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Volume 18 - No. 6 • 2 Sections – 16 Pages

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Philippines, US kick off Pacific Partnership mission

Still no 2019 budget: House and Senate fail to resolve impasse by NATHALIE



The Philippines and United States kicked off Monday, March 11, this year’s iteration of the PaciďŹ c Partnership 2019. U.S. Embassy photo

THE U.S.-led multilateral humanitarian mission kicked off this year’s iteration of the Pacific Partnership 2019 on Monday, March 11. The Philippines is one of the mission stops, along with Malaysia, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Thailand, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Vietnam. The Philippine leg was launched in Tacloban City, the second time it will be held there since the mission started in 2014.


PH out of ICC by March 17


THE meeting of lawmakers with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte failed to resolve the conflict of the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB). Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri revealed that the members of the two legislative members had dialogue but failed to arrive at a consensus on the proposed P3.757 trillion annual budget. “The president had asked us to pass the budget so that the programs of government can continue.

We still met while the president had left but there’s still no consensus, unfortunately,� Zubiri said as reported by ABS-CBN News. The impasse was centered on the Senate’s stand to pass the “ratified version� as opposed to the Lower House’s position “on the line itemization and not lump sum.� Senate President Vicente “Tito� Sotto III explained that Duterte told the legislative leaders in his introductory statement that he will not sign the budget if Sotto refuses to initially do so. “He opened the dialogue by saying he will not sign the budget if I do not sign it,� Sotto said.

Both sides were then given the chance to express their stand on the issue. According to the Senate president, Senator Panfilo “Ping� Lacson suggested that they should agree on the original bicameral report approved by both chambers. “After some words from both sides, Sen. Lacson suggested that the HOR recall the enrolled copy they sent and revert back to the bicam report that both houses approved,� Sotto said as reported by CNN Philippines. “The president and members of the Executive Department concurred. The House of Representatives


QUICK-SPREADING VIRUS. A father waits for his measlesstricken child to be admitted to the pediatric ward of San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The Department of Health has declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila and in four other regions. ďŹ le photo by Richard A. Reyeso

DOH notes 18,553 measles cases; 286 related deaths

AS the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) becomes official on Sunday, March 17, it vowed to continue its probe on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs even after the withdrawal takes effect. Philippine Coalition for the ICC (PCICC) lead counsel Romel Bagares said that the international court ensured that all proceedings which started before a withdrawal will remain in effect even after the withdrawal. “If by lack of timely court action, the unilateral withdrawal by the Executive becomes effective we are still bound to cooperate with the ICC in respect of events and acts prior to the

THE number of people who have died after reportedly contracting measles have reached 286 in two months, the Department of Health (DOH) said. In a latest report of the DOH’s Epidemi-





DRY SEASON. A farmer walks on his drought-stricken land in Bulacan province. The government is poised to begin cloud seeding in areas hit by El NiĂąo to help ease the impact of the drought on agriculture, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. photo by Rene Dilan

Duterte withdraws marijuana legalization bid Labor coalition: Tulfo’s middle finger N R response unbecoming but not surprising by

SPECIAL Envoy Ramon Tulfo using his middle finger to respond to his critics is unbecoming but not surprising, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said Wednesday, March 13, saying the gesture “just compounds the mounting list of offenses he has committed against Filipino workers and the Filipino people.� Tulfo, who has been under fire for saying Chinese workers are preferred by contractors because Filipino ones are allegedly lazy and inefficient, said in report on GMA News’ “24 Oras� that he will not resign since he did nothing wrong. He also stressed that he was only referring to construction workers based in the Philippines and not those deployed abroad.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were more than 3.8 million Filipinos working in the domestic construction sector as of July 2018. Tulfo also flashed his middle finger when asked to respond to labor groups like the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines that are calling for his resignation. “That was definitely unbecoming for a government official. But we were not surprised at all with the dirty finger response of Mr. Ramon Tulfo,� Nagkaisa chairperson Sonny Matula, a candidate for senator, said in a statement. Matula, who chairs a coalition of nearly 50 labor groups and unions, said Filipino workers will not respond to Tulfo in kind since

Catholic priests amid death threats: The response is not silence

Flavie Villanueva, Father Robert by AJPRESS Reyes and Father Albert Alejo on Monday, March 11, revealed a sePRIESTS remained firm in their ries of death threats they received criticism of the alleged extrajudi- following the verbal attacks of cial killings in the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte towards they shared the hateful messages the religious institution. they received from calling out the “Hindi pananahimik, kundi ang flaws in the government. malinaw, mahinahon, at mataThree Catholic priests Father u PAGE A2

“workers are much more dignified� than the former broadcaster and columnist. ‘Indolent in studying facts’ Partido Manggagawa meanwhile said that it is Tulfo who is lazy. “It is Mon Tulfo who is really lazy, too lazy to investigate. Where is the evidence to back up his assertion that Chinese work harder than Filipinos? Does he have a time and motion study? What is his productivity metric?� Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, said. “We challenge Tulfo to provide a comparative survey of labor productivity for Chinese and Filipino workers. What is obvious is that Filipino workers are underpaid and overworked,� he u PAGE A2


MALACAĂ‘ANG announced on Tuesday, March 12, that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer push for the legalization of medical marijuana because he felt that it might go out of hand. “Kasi ang feeling niya (Duterte) you will be using that as an excuse, baka lumaki nang lumaki lang (Duterte feels that you will use that an excuse and it might go out of hand),â€? Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said as reported by ABS-CBN News. The chief executive said that the legalization of medical cannabis might push through but later on clarified “not during his time.â€? Panelo echoed the sentiment noting: “sa ibang panahon

siguro, sabi niya (maybe some other time).� However, the spokesperson emphasized that the president might still root for the legalization of medical marijuana if doctors and medical experts of the said drug would prove its necessity in curing diseases. “Ang sabi niya pa, dapat yung mga medical yung mag-decide

diyan kung talagang totoong nakakagamot yan (Duterte said medical professionals should decide whether medical marijuana is really effective),� Panelo stated. Medical marijuana group still pushes Despite Duterte’s withdrawal of support in the said legalization, u PAGE A2

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Still no 2019 budget... PAGE A1 appeared to have acquiesced but we have yet to see if they will follow the agreement,” Sotto added. The Senate president clarified that he would only deem the dialogue a success if the lower House would re-submit its proposal as agreed. He further noted: “We have yet to see if they will follow (the) agreement.” House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro stated that the president ordered lawmakers to “fin-

ish the budget in a manner they are comfortable.” He added that both representatives and senators agreed that they will follow the president’s suggestion. Duterte said in a speech Monday night, March 11, that he would not sign an illegal budget bill. Among the members of the Senate present were Senators Loren Legarda, Gringo Honasan, and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. • (650) 689-5160

From the Front Page Members of the lower house including House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was there along with House Appropriations Committee Rolando Andaya, and House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro. The current appropriations bill implemented is the reenacted version of the 2018 annual budget. The 3.757 trillion 2019 budget was delayed over allegations of unnecessary and anomalous pork insertions. n

Catholic priests amid death threats... PAGE A1 pang na pamamahayag at paninindigan. Itigil na ang pananakot, itigilna ang pagpatay (Not silence, but the clear, sober, and courageous proclamation and conviction. Stop the threats, stop the killings),” they said. In a press conference at the Saint Vincent School of Theology in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, the priests shared with the media the threatening messages they began to receive after Duterte’s tirade against the church. “Ang mga text na ito ay mga nakakatakot na banta na nag-

simula sa matabila na dila mismo ng ating presidente dahil sa galit niya sa ating Simbahan (These text messages are scary threats that began with the loud mouth of our president because of his anger at our Church),” Reyes said. Alejo, a Jesuit priest revealed that there were also unanswered calls before he received threatening messages. He noted that they too were scared but they continued on calling out the alleged state-sponsored killings in the Philippines. “Aaminin ko po na lumabas po

PAGE A1 ology Bureau dated March 8, a total of 18,553 measles cases and 286 fatalities were recorded from January 1 to March 7. The number of deaths recorded this year is seven times higher than the 39 deaths recorded in the same period in 2018. The health department said out

of the 286 deaths caused by the airborne disease, 131 or 41 percent were aged 1 to 4 years old, while 110 or 26 percent were less than 9 months of age. Meanwhile, 80 percent or 228 of those who have died did not have any history of vaccination, 28 have unknown vaccination status, and 30 had at least one

kami dahil may takot din kami. Nananawagan kami sa mga utak, sa mga ulo, sa mga pasimuno ng pagpatay, itigil na po natin ‘yan. Itigil na ninyo ang mga nakawilihan ninyong negosyo (I admit we came out now because we are afraid. We appeal to the brains, 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF PH-KOREA DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez (right) hands over the masterminds, the proponents to South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong Man a copy of his book about President Rodrigo Duterte, as a token of appreciation of the killings, please stop it. Stop during a press conference at the PSC office at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila on Tuesday, March 12. The PSC will partner with the Embassy of Korea in staging the “Tortoise Marathon” and other related cultural events in June, in connection with the 70th anniversary the livelihood you have been accelebration of the Philippine-Korea diplomatic relations. PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr. customed to),” Alejo said. The Jesuit priest exposed the curse-filled and disturbing messages he received on a Sunday night, February 10. Facebook postings at comments? into its medicinal properties.” PAGE A1 u PAGE A3 the Philippine Cannabis Compas- Kaya bang lampas pa sa social Buhay Party-list Representative sion Society (PCCS) insisted that media? Handa bang dalhin ang la- Lito Atienza said that the presiit will continue its fight for the ban hanggang kalsada, hanggang dent’s decision constituted a corapproval of medical marijuana’s Malacanang? (How far are you rect political leadership in throwuse. willing to fight for medical canna- ing out the bill seeking to legalize dose of vaccination. In a Facebook post, the medical bis? Can you go beyond Facebook medical marijuana. Metro Manila recorded the highest number of deaths at 82, marijuana group urged the public posts and comments? Beyond “The president’s case is consisfollowed by Calabarzon with 80 and cannabis advocates alike to social media? Are you willing to tent with our view that legalization push for its legal usage and ac- bring the fight on the streets up to [of medical marijuana] is bound deaths, the DOH said. Malacañang),” it added. Meanwhile, the highest num- cessibility. to open a ‘Pandora’s box’ of drug “To all patients and their family PCCS is a group of advocates abuse that can lead to an unwantber of measles cases were recorded at Calabarzon with 4,087 members advocating for medical pushing for safe, legal and afford- ed public health emergency, not cases, followed by Metro Manila cannabis, are you ready and will- able access to medical marijuana. to mention another law-enforceing to continue the fight for legal, In January 2019, the House of ment problem,” Atienza said. at 3,850. n regulated and safe access to af- Representatives passed House Bill “Now that the president has fordable medical cannabis?” the 6517 or the Philippine Compas- spoken, we reckon that nobody post stated. sionate Medical Cannabis Act to will be foolish enough to intro“Hanggang saan ninyo pwebe able to provide “compassion- duce a similar measure in the next cident. Matula said that Tulfo “has al- deng ipaglaban ang medical ate and right of access to medical Congress,” he added as reported ways exhibited a thug and macho cannabis? Kaya bang higit pa sa cannabis and expanding research by The BusinessMirror. n persona in his TV shows,” but that he should have dropped the act when he was appointed special ner with each host country to envoy to China for public diplo- PAGE A1 disaster,” he said. “The purpose of PP 2019 is acmacy. This year’s two-week mission conduct civic action projects, “We don’t need more bullies tually to capacitate local govern- is led by U.S. Navy Capt. Randy community health exchanges, and cold-hearted officials in gov- ment units, government agencies Van Rossum, Commander of medical symposiums, and disasernment. Appointed, elected and and other sectors to be able to Destroyer Squadron 1, and his ter response training activities. “This year’s mission is focused career government officials should respond to disasters without pan- staff aboard expeditionary fast abide by the lofty standards of icking but rather in a calm man- transport ships USNS Brunswick on emergency and disaster prehonesty, integrity and account- ner,” said Central Commander Lt. (T-EPF 6) and USNS Fall River paredness, improving capacity ability set out by Republic Act Gen. Noel Clement. (T-EPF 4), the U.S. Embassy in of the local government, enhanc“In return, our foreign partners Manila said in a statement. ing regional partnerships, and 6713: Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and also learn from our experiences In this mission, experts in the increasing multilateral operaGovernment Employees,” he said. and help in formulating multina- fields of engineering, medicine, tions,” said Tacloban City Mayor tional response protocols during and disaster response will part- Cristina Romualdez. n ( n

Duterte withdraws marijuana legalization...

