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JULY 11-17, 2019


Volume 30 - No. 28 • 16 Pages

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Palace on AI report: Duterte respects human rights by CHRISTINA


MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration respect human rights, contrary to claims of Amnesty International (AI), which has expressed alarm over the killings of drug suspects in the country, according to Malacañang. A day after saying that the human rights group is just politicizing the issue based on wrong information, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo yesterday painted a different picFamilies who have lost loved ones in the war on drugs gather at the Commission on Human ture of Duterte, one who has a Rights compound in Quezon City on Tuesday, July 9 to support international calls for a United heart for the people and regards Nations investigation of the killings and human rights abuses attributed to President Duterte’s human rights as key. brutal campaign against narcotics. photo by Joan Bondoc

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren releases immigration plan following meeting with AAPI voters in Las Vegas


DATELINE Trump administration gets new legal team as fight over citizenship question on 2020 Census continues



PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s efforts to include a contentious citizenship question in the upcoming 2020 Census continues as the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed on Monday, July 8 that a new legal team would now be overseeing the census-related cases. DOJ Spokesperson Kerri Kupec announced the transition on Sunday, July 7, but did not give a reason for the change. “Since these cases began, the lawyers representing the United States in these cases have given countless hours to defending the Commerce Department and have consistently demonstrated the highest professionalism, integrity, and skill inside and outside the courtroom,” said Kupec. “The Attorney General appreciates

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PEACE MEETING. President Rodrigo Duterte gives a warm welcome to Moro National Liberation Front Founding Chairman Nur Misuari prior to the start of their meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Tuesday, July 9. Duterte earlier announced that he proposed creating a negotiating peace panel for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to attain peace in Mindanao. Malacañang photo by King Rodriguez



Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is running for president, speaks to Asian American and Pacific Islander community members at Café de Manila in Las Vegas on Tuesday, July 2. AJPress photo by Robert Macabagdal

IN her bid for the White House, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren released an immigration plan this week, a few days after meeting with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members in Las Vegas who posed questions about fixing the broken system. “Our immigration system makes American stronger, not weaker. Part of that is keeping families united,” Warren said on Tuesday, July 2 at an

AAPI meet and greet at Café de Manila in Las Vegas. “But at the heart of it has to be the understanding that America is a country that will be made stronger by having families who want to be here and invest in this country.” The senator estimated that around $700 billion would come from allowing more immigrants into the country, who in turn start their own businesses or take on other jobs. The presidential hopeful’s plan — which was revealed at an event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thursday morning, July 11 — proposes “a rules-

based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.” Warren’s ideas include: decriminalizing those who cross the border and other “simple administrative immigration violations”; separating law enforcement from immigration enforcement; reducing the family reunification backlog; and providing an achievable pathway to citizenship for the some 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. For Filipinos, the immigration backlog continues to be an issue, with some

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Duterte dares US to declare war vs China DOT: 3.4-M tourists visited by RITCHEL


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, July 5, dared the United States to declare war against China following criticisms he received over his handling of the maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing. “We can never win a war with China. But I hope that China would not overdo things also because there is always America pushing us, egging us,” he said in his speech at the opening of Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Center (CYA-RPC) in Alangalang town, Leyte province. “They’re making me the bait. What do you think Filipinos are, earthworms?” he

added. Duterte urged the U.S. to fire the first shot, adding that the Philippines would be right behind them because of the U.S.Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. “Now I say, you bring your planes, your boats to South China Sea. Fire the first shot and we’ll behind you. Let’s do this and see who’s going down,” he said. “We have an RP-U.S. pact, so let us honor it. Do you want trouble? Okay, let’s do it,” he continued. According to the president, the Palawan province would be the first to be hit if war broke out over the South China Sea as it is facing the waterway.

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PH January-May 2019 by AJPRESS A total of 3,489,270 tourists were recorded to have visited the Philippines for the first five months of 2019, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT). Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the numbers — which mark a 9.76 percent increase from the same period last year — are very encouraging.

