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March 10-13, 2018 Volume 28 - No. 21 • 4 Sections – 30 Pages




Justice Dept. sues California over ‘sanctuary’ policies Trump administration claims three of state’s laws violate the Constitution

THE U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week filed a lawsuit against the State of California and two high-ranking state officials over so-called “sanctuary” policies that it said unlawfully protect undocumented immigrants against deportation. The lawsuit announced on Tuesday, March 7 called out three recently-passed state laws that, according to the Trump administration, have hampered the federal government’s en-

UN rights chief: Duterte needs ‘psychiatric evaluation’ by DANA


Following Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s string of comments against United Nations (UN) human rights activists has prompted the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to suggest the leader seek psychiatric help.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Friday, March 9 that Duterte’s recent barrage of profanity-laced insults against human rights officials suggests that the latter needs a “psychiatric evaluation.” “It makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric

evaluation,” Al Hussein said during a news conference in Geneva. This week Duterte lashed out at UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard, calling her “undernourished.” Since taking office, Callamard has been a subject of Duterte’s tirades for speaking up against his antiillegal drugs campaign. “This is absolutely disgraceful that

the president of a country could speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected,” Al Hussein remarked. Such verbal attacks, the UN human rights chief said, are “unacceptable” and “cannot go unanswered.” On Wednesday, March 8, Duterte lambasted Callamard and International



Trump to visit California to inspect border wall site Sereno ‘calm and battleChief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

Border wall approved by a federal judge despite Congress’ refusal to fund the project NEXT week, President Donald Trump plans to visit California to inspect the site of his long-desired border wall, the White House announced on Wednesday, March 7. During a tour around of the state, the president is expected to travel to San Diego on Tuesday, March 13 to take a tour of the eight prototypes for the proposed massive U.S.-Mexico border wall. Although Congress has yet to confirm funding for the massive wall that would span California to Texas, the prototypes were completed in October. photo

ready’ for looming impeachment trial by DANA


PHILIPPINE Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Friday, March 9 described herself as “calm and battle ready” a day after the House Committee on Justice found that there was probable cause to impeach her. Speaking at a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Sereno remained unfazed despite the recent moves seeking her ouster.



A GATHERING OF PRESIDENTS. President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with former President and incumbent Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, and former President and incumbent Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Arroyo on the sidelines of the meeting with local chief executives from Luzon at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga on Wednesday, March 7. Addressing all local government heads present, the Commander-in-Chief recapitulated his campaign vows that his administration is currently implementing. Malacañang photo by Robinson Niñal

Binay says Roxas may have Philippines joins global rallies ‘benefitted’ from alleged on International Women’s Day irregularities in 2016 polls by RAE



Mar Roxas and Senator Nancy Binay photo

relayed to her last year by a group of computer experts. Based on the information, DEFEATED presidential bet Binay said her father, defeated Mar Roxas had allegedly bene- presidential bet Jejomar Bifitted from “irregularities” that nay, had received zero votes in allegedly transpired during the some precincts. 2016 elections, Senator Nancy “Parang tanggap naman nya Binay disclosed on Thursday, talaga na talo sya. Pero ang March 8 citing information


12 richest Pinoys have P2.9 trillion by DORIS

Jeff Bezos and Henry Sy—

AP and Inquirer file photo


WITH an estimated net worth of $20 billion, SM founder Henry Sy Sr. remains the richest among the tycoons from the Philippines who made it to Forbes magazine’s latest annual list of the wealthiest people on the planet. Forbes said the 12 richest Filipinos had a combined fortune of $55.6 billion (about P2.9 trillion), nearly a fifth of the domestic economy. Jeff Bezos is still the richest


Further fueled by the #MeToo and other women empowerment movements, activists all over the world banned together on Thursday, March 8 for International Women’s Day. In the Philippines, activists joined the amplified voices by challenging the country’s own struggles both in the streets, offices, and online through hashtags like #SheInspiresMe and #ArawngKababaihan. The worldwide event took place

during National Women’s Month, which the government’s Philippine Commission on Women gave the theme “We Make Change Work for Women.” Donning pink and purple shirts, activists gathered at Manila’s Plaza Miranda, marching and raising flowers and banners in the air. Central to the protests was Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who has long been condemned by human rights watch groups not only for his controversial war on drugs, but for his demeaning


person on the planet with $112 billion, double the combined wealth of 12 billionaires from the Philippines, as the value of his e-commerce listed firm Amazon surged 59 percent in the last 12 months. A record 2,208 billionaires around the world made it to Forbes’ 32nd annual ranking. Altogether they are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18 percent from a year ago, according to the March 6 article posted by the US maga- SPEAKING OUT. Members of various militant women’s groups gather at Liwasang Bonifacio on zine. Thursday to condemn violence and abuses against women before marching on to Mendiola to


commemorate International Women’s Day. photo by Richard A. Reyes

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From the Front Page

UN rights chief: Duterte needs... leader. In his speech, Duterte insisted Criminal Court (ICC) chief pros- that international human rights ecutor Fatou Bensouda, whom he bodies have no jurisdiction over him, telling Callamard and Benreferred to as “the black one.” The ICC is currently conduct- souda not to mess with him. “Go ahead, you investigate me. ing a preliminary examination into the Philippine government’s But I assure you, you will never drug war, a move that appar- have jurisdiction over my person,” ently earned the ire of the Filipino Duterte remarked.


He continued: “They can pursue it, but if we meet along the way, especially their lawyers, the black one and the other one who is skinny, Callamard, undernourished, does not eat—Don’t f*** with me, girls.” Terrorism charge In a separate statement, UN rights experts also expressed grave concern over the terrorism accusations hurled against Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. “We are shocked that the Special Rapporteur is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of indigenous peoples,” said Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst and Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures Chair Catalina Devandas Aguilar. Tauli-Corpuz, a Philippine national, was included in a list of at least 600 alleged communist rebels the Philippine Department of

Justice (DOJ) wants to be declared “terrorists.” The list was included in a petition the DOJ submitted to the Metro Manila Regional Trial Court last month, which sought “terrorist” labels on alleged leaders and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). “The accusation against her comes after the public comments made, jointly with other Special Rapporteurs, in relation to the militarization, attacks and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao; this accusation is considered as an act of retaliation for such comments,” the experts said. They called on Philippine authorities “to immediately drop these unfounded accusations against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and to ensure her physical safety and that of others listed.” In her own statement, TauliCorpuz denounced the accusations against her. “I am not connected at all in any way to those organizations nor do I have any knowledge, much less

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the meeting with local chief executives from Luzon at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga on March 7, 2018, reiterates his strong stance against corruption and illegal drugs. Malacañang photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.

participation, with the alleged incidents cited in the petition,” she said. She added, “I will address this baseless, malicious and irresponsible inclusion of my name even as I am consulting my lawyers on what legal courses of action to take to clear my name and even make accountable those who put my life and security at risk.” n

Sereno ‘calm and battle-ready’... PAGE A1 t “I am confident that in time, the baselessness of the charges against me will come out so I am, as you can see, calm and battleready,” she said, adding that she would “stick it out to the end.” She added, “I think the lesson that should be seen, the message that should be received by the public is [that] the chief justice, when she believes that the cause is right, and the cause here is judicial independence, will fight no matter the chances, regardless of the odds.” The House Committee on Justice ruled on Thursday, March 8 that there was probable cause to have the top magistrate tried before an impeachment court. Saying that the panel’s decision is “not unexpected,” Sereno challenged the House of Representatives anew to elevate the case against her to the Senate, which will act as the impeachment court. “What they have done is not unexpected. I had expected that from the start and I reiterate my call for them to elevate it to the Senate,” Sereno said. In an earlier statement, Sereno claimed that the House panel has denied her of her “right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses.” The committee had refused to allow Sereno’s lawyers to attend the hearings against her, insisting that the chief justice herself should show up. The top mag-


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Trump to visit California... PAGE A1 t

The president and his crew are expected to be greeted by supporters as well as opposers of the wall, which has prompted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) to secure the San Diego community of Otay Mesa where the prototypes are located. “In preparation for demonstrations and in an effort to protect the rights of citizens to peacefully protest, the Sheriff has requested and been granted ‘Temporary Area Restrictions,’” the SDSO said in a statement. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), each prototype is 30-feet tall and 25-feet wide and is composed of concrete and other substances. Trump’s visit comes just weeks after a federal judge granted permission to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, despite not yet receiving funding from Congress. U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel for the Southern District of California — who was previously insulted by the president for his Mexican heritage — sided with the Trump administration on Tuesday, February 27. Curiel rejected arguments from the state of California which argued that the administration did not get the required


environmental reviews before construction on the prototypes began in October. The president’s proposed wall was a key proponent in his presidential campaign. It drew wide criticism from voters and lawmakers for perpetuating antiimmigrant ideas and imagery. Critics also questioned the sheer cost of the massive wall; at one point during his campaign, he casually suggested that Mexico would pay for it to which Mexico vehemently rejected. Previously, Trump has requested $1.6 billion from Congress for the first portion of the wall. This installment would replace 14 miles of existing fencing in San Diego and replace it with a 60-mile fortress that would extend to Rio Grande Valley in Texas, which sees large influxes of illegal crossings. Funding for the border wall has been among the few hotly contested immigration issue in Washington, and it has acted as Trump’s singular condition for approving a solution for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump terminated in 2017. Members of Congress from both parties — who have been scrambling to put together a compromise for DACA — are fervently opposed to the border


wall which has led to many impasses on the ongoing immigration talks in Washington. Local policymakers have also opposed the border wall. In September, the San Diego City Council voted along party lines to approve a resolution in September opposing the wall. “I want to make sure we are sending a strong message, not only to my colleagues at the city level but also to San Diegans and beyond, that a border wall is not something we need, and it’s something we reject as San Diegans,” Councilmember Georgette Gomez, who kickstarted the resolution, told the San Diego Union-Tribune in September. “It’s a bad deal for everybody, but more specifically, it’s a bad deal for us.” Councilmember Chris Ward, who also voted in favor of the resolution, said that the border wall would inflict emotional damage to the immigrant-rich city. “San Diego is a binational city and more importantly, we are a city that’s been built by immigrants and continues to succeed on our own diversity,” Ward said. “We are the largest city on the border and the rest of America does look to local opinion to see how we feel.” Trump’s visit to the Golden State will be the first one since winning the election in November 2016. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

12 richest Pinoys have...

An Oxfam report found that the world’s richest 1 percent received 82 percent of the wealth generated in 2017, while the poorest of humanity got nothing. The growing inequality has led to the rise of populist leaders, including US President Donald Trump. 52nd wealthiest in world Sy’s net worth of $20 billion is over three times larger than the fortune of the next richest tycoon from the Philippines, as his net worth surged 57 percent from that of last year. Globally, Sy who is turning 94 this year, is ranked 52nd richest, slightly richer than Elon Musk, who founded electric car maker Tesla, solar energy giant Solar City and spacecraft-maker SpaceX. Musk is valued at $19.9 billion. Sy’s group controls three of the most valuable companies on the Philippine stock market: SM In-


Infographic by



Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (6th from left), Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon (3rd from left), Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III (4th from left), and Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Senator Loren Legarda (5th from left), pose for a souvenir photo with Danish parliamentarians on Tuesday, March 6. In photo are (from left) Peter Juel Jensen, Magni Arge, Holger Nielsen, Henrik Dahl, Eva Kjer Hansen, and Danish Ambassador to the Philippines Jan Top Christensen. Senate photo by Ariel Cagadas


Binay says Roxas may have...

hindi nya matanggap na bakit ganun yung boto lang nya?” the senator said during the regular Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday. “Nakarating na rin sa amin ang report na apparently sa kanya din ang dami din yang mga presinto na zero vote. So I guess interesado din syang malaman kung may katotohanan talaga yung privilege speech ni Senator Sotto,” she said. Last Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III exposed in a privilege speech the alleged irregularities in the 2016 elections, such as the early transmission of votes even before the election day and the supposed “foreign access” in the election servers. Sotto, when interpellated by some of his colleagues, also claimed that some candidates, including him and Senators Grace Poe, Panfilo Lacson, and Juan Miguel Zubiri also received zero votes during the early transmission. While they have already accepted the defeat of her father, Senator Binay said they also want to find out if there was

“truth “ to the number of votes that the former Vice President had received. “Because ang daming feedback dun sa mga tao namin sa baba na may mga presinto na zero sya…” she said. Asked who could have manipulated the alleged rigging of votes, the senator said, “Syempre mas in favor dun sa incumbent.” Pressed further, she said: “Sino ba yung number 2?” Former Secretary Mar Roxas ranked second in the presidential race based on the official tally of votes. Asked again if she was referring to Roxas, “I guess, e sila naman yung may capability.. dahil sila yung nakaupo.” But Senator Binay quickly clarified that Roxas was not necessarily behind the alleged manipulation of votes but he had allegedly benefitted from it. “Hindi naman sya (Roxas)… Parang napaboran,” she said. She said the information was relayed to her late last year by a group of experts, who had approached her with documents, which supposedly came from the Commission on

Election. “May mga documents pero hindi nga ako techie person so hindi ko alam yung truth,” the senator said. “Kasi parang may mga pinapakita silang surge of votes, may mga printout sila so hindi ko naman alam kung reliable yung pinagkunan nila.” While she said she has yet to decide whether or not to seek reelection next year, Senator Binay said the group came to her supposedly to prevent another “magic” in the upcoming polls. Roxas however denied Binay’s allegations adding that he too was a victim of cheating having lost 2 million votes in the 2010 polls. “Hindi ako nandaya, at hindi ako mandaraya. Alam ko kung gano kasakit ang nadaya dahil mga 2 milyong boto ang nawala sa akin nung 2010 elections. I am not about to turn around and do the same thing to someone else. Hindi rin responsableng magbitaw ng ganitong klaseng akusasyon na ang basehan ay ang salitang ‘parang,’” said Roxas in a text message. ■


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Bonta authors bill to raise purchase age from 18 to 21 for long guns similar to assault weapons AB 3 would mirror existing laws for purchasing handguns

MODEL PUBLIC SERVICE. Tabontabon, Leyte Mayor Rustico Balderian (right) receives the Gawad Paglilingkod Sa Sambayanan (GAPAS) Award or “Model local government unit (LGU) Implementing Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS)” from Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer-In-Charge Emmanuel Leyco (center) and DSWD Undersecretary and Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNata) award Chairperson Luzviminda Ilagan at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City on Thursday, March 8. The GAPAS award aims to commend LGUs for implementing DSWD programs and services such as day care services, KALAHI-CIDSS, and sustainable livelihood program micro enterprise and employment facilitation models, among others. PNA photo by Gil Calinga

SACRAMENTO — Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced legislation Thursday, March 8 to raise the age to purchase long guns such as rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21. “California already wisely mandates that someone be at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun,” said Bonta in a statement. “It’s time to extend that common-sense law to long guns in order to enhance public safety.” AB 3 would bring parity to California gun laws and recognize the fact that young adults ages 18 to 20 are statistically far more likely to commit homicides than older adults. Adults 18 to 20 represent 4 percent of the population but commit 17 percent of gun homicides, according to the 2015 FBI Supplementary Homicides Reports. “We must take every reasonable measure to protect Californians from gun violence,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), joint author

of the bill. “AB 3 will do just that by raising the minimum age to buy long guns from 18 to 21.” State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), principal co-author of AB 3 said, “Californians under age 21 can’t purchase alcohol, tobacco and other health hazardous items. So why should they be able to buy guns? Our bill fixes that.” Advocates working to stop gun violence view AB 3 as a prudent and effective step to protect the public. “Modern rifles pose a greater threat than handguns and a similar age restriction should apply,” said Amanda Wilcox, legislation and policy chair for the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and sponsor of AB 3. “Existing laws and policies already recognize that those under age 21 are more at risk of dangerous or irresponsible behavior and consequently they cannot buy alcohol or rent a car. Raising the minimum age to purchase a

City of LA opens new homeless help desk Philippines joins global rallies...

LOS ANGELES — The city on Wednesday, March 7 opened its first Homeless Help Desk, a permanent, welcoming space where Angelenos experiencing homelessness can access information on nearby shelters, hygiene stations, free meals, and medical assistance. The Homeless Help Desk is staffed by members of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Volunteer Corps and participants in the Older Workers Employment Program — some of whom are themselves formerly homeless. With support from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) Homeless Engagement Teams, the space will deliver short-term relief to homeless residents, connect them to long-term housing and supportive services, and act as a link between unsheltered Angelenos and local service providers. As part of the grand opening, 20 organizations dedicated to serving homeless Angelenos

were on hand for a “Connect Day” to provide aid and spread the word about their services. “Homeless Angelenos are too often unaware of how close they may be to a warm meal, a shower, or even a place to live,” said Garcetti in a statement. “The Homeless Help Desk will offer a one-stop shop to make it easier to find basic services and begin their transition into supportive housing.” Working with Garcetti, Councilmember Jose Huizar issued a motion directing the city, which owns the space, which authorized an agreement with LAHSA to convert a previously unused kiosk into a resource center. “Every day we see the growing crisis of homelessness all around us,” said Huizar. “Converting this otherwise empty City property into a local service hub to allow LAHSA outreach workers and our team of volunteers better serve those experiencing homelessness in the Civic Center and Little Tokyo areas is an

Sereno ‘calm and battle-ready’... PAGE A2 t istrate expressed the belief that she could properly defend herself when her case reaches the Senate. The committee is currently drafting articles of impeachment against her, which will be submitted to the plenary for approval. The House is expected to vote on Sereno’s impeachment in May, and if it gets at least onethird vote of approval, it will be forwarded to the Senate. The impeachment complaint against Sereno was filed by Lawyer Larry Gadon, who accused her of culpable of violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public

trust, corruption, and other high crimes. Gadon accused Sereno of misleading her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), bypassing the en banc, and delaying the benefits of retired Supreme Court personnel, among others. During Friday’s press conference, Sereno denounced the hidden wealth allegations hurled against her. “I have absolutely nothing to hide and cannot hide anything because what is disclosed in my SALNs is what there is,” she maintained. Regarding allegations on her

additional tool to help those in PAGE A1 t need.” In addition to the Homeless and derogatory remarks targeted Help Desk’s six-day-a-week towards women. “We’re so alarmed,” Jean Enoperation, the city is working to partner with homeless ser- riquez, one of the protest leaders, vice providers to host “Connect told The Associated Press. “We Days” across LA for unsheltered have seen his direct attacks on populations, where homeless women under his iron-hand rule Angelenos will be able to meet and it’s now time to heighten our with LAHSA outreach workers resistance.” Last month, Duterte made who can offer help securing longer-term housing, and register- headlines for his latest misogying for identification and birth nistic comment, directing his solcertificate waiver forms that are diers to shoot female communist rebels in their vagina. He added, required for many services. Connect Days would also “if there is no vagina, it would be serve as regular opportunities useless.” The president has made many for unsheltered Angelenos to give feedback to service provid- rape jokes in the past — he made ers, helping the City to identify one about raping an Australian and address gaps and shortages missionary, last year’s Miss Universe, and even gave his soldiers in its resources. The Homeless Help Desk is permission to rape up to three located in a kiosk behind City women amid concerns over marHall East at 200 N. Los Angeles tial law in Marawi. Earlier this year, the president Street — and will operate Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., offered visitors to the Philippines and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 “42 virgins” during a trip to India. p.m. ■ His administration has repeatmissing SALNs when she was edly said that his words should a professor at the University of not be taken seriously. ‘Teach young boys to wash the Philippines (UP), Sereno said: “You cannot accumulate their own clothes’ At a Procter and Gamble (P&G) wealth in UP. Their problem is unexplained poverty not hidden Philippines Women’s Symposium event, Philippine Vice President wealth.” She went on to say, “All evi- Leni Robredo — who has redence points to a very simple life- ceived her share of criticism from style, below the means we could Duterte — highlighted some of actually have used for consump- the current challenges regardtion. It was a deliberate step for ing gender equality in the counmy husband and I to live a simple try. She cited the 2017 Global lifestyle…because we needed to Gender Gap study that held the be free to help others and to be Philippines at tenth place, three free of conflicts of interest gen- spots down from seventh place erated by attachment to material in 2016. Robredo touched on the worsgoods.” “Because of that deliberate de- ening performance of wage cision, I don’t think there is any equality, saying that women have question of hidden wealth here,” to work twice as hard as men. “Only 50 percent of our women Sereno added. ■

today have access to jobs contrary to more than 80 percent of our men in the workforce,” said Robredo, adding that in the ASEAN community, a large number of highly education women are unemployed. Women account for 11.2 million of the Philippines’ poor population. Robredo took an optimistic tone saying that Filipinas enjoy more civil liberties like getting education and being able to work alongside men — freedoms not available to many women in other countries. “But violence against women continues to be a part of so many Filipina’s narratives,” she added. Focusing on social media as being an facilitator for harassment of women and girls, she said both her and her daughters have been on the receiving end of harassment. Robredo also touched on the #MeToo movement and said, “The movement is as powerful online as it is on the streets. In recounting their experiences of harassment, these women reel in those who are still in the shadows.” Recounting her days as a human rights lawyer, Robredo said she worked with a lot of abused women who opened her eyes to why Filipinas need empowerment. She challenged Filipinos to break away from gender stereotypes starting in the home. “Fathers can socialize for as long as they want after office hours. But mothers are expected to go home straight from work to do more work at home. We cannot let this continue. We can change this by raising our children to treat women with respect and to be aware of the need for gender equality,” said

long gun is a reasonable step to improve public safety.” Allison Anderman, managing attorney for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, noted that the perpetrators of Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings — considered the two worst school shootings in U.S. history — were both under 21 years old. “Just as raising the driving age to 21 significantly reduced the rate of auto fatalities among 18 to 20-year olds, it’s time to address the unique risks guns pose when they’re in the hands of unsupervised 18 to 20-yearolds. Raising the age to purchase all firearms to 21 is an important step in this direction,” Anderman said. Bonta added, “We must do everything we can to reduce the number of gun homicides and mass shootings. AB 3 is sound policy and will make a difference. It will help save the lives of our families, friends and community members. The time for action is now.” ■ Robredo. “Perhaps we can begin by teaching our young boys at home to wash their own clothes.” #DrivenWomen In conjunction with International Women’s Day, companies also took on their own campaigns to address women empowerment. P&G had its #JuanWash campaign that looked to tackle gender bias in housework. For ride-hailing company Uber, a campaign titled #DrivenWomen was launched in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries to showcase the stories of their female driver-partners. One driver, Teresita Sebastian, founded her own shoe business with her partner, selling shoes locally crafted in Launga and sold to buyers in Bukidnon, CDO, Tacloban, and Davao. “I opened my business not just because I wanted to be my own boss, but also because I get to spend with the love of my life,” said Sebastian. Marife Andaya paid her own way through college and became a systems engineer. “We didn’t come from a rich family, but that never really stopped me from working many jobs in different industries like call centers or fast food chains to provide for my own college education,” shared Andaya. Another driver, Minerva Sanchez, was part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and one of the only female volunteers to rescue families following Typhoon Ondoy. She said, “I know I had to be physically fit to do the job, but when you see all those people who need help, you will just really go for it.” “It’s an honor to be able to serve the country,” added Sanchez. Vivian Meneses, has been the sold provider for her family for 13 years following her husband’s death, and in her story said, “I





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Sanofi may seek US approval amidst Philippine chaos by Rae

ann VaRona AJPress

Despite being at the center of backlash in the philippines due to safety concerns of its dengue vaccination, the French pharmaceuticals group sanofi may soon seek regulatory approval in the United states. David Loew, head of the group’s vaccines division sanofi pasteur, told Reuters that a meeting with the U.s. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would happen within two months. Any decision would be made after. sanofi’s Dengvaxia — the world’s first-ever dengue vaccine — caused havoc in the philippines last November when the pharmaceutical company revealed that the vaccination could actually be harmful for those who had not been infected before, prompting an investigation by the philippine government. the philippines was the first country to introduce the mass immunization program and suspended the vaccine use in December when sanofi made the admittance. Loew told Reuters that the company had no regrets about Dengvaxia and that it had observed all regulations.