DOH notes 18,553 measles cases...

Labor coalition: Tulfo’s middle finger... PAGE A1 also said. He said that although productivity has risen since 2001, real wages have not. He said “the pie has become bigger but Filipino workers have not received crumbs even.” PM has joined the call for Tulfo to resign, saying “as envoy to China, he should be protecting Philippine interests in China instead of being an apologist of Chinese investors in the Philippines.” PGH incident Tulfo was previously in the news for throwing a tantrum at the Philippine General Hospital in August 2018 after he brought a

nine-year-old child who had been run over by a vehicle that was part of his convoy, to the PGH emergency room. Tulfo harangued PGH staff and recorded a video of the confrontation despite hospital guidelines against doing so. “We saw the video that he himself posted on social media of a health worker at the PGH whom he badmouthed to no end, when the poor stressed and tired doctor was just doing his job, following hospital triage protocol and reminding him of the rights to privacy of the hospital and the child car accident victim,” Matula said Wednesday in reference to the in-

Philippines, US kick off Pacific Partnership...

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WHO lauds PH for passing child safety in vehicles law by AeRol John PNA


THE World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the Philippines for passing a law that will require vehicle owners to use child restraint systems when traveling with children. The WHO said Republic Act 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act recently signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte will help prevent injuries that might be sustained by children at road accidents. “The WHO congratulates the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act or Republic Act 11229. The initiative makes Philippines among the few countries in Asia to pass child restraint legislation,” the organization said in a statement on Wednesday, March 13. “In the Philippines, more than 600 children die from road crashes each year. The legislation is a significant step towards prioritizing the safety and welfare of infants and children on Philippine roads, and preventing traffic-related deaths and injuries,” it added. The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act also restricts children

Photo courtesy of Worl Health Organization

from sitting in the front seats of automobiles. The use of child restraints in vehicles keeps children secured on their seats as they are not thrown against the car interior or ejected in cases of sudden braking or road collisions, the WHO said. “Evidence has shown that child restraints reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash by approximately 70 percent among infants and between 54-80 percent among young children,” the statement read. The organization has committed to provide its support to the Philippine government in crafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 11229. The Department of Transporta-

tion, in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Metro Manila Development Authority, Council for the Welfare of Children, and other concerned agencies and stakeholders must promulgate the IRR on child restraint systems within six months from the effectivity of the law. Various government agencies, as well as private agencies and organizations, must conduct a nationwide information campaign on the proper installation, use, and maintenance of the child restraint system. n

Fil-Am priest charged with rape of Philadelphia minor Following his arrest, Garcia was released on $250,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is slated to be heard on March 14. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress) n

by Alexis


A 49-year-old Fil-Am Catholic priest has been charged this week with raping a teenager girl in Philadelphia, and filming the attack. Rev. Armand Garcia was arrested on Monday, March 4 after surrendering to Philadelphia police for the conduct allegedly occurring sometime between the years 2014 to 2017 while he served at the Immaculate Heart of Mary , according to a statement. According to court filings, the count of rape came from an alleged incident in August 2014 when his accuser spoke out after Garcia was transferred to another parish. Garcia faces charges of rape, corruption of a minor, and sexual abuse of a minor. “These charges are serious and disturbing,” said the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in its statement. “The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care,” it added. Following the allegations, the archdiocese placed Garcia on leave and prohibited himself from publicly presenting himself as a priest or exercising his public ministry. The statement said that at the time Garcia was placed on administrative, Garcia “possessed clear criminal background checks as well as child abuse clearances and had successfully completed safe environment training courses.” “Father Garcia was immediately placed on administrative leave and had his priestly faculties restricted by Archbishop

Rev. Armand Garcia

Chaput following the notification from law enforcement. He was also removed from his residence at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia, where he had been assigned,” said the statement. In a statement on Tuesday, March 5, Kenneth Gavin, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that Garcia passed a background check and attended child protection programs that were required of all priests. Garcia, who served as a regional representative for the National Association of Filipino Priests, has been removed from the association’s website and from other parish sites. According to the archdiocese, Garcia was ordained in 2005. Since then, he has served at Saint Joseph, Downingtown (20052008); Saint Eleanor, Collegeville (2008-2009); Saint Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia (2009-2010); personal leave (2010-2011); Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford (2011); Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia (2011-2017); Saint Martin of Tours, Philadelphia (2017-2018).

PH out of ICC by March 17 PAGE A1 effective date of such withdrawal,” Bagares said as reported by Rappler. However, PCICC counsel Arpee Santiago said that the withdrawal would prevent the court from receiving “new information” after the date it takes effect which falls on March 17, so the alleged extrajudicial killings after that may no longer be examined. “Any new information would have to be up until March 16, 2019, only because after March 17, 2019, any new cases, any new allegations for events occurring after March 17 (will no longer be taken),” Santiago said. Palace: ICC violates its own provisions Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the ICC cannot proceed with their investigation after the withdrawal since doing so would be against the regulation of the international court. “We have [been] pointing out that the ICC itself has been violating its own provisions, because, under the law, you cannot proceed when, assuming there’s a withdrawal because they’re saying we can proceed with the investigation even if there’s withdrawal,” Panelo said. “But under the law, it says that they can proceed only if there is a preliminary investigation prior to the withdrawal. But there was no preliminary investigation. There was only preliminary examination,” he added as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The spokesperson and chief legal counsel defended that the South African High Court has no jurisdiction over the Philippines. He emphasized that the country was not a member, to begin with. “In the first place, from the very beginning they cannot be doing

any investigation because as we pointed out to them, it never acquired jurisdiction over the Philippines from the very inception,” Panelo said. “It does not matter to us because they have no jurisdiction over us. If they force itself to acquire jurisdiction, it only shows that from the very start talagang hindi dapat pumapasok diyan sa ICC dahil (no one should join the ICC since) it’s violating its own provisions,” he added. Panelo clarified that neither the administration nor the Office of the President withdrew from the international court. He said that they explained to the ICC that the Philippines was never a part of their jurisdiction. “Let me restate our position on the matter. One, we said we didn’t even withdraw, we said from the very beginning we were not under its jurisdiction. That letter was only to inform them as a matter of courtesy that, excuse us, we have not been under your jurisdiction from the very start,” Panelo said. “As argued by the president, there is a requirement of publication and that was never published, hence there’s no jurisdiction over his person and for that matter, over any person in this country,” he added. The high court is presently evaluating 52 cases alleging crimes against humanity. In February 2018, it launched its preliminary examination on the brutal war on drugs, which was accused to have killed thousands of suspected drug criminals, mostly poor. The administration perceived the judicial system as “robust.” “We have a robust judicial system. We’ve been prosecuting people and we have convictions as well as acquittals,” he said. (Nathalie Robles/AJPress) n

BAY BATH. A man and his daughter cool off by taking a bath in Manila Bay on Sunday, March 10. Authorities had warned that the bay remains unfit for swimming despite the regular clean-up drive launched by various groups. photo by Roger Rañada

Catholic priests amid death threats...

sunod na Misa, ay Misa na PAGE A1 para sa kapayapaan ng kalu“P***g**a ka! Bilang ng luwa nyu (Prepare now the araw mo animal ka. Di taplace where your wake will laga kayu masabihan nila be held, because your next David anu. P***g**a talaga Mass — is the Mass for the kayu. Magkano ba gusto repose of your souls).” nyu? P***g**a tala kayu. Another message adPesteng yawa. P***g**a dressed to Bishop Ambo p***g**a nyu. Papatayin David on a Wednesday, ko kayu (Son of a b****. February 13 was included in Your days are numbered you animal. You and Da- Fathers Albert Alejo, Robert Reyes and Flavie Villanueva are the threats they revealed. “Masyado kayung pakivid don’t really listen. Sons prayed over by nuns and lay leaders amid death threats they elamero ni Socrates lalo na of b****es. How much do are receiving from unknown people on Monday, March 11. Photo courtesy of CBCP yung olopong nyung pari you want? Sons of b****es. si Alejo at Reyes. P****g i*a Devil shit. Sons of a b****. prepare for his funeral as they I will kill you),” the text message warn him that his next mass would talaga kayu. Pakialamero kayu (You and Socrates, and the snakes stated as reported by Rappler. be on his death. One message even threatened “Ihanda nyu na ang lugar na among your priests, Alejo and Archbishop Socrates Villegas to pagbuburolan ninyo. Dahil ang Reyes, love to meddle. n


MARCH 15-21, 2019 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160

Governor Newsom announces legislative ‘Medieval’ diseases flare as unsanitary proposals to confront the housing cost crisis living conditions proliferate in Calif. An unprecedented $750 million in support would help cities plan and zone for new housing