“The numbers are very encouraging. From 3,178,984 tourists recorded from January to May in 2018, we are already close to breaching the 3.5 million mark this year. This only shows that the preservation of our environment can go hand in hand with economic gains,” she said in a statement. The month of May saw a 15.62

Delisted martial law victims, kin confront lawyer Swift by RITCHEL


Maria Ressa with Amal Clooney and her husband George Photo from Twitter/@mariaressa

Amal Clooney to represent Rappler’s Maria Ressa in press freedom fight

PROMINENT international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will join the legal team representing Maria Ressa, the award-winning Filipino journalist currently facing several criminal charges along with online news site Rappler. “Maria Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the

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DELISTED martial law victims and their relatives on Tuesday, July 9, confronted American lawyer Robert Swift about why they were taken off the official list of people to be awarded compensation after winning the Hawaii class action suit that resulted in a nearly $2-billion award for some 6,000 martial law victims. “We were one of the first to join the Hawaii lawsuit in 1986, but why were we delisted? There are a lot of us from Region 3 who were delisted. Our husbands are still missing. Until now we have no justice. There were a lot of true victims who were denied,” said Helena Jimenez in Filipino during a forum at the University of the Philippines Law Center. According to her, she only received compensation once, through Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, man-

Martial law claimants lawyer Robert Swift hands over a check to a martial law victim at the Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday, July 9. The lawyer is wrapping up the third round of distribution of checks worth $13.75 million to some 6,500 class suit members. photo by Michael Varcas

aged by the now-defunct Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB). She was not awarded compensation when a New York federal court ordered the distribution of $13.75 million to Marcos human victims earlier this year. Jimenez was not alone — of the ini-

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JUly 11-17, 2019 • lAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAl

From The FronT Page

Delisted martial law victims, kin confront...


tial class members of close to 10,000, only around 6,000 received compensation after they had completed the requirements for registration. A requirement to claim compensation was submitting claim forms twice, first in 1993, and again in 1999. Swift, for his part, said: “I

would have been delighted to only require the 1993 class filing but the court required the second filing.” “It wasn’t until 2011 when there was money to distribute that the court made the ruling as to eligibility, saying that people must have filed in both years,” he added. Carol Araullo, a claimant, said

she never got a notice to register a second time despite never changing her address. Swift explained that the delisting due to circumstances beyond the control of lawyers, such as the failure of the postal system to deliver letters in time. “They only gave me five weeks. We tried to get the word out, we sent letters to class members, we worked furiously to do that,” he said. He also said that there was not much he could do as he had to abide by a court order. “There was an order and I have to abide by that order,” Swift said. “In litigation, you don’t always get what you want. You try hard, but ultimately it’s up to the court to decide that,” he added. n

Duterte dares US to declare...

PAGE 1 “Now he wants us to tickle China and when this blows up — Palawan will be blown up and sacrificed because they’re all there now because it’s facing the South China Sea. I am not about to order my soldiers to go to the mouths of hell to die unarmed. I cannot do that,” he said. Duterte also slammed his critics, specifically calling out former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, former Ombudsman Conchita CarpioMorales and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, for telling him what to do. “They are attacking me on the collateral that I should bar China from fishing, from destroying…They want me to go there. How do I enforce the arbitral ruling? Should I go there with the Navy and I insist and say, ‘Hey, you guys, you go out.’ And China, ‘No, what do you want?’ So, should we have war?” he said. “I don’t know how they would do it but I would like to turn over the government to Carpio, Del Rosario, and Morales. If the three of them will join together, I would be happy to lead them. If there will really be a war, I will drag them there. We’ll all die anyway,” Duterte added. n

RELIEF EFFORT. Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go give his shirt to one of the fire victims during his visit in Sitio Silangan Talaba 7 in Bacoor, Cavite on Monday, July 8. As of July 7, some 290 affected families, or 960 individuals, were temporarily sheltered at the evacuation center awaiting their relocation to Naic, Cavite. PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan

Palace on AI report: Duterte... PAGE 1 “The Duterte administration has high regard for human rights,” Panelo insisted. He added that the Philippines has actually been elected as member to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which showed that the majority of voting countries credit the Philippines for its sound policies on human rights and the implementation of humanitarian law. “Lest we forget that the Philippines, under President Duterte’s leadership, has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council with 165 out of 192 votes at the UN General Assembly, thus showing the increasing recognition of the international community of our policies concerning human rights and humanitarian law,” Panelo said. Panelo repeated his statement that AI is “biased” against the Duterte administration. “The biased Amnesty International is once again politicizing the drug-related deaths with utter disregard of the facts and circumstances by calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the campaign against illegal drugs,” he said. He then reiterated his call to the members of the international community to get their facts

