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A P R IL 26-MAY 2, 2019 Volume 12 - No. 27 • 16 Pages 133-30 32nd Ave., Flushing, NY 11354 • 2500 Plaza S. Harborside Financial Center, Jersey City, NJ 07311 • Tel. (212) 655-5426 • Fax: (818) 502-0858


DATELINE Chinese clam poachers making ‘thousands of dollars’ while destroying entire reef — US expert FROM THE AJPRESS NEWS TEAM ACROSS AMERICA

CHINESE poachers are making “thousands of dollars” by extracting clams in the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and selling them, a U.S. think tank expert said. But such a lucrative business has also destroyed the resource-rich waters’ marine environment and could cost coastal communities their livelihoods.

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DOJ backs OSG vs settlement on $20-M Marcos assets THE Department of Justice has supported the Office of the Solicitor General in opposing the settlement agreement that allows the distribution of $20 million worth of Marcos assets seized in the United States to martial law victims.

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Manila, Beijing reaffirm ties as Xi calls Duterte ‘genuine friend’ by DORIS


BEIJING – The Philippines and China have reaffirmed diplomatic ties notwithstanding heightened tension in the West Philippine Sea. President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to flesh out “high-quality” and “good impact” projects with China as he sat down with China president Xi Jinping for a bilateral meeting on Thursday, April 25. During their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of two bilateral agreements. The first was an exchange of commitment letters on production capacity and investment cooperation. This document proposes a project list which will serve as the focus of cooperation between the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and its counterpart in China, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The leaders also witnessed the handover of China’s grant package for drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers in Sarangani and Agusan del Norte.

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DUTERTE MEETS XI. President Rodrigo Duterte receives a warm welcome from People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday, April 25 Malacañang photo by King Rodriguez

After Luzon and Visayas, magnitude PH to become upper middle 4.7 earthquake hits Mindanao region income country this 2019 NDRRMC warns public of circulating text hoax about ‘the big one’ by NATHALIE



FRANTIC SEARCH. Rescuers carry one of the survivors from a collapsed supermarket in Porac, Pampanga on Tuesday, April 23, after a 6.1- magnitude earthquake struck parts of Zambales, Pampanga and Metro Manila on Monday, April 22. ManilaTimes.net photo by Ruy Martinez

ANOTHER tectonic earthquake with a 4.7 magnitude hit the Philippines at 11:43 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the Mindanao region specifically in Banganga, Davao Oriental as reported by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).



FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Thursday, The seismology agency April 11, said the Philippines said that the epicenter was lo- is set to become an ‘uppercated 63 kilometers northeast middle-income’ economy this of Banganga. The 11-kilome- year with the assistance of the ter earthquake also affected World Bank (WB). Bislig City, Surigao del Sur at According to him, the genan instrumental intensity I. erous support of the World NDRRMC, Palace: Beware Bank for the Philippines’ of hoax and fake news sustainable development The National Disaster Risk programs is a “key factor” in Reduction and Management achieving its goal of becomCouncil (NDRRMC) on Tues- ing an upper middle-income u PAGE 2 economy in 2019, three years

ahead of schedule. “For many decades, the World Bank helped many emerging economies achieve sustainable development. This year, as the bank celebrates its 75th year, we are proud to announce that the Philippines will achieve the status of an ‘upper middle-income’ nation ahead of schedule. The bank shares much credit for this achievement,” Dominguez said during the recent Philippine Day Forum held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel

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april 26-may 2, 2019 • NEW yOrK aND NEW JErSEy aSiaN JOUrNal

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From the Front Page Manila, Beijing reaffirm ties as... Chinese clam poachers making ‘thousands... PAGE 1

PAGE 1 Duterte — one of the 35 heads of state who had flown in to China’s capital to attend the second Belt and Road Forum — said his participation at this forum “provides another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relations based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship and must continue to grow strength and meaning in the coming years.” For his part, Xi Jinping said during his opening statement at the bilateral meeting that he was happy to see PhilippineChina relations “getting better and better.” He referred to Duterte as a “genuine” friend and “trusted partner.” Xi Jinping said the Philippines was an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which he noted was similar to Dutertre’s infrastructure-building program. He likewise expressed sympathy to the victims of a string of recent earthquakes in the Philippines. This marks Duterte’s fourth visit to Beijing since winning the presidential election in 2016. His visit came on the heels of rising tension in the West Philippine Sea alongside some concerns on the so-called China “debt” trap relating to big-ticket infrastructure proj-

ects funded by China. Bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have significantly improved under the Duterte regime. Recently, however, diplomatic tension has risen amid the swarming tactic employed by the Chinese maritime militia at Pag-asa Island—internationally known as Thitu Island— and the harvesting of giant clams by Chinese fishermen from that rich fishing ground in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. Neither Duterte nor Xi Jinping mentioned the territorial dispute during their respective opening statements during the bilateral meeting. The discussion after the opening speech was no longer open for media coverage. During his opening speech, Duterte said the Philippines and China “must continue to work together to explore new areas of cooperation and partnership.” Duterte notes that President Xi Jinping’s visit to Manila last November had marked a “watershed moment” in Philippine-China relations. “The decision to elevate bilateral ties to a comprehensive, strategic cooperation affirms the Philippines and China’s

strong desire to further deepen and broaden this engagement,” he said. Duterte said the Philippines was keen on executing the projects hatched during Xi Jinping’s visit. The vision is to implement “high-quality and “good impact” projects. “The sooner they are completed, the sooner people on the ground will feel the benefits of Philippine-China relations,” he said. The Philippine leader also greeted China on its 70th founding anniversary and congratulated China on its economic achievements. In a separate bilateral meeting with China’s Prime Minister Li Kequiang early Thursday evening, Duterte echoed this “reaffirmation of friendship and understanding” with China in his opening remarks. “Our cooperation has expanded tremendously since I first visited China. And we envision a more comprehensive, strategic cooperation,” he said. Li Kequiang said he’s happy to see Duterte again, noting how bilateral relations have made a U-turn for the better under his leadership. He said he was looking forward to working together with him to strengthen this relationship. n

PH to become upper middle income...


in Washington D.C. Under the Duterte administration, the government had aimed to transform the country into an upper middleincome status by 2022 and a high-income economy by 2040. Upper middle-income countries, based on the World Bank’s criteria for the fiscal year 2019, have a gross national income (GNI) per capita of $3,896 to $12,055. High-income countries, meanwhile, have a GNI per capita of $12,056 or more. Currently, the Philippines is classified as a lower middleincome country with GNI per capita of $996 to $3,895. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, however, has expressed confidence that the Duterte administration would be able to achieve its goal ahead of target this year. “Today, the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Reaching this milestone in our

development story is attributable to many years of hard work—especially in building a strong fiscal position and a bureaucracy honed to the task of catalyzing growth,” Dominguez said. He noted that the country posted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.2 percent last year despite uncertainties caused by a looming trade war, a spike in world oil prices, and domestic inflation. He added that President Rodrigo Duterte had “delivered resoundingly” on his socioeconomic reform agenda which include tax reforms, improvements in the ease of doing business, a more transparent and responsive government, increased investments in human capital, and enhancement of peace and order. The decrease in crime volumes, the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), and

the Build Build Build program demonstrated how the Duterte administration had delivered on its program of government, according to Dominguez. Additionally, he highlighted the other reforms that the Duterte administration has initiated like the passage of the New Central Bank Act and the Rice Tariffication Act, the establishment of a national ID system, and the creation of new platforms to minimize the cost of doing business. “These reforms should translate into even stronger resilience as we face the challenges of this year. Those challenges include the projected slowdown in global economic growth and rising fears of recession in the major industrial economies. By striving to make our economy more inclusive and our governance more responsive to the waves of technological change, we strive to continue building on our growth momentum,” Dominguez said. n

According to an ABS-CBN News report, the Chinese continue to harvest giant clams at Scarborough, locally known as “Panatag” and is considered as a traditional fishing ground off the coast of Zambales on the western shores of the Philippine island of Luzon. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted this week that the Philippine government will be taking legal action against Chinese nationals harvesting giant clams in Scarborough, but struck a conciliatory tone saying Manila and Beijing should not go to war over clams. Replying to one of Locsin’s now-deleted tweets, Gregory Poling, director of Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, said that while Chinese clam poachers earn thousands of dollars, their activity has wiped out vast swaths of reefs — threatening food security in coastal areas. “The Chinese poachers

aren’t eating them either. They can get thousands of dollars for each shell for jewelry & figurines. They toss the meat into the sea,” Poling said. “They’ve destroyed over 40,000 acres of reef via clam harvesting. That’s more than 10x as much as their island building killed,” he added. Ties between the Philippines and China have significantly improved under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has set aside a landmark ruling from a United Nationsbacked tribunal that struck down Beijing’s “Nine Dash line” claim that encompasses most of the resource-rich sea. Duterte’s management of the maritime dispute has frustrated nationalists, who criticized his seeming inaction towards China’s military buildup in the strategic waterway. In a report dated September 13, AMTI said the South China Sea — which accounted for about 12% of global

fish catch in 2015 — is “seriously threatened” by overfishing encouraged by government subsidies as well as harmful fishing practices. Meanwhile, large-scale clam harvesting and dredging for island construction in recent years destroyed over 160 square kilometers of coral reefs, which were already declining by 16 percent per decade, AMTI also said. Citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.S.-based think tank said the Philippines could work with other claimant nations on management of fish stocks without comprising its claims over the sea. It added that the only way to arrest the degradation of South China Sea is through multilateral cooperation among claimants, which involved the creation and management of the fisheries zones “regardless of the location of their territorial and maritime claims.” (Ian Nicolas Cigaral/Philstar.com)