SACrAMenTO – On Monday, March 11, Governor Gavin newsom announced a major legislative proposal as part of his $1.75 billion package to confront the housing cost crisis. The new proposal sets higher short-term goals for housing that cities and counties must meet, and provides $750 million in support and incentives to help jurisdictions plan and zone for these higher, ambitious housing targets. The proposal would also update and modernize the state’s long-term housing goals, known as regional Housing needs Allocations (rHnA), to better reflect regional housing and transportation needs. This proposal is one part of Governor newsom’s ambitious $1.75 billion housing package for 2019, which includes $1 billion in tax credits and loans to spur low, mixed and middle-income housing production through separate legislative and budget proposals. “Our state’s affordability crisis is undermining the California Dream and the foundations of our economic well-being,” said Governor newsom. “families should be able to live near where they work. They shouldn’t live in constant fear of eviction or spend their whole paycheck to keep a roof overhead. That’s increasingly the case throughout California.” in January, Governor newsom unveiled his $1.75 billion budget proposal to spur housing in California and called on the Legislature to provide relief and stabilization for renters. He signed an executive order to build affordable housing on excess state lands and announced first-of-its-kind legal action against a city, Huntington Beach, for standing in the way of affordable housing production and refusing to meet regional housing needs. in his State of the State address, he offered state assistance to the 47 California cities out of compliance with state housing requirements and invited city leaders to meetings with state housing officials in Long Beach and Sacramento. As part of the plan to address the housing cost crisis, the governor proposes: Accelerating and incentivizing housing goals Through these proposals, the

California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will establish new, higher short-term statewide housing goals for jurisdictions. HCD will adjust statewide targets for 2020 and 2021 and jurisdictions will be incentivized to accelerate their three-year rHnA goals to reach those benchmarks within two years. HCD will distribute increased targets to jurisdictions based on factors such as jobs, households, and affordability. Jump-starting housing production The trailer bills provide $750 million in one-time funding to help jump-start housing production. $250 million will go to cities for planning towards their new, higher short-term housing goals. $500 million will go to cities as incentives as they meet certain milestones of planning and zoning for more housing. Local governments will receive $250 million in grants to support technical assistance and staffing to adjust plans to reach the higher rHnA goals – half directly to cities, and half through regions. regions will create action plans to identify process improvements, barriers to production, and other activities needed to increase production. Cities will receive $125 million to begin work on improving their processes. Another $125 million will be distributed to regions to plan and award to cities in accordance with regional plans. if a jurisdiction is in a region or county that has not submitted a plan, they can submit their own for HCD approval. HCD will identify a methodology to distribute incentive rewards to these unique jurisdictions. An additional $500 million will be made available to cities in incentive grants. Beginning in 2021, incentive grants for general purposes will become available for jurisdictions that have made progress in implementing their plans and meeting increased production goals. regions will develop the reward methodology, in furtherance of their regional housing plan goals, and with HCD approval. Steps towards long-term housing reform To make meaningful reforms to the housing crisis in California,

all stakeholders must work collaboratively to develop sustainable, long-term solutions. California must take a more comprehensive approach to planning for housing and transportation. This new proposal will ensure that by December 31, 2022, HCD, in collaboration with the Office of Planning and research (OPr), will engage stakeholders and propose an improved rHnA process and methodology. Working with the California State Transportation Agency and OPr, HCD will enInfectious diseases are resurging in California and around the country, hitting homeless populations especially hard. gage stakeholders and propose Photo by Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News opportunities to link transportaChild & family Center, who treats said different infections occur in tion and other non-housing funds by AnnA GormAn homeless patients in Los Angeles shelters, including tuberculosis, a with housing goals by the end of Kaiser Health News County. “it becomes just like a disease that spreads through the 2022. Beginning July 1, 2023, SB 1 Local Streets and roads funds Jennifer Millar keeps trash Third World environment where air and typically infects the lungs. The diseases sometimes get may be withheld from any juris- bags and hand sanitizer near her their human feces contaminate diction that does not have a com- tent, and she regularly pours wa- the areas where they are eating the “medieval” moniker because people in that era lived in squalid pliant housing element and has ter mixed with hydrogen peroxide and sleeping.” Those infectious diseases are conditions without clean water or not zoned and entitled for its up- on the sidewalk nearby. Keeping dated annual housing goals. herself and the patch of concrete not limited to homeless popula- sewage treatment, said Dr. Jeffrey Expanding middle class hous- she calls home clean is a top pri- tions, Lopez warned. “even some- Klausner, a professor of medicine one who believes they are protect- and public health at UCLA. ing opportunities ority. People living on the streets or in A separate trailer bill will proBut this homeless encampment ed from these infections are not.” At least one Los Angeles city homeless shelters are vulnerable pose the creation of a major, new off a Hollywood freeway ramp is investment in spurring new mid- often littered with needles and staffer said she contracted typhus to such outbreaks because their dle-class housing production. This trash, and soaked in urine. rats in City Hall last fall. And San Di- weakened immune systems are will happen by providing funding occasionally scamper through, ego County officials warned in worsened by stress, malnutrition to support the development of af- and Millar fears the consequenc- 2017 that diners at a well-known and sleep deprivation. Many also restaurant were at risk of hepatitis have mental illness and substance fordable housing critical to spur- es. abuse disorders, which can make ring affordable communities. The “i worry about all those dis- A. There were 167 cases of typhus it harder for them to stay healthy Governor’s proposal would allo- eases,” said Millar, 43, who said cate $500 million for the expansion she has been homeless most of from Jan. 1, 2018, through feb. 1 or get health care. One recent february afternoon, of this year, up from 125 in 2013 of the State Housing Tax Credit her life. Program. These funds would pair infectious diseases — some that and 13 in 2008, according to the Saban Community Clinic physiwith the existing underutilized 4 ravaged populations in the Middle California Public Health Depart- cian assistant negeen farmand walked through homeless enpercent affordable housing fed- Ages — are resurging in Califor- ment. Typhus is a bacterial infec- campments in Hollywood careral tax credit program -- targeted nia and around the country, and at new construction projects. Up are hitting homeless populations tion that can cause a high fever, rying a backpack with medical stomach pain and chills but can supplies. She stopped to talk to a to $200 million of this new alloca- especially hard. tion may allowably fund the creLos Angeles recently experi- be treated with antibiotics. Out- man sweeping the sidewalks. He ation of a new program targeting enced an outbreak of typhus — a breaks are more common in over- said he sees “everything and anydevelopment of moderate-income disease spread by infected fleas crowded and trash-filled areas thing” in the gutters and hopes he doesn’t get sick. housing — for households of up on rats and other animals — in that attract rats. She introduced herself to a The recent typhus outbreak beto 120 percent of AMi — a popu- downtown streets. Officials briefly lation not typically served by the closed part of City Hall after re- gan last fall, when health officials few others and asked if they had state’s housing programs. porting that rodents had invaded reported clusters of the flea-borne any health issues that needed disease in downtown Los Ange- checking. When she saw Millar, The final $500 million of the the building. governor’s housing package People in Washington state have les and Compton. They also have farmand checked her blood presdoes not require a budget trailer been infected with Shigella bacte- occurred in Pasadena, where the sure, asked about her asthma and bill. it is included in the proposed ria, which is spread through feces problems are likely due to people urged her to come see a doctor for treatment of her hepatitis C, a viral budget, and proposes a $500 and causes the diarrheal disease feeding stray cats carrying fleas. Last month, the county an- infection spread through contamimillion General fund one-time shigellosis, as well as Bartonella allocation to expand CalHfA’s quintana, which spreads through nounced another outbreak in nated blood that can lead to seriMixed-income Loan Program. body lice and causes trench fever. downtown Los Angeles that in- ous liver damage. “To get these people to come This investment would jumpstart Hepatitis A, also spread primar- fected nine people, six of whom the estimated $43 million in an- ily through feces, infected more were homeless. After city workers into a clinic is a big thing,” she nual funding dedicated to this than 1,000 people in Southern said they saw rodent droppings in said. “A lot of them are distrustful program, and would pair with California in the past two years. City Hall, Los Angeles City Coun- of the health care system.” On another day, 53-year-old the proposed tax credit program The disease also has erupted in cil President Herb Wesson briefly described above. n new Mexico, Ohio and Kentucky, shut down his office to rip up the Karen Mitchell waited to get primarily among people who are rugs, and he also called for an in- treated for a persistent cough by St. John’s Well Child & family vestigation and more cleaning. homeless or use drugs. Hepatitis A is caused by a virus Center’s mobile health clinic. She Public health officials and politicians are using terms like “disas- usually transmitted when people also needed a tuberculosis test, as ter” and “public health crisis” to come in contact with feces of in- required by the shelter where she describe the outbreaks, and they fected people. Most people recov- was living in Bellflower, Calif. Mitchell, who said she develwarn that these diseases can eas- er on their own, but the disease ily jump beyond the homeless can be very serious for those with oped alcoholism after a career underlying liver conditions. There in pharmaceutical sales, said she population. “Our homeless crisis is increas- were 948 cases of hepatitis A in has contracted pneumonia from ingly becoming a public health 2017 and 178 in 2018 and 2019, germs from other shelter resicrisis,” California Gov. Gavin the state public health department dents. “everyone is always sick, newsom said in his State of the said. Twenty-one people have no matter what precautions they State speech in february, citing died as a result of the 2017-18 take.” During the hepatitis A outbreak, outbreaks of hepatitis A in San outbreak. The infections around the public health officials adminisDiego County, syphilis in Sonoma County and typhus in Los Angeles country are not a surprise, given tered widespread vaccinations, the lack of attention to housing cleaned the streets with bleach County. “Typhus,” he said. “A medieval and health care for the homeless and water and installed handand the dearth of bathrooms and washing stations and portable disease. in California. in 2019.” The diseases have flared as the places to wash hands, said Dr. Jef- toilets near high concentrations of nation’s homeless population has frey Duchin, the health officer for homeless people. But health officials and homegrown in the past two years: About Seattle and King County, Wash. “it’s a public health disaster,” less advocates said more needs to 553,000 people were homeless at be done, including helping people the end of 2018, and nearly one- he said. in his area, Duchin said, he has access medical and behavioral quarter of homeless people live in seen shigellosis, trench fever and health care and affordable housCalifornia. The diseases spread quickly skin infections among homeless ing. “it really is unconscionable,” and widely among people living populations. in new York City, where more said Bobby Watts, CeO of the naoutside or in shelters, fueled by sidewalks contaminated with hu- of the homeless population lives tional Health Care for the Homeman feces, crowded living condi- in shelters rather than on the less Council, a policy and advotions, weakened immune systems streets, there have not been the cacy organization. “These are all and limited access to health care. same outbreaks of hepatitis A and preventable diseases.” This story was produced by Kai“The hygiene situation is just typhus, said Dr. Kelly Doran, an horrendous” for people living on emergency medicine physician ser Health News, an editorially inthe streets, said Dr. Glenn Lopez, and assistant professor at nYU dependent program of the Kaiser a physician with St. John’s Well School of Medicine. But Doran Family Foundation. n

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Groups file complaints to CHR over incidents of red-tagging