straight, adding that the drugrelated deaths are neither stateinitiated nor sponsored. Panelo expressed belief that the international groups may “have been misinformed by false news, untruthful accounts and propaganda about the President’s war against illegal drugs.” He echoed the President’s line that the drug-related deaths are results of legitimate police operations “wherein the subjects violently resist arrest and in turn endanger the lives of law enforcers who merely act in selfdefense, which is sanctioned by law.”?“Furthermore, Filipinos have also shown their unwavering support and trust for the President with survey results showing satisfaction with the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” he said. Panelo also referred to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey wherein Duterte received the highest net satisfaction rating of +68 or 81 percent from the previous 79 percent. “We reiterate that no one is above the law in our country,” Panelo said. Panelo assured the public that police officers who abuse their authority are penalized under the present administration and face the corresponding punish-

ment of their unlawful actions. ‘Politicizing drug war’ Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said AI is politicizing the government’s war on illegal drugs. According to Albayalde, AI is apparently looking for loopholes to portray the drug war in a negative manner. “This could be a political issue where they look for such police operation in one place because they are trying to pinpoint a place where there were killings in police operations,” he told reporters at a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Albayalde said they are letting the executive department deal with the rights group’s assessment of the anti-drug campaign, adding matters involving diplomatic policy should be handled by higher authorities. AI should also look at the “positive side” of the government’s war on illegal drugs instead of just focusing on the casualties, Albayalde said. He urged the rights group and other critics to look at other aspects of the anti-illegal drug campaign. At least 6,600 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed in alleged shootouts PAGE A5

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Dateline USa


Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren releases...

PAGE 1 waiting over 20 years to come to the United States and be reunited with their families. “We need to do two things: We need a president who will do everything she can to move this system along and make it work better and we are also going to need an overhaul at the congressional level,” Warren told the Asian Journal following her remarks on Tuesday, July 2. “That means that we must rewrite our immigration laws so they align with our values and a big part of our values is keeping families together.” Also part of her plan is to “redistribute unused visas to reduce this backlog and reunite more families with their loved ones.” During a two-day tour of the Silver State, her event last Tuesday was her first shot at meeting community members in Las Vegas, during which she spoke about fighting against government cor-

ruption, investing in minority businesses through a capital fund, and other issues pertinent to AAPIs. “Elizabeth has always been a fighter...who knows how to win. She’s what our country desperately needs and now, she’s fighting to build an America that works for everyone,” Filipino American Sonny Vinuya, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, said in his introduction of the senator. Warren, a former law professor who has been a Massachusetts senator since 2013, started off her remarks with a story about how her mother took on a minimum wage job to save their family home. “However, today, a full-time, minimum wage job in America will not keep a mom and a baby out of poverty. That is wrong and that is why I am in this fight,” she declared. The senator slammed the federal government for working “great for those at the top [but] doesn’t work

for anyone else, calling it “corruption pure and simple.” She hinted at an anti-corruption plan that includes ending lobbying, requiring that the Supreme Court “follow basic rules of ethics,” and transparency in tax returns for candidates running for federal office. She went on to propose a wealth tax, which would put a 2% tax on those with over $50 million in net assets. “When I talk about things like the wealth tax, which would be a 2% tax on everybody with more than $50 million in accumulated wealth and how we can use that money to provide universal child care, universal pre-K and cancel student loan debt for about 95% of folks that have got it, it’s not just progressives who want to sign up,” Warren told the Asian Journal. As a figure among progressives in recent years, Warren said a plan PAGE 4

PAGE 1 that service, thanks them for their work on these important matters, and is confident that the new team will carry on in the same exemplary fashion.” Kupec said the new team would be made up of political and career appointees — some of who work in the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch. According to court papers, legal team members include Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Morrell, who previously worked as a lawyer in the Trump White House and is now head of the Consumer Protection Branch; and Christopher Bates who serves as a senior counsel at the DOJ. Also included are four career DOJ attorneys, Glenn Girdharry, Colin Kisor, Christopher Reimer, and Daniel Schiffer. The change comes amid questions on whether the Trump administration’s efforts on adding the question may have been motivated by racial bias, with U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel last week ordering a court case looking into the motivation to go forward. It also comes after the Supreme Court last month blocked Trump’s initial effort to add the question in a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice Roberts saying that a sufficient reason for adding the question would be needed. He said that the rationale given by the Trump administration were “contrived.” With the clock ticking and cen-