“On a whole path of development, we always worked with the WHO and experts in the dengue community. We were always transparent,” said Loew, referring to the World Health Organization (WHO). He added, “You need to ask yourself: what was done with the information that was available at the time? Looking back, i would say now, we would not have done anything differently.” some experts say that sanofi and its regulators discounted the vaccine’s warnings and risks, despite knowing about some of them as early as 2015. philippine government officials have been pressing for insight on the company’s advertising campaign and push to vaccinate children. Documents filed in singapore revealed that the vaccine’s potential risks were reported to regulators by sanofi back in 2016, allowing commercial sale 10 months after the philippines. sanofi pasteur’s Asia-pacific head thomas triomphe said that no definitive knowledge of the risks were made before November 2017, according to the philippine Daily inquirer. Former philippine president Benigno Aquino iii found himself amidst the mess and said he

Justice Dept. sues California... PAGE A1 t

forcement of immigration law. “California, we have a problem,” U.s. Attorney General Jeff sessions said at a gathering of law enforcement organizations in sacramento. “the Department of Justice and the trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you.” the three laws the administration is challenging include sB 54, the all-encompassing “sanctuary state” law that restricted law enforcement from sharing information with federal agents that would lead to the capture and deportation of criminal undocumented immigrants. the other two laws are AB 450, which prohibits private employers from complying with immigration agents who conduct operations on worksites, and AB 103, which calls for regular inspections of detention facilities that hold immigrants who face deportation. the two top leaders that the lawsuit also named were California Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Although the federal government is the supreme authority on broad matters like immigration, in some cases, states have sovereignty over more precise issues like health and public safety. that’s what Becerra asserted at a press conference on tuesday where he expressed that, through the tenth Amendment, California has the right to handle public safety in the ways it sees fit. Calmly poised, Becerra assured Californians that the claims made in the lawsuit demonstrated “there’s nothing really new there that we weren’t already familiar with.” “We’re prepared to deal with this,” Becerra told reporters. “We believe we are in full compliance with the federal constitution and federal law.” As soon as the trump administration announced the lawsuit, Brown brazenly fired back at sessions, calling the move a “political stunt.’ “What Jeff sessions said is simply not true and i call upon him to apologize to the people of California for bringing the mendacity of Washington to California,” Brown said at a joint press conference with Becerra on Wednesday, March 7. “this is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American

economy,” Brown added. “it’s not wise. it’s not right, and it will not stand.” Brown also made accusations toward sessions, who Brown said lied about the state’s immigration policies. sessions has falsely claimed that Becerra called for an open border, protection for criminals and secession from the U.s. “We know the trump administration is full of liars. they have pleaded guilty already to the special counsel,” Brown said, referencing the federal investigation on Russian collusion. Amid the tense back and forth between Washington and sacramento, more Californians side with the state rather than the DOJ on the topic of sanctuary policies. According to a recent ABC7 eyewitness News/survey UsA poll, nearly half (47 percent) of Californians said that the federal government did “the wrong thing” in suing the state; about 36 percent of them say that the DOJ did “the right thing.” earlier in his presidency, trump signed an executive order that called to rescind federal grant funding to jurisdictions that reject cooperation with U.s. immigration authorities. the lawsuit comes weeks after the U.s. immigration and Customs enforcement (iCe) conducted multiple raids across California. in the Los Angeles area, more than 150 people were detained and in Northern California, about 232 people were arrested in a massive 4-day sweep, as previously reported by the Asian Journal. state officials saw these massive raids as a response to the state’s refusal to cooperate with federal immigration officials. Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California also condemned the lawsuit, calling it an “attack on California’s policies that protect our immigrant communities.” “studies have shown that jurisdictions with sanctuary policies are safer and more economically prosperous than non-sanctuary jurisdictions. immigrants help California thrive,” Advancing Justice-CA said in a statement. “the trump administration has been obsessive in their attack and scapegoating of immigrants, fueled by hate, xenophobia and racism. But the Constitution is clear: the federal government cannot commandeer California’s resources to carry out deportations.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

Philippines joins global rallies... PAGE A4 t

faced many obstacles as a single parents, but i know that i could do anything to make ends meet.” ‘Island Women Rise’ emerging Filipina-American rapper Ruby ibarra who recently made her national debut in a Mastercard commercial, released her music video for her song “Us” on international Women’s Day. Received as a power anthem for Filipina women, the song got many positive responses online. Featuring other female Fil-Am rappers Rocky Rivera and Faith santilla, the song starts off with the lyrics, “island woman rise, walang makakatigil (no one can stop us). Brown, brown woman, rise, alamin ang yun ugat (know your roots).” the video featured the three women rapping in both english and tagalog, between montages of Filipina women dressed in tra-

ditional regional clothes performing dances from the respective regions. ibarra tweeted, “imagery is powerful. Representation is everything. i hope young pinays who watch/will watch #Us will see the video and think, ‘she looks like me’ or ‘she is the shame shade as me.’ Mestiza, morena — both are equally beautiful and deserve repr esentation. #f*ckcolorism.” Among the responses online, twitter user @jake_delro tweeted, “Filipinas now let’s get in Formation.” User @mochiddeoki said, “Can i just say thank you? Never have i ever seen such raw emotion and passion for Filipinas. i was always told that we, Filipinas, just needed to be prim and proper and well behaved. But idk, this [music video] & song [really] changed that for me. We are strong. We are different. We are Filipinas.” n

would not have approved of the Dengvaxia immunization program had he known the risks. Aquino, former Department of Health officials, and sanofi pasteur are currently facing a graft complaint filed last month. the philippine government also filed a lawsuit last month against sanofi, demanding it provide compensation of up to 4.2 million pesos ($81,600) for the parents of Anjelica pestilos, 10, whose death was allegedly a result of Dengvaxia. More than 800,000 Filipino children aged nine and above had received the dengue vaccine. Direct correlations between Dengvaxia and children deaths have not yet been established, but experts said three out of 14 children who died from dengue had received at least one shot of Dengvaxia. the controversial dengue vaccine has been registered in 19 countries and is currently being evaluated by the european Medicines Agency. A public interest lawyer recently informed Malacañang that sanofi pasteur is dealing with over 2,000 lawsuits in many countries, reported the inquirer. in 2012, the company disclosed cooperation with the U.s. Justice department which investigated the promotion of sanofi drugs seprafilm and sculptra, with the company paying $109 million in claims for the sampling of another drug, Hyalgan. n

GETTING CHILDREN INTO SPORTS. Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Tonisito Umali (center); Nestle Philippines vice president Willy De Ocampo (4th from left); Nestle Philippines senior vice president Joey Uy (3rd from right); and volleyball star Alyssa Valdez (4th from right) officially launch the “Get Your Child Into Sports” campaign to strengthen grassroots sports development held at the Alphaland City Club in Makati on Tuesday, March 6. Milo has pushed for children engagement into sports through its MILO Summer Sports Clinics, which produced successful athletes such as basketball players Kiefer Ravena and Chris Tiu, taekwondo practitioner Japoy Lizardo and gymnast Kaitlin De Guzman, among others. PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.

Fil-Am Gina Ortiz Jones wins primary in Texas, faces May runoff WAsHiNGtON – Filipina American congressional candidate in texas, Gina Ortiz Jones won tuesday night’s primary (Feb. 6), but having fallen short of 51 percent, she must face fellow Democrat Rick trevino in a May runoff. Whoever wins the May runoff will go up against Rep. Will Hurd (R) in November. With 41 percent of the vote, Ortiz Jones defeated her four opponents, with trevino coming in second at 17 percent. Ortiz Jones is a former Air Force intelligence officer who

served in iraq under president George W. Bush. she was a top director in the Office of the U.s. trade Representative under president Barack Obama. Her congressional bid is her first time running for office. Her victory Ortiz Jones would be historic as she would then be the first lesbian, first iraq War veteran and first Filipina American in texas to hold a U.s. House seat. Hurd, a well-funded two-term congressman in texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which leans Republican, would be a tough to Candidate for U.S. Congress Gina Ortiz Jones. File photo defeat. (

Dateline USa

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Kobe Paras says he’s ‘going pro’ by Randolph

B. leongson

OFFICIALLY IN. President Rodrigo Duterte swears into office officials of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PAAC) led by its chairman Dante Jimenez. Jimenez vowed to comply with Duterte’s directive to spare no one in the campaign against corruption. While he admitted that a challenging task awaits the commission, the PACC will help the government get rid of corruption. Malacañang photo

Roach out as Pacquiao’s trainer?

Kobe Paras sent shockwaves on Friday noon, March 9 as he announced his decision to be a professional basketball player. In a one-minute clip posted on his social media accounts, the second-generation star was short and sweet in saying “I’m going pro.” Though Paras did not go into specifics of his next move, this ends the 20-year-old’s collegiate career which only lasted two years. “If you know me, you knew this was coming. Thank you CSUN, but it’s time,” he tweeted. The 6-foot-6 forward initially committed to UCLA, but later on left for Creighton, where he averaged 1.3 points and 1.0 rebound in his 4.7 minutes on the floor in the 15 games for the bluejays. Paras then transferred to Cal State Northridge for his sophomore year but redshirted this past season due to NCAA trans-

by dino


MANILA, Philippines – Is this the end of one of the most successful boxer-trainer pairings in history? When Manny Pacquiao’s camp announced the Filipino icon’s fight with Lucas Matthysse Thursday night, March 8 there was no mention of Freddie Roach in the press release they sent out. Instead, the release said that Pacquiao’s local trainers, headed by the boxer’s childhood buddy Restituto “buboy” Fernandez, will be in charge once training camp begins in the middle of April — roughly two months before the planned June 24 fight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This fuels speculations that Pacquiao is severing ties with Roach, who had worked his corner for 34 straight fights dating back to 2001, when Pacquiao challenged then IbF super bantamweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba in his US debut. Pacquiao, then a skinny 122pounder, was a walk-in at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Los Angeles. After impressing Roach on the mitts with his unique combination of speed and power, Pacquiao had the bespectacled trainer in his corner when he fought Ledwaba as a last-minute substitute. The rest was history as Roach


Are Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach heading to splitville?

would guide Pacquiao to multiple world titles in different weight classes. Roach would likewise win many Trainer of the Year awards primarily for his work on Pacquiao. Those glory days are long gone, and things have reportedly gone sour between Pacquiao and Roach after the former lost to Australian Jeff Horn in brisbane, Australia last year. There are unconfirmed claims that Pacquiao and his promoter bob Arum weren’t pleased with Roach not asserting himself by trying to convince the referee to do something about Horn’s rough tactics in their 12-round bout. Adding fuel to the fire was Roach’s recent revelation that he hasn’t spoken to Pacquiao since the Horn fight. “I usually leave him alone until photo

I hear from him, but I’ve called him five times and haven’t heard back. Maybe he changed his number,” Roach recently told the Los Angeles Times. Now, whether Pacquiao wants Roach in his corner again as he challenges Matthysse is a big question. “That is up to Manny,” Pacquiao’s adviser Mike Koncz told through text message when asked if Roach will be back as Pacquiao’s trainer. contacted Pacquiao on the matter, but the fighting senator has not replied as of posting time. Amid the uncertainties spawned by Pacquiao’s announcement of the Matthysse fight, the end of the boxer’s decades-long partnership with Roach may be the biggest subplot. n

Kobe Paras

fer rules. He made waves representing the country last year, first suiting up in the 2017 Fiba 3×3 World Cup with Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quiñahan, before joining Gilas Pilipinas photo by Tristan Tamayo

in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, where the country won gold. While Paras was vague in his decision, all signs point to him applying for the upcoming 2018 NbA Draft in June. n

12 richest Pinoys have...

vestments Corp., SM Prime Holdings and bDo Unibank. 11 other PH tycoons SM Investments and SM Prime have both breached the P1-trillion market capitalization mark and are the first two companies to reach this milestone. on the Forbes list are 11 other Filipino tycoons. JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr., 91, is the second wealthiest person from the Philippines with a net worth of $5.8 billion, ranking 305th globally. Universal Robina Corp., Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Land Corp. and JG Petrochemicals Corp. are among his group’s crown jewels. enrique Razon Jr.—who has established a global footprint through International Container Terminal Services Inc. and is building an integrated gaming empire through bloomberry Resorts Corp.—is valued by Forbes at $4.9 billion, earning him the 404th slot globally. At 58, he is the youngest billionaire from the Philippines. Tobacco magnate Lucio Tan, 83, is 441st on the global list with a net worth of $4.7 billion. He is also into banking (Philippine National bank), aviation (Philippine Airlines) and liquor (Tanduay and Asia brewery) businesses.

Tony Tan Caktiong, chair and founder of Jollibee Foods Corp., is next on the list of Filipino tycoons with $4 billion, ranking 550th globally. George Ty, founder of the Metrobank group and who built a market-leading automotive business in the Philippines with Toyota, has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion. The 85-year-old tycoon ranked 572nd globally. As rich as Trump Manny Villar Jr., 68, who focused on growing his real estate-based empire after losing the 2010 presidential election, is valued at $3 billion. He ranked 791st worldwide. Among the listed companies under his leadership are Vista Land & Lifescapes, Starmalls and Golden Haven. Villar is almost as rich as businessman-turned-US President Trump, who is valued at $3.1 billion. Forbes said Trump was one notable loser in this year’s rankings, as his fortune fell by $400 million since March 2017, now 766th in the world, down from 544th. Andrew Tan, 65, founder of the Megaworld group, ranked 887th globally with $2.7 billion. Ang valued at $2.5b Ramon S. Ang, president and controlling stockholder of San

Miguel Corp., has an estimated value of $2.5 billion. The 64year-old tycoon ranked 965th globally. Insurance and car dealership mogul Robert Coyiuto Jr., 65, has a net worth of $1.4 billion and ranked 1,650th globally. SMC chair eduardo Cojuangco, 82, is still among the world’s richest with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion even after he sold a big chunk of SMC to Ang in 2012. Roberto ongpin, 81, still has a formidable fortune estimated at $1.1 billion. After selling out of gaming technology venture Philweb Corp., he is focused on upscale property developer Alphaland Corp. Fewer Filipinos made it to this year’s list compared to last year, when 14 made it to the roster. 2nd richest in world Microsoft cofounder bill Gates is the second richest in the world with $90 billion. Warren buffet of berkshire Hathaway is the third richest with $84 billion while bernard Arnault, Ceo of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate LVMH of France, ranked fourth with $72 billion. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth richest, with $71 billion. n


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D ateline PhiliPPines Palace: State of calamity declaration More Filipinos want divorce to be legalized—survey will hasten Boracay rehabilitation by Dana

SioSon AJPress

PUTTING the island of Boracay under a state of calamity will hasten the world-famous tourist destination’s rehabilitation, according to Malacañang. Malacañang issued the statement after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his plan to declare Boracay under a state of calamity amid environment issues hounding the island. “This is to hasten the rehabilitation of Boracay,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Wednesday, March 7. Malacañang also noted that Duterte’s order to clean up Boracay applies to other tourist destinations in the country. “The president’s words are clear, although his statements are for Boracay, it’s applicable to all other tourist destinations in the Philippines,” Roque said. “Start enforcing the laws, including the setback [requirement]. Demolish all the structures that violate the setback because the local government may be slapped with charges if they do not implement it as soon as possible,” he added. A day earlier, Duterte threatened to put Boracay—which he previously described as “cesspool” due to the island’s dysfunctional sewerage system— under a state of calamity if his

Boracay attracts local and foreign tourists all year round.

six-month ultimatum to clean it up is not met. The president said he made the decision following a recommendation from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Section 3 of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 defines state of calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”

PNA photo by Joey Razon

Duterte also threatened to arrest local government officials and resort owners if they refuse to cooperate or protested the ongoing investigation and efforts to rehabilitate Boracay. “If they refuse to cooperate and begin to protest—you were the ones responsible for the damage all these years, as well as the local officials who are all nonchalant of the problem there—I will arrest you all,” Duterte said. He further warned, “And if you put up a fight I will charge you for sedition, preventing government to do what is good for the Filipino people.” n

by aJPress MoRe than half of Filipinos are supporting the legalization of divorce in the Philippines, according to a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). A nationwide survey taken during the fourth quarter of 2017 found out that 53 percent of adult Filipinos agree that that divorce should be legalized for “irreconcilably separated couples.” In the survey, respondents were asked to comment on the following statement: “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again.” Fifty-three percent of the respondents agreed (30 percent strongly and 23 percent somewhat) with the statement, while 32 percent disagreed (10 percent somewhat and 22 percent strongly). The remaining 15 percent were undecided on the matter. This indicated a net agreement score of +21, which is classified by SWS as “moderately strong.” “Support for the legalization of divorce used to be split when SWS first surveyed it in 2005: 43 percent agreed, 12 percent were undecided, and 45 percent disagreed, for a neutral net agreement of -2,” the SWS noted. It added, “The question was asked for the second time six years after in 2011 and obtained moderately strong support. When it was asked for the third time three years after in 2014, it went to very strong and stayed at moderately strong

Imee Marcos may run for Senate ILoCoS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Tuesday, March 6 said she may run for senator next year since her brother, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is not willing to drop his election protest against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo. Imee told reporters who attended the Pandesal forum in Quezon City there’s a 50-50 chance that she will seek a Senate seat. “Napag-usapan na ito sa pamilya namin dahil itong protesta ni Bongbong is taking forever. Maaaring iba na lang ang tatakbo sa national office dahil ayaw na rin niyang iabandona ang kanyang

protesta [our family had discussed this because Bongbong’s protest is taking forever. Someone else may run for national office because he does not want to abandon his election protest],” she said. The former senator, who lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, had claimed that fraud marred the vice presidential election. Bongbong had asked the Supreme Court, which sits as the Presidential electoral Tribunal, to order the recount of ballots in pilot provinces Camarines Sur, Negros oriental and Iloilo. The initial recount has been set on March 19.