MANILA — Rights watchdog Karapatan, church group Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Kabataan party-list filed complaints at the Commission on Human Rights over the red-tagging and terrorist-labeling of these organizations. In the letter submitted to CHR chairperson Jose Luis Gascon, Karapatan said that attacks against the organization increased during the watch of President Rodrigo Duterte. It stressed that these attacks put the lives and liberty of the organization’s members at “grave risk.” “There is substantial basis for all of us to be alarmed with the Duterte government’s stagerring disregard for human rights and its advocates,” Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor said, noting that at least 47 human rights workers of the organization have been killed since 2001. “In continuing our human rights advocacy, we are exhausting all platforms for redress of grievances. This CHR complaint and our engagements with the United Nations are part of the measures we are undertaking to end these attacks, to exact accountability and to protect our courageous human rights advocates on the ground,” Clamor added. The complaint submitted by Karapatan to CHR cited the previous speeches of the chief executive tagging Karapatan as a “communist front and terrorist


organization, as well as the tarpaulins with message: “Karapatan at CPP-NPA ay iisa at parehong terorista” and flyers branding members of Karapatan and other organizations “terrorist members of the NPA and the CPP.” “Suffice it to say, these are all cowardly, recycled and cheap maneuvers. This is in stark contrast to the bravery and firmness in principle exemplified by the individuals and organizations targeted by this government,” Clamor said. Task force vs insurgency The Karapatan deputy secretary general, moreover, said that the red-tagging and terrorist-labeling seemed to be the work of a national task force created by Duterte in December last year. Executive Order 70 ordered the creation of a national task force that would address causes of armed conflict with communists and institutionalized a “wholeof-nation approach” in attaining

an “inclusive and sustainable peace.” But for Karapatan, the mandate of the national task force is centered on a “smear campaign against human rights organizations, courtesy of taxpayer’s money.” “Sending officials overseas to spread rumors and make unsubstantiated claims about organizations known to be critical of the Duterte government’s policies sets the bar high for desperation for damage control. It is an utter waste of the people’s resources,” Last month, government officials went to Europe to clarify issues confronting the government such as involuntary disappearances and anti-communist terrorist groups. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar claimed no public funds were wasted in his office’s “information drive” in Europe. ■

Malacañang admits: Balutan resigned by RALPH


MALACAÑANG on Monday, March 11, said former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan indeed resigned, confirming the latter’s claim that he was not fired. Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said Balutan tendered his resignation through a letter submitted to the Office of the President (OP). The spokesman said Balutan “resigned out of delicadeza” over

Duterte claims female critics depriving him of his right to freedom of expression by ALEXIS

Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Kabataan party-list file complaints at the CHR over incidents of red-tagging and terrorist-labelling. Photo courtesy of Kapatiran

serious allegations of corruption in the charity agency. “The said written communication was, however, formally received by the OP only after the Palace has already announced his cessation from office,” Panelo said in a statement. The Palace official also confirmed that the former military general requested President Rodrigo Duterte to order a fair and impartial investigation in order to “ferret out the truth.” Panelo’s statement on Monday differed from what he said last week that Balutan was fired due

to “serious allegations of corruption.” In a statement on Sunday, March 10, Balutan said an impartial investigation is in order if there were indeed allegations of corruption against him. “If there are accusations of corruption, I beg for a full and impartial investigations,” he said. Balutan had earlier said that he would resign if somebody from Office of the President or Congress asks him or orders him to do something which “he cannot stomach.” PAGE A7


MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte lashed back at critics who called him out for his remarks about women, saying they are depriving him of his right to freedom of expression. Duterte, who has drawn flak for making remarks that were seen as derogatory to women, claimed his critics are making it appear that he hates and disrespects women. “I can’t remember really na may binaboy ako (maligning anybody). Actually, if you review the tapes, it was with a purpose,” the president said during an awarding ceremony in honor of female government employees last Monday, March 11. “You women, you... deprived me of my freedom of expression. I was not referring to you. But you criticize every sentence or word I say. But that is my freedom to express myself,” he added. “Even if I am just a president, do not take it. Do not take me away from the crowd of being a Filipino citizen.” Duterte said he never transi-

tioned from mayor to president so he has not changed considerably “except to bow in diplomatic dinners.” The president also disputed claims that he is a misogynist or a hater of women. “I love women. You see, I have two wives. That means, I really like women,” Duterte said. “That does not mean I want to touch them. I just like women... When I say that I like women, (it does not mean) I want to despoil or dishonor. They do not get it,” he added. Duterte went on to justify some of his controversial remarks that he claimed were misunderstood by his critics. He said he was just lecturing female communist rebels when he said he would shoot their vaginas. The president previously said he was just angry that some female rebels left their children to join the armed struggle. The president also defended his remark that women should stay away from priests, citing the sex abuse scandals involving members of the clergy. “It’s true. It’s happening everywhere. The pope has admitted

that priests had abused nuns,” Duterte said. Duterte, who served as mayor of Davao City for 23 years, said he has been portrayed as a womanizer and a killer even before the 2016 polls. “But you have sometimes to defend the government against calumny and slander because that is the job always of an oppositionist,” he said. “That has been the issue since I was a mayor. They brought it to the national scene. I have no problem with that.” In 2016, Duterte stirred controversy over a statement about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City in 1989. Speaking to his supporters, Duterte said the slain missionary looked like an actress and as mayor “he should have been first.” He, later on, claimed he was just expressing outrage over the crime. A year later, the president drew flak for saying that if a soldier rapes three women, he would own up to it. Officials said the president was just stressing that he would be responsible for the acts of soldiers. ■

Low water supply to continue due to El Niño by RITCHEL


WATER concessionaires and the weather bureau recently announced low to no water supply will continue to be experienced by several areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces due to El Niño, which would last until June. In addition, monitoring of La Mesa Dam in Quezon City last Monday, March 11, showed that the dam’s water reached critical level at 68.92 meters. Several establishments engaged in the water business have already started feeling the effects of the unstable water supply. H2O Avenue, a water refilling station depending on Manila Water for its water supply, said that they have had no water at all since Friday, March 8. “I follow up with Manila Water every day hoping that we’ll have water. They said that unless there’ll be rains, we will have to bear this kind of situation,” store

The water level at Ipo Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan remains normal. photo by Rene Dilan

manager Ralph Santos said. Manila Water Communications manager Dittie Galang, for her part, said that they are carefully studying the situation. “Even if distribution stabilizes, it does not mean that supply will be back to its normal level. There will still be hours where consumers will have no supply but we will be more accurate as to the specific

time,” she told The STAR. “Right now, we are studying our schemes and be more predictable as to when there will be no supply so that consumers will be able to prepare and store water,” she added. Areas experiencing unstable water supply include the cities of Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, PAGE A7


MARCH 15-21, 2019 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160


Drug trafficking hub


ELITE police Special Action Force teams, complete with armored vehicles, were deployed in an effort to stop illegal activities. Periodic raids were conducted. The most notorious drug dealers were isolated from the rest. And yet here we are again, aghast at reports that drug trafficking in Metro Manila and other areas continues to be directed from within the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. The trafficker, drug convict Rusico Ygot, used the internet for his business with the help of his girlfriend Jocelyn Encilla, who operated from her house in Cebu, according to the Department of Justice, which has jurisdiction over the Bureau of Corrections. The DOJ is conducting a probe into the latest drug scandal to hit the NBP. Instead of calling in SAF teams and armored vehicles again, prison authorities may want to try something simpler: an honest-to-goodness crackdown on the use of any gadget that allows internet access, particularly cell phones and tablets, by prisoners and their visitors. This is not a human rights violation. By the nature of their legal status, convicted prisoners cannot have all the civil liberties enjoyed by people who have not broken the law and been placed behind bars. The NBP has landlines for the use of inmates. More landlines can be installed to allow

prisoners broader opportunities for communication. The phone number and person called plus the nature of the call – to consult with a lawyer, for example, or contact relatives – can be recorded. Inmates’ visitors must deposit their cell phones and other gadgets at the entrance to the prison facilities. This is done even in certain security offices and foreign embassies. It shouldn’t raise howls of protest in the country’s main prison. The government can also invest in metal detectors for the prisons. The most high-tech security scanners, of course, will prove no match for crooked prison personnel who allow inmates to continue with their criminal activities even behind bars. Only corruption can explain how high-value drug traffickers managed in the recent past to bring in Jacuzzi-equipped bathtubs and expensive household appliances, and to live in air-conditioned comfort in a national prison. With this latest scandal, the government must deal decisively with corruption in the NBP and Bureau of Corrections, sparing no one from punishment. (


The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS “SHOW me your budget and spending and I will tell you your values.” Sounds familiar? Life coaches say it, financial analysts say it, our parents say it, politicians say it. Indeed, with limited resources, where we put our money mostly reveals what matters more to us, what our priorities are. This is true among us people. This is true in government. In the United States, the president submits a budget proposal for the next fiscal year and submits it to Congress, the co-equal branch of government accorded the “power of the purse” by the Constitution. For Fiscal Year 2020, President Donald Trump has pretty much revealed what matters most to him, where he thinks our hard

Trump’s 2020 budget prioritizes border wall, military at the expense of health care, education

earned taxpayers money should go, and which ones are least important. Sorry, folks. If Trump will have his way, the people, especially ordinary hardworking Americans who are deprived by this broken economic system of a decent living wage to favor the richest people and corporations, will lose much of what matters to us in terms of the safety nets we rely on during challenging economic times, during sickness, and the means by which we and our children can have the fair share of getting ahead and pulling ourselves out of poverty. On Monday, March 11, Trump submitted his “Budget for a Better America” proposal to Congress, asking for a record-breaking $4.75 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year.

HUH? Why is media to blame for such deceptions as bogus academic credentials and baseless claims and accusations? It’s the politicians mouthing untruths, which journalists are supposed to report without comment or embellishment. So, why is it the messengers’ fault if the news contains unfounded or malicious assertions? Well, ask anyone maligned on Facebook, twitter and other social media. While these online channels merely disseminate what users post, it’s now widely expected, if not legally required, that websites validate messages posted and stop fake news, terrorist exhortations and other harmful or false content from going viral. News media commands much more authority and credibility than social media, so it, too, should be at least as vigilant as FB in validating claims, especially from politicians. Many of them bend or twist the truth for ulterior motives, especially during elections, so reporters and editors should always demand proof of politicians’ assertions. Well, often in this country, proof isn’t asked, especially from the opposition. Take the recent claims of Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the House of Representatives inserted tens of billions of pesos in pork barrel items in the proposed

Fortune summarizes budget increases, budget cuts, and what will happen to the goal of paying for the expenses in the proposed budget of President Trump for the Fiscal Year 2020. Budget increases The president requested $750 billion for FY2020, a nearly 5% increase in this area, which exceeds what the Pentagon had asked for. Trump also prioritizes asking for more money for his controversial border wall, almost $9-Billion despite its lack of support from the American people, and despite Congress already earlier denying his demand for $5.7 billion for the wall. Beyond military and security spending,Fortune reported that Trump included in the budget funding for efforts to combat the opioid crisis, a 10% increase in health care spending for veter-

ans, $200 billion in infrastructure spending, spending to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and increased resources for school choice, including federal tax credits. Budget cuts According to the Fortune report, Trump proposes a 5% cut at non-defense federal agencies, including a total of $1.9 trillion in cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid. Trump also proposed new work requirements for Medicaid recipients and turning more power over to states. On Medicare, Trump called for an $845 billion budget cut. Trump’s proposes a 10% decrease in funding for the Department of Education, totaling $62 billion or $7.1 billion less than the department’s allotted funds for 2019. Cuts and other revisions in the

federal student loan program are woven into this budget cut for education. Fortune quoted James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, who said the budget blueprint, subject to congressional changes, would “raise costs and increase student debt,” making borrowers pay $207 billion more on their student loans, which he calls a “dangerously wrong-headed proposal.” Other agencies that would see budget cuts include the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Transportation Department, and the Department of the Interior, affecting matters such as foreign aid, federal employee retirement programs, and clean energy. Budget deficit One of the campaign promises