After Luzon and Visayas, magnitude 4.7... PAGE 1 day night, April 23, warned that the circulating text messages about a forthcoming magnitude 8.0 earthquake are a hoax. “Napag-alaman ng OCDNDRRMC na may lumaganap na text messages patungkol sa 8.0 magnitude na lindol (It has come to our attention at the OCD-NDRRMC that there are circulating text messages about a supposedly upcoming 8.0 magnitude earthquake),” it said. “Nais naming ipahayag na ang mga nasabing text messages ay hoax lamang at walang katotohanan (We’d like to inform the public that those text messages are a hoax),” the disaster agency added as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The government agency also announced that the public must trust only the number with the account “NDRRMC” for mobile alerts and warnings. They added that any other phone numbers are not affiliated with the disaster agency. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also urged the people not to disseminate unverified and false information in social media platforms as such could inflict terror and panic among the general

public. “We ask the public to remain calm but vigilant and we urge them to refrain from spreading disinformation [on] social media that may cause undue alarm, panic and stress to many people,” Panelo said in a statement. 90 unaccounted for in Pampanga Rescuers continue to search for the 90 people who remained unaccounted for as the four-story building of Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga collapsed due to the 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Luzon last Monday, April 22. “We have no information on how many of them managed to escape or were trapped inside the collapsed structure. We advised the management to tell the survivors to report and be counted,” Pampanga Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda said. Philippine Red Cross volunteers, Army troops, police and villagers used four cranes, crowbars and sniffer dogs to look for people trapped beneath the rubble of Chuzon Supermarket, some of whom were still yelling for help on Monday night. Authorities inserted a large orange tube into the rubble to blow oxygen in the hope

of helping people pinned there to breathe. DSWD to assist affected LGUs The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide assistance to the local government units (LGUs) so they could address the needs of the families and individuals affected by the earthquake. In an article from The Manila Bulletin, the social welfare agency has provided a total of P213,689.50 worth of assistance. However, the DSWD Central Office, field offices, and the National Resource Operations Center still have a total of P2,233,678,895.43 yet to be released. The data from the Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB) revealed that 358 families or 1,938 persons from five barangays in Pampanga, Zambales and Bataan were affected by the tectonic disaster. DRMB assessed that 67 houses were damaged — 54 were totally damaged and 13 were partially damaged. There were 245 families or 1,271 persons still staying in four evacuation centers, while 108 families or 648 individuals are staying with their relatives and friends. n

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Duterte: War with China ‘not worth it’ for the US by Ritchel

Mendiola AJPress

PResIDenT Rodrigo Duterte on sunday, April 21, said the United states knows a war against China over the Panatag (scarborough) shoal is “not worth it,” stressing that the Philippines’ longtime ally was unreliable during the country’s 2012 standoff with China. He recalled how the U.s. brokered a deal between the Philippines and China, asking them to withdraw their respective ships from the resource-rich fishing ground. The Philippines pulled out its navy flagship, BRP gregorio del Pilar, but China did not. Duterte continued that the U.s. negotiated the deal because it knew a war in the vital maritime route would be destructive. “[Albert] del Rosario was Aquino’s Foreign Affairs secretary. He was the only one who negotiated. But America was scared. They knew that a war about something so small is not worth it. Because if they hit us and America decides to help, it could trigger a world war. America knows it. ev-

erybody does,” he said in a speech during the campaign sortie of PDP-Laban in Agusan del norte. “If those nuclear bombs, atom bombs, and hydrogen bombs will explode, nothing will be left of this world. We would all be destroyed. so America said, both of you should retreat.’ Del Rosario ordered our ship to retreat, but China refused to follow. That is why they filed a case,” he added. By not honoring the deal, Beijing got the scarborough shoal under its control — which prompted the Aquino administration to take it up with an international tribunal to invalidate China’s claims to the sea. The United nations-backed arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines. Beijing, however, refused to acknowledge its decision. Duterte maintained that the U.s. ‘did not do anything’ to stop China from fortifying its claims to the sea. “over the years while the case was heard in the arbitral court, they started building. so why did they not go there when China situated their ship

there?” he said. “America did not do anything. now it’s almost complete. It looks like a real camp. They have guns. They want me to visit it. It’s fine, it can be done just to show off. But we would all be destroyed. And my soldiers and my policemen will be massacred,” Duterte added. He said he has doubts on whether the U.s. will back up Filipino forces should Manila decide to assert its claim on the sea by force, adding that it has its own problems to resolve. According to him, it’s wiser to stick to negotiations with China to resolve disagreements over the contested waters and its territories. “We can’t defeat them. so let’s stick to just talking unless you want me to say, ‘o sige (Okay) I’ll attack China. Who’s with me?’” Duterte said. “Will America join us? They can’t even resolve their problem with Iraq and Iran in the Middle east. They’ve been at war for a long time. But who won it? nobody. Many lives were lost including those of civilians, children, the elderly, and the women. That’s the story,” he added. n

DOJ backs OSG vs settlement on... PAGE 1 Justice secretary Menardo guevarra agreed with solicitor general Jose Calida that the settlement agreement in the interpleader case pending at the new York District Court is disadvantageous to the Philippine government. “We are opposing the settlement agreement simply because it does not favor the interests of the government, which we are duty-bound to protect,” guevarra explained sunday, April 21. He clarified, however, that the government does not exactly want to block the award of monetary compensation to the martial law victims but “simply wants that the Republic, as a whole, get a better deal.” “The government’s position is not antagonistic to the interests of martial law victims who are also citizens of our country, but to protect the interests of the republic as a whole,” he explained. guevarra also confirmed that his office reviewed the terms of the deal. Calida has revealed that the settlement agreement in the new York court case is grossly disadvantageous to the government that would get only $4 million from the proceeds from the sale of paint-

ings recovered from an aide of former first lady and Ilocos norte Rep. Imelda Marcos. The solicitor general pointed out that the deal is also for the best interest of 9,539 martial law victims in this case as they will receive a measly $1,500 each while their lawyer Robert swift has sought a hefty $4.125 million in attorney’s fees. Calida further explained that the proposed settlement required that the Philippine government grant immunity to Vilma Bautista and move to dismiss the cases against her in the sandiganbayan. “The government cannot grant immunity to Vilma Bautista. she is a principal defendant in a case currently pending before the sandiganbayan. The authority of the PCgg to grant such immunity is limited only to a witness who can provide material and relevant information or testify against a defendant in an ill-gotten wealth case,” he added. The new York court presided by Judge Katherine Polk Failla has reportedly already approved the settlement deal and ordered its enforcement. guevarra said that unless the government takes any further remedial action, the new York court order approv-

ing the settlement could be “immediately executed.” “note that the subject of this interpleader case (the proceeds of the auction sale of the disputed paintings) is in the custody of the District Attorney of new York, and not in the Philippines, and so execution of the judgment will be in the U.s.,” he added. The Presidential Commission on good government, an agency tasked to run after the ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, earlier entered into negotiations with the camp of the martial law victims, represented by swift, that won the $2-billion class action suit filed in Hawaii in 1995. The negotiations involved some $20 million worth of assets seized from former Marcos’ aide Bautista in new York, including high value paintings. In the agreement, the government was set to receive $4 million while the victims in the class action would get $13.75 million. A third party, the golden Buddha Corp. and the estate of Roger Roxas that allegedly discovered the Yamashita treasure, would also get a portion of the proceeds from the sale of some of the paintings. (Edu Punay/Philstar.com)

Dateline USa

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ALL-FILIPINO SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION. The RV Kasarinlan, the first research vessel of the UP-Marine Science Institute, will be used for this month’s all-Filipino joint scientific expedition at the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea, which will be led by Dr. Deo Florence Onda (2nd from right), chief scientist of PROTECT - WPS Program. The all-Filipino crew was sent off for the scientific expedition at the South Harbor in Manila on Monday, April 22. PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan

LA mayor nominates Filipina to city’s Dept. of Water and Power board of commissioners Los AngeLes Mayor eric garcetti on Tuesday, April 23 nominated a Filipina American public servant to join the city’s Board of Water and Power Commission. susana Reyes, who has been in public service for 32 years, was picked to replace outgoing commissioner Aura Vasquez, who stepped down earlier this month. Reyes previously served as the director of LA Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) Low-Income Customer Access, a position that helped ensure low-income ratepayers could access financial assistance, discounts, and rebates offered by the utility. “susana has spent her life and career helping to build a more sustainable city that

serves every Angeleno — no matter their zip code,” said garcetti in a statement. “Her expertise in environmental policy, fiscal management, and community engagement will be an invaluable asset to our utility.” Reyes also served as a senior analyst on garcetti’s sustainability team, where she oversaw the implementation of Los Angeles’ first sustainable City pLAn and helped the City secure a $1.7 million grant from the California Air and Resources Board to help launch BlueLA — an eV car sharing pilot program in low-income communities. she is currently the vice president of the national sierra Club Board of Directors (2018-19) and served as a member of their first-ever

Susana Reyes

all-female executive committee. Reyes, whose nomination is subject to City Council confirmation, will succeed Vasquez, who participated in her final board meeting on Tuesday. n