Imee, however, did not reveal under what party she will run. The governor had hinted on a Senate run in her speech during the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City on February 24. When asked whether running for Senate is her way of reviving the Marcos legacy, Imee said he decision will not affect what her father, former president Ferdinand Marcos, has done for the country during his term. “Yung pagtakbo sa political office eh wala namang kinalaman sa legacy. ‘Yung legacy eh mananatili yan kahit anong gawin mo sa politika (Running for political

Gov. Imee Marcos photo

office has nothing to do with my father’s legacy. That will remain whatever you do in politics). At the end of the day, [my father’s]legacy will stand on its own and will be judged generation after generation,” she said. (

up to 2017.” The recent poll results also showed that that the support for the legalization of divorce is “very strong” among women with live-in partners, men with live-in partners, and widowed/separated men. The survey was conducted December 8 to 16, 2017, using faceto-face interviews among 1,200 adults—of whom 50 are men, and

50 are women—with a margin of error of ±3 percent nationwide. The Philippines and Vatican City are the two nations in the world that do not have a divorce law. Last month, the House Committee on Population and Family Relations approved a measure seeking to introduce divorce and dissolution of marriage in the Philippines. n

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The Philippines joins the celebration of International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, with families mourning the deaths of Filipinas who worked overseas, and with a senator reporting that on average, two women are sexually harassed every day in the country. Gender parity is one area where the Philippines has consistently ranked high in international surveys. In the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report prepared by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines was rated 10th in gender equality. The WEF report estimates that it would take another 200 years before gender parity is achieved globally, but the objective may be attained faster in the Philippines. Suffragettes initiated the first International Women’s Day celebration in 1911. Filipino women were among the first to exercise the right to vote. Even if Filipinas enjoy many rights and have shattered the glass ceiling in many sectors, however, there is still a wide room for improvement. All over the country, cases of domestic violence targeting women remain high, with barangay officials reluctant to perform their duty, mandated by law, to assist battered women. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement against sexual harassment that started in Hollywood and is now spreading to countries including South

Korea has yet to reach the Philippines, where President Duterte’s comments reflect the typical male attitude toward women. And while more Filipino women obtain college degrees than men, fewer women join the workforce. Many women also continue to risk physical and sexual abuse in working as household helpers overseas. Often, these workers serve as the principal breadwinner in impoverished households. In previous years, the lack of access to reproductive health services pulled down the country’s ranking in gender parity. While President Duterte has made RH services part of his 10point socioeconomic development agenda, millions of women continue to await the full implementation of the RH law. Women’s groups are also supporting the passage of a divorce law. Filipino women have much to celebrate on this special day, but more reforms are needed. In solidarity with women around the world today, Filipino women will also #PressforProgress. (

Editorial photo

US President Trump to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un: A start of peace in the region? The Fil-Am Perspective Gel SantoS-ReloS AFTER months of kindergarten playground bickering and name-calling long distance between these two unpredictable and narcissistic leaders as to who has a bigger nuclear arsenal that works, U.S. Presi-

dent Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un have agreed to meet sometime in May in a location that has yet to be determined. This is a welcome diplomatic development after threats of a possible nuclear showdown between the two countries loomed following their threats and counter-threats “the world has never seen before.” Trump himself had not been a big believer in diplomatic talks, even admonishing and undermining his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, arguing that the U.S.

would just be wasting its time negotiating with Kim. However, with the intervention of U.S. ally South Korea, the summit could happen, and world leaders and international relations expert express cautious optimism about this development. World political experts say Trump would be handing a gift to Kim — that is, a recognition of this dictator’s regime, something that has been denied to the country by previous U.S. presidents. In return, Kim would be giving Trump

the bragging right of scoring a diplomatic win, something the latter desperately needs during this time of his chaotic presidency. However, there would still be a lot of challenges before this could even come to fruition, as Trump himself said he would only talk to Kim if he suspends nuclear testing and “de-nuke” North Korea. The Trump administration, then, would have to see concrete evidence of Kim actually doing this and some are skeptical the short time to May might not be

enough. Also, international relations experts warn about being too optimistic about this as North Korean leaders have cheated on their deals with other countries in the past, and worry that Trump may just be falling for a possible “trap” Kim is setting up against his American nemesis. BUT if this summit indeed happens, Trump will sure learn that diplomacy works and that sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies against North Korea are working.

Perhaps, this will give Trump the impetus to finally impose the sanctions against Russia for its assault on American democratic institutions by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and its continued interference in the future elections of the United States. *** Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to, https://

Women authors: Writing is the intersectional The future of California’s businesses require expression of their multidimensional stories a sustainable, energy efficient approach Rhizomes

Commentary DenniS HuanG,

executive DiRectoR anD ceo, aSian buSineSS aSSociation

PRoSy abaRquezDelacRuz, J.D. Part I of II

“I think writing somehow reduces natural selfishness. That we can do without many things – do not have to own what we enjoy— is quite liberating. It allows us to share more, to be concerned not only with ourselves. Real writers are not self-centered. They make available to all the significance they achieve. Not after sensation through falsified feelings, they try to preserve what might otherwise be lost of people’s lives, and the life of their country. They are too deeply committed to literature and everything implicated in it, that they do not pass on ideologies but give readers something to think about, helping them to arrive at the truth about themselves. Our writings are where we live on, until mortal time ends because at its heart is refinement beyond manners, and integrity.” – Linda Casper, “The Writer’s Wives,” 2000. “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. LINDA Nietes, owner of Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro, California, organized “Pinay Gathering 2018” to honor Cecilia Manguerra–Brainard, this writer, Marianne Villanueva, Irene Suico Soriano, Angela Narciso Torres and Tessie Jayme. On

Saturday, March 17, these authors will read from their finished books, including a novel, compilation of life stories, memoir-like poetry, and a trilogy novel on World War II, during an hourlong panel. Can this be done when usually three writers are in a panel of 41 minutes, one after the other, on television, with no audience interaction? At the Filipino-American International Book Festival, held from October 6-8, 2017, I observed Brainard adeptly moderate two Hot Off The Press Panels, with 19 authors. In one panel, 11 authors shared a communication space of an hour and 20 minutes. Can you imagine being one of them, with barely five minutes, for an introduction and an excerpt? Your nerves alone would silence your tongue, but not all. Brainard read from her literary-novel, “The Newspaper Widow,” which the foreword reviews evaluated as “the novel [which] is full and complex, overflowing with textured, fully realized characters who drive the story on every page.” It left many in the audience wanting for more. Writing as meeting the moment The novel started out as a

murder-mystery, a “for fun” activity for her, Brainard shared. However, she added, “the work balked, and I had to conform to its demands. The first title of my third novel was ‘Dead Priest in the Creek’ until I realized that the story wasn’t really about the murdered priest, but about the widow, Ines Maceda (inspired by my great-grandmother), who had to fight to get her son out of jail, and whose relationships with people-new and people-fromher-past are all precious parts of the novel.“ I intended this piece to be a spotlight on these women, yet it took a different direction, further than the accolades and resume accomplishments, and more on the authors’ motivations and signature features of some in their writings. For example, Brainard’s works have been translated into Finnish and Turkish, and she has lectured on worldwide literary arts at UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Beyond Baroque, and Shakespeare and Company in Paris. You get a sense that she is really into her craft while she commands respect beyond her personal literary world.


WITH nearly 5 million Asian Americans residing in California—approximately one-third of the U.S.’s estimated 15 million Asian Americans—we have an immense responsibility to take care of the state where we work and live. Unsurprisingly, reducing our carbon footprint and improving our overall behaviors to become more energy efficient is a priority for California. Moreover, it only requires a few simple changes in our daily lives. In the past when I entered my office and watched the motion sensor lights go on, I was unknowingly doing my small part to save energy for California. Or when I shut off the coffee maker, or power down my computer, it made a difference. And I know that as my members step into the office for meetings they too may wonder why we are doing it, but as the saying goes - lead by example. For over 16 years, I have worked to represent Asian American business interests in Los Angeles. Helping individuals achieve their own unique goals is the most rewarding aspect of my work, and I have seen countless successes borne from humble beginnings. Looking around Southern California communities today, you will see a wide variety of businesses owned and operated by Asian Americans. From manufacturers and consultants, to hospitality and food services, our community has always shown an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to seize

opportunity when we see it. The success of Asian American-owned businesses is now linked to the overall success of the California economy. But in order to sustain the growth we’ve seen, we must acknowledge the complicated realities of owning a business in today’s environment. Among the many costs and complicating factors in running a business, one of the most challenging is managing energy consumption and mitigating overall carbon footprint. California business owners are unique – as one of the most environmentally conscious states in the country, there are strict controls around air, water, and land use. We are constantly striving to meet the demands of a very active and engaged California consumer, while trying to still make money to invest back into their businesses. And while we don’t have to deal with hurricanes in California, there are a number of variables influenced by climate change business owners have to consider: from droughts to power surges, the fluctuating price of fuel, or deciding which renewable resources to rely on and when – not to mention the cost to install new energy supply mechanisms – businesses face a whole host of energy-related decision challenges. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to keep the lights on, which is why incorporating sustainable practices into your business as early as possible is so important. Smarter energy use isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business – your business. So, what if we could make turning the lights on less expensive? Energy efficient measures can wind up paying dividends in the long run, and can be the difference between a company’s

initial success and long-term growth. Fortunately, the state of California has recognized the valuable role sustainability can play in growing our economy. After all, you don’t become the sixth largest economy without some creative solutions. Through programs like Energy Upgrade California, it’s easy to find ways for businesses of all shapes and sizes to save money through energy efficiency and better resource management. It can be as easy as upgrading to LED lightbulbs that last 25-times longer and use 75 percent less energy – as we’ve done in our ABA offices – or unplugging appliances that aren’t being used. California today is not only achieving more with less energy, we are investing in a smart energy future and building the foundation for long-term growth. In fact, our state produces twice as much economic output for every kilowatt-hour consumed compared to the rest of the country. Ben Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and for the vitally important Asian American-owned business community, it couldn’t be more important to seeing more efficient operation and clearing the runway for even more impressive growth in the future. So when I leave the office today, tomorrow and over the weekend, our office lights will go out, I will smile knowing that I will save a few pennies. Everyone in the state, can “Do Your Thing” to make California more energy efficient that will lead to a safer and healthier place for the next generation. *** Dennis Huang is the executive director and CEO of the Asian Business Association and a partner of Energy Upgrade California.

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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OpiniOn & Features

Women authors: Writing is the intersectional...


Angela  Narciso  Torres  is  a  graduate  of  the  Warren  Wilson  Master of Fine Arts Program for  Writers  and  Harvard  Graduate  School  of  Education  with  various fellowships from Bread Loaf  Writers’ Conference, Illinois Arts  Council and Ragdale Foundation  who  serves  as  a  reader  for  New  England  Review  and  poetry  editor for RHINO. Writing process and embracing yourself as an outsider When  Lin-Manuel  Miranda  was interviewed by Oprah at the  Apollo, Oprah surmised that what  goes on inside his head is unlike  most  of  us.  Miranda  smiled.  He  has  always  felt  like  an  outsider,  but  he  has  embraced  that  as  it  gives  him  a  unique  outsider’s  perspective to look at situations.   He  then  declared  that  writing  is  meeting  the  moment.  Indeed,  there  are  days  when  the  words flow into one’s hands into  the keyboard and the meeting is  meant to be, glorious!  Other  days,  I  could  not  meet  that moment and I have to restart,  like rebooting one’s computer.  As  a  teacher  of  creative  writing,  Brainard  distinguished  the  role of the left brain (logic) from  the right brain (creativity).   “What is more important than  a disciplined structure is allowing  one’s creative side to ‘flow.’ Freeflow writing helps; using prompts  helps;  not  being  critical  helps.  One  should  try  not  to  ‘think’  so  hard  when  writing  because  ‘thinking’  is  a  left-brain  process.  One  should  try  not  to  correct  one’s work as one is writing, but  just continue writing even if there  are  mistakes.  One  needs  to  ‘get  it  out.’  Once  a  draft  is  out,  then  the writer has something to work  with. It’s like producing a lump of  clay  that  one  can  then  mold.   In  other words, one’s draft does not  necessarily  produce  a  complete  work. Sometimes the drafts wither  and  die,  but  sometimes  the  writer  will  find  kernels  of  really  good material in there to develop  into a good story,” she generously  shared  her  insights  about  the  creative process.  ”I  get  fascinated  with  a  character  whom  I  will  bat  around  in  my head. The character starts to  become  alive  in  my  head.  I  will  explore all aspects of that character - his/her physical looks, family background, loves/likes/hates,  his/her conflicts, etc. In my head  I’m  always  asking:  What  is  your  story?  I  search  for  what  makes  this character unique and different.  Setting  is  important  to  me, 


so I  will  always  ask  where  the  character  lives  and  what  time  frame  he/she  lives  in,”  Brainard  continued. It  reminded  me  of  what  NVM  Gonzalez  said,  “Write  like  a  lover.”  Then,  after,  one  must  be  a  serial  killer  to  edit  the  unnecessary  words.  Another  editor  told  me  about  his  rule,  “Each  word  must  carry  its  weight.”  I  once  heard a Jesuit priest say, “If you  are  confused,  you  are  probably  thinking hard.”   This state of mind is not unlike  what novelists go through.   “I  have  learned  to  follow  the  lead of my characters rather than  impose  what  I  think  the  story  should be—(this is difficult to do  because we writers think we are  in charge,“ Brainard added.  She is illustrating that the more  free-flowing one allows her right  brain  to  flow,  without  editing  at  first, one can get to the finish line  of creative work products. Then,  allow the left brain to exercise its  authority on logical editing. Writing is an intersectional expression “Blood Orange” is Angela Narciso  Torres’  first  book  of  poetic  memoirs.  It  won  the  2013  Willow Books Literature Award and  her works have been featured in  Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review  (literary  journal  of  poetry)  Jet Fuel Review and Water Stone  Review  (national  literary  annual  published  by  the  Creative  Writing Programs at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. From a multi-dimensional perspective,  Torres  describes  her  book  as  “most  of  the  poems  in  Blood Orange make up a sort of  poetic  memoir  of  my  growing  up years in Manila and my eventual  migration  to  America  as  an  adult. So there are poems about  family  and  childhood,  but  also  about motherhood and the intersections of my various roles as a  woman  and  a  Filipina  writer  liv-

Angela Narciso Torres

Irene Suico Soriano Photos courtesy of the authors

ing in America.”  The  roots  of  her  multidimensional  perspective  come  from  “having grown up in Manila then  living  most  of  my  adult  life  in  the  U.S.,  automatically  there  are  these two perspectives, not unlike  those 3D glasses you wear at the  movies—one  side  red,  the  other  blue,  which  allows  you  to  see  three-dimensionally.  So  as  long  as  I’ve  been  writing,  I’ve  always  seen the world through both Filipina  and  American  lenses—further refined, of course, by everything else that colors and informs  who  I  am:  e.g.  being  a  woman,  mother,  daughter,  my  political  and  religious  beliefs,  aesthetic  sensibilities, etc.” Most  of  us  are  multi-dimensional  human  beings  with  more  than one story in our lives.  In describing Irene Suico Soriano, she emphasized her curatorial background. She has founded  “Wrestling  Tigers:  Asian  Pacific  American  Writers  Speak”  at  the  Japanese American National Museum  and  in  the  ‘90s,  was  the  literary  curator  for  the  Festival  of  Philippines  Arts  and  Culture  (FPAC).  Having  been  featured  by  the  Los Angeles Times  for  her  par-

u PAGE A10


Pacquiao is his own promoter now by Josef

Cecilia Manguerra–Brainard


EIGHT-division world  champion  Manny  Pacquiao  said  that  his  MP  Promotion  would  be  promoting  his  June  24  fight  in  Malaysia  against  World  Boxing  Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina. Pacquiao  did  not  elaborate  if  his  long  time  promoter  Bob  Arum of Top Rank was aware of  the development. “Me, the fighting senator told  The Times when asked who will  promote  his  upcoming  fight  in  Malaysia – my own MP Promotion  will  be  the  one  to  promote  it.  This  week  we  will  be  making  an  announcement  and  then  a  press  conference  will  be  held  here (Philippines).” Pacquiao’s  contract  with  Top  Rank has expired after his fight  with  Jeff  Horn.  The  Times  tried  to  get  Arum’s  comment  on  the  issue  but  the  veteran  promoter  was  still  not  replying  at  press  time. “It’s already final I’m going to  fight in Malaysia on June 24. It is  against  Matthysse.  I’ll  be  ready 

for the  preparation  and  it’s  going to be 11 weeks,” added Pacquiao. Pacquiao  said  he  is  confident  to  whip  himself  into  fighting  form within the said time frame. The Filipino ring icon suffered  a controversial unanimous decision  loss  to  Australian  Horn  in  Brisbane, Australia in July 2 last  year. Horn  will  be  defending  the  World Boxing Organization welterweight  title  against  Terence  Crawford on April 14. According  to  reports,  Arum  offered  Pacquiao  to  fight  Mike  Alvarado  on  April  14  in  an  undercard  bout  of  the  Horn  vs  Crawford match which Pacquiao  rejected. “It  was  an  insult  and  Senator  Pacquiao  was  right  not  accepting  the  offer,”  said  Pacquiao’s  media  relation  chief  Aquiles  Zonio  through  a  text  message  to  The  Times.  “Both  Horn  and  Crawford  are  not  crowd  drawers. Only Bob Arum will benefit  from that fight.” Meanwhile,  Pacquiao  said  that he would no longer play in  the  Philippine  Basketball  Association.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao

Senate photo

“Wala na  retired  na  tayo,”  said  Pacquiao,  who  last  played  for Kia in 2017. He was an 11th  pick  by  Kia  in  the  2014  rookie  draft. Pacquiao  though  is  still  involved in basketball through the  Maharlika  Pilipinas  Basketball  League. n

A10 march 10-13, 2018 • La WEEKEND aSIaN JOUrNaL

Dateline PhiliPPines • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Marcos camp: Comelec, Smartmatic must answer questions on 2016 polls eral Party presidential candidate Manuel “Mar Roxas” II lose to Rodrigo Duterte. MANILA — The Commission on On Tuesday, March 6, Sotto also Elections and its technology prosought to ban Smartmatic from vider Smartmatic should answer participating in the next national questions on the integrity of the and local elections and called 2016 elections, the spokeserson for an inquiry into supposed poll of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongfraud facilitated by the company. bong” Marcos Jr. said. Sotto said that a “highly reliVic Rodriguez, Mrcos’ spokesable source” provided him with man, also congratulated Sen. Viconfidential information that cente “Tito” Sotto III for claiming supposedly showed that there in a privilege speech at the Senate was transmission of votes before that several national candidates the elections on May 9, 2016 and benefitted from vote manipulation that the computers were remotely done by Smartmatic. accessed from the U.S. “All the issues raised by SenaThe majority leader said he tor Sotto need to be investigated is concerned about the Comelec and all the questions he asked announcement regarding the purneed to be answered by both chase of some 97,000 vote count- PROTESTING SOGIE BILL. Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday, March 7 joined the Christian Coalition for Righteousness, Justice, and Truth ing machines for Smartmatic for (CCRJT) composed of Philippines for Jesus Movement (PJM), Intercessors for the Philippines (IFP), Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches use in the elections next year. (PCEC), Negros Island House of Prayer (NIHOP), NFS Ministry, together with the G12 Philippines, at the prayer rally outside the Senate of the Comelec spokesperson James Philippines to express their strong opposition to the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Bill. According to the CCRJT, Jimenez said the commission about 30,000 Christian believers from all over the country gathered to reiterate that the SOGIE Bill violates one’s freedom to express his or has already communicated with her religious beliefs which is embedded in the Constitution. Villanueva further lamented that cases of discrimination exist not just against the the office of Sotto regarding his LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community but also against people from different religion or belief, social class, civil status, age, race, and medical condition. “We need an anti-discrimination law that will promote genuine equality--a measure that is concrete and holistic. claims of fraud. We will never allow the suppression of people’s rights to exercise their religious freedom or cultural beliefs,” Villanueva said. Jimenez said that the Comelec has asked for the documents that the majority leader presented in the Senate as he announced that the poll body would conduct its Investigation (NBI) and the De- Morales is an “ally of the Aquino by rAlph VillAnueVA own probe. partment of Justice (DoJ) before administration.” He said that conclusions could baring the documents to the “[A parallel investigation by not be made based on Sotto’s MALACAÑANG has warned public. the Ombudsman should be conallegations, which he said were He added that he received the ducted] without prejudice. And Former Sen. Marcos shows alleged evidence of irregularities of the ballots in the recent “interpreted in a particular way, members of the so-called Panelections during a press conference in Manila on January 29. which is not the exclusive possible gasinan group, whose members first batch of the documents on we are hoping that the Ombudsallegedly are plundering the Thursday. man is conducting its own photo by Ben Nabong alternative.” n Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, that “I am directly turning over the lel investigation [of the plunder the long arm of the law will soon documents to the NBI and the of the MRT 3]because an official catch up with them. DoJ, so we will see what they complaint has already been filed. Pangasinan is a province in will do with the documents. But [The Office of] the Ombusdman, the country’s Northern Luzon. in due course, after I’ve submit- if there is an evidence lacking, by Julius leonen According to a whistleblower, ted the documents, we could they can get it. If the [office]does Palace spokesman Harry Roque release even some of these of- not want [to get it], we have no ANTI-TERRORISM efforts of revealed on Wednesday, only ficial documents in the following choice,” Roque said. the Bureau of Immigration (BI) one-third of the budget allocated weeks,” Roque said. During a Cabinet meeting on might soon get a boost from for the problem-plagued MRT 3 “I promised that this will be Monday, he added, President the United States government, is used for operations of the train a continuing activity that we Rodrigo Duterte ordered Sowhich pledged to extend support system. will have here, which is dissect- licitor General Jose Calida to to its terror-watch initiatives, the The members of the “Panga- ing the plunder of MRT 3,” he file new cases against former agency said on Friday, March 9. sinan group” allegedly receive added. Department of Transportation The BI said the US Department one-third of the budget of MRT Roque disclosed that there is and Communications (DoTC) ofof Homeland Security (DHS) 3 while the remaining one-third another whistleblower, who is ficials over the problems in the promised to share to them adis allegedly used for the political also an insider and also “directly MRT 3. vanced passenger information, machinery of the group. involved in the MRT 3.” “There was a decision that casintelligence reports, and data- Officials of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, and the United States “[I cannot name these memHe, however, said sacked MRT es will be pursued [against]those bases on blacklisted and watch- Department Homeland Security pose for a photo following a discussion on the global war bers] because investigation is 3 general manager Al Vitangcol behind the miserable perforagainst terrorism. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Immigration listed terrorists. ongoing, although I am sure 3rd is not a whistleblower “yet.” mance of the MRT 3, there are Additionally, the bureau said, made these assurances during a “(The war on terror) will re- they are watching now. Justice “[Vitangcol] has been speak- pending complaints for plunder the USDHS vowed to train BI per- recent meeting with Justice Sec- quire us to work closely with our will come for you soon,” Roque ing for quite some time now. against officials of the previsonnel on biometric screening, retary Vitaliano Aguirre II and BI allies and maintain good work- said in a news briefing. Let’s just say that with inde- ous administration, specifically and fraudulent document train- Commissioner Jaime Morente. ing relations with them as we “It is now in the process of pendent information being fur- for awarding the maintenance ing, as well as internet and social Aguirre welcomed the US share knowledge and resources investigation and this is what nished me right now, perhaps I contract to a company with abmedia monitoring. government’s pledge, noting for the eradication of a border- I promised to do. I have some should go out of my way and re- solutely no track record,” Roque According to the BI, David that the war on terror requires less menace,” Aguirre said in a documentary evidence already. fer [Vitangcol] also to the NBI,” said. Glawe, USDHS Undersecretary a “multi-faceted and multi- statement issued by the BI on Perhaps beginning next week, Roque added. He dropped the names of for Intelligence and Analysis, pronged approach.” Friday. n I will devote one day a week Malacañang, according to the former DoTC Secretary Manuel in disclosing facts and details spokesman, is hoping that an in- Roxas 2nd and former Departabout the plunder of MRT 3,” he vestigation by the Office of the ment of Budget and Manageadded. Ombudsman will be started as ment Secretary Florencio Abad Roque said he would give no- well and that it will be fair even as those who will be at the retice to the National Bureau of if Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- ceiving end of the cases. n by Audrey


