, it always ends up with our priority and our priority is Alas. I love Kylie no doubt about it at kung anuman handa ako d’yan.”

Vilma and Nora. I was blessed to grow up around actors na very professional, maayos trumato sa mga tao at kapwa artista. May sinabi si Angelica na you get bits and pieces of each person that you idolize; hindi mo iniidolo yung kabuuan niya. But I can say na sa buong oras ko sa industriyang to, wala akong nakasamang unprofessional na artista. It was such a privilege to witness stars at their finest. Kaya nahimay ko sila at pinasok ko sila sa tinahak

ko sa industriyang to.” “Now, I get comments from young actresses like Angelica saying I’m their idol and ‘#goals.’ of course, may kilig yun, hindi naman pwedeng hindi kiligin, ano ba! And it makes me think, ang layo layo na siguro ng narating ko para ako yung maging example nila. okay, I did something right.” She then smiles, pats herself on the shoulder, and with a laugh, says, “In fairness sayo, Juday.”

The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - January 26, 2018



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