Filipina killed in hit and run in San Jose, Calif. sAn Jose, California— A Filipina resident of Dubai was killed in a hit and run incident on Thursday, April 11 allegedly by a car driven by another Filipina. Marianne natividad, 48, was identified as the victim by the santa Clara County medical examiner’s office. Police found natividad lying in the roadway near the intersection of nieman Boulevard and Laddie Way when they responded to the scene around 5:40 a.m. Police believe that a 2000 Toyota 4Runner driven by Delilah Paray, 65, struck her. Paray allegedly got out of the vehicle to approach natividad, but got back into her vehicle and fled the scene

Hit and run victim Marianne Gabriel Natividad Photo from GoFundMe

Arrested hit and run suspect Delilah Paray

without helping her or providing any identification, according to a report by CBs Local. she was found parked on a nearby street and taken into custody on suspicion of

felony hit-and-run. Anyone with additional information relevant to the investigation is asked to call Detective Matt Templeman at (408) 277-4654. (Inquirer. net)

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Dateline PhiliPPines

Manila Water fined P1.1B

by AnnA LeAh



THE METROPOLITAN Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has penalized Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc. more than P1 billion for the water shortage its consumers experienced in March, the first time the agency fined one of its two concessionaires. The amount is broken down into a P534.050-million fine and P600 million for development of a new water supply source for the affected areas, the MWSS said in a statement on Wednesday, April 24. The publicly listed Manila Water said it would comply with the decision, but blamed the MWSS for not ensuring adequate water supply. The resolution was signed by MWSS Board Chairman Franklin Demonteverde, Vice Chairman and MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco, and members Melchior Acosta Jr., Mariano Alegarbes, Merly Cruz, Jose Hernandez, Valeriano Pasquil, Melanie Sia Lambino and Elpidio Vega. The MWSS said its board unanimously approved the recommendation of the MWSS Regulatory Office on the imposition of penalties on Manila Water for its failure to comply with its concession agreement. Article 10.1 of the concession agreement states that “a failure by the concessionaire to meet any service obligation which continues for more than 60 days (or 15 days in cases where the failure could adversely affect public health or welfare) after written notice thereof from the Regulatory Office (RO) to the concessionaire shall constitute a basis for the RO to assess financial penalties against the concessionaire.” The P1.13 billion will be on top of the P500-million rebates

Residents of Barangay Bagong Ilog in Pasig City line up to get water from a tanker during the water crisis that hit parts of Metro Manila in March. ManilaTimes.net photo

to be paid out by the Ayala-led company. The water shortage affected a total of 1.2 million households in Manila Water’s East Zone concession, covering parts of Metro Manila and Rizal. The West Zone concession is handled by Maynilad Water Services Inc., a joint venture between Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and construction giant DMCI. Velasco said the MWSS was putting together a “realistic and doable” water security roadmap to ensure enough water supply. “The water shortage was an eye-opener, and sad to say, the new MWSS Board inherited this lingering problem having assumed office only in February 2017,” said Velasco. In a separate statement, Manila Water said it would abide by the decision of the MWSS. “We will abide by the MWSS decision to impose a penalty. While we are not the root cause for the inadequacy of the raw water supply coming from Angat Dam, which we are mandated to treat and distribute, Manila Water, as agent and contractor of water services of MWSS, hold ourselves accountable for our inability to provide our consumers with the usual

uninterrupted water service,” said Manila Water President Ferdinand de la Cruz. “Our inability to provide our usual 24/7 water supply to some of our consumers is because Manila Water’s allocated water supply from Angat Dam is no longer sufficient for the total demand of the East Zone consumers,” he added. He said the utility’s raw water allocation remained unchanged at 1.6 million liters per day since the concession deal started in 1997. Back then, the East Zone had a population of only 3 million people. “Today, Manila Water serves a population of almost 7 million people, whose per capita consumption has significantly increased through over two decades of economic progress in Metro Manila. We cannot source any more from our system losses which have already been brought down to 12 percent from a high of 63 percent when we inherited the East Zone concession of Metro Manila in 1997,” de la Cruz said. He explained that while the company had sought the development of new water supply sources, this was the responsibility of MWSS based on the concession agreement. n

Metro Manila sizzles anew

ANOTHER record high temperature and heat index scorched residents of Metro Manila on Wednesday, April 24, the state weather bureau said. A heat index or level of human discomfort of 39 degrees Celsius (C) was registered at the Science Garden in Diliman, Quezon City at 2 p.m., resulting from a temperature of 36.1 C and a relative humidity of 39 C. A higher temperature of 36.3 C was recorded at 3 p.m. on the same day, the Philippine Atmospheric,

Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said. This is the second highest heat index for Metro Manila. On April 13, the weather bureau recorded heat index of 40.8 C. The heat indices in other provinces also reached “danger” category. These were Dagupan City, Pangasinan at 48.8 C; Casiguran, Aurora at 45.9 C; Guiuan, Eastern Samar at 45.1 C; Infanta, Quezon at 44.7 C; Cuyo, Palawan at 44.2 C; Ambulong, Batangas at 43.7

C; Tayabas City, Quezon at 43.2 C; Baler, Aurora at 43.1 C; Tuguegarao City, Cagayan at 42.2 C; Roxas City, Capiz at 41.9 C; Sangley Point, Cavite at 41.8 C; Virac, Catanduanes at 41.6 C; General Santos City, South Cotabato at 41.4 C; Iba, Zambales at 41.3 C; and Aparri, Cagayan and Laoag, Ilocos Norte at 41.0 C. The weather bureau expects record-breaking heat indices to last until the second week of May. (Divina Nova Joy Deal Cruz/ManilaTimes.net)

‘Bikoy exposé part of propaganda war’

THE exposé of “Bikoy,” who accused President Rodrigo Duterte’s family of involvement in narcotics trade, and the release of a matrix linking journalists and lawyers to an alleged plot to remove the Chief Executive were part of a “propaganda war” between the government and opposition, a political analyst said on Wednesday, April 24. “I would consider both the Bikoy exposé and the so-called matrix as part of the ongoing propaganda war between the administration and opposition. They also play into the election campaign,” Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, told The Manila Times in an interview. “If real, there should have been action on the matter. As it is, there’s nothing there,” he added. The “Oust Duterte” matrix links journalists and a rights group to Bikoy, an alleged former drug syndicate member. Media entities tagged in the supposed plot have denied the

allegations. In a separate interview, analyst Antonio “Butch” Valdes said the matrix “merely indicate surrogate organizations used to build up public dissatisfaction and destroy popular support.” “Regime change processes, more often than not, are planned, funded and executed with the involvement of foreign intelligence organizations. To ignore this reality is to be naive bordering on stupidity,” Valdes, head of the Save the Nation Movement, said. “Individuals membership of the opposition, militant leftist elements, sare recruited for this purpose in exchange for money and power,” he added. Valdes said it would now be up to Duterte to decide what steps to take “in order to preserve his administration.” “The AFP/PNP (Armed Forces of the Philippines/ Philippine National Police) leadership seem to be loyal, but his Cabinet is suspect,” he said.

Meanwhile, analyst Perlita Frago-Marasigan said filing of charges against the “plotters” “is an option but is not necessary in a democratic environment.” “I think that releasing this matrix of information or disinformation, if fake, is an attempt to inoculate the, public. More than anything else, inoculation is a strategy that aims to insulate the public from negative propaganda against the Chief Executive and his administration,” Frago-Marasigan, political science professor at University of the Philippines, told The Manila Times. “The idea is to discredit the content of negative journalistic reports and to undermine the influence of critics because now these are interpreted as attempts to destabilize government rather than to inform the public,” she added. Malacañang earlier said the government would only press charges against the plotters if they committed “overt acts.” (ManilaTimes.net)



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Protect our species UNDER normal circumstances, experts say that between one and five species will become extinct every year. Today, however, scientists warn that the planet is losing species at an alarming 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, with multiple extinctions recorded daily. Scientists say that many species will become extinct before humans even find out about their existence or their possible benefits to life and the environment. This is the greatest rate of extinction, scientists warn, since dinosaurs disappeared from the planet 60 million years ago. Unlike the extinction of the dinosaurs, however, the unprecedented rapid species extinction is attributed largely to factors caused by human activity. These include global warming, pollution, unsustainable agriculture and pesticide use, deforestation, habitat loss, wildlife trafficking and poaching. Because humans are causing the extinction, humans can also stop the destructive activities. The Earth Day celebration has chosen the theme “protect our species” to highlight what can be done to significantly slow down the rate of extinction and save millions of species from disappearing. Endangered species include the smallest insects to the largest beasts on land and ma-

rine creatures as well as coral reefs. The disappearance of even a seemingly insignificant insect can threaten the natural propagation of wild plants and the food of certain bird species. The United Nations is supporting a united global movement that can promote policies and actions as well as educate people on what can be done. The Earth Day Network aims to raise global awareness about the problem and its implications on life, push for government policies that will protect large groups of species, and inspire individual actions such as minimizing the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides and adopting sustainable fishing methods. Governments can crack down on wildlife traffickers. The Earth Day Network noted that China remains the largest market for body parts and skins of big cats as well as the black rhinoceros. The Chinese are major harvesters and buyers of the endangered geckos, giant clams, marine turtles and pangolins of the Philippines, where wildlife trafficking is also rampant. The Philippines is blessed with bountiful biodiversity, but it must do more to be an effective custodian of these natural riches. Every country has a critical role to play in protecting our species. (Philstar.com)


Mueller report reveals Trump’s corrupt intent and abuse of power: Shouldn’t Congress start impeachment now?