Smartmatic and the COMELEC,” Rodriguez said in a statement. Marcos has an ongoing electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. Rodriguez said that other “patriotic leaders and stakeholders” had already seen the extent of the so-called “conspiracy, interference and manipulation” of election results by Smartmatic and had begun to speak out. “We have never understood COMELEC’s insistence in again awarding Smartmatic despite the multitude transgressions attributed to it,” said Rodriguez, who claimed that “informed observers” he did not name had “evidence of massive cheating” in the 2016 polls, which saw Lib-

Palace numbers days of MRT 3 ‘plunderers’

BI to get anti-terrorism support from US gov’t

DOJ clears ‘ISIS leader’, partner arrested in Manila by Kristine Joy


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice has cleared a Tunisian accused of being a leader of the ISIS terrorist group of illegal possession of explosives raps. Fehmi Lassqued, who claims to be Egyptian but who has a Tunisian passport, and his partner were arrested by military and police in their Manila apartment on February 16. Said to be seized in their possession were a .45-cal gun, ammunistion and several components of an improvised explosive device. But Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, in resolving the complaint, said that there is no probable cause to indict Lassqued and Anabel Moncera Salipada on illegal possession of firearms. Ong said that the facts belie the complainants’ claim as the arresting officers were not shown in the photographs presented as evidence. “It is contrary to the natural order of things for the arresting officers and respondents not to be shown in the three photographs... especially so that that it is necessary to document their presence during the implementation of

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, right, answers questions from the media as he presents arrested foreigner Fehmi Lassoued also known as John Rasheed Lassoned, allegedly a native of Egypt, along with a Filipino companion Anabel Moncera Salipada, left, Monday Feb. 19, 2018 at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Associated Press/Bullit Marquez, file

[search warrant] in order to sustain the complainant’s story,” the resolution reads. The prosecutor also noted that the Lassqued and Salipada went through medical examinations in separate venues, which meant that they were arrested in different places, contrary to the claim of the respondents. Both the respondents said that they had not seen the firearms supposedly confiscated from them until the inquest proceeding at the DOJ.

Lassqued, in his counter-affidavit, also said that he was arrested while he was taking a cigarette break from his Spanish class. Salipada said that she was in their apartment. Salipada also said that no search warrant was presented to her. She added that she was not there when the authorities searched their apartment. The DOJ also ordered the police to return money and mobile phones seized from Lassqued and his companion. n

Women authors: Writing is the intersectional... PAGE A9 t

ticipation in the groundbreaking National Endowment of the Artsfunded “World Beyond Poetry Festival” — featuring over 100+ poets from LA’s diverse communities — you get a sense she has been letting her right brain direct much of her life. She creates poems because she believes that “as educators, healers, artists, human rights and nonhuman animal activists, we reclaim spaces, battle erasure, create pleasures and render the publishing, dissemination, and reading of poetry as socially engaged practices that keep the communities we live and work in, aware and involved. We situate our works in intersectional and feminist social spaces where conversations about race, gender, class, ability, ethnicity and identities are deemed crucial to our survival and our well-being.”

But she is also a dog lover and does a lot of rescue work of abandoned animals. Erin Entrada Kelly, a FilipinaAmerican novelist recently won the Newberry Medal — the most distinguished award given to the author of the finest children’s literature in the world — for her work, “Hello Universe,” (2017) intended for middle school children. Publishers Weekly describes an element of her work as: “Another signature feature of Kelly’s work is the exploration of Filipino culture, which she writes from personal experience as a Filipina-American.” “When I was a kid there weren’t many books with Asians and there weren’t any that I can remember reading with Filipinos,” Kelly said in the feature. “It’s incredible to know that my book provides an opportunity for

more people to read about a Filipino family, the words they use, how they interact, all that stuff.” May we write more stories to humanize us all as to our complexities as wholesome human beings. *** Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D. writes a weekly column for Asian Journal, called “Rhizomes.” She has been writing for AJ Press for 10 years. She also contributes to Balikbayan Magazine. Her training and experiences are in science, food technology, law and community volunteerism for 4 decades. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of the Philippines, a law degree from Whittier College School of Law in California and a certificate on 21st Century Leadership from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has been a participant in NVM Writing Workshops taught by Prof. Peter Bacho for 4 years and Prof. Russell Leong. She has travelled to France, Holland, Belgium, Japan, Costa Rica, Mexico and over 22 national parks in the US, in her pursuit of love for nature and the arts.

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Movie tackles life, love and heroism of Jose Abad Santos by Arlo

Gina Lopez on MayWard: Edward’s mom doesn’t like Maymay, she loves her by rosette

PeoPle generally think of Jose Abad Santos as a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court worthy of being honored as one of the modern-day heroes. In fact, he is immortalized in the P1,000-bill together with Brig. Gen. Vicente lim and Girl Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa llanes escoda. Countless streets, schools, hospitals, towns, halls and many other backdrops are named after Abad Santos. But very few know that he was concurrently the Secretary of Commerce and Agriculture during the Commonwealth regime of President Manuel l. Quezon. even fewer people know that Quezon designated him as the acting President when the latter had to go on exile to the United States during World War 2 at the height of Japanese atrocities. Born on February 19, 1886 in San Fernando, Pampanga, he grew up with nationalist fervor brought about by the movements against colonial Spain and new imperialist America. Chosen by the Americans in 1904 as one of Filipino youths seen as a future leader when the Philippines eventually would become independent, he attended Santa Clara College in California, took Bachelor of laws at Northwestern University in evanston, Illinois and his Masters of laws at George Washington University. No American girl captured his attention and fancy, as his heart only beat for local beauty queen and Centro escolar University intern Amanda Teopaco. The most moving phase in Abad Santos’ life, nicknamed “Sengseng” by his parents, was during his execution by Japanese soldiers upon the orders of High Commander Kiyotake Kawaguchi in Malabang, lanao del Sur on



Gina Lopez (center) with Edward Barber and Maymay Entrata Photo courtsesy of ELM Tree Foundation instagram Ricardo Cepeda as Jose Abad Santos.

May 2, 1942. Abad Santos could have easily saved his life if he agreed to collaborate with the Japanese, but he chose to hold on to his integrity and honor until the very end. As he was given a few minutes to talk to his son Jose Abad Santos Jr. (nicknamed Pepito) before he was shot to death, he muttered the now-classic lines, “Do not cry, Pepito, show to these people that you are brave. It is an honor to die for one’s country. Not everybody has that chance.” Inspirational book and movie Through the Philippine World War 2 Memorial Foundation (PhilWar), a movie on the life of Abad Santos has been produced based on the book – Honor: The legacy of Jose Abad Santos – written by Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo, who is also one of the executive producers along with husband Mario Abad Santos Benipayo, a grandnephew of the former Chief Justice. Young director Bani logroño, a 25-year-old graduate of the International Academy of Film and Television in Cebu, has been commissioned to do the project under Spyron-AV Manila Productions. In an interview with The Ma- photo

nila Times after the first screening of the premiere at the AFP Theater on February 24, the young director – whose works include the documentary, “Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters RoTC Guerillas” and “Manila 1945: The Rest of the Story” – said that it is his advocacy to helm World War 2 documentaries “aimed toward inspiring the next generation of heroes in the Philippines through historical education for the youth.” Asked if they also aim for commercial theater run as Filipino audiences seem to crave for heroic films as proven in the box-office and critical success of “Heneral luna,” both director and authorexecutive producer said that their goal is to show the movie in campuses and maybe special curated screenings nationwide. “It’s expensive to get a commercial theater run, we have no budget for that. It would be good, why not, but the present generation getting to know Jose Abad Santos thru screenings in the campuses for them to be inspired and perhaps emulate his honor and integrity until the end is a mission fulfilled for us,” Benipayo told The Manila Times. PAGE B2

FoRMeR environment Secretary and former Chair of the ABS-CBN Foundation, Gina lopez, has nothing but good words to the Pinoy Big Brother housemates turned loveteam, Maymay entrata and edward Barber. At the launch of her show’s nationwide search “The Quest for love,” lopez, who hosts travel show “G Diaries,” expressed admiration to entrata, whom she described as very “sweet” and “real.” According to lopez, even Barber’s mother also liked entrata. “She’s the sweetest..She’s totally kalog. She’s real eh, she’s totally not plastic,” lopez said while describing entrata. “The mother of edward, she doesn’t like MayPAGE B3


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Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) holds 11th annual Lunar New Year Asian Entrepreneurial Spirit Celebration & Awards

Kerry Doi, president and CEO of PACE

Rep. Judy Chu

PACE honored API entrepreneurs with Spirit Awards (L-R): Glady Uy of Super Donut House (Determined Spirit Award), Yuwei Yang of New Start Express, Inc. (Innovative Spirit Award), Chris Song and Vernon Song of The Legends Gym (Confident Spirit Award), Trent Yamauchi of Big T Mini Mart (Enthusiastic Spirit Award). Not pictured is Zhilong Xu of Massage Holiday who received the Passionate Spirit Award.

LA Community College District Trustee Mike Eng

AJPress photos by Ivy Manalang

Mike Eng, Rachelle Arizmendi and Kerry Doi of PACE recognize event sponsors U.S. Bank, City National Bank, Boston Private, and Manufacturer’s Bank during PACE’s 11th annual Lunar New Year Asian Entrepreneurial Spirit Celebration & Awards on Friday, March 2 at 888 Seafood Restaurant in Rosemead, CA.

LACCD Trustee Mike Eng, PACE Vice President and COO Rachelle Arizmendi, Rep. Judy Chu, PACE President and CEO Kerry Doi with luncheon awardees on Friday, March 2, from Super Donut House, Massage Holiday, The Legends Gym, New Start Express and Big T Mini Mart.

Filharmonic to sing at Warriors Filipino Heritage Night Movie tackles life, love and heroism of...

FiLiPinO-AmeriCAn a capella group The Filharmonic are set to perform at the Golden State Warriors Filipino Heritage night on march 25. To be held at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, they have been invited under the auspices of ABS-CBn The Filipino Channel (TFC). The group comprised of Southern Californians Jules Cruz (vocal bass), Joe Caigoy (tenor), Trace Gaynor (tenor), niko Del ray (beat boxer) and VJ rosales (tenor) will sing the US national anthem as well. The Filharmonic repertoire TFC’s ‘Adobo Nation’ host Ginger Conejero jams with The Filharmonic’s VJ Rosales, Trace Gaynor, includes pop, r&B and ‘90s nostal- Joe Caigoy and Jules Cruz. photo gia. They attracted the attention of versal Pictures’ hit movie “Pitch several Hollywood shows guesting Sing Off,” “The Late Show With Perfect 2”. ( them among other in nBC’s “The James Corden” on CBS and Uni-

ABS-CBN answers CHED’s complaint against ‘Bagani’ in response to Commission on Higher education (CHeD) commissioner ronald Adamat’s letter sent to ABS-CBn President Karlo Katigbak on the network’s new show “Bagani,” the network released a statement sent to on march 5. According to the statement, “The concept of ABS-CBn’s new fantaserye ‘Bagani’ is to feature warriors, protectors and heroes

who espouse Filipino values and beliefs.” As a response to Adamat’s accusation that “Bagani” is “devoid of real meaning and substance,” ABS-CBn said in the statement that the show’s production team “did intensive research to determine a distinctly Filipino term that embodies a champion who fights for the common good of his tribe or family — somebody

who is brave, honorable, selfsacrificing and good-hearted.” The commissioner claimed the series might be promoting “half-truths and lies that destroy and negate the essence” of the indigenous People’s (iPs) terminology, “bagani.” But according to the TV station, the show’s production team “recognized that the term and concept of a ‘Bagani’ best solidifies the traits that the program wants to highlight.” “With all due respect, the use of ‘Bagani’ is not in any way intended to malign or to disrespect beliefs of the indigenous Peoples’ communities, but instead hopes to propagate the values, morals, and ethics that are inherent in a ‘Bagani’— a Filipino warrior, protector, and hero,” the network explained. regarding Adamat’s recommendation to make the show more “educational,” and historically and culturally accurate, ABS-CBn clarified that “Bagani” “does not purport itself to be a historical account of Philippine history or culture.” “The program has always maintained that it has created an alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore that simply serves as an avenue to creatively deliver and highlight Filipino values, beliefs, and heroism.” “Bagani” airs on weeknights and stars enrique Gil, Liza Soberano, matteo Guidicelli, makisig morales and Sofia Andres. (Deni Rose Bernardo/Philstar. com)

PAGE B1 Actor’s honor in a separate interview before the screening, actor ricardo Cepeda (richard Go in real life) said that it’s really an honor for him playing Abad Santos in the movie. “my father admired Jose Abad Santos so much. He was his hero. He always talked about him. So growing up i looked up to JAS too. But it wasn’t until i took on the role that i got to know the man deeply,” he said. Although by common-law arrangement Cepeda is now related to the Abad Santoses (partner marina Benipayo is a JAS grandniece and sister of coexecutive producer mario Abad Santos Benipayo and also plays Amanda Teopaco in the movie), he said that he had to audition for the role. “When i learned about this project i really wanted to play the role, practically pushing myself to land the character. it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. i had to trim down kasi hindi naman daw buff [muscular]si JAS,” Cepeda, who also became a gym

instructor besides being a modelactor, said. “imagine echoing the classical lines, ‘Do not cry, Pepito, show to these people that you are brave. it is an honor to die for one’s country. not everybody has that chance.’ That to me, is indeed a great honor,” he added. He put back his talent fee to the production as associate producer. He stressed that it’s really to show the movie around campuses that is their goal, echoing Logroños words. His second daughter, Sachi, by Snooky Serna, is also deeply involved in the production. “She’s always with me during the entire production – as production staff, helping as writer, a strong support behind the cameras,” he volunteered the information. Sachi smiled in agreement to her father’s revelation to The Times. reenacting the scenes of this documentary includes noted character actor Alex medina as the teenage Jose Abad Santos, who said that his character is totally different from his current ABS-CBn teleserye “The Good

Son” as Anthony moreno and in the previous “The Greatest Love” as Alexander Sobrevista; miss Tourism international 2013/2014 Cebuana Angeli Dione Gomez as the teenage Amanda Teopaco; Dan Sheneill as Pepito Abad Santos; Daniel Abad Santos as Pedro Abad Santos; and ethan Jacob Benipayo as the young Sengseng. As Logroño and resource person michael “Xiao” Chua of De La Salle University (who is now a columnist of The Manila Times) said, Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos has all the elements of a story that millennials can relate to at the same time learn from – scenery, romance, food, drama, family, suspense, humor, overseas education, idealism, assertion of beliefs and principles. The movie is kumpletos rekados, so to speak. Absorbing visuals are incorporated into the story, including rare vintage photos and film, modern motion graphics and animation, with modernized and classical rendition of the Kapampangan folk song “Atin Cu Pung Singsing” as background music.

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As Mariel relinquishes Bb. crown: No regrets by Ricky Lo

No regrets  about  anything  that  she  said  or  she  did,  espeiN two weeks, Mariel de Leon cially on social media? will relinquish her Bb. Pilipinas“in terms of what i stand for, international crown, looking back my feelings about certain things at her reign without nary a tear. and my opinion on issues…no reAsked how she grew up in grets. But i could have been more the past 12 months marked by careful in my choice of words. in controversies generated by her general, i really stand for what i being outspoken about issues believe is right.” and people in the news, Mariel Of course, her parents, Christold Funfare in an exclusive in- topher de Leon and Sandy Anterview last Monday, March 5, dolong  (who  was  with  Mariel  after she signed up as talent for during  the  contract-signing)  Leo Dominguez’s LVD Manage- are known for being, well, “rement & Consultancy Services, served”  and  not  having  been  “it has been life-changing. i enmeshed  in  any  controversy.  have become more confident Is  the  impression  correct  that  and sure of myself…mentally, her parents cannot control her  intellectually and emotionally. (or put her in place)? Growing up, i was a sheltered “i respect them as my parents child. Being exposed to the world who guide me all the way. But THE UPS AND DOWNS, AND THE BITTERSWEET ENDING OF A SPECIAL CASE ABOUT A SPECIAL SON WHO HAD AUTISM ON THIS SUNDAY’S “CITIZEN helped me grow up and made me they are aware that i am my own PINOY!” When Norma immigrated to the U.S., she had to leave behind their autistic son, Michael because he aged out. The separation broke stronger. i’m really thankful for person and that it’s not good to her heart. Norma and husband Joy (left) went to three other attorneys who were unable to deliver results, until they decided to retain leading U.S. that — including even the bad fully control your children...tell experiences.” them what to say or do. i listen to immigration attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel, who was finally able to bring Michael to the U.S., to be reunited with his parents. Such  as  what  “bad  experi- what my parents say and i never Watch the heartfelt journey of Michael and his family that led to a pleasant reunion, but with a painful ending, on an encore episode of “Citizen argue with them or talk back to Pinoy” – on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement) ences?” Laughing, Mariel said, “the them. it’s up to me how to apply controversies. i guess that i was in my life what they are telling me. able to handle them very well. they allow us to have our own Competing in the Miss interna- mind and our own identity.” tional pageant (in tokyo) made turning 25 on May 23, Mariel by EmiL PERito me a better person. Now, i don’t considers the Binibini as the turnhave to put up a front or a false ing point of her life. With its picturesque views, face just to please everyone. You “that’s when my life really mediterranean weather, and anjust cannot please everyone; there started. the Binibini changed my cient landmarks, the southeastwill always be bashers who won’t life radically. it was the year when ern European country of Greece agree with what you say or do.” i really started growing up.” is a sought after destination for So now, what we see is what  Did growing up include breakwanderlust travelers and history we get, right? ing up with her boyfriend? buffs alike. here are just some of “Right! But now, i will have to “We still talk naman, we are the many places we’ll be visiting choose my battles wisely.” still very close and we go out. the on our upcoming classical cruise tour to Greece.  Acropolis Sitting high on the basin of Athens, the Acropolis is a comPAGE B1 plex of ancient buildings demay, she loves her!” she added. scribed in the UNESCO World Lopez shared that the loveteam heritage List as being symbolic dubbed “MayWard,” got good of the “classical spirit and civireception from Cebuanos when lization and form the greatest they had a shoot in Kinatarcan architectural and artistic complex our way to the archaeological site the blue sea. Known as the site where St. island in Cebu. bequeathed by Greek Antiquity of Delphi where we will start a the host cited that the loveto the world.” Among the monu- new day touring the ancient sanc- John the Divine wrote his revelaments is the famous Greek land- tuary of Apollo set against the tions during his exile from the team was chosen to join her in slopes of Mount Parnassus before Roman Empire, a visit to Patmos her shows since Entrata knows mark, the Parthenon. touring excavations and admiring includes the cave believed to Visayan language. She added that  Kalambaka (Meteora) have been where he lived, now she didn’t initially know the two Situated below the majestic archaeological treasures.  Islands  of  Santorini,  Myko- the Monastery of the Apocalypse. but was surprised they got a huge Meteora rocks, Kalambaka is Our visit will also bring us to 11th fanbase. home to around 12,000 citizens nos, and Patmos Before her PBB stint, Entrata No trip to Greece is complete century Monastery of St. John. and is a preferred gateway to the  Established in 1995, Air Plus  resides in Cagayan de Oro. monasteries of Meteora which without a visit to its picturesque “they were good,” Lopez said many Christians from all over islands, with our first port of call Travel  specializes  in  religious  travel.   Join  us  in  one  of  our  as she described MayWard’s make a pilgrimage to. Our visit being the island of Mykonos. in Santorini, stroll along the organized trips to the Holy Land  work. will bring us to two monasterMayWard and actress-singer marble-paved alleys in the vil- and beyond in March and Octoies. lage of Oia, stop in some of its ber 2018.  For more information,  Antoinette taus joined Lopez in Delphi After making a morning visit unique boutiques, and take in contact  Air  Plus  Travel  at  (562)  her show to feature the island of FC_JMC_AJPrintAd11p5x10p5in.pdf 5 2/22/18 AM of the12:46 famous blue 863  -  0624,  or  visit  us  at www. Kinatarcan and its community. the to the original site of the Olympic the image show airs every Sunday. games in Olympia, we will make and white buildings overlooking

Embarking on a classical cruise tour to ancient Greece

Gina Lopez on...