Trump made in 2016 was that as president, the United States will pay off the national debt in eight years and earlier suggested that a balanced budget would be a reality in 10 years. But according to Fortune, “ the budget forecasts trillion-dollar deficits through 2022. These deficits build on the already $22 trillion of national debt.” How did we get here? Is America really well off under Trump as he promised? Are the lives of hardworking Americans better under his presidency? What do you experience in your own life? *** 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://www.facebook. com/Gel.Santos.Relos

Why Filipino politicians lie: It’s the media’s fault



2019 national budget. Did media ask proof from him? If it did, were the bases of his claims ever reported? And was Lacson asked to substantiate his claim that House Speaker Gloria Arroyo, whom he detests for the Dacer-Corbito murder charges filed against him, was behind the alleged insertions in the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA)? By contrast, reporters are quick to require evidence when the government or administration officials make accusations, like the narcolist of local election candidates suspected of protecting or profiting from illegal drugs. News outlets are even more demanding of proof when one or some of them are accused of wrongdoing. In short, there is a double standard in validating politicians’ statements, partly due to the adversarial stance of American media influencing local press: skeptical toward the administration, but quick to accept opposition and citizens’ claims even without proof. Needless to say, that kind of coverage may lead to untruths outside the government. The art of ‘sabong journalism’ Another factor leading to lies in politics is “sabong” or cockfight journalism. With this habit, some media don’t bother asking the basis of allegations but, instead, turn to those accused or criticized for their retorts, no matter how unfounded the assertions may be. That’s exactly what hap-

pened to the budget pork barrel story, with little validating material presented, but lots of accusing soundbites exchanged. Just think: Has there been any specific item allegedly inserted by the House or the Senate, which has been cited for being illegal, improper, or ill-advised? There was criticism of unspecified “institutional amendments” and “flood-control projects,” but which exactly and why was it wrong for them to be included in the GAA? Rather than verifying claims with hard facts, news becomes a litany of he-says-she-says, with the reputation of contending voices deciding which side gets public acceptance. In the pork barrel squabble, Lacson keeps accusing Arroyo, maybe hoping that her low trust rating would win the argument for him, even without proof. When this writer was a Palace official, journalists routinely asked for comment on opposition remarks. The standard procedure was to first verify that the reported statement was actually made. If it was genuine, one would then ask if the reporter asked for the critic to substantiate his or her allegation. The media would often query if the Palace was demanding proof. One would then repeat the question: Did you, the reporter, ask for proof, as a competent journalist should? Once the opposition had given the basis for their accusation, then the Palace would comment.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal and former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada conducted several door-to-door persuasion campaigns. photo by Gab Lalu

Invariably, reporters promised to get back to this writer with proof of the allegation. None ever came back with evidence, and that ended many baseless stories. Most government spokespersons quickly issue denials, however, instead of asking journalists to do their job by validating claims, not just fishing for comments. So, instead of retiring baseless accusations, Palace denials turn them into headline stories about Malacañang denying this or that. That encourages more unfounded accusations. A couple of times, the press did follow this writer’s urging to demand proof from accusers. In late 2005, ABS-CBN New Channel anchor Carmina Constantino asked then Sen. Serge Osmeña to substantiate his claim that the Ombudsman at the time, Simeon Marcelo, quit over Palace pressure. Osmeña replied: “The peo-

ple will just have to take my word for it.” In 2007, Lacson himself was asked for proof that Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence funds were the source of bags of money allegedly given to legislators at the Palace, as he claimed. He said the PNP should open its funds to scrutiny. In sum, Lacson wanted the PNP to prove its innocence by doing an utter no-no for any law enforcement agency, as the former PNP chief knew: publicizing its intelligence budget, which would alert lawless elements how to counter its detective efforts. To uphold truth, demand proof In 17 years of international journalism as editor-writer with Asiaweek magazine in Hong Kong, this columnist and his colleagues then always pressed politicians for proof. Not only was it part of professional journalism;

it was also needed in case the publication was sued. In libel cases in Hong Kong, crucial to the defense were efforts to verify claims, rather than just repeating them without asking proof. But libel law may operate differently in the Philippines, which may further make sabong journalism the preferred way to get headline news hereabouts. Especially if asking for proof might just show many allegations to be baseless and unworthy of coverage. But readers should not let sabong journalism blunt their quest for truth. In reading news, one can check if there are any supporting facts and evidence given for statements quoted. If there is none, responsible media would say prominently: “No proof was provided for the allegations.” If journalists did that, it would help stop untruth in politics. (

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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Palace assures Mahathir: PH won’t fall into China by Catherine

S. Valente

MALACAÑANG on Monday, March 11, assured the public that the Philippines would not fall into a “debt trap,” days after Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad cautioned the country to carefully deal with loans from China. Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said economic managers carefully evaluate loan agreements with China to ensure that “we are not at the disadvantage.” “Of course, we will take his advice and the economic managers are evaluating all kinds of loans that we are having with the Chinese government,” Panelo told reporters. “With respect to the Chico Dam, I think the eco[nomic] managers have explained that we are not at a disadvantage,” he added. Panelo was referring to the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, which China funded along with the Kaliwa Dam and railway projects. Mahathir, who recently visited Manila, had warned the Philippines about the consequences of entering into unfair loan deals with China. In a television interview, Mahathir said the Philippines should avoid repeating the mistakes made by other countries that suffered from unsustainable debt by accepting Chinese infrastructure investments.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad watch a cultural show during arrival ceremonies in Malacañang on March 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Mahathir last year canceled a number of Chinese-funded projects worth $22 billion. “If you borrow huge sums of money from China and you cannot pay — you know when a person is a borrower he is under the control of the lender. So we have to be very careful with that,” Mahathir said. President Rodrigo Duterte plans to spend trillions of pesos to bridge the Philippines’ infrastructure gap, and to do so he sought Beijing and other countries’ help for funding to reduce the strain on his government’s budget. Critics have warned that the Philippines could be the next victim of China’s “debt trap diplomacy,” where Beijing gives “friendly” loans to bankroll infra-

structure projects in financially weak states in exchange for control over strategic assets. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said this was unlikely to happen in the Philippines, saying Chinese loans would account for just 4.5 percent of the country’s total debts by the time Duterte steps down in 2022. He said Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure push would be funded mostly by new taxes and loans with “the lowest possible interests rates and the longest possible term arrangements.” “We borrow with great prudence, aware that it is their taxpayer and their children who will pay for this debt,” Dominguez said. “We made sure the country got the best deals possible.” n

Low water supply to continue due to...

PAGE A5 Mandaluyong, Quezon City, San Juan, and Antipolo as well as the towns of Pateros, Angono, Binangonan, Cainta, Jalajala, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Taytay, and Teresa. Galang said Manila Water has 27 tankers roaming around its concession areas to provide water to consumers. “We advise them to be more responsible now in using water in their households since several areas will have low water pressure (while) certain areas are possibly experiencing no water at all,” she added. West zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. also said water interruptions will be experienced by the areas of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Bacoor, Cavite as it temporarily shuts down Putatan Water Treatment Plant. The shutdown will give way for the pumps upgrade in preparation for the activation of its newly constructed treatment facility. No manipulations Galang denied allegations that water shortages in certain areas were due to Manila Water’s “manipulation” of water supplies. “Manila Water’s system maintains separate reservoirs for reliability and redundancy so if there’s Former PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan photo by Russell Palma file photo a problem, it’s easier to isolate,” truth so the truth will come out,” million for a Christmas party in a she explained. “Allegations of manipulation are he added. five-star hotel in December 2017. Last year, Balutan had a tiff with Balutan denied it, saying the not true. That’s just how the sysPCSO board member Sandra Cam, party had a budget of only P6 mil- tem is designed,” she added. Malacañang worried who accused him of spending P10 lion. n

Malacañang admits: Balutan resigned

PAGE A5 “Duterte retired me early from the Marines to help him run his administration. In silence, I did and I excelled. I did not ask for anything from the President in return. The rest was history,” he said. PCSO deputy spokesman Florante Solmerin also called on Balutan’s accusers to prove their allegations. “Those accusing him [of corruption] should really prove it. What’s important here is he has a clear conscience. Whatever they sling unto him, they should prove it. As he said, he is open to an investigation, anytime, anywhere,” Solmerin told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “These are merely serious allegations, allegations of serious corruption. Balutan said he is open to a full investigation to ferret out the

MILK TOAST. National Dairy Authority (NDA) Administrator Marilyn B. Mabale (2nd from left) leads the annual milk toast during the 24th NDA founding anniversary at Bureau of Animal Industry compound along Visayas Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday, March 12. PNA photo by Oliver Marquez

Malacanang on Monday expressed concern about the water situation in parts of Metro Manila and nearby areas. At a press briefing, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, “We’re always concerned with respect to any problem affecting the welfare of people.” “We will respond to that. But the problem is the water should come from the sky. What if it does not rain? We may have to wait,” he added. The Department of Agriculture,

for its part, has instructed its regional offices to conduct cloud seeding operations over Bulacan, Pampanga, and Rizal to help fill up the La Mesa Dam. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), hotter days may start this quarter along with lesser rainfall and dry winds and will likely affect 47 provinces in the country. The drought is expected to worsen by May, PAGASA added. n


MARCH 15-21, 2019 • NORCAL ASIAN JOURNAL • (650) 689-5160

SF The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019


cover story The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Changing our perception of ‘unhealthy’ Filipino food Chef, food educator and advocate Aileen Suzara aims to promote sustainable and healthy Pinoy food practices by

Malou liwanag-bledsoe

WITH Filipino food’s presence increasing in the mainstream, it is also hard to ignore that Filipinos and Filipino-Americans have high rates of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Because of this, some people tend to take a step back on Filipino cuisine, as they perceive it to be one of the main causes of these diseases. Chef, food educator and advocate Aileen Suzara begs to disagree, explaining that these perceptions are “relatively recent.” “Digging into the roots of Filipino food culture reveals how closely our foods were — and are — tied to the land, sea, and seasons. Traditional methods focused on boiling, steaming, grilling, and naturally fermenting or preserving foods — or serving them fresh as can be, like kinilaw. Meats we consider trademarks today (like pork) could not be staples for most people, given how costly and labor intensive hunting or raising animals used to be,” she explained. “Meats were precious — used more like a flavoring for ulam, in smaller portions than we see today, and for special occasions. Fish and seafood would be more abundant, especially in coastal regions.” Suzara even points out that our idea of rice — which is a staple in Filipinos’ diets — has changed. “I grew up thinking [that] eating a Filipino diet meant eating only white rice and that brown rice was ‘White people health food,’ and had my mind blown realizing there are thousands of varieties of rice, in a rainbow of colors,” she said. Recognizing history and finding connections to health A lot of people have reasoned and acknowledged that

Filipino dishes, such as lechon (roasted pig) are greasy and unhealthy. Suzara, however, explained that there are better — and healthier ways to make Filipino food. A start is to look into our history to find the connections to the way we eat and how it has changed. “It’s essential to recognize history, especially as our community faces an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. I know how frustrating it can be to look for resources on ‘healthy eating’ and not see yourself reflected — the nutrition field is still largely Eurocentric, and has a long way to go in better representing the wisdom of many food traditions found in the U.S. These stereotypes do a disservice when they pose a false choice of culture vs health,” she stressed. During her research into food during World War II and the American colonial period, Suzara learned that the colonial system not only enforced the English language to Filipinos, but also home economics classes tapered to the “American nutrition” at the time. This introduced processed and imported food from brands like Hershey’s and Hormel. “A more common diet — such as munggo (mung beans), fish, vegetables, and colorful rice — would have been considered nutritionally inferior, and we now know is the opposite,” she explained. Suzara believes that we can be healthy without leaving our food culture behind by getting inspiration from a wealth of foods that are both traditional and contemporary. “There are certainly foods that are fatty, sweet and salty — party foods and treats exist in any culture,” she said. “We don’t need to throw these away, either.