The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert Mueller’s redacted 448-page report has been made public. In excruciating details, it paints how the 45th president abused his power with corrupt intent through his campaign’s

unethical and immoral communication with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election, and how he himself obstructed justice to defend himself, his campaign and his family and business. Collusion The almost two-year investigation involved interview-

ing people within the Trump orbit, including his own staff. However, Trump himself shunned a face-to-face interview with the Special Counsel to give his testimony under oath, choosing to instead submit written answers to questions that were incomplete and laced with the usual legal

cover of “as far as he can recall.” Mueller determined that Russia indeed interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election using cyber attacks to help Trump win by hurting Hillary Clinton. Despite the numerous contacts between officials of the

Trump campaign and Russia that the president and his people lied about and covered up, Mueller wrote that “Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any campaign officials as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal.”

While Trump directed aides on multiple occasions not to publicly disclose emails setting up the meeting, the Mueller report affirms that Trump himself dictated a misleading statement to the press, saying the meeting primarily discussed adoption. PAGE 7

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


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OpiniOn and Features


Duterte’s China trip to yield $10B in business deals The psychology of the Filipino: navigating by Ritchel

Mendiola AJPress

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday, April 23, said the Philippines is expecting to seal at least $10 billion worth of investment and trade deals when President Rodrigo Duterte concludes his visit to China this week. Duterte arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, April 24, to attend the second Belt and Road Forum on Thursday, April 25. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said more than 15 agreements covering trade and investments on food, energy, power, infrastructure, technology and services are expected to be signed during the president’s trip. He also said that more agreements could be added. “As part of President Duterte’s Tapang at Malasakit battlecry for nation building, the DTI is continuously seeking investment opportunities

from our country partners to bring home jobs and business opportunities for more Filipinos,” Lopez said. Duterte attended the first Belt and Road Forum in 2017 and affirmed his intent to improve ties with China. ‘Best time to engage in more cross-border activities’ DTI, in partnership with Bank of China, is set to hold the Opportunities in China’s New Economy and Belt and Road Initiative Development event on Friday, April 26 in Beijing. The event will serve as platform for Philippine firms to learn about China’s policies for foreign ventures and investment opportunities. “The Philippines has seen rapid growth in just a few years thanks to the administration’s commitment to develop local infrastructure and industries,” said Deng Jun, Philippine head of Bank of China. “With spending on the rise among Chinese consumers,

businesses and investors, as well as the establishment of the Philippine Renminbi Trading Community, I believe now is the best time for our countries to engage in more crossborder activities to further grow our two economies,” he added. The Philippines and China may sign about five agreements covering education, anti-corruption, drug rehabilitation, official development assistance and infrastructure on the sidelines of the BRF, according to Foreign Affairs assistant secretary Meynardo Montealegre earlier this week. Aside from attending the BRF, Duterte is expected to hold bilateral meetings with China President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, as well. According to PhilStar, it is not clear if the issue over the West Philippine Sea would be PAGE 10

Mueller report reveals Trump’s corrupt intent... PAGE 6 Mueller likewise wrote in his report that the president’s efforts to mislead press on the Trump Tower meeting between Russians and senior campaign officials, including Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were not criminal. On the issue that Trump adviser George Papadopoulos was told in April 2016 by a Kremlin-linked professor that the Russians had thousands of hacked emails that were damaging to Clinton, Mueller wrote, “No documentary evidence, and nothing in the email accounts or other communications facilities reviewed by the office, shows that Papadopoulos shared this information with the campaign.” Obstruction of justice Mueller wrote, “While This report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Trump’s newly appointed Attorney General Bill Barr, who wrote a summary of the Mueller report prior to making public the redacted version, and again made a public statement upon its release, claimed that Trump had been completely exonerated, Barr conveniently left out the context of this statement to provide political cover for Trump. Mueller wrote that the issue was complicated by two key factors: 1) Under the Department of Justice practice,

a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and 2) A president has a great deal of constitutional authority to give orders to other government employees. The Mueller report stated at least 10 instances when Trump tried to obstruct justice. The president’s multiple efforts to obstruct justice only failed largely because the people around him prevented him from doing so. “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” the Mueller report stated. FLASHBACK to the time when Trump found out about the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate on the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice, the Mueller report stated that Trump said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f*cked.” If we talk about accountability, we go beyond what is determined to be a criminal act and discern the thought process, intent, rhetoric and behavior we should expect from the president of the United States. House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said:

“Whether these acts are criminal or not, whether the obstruction of justice was criminal or not, or whether these contacts were sufficiently elicit or not to rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy, they are unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic and should be condemned by every American…” The debate now: Should the Democrat-led Congress now start the impeachment process to remove Trump from office? Isn’t obstruction of justice an impeachable offense? It seems we cannot rely on the Republicans in Congress to make the President accountable because they are thinking of their own political survival and they need Trump’s popularity among the Republican base to get them re-elected. What about the Democrats? Will they choose political expediency for fear that impeaching Trump will hurt the Democrats chances in 2020? When will we make Trump accountable? How can we make the case that actions have consequences If we give Trump a pass for the Democrats’ own political agenda? *** 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 www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos. Relos

the difficult conversation of mental health Notes from the 2019 Filipino Mental Health and Wellness Summit

Commentary Klarize Medenilla ON Saturday, April 13, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Special Service for Groups and Filipino American Service Group, Inc. hosted the 2019 Filipino Mental Health and Wellness Summit, an all-day, all-encompassing conference focussed on the past, present and future of mental health within the Filipino community. The summit, subtitled “Healing the Present through Remembering the Past and Empowering Our Future,” featured workshops and panels led by Filipino mental health professionals, academics and advocates, including New York City-based professor of psychology and author Dr. Kevin Nadal who delivered the keynote speech of the conference. In attendance in the soldout event were hundreds of Filipino Americans of all ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds. Workshops tackled a

host of issues specific to the Filipino community including gambling addiction, how to discuss mental health within the family, the colonial mentality and understanding the struggles and needs of intersectional identities such as Filipinx members of the LGBT community. A second-generation Filipino-American I met in between workshops who told me about the difficulty of coming to terms with the fact that “mental health and coming out as gay to my family” has severed his relationship “entirely” with his parents. “When I made that decision to come out [at 21 years old], my parents did everything but officially disown me, and…” he takes a pause here, fidgeting with his hands as if reaching for the confidence to admit it himself. (This individual asked not to be named.) He continues, “It put me in a bad place, mentally and emotionally. I became depressed in

a way that I never felt before. The isolation was debilitating. I haven’t spoken to my parents in a long time.” When it came to seeking therapy, he admitted the difficulty in it. The stigma attached to mental health treatment — therapy, psychiatry, and medication to name a few — colors nearly every Filipinx’s decision to seek out professional health. Forging a conversation with your family about mental health is difficult for anyone, but within the Filipino community, there are different obstacles. “Sometimes, it feels like I’m less a part of a family and more so a part of a public relations firm,” another young Filipinx told me right after a workshop called “Spilling the Tea: Is This Just a Phase?” led by academics and state mental health officials. “It’s an unspoken thing in our family that can only be PAGE 10

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april 26-may 2, 2019 â&#x20AC;˘ NEW yOrK aND NEW JErSEy aSiaN JOUrNal

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(Medjugorje, Zagreb, Poland, Budapest, Hungary, Prague CZ) Medjugorje, Black Madonna, Croatia, Budapest, Hungary, Kalwaria, Krakow, Divine Mercy, Czestochowa, Auschwitz, Wadowice, Legnica, Prague, CZ