Bb. Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon photo

main thing with me now is that i don’t want to be serious with a relationship. i’m not that young, so i want to take every opportunity that comes my way.” Even when she accepted the offer to be Coco Martin’s leading lady (along with another beauty queen, 2015 Miss international Kylie Versoza), Mariel was then “not quite sure” about following in the footsteps of her parents. “But i guess i’m really serious about it now,” confessed Mariel, “although i don’t think i can duplicate my parents’ achievements. i still have a lot to learn about acting. i super-enjoyed doing ‘Panday.’ i used to say i didn’t want to be in showbiz but after ‘Panday,’ i’ve changed my mind. i was really taken care of while doing ‘Panday,’ i learned PAGE B5

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Bernardo Bernardo: ‘It’s been a fabulous ride’ Best and worst dressed stars at Oscars 2018 by Gibbs Cadiz

The family of Bernardo Bernardo announced the actordirector’s passing this morning. Bernardo, 73, succumbed to tumor in the pancreas, which he himself revealed in January through a Facebook post. he was two years shy of celebrating 50 years in entertainment, as a multitalented, versatile and prolific performer who made a major mark across the various mediums of film, theater and television. In a 2014 interview in this paper with writer Pablo Tariman, he described his by-then four-decade-long career as a performer, especially as a theater artist, as a “fabulous ride… 44 years of treading the boards, as they say, if you’re lucky enough to land a job. But, mostly, before the advent of the Internet and smartphones, it was trade papers, phone calls, auditions—basically, pounding the pavement. As a theater lapel button states, most of the time, ‘Life is a constant audition.’” Bernardo was born in Santa Ana, Manila, on Jan. 28, 1945, and was a journalism graduate of the University of Santo Tomas in 1966, even becoming editor of the UST Varsitarian. “I thought I was going to be the Philippines’ next great journalist,” he recalled. “you know how stupid and delusional one can be when you’re young. And then I saw my first professional theater production, a British Council-sponsored run of Robert Bolt’s ‘A Man for All Seasons’ at the Philamlife Theater. That’s when my life changed. I decided I wanted to be a stage actor.” Of his fascinating name, the actor-director said: “Bernardo Bernardo is my real name. I was supposed to be emmanuel Pedro Meliton Jr., but my father suprised my mother. I was called ‘Bernardo squared’ way before I knew the math.” A “triple threat” performer— he could sing, dance and act— Bernardo got his masteral degree in Theater at the University of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969, and had further training in acting in such institutions as the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Thereafter, he became a staple in the local theater scene, appearing in both Filipino and english productions, straight

Bernardo Bernardo photo

plays, musicals, sarsuwelas and dinner theater. According to the 1994 edition of the CCP encyclopedia of Philippine Art, “he has performed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in productions of the Batingaw Theater Guild, Playhouse Seventies, Fourth Wall Productions, Babaylan Theater Group, Zarzuela Foundation of the Philippines, Barangay Theater Guild, Teatro Pilipino, Bulwagang Gantimpala, and Tanghalang Pilipino. he has also appeared in numerous plays staged by Repertory Philippines from 1973 to 1989. he is best known for his performance in the dinner shows “The Rocky horror Show” as Frank N. Furter, 1983; and “The Boys in the Band,” as Bernie, 1977.” his other landmark roles would include Katy de la Cruz’s Tatay in the original production of the musical “Katy!”, directed by Nestor Torre for Musical Theater Philippines; and Takyong Bagting, a taong grasa, in “Bien Aligtad,” directed by Joel Lamangan for Bulwagang Gantimpala. Bernardo’s foray into film and television was just as storied: he won an Urian Best Actor award in 1980 for his role as Manay in Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night,” and another Urian, for Best Supporting Actor in 2016, for Lawrence Fajardo’s “Imbisibol.” On TV, he would appear in such long-running programs as “Flor de Luna,” “Vilma Tonight,” “Labs Ko Si Babes.” A generation of Filipino TV watchers came to know him as the flamboyant, cantankerous

but kind-hearted Steve Carpio in Dolphy’s beloved sitcom “home Along Da Riles” and its spin-off movies. It was after “home Along Da Riles” that Bernardo decided to migrate to California, staying there for 12 years. While in the U.S., he continued to perform and received acclaim for appearing in theater productions that focused on the Filipino migrant experience, among them “Alaskeros,” staged at Perseverance Theater; “Voyage,” about the lives of four generations of Filipinos in Alaska; and, especially, “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” which won a raft of nominations and awards from American critics and publications and toured Chicago, Los Angeles and New york. “My theater training and acting experience proved very helpful in my control of my body and voice in acting,” said Bernardo in the 2014 interview. “hitting your marks, knowing cues, being aware of your key lights, movements… Continuity of action/emotion for close-up and angle changes were easy enough to learn. But the key lesson was to be natural, or to underplay.” In front of the camera, on the other hand, he learned—“take your pick: Patience. Stillness. Compromise. how to conserve energy. how to laugh off delays. how to sleep while seated and waiting for your next scene.” Bernardo’s last stage appearance was in Red Turnip Theater’s sci-fi drama “The Nether,” in March 2017, for which he was nominated for an Aliw Award for Best Actor in a Non-Musical. (he was an Aliw awardee as best male performer in hotels and nightclubs in 1986.) Before “The Nether,” he played King Lear in 2015, in a Filipino translation of Shakespeare’s play by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera directed by Nonon Padilla and staged at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. (Inquirer reviewer Cora Llamas hailed it as “a tour-de-force performance”.) Bernardo was 70 when he did Lear, and he called it his “comeback”: “I’m scratching my 70-year itch! It’s legacy time. Whatever experience and expertise that I can share, now’s the time to do it,” he said, adding, with typical Bernardo Bernardo humor: “I won’t be like PAGE B5

By Monet


They say that in hollywood, you are bound to have the best and the worst of times. At the Oscars, however, it’s not only the times you win or lose but whether your outfit makes it to the best and worst lists. here are my picks of the best and worst dressed stars during the most recent Oscars on Sunday, March 4. Starting with the best-dressed women, of course. Nicole Kidman tops my list. The “Big Little Lies” star wore the most stunning display of all by Giorgio Armani. Indigo got a lot of play on the carpet. This Giorgio Armani gown was the best kind of colorful surprise. Nicole wore a sweetheart neckline Armani Privé bustier gown with exaggerated bow detail and front slit, black Christian Louboutin pumps and harry Winston jewelry. Classic! Zendaya came in at a close second with her one-sleeve chocolate-brown Giambattista Valli haute Couture and Bulgari jewelry. The 21-year-old “SpiderMan: homecoming” star wore a gown that most women would take as a risky move but she pulled it off with such elegance. The Giambattista Valli chocolate chiffon gown that blew past voluminous, veering into shapeless; so slouchy, yet so glam. If I were to choose the third best dressed of the night, it had to be Jane Fonda. First of all, let’s remember that she is now 80. Now imagine her in a crisp white Balmain column gown showing off her statuesque frame. She topped the look with a brushed-back blowout so voluminous it appeared as if she and her trademark blonde bob traveled to hollywood’s Dolby Theater with their own wind machine. Some runner-ups include Mary J Blige in her Armani Prive dress; Margot Robbie in her white Chanel haute Couture gown with beaded straps and a crisscross skirt, which she paired with clear Chanel clutch and Chanel Fine Jewelry. Gal Gadot also stunned in a flapper-style plunging gunmetal gown from Givenchy with a fringe skirt and Tiffany & Co.

Blue Book diamond-and-aquamarine necklace and Christian Louboutin heels. emily Blunt was refreshing with her soft blue look and Lupita Nyong’o — wearing a shimmering golden Atelier Versace gown with a one-shoulder black-and-gold beaded sash detail, Alexandre Birman shoes, Niwaka jewlry and gold in her hair — was just the right mix of elegance and flair. While it’s not really my style to bash somebody else’s fashion sense, I’d have to mention some dresses that didn’t really make sense to me; or at least I didn’t find them as attractive, to say the least. Take for example, Salma hayek’s glittering lilac Gucci gown with built-in jeweled neckline. It didn’t help that she paired it with harry Winston diamonds and accessories by Gucci. It all seemed so bright but not in a fancy stunning way. Though, it was nice to see Salma in something colorful and floaty for a change. Another star that’s “almost there but not quite” was Viola Davis. Some would argue that her custom pink Michael Kors Collection with a matching Roger Vivier clutch and Norman Silverman jewelry was phenomenal and I would have agreed had I not paid attention to the pseudounderwire stitching that looked so obvious the gown seemed ill-fitting. Lastly and I really don’t like saying this but please stay away from textures and colors that resemble the curtains, ceilings or worst, the red carpet. I


Vatican to endorse porn?

PhiliP S. Chua, MD, FaCS, FPCS FOR some people, to even think that the church could be persuaded to endorse porn or abortion is ridiculously absurd! The title is a satirical statement to highlight the stupidity of the suggestion that the Philippine Department of health (Doh), the very guardian and sentinel of health of our country, should endorse vaping! The health experts call it ludicrous. I say it is idiotic. Vaping is the inhalation and exhalation of the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device, which is loaded with toxic chemicals. Since the use of cigarettes has declined in many countries, vaping, which is no less harmful, is being marketed as a substitute for smoking. here are important statements I am reprinting from the email this column received from the disease prevention advocacy agency, healthJustice: “It would be the height of absurdity for the Department of health to endorse vaping. As far as the national and international scientific and medical community is concerned, vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes is not safe because these still emit toxic chemicals. And it is crucial that the public be informed about it,” said Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, board member of healthJustice and former secretary of the Doh. According to Dr. Domilyn Villarreiz, Smoke-free Program Manager of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SeATCA), studies show that “vaping involves the inhalation of nicotine at the same levels as cigarettes and can maintain nicotine addiction. It also increases one’s likelihood of developing cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Fetal and adolescent exposure to it has particularly adverse effects on brain development. These are just a few reasons why vaping must also be banned in all public places where smoking is also banned.” Aren’t we getting enough polluted and toxic air from our environment, and illnesses and deaths from smoking tobacco that we have to acquire another habit and harm our body even greater? When do we stop being masochistic and self-destructive?

As for the “pushers” of vaping, I suspect that they are the same mindless and unconscionable sectors of our society, the greedy entrepreneurs and money-hungry politicians who supported and promoted the use of tobacco, who would again financially profit from the misery their fellowmen. Much like those who, historically, had pushed for tobacco use and also those now pushing to legalize recreational marijuana. Vaping a safer alterntive? Going from cigarette smoking to vaping is just like jumping out of a frying pan to the fire. It does not make sense. The only rational way to quit breathing in more toxic air from our present poison-contaminated atmosphere is to stop inhaling from another source of toxic chemicals, like in vaping. This is just plain common sense. No doctorate degree needed to understand this. Just ask any child in the kindergarten. electronic cigarettes and other vaping products would outsell tobacco in five years. young people are especially attracted to this new mode of self-destruction and suicide. While the old generation of the 1600s (when tobacco was first introduced in Brazil and england) and up to early1900s did not have the scientific information that tobacco was a factory of diseases and a killer of man, today’s youth, in this informational age, have tons of evidence-based data that vaping is no less health destructive and is equally deadly as smoking. Let’s review what smoking has done to people, which ecigarettes and vaping would do, with equal impunity. Smoking kills. It is that plain and simple. There is no more doubt today that tobacco (cigarette smoking) is the predominant cause of lung cancer, besides other malignancies and cardiovascular diseases that maim, kill men and women and hurt our society, especially our children. In the United States alone, almost half a million die each year from smoking-related illnesses. These are preventable deaths! Demographic studies have shown that smokers are about 10 times more prone to die premature deaths than nonsmokers. This unnecessary loss of lives is at an immense direct cost for non-smokers in terms of

wish Maya Rudolph (in her red gown) would heed this advice next year. Those are the best and worst dressed female stars in my humble opinion. And I was going to end my piece at that but I realized why can’t he male stars join in, right? Three of best dressed male stars, for me, were Kobe Bryant in his perfectly tailored tux; Timothée Chalamet in his allwhite tuxedo and black boots (all Berluti); and Jordan Peele, who did not only take home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but hit a “homerun” with his white tux jacket with a deer antler lapel pin in a reference to his film “Get Out.” Winning an award in hollywood is not an easy feat. But being named as best dressed at the Oscars is a good start on setting an awe-inspiring presence. Congratulations to the best-dressed women and men of the night. And for those who didn’t make it to the list, better luck next year! *** 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

increased health risks from passive smoking, in higher health insurance premiums and taxes, not to mention personal and family tragedies in all shapes and forms. As we have alluded to in a previous column, secondhand smoke is even more dangerous, equally fatal. Tobacco use leads to four times as many deaths annually compared to all other drugs and alcohol abuse combined, ten times more than all automobile fatalities per year, twelve times more than deaths from AIDS, and much more than all the American military casualties (in all wars) in this century put together. That’s how dangerous and damaging tobacco is to the human body and to society as a whole. Today, lung cancer has become the main killer among men and women. Since women started “really” smoking in the 1950s, “because it was glamorized in ads by actresses and models as a sophisticated and fashionable habit,” lung cancer in females has increased at least six-fold, an alarming rate, with death rate comparable to that in males. Women also have added risks: osteoporosis, thrombophlebitis (vein inflammation and blood clot formation), arthritis, infertility, cervical cancer, and menstrual irregularities. Pregnant smokers face miscarriages, stillbirths, low-birth weight and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) babies. Almost 30,000 female lives are snuffed out every year as a result of smoking. Of the 4 billion cigarette-related deaths in the world each year, about half a billion are women. It is now the top killer among women. Today, one woman dies from cigarette-related illness every three minutes! Shall we look the other way and allow e-cigarette and vaping to replicate the pandemic of misery and deaths with tobacco? *** 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. Email:


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Aicelle Santos lands Kaju Soft Tofu in Buena Park offers fresh, authentic Korean comfort food perfect for the winter ‘Miss Saigon UK’ as Gigi WITHIN the last few years, Korean food has become a hit in the United States, and it’s not very surprising to see why. It’s just so good. There is no other way to put it! Given the rise of Korean food in the U.S., the options have exponentially expanded, giving food lovers their choices of restaurants serving bulgogi (grilled beef), galbi (marinated short ribs) and bibimbap (mixed rice with meat and sauteed vegetables) to name a few Korean food staples. So the question remains: where can I get the best, most authentic Korean food? Well, if you’re in Northern Orange County, look no further than Kaju Soft Tofu in Buena Park, which serves up one of the tastiest and diverse menus of all Korean food establishments in the area. Owned by the Park family, Kaju Soft Tofu reigns supreme when it comes to consistent flavors. The owners make it a point to serve up

the freshest ingredients and have never deviated from their soft tofu soup recipe, which has been a staple in the business since first opening up their Garden Grove location two decades ago. The tofu soup — which is a wonderful option to fight the chilly weather — is offered in seven spicy levels (white, mild, medium, spicy, very spicy, very very spicy and triple spicy), ensuring that your soup is tailored to your preference. Kaju also offers a wide range of tofu soups, including classics like galbi tofu soup, assorted tofu soup (clam, oyster, shrimp and beef) and seafood tofu soup (clam, oyster and shrimp). Vegetarians may also indulge in Kaju’s flavorful tofu soups with the mushroom tofu soup (shiitake and enoki mushrooms), wild sesame seed tofu soup (mushrooms and ground perilla seed) and the vegetable tofu soup (carrots, corn, peas, green beans and enoki mushroom).

Mushroom Tofu Soup and Spicy Pork Bulgogi Galbi - BBQ Beef Short Ribs

AFTER playing the lead role in the successful “Himala: Isang Musikal,� GMA Network star Aicelle Santos is now ready to take on the international stage with Cameron Mackintosh’s criticallyacclaimed musical “Miss Saigon� in the United Kingdom. While she only finished second in the GMA Network singing contest “Pinoy Pop Superstar� in 2005, Santos nevertheless earned the distinction as the first undefeated contestant to win an eight-straight win during the preliminaries. She was signed up by the station for an exclusive management contract and since then, her singing career took leaps and bounds. On stage, Santos first captured the hearts of theater enthusiasts with her role as Aileen in “Rak of Aegis,� earning her the moniker “Rock and Soul Diva.� She bagged the Best Actress in a Musical Production award in the 2014 Aliw Awards. This was followed by more stints in theater, making her a favorite in the local scene. In 2017, Santos was recognized by Aliw Awards once again as Best Actress in a Featured Role for her portrayal of Perla in “Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag.� For the same performance, she earned nomination in the Gawad Philstage Award as Best Female Featured Actress in a Musical. Despite her latest project, the Rock and Soul Diva will continue (Advertising Supplement) to be visible on TV as her successful “Awit Na Aicelle� concert will

Each tofu dish is topped with green onions and served with fresh rice (or multigrain rice) and a perfect ratio of soup to tofu. One of the standouts from Kaju, though, isn’t the delicious tofu soups. The beef short rib soup is a rich, full-bodied broth with glass noodles, vegetables and, of course, beef short ribs. Filipino customers familiar with sinigang will feel at home with Seafood Tofu Soup and Beef Bulgogi Kaju’s beef short rib soup. Per the Korean restaurant tradition, a variety of side dishes are served fresh, including cucumbers, bean sprouts, potatoes, anchovies and, of course, kimchi. Kaju Soft Tofu doesn’t just specialize in terrific food, but also great customer service. The staff — many of which are members of the Park family! — are friendly, eager to help and ready to give suggestions. One thing is certain of your visit to Kaju Soft Tofu: you will be treated wonderfully. Kaju Soft Tofu’s Buena Park Kaju Bibimbap location is available via delivery through GrubHub. Bring in this issue of the Asian Journal for a sweet discount on your next meal at Kaju! Kaju Soft Tofu is located at 7232 Orangethorpe Ave. Buena Park, CA 90621 and they’re open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Garden Grove location is located at 8895 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92844 and it is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mushroom Bibimbap

Aicelle Santos is the latest Filipino talent to join ‘Miss Saigon.’ GMA photo

be televised on GMA. Likewise, the music video for the single “Tuloy Tuloy Lang� under her new album “Liwanag� will also be released in the coming months. With her deep-seated passion for music and the arts, Santos is excited for this international venture. She will leave for the UK on the third week of March for her training, with high spirits to represent the Filipino talent abroad, joining countless local talents that made their mark on the global stage. Other Filipinos newly cast in the musical as well are Joaquin Valdez and Iroy Abesamis for the ensemble. (

As Mariel relinquishes Bb. crown... PAGE B3 new things, and that opened my mind.� Any limitations in her choice of roles? “For sure, I won’t do any nudity. But I can wear bikinis which I already did during the Binibini. I’m open to doing kissing scenes but beyond that, well, I have to think hard about it.� All her parents advise Mariel is to be professional (and punctual, “Don’t make people wait�), be kind to the cast and especially the crew members, and to be prepared and ready with her lines before going to the set. She’s set to star in an indie film titled Latay as the ex-wife of Allen Dizon (with Lovi Poe as the

current wife), to be produced by Baby Go’s BG Film with Ralston Jover as director. What’s her advice to her Binibini successor? “Enjoy every moment and stay true to yourself. Take things slowly. Don’t fake yourself on social media because people can see and read through you. People will appreciate you more if you are genuine and true to your opinions and still respectful of other people.� And to her bashers? “Nothing really, because I think bashers are sad people. Only sad people are negative towards other people because if you are happy, you won’t bash other people.�


*ORULRXV)RRG Bernardo Bernardo: ‘It’s been... PAGE B4

[Repertory Philippines founder] Zenaida Amador na liliparan ka ng silya, or Ishmael Bernal na liliparan ka ng ashtray. Ako na lang siguro ang lilipad.� He did get to teach formally— as head of the theater arts program of MINT (Meridian International) College in Taguig City. He also put up his own theater company, Studio Connections International, which he said aimed to “form alliances among performing arts companies in order to raise professional and

artistic benchmarks in educational Philippine Theater.� “Theater acting is the closest one can get to living out the concept of reincarnation,� he pointed out to this paper. “With each new role, one gets reborn. You basically create a whole new human being’s life story until the final curtain falls. And, on top of the applause (the old addiction to acceptance and recognition), you get paid for it!� Bernardo’s wake is at St. Peter’s Chapel, Araneta Ave., Quezon City.