sus forms already printing as scheduled without the question, Trump said last week that he was considering declaring an executive order. He also suggested that the question could be added on to the questionnaire as an addendum if approved later. Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press on Monday that he had been in contact with Trump and saw a legal way for the census to ask about citizenship. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” said Barr. He added that he believed there to be “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.” Despite Trump having said last week that the main reason for wanting the question on the census was for electoral district drawing purposes, his administration has for months argued that the question on citizenship would help administer the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which is supposed to prevent voter discriminagion against minorities. Advocates against the question have maintained that the question — which hasn’t been on the census since it was dropped in 1950 — would discourage a significant amount of people from participating in the census, thus making it likely for certain communities to be misrepresented. Many have also argued that

when it comes to the issue of knowing the non-citizen demographic of the U.S., there are other less-intrusive ways of getting that data. The decennial count looks for population changes and other information about who makes up the United States — citizens and non-citizens alike. The census also, more importantly, uses the derived data to address many of the nation’s needs like determining how seats in Congress are set, and how funding for certain programs like Medicaid benefits, law enforcement, and public schools should be allocated. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, on Monday criticized the Trump administration’s continuous efforts towards adding the question, saying that the administration was looking to “make American white again.” “This is about keeping — you know, Make America, you know his hat — Make America White Again. They want to make sure that people, certain people, are counted,” said Pelosi. She continued, “What they want to do is to put a chilling effect so that certain populations will not answer the form.” It is still unclear as of press time what new rationale the Trump administration will introduce or what next steps it will take, but Barr told reporters that the DOJ would reveal “in the next day or two” how it will proceed. (Rae Ann Varona/ AJPress)

Trump administration gets new legal team as fight...

Manny Pacquiao (right) engages training consultant and long-time trainer Freddie Roach in a mitt training session at the latter’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles California on Monday afternoon. Photo by Wendell Alinea/Manny Pacquiao Promotions

Thurman vows to bring back old self vs Pacquiao by Dino


KEITH Thurman is raring to prove that his last fight was a fluke, promising to return to his devastating form against Manny Pacquiao when they lock horns on July 20. The last time Thurman stepped on the ring, he almost got the shock of his life against an unheralded Josesito Lopez. That fight, which was held only last January in Brooklyn, saw Thurman almost out on his feet in the seventh round after getting repeatedly tagged by a limited but determined Lopez. He had earlier floored Lopez in the second round, but the challenger proved to be a tough nut to crack. Fortunately for Thurman, he recovered and did just enough for the rest of the bout to escape with a victory via majority decision, retaining his WBA “super” welterweight champion in the process.

Worth noting was the fact that prior to the Lopez clash, the undefeated Thurman was coming off a two-year layoff to recover from an injury. He had won all 28 fights before taking on Lopez, with 22 of those wins coming by way of knockout. He admitted that the long hiatus was a factor in his performance against Lopez. “I was really nervous about making weight after walking around at 182 for the past two years,” Thurman said in a recent report. Now, the fighter out of Clearwater, Florida will try to erase the bitter memory of that mediocre outing when he stakes his crown against Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “I’m trying to be that great, devastating champion once again, and come July 20, I will prove that I am,” added Thurman, referring to the version of him that pulled off notable wins against Robert Guerrero, Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.

Initially installed as the favorite against Pacquiao, Thurman has now become an underdog against Pacquiao, who at 40 years old remains a world-class fighter capable of putting on great performances. Beating an ageing Pacquiao is still a tall order nowadays, but for Thurman, losing is not an option. He even seeks to win by emphatic fashion. “Of course, I’d like to get the knockout or TKO, but either way, you’re going to see a world-class performance that has me standing alone on top of a division that has so many great fighters,” he continued. Thurman believes his fight with Pacquiao — the WBA’s “regular” 147-pound champion — will be an intriguing one and is bound to answer questions. “Does Manny belong in the ring with a fighter in his prime? Is Keith Thurman still Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman after some vulnerability against Josesito Lopez?” he said. n