6HSWĹ&#x;ĹĄSpiritual Director: REV CHIN VAN DANG Sep 14 (Sat) Day 1 Our Pilgrimage begins with a transatlantic journey from Los Angeles possessions such as an oven, a shelf, a table, tableware, a International Airport to Split, Croatia laundry basket, family pictures as well as personal belongings of Father Wojtyla, a rucksack, a cape, a prayer book, etc. You will Sep 15(Sun) Day 2: Split ,Croatia/ Medjugorje, B.H Ë&#x2030;QGSKRWRVIURPWKUHH  YLVLWVWR:DGRZLFHDVWKH3RSHLQDQ We go through Immigration protocol, Collect our luggage ,meet our guide .Coach is waiting for exhibit. The building is situated in the town, near the baroque us , With our guide, to take us to Medjugorje for Dinner/overnight &KXUFK RI WKH 3UHVHQWDWLRQ RI WKH %OHVHG 9LUJLQ 0DU\ DW WKH Central Square. Possibly even more important is the nearby Sep 16 & 17 (Mon & Tues) Day 3 & 4: Medjugorje, B H We will have daily breakfast and dinner at our hotel. every morning church itself as the future John Paul II grew up in its shadow, at 10:00 am. We will assemble at St. James Church to attend Holy ZDV EDSWL]HG D &DWKROLF DQG ODWHU FRQË&#x2030;UPHG LQ LW VHUYHG DV DQ DOWDU ER\ DQG SUD\HG GDLO\ Eucharist celebrated in English. After Mass will meet with our local here ,before its miraculous picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gothic chancel dates from 15th century while the late-Baroque nave and aisles were built in the 1790â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. guide ,to discuss our daily activities. will climb the Apparition Hill (Mt Podbrdo) to see the places marked The left aisle contains a baptismal font where the baby Karol Wojtyla was baptized. Also, the E\ WKH FURVVHV ZKHUH LQ -XQH  2XU /DG\ ZDV Ë&#x2030;UVW UHSRUWHG WR high school where young Karol Wojtyla was educated has remained in place. Next, we will continue to see the infamous former Nazi concentration camp in AUSCHWITZ BIRKENAU, as appear to the children. The next morning we will climb the steep Holy Cross Mountain (Mt Krizevac) for devotions well as its on-site museum. The site remains a chilling reminder of the holocaust. Transfer to and take in the Panorama of Medjugorje below. Free Time to join the nightly adoration of the Czestochowa. Dinner and overnight Czestochowa. Blessed Sacrament. Confession with multiple Priest during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sep 24 (Tues) Day 11: Czestochowa/ Legnica/ Prague,CZ Please avail yourself to receive this Sacrament . After Breakfast, we attend the Holy Eucharist at JASNA GORA, a monastery in Czestochowa which withstood the repeated onslaught of overwhelming Swedish Forces, during the religious Sep 18 (Wed) Day 5: Zagreb/ Budapest , Hungary Early morning, we leave for Zagreb , will have early lunchbreak continue wars of the 17th Century. Since then, its BLACK MADONNA has been venerated as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Queen visit Marija Bistrica, it is a town in central Croatia, located in the slopes of Polandâ&#x20AC;?. We Celebrate Holy Eucharist in the Black Madonna Chapel, Fully Escorted visit of of the Medvednica Mountain. There is an Old Marian Shrine of Black the treasury Museum and other part of the Monastery .Then, we drive to Legnica, city in the Madonna visited by hundreds of thousands of Pilgrims. We will celebrate southwestern Poland. The Bishop of Legnica, Zbigniew Kiernikowski, announced on April 17 that a reported â&#x20AC;&#x153;bleeding Hostâ&#x20AC;? that â&#x20AC;&#x153;has the hallmarks of a Eucharistic miracleâ&#x20AC;? was approved Mass and after the Mass we will continue to Budapest. for veneration in Poland. According to his announcement â&#x20AC;&#x153;On 25th RI'HFHPEHUGXULQJWKHGLVWULEXWLRQRIWKH+RO\&RPPXQLRQD Sep 19 (Thurs) Day 6: Budapest, Hungary FRQVHFUDWHG+RVWIHOOWRWKHË&#x160;RRUDQGWKHQZDVSLFNHGXSDQGSODFHG Spend the day with a local expert, who will explain the LQDZDWHUË&#x2030;OOHGFRQWDLQHU YDVFXOXP 6RRQDIWHUVWDLQVRIWKHUHGFRORU history and sights of the liveliest and the most cosmopolitan appearedâ&#x20AC;?. The former Bishop od Legnica created a commission to cities of this part of Europe. Start in ideal location, Castle study the occurrence. In February 2014, a tiny red fragment of the Host Hill, in the heart of Buda (the portion of Budapest on the was seperated and put on a corporal. The commission ordered to take Danubeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s western bank). From the lacy lookout towers of samples in order to conduct the thorough tests by the relevant research Fishermenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bastion, we can enjoy a panoramic view of the LQVWLWXWHV7KHË&#x2030;QDOPHGLFDOVWDWHPHQWE\WKH'HSDUWPHQWRI)RUHQVLF VSUDZOLQJFLW\KRPHWRPRUHWKDQRQHË&#x2030;IWKRIWKH+XQJDULDQSRSXODWLRQ9LVLWWKHWK&HQWXU\ Medicine found: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the histopathological image, the fragments were ST. MATHIAS CORONATION CHURCH, the Citadel on Mount Gellert, and HEROESâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; SQUARE are found containing the fragment parts of the cross striated muscle.â&#x20AC;? also on the agenda. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll celebrate Holy Eucharist in St. Matthias Church. In the evening, take The test also found that the sample â&#x20AC;&#x153;is most simlilar to heart muscle a dinner/cruise at the Danube River. Overnight in Budapest.(BB,D) with alterations that often appear during agony. The genetic research indicated the human origin of the tissue.â&#x20AC;? Saying the Host â&#x20AC;&#x153;has the hallmarks of a Eucharistic Sep 20 (Fri) Day 7: Budapest/ Kalwaria, Poland miracle,â&#x20AC;? Bishop Kiernikowksi explained that in January 2016 he presented the matter to the After breakfast,leave Budapest for Kalwaria Poland, is a long drive, relax and 9DWLFDQČ V&RQJUHJDWLRQIRUWKH'RFWULQHRIWKH)DLWK,Q$SULOLQDFFRUGDQFHZLWKWKH+RO\6HHČ V enjoy the beautiful sceneries on our way to Kalwaria. recommendations, he asked parish priest Andrzej Ziombrze â&#x20AC;&#x153; to prepare a suitable place for 'URSV RI EORRG Ë&#x160;RZLQJ IURP WKH H\HV RI 2XU /DG\ 2I  &DOYDU\ ZHUH QRWLFHG the Relics so that the faithful could venerate it. Celebrate Holy Eucharist, then after, spend on the painting to the Bernardine Fathers in 1641. The veneration of the sometime praying and venerating the new Eucharistic Miracle. We continue to Prague. Dinner/ WeepingMadonna quickly became widespread. After the Partitions, the Overnight Prague sanctuary at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska united the Polish nation whose country had been divided before. We will continue to Kalwaria and will celebrate Mass at the chapel of the weeping Madonna. Sep 25 (Wed) Day 12: Prague, Infant Jesus of Prague We will celebrate Holy Eucharist at Our Lady Victorious Church, home Transfer to Krakow. Dinner and Overnight. of the Infant Jesus of Prague then after venerate the Icon. We will do some sightseeing tours that reveals why Prague is considered Sept 21 (Sat) Day 8: Krakow/ Divine Mercy We start the day with a visit in the SANCTUARY OF LORDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MERCY and one of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most attractive capitals. On our tour, we will visit the congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. Holy Mass at the Sactuary of 1,000 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; year-old HRADCANY CASTLE, ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL, the Old Lordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mercy in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lagiewniki District. Built upon the convent Town, the Jewish ghetto, and the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous Astronomical Clock, where St. Faustina received the messages and image of the Divine which was once the envy of all Europe. Afterwards, we will see and ZDONLQ&KDUOHV%ULGJH,WVFRQVWUXFWLRQVWDUWHGLQXQGHUDXVSLFHVRI.LQJ Mercy. The 19th century convent of the sisters of Our Lady of Mercy has &KDUOHV,9DQGË&#x2030;QLVKHGLQWKHEHJLQQLQJRIWKHWKFHQWXU\&KDUOHV%ULGJHZDV now become a part of the vast sanctuary. Pope John Paul II consecrated the most important connection between Prague Castle and the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Old Town the new Basilica in 2002. The original image of the Divine Mercy and St. and adjacent areas. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;solid-landâ&#x20AC;? connection made Prague important as a Faustinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relics are now housed at the altar of the new basilica. There trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge is 621 m long and are frequent Masses held daily in both the convent church and new nearly 10 m wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by Basilica along with the chaplet of Divine mercy which is prayed daily at the bridge towers, two of them on the lesser Quarter side and the third one on SPLQERWKORFDWLRQV %%' 2YHUQLJKW.UDNRZ the Old Town side. Overnight in Prague (BB, D). Sep 22(Sun) Day 9: Krakow, Poland We will have a sightseeing tour of Krakow (for centuries, the residence of Polish Kings). We Sep 26 (Thurs) Day 13: Prague/ USA Transfer to the airport in Prague and departure to the USA. will vist the Market Square, the 14th Century Jagiellonian Univeristy, ST. MARYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHURCH, and End of our Wonderful Pilgrimage!! also visit WAWEL ROYAL CASTLE. In the afternoon. We will visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, one of the largest tourist attraction in Poland, registered on the UNESCO list and visited by over a million of tourist every year (BB,D).Overnight Krakow Sep 23 (Mon) Day 10: Wadowice/ Auschwitz After breakfast we will go to Wadowice the birthplace of Saint John Paul II. We will visit the QHZPXVHXPRI6W-RKQ,,:DGRZLFHVLWHLVFRQQHFWHGWR6W-RKQ3DXO,,7KHË&#x2030;UVWREYLRXV FKRLFHLVWKHKRXVHRI.RVFLHOQD6WUHHWZKHUHWKHIXWXUH9LFDURI&KULVWZDVERUQDQGUDLVHG The Place has been turned to a museum and the exhibits comprises of Wojtyla Familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former

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Calendar of Events across




Philippine Nurses Association of America - North Central Regional Conference in Columbus, Ohio The Philippine Nurses Association - Central Ohio will hold a regional conference from April 25 to 28 at the Embassy Suites (2886 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio). For more information, please visit http://www.mypnaa.org/.

A P R I L 26

Avengers Endgame fundraiser screening for Ateneo scholars The Blue Eagle Circle (TBEC) will be hosting a fundraiser screening of Avengers Endgame for the benefit of Ateneo scholars. The screening will be held on Friday, April 26 at Regal LA Live Stadium 14. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. PST. Tickets are $40.00 each, inclusive of popcorn and soda. Event proceeds will go to the Stipend Fund Program – an annual fundraising program that provides financial assistance to bright and deserving scholars of the Ateneo de Manila University. For more information, go to bit.ly/AvengersTBEC; or find us on Facebook as “The Ateneo Blue Eagle Circle.” For ticket sales and other inquries, please contact Joey Dungca (213-503-6407), Mico Letargo (818-620-4031), or Penelope Uy (213-810-2281).