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Naturalization is a family affair ONE important reason to consult an attorney before applying for U.S. citizenship (also known as naturalizing) is to understand how your becoming a citizen will affect the rest of your family. For example, your lawful permanent resident (LPR) children under age 18 may become U.S. citizens as derivatives of your naturalization. Under current law (which may change), naturalization also allows you to begin the process of sponsoring your parents, married sons and daughters, or siblings. And, if you have already started to sponsor your spouse or unmarried sons and daughters, the timing of your naturalization matters to them too. Becoming a U.S. citizen will change the classification of the immigrant petitions you filed for them as an LPR. Non-immediate relative family-based categories have backlogs and varying-time waiting periods. When you become a citizen, your petition converts from a spouse/child under 21 years old of an LPR (F-2A) to an Immediate Relative petition (parent/spouse/child of a U.S. citizen), and your spouse becomes eligible for a green card or visa immediately. On the other hand, the Immediate Relative category has no derivatives. They have to be applied for separately. You can wait to naturalize until your spouse and children have immigrated with your spouse’s petition, or file new separate Immediate Relative petitions for the children. The best choice for your family will depend on many factors which should be discussed thoroughly with your immigration attorney. Under the Child Status Protection Act, when you become a citizen, your F2A petition converts to that of Immediate Relative and the law freezes your under 21year old child’s age. Thus, your child stays in Immediate Relative status. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which is where California is located) just issued a decision

Your Immigration Solution LORELLA T. HESS AND NANCY MILLER which extends this protection to children who turn 21 shortly after their parent naturalizes, in certain situations. When you file a petition for your under 21-year old child and that child turns 21 before getting their green card, the category of your petition is converted from category F2A to F2B (LPR’s unmarried son/daughter age 21+). When you become a citizen, your

later ends, your petition converts back to F1 without a derivative spouse. LPRs cannot petition for married sons and daughters, so your petition is revoked or denied as a matter of law immediately upon the marriage. Unfortunately, even if the beneficiary’s marriage ends, your petition cannot be revived. As a citizen, you could start over with a new F3 petition for your married son (or a new F1 petition for your widowed or divorced daughter), but the new petition will have its own waiting period. If you are naturalizing and have petitioned for a son or daughter who wants to marry, you should all be aware that a wedding before you take the citizenship oath will kill the petition. On the other hand, a wedding after your oath will convert your petition from F1 to F3 and make the spouse a derivative beneficiary for as long as the marriage lasts. Achieving U.S. citizenship can be the culmination of a lifelong dream. Like most aspects of immigration law, it is complicated and has less-than-obvious potential pitfalls. When to apply for citizenship and how that will affect your family members is something that should be discussed in depth with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney before you decide to apply.

“ You can wait to naturalize until your spouse and children have immigrated with your spouse’s petition, or file a new separate Immediate Relative petitions for the children.” petition converts again, from F2B to F1 (U.S. citizen’s unmarried son/daughter age 21+). The waiting time in these categories can be ten years or more. Often the wait is shorter for F2B than for F1; in that case a beneficiary can “opt out” of the conversion and go back to category F2B. When you become a citizen your petition converts from F2B to F1 as above, and the still-unmarried beneficiary may opt out of that conversion. If the beneficiary later gets married, s/he keeps the F1 conversion and your petition converts again to category F3 (U.S. citizen’s married son/daughter). The waiting time for F3 petitions is 5-10 years longer than for F1 petitions, but your petition itself survives the wedding and the new spouse becomes a derivative beneficiary. If your son or daughter’s marriage

*** Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza is one of the oldest, largest and most experienced immigration firms in the United States with offices in Pasadena, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Manila and China. Telephone: (800) 795-8009 E-mail: website: *** The analysis and suggestions offered in this column do not create a lawyer-client relationship and are not a substitute for the personalized representation that is essential to every case. (Advertising Supplement)




Minding Your Finances Atty. RAymond BulAon YOU’VE probably seen a lot of these ads: “Settle your debts for pennies on the dollar!”, “Reduce your debts legally without filing bankruptcy!” “Stop bill collectors now and pay them only what you can!” Are all these just exaggerated claims? Or are any of these ads true? How can you protect yourself from being scammed? If you’ve accumulated a lot of credit card and other debts and have found it difficult to make your payments, perhaps you would like to find a way out of debt without having to file for bankruptcy as much as possible. After all, bankruptcy is often a last resort for most people when no other options exist. But how do you know who to trust before giving anyone your hard-earned dollars? Unfortunately, bad things happen even to good, honest and decent people. And when you are in a situation where your bill collectors are hounding you day and night for payment, you may be tempted to accept the first of-

Legal Commentary RomAn P. mosquedA esq suPeR lAwyeR in immiGRAtion ON November 9, 2017, the USCIS, National Benefits Center, granted the From I-601A waiver application for the unlawful presence of a native and citizen of El Salvador, residing in Los Angeles County, with his U.S. citizen wife. Their identities are withheld to protect their privacy. The author represents both spouses in the Form I-130 relative petition of the wife for the husband and in the Form I-601A waiver application of the husband, as well as in the National Visa Center proceedings for the consular processing of his immigrant visa. The husband entered the United States without inspection (EWI) on or about October 1, 2013, from the Texas-Mexico border. He has resided and worked as a landscaper since 2015 in Southern California. On

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The Prophetic Voice

ReveRend fer of help from someone who honest? No, that’s not what I’m Rodel G. BAlAGtAs

comes along although you may not really understand what you are getting into. FACT: Debt settlement companies are everywhere, often telling you things that are not true. You see them advertising in newspapers, on TV and on the internet. I am sorry to say but a lot of these companies are “scams” for lack of a better term. They will tell you whatever you want to hear and making promises that they can’t keep. Once you hire one of these debt settlement companies, your phone will never stop ringing and they have no way to legally protect you because they are not attorneys (although a lot of them lie to you and claim that they are somehow affiliated with law firms). Don’t believe a word of what they tell you and be very careful especially if this is a company that you have not met with face to face. A lot of these companies are out of state and once they have your money, you may not hear from them again. Does this mean that all debt settlement companies are dis-

saying. But you need to be very careful as there are a lot of unscrupulous and deceitful companies out there who want to take advantage of your misfortune. Before you hire a debt settlement company, make sure that you understand the agreement that you are signing. Over the years, I have heard hundreds of horror stories from clients who have put their faith and trust in a debt settlement company who made a lot of big promises that they could not eventually deliver. They charge large up-front fees before they do any work and in a lot of cases, they don’t explain to you exactly what services they will be providing. Most of them also do not tell you that the credit bureaus will still report your accounts as “late” on your credit report. Thus, if your credit will be ruined anyway, wouldn’t you just be better off filing for bankruptcy so you can get out of debt much quicker without spending so much money? This doesn’t mean that debt


USCIS grants Form I-601A waiver for unlawful presence August 12, 2014, he was married to a naturalized U.S. citizen. She petitioned for her husband by filing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on April 22, 2016. And her Form I-130 Petition was approved on August 18, 2016, by the USCIS, Texas Service Center. The National Visa Center had received the papers on the agent of process, affidavit of support fee and immigrant visa application, and had scheduled his immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador. He is now in San Salvador for his medical evaluation and immigrant visa interview. Form I-601A waiver for unlawful presence: Any alien who was in transit in the United States, like a crewman and did not join the vessel, or has entered without inspection (without a visa), and has not been petitioned to be grandfathered under INA Section 245(i), is barred from

returning to the United States for 10 years, if he or she has stayed here for one year or more. The 10-year bar can be waived, if the alien residing in the United States is granted Form I-601A waiver application, as in this case. With the approval of Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and current availability of an immigrant visa as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, Form I-601A waiver application can be filed by the alien, as in this case. A qualifying relative: U.S. citizen or lawful permanent parent and/or spouse (but not a child) is required for this unlawful presence waiver. And the qualifying relative must prove extreme hardship to himself or herself for the waiver to be granted. In this case, the qualifying relative is the naturalized U.S. citizen wife, who was able to prove extreme hardship to her, if her husband were barred from


I ADMIT that there have been times in my life when my faith and prayer have run dry. What do I mean? It means that even in my life as a priest, I have experienced doubt in my faith and have questioned its disciplines and practices. It means that I too have experienced the humdrum of faith and religious practices. The sources of this feeling of monotony in faith are varied. It could be the scandalous behaviors of my fellow Christians, the hypocrisy I see in church. It could also be my disappointment with the arrogant and judgmen-

Barrister’s Corner Atty. Kenneth uRsuA Reyes THERE seems to be a misconception in the general public that you can only obtain a divorce in California if your spouse will sign the divorce papers. I get this question a lot from our family law clients. The fact is that California is a no fault state and you do not need your spouse’s signature in order to get a divorce. What is more important is being able to properly serve your spouse with the divorce petition and satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of the Court by showing that either you or your spouse resided in the State for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition and in the County for 3 months prior to filing the petition. When you file a divorce petition, you have to serve your spouse with the summons and petition. Your spouse then has 30 days to file a response after being served with a divorce petition. If your spouse fails to file and serve you with a response, you can file a request for default against your spouse after 30 days. You can also file a proposed judgment for the court to approve. The default procedure can be done even if there are issues of property division, custody, visitation, and support. However, the Court will still review your proposed judgment and property division

Only by God’s grace tal ideological attitudes of some people. It could also be my struggles and sinfulness. It could be the complexity of my personhood and humanity as a whole. But in all these experiences, I could say that I have remained faithful to God. I’ve kept myself on the mission, hoped for consolation, and pleaded the Lord for strength, enlightenment, and inspiration. And I would find myself saying over and over again that it’s only by God’s grace that I have remained faithful. Hence, the words of St. Paul (Ephesians 2:8-10) in this Sunday’s Mass resonate in me: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and it is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so one may boast.” Like many of my brother priests, it is only by God’s grace

that I have persevered in faith and the priesthood. Perhaps, many of us could say these words too. You could say that you won’t be able to fulfill your responsibilities to your children as parents and stay in the marriage without the grace of God. You keep waking up early to prepare your kids for school and to go to work. You put all your thoughts and energies to maintain a household. But even these human efforts are gifts that God gives us. He’s always there pushing you to remain strong and guiding you with words you learned from Scriptures, tradition, priests, and fellow Christians. The grace of perseverance happens when we look at the cross. If Jesus could endure suf-


Can I obtain a divorce if my spouse refuses to sign? to make sure it conforms to the policy towards equal division of community property. Meaning, you have to propose a division of community property that is pretty much equal between the spouses. If your proposed property division is one sided such as distributing all community property to you and giving all the community debts to your spouse, the Court would probably not grant your judgment. The Court would probably set a hearing for you to explain why this is an equal division of community property. The only time you may need your spouse’s signature is if your spouse files a response to your divorce petition. This is called “contesting” the divorce. If your divorce is contested by your spouse, you can resolve the case either by “settlement” or by “trial.” However, you do not have to settle all the issues in the case at once. Under the concept of divisible divorce, you can settle some of the issues and set the other issues which you and your spouse cannot agree on for trial. Our office try to resolve cases through settlement because it is more cost effective and the parties are usually happier with the outcome. In that situation, the parties may avoid the cost and uncertainty of going to trial by executing what is called a stipulated judgment which is in essence an agreement as to all the issues in the divorce case.

For issues which you and your spouse cannot agree on, you will have to go through the litigation process which involves obtaining discovery, exchanging declarations of disclosures, and preparing the case for trial. Ultimately, you will obtain your divorce at trial in addition to adjudication of the distribution of community assets and debts amongst other issues. It is in the best interest of the party to retain the representation of competent counsel who will assert his or her rights under the family code. *** Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation. *** Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 3881611 or e-mail or visit our website at (Advertising Supplement)

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Community Journal

Charging different prices to consumers based on age may be discrimination TINDER is a smartphonebased dating app. Subscribers use the app to find people whom they would like to date. Tinder presents users with photos of potential dates. In March 2015, Tinder released a premium service called “Tinder Plus,” which allows users to access additional features of the app for a monthly fee. The monthly fee depended on the user’s age group. Tinder charged users who are age 30 and older $19.99 per month for subscribing to Tinder Plus, while users under the age of 30 are charged only up to $14.99 per month for the Tinder Plus features. A Tinder subscriber, Allan Candelore, sued Tinder on behalf of himself and other California Tinder subscribers who were over 30 years old at the time of their subscription. Candelore alleged that Tinder’s age-based pricing of its service is age discrimination and violates California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. The Unruh Act provides that all persons are “free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments.” The purpose of the law is to secure equal access to public accommodations. The

Debt Relief

Atty. LAwrenCe yAng

WHO said that, first is chance, twice is coincidence and third is habit? I have two new clients who are actually previous clients. The first is 55 and she filed jointly with her husband 12 years ago for Chapter 7 relief of credit card debt. To tell you the truth, I still remember mostly everything about the client and her husband one and a half decades ago. At that time, my main office was on Figueroa and 2nd street in Downtown LA, and it was just the next building from where the bankruptcy trustee hearings were being heard. I would just walk with clients from my office to the hearing. That was so convenient. Creditor reps would pass by my office for coffee after the hearings and talk about reaffirmation, and possible objection to discharge of claims. The creditor would sometimes show me the pattern of credit card usage of the last month, and say look, the debtor’s income is only so much; how in the world can he pay his credit card debt, implying that there was some kind of fraud and absence of intent to pay for credit card debt inferred from insufficiency of income. Or, sometimes creditors would offer to keep the credit line open despite bank-

Legal-Ease: An Attorney’s Perspective JuDD MAtSunAgA eSq GOOD news! People in America today can expect to live longer than ever before. If you’re lucky enough to make it to 65 years of age, you can expect to live another 19.3 years (on average) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, those extra 19 years could include managing chronic conditions such as: (1) Arthritis - The CDC estimates that it affects 49.7% of all adults over 65; (2) Heart Disease - the leading killer of adults over age 65; (3) Cancer - the 2nd leading cause of death among people over age 65; and (4) Respiratory Diseases - the 3rd most common cause of death among people 65 and older. Other common health concerns for seniors are: Alzheimer’s Disease, Osteoporosis, and Diabetes. The CDC estimates that 25% of people ages 65 and older are living with diabetes, Influenza, Pneumonia, falls, obesity, and depression. As Americans get grayer, their families are taking the lead role in providing care for aging adults. An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult in the prior 12 months (Source: Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 – Executive Summary (emphasis

Protecting Employee & Consumer Rights Atty. C. Joe SAyAS, Jr. Act, therefore, prohibits “arbitrary discrimination by business establishments.” The Unruh Act’s prohibition extends beyond the enumerated classes. Although age is not specifically listed as a protected characteristic, the courts have recognized that the Unruh Act prohibits age-based discrimination. In the trial court, Tinder defended its age-based pricing as a result of its market testing showing that “younger users” are “more budget constrained” than older users. The trial court agreed with Tinder, noting that Tinder’s age-based pricing is not unfair because “it is entirely proper for Tinder to charge alternative prices in the pursuit of profit maximization.” The court then dismissed the case. Candelore appealed. The Court of Appeal noted that the Unruh Act provides broad protection against arbitrary agebased price discrimination. Previous courts have determined that pricing differentials can constitute actionable discrimination. Even if it is true that older persons generally have more disposable income, this cannot justify charging them more for a service.

Even if Tinder’s market research shows that as a group younger users have less income and would be less willing to pay, this does not give Tinder the right to discriminate against its older users. Some older users may be “more budget constrained” and less willing to pay than some in the younger group. Generalizations about a protected class will not justify discrimination under the Unruh Act if they affect individuals to whom these generalizations do not apply. The Court of Appeal also reviewed the facts to determine if there is a strong public policy that justifies the alleged discriminatory pricing, but found none. The Court of Appeal concluded that since Tinder’s pricing is arbitrary, age-based, and uses generalizations about older users’ income, that it violates the Unruh Act, and that the case should be allowed to proceed in trial court. *** The Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas, Jr. welcomes inquiries about this topic. All inquiries are confidential and at nocost. You can contact the office at (818) 291-0088 or visit or our Facebook page Joe Sayas Law. [C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Esq. is an experienced trial attorney who has successfully recovered wages and other monetary damages for thousands of employees and consumers. He was named Top Labor & Employment Attorney in California by the Daily Journal, consistently selected as Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine, and is the recipient of PABA’s Community Champion Award for 2016.] (Advertising Supplement)

Client seeks Chapter 7 relief again for $48K in credit card debt ruptcy. I remember this client clearly because her husband was a famous sports personality and actually held a world champion title in his sport. World champions are rare indeed, few and far inbetween, and they stand out from the regular Joe or Mary. At that time, they had racked up about $60,000 of credit card debt. The minimum payment of $1,800 was putting a lot of strain on their finances. So, they opted for a fresh start without the $60,000 debt. A fresh start is what they got on the financial side, but husband had other personal problems, and addiction to alcohol was one of them. When you start with beer for breakfast, beer for lunch and beer for every hour of the day and night, your liver just cannot process the alcohol quick enough. When push comes to shove, cirrhosis of the liver is the result after a decade and a half more of this kind of drinking. That’s when the whites of your eyes turn yellow, then you know you’ve met the end of your drinking days because you will soon die because your liver doesn’t work anymore. The client tells me that her husband died two years ago from too much drinking. He just could not stop. He literally drank

himself to death. What a sad way for a world champion to die. Once an epitome of good health to such an extent he became a world champion but he ends up dying the sad death of a drug addict. What a change of fortune. He had the background to be productive for the rest of his life just by teaching kids in his community how and what it takes to become a world champion like himself. This would be maximizing his God-given talents. But alas, the “spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” – This is what Jesus said to Peter as He agonized on that night thinking about what He had to do to fulfill the will of God the Father, to redeem mankind from the consequences of sin. He said of his anticipated torture and death on the cross, Jesus prayed to the Father as He perspired blood, “Father, if it is possible that I pass on this cup, but nevertheless, Thy will be done, not mine!” The managed to get a divorce just a month before husband died, so technically she was not a widow. At any rate, client’s new credit card debt post fresh start 15 years ago, now reached $48,000. So since this is her second time to seek a fresh start without debt, it’s just a coincidence. It’s not yet


What is In-Home Supportive Services? added). Adults help their parent(s) with errands, housework, or home repairs. Caregivers may perform a range of activities, such as providing companionship, assisting with housework or providing medical and other forms of physical care. Relatively few caregivers say they helped with personal care, such as bathing or getting dressed. Adults ages 45 to 64 are the most likely to be caregivers. In fact, 23% of adults ages 45 to 64 cares for an aging adult. On average, they have been in their role for 4 years, with a quarter having provided care for 5 years or more (24%). Higher-hour caregivers are twice as likely to have been in their caregiving role for 10 or more years. The median cost nationwide for either homemaker or home health aide services is upward of $125 a day, assuming they provide 44 hours of care per week. The median cost for assisted living is comparable to 44 hours of home care a week (though far less than a nursing home), according to a 2016 Genworth Cost of Care study. The sad news is that our country’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers devote a large portion of their own money toward the care of their loved ones. Family caregivers report dipping into savings, cutting back on personal spending, saving less for retirement or taking out loans to

make ends meet. More than half of family caregivers reported a work-related strain, such as having to take unpaid time off. They’re spending an average of $6,954 a year — nearly 20% of their income — on out-of-pocket (OOP) costs related to caregiving (according to a new AARP study, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report”). But wait - there’s help!!! What if I told you that your 45 to 64 year old adult could get paid for their services (at least in part). “Say what? Do you mean that my 60-year-old daughter who is providing us ‘unpaid’ care can get paid?” You bet! It’s a littleknown public program called In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). The goal of the IHSS program is to allow you to live safely in your own home and avoid the need for out of home care, i.e., nursing homes. Services almost always need to be provided in your own home, or the home of a relative (such as a son or a daughter). That’s right, IHSS will pay friends, family members and in some instances, spouses, for help with housework, meal preparation, and personal care. The types of services which can be authorized through IHSS are housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, personal care services (such as bowel and bladder care, bath-




AC 21: Changing the employer of your employment-based green card application Dear Attorney Tan, I have an approved I-140 immigrant petition which was filed by Company A on my behalf. Company A would like to employ me as a bookkeeper. Based on that approved I-140 petition, I filed an application for green card (I-485 adjustment of status) in August 2014. Since that time, my green card application has been pending, as USCIS has requested additional documents in support of my application. Recently, another company, Company B, has expressed interest in hiring me for a payroll clerk position. Company B is a more established company based in the Midwest and pays $10,000.00 less but offers much better benefits. Is there a way I can substitute Company B as the employer in my green card application? --P.T. Dear P.T. Under INA Section 204(j), commonly referred to as AC 21, an approved I-140 employment-based immigrant petition filed by one employer can be used by or “ported” to another employer providing certain requirements are met. First, a green card (I-485 adjustment of status) application must have been filed and must be pending for at least 180 days. Second, the “new” job offered by the second employer must be in the same or similar occupational classification as the job for which the first employer filed the I-140 petition. In your situation, you meet the first requirement in that your

Legal Advice Atty. DArriCk tAn application for green card (I-485) was filed in August 2014. Your application has been pending for over 1 year, which is more than the required 180 days under AC 21. In depth analysis in your case is needed as to whether Company B’s job of “payroll clerk” is considered a “similar occupational classification” to Company A’s job of “bookkeeper,” for which Company A petitioned you. In determining whether one job is similar enough to another job for AC 21 purposes, the USCIS takes into account the totality of the circumstances, including the job duties of both positions, the Standard Occupational Code (SOC) from the approved I-140 and the SOC code for the job offered by the new prospective employer, as well as the offered wages for each position. In your case, analysis would begin with the job duties of each position. The more similarity in job duties between bookkeeper and payroll clerk, the greater the likelihood that USCIS would consider them similar. Also, the SOC code for the 2 jobs would be taken into account. In addition, the wages offered by each employer would be considered. The existence of a big disparity

in wages offered by each employer is not by itself a reason to conclude that the jobs are not similar. In your case, the fact that Company B is offering $10,000 less than Company A has to take into account the fact that the Midwest has a lower cost of living, as well as the fact that better benefits are being offered by Company B. If it is considered a “similar occupational classification,” Company B may be substituted in as the employer in your pending green card application, and Company B will not have to start the process from the beginning by filing a labor certification application and by obtaining an approved I-140 petition. The analysis of whether you can use or “port” your approved I-140 requires additional analysis, and consulting with an experienced attorney is recommended. *** Darrick V. Tan, Esq. is admitted to practice law in California and Nevada. Mr. Tan is a graduate of UCLA and Southwestern University School of Law. He is a member of the Consumers Attorney Association of Los Angeles and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Philipp ine American Bar Association. *** LAW OFFICES OF DARRICK V. TAN, 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Tel: (323) 6390277. Email: (Advertising Supplement)

Are you thinking of debt settlement to... PAGE C2 t

settlement is not an alternative to filing bankruptcy. In some cases, it is better than bankruptcy if settling your debts is the best way to protect your assets without having a bankruptcy on your record. Remember, however, that settlements are only available on unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills and department store cards, auto repo and foreclosure deficiencies. Also, you may need to file bankruptcy right away if there is an imme-

diate threat to your property or income such as a lawsuit, wage garnishment, bank levy or foreclosure. And If it’s going to take more than 12-18 months to negotiate settlements with your creditors, in most cases, bankruptcy might be the better way to go. In such case, you might want to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can evaluate your situation and help you decide what is best for you. For a free attorney consulta-

tion, call Toll-Free 1-866-4777772. We have offices in Glendale, Cerritos and Valencia. *** None of the information herein is intended to give legal advice for any specific situation. Atty. Ray Bulaon has successfully helped thousands of clients in getting out of debt. For a free attorney evaluation of your situation, please call Ray Bulaon Law Offices at TOLL FREE 1 (866) 477-7772. (Advertising Supplement)


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Client seeks Chapter 7 relief...