Veggie dishes by Aileen Suzara Food educator and chef Aileen Suzara

Instead, we can make more room in our plates and palates for foods that keep us healthy and strong.” Growing up in Hawai’i, Suzara also noted that she was surrounded by markets that are full of produce, such as long beans, bittermelon, eggplants, banana hearts and more, all planted by longtime Filipino farmers. “In CA (California), earlier generations shaped the farmworker and labor movement, and there are still farmers both new and old who carry on these traditions. Elders have [been] practicing ‘urban gardening’ before it became trendy again,” Suzara said. Raising the flavor profile of vegan/vegetarian dishes “Our people were among the world’s most skillful vegetable farmers, and our traditional foods reflect this agrarian heritage. I think of this when I hear comments that ‘Filipinos don’t eat vegetables,’” she said. For those who are thinking of going meatless (or at least plan to eat more vegetables) but are scared of how it will taste like, Suzara has a few ideas. “If people are unfamiliar with ingredients, or have had them poorly prepared, it can seem like these foods must be bland or boring. Luckily, vegetables

Photos by Sana Javeri Kadri

can be just as — and sometimes even more than — flavorful and creatively prepared as meat. I’d recommend people try an approach of ‘more’ vs ‘elimination,’” she said and continued, “For example, ‘how can I focus on bringing in more colors, textures, and varieties of vegetables into my daily meals, vs focusing on what to take away?’” She suggests dark leafy greens, like kamote greens, kangkong and bok choy, because of the taste, nutritional value and can cook quickly. Adding seasonings like calamansi or lemon, chilis and garlic help add to its flavor profile. “Making small steps is [the] important thing to getting started! Having a buddy system — a friend or family members — can be motivating and make the process fun,” Suzara said. “For parents who worry they may have the added labor of cooking different foods for themselves and their kids, I’d encourage them to involve kids with cooking ‘new’ foods as much as possible and incorporating it into their diet as well. Easier said than done, for sure, but as I’ve found while cooking and teaching children and youth, kids are more likely to try new foods when they have an active role in preparing Continued on Page SF6

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Longbean and Squash in Coconut) by

aileen suzara

“GInATAAnG” means to cook in coconut milk. This simple, comforting dish can be easily adapted to what’s available, and served mild or spiced with chili, vegetarian, or with added meat. Try it with fresh malunggay leaf (moringa), winged beans, or spinach wilted into the dish, or swap kabocha squash for delicata or another sweet, firm squash. Longbeans have a distinct texture and can be found at farmers markets and Asian grocery stores, but you can use green beans or fillet beans if unavailable. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 small onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon grated ginger 3 cups kabocha squash, cubed 2 cups yardlong, snapped or cut into segments (green beans or fillet beans if you can’t find them) 1.5 cup coconut milk sea salt and pepper Lemon or calamansi (a small citrus fruit similar to a lime) Optional: 1 birds’ eye or green chili, add briny flavor with bagoong (shrimp paste) or patis (fish sauce) or vegetarian bagoong, or fish sauce (this exists!) Directions: Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add coconut milk and squash, cover, and simmer until squash is tender. Add longbeans and chilis and simmer just until longbeans are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and citrus. Enjoy with hot rice.

Your Immigration Solution

Green card marriages are not a realistic option

recited their marital vows. But the USCIS will not be convinced based solely on the statements of the parties. On the contrary, they will also want to closely examine the conduct of the parties, e.g., is the couple residing together, how long have they known each other, are they conducting themselves as husband and wife, etc. Additionally, the USCIS will also consider whether the parties have a sufficient amount of documentation proving the bonafides of their marriage. The USCIS will also commonly want to ask the parties personal questions about their relationship. The potential questions a person may be asked are nearly limitless, as the USCIS may ask just about anything they believe

leaving the applicant in limbo the entire time. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to prove the MANY people mistakenly bonafides of your marriage durbelieve that marrying a U.S. ing your initial interview with citizen will guarantee them the USCIS. permanent resident status The USCIS will only grant (“green card”). However, the permanent resident status if reality is that obtaining a green they believe the marriage is card through marriage to a U.S. valid after all of the above citizen is far more difficult than steps are completed. However, simply filing an application and if the USCIS believes that the awaiting the arrival of a green marriage was entered into to card. In fact, the desperate act evade the immigration laws of of marrying someone solely the U.S., then the person being for a green card almost always petitioned may become barred ends very badly. from ever being petitioned Marrying a person solely for again as an immigrant. They a green card is often called a will likely also be deported! “green card marriage,” but the There are many other steps more official term used by the to properly determine whether U.S. Citizenship and Immigraa person is entitled to their tion Service (“USCIS”) is “sham green card on the basis of their marriage.” The USCIS is well marriage to a U.S. citizen, such aware that many as ensuring that the people are willing to marriage is legally In fact, the desperate act of marry a person for valid under the laws the sole purpose of the place where marrying someone solely for a green of obtaining a green the marriage took card. For this reason, card almost always ends very badly. place. This requires they dedicate a that the parties’ substantial amount prior marriages were of resources towards detecting a person should know about terminated before entering these “sham marriages.” Betheir spouse. Nonetheless, it is into the current marriage. And cause of the USCIS’ efforts, it is crucial that the parties object yes, this also includes marcrucial that a person applying to any vague, misleading or riages entered into outside the for a green card on the basis of inappropriate questions. Also, U.S. their marriage understand what it is not uncommon for a perIn conclusion, obtaining a the USCIS considers to be a son to be questioned with only green card through a marriagevalid marriage for immigration their attorney present, while based petition can be a very purposes. their spouse is required to wait complex process. Therefore, it The applicant and their U.S. outside the examination room. is always advisable to retain the citizen spouse must prove that Though this process may seem services of an experienced and their marriage is “bonafide.” bizarre, the answers provided knowledgeable immigration The USCIS will not consider to the USCIS’ questions will attorney. a marriage to be a “bonafide likely determine whether a *** marriage” if the only reason green card will be issued. REEVES IMMIGRATION LAW GROUP is one the parties got married was so The USCIS may also conof the oldest, largest and most experienced that the non-U.S. citizen could duct a field investigation if they immigration fi rms in the United States with obtain a green card. The USCIS suspect the marriage is fraudu- offi ces in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las is not required to conclusively lent. A field investigation may Vegas, Manila and China. prove that the marriage is a include an officer visiting your For more Information please call (800) “sham marriage.” Rather, the home early in the morning or 795- 8009 or visit applicant must prove to the late at night, interviews with Telephone: (800) 795-8009 USCIS that the marriage is neighbors or your employer, E-mail: bonafide. This is not an easy and a review of public records. Website: task, though, as the USCIS Moreover, it may also include *** officers are highly trained to a review of social networkThe analysis and suggestions offered in detect sham marriages. ing sites, such as a person’s this column do not create a lawyer-client The USCIS will attempt to Facebook page. As you can relationship and are not a substitute for the determine whether the parties see, field investigations are personalized representation that is essential “intended to establish a life tremendously thorough, some- to every case. together” at the time they times taking years to complete, (Advertising Supplement)

Devin M. Connolly



The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Will Pia be introduced as the next Marvel heroine? by MJ Marfori

AFTER her interview with Captain Marvel Brie Larson — now up on Marvel’s official Facebook page — it looks like Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach imbibed the superhero aura when she arrived at the red carpet premiere of this month’s biggest superhero movie. She turned every head at the Mall of Asia Imax Theatre with a feisty hairdo, denim dress and killer white boots. She was both proud and giddy to share her one-on-one with Brie and their conversation on women empowerment, which our Miss Universe believes left a pretty good impression on Captain Marvel herself.

After interviewing Brie Larson, aka Captain Marvel for the movie series’ Facebook page, Pia Wurtzbach said she might be working with Marvel and Disney again. Photo from Instagram/@piawurtzbach

“I’m really kilig because after I did the interview with her, she was already saying goodbye to everyone. She was about to leave but she came back to me and she shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you for everything that you do.’ Sobrang kinilig ako. I really feel like I met a superhero!”