M AY 4

Kulintang festival in Oakland, CA As part of the as part of the celebrations of Asian American Heritage Month, Gongster’s Paradise — a kulintang party — will be held on Saturday, May 4 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center where the father of Filipino-American Kulintang music, Danongan ‘Danny’ Kalanduyan was once an artists in residence. This year’s line up will feature a new generation of Maguindanaon Master Artists from Cotabato City, Traditional groups from all over the United States and Contemporary groups from all over the world including Toronto, Philippines, Seattle, Virginia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Alongside nonstop kulintangan, Gongster’s Paradise will feature visual artists, vendors, and dancers to showcase movements related to kulintang music rooted from all over Mindanao. A feast will be served throughout the evening to be prepared and served by Chef Eric Pascual, rising star and owner of Eats By E and will be joined by collaborator and sponsor, Ramar Foods. It will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (388 9th St., Oakland, CA 94607).

M AY 1 7-1 9

Santa Maria Ilocos Sur 12th Global Reunion in Honolulu, Hawaii The Santa Maria Ilocos Sur Global Association (SMISGA) and the Santa Marians of Hawaii are sponsoring the Santa Maria Ilocos Sur 12th Global Reunion in Honolulu, Hawaii from May 17-19, 2019. The festivities will start with a meet and greet on May 17 at 5 p.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel Hibiscus Ballroom to be followed by a gala night on May 18 at 5 p.m. at the Dole Cannery Pomaikai Ballroom. A picnic is also scheduled at Ala Moana Beach Park’s Magic Island on Sunday, May 19 starting at 10 a.m. The ticket to attend all the events is $130.00 per person. Due to limited space, reservations must be made not later than March 31, 2019. Hats and t-shirts will also be on sale for $20. For further information, call Nena Empleo at (808) 384-0394, Carlito Soria at (808) 487-3370, Alex Pena at (702) 373-9522 or Orlino Baldonado at (865) 789-8324. Leave a message if there’s no answer. Additional information is also on SMISGA.com and Facebook @ SMISGA19FB. Proceeds from the events will be for various projects in Santa Maria Ilocos Sur and in Hawaii. Donations are tax deductible since SMISGA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization approved by the Internal Revenue Service.

M AY 25

Marist School Marikina to celebrate 55th anniversary in Buena Park, CA Marist Alumni Abroad, coordinated by Arthur ‘Jojo’ P. Armada ‘77, invites alumni, family and friends, and the public who are interested, to the 55th anniversary grand reunion of the Marist School Marikina, to be held on Saturday, May 25, at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel (7675 Crescent Ave., Buena Park, CA 90620). The event’s theme is “Celebrating Our Marist Life...The Legacy Continues,” hosted by Marist Alumni Abroad. Dinner and dance: 6 pm to 11 pm; donation: $55/pax (per person). Contact person is overall chair Jojo P. Armada at (626) 216-3529 or email: armadaarthur@yahoo.com.

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Hungry Filipinos families down in Q1 — SWS MANILA — The proportion of Filipino families that experienced hunger decreased in the first quarter, a new poll released on Thursday, April 25. Results of a March 28 to 31 Social Weather Stations survey of 1,440 adults nationwide showed 9.5% or an estimated 2.3 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months. The latest reading was one percentage point lower than the 10.5% (estimated 2.4 million families) recorded in the preceding quarter. It also marked

the second consecutive quarter that hunger incidence fell. Hunger went down 6.6 points to 11.7% (estimated 387,000 families) in Metro Manila and 2.2 points to 6.1% (estimated 345,000 families) in Mindanao. But it went up 0.6 points to 10.3% (estimated 1.1 million families) in Balance Luzon and 0.8 points to 10% (estimated 472,000 families) in Visayas. Broken down, 8.1% (estimated 2 million families) experienced “moderate hunger” — which the pollster defines as those who starved “only

once” or “a few times” in the past three months — while 1.3% (estimated 327,000 families) of respondents who said they “often” or “always” lacked food to eat experienced “severe hunger.” Those who did not state their frequency of hunger (0.4% or estimated 98,000 families) were classified under “moderate hunger,” SWS said. The poll has sampling error margins of ±2.6% for national percentages, and ±5% each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. (Ian Nicolas Cigaral/Phillstar.com)

Duterte’s China trip to yield $10B in... PAGE 7 discussed during the meetings. Former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and former ombudsman Conchita

Carpio-Morales filed a lawsuit against Xi earlier this year for the destruction of marine resources and livelihood of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Hundreds of Chinese vessels have been circling Pagasa, the largest of nine Philippine-controlled islets in the disputed Spratlys, reports have said. ■

among Filipinos — usually unconsciously — involves an ethnic inferiority complex which triggers the need to assimilate with the majority, which, in this case, is Americana. It’s why so many secondgeneration Filipino Americans don’t know the mother language, Nadal explained. It’s the reason there’s often a distance between this generation of Filipino Americans and so many aspects of the mother culture (save for the cuisine, of course) from the slow curtailment of teaching younger generations Tagalog to the overwhelming popularity of skin-lightening. “Yeah, she didn’t take to it quite well, to put it lightly,” 29-year-old Filipina-American writer Genesis Padilla told me during a group exercise with a melancholic laugh. Padilla was talking about telling her immigrant mother about going to therapy for the first time two years ago, to which her mother recoiled and replied, “You don’t need that. You’re fine. We raised you well, and you haven’t been through what I have and I didn’t need therapy. You’re not crazy.” She said that she felt invalidated, like what she was going through was so minuscule it didn’t warrant such “drastic measures.” But what happens when a much-needed conversation of an often-life threatening thing is pushed under the rug so much? What happens when very real feelings are ignored and thoughts and emotions build up to a certain point? Asian Americans are among

the least likely to seek out mental health services, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control. But Asian American students (19 percent) are more likely to consider suicide compared to white students (15 percent). Within the Filipino community, about 15 percent of Filipinos are diagnosed with depression with Filipinas more likely to have suicidal ideations and attempts, according to a 2014 report from the Asian American Journal of Psychology. “The goal here is to spark the conversation early and often enough, and that begins with quelling the fears and stigmas that surround even just mentioning things like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, etc.,” one of the panelists said during a workshop on improving family communication around “life’s toughest challenges.” “It is not to talk about this when it’s already too late, and those parameters exist for every single person,” he said. For those in need of mental health services, you can consult your primary care physician for further resources. The LA County Department of Mental Health offers access to resources, as well --- visit their website at https://dmh.lacounty.gov or call them at their 24/7 Help hotline at (800) 8547771. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 2738255. For emergencies, always dial 9-1-1.

The psychology of the Filipino: navigating... PAGE 7 cured through distraction and church. There’s no tackling it head-on, which makes it — and has made it — worse. The fear of being perceived as weak is a real thing. Saving face, and making sure that our family looks good from the perspectives of others trumps everything else, and I think that’s common among our community,” they said. Mitigating shame, avoiding vulnerability and the need to assimilate to the majority are three of the main tenets of the relationship between mental health and the Filipino community, which are tethered to the idea of the internalized inferiority shared among many other immigrant and ethnic diaspora groups. Throughout my stint at the Asian Journal, I’ve interviewed many a Filipino American who has either explicitly or suggested this distance between them and their Filipino heritage. Many of us with immigrant parents are raised with little to no knowledge about Philippine culture and customs, and the goal in parenting is some degree of erasure of the ethnic identity in place of the national identity of being an American. This phenomenon is so ubiquitous that it has its own name: the colonial mentality, which is that learned feeling of inferiority from being a Filipino. Over the last 15 years, scholars have tried to quantify and research the colonial mentality among Filipinos, namely the so-called “Americanization” of the culture. Nadal posited that the colonial mentality shared

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Immigration Corner atty. MiChael GurFinkel, eSQ

May 2019 priority dates The Priority dates for the Philippines are as follows: FAMILY CATEGORY: First Preference

EACH month, the Visa Office of the State Department publishes, in the Visa Bulletin, the priority dates for that particular month, for the various family and employment based categories. A priority date is a person’s “place in line” for a visa, meaning immigrant visas (or green cards) would be available for persons whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below. If your priority date was “current,” but later retrogressed (or “moved backwards” and became unavailable) before your immigrant visa was issued (or before you adjusted status in the U.S.), you would have to wait until it becomes current again. Beginning last October 2015, the format of the Visa Bulletin changed, in that a new column was added, called the “Application Filing Date.” If a person’s priority date is earlier than the Application Filing Date, they can already file for adjustment of status and work authorization (provided they are otherwise eligible and USCIS indicates on its website it will use the Application Filing Date for that month). This could allow people to obtain work authorization much sooner than before, where they had to wait for the priority date to be current (in the Visa Issuance Date column) in order to both file for adjustment and be eligible for a green card.

Health@Heart PhiliP S. Chua, MD, FaCS, FPCS THE current resurgence of measles in the United States is alarming. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of April 11, 2019, there were 555 new cases in 20 states, 359 of which were in New York. This is the second highest (667 cases in 2014) since it was “eradicated” in 2000. Glob-


Unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens (over 21 years of age)

Application Filing Date

Visa Issuance Date

April 15, 2008

May 15, 2007

(2A) Spouse and Second Preference minor children (below January 08, 21 years old) of green 2018 card holder

May 15, 2017

(2B) Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years old or older) of green card holder

May 15, 2008

October 01, 2007

Third Preference

Married sons and daughters of US Citizens.

October 01, 1997

October 08, 1996

Fourth Preference

Brothers and sisters of US Citizens.