USCIS grants Form I-601A waiver...

to be paid to the mortgagee. For most debtors who were even having a hard time paying one mortgage payment, the sixmonth rule, pretty much rooted out a lot of debtors from being able to get to second base. The client was one such debtor. He got hit hard with the six-month rule. But fortunately for him, the first mortgage on which he had arrears went bankrupt, and the bank that took over the loan did not surface for a very long time. I believe the new bank did not appear for three or four years. By that time, the debtor had set aside enough funds to get current on his mortgage and all went well for him until recently when he retired. He’s now behind four months on the mortgage. Now, Chapter 13 again is required to help him cure the default. He will be given five years to pay the default in 60 equal monthly installments, thus protecting his house

What is In-Home Supportive...


a habit. But the client is such a positive outlook on life, and her second fresh start includes a new husband! She remarried last year. Our God, Adonai, and His one and only Son who died for our sins, blesses her indeed! Client seeks Chapter 13 again for default on residence My second old and new client filed a Chapter 13 case to cure arrears in his house 20 years ago. At that time, there was still the six-month rule concocted by the bankruptcy judges in the Central District of California to protect mortgage holders from debtors who file a second Chapter 13 case. If the debtor filed a second Chapter 13 case, he would have to bring to the first hearing of creditors, all of the mortgage payments due in the last six months. So, if the mortgage is $2,000 a month, the debtor would have to bring $12,000 in certified funds

PAGE C2 t from foreclosure. Again, this is client’s second returning to the United States for time, so it’s just a coincidence. ten (10) years. Indeed, she would suffer the It’s not yet a habit. following hardships: (1) Financial *** hardship because the husband Disclaimer: The foregoing is an ex- will lose his job as a landscaper pression of opinion and is not meant in Los Angeles County and can to be legal advice to any reader. There not find a similar paying work in is no attorney-client relationship es- El Salvador that can support his tablished by this article with the read- wife here in the United States; he er. If you want to discuss your situa- has been out of El Salvador since tion, you have to set an appointment 2013; (2) Emotional hardship beto consult with the attorney. The first cause she will be separated from general consultation is free. her husband, who will be in El *** Salvador; she will suffer major Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in depression and anxiety, per medbankruptcy, business, real estate and ical report of Dr. Frank Baldercivil litigation and has successfully rama dated March 25, 2017; and represented more than five thousand (3) Medical hardship because clients in California. Please call Angie, she has had severe chest pains Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for that may result in heart attack, an appointment at 1000 S. Fremont Ave, Mailstop 58, Building A-1 Suite 1125, Alhambra, CA 91803 or at 20274 Carrey Road, Walnut, CA 91789. PAGE C3 t

Calendar of Events across



ing, grooming and paramedical services), accompaniment to medical appointments, and protective supervision for the mentally impaired. Fortunately, most IHSS recipients can hire, fire, and supervise their own care givers under the Independent Provider (IP) mode of service. Most IP’s are relatives of the client. In other words, that means that IHSS will pay your son or daughter for your caregiving. Or, better yet, you can hire outside care so your son and

per medical records; was operated of acute cholecystitis on December 2, 2013, per operative report; she has been diagnosed with hypertension since November 30, 2013; and is under medication; as well as high cholesterol since December 1, 2013. Medical hardships weigh more than financial and emotional hardships to the qualifying relative to the determination of a Form I-601A waiver application. Indeed, in this case, the medical conditions of the wife invariably resulted in the grant of the Form I-601A waiver. But this author has had many other cases where financial hardships and emotional hardships, without medical hardships, were sufficient for the grant of the unlawful presence waiver. It’s a

daughter can “visit” rather than “caretake.” Since IHSS is run by the Department of Social Services, all you have to do is first qualify for Medi-Cal. “But I was told I don’t qualify since I have more than $2,000 in the bank. Can you still help me?” You bet! You are legally allowed to convert non-exempt assets into exempt assets, “spend-down” excess assets, or transfer them to a trusted adult child. “Won’t that trigger a 3year waiting period?” No, not if you see an attorney experienced

case-by-case analysis of the facts by the USCIS in its determination to grant or deny the Form I-601A waiver application. If you have a relative to sponsor you for the Form I-130 Relative Petition and a current availability of an immigrant visa and a qualifying relative for the Form I-601A waiver application, you are well-advised to file your applications as soon as possible, in these times of uncertain immigration reform. *** The author, Roman P. Mosqueda, is a Super Lawyer in Immigration in Southern California. He has practiced immigration law for over 25 years, and other fields of law. Call 213-261-0816 or email: for a free initial and confidential consultation. (Advertising Supplement)

in Medi-Cal planning. *** Judd Matsunaga, Esq. is the founding attorney of Elder Law Services of California and practices Medi-Cal Planning, Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Administration. Judd can be contacted at (310) 348-2995 or The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Asian American Journal. The information presented does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. (Advertising Supplement)


Fil-Am Association of SCV’s fundraising event and inaugural ball in Valencia, CA The Fil-Am Association of Santa Clarita Valley (SCV), Inc. invites the community to a fundraising event and inaugural ball of the board of officers and trustees on Sunday, March 11 at 5 p.m. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia — 24500 Town Center Dr., Valencia, CA 91355. The Fil-Am Association of SCV, Inc. is a non-profit that engages in cultural, social, outreach and community service to approximately 8,000 Fil-Ams living in Santa Clarita Valley. This 2018 marks the associations 35th year in serving the community through its outreach and Fil-Am academic and cultural enhancement programs which include scholarship achievement awards, programs for the seniors, youth and single programs, as well as cultural events. For tickets, please contact Josie Maglalang at (661) 607-5665, Zeny Justiniano at (661) 645-0948, Emie Carrillo at (661) 877-2699, and Zony Gordon (661) 312-3422.


Philippine American Bar Association’s 32nd installation & awards gala in Los Angeles on March 14 The Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) invites you to its 32nd Installation and Awards Gala on Wednesday, March 14 at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. This year’s Gala will feature keynote speaker California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, a menu of Filipino flavors, and special performances. PABA will be PABA will be honoring Distinguished Leader Ben Hofileña, Jr. (20th Century Fox Film Senior Counsel), Trailblazer Ruthe Ashley (California LAW Executive Director Emeritus), and Community Champion Minh T. Nguyen (The Law Office of Minh T. Nguyen, ALC). During the gala, PABA also will formally unveil its new logo and website, both of which were developed by a Fil-Am-owned start-up and involve colors and designs deeply rooted in the cultural history of the Philippines. A cocktail reception and auction will begin at 6 p.m., while the dinner and program will begin at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets or a sponsorship, please visit:


Glenn Miller Orchestra to perform in Stevenson Ranch, CA The world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will swing into the Santa Clarita Valley for a special one-night only event to be held at West Ranch High School (26255 Valencia Blvd. Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381) on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. The most sought-after big band in the world will take the stage with bandleader Nick Hilscher at the helm, performing beloved hits from their extensive library, which includes “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.” Hosted by West Ranch High School’s music program, the concert will be an event for all ages and offers the chance to experience history, enjoy the magical melodies and walk away knowing you’re supporting a new generation of talented musicians in the processes. Tickets are $25 for seniors/students, $30 for general, and $35 for VIP. Prices increase by $5 at the door the day of the event. Tickets are available online at westranchmusic. com, by phone at (661) 222-1220 ext. 645, or at one of the locations: Nick Rail Music - 25868 McBean Pkwy., Valencia, CA, (661) 288-2345; Nationwide Insurance, 23236 Lyons Ave. #205, Newhall, CA, (661) 254-1714; Innovations Salon - 25830 The Old Road, Stevenson Ranch, CA. (661) 255-5580; or Bella Cucina - 27911 Seco Canyon Rd. in Saugus, (661) 263-1414.

M A R C H 29

Immigration forum in Anaheim, CA There will be a FREE immigration forum on Thursday, February 29 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 Attendees will be able to get information on the following topics: How to find H-1B/green card sponsoring companies, tips for a successful H-1B interview, job placement assistance for qualified applicants with start-ups in Orange County, and a list of top 100 H1-B employers in the OC. 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. Refreshments will be provided to all attendees. For more information about Global Law Centers, please visit


SALIDA: Simbolo at Kultura in Queens, NY AFTA presents its latest fundraising event - “SALIDA: Simbolo at Kultura” – a cultural dinner show featuring the internationally recognized dance troupe from the Philippines, the Leyte Dance Theater, which will kick off their USA TOUR 2018 in NYC. The event is on April 14, 2018, 3:00 pm at the Rock Church in Woodside, Queens. “Salida” aims to raise funds and awareness to support the flagship projects of the Association of Fil-am Teachers of America, Inc. (AFTA) with their partners: The Rock Churches Worldwide and the Leyte Biliran & Samar Federation. Proceeds of this fundraiser will finance AFTA’s projects in the Philippines like Adopt a School (Marawi City, Biliran and Albay, Adopt a Scholar, and Balikturo). For Sponsorship opportunities, contact Roxanne at 347-932-6631 or Nitz at 862-368-1706 or any AFTA officer/board member.

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

ğįōíľ ÀðıÃæµįPçįŒʼnŒæIJįıÀ ØÃĉÃæîÂߌğÃqPç qíß߼æÃıŎįĤÀíĽØƒ ÕæíŊįPdíĽIJĕ If you have an upcoming event and would like us to post it, email us the details (title, description, time & date, location, etc.) at And for consideration in our print calendar, please send submissions at least three weeks before the date of the event. To be included in our online calendar/ e-newsletter, please allow at least two to three weeks' notice.

The Asian Journal would be delighted to list your event in our Calendar of Events.

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People and Events Inspiring night of firsts at sold-out gala induction of Chamber of Commerce of Greater LA Support for “Push for Entrepreneurship” movement overflows with the presence of 7 Chamber representatives

THE Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Los Angeles (FACC-GLA) had reason to dance the night away in a night of firsts and “lucky sevens.” In attendance, for the first time, was a record-breaking seven Consul Generals, seven SoCal Fil-Am Chamber Presidents and full-capacity crowd of 180, eager to push forward in economic progess. Outgoing President Gerry Palon officially handed over the reigns to 2018 Incoming President Ellen Samson, whose bold Entrepreneurship Movement has brought in the participation of new members and the motivation of existing members who hope to activate the improvement of their businesses. Ms. Samson declared this evening “a humbling and defining moment in my life. For the principles and advocacies I am committed to support…the things bigger than me.” Inducted to FACC-GLA for 2018 are 1st Vice President for Membership Relations Lois Klavir, Vice President for Events Angelo Varsobia, Treasurer (former two-time FACC-GLA President Gerry Palon), Secretary Connie Mapue, and Board Members Roy and Vangie Tabberah, Vivian Lim, Gemma Bergstrom, Doreen Remo, Mary Ann Omega (2013 President Emeritus), Tess Somera, Mary Trinidad and Annie Nepomuceno.

FACCGLA is proud to thank exclusive media sponsor Asian Journal, motivational speaker Shiny Buctu, and special Awardees City Commissioner Joel Jacinto, and Connie Mapue for her expemplary efforts as FACC-GLA Secretary. Especially inspiring were the talks of three women, given Awards of Recognition for their success in business, namely Mary Ann Mirador, owner of RSG Enterprises, Madolor King (Rodan & Fields, house flipper) and Elena Salonga of Lapid’s Chicharon. In his speech, Philippine Consul General Adel Cruz emphasized that Filipinos must support each other and improve each other’s business firstly. He also praised the fact that all Consuls were present, for the first time attending the same event in that special evening. 1st Vice President Lois Klavir says “volunteerism does not require 100%, instead requires 1000%...” and so it shows in the turnout produced by the efforts of the current FACC-GLA Officer and Board. To be a member and join future events such as this one, visit, email info@ or call (888) 670-7717. FACC-GLA is a nonprofit and holds its office at 5121 Van Nuys Blvd, Suite 205, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.

Elena Lapid Salonga displays her Plaque of Recognition as a successful businesswoman

Secretary Connie Mapue receives a special award for her dedication to FACCGLA

Awardee Madolor King is presented a plaque of recognition by Treasurer Gerry Palon

Consul General Adel Cruz delivers encouraging words to the Induction attendees

Incoming President Ellen Samson is officially handed the bell and gavel by outgoing President Gerry Palon

Board Member Mary Trinidad presents awardee Mary Ann Ramos, along with Vice President Angelo Varsobia

Commissioner Joel Jacinto addresses the full house crowd

Photos by Joe Cobilla

Only by God’s...


ferings and death on the cross to save us, we too can bear our pains and struggles and survive our experiences of death. And so, it is our relationship with our Crucified and Risen Lord that would help us overcome the burdens of living in this world. It is our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in prayer, Word, and Sacrament that inspires us to keep staying on a mission of love and service. It’s why the words of the Gospel (John 3:16) this Sunday are meaningful to many of us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Indeed, God does not want us to perish in hopelessness and desolation. He wants to save us from the false promises of this world by entering into a relation-

ship with his Son, Jesus. Let this Lent be a time for us to trust and hope in God’s grace. Let the Crucified and Risen Lord be our strength and consolation. Let his Spirit breath in us new energies and life so that we can continue serving, loving, forgiving, and living joyfully and passionately! *** From a Filipino immigrant family, Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s Seminary in 1991. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Augustine, Culver City (1991-1993); St. Martha, Valinda (1993-1999); and St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park (19912001). In 2001, he served as Administrator Pro Tem of St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, CA, until his appointment as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Los Angeles, in 2002, which lasted 12 years. His term as Associate Director of Pastoral Field Education at St. John’s Seminary began in July 2014.

Chamber of Commerce presidents (left to right) Merwynn Montenegro, President, FACC-Tri County, Gerry Palon, Immediate Past President & Current Treasurer, FACC- Greater Los Angeles, Jeffrey Bautista, Board Member of FACC-Orange County and FACC-Hollywood, Ellen Samson, President, FACC-Greater Los Angeles, Loi Herrera, President, FACC-Southbay Los Angeles Area, William Peetom, President, FACC-San Diego and Craig Wilson, President, FACC-Hollywood

Vice President Lois Klavir (L) and President Ellen Samson (R) present Consul General Adel Cruz (C) with a special award

Consul General Adel Cruz leads the oath-taking of the FACCGLA Officers and Board Members for 2018

(L-R) Consul Rea Oreta, Deputy Consul General Ambrosio Enciso, and Vice Consul Dyan Pastrana

C MARCH 10-13, 2018 • LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

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& ICE targeting those

Immigration Corner

with DUI convictions

ATTY. MICHAEL GURFINKEL, ESQ AS part of its “enforcement priorities,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the recent arrest of over two dozen people with DUI convictions in connection with “Operation Secure Streets.” According to ICE’s press release, 24 of the people apprehended “have been convicted of violations concerning the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Each was taken into custody and is currently being detained pending the completion of removal proceedings.” Only one of the individuals apprehended did not have a DUI-related conviction. This operation (of targeting people with DUI convictions) was part of ICE’s commitment “to remove public safety threats from our communities.” ICE stated it “will continue to arrest and re-

move these criminal aliens for the safety of our city’s residents.” In the past, many people who were pulled over for driving under the influence thought nothing of quickly pleading guilty and perhaps attending some courses. Many handled these DUI charges on their own. Previous discussions about ICE “enforcement priorities” (meaning the people ICE should focus on deporting\removing), usually meant hardened criminals, terrorists, and others who were truly threats to the safety and security of our citizens. Now, people with a minor DUI could be arrested, detained, and processed for removal from the U.S. That is why it is so important when being charged with any crime to have a criminal attorney represent you, and if you are not a U.S. citizen, it would be advisable to also have an immigration attorney work with the criminal attorney, to advise on the pos-

sible immigration consequences of any plea deal. Many times, a non-citizen (even a green card holder) pled guilty to some charge, only to later discover the plea made them deportable. *** Michael J. Gurfinkel 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 reenactments) 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 attorneyclient relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. WEBSITE: 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 (Advertising Supplement)

Jollibee hikes stake in Smashburger for $100-M by ANGELICA


FASTFOOD giant Jollibee Foods Corp. will soon be taking over control of U.S.-based Smashburger following the signing of a $100 million (around P5 billion) share-purchase agreement (SPA) with the brand’s holding firm. Jollibee told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday its wholly-owned subsidiary Bee Good! Inc. has signed an SPA with Smashburger Master LLC (Master) for an additional 45 percent stake in Smashburger, boosting its ownership to 85

percent from 40 percent. “The transaction, valued at $100 million, is expected to be completed in one to two months subject to government approvals in the United States and meeting certain closing conditions. JFC will pay Master through Bee Good! in cash,” Jollibee said. Upon execution, Smashburger shall contribute 15 percent to the group’s worldwide systemwide sales from the current 5 percent, while also hiking its foreign businesses to total worldwide sales to 30 percent from the existing 20 percent.

The consolidation of Smashburger into Jollibee will increase its worldwide store network by 365 stores or 9.6 percent to 4,162 as well as its geographical presence from 16 countries to 21 adding Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, United Kingdom (England and Scotland), and Panama. The company said it eventually expects to achieve a 50/50 revenue split target as foreign operations were growing faster than in the Philippines. As part of a debt restructuring, Jollibee entered into an PAGE D2

Business Quote of the Week “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you - what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind - you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.” - Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon




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Philippines dominates 2018 PH furniture market ‘most Women in Business report appealing’ – BMI Research by Ian

nIcolas cIgaral

by MayvelIn

U. caraballo

MANILA — The Philippines’ “non-discriminatory” policies and other practices of Filipino business helped catapult the Southeast Asian nation to the top of a new survey, which shows that the proportion of Filipinas holding senior management positions is way above global average. According to Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s 2018 Women in Business report, which polled 4,500 senior executives across 35 countries, 46.58 percent of Filipinas in the work place occupy top management posts. That was higher compared to 40 percent last year and 39 percent in 2016. The survey said respondents lauded the Philippines’ non-discriminatory policies for recruitment, paid parental leave, flexible hour and equal pay for men and women performing the same jobs. “These practices have been introduced by Filipino businesses in order to attract and keep employees, enhance company performance, comply with government legislation, live up to organizational

According to Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s 2018 Women in Business report, which polled 4,500 senior executives across 35 countries, 46.58 percent of Filipinas in the work place occupy top management posts. photo

values and meet the expectations of wider society,” Grant Thornton said. The country with the second highest percentage of women in senior leadership posts is Indonesia, with 42.56 percent, followed by Thailand, with 42.07 percent. Across regions, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had the highest average at 38.55 percent. “Make diversity and inclusion a core value in your business: Organizational values drive behavior, so it is important that the whole business is signed up to diversity and inclusion,” said Ma. Victoria C. Españo,

chairperson and chief executive officer of P&A Grant Thornton. Globally, Grant Thornton, one of the world’s leading accounting and consulting firms, said businesses had taken “one step forward but one step back” in terms of giving women the opportunity to perform senior management roles. It added that while it was “hugely positive that women are in senior roles at more businesses, it’s disappointing that they are being spread so thinly” as the proportion of the team that is female dropped to 24 percent in 2018 from 25 percent.