Pia then hinted she might be working with Marvel and Disney again for an upcoming project. Without giving away anything more though, she simply said “Fingers crossed, matutuloy pa ‘yung isang pinaplano namin! It’s always going to be a dream for me to one day play a superhero, so tingnan natin.”


celebrityworld The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

celebrity world

Marvin Agustin, Jolina Magdangal to reunite in new movie

By Ferdie Villar FANS of former ‘90s loveteam Marvin Agustin and Jolina Magdangal will be thrilled to know that are finally getting back together via a reunion movie. An Instagram post last Tuesday, March 12, production company Project 8 corner San Joaquin, showed Jolina and Marvin with directors Dan Villegas and Antoinette Jadaone, screenwriter Bibeth Orteza and producer Reign Anne de Guzman. “It’s Bujoy and Ned!!! #LagingTapat #OhYes #BestFriendMoLangAko #MarJoXP8SJ,” the caption read. Marvin and Jolina were the stars of the popular 1998 romantic flick “Labs Kita…Okey Ka Lang?” where they played two best friends Ned and Bujoy who fell in love with each other. “Such a beautiful day! Thank you sa mga kasama kong nagdadasal matuloy to,” Marvin said in a separate posts. Jolina, on her part, said, “Oh yes totoo na ito! Ituloy na natin labtim.” Project 8 corner San Joaquin Projects is the same production studio behind popular independent films “That Thing Called Tadhana” and “Alone/ Together.” Last year, Jolina shared that she and Marvin have long planned on a possible reunion movie. “Actually matagal na kaming nagko-contact-an ni Marvin pero hindi lang talaga kami nabibigyan ng chance maupo tapos pag-usapan,” she said in an episode of “Magandang Buhay,” which she is one of the co-hosts. “Two months ago, galing siya sa ibang bansa, sabi niya


‘yun daw ‘yung aasikasuhin niya hanggang 2019 dahil gusto talaga namin gumawa ng project na involved talaga kami,” she added. The TV personality also hoped it would be a movie to continue the story of Ned and Bujoy and both of them will be “hands-on” with the production. “Gusto namin pelikula eh. Either co-prod or talagang hands on kami dun sa project, dun sa istorya, sa lahat. Basta gusto namin something na konektado sa ‘Labs Kita, Okay Ka Lang?’ Kasi 20 years na ‘yung pelikulang ‘yun eh. So anong nangyari kay Ned at Bujoy talaga, di ba?,” Jolina said. Jolina was a part of several programs such as “ASAP,” “SOP” and “Ang TV” Marvin, meanwhile, became a celebrated actor and also hosted variety shows such as “Dear Friend” and “Outrageous and Courageous” in 2005. He is also a successful businessman, owning several restaurants and food franchises. *** The Philippine showbiz

industry is saddened by the sudden death of comedian Chokoleit (Jonathan Aguilar Garcia in real life), last Saturday, March 9. He was 48. This sad news was confirmed by his talent agency, Star Magic. In a video uploaded online, many noticed that the comedian looked tired and out of breath during his performance. Nevertheless, Chokoleit continued and finished his skit, but passed out once he got off the stage. He reportedly had trouble breathing after the event and was transported to a local hospital, but unfortunately didn’t make it. There are no other details made available by Star Magic about Chokoleit’s cause of death but Dr. Rosauro Seares of Abra Provincial Hospital said the comedian suffered from pulmonary edema and heart attack. Chokoleit starred in many ABS-CBN movies and 2004’s Kapamilya fantaserye “Marina” was one of her most notable performance. Our condolences to the family and friends of Chokoleit.

Comedian Chokoleit passed away last Saturday, March 9, after a show in Abra. He was 48.


Actor Marvin Agustin is excited for his reunion movie with former loveteam Jolina Magdangal.

Actress, singer and “Magandang Buhay” co-host Jolina Magdangal recently shared that her reunion movie with former loveteam Marvin Agustin is finally pushing through.

Multi-award winning actor Christopher “Boyet” de Leon returns to TV in GMA Pinoy’s teleserye, “TODA One I love.”

Handsome actor Derrick Monasterio is one of the lead stars of the teleserye “Dragon Lady.”

Dion Ignacio is Yasmien’s Kurdi’s husband in the GMA Pinoy TV teleserye, “Hiram na Anak”.

Actress Kylie Padilla is one of the lead stars of the teleserye “TODA One I Love,” on GMA Pinoy TV.





The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Sinusuportahan ng Loterya ng California

Pambansang Problema sa Pagsusugal Buwan ng Kamalayan SHE TRIED TO COMPLY, BUT HER CASE WAS DENIED…A MOTHERʼS DESPAIR AND AN ATTORNEYʼS RESCUE ON AN ENCORE EPISODE OF “CITIZEN PINOY”! Rowena and Mike came to the US in 2010 to build a better life. Rowena was sponsored as a teacher. As she was filing her third extension for her H1-B visa in 2016, the shocking news hit her. She was denied! Then her adjustment (green card) application was denied because, according to the USCIS, she worked a mere 14 days without the necessary DHS authorization. Three lawyers tried handling her case, to no avail, and her family was urging her to “give up” and return to the Philippines. She finally decided to consult with “the attorney of last hope,” Atty. Michael J. Gurfinkel, in a last-ditch effort to be able to provide a better life for her children. Watch how Atty. Gurfinkel was able to solve the problem in a record 43 days, turning a disastrous denial into green cards for the entire family, on an encore episode of “Citizen Pinoy” – on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement)

Immigration Corner ATTY. MICHAEL GURFINKEL, ESQ I’VE had numerous consultations over the years with people who went for their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy, only to be told they are guilty of fraud/misrepresentation, and therefore, not eligible for a visa. Many state that they were not even given a chance to explain or document their innocence. They were simply given a single sheet of paper with the item checked that they committed fraud/misrepresentation, and, in some cases, may be eligible for a waiver (or forgiveness). However, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which is the regulations followed by the Embassy in connection with visa processing and issuance, specifically instruct consuls, “You must give the alien

You are supposed to have the opportunity to prove your innocence before being charged with fraud the opportunity to rebut the presumption of willful misrepresentation by presentation of evidence to overcome it.” This means that before being formally charged with fraud or misrepresentation, a person is supposed to first be given the opportunity to rebut the presumption of fraud or prove they had committed no fraud by presenting documents, evidence, and legal arguments demonstrating their innocence and eligibility for a visa. However, if a person is truly guilty of fraud, was caught, and was properly charged with fraud (because they entered the U.S. on an

assumed name, claimed to be single when they were secretly married, and submitted altered or bogus documents from Recto Street, etc.), they would need to file a fraud waiver, if they have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or is a green card holder. If you will be interviewed at the Embassy, or even at USCIS, and you have potential issues about your eligibility, you should seek the advice and assistance of an attorney, who can evaluate your case and possibly represent you and help explain or resolve those issues. If you have been charged Continued on Page SF6

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The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Love and deportability: Divorce, domestic violence, and immigration laws reviewed and examined on a case-by-case basis, and given the whole picture, an individual might just be able to show that he or she is a battered spouse or has suffered extreme cruelty from their U.S. citizen or Lawful Atty. LiLLi BerBAno BAcuLi, eSQ Permanent Resident husband. If so, a VAWA Self-Petition will WHAT if I do not have enable her to adjust her status legal papers, and my spouse is without having to rely on their abusive? spouse. If safety is a concern, we California divorce – “no urge people to seek help first, fault.” particularly if there are minor California is a no-fault children who may also be at risk divorce state. A party filing of abuse. For non-emergency for divorce does not need the calls, individuals may dial 2-1-1 consent of the other in order to seek help finding resources to file a Petition for Dissolution for health, mental health, or (Divorce) or, in some instances, temporary shelter. to get a judgment of divorce. Options available for What needs to happen victims of abuse: VAWA Selfis that the other party (your Petition. soon-to-be ex-spouse) needs The spouse or child of a U.S. to be served with process. In citizen or a Lawful Permanent proceeding in an action for Resident, or the parent of a divorce, there are procedural U.S. citizen, who is battered or requirements dictated by law subject to extreme cruelty may that must be followed to ensure file a self-petition independently that the other party has notice of the abusive U.S. citizen or of the action (that is, that s/he Lawful Permanent Resident. is being brought to court for an The spouse or child must action of divorce) and that s/he demonstrate that he or she is given time to respond. Howresided with the U.S. citizen or ever, there is no requirement Lawful permanent spouse or for the other party to respond. parent; was battered or subject There is no requirement that to extreme cruelty during the s/he sign any document at all. marriage (or, in the case of a All that needs to happen is that spouse self-petitioner, the child s/he is properly served with was battered or subjected to ex- process according to the rules. treme cruelty); the marriage was Deportability issues for entered into in good faith; s/he green card holders with dois otherwise eligible for immedi- mestic violence conviction(s). ate relative or preference status; A non-citizen, even if a Lawand has good moral character. ful Permanent Resident (green In certain cases, though an card holder) for ten years, is individual has not suffered any liable to be deportable if s/he physical harm, abuse can still commits or is convicted of be argued depending on the certain crimes, even if it’s “just a circumstances, since “abuse” misdemeanor.” A conviction for is not limited to physical domestic violence can make a harm. Each application will be non-citizen deportable.

The CTV Files

ice law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; lbaculi@ Visit for more information and other articles.  (AdvertisingSupplement)


WITH the release of “Captain Marvel” — the first woman superhero to have its own major film in the film franchise, a Filipina superhero will be gracing the pages of the Marvel comic book pages. Just in time for International Women’s Day, comic book writer and filmmaker Greg Pak on March 9 unveiled “Wave” on Twitter, designed and co-created by Filipino comic book artist Leinil Francis Yu. Though there is not much information about Wave, she Continued on Page SF7 Wave


Changing our perception of...

From Page SF2 it, and also try it multiple times. Some families might opt to make it a weekly tradition and do ‘Meatless Mondays,’ then go from there.” At present, Suzara is also busy with her food business, Sariwa (Tagalog for “fresh”), which she started when she reconnected with her Filipino roots. “I was inspired by flavors tasted while visiting rural areas of the Philippines, in Hawai’i, and while reconstructing dishes found in old cookbooks. When I spent two years as an organic farmer in coastal California, I was immersed in agriculture and was able to grow, taste and cook with some of the freshest and most delicious ingredients, and I wanted to find out how to make them more accessible,” she shared. Sariwa had its first big popup in Oakland in 2011, with the

support of the Peoples Kitchen Collective and as a benefit for Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity’s (FACES) typhoon relief efforts. “It took more years of experimentation and work in the public health world before I decided to return to the kitchen. I was concern about the growing chronic disease epidemic our community faced, and also disturbed by the times I’d heard friends or community members share that they were instructed to ‘stop eating Filipino food before it kills you,’” she said. “I realized the most direct way of touching people’s palates was through our tastebuds, and to show how eating for health could also taste good and celebrate culture. I wanted to find ways to make health more celebratory, and to find a practical way to support local farmers who are

growing heritage crops.” Sariwa has grown as a food business since 2016, with the support of La Cocina, a nonprofit that supports low-income women, people of color and immigrants. Aside from this, Sariwa brings workshops and food demos to schools, clinics and public events, as well as collaborates with community organizations. “Health and wellness are already within our roots. We have a wealth of practices that we can now bring forward to fit our 21st-century lives, and have the tools to feed ourselves in ways that honor our ancestors, heals our bodies, and takes care of the earth,” she said. A podcast featuring Sariwa and healing within Filipino-American foods will soon be posted on

You are supposed to have the...

From Page SF5 with fraud, but believe it was a mistake or misunderstanding, you should also seek the assistance of an attorney, who can assist you in proving your innocence by rebutting the presumption of willful misrepresentation. *** Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars 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 and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and reenactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the

by Christina M. Oriel AJPress

AS mentioned in the Asian Journal’s recent profile on A criminal conviction’s Now Serving — Los Angeles’ negative impact on immigraonly cookbook store owned tion status. by Filipino-American couple The Record of Conviction Ken Concepcion and Michelle (ROC) details an individual’s Mungcal — cookbook sales criminal history – his/her arrest, have significantly increased what s/he plead to, and the in the past two years because final judgment/sentence. The of the preference of dining at relief(s) available to an individhome, learning about regional ual facing removal/deportation cuisines, or keeping the book proceedings will depend largely on a coffee table or kitchen on that individual’s record of shelf for display and aspiraconviction. tional purposes. If you are a non-citizen, it On what makes a great is best to consult both with a cookbook, Concepcion had criminal attorney and with an shared “You have a narraexperienced criminal immigrative or a distinctive point of tion attorney who handles view from the author. Once deportation defense before you have that, you’re able to pleading to anything in criminal really take a deep dive with court. the recipes or the history of No two cases are exactly the cuisine or if it’s about the the same. Consult with an restaurant, it’s a story about experienced and competent it. Beautiful pictures always family law and immigration athelp.” torney immediately, and more With more Filipino cenimportantly prior to filing any tered restaurants emerging applications with the USCIS, or across the United States, prior to pleading to anything in there has also been a handful any court, in order to explore of cookbooks published on their options and possible legal the cuisine that goes beyond ramifications that they might be the popular classic dishes facing. As always, be wary of and delve deeper into the online tools that offer immigra- Filipinos’ culture of feasting tion help or notarios who are and the regional influences. not licensed to practice law. In this issue, we take a look at *** several cookbooks published Atty. Lilli Berbano Baculi is an associate at- within the last year, as well as torney with Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Profes- those to look out in 2019, that sional Legal Corporation (CTV) - a full serv- are notable.