Amal Clooney to represent Rappler’s Maria Ressa... PAGE 1 news and standing up to human rights abuses. We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines,” Clooney said in a press statement released by London-based law firm Doughty Street Chambers. According to the statement, Clooney will work with a team of international lawyers as Ressa’s counsel and coordinate with at-

torneys in Manila. Ressa, named Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2018, is the co-founder and editor of Rappler, which has gained distinction for its unflinching coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. She has been arrested twice this year on cyber libel and tax evasion charges. In a statement, Ressa said: “I am delighted that Amal Clooney and her team will be representing me at the international level

to challenge the violations of my rights and those of the media organisation I represent.” Clooney was appointed special envoy for media freedom by the British government. She has previously defended Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were jailed for more than 16 months in Myanmar under the country’s Official Secrets Act for reporting on a massacre of Rohingya civilians. They were freed in May. (AJPress)

Dateline USa

JUly 11-17, 2019 • lAS VEGAS ASIAN JOURNAl • (702) 792-6678

Sen. Elizabeth Warren meets with AAPI community members including Margie Gonzales, Cevan Louie, Gloria Caoile and Grace Vergara during an event on Tuesday, July 2. AJPress photos by Robert Macabagdal

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren releases...

PAGE 3 like this would be attractive to voters no matter where they fall in the political spectrum. She added, “In fact, it’s not just Democrats who want to sign up. That’s something that has very broad appeal to Democrats and Republicans and independents because it’s right. I think the old leftright politics are starting to break down.� The latest Economist-YouGov poll released on Wednesday, July 10 revealed Warren in second place at 17 percent with California Senator Kamala Harris trailing third at 14 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden held the first spot with 22 percent. With the AAPI population considered the fastest-growing racial group nationwide, the electorate is projected to increase twofold by 2040 and has already shown its strength as a key swing vote in major local and national races in recent cycles. Warren hired Roger Lau as her campaign manager, which was historic because he is the first Asian American campaign manager for a major U.S. presidential candidate. “One of the ways I try to engage is to get out and meet people face to face. What brings us together is a love of family and a belief that we can be an America that creates opportunity, not just for those at the top, but create opportunity for everyone,� Warren told the Asian Journal after her speech. Another plan the Massachusetts senator has put forth that could potentially be attractive to minority voters is a $7 billion fund to invest in minority-owned small businesses. “The whole notion that we have an entrepreneurship gap because people of color, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latinos, have a lot more difficulty accessing the capital they need. And so, I have a plan to fill in that capital gap and to make sure that investment fund is managed by a very diverse group of people,� she told the Asian Journal. “It’s a plan that uses

a basic model of lending that now goes through SBA, but says this is capital. So it’s not about carrying more debt from the beginning. It’s about having a capital infusion from the beginning.� In Nevada alone, eligible AAPI voters are estimated to account for 10% of the state’s electorate. Filipinos are considered the largest AAPI group in Nevada, with 169,462 Filipinos in the state according to the latest American Community Survey (ACS) released in September 2018. As 2020 approaches, AAPIs, especially across Nevada, have made it known that candidates should not ignore the electorate’s strength. “2020 is going to determine the direction this country takes for generations to come,� Warren told the crowd on Tuesday. “2020 is going to come right through the center of Nevada.� Already this year, Democratic candidates — such as Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Har-

ris, and Cory Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary JuliĂĄn Castro— have made it a point to meet with AAPI community leaders and businesses in the Las Vegas area. In an effort to increase voter tuIn an effort to increase voter turnout and accessibility, the state Democratic Party has unveiled a plan for voters to cast their ballots for the Feb. 22, 2020 caucus via phone, with English, Spanish and Tagalog options. “The Silver State plays a decisive role in choosing our country’s Democratic nominee for president — We are the first Western state, the first diverse state, and the only early battleground state,â€? Nevada Democratic Party chairman William McCurdy II said in a statement earlier this week. “We know it is imperative that Democrats across our state have every option and opportunity available to vote and I couldn’t be more excited to see this new process become a reality.â€? n

Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes a photo with Cristina Llorente-Drost, Rozita Lee and Edward Drost.

Dozens of AAPIs from the Las Vegas area heard Warren speak at CafĂŠ de Manila.