LBC acquires 100% of 4 US affiliates by reIcelene Joy IgnacIo

LBC Express holdings Inc announced that its board has approved the acquisition of all the shares of its affiliates in the United States, particularly in Saipan, New Jersey, California and hawaii, from an affiliate company. LBC Express said it acquired 120,000 shares of its Saipanbased LBC Mabuhay Saipan Inc priced at $1.73 per share or for a

total value of $207,652. It said it also acquired 1.6 million shares of LBC Mabuhay North America Corporation in New Jersey at a price of $0.71 per share for a total cost of $1.136 million. In addition, it also acquired 4.19 million shares of Californiabased LBC Mundial Corporation, at $1.64 per share, amounting to a total of $6.864 million. Finally, it also acquired more than 1.5 million shares in LBC Mabuhay hawaii Corporation at a

issue loan guarantees to banks on behalf of Smashburger in order to fund the plan. “A much lower cost long-term financing, made possible by Jollibee’s strong balance sheet, will significantly improve the net income of Smashburger immediately,” Jollibee Chief Finance Officer Ysmael Baysa said. “It will also enable Smashburger to make more meaningful investments for healthier and faster growth … We look forward

extended this to include those aged 30 to 34 years old,” BMI said. The ranks of those aged 25 to 34 years old, it added, are expected to increase to 18.3 million by the end of 2022 from 16.8 million people in 2018. “The attractiveness of this market has caught the attention of Swedish furniture giant IKEA, which is set to open in the country at an undisclosed date,” BMI pointed out. IKEA, it added, will be competing with local companies such as the Abensons Group’s homeplus Furniture and Robinsons Retail’s handyman, and foreign players such as US firm ACE hardware and Japan’s Miniso and Muji. Spending on furniture and furnishings is expected to post robust growth of 8.3 percent per year from 2018 to 2022, while spending on consumer electronics, toys, sports and gardens is expected to decline by 0.9 percent over the same period.

Henry Sy mulls bid for 3rd telco slot by IrIs


MANILA — Banking and retail tycoon henry Sy Sr. may join the price of $0.22 per share for a total race to become the country’s third purchase cost of $342,000. telecommunications player. In a disclosure on Thursday, his Philippine Global CommuniLBC said that the acquisitions are cations (Philcom) is now studying expected “to benefit the Company the government’s terms of referby contributing to the global rev- ence (TOR) for selecting the third enue stream of the Company.” telco player. The acquisition of the compa“We’re still reviewing the TOR,” nies, which offer cargo and remit- Philcom chairman and president tance services in their respective Willy Ocier told The STAR over the areas, was made under a share weekend. purchase agreement with affiliThe company will decide if it ate company, LBC holdings USA indeed wants to vie for the third Corporation. telco spot once the final TOR is out, he said. Industry sources said it’s still difficult to decide on a third telco to the business making positive bid because the TOR keeps on net income contribution to Jol- changing. Earlier for instance, the Departlibee’s profit in the medium term and significant profit contribution ment of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the long term,” he added. Last year, Jollibee saw its net said the third telco company must income increase by 10.9 percent have a huge net worth or paid-up to P6.7 billion from P6.05 billion a capital of at least P10 billion but year earlier on the back of strong it said last week this is no longer sales and the acceleration of its necessary. On Feb. 19, the DICT and the store network expansion. For the fourth quarter alone, National Telecommunications net income grew 8.3 percent to Commission (NTC) released a draft memorandum circular requiring inP1.8 billion.

Jollibee hikes stake in Smashburger...

PAGE D1 executed commitment letter with SJBF LLC, the parent company of the entities comprising the Smashburger business, to provide financing to the latter in order to pay its loan obligation of approximately $80 million which will mature on May 15, 2018 and replace it with a much lower cost of long-term financing at more lenient terms. Jollibee said it will borrow long-term loans from banks or

ThE Philippines is one of the most attractive household goods markets in Asia, a Fitch Group unit said, with spending in the segment expected worth over $5 billion dollars by 2022. BMI Research, in a report released on Thursday, said household goods spending in the Philippines could grow by an average 6 percent annually over 2018 and 2022, with the segment forecast to be worth P197.5 billion ($4 billion) this year, rising to P249.7 billion ($5.1 billion) in 2022. “This growth in spending will be driven by rising disposable incomes in the country with a growing middle-income segment (household disposable income of $10,000 to $25,000) capable of spending on ‘big-ticket’ furniture items like sofas and cabinets,” it said. BMI estimates that households in the middle-income segment

and above to grow by 5.3 million over 2018 and 2022, accounting for 37 percent of total households in 2022 — up from 18 percent in 2018. Growing wealth levels will lend support to spending on larger furniture items, as well as, higher quality furniture and furnishings offered by IKEA for example, compared to locally produced furniture, it added. The Fitch unit noted that Philippines also offers a high proportion of young adults who are likely looking to furnish their first homes. The country’s demographics, it said “will be most appealing for household goods retailers that target first-time home buyers (who tend to be younger).” Those between the ages of 25 to 29 are most likely to be first-time buyers “but we do note that due to rising housing prices, individuals are spending longer renting or living at home with their parents and have thus

Henry Sy photo

terested bidders to have a minimum capital of P10 billion. But during the public consultations, Rio said stakeholders were concerned about the requirement. “We are no longer basing it on the amount they will invest, we are now basing it on the actual resource and service they will commit,” Rio said. Instead of the paid-up capital, Rio said the DICT would look into other parameters such as internet speed and the level of commitment it can provide. The department intends to publish the final version of the terms of reference on April 9. The tentative date for accepting bids is on May 24. Rio said that instead of a paid-up capital, DICT will instead impose a “performance bond” on the winning bidder.

DITC, in a letter to Ocier, has invited Philcom to join the bidding. According to its profile on Bloomberg, Philcom provides communication solutions which include Reach Dedicated Access, a service that provides subscribers leased line connections to the Internet; and Reach DSL, a service that provides access to the web at breakneck speed for video and audio files, network gaming, streaming, and bandwidth-heavy applications. It also offers internet services with an option to avail IPTV channels for SM tenants, voice solutions that provide connection to domestic and international long distance traffic and data solutions that offer dedicated lines using digital technology to enable point-to-point connection that caters to domestic and international requirements of companies. It was formerly known as Radio Corp. of America (RCA). The company was founded in 1924 and is based in Makati City. Other potential third telco players are Now Corp., Easy Call Philippines, Villar’s Streamtech Systems Technologies, PT&T and foreign firms China Telecom, China Mobile and North Telecommunications.

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Philippine manufacturing lags behind ASEAN peers MANILA, Philippines — As growth slows in Philippine manufacturing, the sector now lags behind those of its ASEAN peers, the latest survey results of the Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed. The headline PMI rose marginally to 50.7 in February from 50.2 in January, indicating a steady although slow improvement in the health of the regional manufacturing sector. Expansions in output, new orders and employment were all faster in February compared with the previous month, said IHS Markit, the firm that collected data for the survey. Five of the seven countries covered by the survey remained within expansion territory with a PMI reading of above 50. These were: Vietnam (53.5), Myanmar (52.6), Indonesia (51.4), Thailand (50.9) and the Philippines (50.8). Meanwhile, Malaysia and Singapore registered readings of 49.9

and 46.8 respectively, indicating weakening manufacturing conditions. The headline PMI is a composite index based on five key indicators: new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and inventories of inputs. It is designed to provide a quick evaluation of the performance of the manufacturing sector each month. “The Philippines dropped to fifth place as tax reforms continued to limit growth,” said the report, referring to the implementation of the first package of tax reform program that imposes higher excise taxes alongside the lowering of income tax. IHS Markit said strong domestic demand remained as the driver for new orders as export sales fell for the third month in a row. Higher demand led ASEAN manufacturers to scale up production in February, therefore requiring more workers. The rate of job creation in the region’s factories

was the strongest in 20 months, said the report. Input buying also rose for the first time in three months but firms continued to be confronted by high costs because of weak exchange rates and higher prices of some commodities such as oil and industrial metals. This prompted them to pass on some of the costs to consumers. “ASEAN manufacturers faced a further sharp rise in input costs. Limited growth of selling prices suggests that, so far, companies have struggled to pass on greater costs to customers, which puts pressure on profit margins,” said IHS Markit principal economist Bernard Aw. “The Philippines saw the strongest rate of cost inflation across the region as new excise taxes pushed up input prices,” he added. Aw said, however, that business confidence regarding output for the year ahead remain positive. (

China loans for PH firmed up

Chinese investment firm working on $10-B airport financing by Ben

O. de Vera

THE Philippine and Chinese governments are set to sign by midyear the loan agreements for the three big-ticket infrastructure projects to be financed by the mainland. Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Z. Tan told reporters that for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s P10.9-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, the signing was tentatively scheduled between the second and third quarters of this year. For the National Irrigation Administration’s P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility as well as the Department of Transportation’s P151-billion Philippine National Railways-South Long Haul Railway, the loan agreements were set to be signed between the third and fourth quarters of 2018. These three projects were part of the “first basket” of projects to be funded by official development assistance (ODA) from China. “The process is actually they [prospective Chinese contractors] have to go through the bidding, after which we would be able to identify how much is the loan. And then, we have to go through our

own processes—we have to secure all the necessary approvals like the Monetary Board’s special authority, and from the President, the forward obligational authority. And then after which we will negotiate the loan and make it effective,” Tan explained. Expected to bid for the MWSSled Kaliwa Dam project are China Energy Engineering Co. Ltd., PowerChina Ltd. as well as a consortium of Guangdong Foreign Construction Co. Ltd. and Guangdong Yuantian Engineering Co. Ltd. For the NIA’s P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility in Cagayan and Kalinga provinces, the potential bidders are China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd., China Geo-Engineering Corp. and Qingdao Municipal Construction Group Co. Ltd. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had said that they were negotiating that the Chinese government charge the ODA loans with an interest rate lower than 2 percent a year. The Export-Import Bank of China will cover 85 percent of the total contract amounts of the Kaliwa Dam as well as the Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility projects. China will provide soft loans estimated at $234.92 million for

the dam project and $72.49 million for the river project. The DOF had said that a total of $7.34 billion in loans and grants had already been committed by China to finance not only the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program but also the reconstruction and rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City. Meantime, CLSA, the offshore platform of Chinese investment bank CITIC Securities, is working on the finance for a new $10-billion airport in Manila as part of its push into Southeast Asia and China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative. The airport project, to be developed south of the Philippine capital, is still awaiting government approval but CLSA has held preliminary talks with potential Chinese backers for the deal, CLSA chair Tang Zhenyi told Reuters. “It looks like we are in good shape to do this. It’s a $10-billion minimum project,” he said. “Citic and CLSA are in the perfect position to talk with all the Chinese financial institutions.” Tang and CLSA did not give the location or further details of the project. Local media have reported competing airport proposals are currently being studied by the Philippines government.

PH, cargo growth boost Asian Terminals income by reicelene JOy ignaciO

PORT operator Asian Terminals Inc. said its net income went up by 30.7 percent to P2.5 billion in 2017 from P1.9 billion in 2016 driven by a sharp increase in container cargo throughput amid sustained economic growth. Revenues grew 14.6 percent to P10.6 billion from P9.2 billion in 2016 on the higher volume of containerized cargo and favorable cargo mix in the non-containerized segment. “Reflective of the robust growth

of the Philippine economy in 2017, ATI’s international ports in Manila and Batangas handled a combined container cargo throughput of over 1.3 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs),” the company said in a statement. According to ATI, it handled over 1.1 million TEUs of international boxed cargoes at the Manila South Harbor in 2017, while its Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) handled almost 200,000 TEUs. “BCT has effectively supported government’s drive for inclusive

growth outside Metro Manila by continuously opening up direct market connectivity and delivering competitive port services to shippers based in South Luzon,” ATI said. “Equally important, Batangas Port has contributed to decongesting Metro Manila roads. Last year’s cargo volume meant taking out over 100,000 truck trips along metro roads with more Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon) preferring route consignments through BCT,” it added.

Metro Manila office space seen topping 805,000 sqm by reicelene JOy ignaciO

DESPITE rising inflation, the Philippine office market is seen to exceed the 761,100 square meters of gross leasable space it posted for Metro Manila in 2017 as it expects to finish constructing an estimated 805,000 sqm of these spaces this year, real-estate firm KMC Savills said on Tuesday, March 6. At a press briefing in Makati City, KMC Savills Research Manager Fred Rara said over a third of these new spaces would be in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City and nearly a quarter would be in Quezon City.

“QC may yet again drag overall market performance this year, but this should be mitigated by other submarkets with impressive absorption rates,” he added. Mixed results from the National Capital Region’s submarkets are expected in the coming quarters, because occupants are becoming more diverse, according to Rara. Some of them may have a hard time getting affordable rates in some locations, like the Bay Area. “On the other hand, occupier demand is still seen [as]intact, despite another record year of office completions in the market,” Rara said. Business process outsourcing

and offshore gaming companies are driving office demand. This stabilized vacancy rates, which KMC Savills Managing Director Michael McCullough said would grow between 10 percent and 11 percent next year, from 4.5 percent in 2017. Growth is still “very healthy” for the industry, McCullough said, adding that Metro Manila has about “2 million sqm… in the pipeline over the next [few]years.” Despite the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act in January, which would increase steel and cement prices, demand for office space would still be sustained,



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PH jobless rate down but underemployment rises by MayveliN

u. Caraballo

FEWER Filipinos were jobless at the start of the year but the number of those looking for more work also increased, the government reported on Wednesday, March 7. Unemployment fell to 5.3 percent in January from 6.6 percent in the same month last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed, equivalent to 2.32 million individuals who were out of work from 2.76 million previously. The result was the lowest in all January rounds of the LFS since 2009 and also hit the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) target of 4.7 to 5.3 percent for 2018, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a statement. The employment rate, at 94.7 percent from 93.4 percent previously, meant that 41.75 million Filipinos had jobs, up from 39.34 million in January 2017. “These improvements in the labor market indicate that more Filipinos are encouraged to join and re-join the labor force, and that more people are being employed,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said. “This signals that the economy is responding positively to the economic reforms and programs that the government has been laying down,” he added. However, the underemployment rate — the proportion of the employed wanting additional work — rose to 18 percent, higher than the 16.3 percent a year ago. The latest reading represented about 7.49 million underemployed workers, higher than the 6.39 million a year ago. The “visibly underemployed” — those working less than 40 hours a week — accounted for

57.1 percent of the underemployed, most or whom or 44.6 percent were working in services. Pernia said the government “must continue to raise investments and improve productivity, which in turn, will help boost the productive sectors of the economy and encourage the generation of higher quality employment opportunities.” The creation of new businesses should be facilitated and production boosted by changes to market regulations, the passage of key reforms and the removal of structural barriers, he added. “These include the reduction of foreign investment restrictions as well as the passage of the Ease of Doing Business bill and Package Two of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which will lower corporate taxes while rationalizing investment incentives,” the NEDA said. Land Bank of the Philippines economist Guian Angelo Dumalagan agreed that the drop in unemployment pointed to increasing work opportunities but noted that higher underemployment suggested some weakness in the quality of jobs being created. “Moving forward, labor figures are expected to improve, as the government’s tax reform and infrastructure programs could open up more job opportunities for everyone,” he said. The NEDA, meanwhile, also highlighted that the labor force participation rate (LFPR) had increased by 1.5 percentage points to 62.2 percent in January, with the female LFPR rising by 2.3 percentage points to 47.5 percent. “This reflects the sharp decline in the number of economically inactive married women and females who opt out of the labor force due to household duties,”

the agency said. Services remained the top employment contributor with a 55.9-percent share, followed by agriculture (26 percent) and industry (18.1 percent). Pernia emphasized a need to help move agriculture workers out of low-productivity jobs, calling for a shift to high-value crops, crop diversification and the development of farm to market roads. He expressed optimism that opportunities in the industry sector would increase, saying “more jobs are expected to be created during the country’s infrastructure build up which will not only ease traffic and promote regional development but also generate more quality jobs.” Youth unemployment, meanwhile, slid to 12.5 percent in January, the lowest rate recorded for January since 2009. Also, the share of inactive youth — those who are neither studying nor employed — also declined to 18.8 percent. “If we are to sustain this trend for the rest of the year, we can achieve the PDP target of lowering youth unemployment to 19.5 to 21.5 percent for 2018,” Pernia said. “It is important that we continue to push for the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable more women to participate in the labor force,” he said. He added that it may be the appropriate time to establish a legal and regulatory framework that will allow part-time work, especially in low-paying jobs. “This will especially benefit school dropouts so they can study or be trained further and get themselves into higher paying jobs in the future.”


Legarda confident economy will become more robust by Julius

N. leoNeN

SEN. Loren Legarda on Tuesday, March 6 expressed confidence that the Philippine economy would become more robust after an online report put the country at the top of the best countries in Southeast Asia to invest in. Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, cited the report published by US News which placed the Philippines on the No. 1 spot of the best Southeast Asian countries to invest in. “In contrast to declining inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Southeast Asia as a whole, the Philippines continued to perform well, according to United Nations data,” the report said. “We are gradually seeing the positive effect of the administration’s sound economic policies. I laud the efforts of both the public and private sector, especially the President and his economic team,” Legarda said in a statement. “But more needs to be done in sustaining the inflow of investments in our country that will usher in more local jobs especially in the provinces,” the senator noted. The Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) approved P131.6 billion worth of investment projects in the first two months of 2018 alone, Legarda said. Moreover, the senator noted that in 2017 the BOI posted an alltime high of P617 billion in committed investments, comprising of 426 projects that are expected to generate around 76,065 jobs upon full operations.

Sen. Loren Legarda file photo

Legarda said the 65-percent increase in investments was recorded in areas outside of the National Capital Region (NCR). “All of these show the growing confidence of both local and foreign investors in our economy and could only result in growth also in the countryside and of our people,” the senator explained. The investments were also seen to “further improve” with the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, she said. “We see this to further improve especially with the government’s infrastructure development agenda, the legislature’s support through measures that will improve government processes and ensure ease of doing business in the country, and maintaining peace and order,” she said. Legarda then cited her proposed Innovation Act, which was approved by the Senate on third and final reading. The measure aims to mandate

all government agencies and local government units to “improve efficiencies in addressing public transactions that impact on innovation, including reducing the number of days and costs of starting or expanding a business.” “We see a very promising future for our country. In fact, our strong macroeconomic performance, solid domestic demand, inflow of foreign direct investments, and consistent fiscal policies geared towards a sustained decline in the gross general government debt ratio invite a more robust trade relations with other countries,” Legarda said. “But all of these should be aimed at not only achieving impressive growth statistics but also, and more importantly, bringing the fruits of these investments to all Filipinos – to lift the poor out of poverty and improve the lives of all our citizens,” the senator stressed.

PH household goods seen as one of Asia’s most attractive markets MANILA — The Philippines is seen as one of the most attractive markets in Asia for household goods, with the market here projected to reach PHP249.7 billion, or around USD5.1 billion by 2022. BMI Research forecast that spending in household goods in the country may grow 6 percent yearly from 2018 to 2022, amounting to PHP197.5 billion, or USD4 billion to almost PHP250 billion in the next four years. In a report, BMI Research said the bright prospect for the country’s


household goods market is driven by its large demographic group of firsttime home buyers and rising disposable income. “The growth in spending will be driven by rising disposable incomes in the country with a growing middleincome (household disposable income of USD10,000-USD25,000) capable of spending on ‘big-ticket’ furniture items like sofas and cabinets,” the BMI Research report noted. It projected middle-income group to grow from 18 percent of the total

households this year to 37 percent by 2022 or expanding to 5.4 million over said period. “The Philippines also offers a high proportion of young adults that are likely to be first-time home buyers, that typically need to furnish their empty new houses,” it said, citing that those in ages 25 to 29 years old have highest likelihood to be first-time buyers. But it also included those aged 30 to 34 years old as first-time buyers as individuals are spending longer renting or living at home with their parents due


to increasing housing prices. “We estimate that those aged 25-34 years old to increase from 16.8 million people in 2018 to 18.3 million by the end of 2022,” the research read. Moreover, the BMI Research report said it has seen robust growth in Philippine consumers’ spending on furniture and furnishing, expanding at 8.3 percent annually from 2018 to 2022. Aside from furniture and furnishing, the Philippine market is likely to spend strongly on household textiles; household appliances; glass, tableware, and

utensils; and home and garden tools/ equipment. “The attractiveness of the market has caught the attention of Swedish furniture giant IKEA, which is set to open in the country at an undisclosed date,” the report said. “Growing wealth levels will lend support to spending on larger furniture items, as well as, higher quality furniture and furnishings offered by IKEA for example, compared to locally produced furniture,” it added. (Kris Crismundo/ PNA)



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