Marvel to introduce first Filipina superhero by

6 Filipino-authored cookbooks to add to your shelf

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in the United Kingdom after six other countries outside of the Philippines, said in her interview with the Asian Journal in January.

NoForksGiven Pulutan!FilipinoBarBites,AppetizersandStreet Eats

“Pulutan! Filipino Bar Bites, Appetizers and Street Eats” is the second cookbook by Marvin Gapultos, author of food blog Burnt Lumpia. Published last fall, “Pulutan!” — using the Filipino term for food paired with alcoholic drinks — was inspired by Gapultos growing up in a family “where snacking and drinking were a common occurrence” and his interest in cocktails and writing about and cooking Filipino food. “So to be able to write a cookbook focusing specifically on the drinking food of the Philippines just goes to show that there is so much breadth, depth, and diversity to Filipino cooking,” Gapultos shared with the Asian Journal, noting the lack of Filipino cookbooks in the United States only a decade ago. “There’s so much more to our cuisine for everybody to discover and enjoy, and there are so many different dishes and flavors that can be replicated by the home cook, so I hope people come away with an appreciation for that.” The book contains over 60 recipes, with each one suggesting a beer or cocktail as a complement, for any cooking level. You’ll find a range of kinilaw dishes, like shrimp kinilaw with gin and pomelos, and other creations from Bicol IAmaFilipino Express meatballs, squid sisig, “I Am a Filipino (And This pig ear lumpia, Bacon isaw, is How We Cook)” by Nicole and papaitan, a beef and tripe Ponseca & Miguel Trinidad of stew. Maharlika and Jeepney in New “Food doesn’t have to be York City landed spots on fancy to be good, and you Best of 2018 lists and was one don’t need a special occaof the Asian Journal’s book sion to socialize with friends recommendations to kick off or family,” Gapultos said. 2019. From classic dishes to “That’s the great thing about street food, this cookbook pulutan. Simple food, easy came from Ponseca and Trini- drinks, and a casual setting dad’s experiences cooking the are all you need to have a cuisine as well as their travels good time.” to learn about the Philippines’ history and culture. “I want them to come away with an understanding that it is a world cuisine. It is a cuisine to be respected and learned. In my restaurant life, I worked for French and Italian restaurants; and now Nordic food and Israeli cuisine are revered and understood. Filipino food is equally important. There’s a discipline behind it,” Ponesca told Saveur.


TheNewFilipinoKitchen:StoriesandRecipesfrom AroundtheGlobe

“The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe” edited by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri was released in 2018 after nearly three years in the making. It features 30 recipes and stories from international Filipinos — including White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, Bocuse d’Or Norway winner Christian André Pettersen, 2015 MasterChef New Zealand runner-up Leo Fernandez, five-time Palanca Award winner and poet Francis Macansantos, and the “Food Buddha” Rodelio Aglibot. “Having lived in many places with no Filipino food presence, I long for our cuisine to be more accessible globally,” Lauri, who now lives

“Quintessential Filipino Cooking” by Liza Agbanlog is an extension of her recipe blog Salu Salo, which was born out of making Filipino dishes using locally available ingredients in Vancouver, Canada, where she has lived with her husband and children since the 90s. The result is an index of 75 recipes developed based on childhood memories, those learned from relatives and friends, or modern adaptations. Some stand-outs include the sinampalukang manok (chicken tamarind soup), pork rib adobo, crispy pork binagoongan (shrimp paste), and fresh lumpia, which is Chinese-influenced and was handed down by a cousin. “For those who grew up eating Filipino food, I hope that this book will help them make the dishes they grew up eating,” Agbanlog told the Asian Journal. “For those who are not familiar with Filipino cuisine, I hope they can give Filipino cuisine a try and get an appreciation for the cuisine.”

“No Forks Given” by Yana Gilbuena is more than a cookbook — it’s a compilation of stories and recipes from Gilbuena’s mission to bring Filipino food to all 50 U.S. states through the SALO Series. Gilbuena told the Asian Journal that this book is a testament that cooking Filipino food is accessible to anyone and that Filipinos can connect with and remind themselves of the Philippines through food. “It is by no means a compendium of Filipino dishes or an encyclopedia of Filipino food, but it is meant to share some knowledge to folks who are interested in adapting local and seasonal ingredients into Filipino dishes,” she said. Some notable recipes in it are the sinigang poke, lengua kare-kare, halo-halo turon, for example. The book was announced on Kickstarter in 2017 and garnered 600+ backers who pledged $44,925. Those who supported the campaign will be receiving a physical copy of the book this March, but it’s currently available in eBook form. “It is structured just how my tour was, starting from Key West and ending in Hawaii. It has anecdotes of the people I met, my experience in each state and the recipes I developed,” she explained. “The title is very tongue-incheek…it is about dining with your hands where no plates or utensils are given. At the same time it embodies a lot of my attitude/approach in my work. I give no forks.”


“Baking at République” by Margarita “Marge” Manzke arrives this April for aspiring home cooks and pastry chefs who want to replicate the pastries and sweets Manzke makes almost daily. Manzke, who owns République and Sari Sari Store in Los Angeles plus eight cafés like Wildflour in Manila, is a fourtime semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef award. Her credentials and skill level should not intimidate those seeking to learn how to bake, however, as this book delivers clear instructions on how to master brioche, croissants, or a basic cake batter. “The book has a range of easy, you can start from cookies that literally have four ingredients, to something that requires a little bit more practice or skill…I hope it brings readers joy,” Manzke told the Asian Journal. Though Manzke is known for her French-influenced desserts, the cookbook has a host of desserts based on her upbringing in the Philippines and those she serves at Sari Sari Store. “There are a couple of Filipino recipes like the halo halo, which is a very long recipe, a coconut cream pie derived from buko pie, bibingka, and ginataan, which is perfect for rainy days,” she

people & events


The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

Tracy Hills preview opening on Saturday, March 16 in Tracy

TRACY, CA – Tracy Hills, Bay Area’s Newest Master-Planned community in the rolling foothills of southwest Tracy will be hosting a special Preview Opening tomorrow, Saturday, March 16th from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. Join the celebration this Saturday and enjoy festive music, sample delicious cuisine from on-site food trucks, participate in kid-friendly activities, and preview floor plans and architectural renderings from awardwinning home builders including Lennar Meritage Homes and Shea Homes. The first phase at Tracy Hills will eventually include a total of 1,139 homes in eight separate villages. Meritage Homes will have decorated model homes to tour for Vantage at Tracy Hills, which includes 4 floorplans offering 4 to 5 bedrooms and 3 to 3.5 baths in approximately 2,155 to 2,648 square feet. Shea Homes will have a Sales Information trailer on site with floor plans and architectural renderings as well as hard hat tours for Vente at Tracy Hills. Vente will feature 3 single-level and two-story floorplans, 3 to 6 bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 baths in approximately 2,522 to 3,451 square feet. Lennar will also have a Sales Information trailer on site with floor plans and architectural renderings for four different villages within Tracy Hills: Am-

ber, Larimar, Opal and Pearl. These four villages will feature a total of 16 single-level and two-story floorplans with 4 to 5 bedrooms, 2 to 4.5 baths in approximately 2,173 to 3,599 square feet. Food lovers will certainly appreciate the variety offered by Steel Smokin BBQ, Street Steam Bunz, Haley McNicoll’s CelticAmerican Eatery, and izzyA’s Frozen Ice Cream Custard. This family-friendly event will also feature face painters, balloon artists and a walk-around magician to entertain younger attendees. Plus, since no party is complete without music, homeshoppers will enjoy bands playing classic jazz and New Orleans-style Dixieland tunes, as well as traditional Kentucky bluegrass. In addition, home shoppers can learn more about this smart, WiFi-connected, approx. 5,411-acre community with approx. 45 acres devoted to neighborhood parks including one dog park, 30 acres of community parks, and a community clubhouse and pool. Approximately 42 acres will be devoted exclusively towards several new school sites within the Jefferson School District, including the future K-8 Corral Hollow Elementary School in this first phase. Nature lovers will appreciate an extensive network of walking trails connecting the villages,

180 acres of open space, and over 3,500 acres devoted to habitat preserve. Even with a location so close to nature, Tracy Hills will be conveniently located within 3 miles to the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) station, offering connections to major employment hubs and job centers in the Tri-Valley and Silicon Valley areas. Integral Communities creates new opportunities from underutilized or undeveloped parcels of land through valueadded land planning. Integral’s focus, strategy and expertise create and provide excellent value- added ownership and development opportunities for the company and its partners. This unique philosophy and ethic keeps Integral among the leading diversified real estate development companies in the West. Integral is headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, with regional offices in Encinitas, CA and Danville, CA. For more information regarding Integral Communities and its master-planned communities, apartment communities, infill and mixed-use developments, please visit For directions and information about the Tracy Hills Preview Opening, visit or text TRACYHILLS to 79797.

Marvel to introduce first...

From Page SF6 was described by Marvel as “a mysterious new Filipino heroine.� She has identifiable Filipino “morena� skin, donning a green and gold costume as well as weapons and will be teaming up with heroes from China named Aero and Sword Master. Wave will debut in “War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1,� the first of four “War (AdvertisingSupplement) of the Realms� issues to be released in May. The story will

be set in Asia and will center on the New Agents of Atlas led by Korean-American superhero Amadeus Cho (aka Brawn, previously the Hulk). Also joining his team (aside from Wave) are Chinese Kung-Fu master Shang-Chi, Korean-American heroine Silk and SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo. “Thank you so much for the huge response to Wave, Marvel’s new Filipina superhero, who’ll debut in War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas

#1! Huge thanks to [Leinil Yu], who co-created and designed her,� he posted on Twitter. In an interview published on Marvel’s website, editor Will Moss said that “War of the Realms� will involve all the heroes from the “Avengers,� “Fantastic Four,� “Wolverine� — pretty much the whole line. All these superheroes are out to fight Malekith, the king of the dark elves, who is conquering all realms including Midgard or Earth.

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The Asian Jour nal SF MAGAZINE - March 15, 2019

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