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Fil-Am former Virginian delegate gets US Embassy denies Mina Chang appointment as ambassador to PH 2.5 years for defrauding federal govt Celebrated state delegate RonVillanueva sentenced to prison

by Bernadette


THERE is no truth to the report that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mina Chang has been appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. The U.S. embassy in Manila on Wednesday, July 10, responded to media queries seeking confirmation of Chang’s appointment as Washington’s new envoy, replacing Ambassador Sung Kim, who took the post in November 2016. “In response to your inquiries, the Embassy has the following statement: We’ve seen this claim. It is not true,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement. “In September 2018, the White House announced the President’s (Donald Trump’s) intent to nominate Mina Chang to be an Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Bureau of Asia,” the embassy said. It added that Chang’s nomination was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2019. “There have been no additional White House announcements regarding her nomination to the USAID position,” the U.S. em-

Mina Chang

bassy added. Chang, 32, currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. According to the U.S. State Department website, Chang has extensive experience on the ground in conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Nigeria. Chang is an alumna of the Harvard Business School, a

Photo from the U.S. Department of State

graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar, a Harvard John F. Kennedy Senior Executive in National and International Security and a former International Security Fellow at New America. She was chief executive officer (CEO) of the non-government organization Linking the World before joining the U.S. government. n

Cyberbullying affects 1 in 10 children globally – report by Pia Lee-Brago

With the presence of social networking platforms, cyberbullying remains to be a growing problem that affects one in 10 children globally, according to a United Nations report. The 2019 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report titled “Behind the Numbers: Ending School Violence and Bullying” also showed that 32 percent or one in three students experienced bullying by their peers at least once in the last month. “Globally, one in three children experiences bullying and a similar proportion are affected by physical violence,” the report said. The report said physical bullying is the most frequent type of bullying in many regions. “Bullying is unacceptable and is getting worse online,” said UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay. The report cited the Global Kids Online study that found that

among nine to 17-year-old internet users, 35 percent reported online hurtful behavior in Serbia; Philippines, 29 percent; South Africa, 20 percent, and seven percent among 13-17 year old internet users in Argentina. Data from the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Serbia and South Africa also showed that between 12 and 22 percent of children received messages with sexual content. Cyberbullying includes mean messages, postings, e-mails and text messages or creating a website that makes fun of students and posting inappropriate pictures without permission. The Global Kids Online survey used online hurtful behavior instead of cyberbullying. The students were asked about their experience of different types of bullying: physical, psychological, sexual and cyberbullying. Bullying is characterized by an aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions and imbalance of power or strength between the perpetrator or per-

earL cueto

A FILIPINO nun stepped closer toward sainthood after Pope Francis proclaimed her “venerable,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced over the weekend. The pope cited Mother Francisca, founder of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, for having lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. The CBCP said the pope would have to recognize a miracle attributed to Mother Francisca’s intercession in order for her to be beatified. “After the beatification, another miracle would be needed for

canonization,” the CBCP said. Mother Francisca died in Manila in 1711 and was buried in the Church of the Collegio de San Juan de Letran. Mother Francisca will be approved for beatification once a miracle is attributed to her intercession. With the pope’s approval of a decree of a miracle, Mother Francisca may be beatified and called “blessed.” A second miracle is needed before she could be canonized, which would then lead to her official declaration as a “saint.” Last month, Pope Francis also declared as venerable Filipino nun Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo, the great great grandaunt of former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

Pope Francis declared Mother Francisca del Espiritu Santo de Fuentes as “venerable” on July 6, according to the Catholic Bishops’Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). CBCP photo

Mother Maria was born in Iloilo, and died in June 1957. n

PH gets third term on IOC-UNESCO executive council by rosette


FOR the third consecutive term, Philippines has a seat on the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The Department of Foreign Affairs said Philippines got the Executive Council seat for the period of 2019 to 2021 by acclamation. Election by acclamation means voting did not involve ballots. The elections was held at the 30th session of the IOC Assem-

bly at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. “As a maritime and archipelagic state located at the center of the world’s marine biodiversity, the Philippines shall continue to contribute to the commission’s unique role in fostering international cooperation in ocean science and in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly Goal 14 on Life Below Water,” the DFA said. The Philippines joins 39 other members on the IOC Executive Council. IOC, a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO, was established in 1960.