February 15, 1998

March 01, 1997

Application Filing Date

Visa Issuance Date


Advanced Degree (Masters)



Third Preference

professional/ Skilled Workers

October 01, 2018

June 01, 2018

Other Workers

Non-Skilled Workers

October 01, 2018

June 01, 2018

*** 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 outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. WEBSITE: www.gurfinkel.com Follow us on Facebook. com/GurfinkelLaw and Twitter @ GurfinkelLaw Call Toll free to schedule a consultation for anywhere in the US: 1-866-487-3465 (866) – GURFINKEL Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES ∙ SAN FRANCISCO ∙ NEW YORK ∙ PHILIPPINES (Advertising Supplement)

Measles can kill ally, there has been a 300 percent increase in 2019 (112,163 cases) compared to 2018 (28,124 cases) in 170 countries. When was measles first discovered? Zakariya Razi, a Persian physician-philosopher was the one who described measles in the 9th century. In 1954 researchers Dr. Thomas C. Peebles and Dr. John F. Enders isolated the virus during the outbreak among Massachusetts students, which subsequently

enabled the development of the measles vaccine in 1963. Past data show that “in 1920, the United States had 469,924 recorded cases of measles and 7,575 deaths associated with measles. From 1958 to 1962, the U.S. averaged 503,282 cases and 432 death associated with measles each year.” What is the clinical picture of measles? The highly contagious airborne virus, morbilliviPAGE 12

THE UPS AND DOWNS, THE BITTERSWEET ENDING OF A SPECIAL CASE ABOUT A SPECIAL SON WHO HAD AUTISM ON THIS SUNDAY’S “CITIZEN PINOY!” When Norma immigrated to the U.S., she had to leave behind their autistic son, Michael because he aged out. The separation broke her heart. Norma and husband Joy (left) went to three other attorneys who were unable to deliver results, until they decided to retain leading U.S. immigration attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel, who was finally able to bring Michael to the U.S., to be reunited with his parents. Watch the heartfelt journey of Michael and his family that led to a pleasant reunion, but with a painful ending, on an encore episode of “Citizen Pinoy” – on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement)


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Measles can kill...

PAGE 11 rus, causes measles, which easily spreads by through sneezing, coughing, and contact with oro-nasal secretions. The patient comes in with very high fever, runny nose, cough, watery eyes, malaise, which develop between 7-21 days after exposure. Two to three days later, Koplik spots are seen in the mouth. A few days after the first sign shows up, the skin rash spreads to the face and throughout the entire body. Ninety percent of those exposed to it, even momentarily, could get infected unless previously vaccinated. How long does the virus survive? The virus remains alive and contagious in the air and on surfaces for 2 hours, and in an examining room, it could still cause infection 2 hours after an infected patient has left the room. The patient is contagious 4 days before and 4 days after rash appears, so it is possible to get mealses from an infected person even before he/she develops the typical symptoms or rash. The transmission does not need close contact to happen. How serious is measles? Measles carries severe potential complications like pneumonia, encephalitis (brains welling), and death. Children under five, adults older than 20, very old seniors, and those with compromised immune system, are more prone to develop complications. One of my professors in Pediatrics, only in his 50s, died in the USA from complications of measles. The CDC reports that “one in 1,000 to 2,000 patients with measles will have swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and approximately 6 percent of all measles cases will get pneumonia.” What was the impact of MMR? Between 2000 to 2016, there was an 84 percent reduction in deaths from measles— about 20.4 million deaths have been prevented — thanks to the measles vaccine. According to CDC, “in the decade

prior to the introduction of the MMR (measles-mumpsrubella) combination vaccine in the United States, it’s estimated that more than three million people were infected with the measles each year. Since MMR reached widespread use, measles cases in the country have been reduced by more than 99 percent.” Still, around 400 people die of measles each single day around the world today. As of March 14, 2019, 315 patients died out of 21,396 measles cases in the Philippines. Why the resurgence? Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. But today’s ease of travel makes it easy for the measles virus to spread around the globe. According to the CDC, “about 50 percent of imported measles cases in

cine), who unwittingly put young girls at risk for this dreaded cancer. A grave mistake. Rejection might be justified ONLY WHEN the illness was not contagious and would not harm others. When was the vaccine introduced? The measles vaccine was developed in 1963. In 1967, vaccines were available for mumps, and in 1969, for rubella (German measles). The 3 were then combined in 1971, popularly known today as MMR vaccine. The first national measles campaign of 1966 brought down the incidence of measles. Four years later, the rate came down to 47,351 cases and 89 deaths, a fraction of previous statistics before the vaccine was introduced. The worst in recent memory is in 2014, where there were 667 cases of measles in the USA. How effective is the vaccine? The MMR vaccine is 99 percent effective in preventing measles, mumps, and rubella. Unfortunately, as I have said earlier, there are many who refuse to avail of the protection vaccines could provide. The CDC recommends that all children get two doses of MMR vaccine….the first dose at 12 to 15 months and the second dose at 4 to 6 years. The CDC urges adults … to get vaccinated.” When vaccination rate is high, fewer unvaccinated individuals could also be exposed, therefore, less infection rate, the phenomenon called herd immunity. Vaccinations save not only the immunized person but also the unvaccinated ones. Measles vaccine protects for at least 20 years and lifelong immunity for about 96 percent of people. What is SSPE? Those who develop chronic progressive brain inflammation called Subacute Sclerosing Pan-Encephalitis (SSPE) as a complication of measles could have the following, even 6 to 8 years after the infection: behavioral changes, uncontrollable movements, memory loss, blindness, inability to walk, seizures, coma, leading to a persis-

Measles is a most contagious  disease, a potential killer. It  is nothing to sneeze about. The  vaccine is 99 percent effective,  safe, and a life-saver. the United States are from residents coming back from other countries.” More than 30 million children in the U.S. are not vaccinated, some because of parental refusal (fear of autism as a complication, which is baseless), others for lack of access, etc. In the U.S., 91.1 percent of children have received MMR vaccine. This is a major part of the problem globally, including for the Philippines, where only about 3.9 million children (out of more than 30 million) have been vaccinated. Why are some parents suing? Five anti-vaccine parents filed a suit against New York for its mandatory vaccination ordinance, which a Brooklyn Judge recently dismissed to protect the general public. Washington State a week ago passed a bill that removes the personal belief exemption from MMR vaccinations. These misguided parents are partly responsible for the resurgence of measles. Those parents against Gardasil (the 98-percent effective anti-cervical cancer vac-

Community Journal Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond Monette AdevA MAglAyA

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The Bucket List Ask for help 15th of a series

“Don’t be shy about asking for help.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak,  it only means you’re wise.” — Anonymous

WE live in the Age of Information. You could say it is both a blessing and a curse to live during what could very well be “the best of times, the worst of times” as Dickens would probably describe it, to have so much information available at our fingertips. We have terabytes of available information on our smartphones and computers. It is amazing wizardry indeed! All we need is the correct phrase and spelling to look up something and VOILA, there it is. What is the downside? We think we know everything there is to know about practically everything. Secondly, we feel lost without our mental crutch, our smart phones. Third, we are susceptible to groupthink — to think like the herd does, as trends and memes proliferate in the internet. There is a serious need to dig for the truth. Raw knowledge is not the same as wisdom as it applies to how we live our lives. We still need our thinking caps to process and filter information and cull out only those golden nuggets of wisdom we could use to live our lives the best way we can. We junk the rest. Our minds and the collection of life experiences in our memory banks function as the kidneys to filter out the lies and all useless information. The Pareto 80/20 rule applies: 20% of stuff matters and the remaining 80% is chaff and should be trashed if we want our mental faculties to remain healthy and functioning for a long time yet. With all these ever evolving gadgets and gizmos, most people these days think that they have the smarts to handle practically every life situation. This may be true — but only up to a point. Life, as we know it, is not so cut

and dried. Self-confidence is good but not when it makes you arrogant and cocky believing that you are better than anyone else. Life has a way of knocking you down off your high horse. A bruised and battered ego is a good starting point to learn humility and gratitude. This is when the soul begins to grow. The downside of the Age of Information? Because we have become self –reliant, we feel we don’t need anyone else. We don’t want to ask for help when we are stumped with a problem or a situation that is beyond our abilities to deal with. Society expects us to find our way with the wherewithal and smart tools we have. Before the advent of GPS (Global Positioning System), most men (yes, men) wandered aimlessly about trying to find an address, refusing to admit to themselves that they are lost. Ask for directions? Bah, humbug! Why was this so? The short answer: EGO. Most do not want to be perceived as weak or inept or lacking in common sense. Most women seem to be just fine asking strangers or people at gas stations for directions and the men who give the directions seem just happy to oblige. GPS technology is a blessing. However, there is a caveat about complete reliance on it. No technology, at this time, no matter how sophisticated can replace good old common sense. You still need to process the information provided to find the best route for yourself. GPS is a great tool when the freeways are clogged and you

need alternate routes to your destination. That said, never relinquish your chief navigator position. Navigating our own life’s journey is not that simple however. There are twists and turns in life that throw us out of our smug self-sufficiency. We find ourselves needing help, either from our fellow men or more than likely, from God, when everything we have tried, has failed spectacularly. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Sometimes, we go through seasons of darkness when it seems the universe is conspiring against us and everything that is happening weighs us down. We feel helpless as though a Category 5 hurricane is tossing us about like a rag doll and there is no end in sight. These are the seasons when going down on our knees and doubling down on prayers begging for help from above are the best of any one’s lifetime. This is a time of building a deeper, more personal relationship with the loving God of our beings, who the psalmist described as the one “who knit us in our mother’s womb,” so that we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made.” All we need to do when lost and helpless, is to ASK for HELP. After all, PRAYERS, heartfelt and unceasing, are the most powerful force in the universe. To borrow from the slogan that a sportswear company who seems to have lost its way at the moment: JUST DO IT. *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comme nts, e -ma il mone tte . maglaya@asianjournalinc.com.

tent vegetative state. Measles is a most contagious disease, a potential killer. It is nothing to sneeze about. The vaccine is 99 percent effective, safe, and a life-saver. The

choice is a no-brainer. *** Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/

author, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com and philipSchua. com Email: scalpelpen@gmail. com

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N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY A P R I L 26 , 2 0 1 9


people events arts culture entertainment

Teaching kids a deeper appreciation of their heritage Author and publisher Christine L. Villa brings ‘Zoobooloo: With Filipino Translation’ as a tool to teach Fil-Am children the language




HEN author and publisher Christine L. Villa started her small business, Purple Cotton Candy Arts, she was just aiming to explore her love for arts and crafts. Since then, she has done more than selling crafts as she has published children’s books, two of which just won first place in the 2018 and 2019 Northern California Publishers and Authors (NCPA) Book Awards. Her book, “Zoobooloo: With Filipino Translation,” bagged first place for Children’s Books and second place for Cover & Design at the recent 26th Annual NCPA Book Awards Competition. Villa, in all humility, did not expect that her book would win anything. “Every year, the Northern California Publishers and Authors group invites members and non-members to join the competition. I didn’t expect to win but was humbled and honored to receive the recognition for my efforts. There were many other deserving titles in both categories,” s h e said.

She added, “It means a lot to me because it makes me appreciate my life’s journey— where I came from and who I am today. My achievements and successes are partly due to my upbringing, values, cultural and educational background. As an American citizen, I have had access to the boundless inspirations and opportunities to explore my creativity in more ways than one.” Villa is also proud to add that behind “Zoobooloo’s” success are two Filipinos: illustrator Kathrina Iris and translator Angelo B. Ancheta.

“Zoobooloo” is about zoo animals that are not contented with their own body parts and decided to switch with each other. Just like her picture book, entitled “Mud Spots and Candy Sprinkles,” “Zoobooloo” aims to teach kids self-love and acceptance in a non-preaching manner, sprinkled with humor and wit. “The story also points out the valuable lesson that we should be contented with our gifts and talents. All of us were created to be unique individuals with a special purpose,” Villa said, adding, “In a materialistic world, where outside appearance and superficial attributes matter more, it is so easy to be envious of other people, to whine about what we don’t have, and wish we were as beautiful, talented, or smart as the others. Instead, we should accept and appreciate who we are, look beyond our flaws, and utilize our gifts and talents to bring joy to others.” Originally, the English version of “Zoobooloo” was published in 2016. The idea, however, to re-publish it with Filipino translation came in July 2018, when Villa brought the book to read to a group of Filipino American kids at a summer class organized by the non-profit Eskwela Natin. “Since part of the curriculum was teaching these young kids to learn

After a hearty lunch, each Filipino kid happily received a copy of Zoobooloo and some school supplies.

how to speak Filipino, I read the story in English and introduced some Filipino words to the children as well,” Villa said and then continued, “To my amusement, both kids and adults chuckled from the beginning of the story till the end. After the book reading, a few parents eagerly suggested that I write a book with Filipino translation so that their children will learn the language. An idea popped inside my head! Why don’t I self-publish ‘Zoobooloo’ with Filipino translation?” Now with “Zoobooloo’s” success as a book with Filipino translation, Villa intends to do the same with a few more of her published works. “I think it is important to have books with Filipino/ Tagalog translation so that parents will have the tools to teach their Filipino-American kids the language and inculcate a deeper appreciation of their heritage. Adults who wish to learn the language can also benefit from these books,” she shared. PAGE 15

Fil-Am author and publisher Christine L. Villa eagerly waits for the start of the event at the function room at the Nicanor P. Garcia Elementary School. The banner and balloons, courtesy of her brother Perry Villa, have just been installed.

Christine with U! Happy Events and the volunteers after a job well done.


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Claudine Barretto confirms reunion movie with Piolo Pascual By Jan

Milo Severo Philstar.com

Jej Vinson

Photo from Instagram/@jejvinson

Fil-Am singer advances to next round of ‘The Voice’ By Jan

Milo Severo Philstar.com

FILIPINO Jej Vinson has advanced to the next round of “The Voice US” after beating LB Crew in the show’s Cross Battle round. “TOP 24!! Thank you so much America. I’m so excited to move on with #teamkelly!!! To everyone who voted for me and believed in me since my blind audition, thank you thank you thank you!!! Words can’t even express how grateful I am rn,” Jej tweeted after

making it to Top 24. The Davao native sang Bruno Mars’ “Versace On The Floor” on the Cross Battle Round, prompting the American audience to vote for him to advance to the Top 24 of the reality singing competition. Jej moved to South Dakota with his family at the age of 15. At 18 years old, he went to Los Angeles in search for a career and to study to become a nurse. Jej then switched from nursing to music at University

of Southern California, where he joined the award-winning acapella group SoCal VoCals as musical director. For him, performing for former President Barack Obama and then First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House was one of the highlights of his young career. Apart from Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce and Brian McKnight, Jej’s vocal inspirations include local talents such as Daryl Ong, Morissette Amon and Regine Velasquez.

Teaching kids a deeper...

PAGE 13 Educating Filipino kids Just last February 8, Villa successfully organized a book reading event at the Nicanor P. Garcia Elementary School in Makati City, Philippines, with the help of funds she raised via her GoFundMe campaign, “Help Chrissi Educate Filipino Kids.” She also was fortunate enough to work with U! Happy Events (www.uhappyevents.com), a non-profit that provides a platform for sponsor and volunteers to reach out to beneficiaries through creative and meaningful activities. “They (U! Happy Events) took care of everything that I wanted for the children such as games, prizes, school supplies, lunch packs, and face painting. It was a dream come true!,” Villa said. “By

reading my book, ‘Zoobooloo: With Filipino Translation,’ to the kids and making sure that each one of them had a copy, I was able to educate them and bring smiles to their faces. Would I do it again? Absolutely! I hope to raise more funds next year so that I can go back and empower more children.” Being an accomplished author and self-publisher, Villa shares this advice to those looking to walk the same road as her: “Dream. Write. Publish.” She added that every aspiring writer has a story to tell, and that it all starts with a dream. “But a dream will never come true if one does not sit down and write. Start writing today and be brave to tell your story. Hone your craft. Revise. Revise. Revise. Join a critique

group, become a member of a writing group, attend workshops and conferences, or enroll in a writing class. Do whatever it takes to give your dream wings. And then publish! Whether through traditional or indie publishing, your story deserves to be told and shared with the world,” she shared. Villa is currently working on a picture book about Philippine tarsiers and Carlito Pizarras, a hunter who turned into one of the foremost protectors of the endangered species. “Zoobooloo: With Filipino Translation” and her other books are available on Amazon, but signed copies can be purchased directly by e-mailing her at chissivilla@gmail.com. You can also check out Purple Cotton Candy Arts at www.purplecandyarts.com.

FIFTENN years since the release of their last movie together, “Milan,” Claudine Barretto and Piolo Pascual are set to reunite for a new movie project. In her interview with Boy Abunda on “Tonight With Boy Abunda,” Claudine confirmed that she is coming back for a movie project directed by blockbuster director Cathy Garcia-Molina. “I will be doing a movie this end of June or July in Florence with Piolo. This is going to be directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina,” Claudine said. Apart from the movie with Piolo, Boy also asked Claudine if she is willing to do a project with Judy Ann Santos. “Yes. Matagal na ‘yan eh. Matagal na ‘yan namin pi-

Claudine and Piolo’s film posters for “Walang Kapalit” and “Milan”. Photos courtesy of Star Cinema

nagusapan ni Juday. It’s that siguro wala talagang maganda pang project,” Claudine said. Claudine is set to make a showbiz comeback after her long absence in the industry with a “Maalaala Mo Kaya” episode on April 27 with Jameson Blake. She added that she really wanted to work already be-

cause the last time she made an attempt for a showbiz comeback, she got sick. “This time talaga I want to really work na. Last time I did ‘Etiquette,’ I got sick. I got really, really got sick and I got really, really big. It’s something that I’m not yet ready to talk about yet. I couldn’t work. Now, I’m okay,” she assured.

Pia Wurtzbach, Marlon Stockinger shut down breakup rumors, share new travel images By Jan

Milo Severo Philstar.com

CELEBRITY couple Marlon Stockinger and Pia Wurtzbach shut down breakup rumors by sharing photos and videos of their vacation in Dubai last Holy Week. In his Instagram account, the racecar driver posted a photo of him and Miss Universe 2015 at the top of Burj Khalifa. “At the top with habibti,” Marlon captioned the photo as he described Pia as his “beloved” in Arabic. For her part, Pia posted a video on her Instagram story, showing her and Marlon cruising in Dubai. Part of their quality time together was Pia’s attempt to skydive, which Marlon posted on his Instagram story. Pia can be seen in the video taking pointers from a trainer before the jump. A nervous Pia then talked to her boyfriend, saying: “I am shaking.” In the latter part of the video, Pia was seen gliding through the air and Marlon captioned it: “She made it!”

Marlon Stockinger with Pia Wurtzbach

Photo from Instagram/@marlonstockinger

According to reports, Pia Marlon was absent at Pia’s and Marlon allegedly broke unveiling of her Madame up recently, which was why Tussauds wax figure.


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