It is “the competent organization for marine science within the UN system.” The IOC is mandated “to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programs in research, services and capacitybuilding, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decisionmaking processes of its Member States.” The commission first met in Paris in October 1961. n

Palace on AI report: Duterte... PAGE 2

with policemen, but Albayalde pointed out the figure is small compared to the 240,565 drug personalities arrested since the President launched his crackdown on illegal drugs in July 2016. He added that AI did not take into account their internal cleansing measures which have so far resulted in the dismissal of some 2,400 police scalawags for various grave offenses, including involvement in illegal drugs. Albayalde scored the group for its assessment that extra-

judicial killings related to the government’s drug war remain rampant. Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando has expressed confidence in the capability of police units in the province to continue to uphold the law in conducting the antidrug campaign. Fernando was reacting to AI’s recent report that branded Bulacan as the country’s killing fields based on the high number of fatalities in police anti-drug operations. The governor, however, pointed out that they are watching closely the anti-drug and anti-

Previously, Villanueva served as vice president and president of SEK and as a board member for Karda Systems. Court documents note that the scheme took place from May 2005 to December 2014 when Villanueva was a councilmember for the Virginia Beach City Council and then in the House of Delegates. For years, Villanueva worked with Kahlil Naim of SEK and Samuel Caragan of Karda Systems (Villanueva’s brother-inlaw) to file multiple false statements to the SBA. At his hearing, Villanueva was given 45 days to report to prison to start his 2.5-year sentence, and upon his release will be on probation for three years. Villanueva must also pay more than $524,000, which is the amount he received from the fraudulent contracts. “I’m telling the judge everyone is entitled to second chances. I’m sorry, and I am thankful for all my support here,” Villanueva, 49, told WAVY News on Tuesday before his hearing. “My

Former Virginia delegate and Virginia Beach councilman Ron Villanueva

story is not done. We are defined by our maker and not defined by our mistakes.” Villanueva served as a delegate from 2010 to 2018. He was the first Filipino American elected to Virginia state government. In 2017, he was voted out of office and replaced with Kelly Fowler, a Filipina American Democrat. (Klarize Medenilla/ AJPress)

DOT: 3.4-M tourists visited PH... PAGE 1 percent growth in tourist arrivals, increasing from 537,743 last year to 621,719 this year. It is the highest month-per-month growth rate this year to date. Korea continues its reign as the country’s number one source market with 788,530 January to May arrivals, chalk-

ing up an 11.76 percent growth rate comprising 22.6 percent of the total arrivals. Following close behind is China, with 733,769 arrivals for a 30.96 percent increase and a 21.03 percent market share. The United States ranks third with 472,469 arrivals, while Japan places fourth with 281,988.

Taiwan also saw a double digit growth at 27.24 percent or 128,986 arrivals. Other countries included in the top ten markets are Australia with 123,851; Canada with 114,605; the United Kingdom with 92,914; Singapore with 64,951; and Malaysia with 64,951. n

petrators and the victim. For a student to be considered a victim of bullying, aggression should occur at least once or twice a month or more. Boys are more prone to physical bullying while girls are more likely to experience psychological bullying. Children who are perceived to be different are more at risk of bullying. Key factors include not conforming to gender norms, physical appearance, race, nationality or color. A significant increase in bullying among male students was noted in four countries: the Philippines, Myanmar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Among female students, a significant increase was identified in the Philippines, Egypt, Kuwait, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Rodrigues (Mauritius), Thailand and UAE. The report said bullying prevalence rates for both male and Photo shows tourists in Boracay Island after its rehabilitation. Just for the first five months of 2019, a total of 3,489,270 tourists visited the Photo courtesy of DOT female students increased in Philippines, marking a 9.76 percent increase from last year’s figures. Myanmar, UAE and the Philippines. n

Pope Francis proclaims Filipino nun ‘venerable’ in step closer to sainthood by Francis

FORMER Virginia delegate and Virginia Beach councilman Ron Villanueva was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday, July 2 on multiple charges of fraud against the federal government. Earlier this year, the Filipino American Republican pleaded guilty to a list of charges including “falsifying records and helping others file false documents,” according to local Virginia news outlet WAVY News. “You have done good things, but that doesn’t put you above the law,” U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith told Villanueva at Tuesday’s hearing. According to court documents, Villanueva wrongly helped two Virginia companies— SEK Solutions, which marketed weapons and industrial storage products and Karda Systems, which sold tactical gear — secure special government contracts through a U.S. Small Business Administration program that directs funding to women- and minority-owned companies only.

criminality activities of the Bulacan PNP and said that the provincial government is very strict with abusive policemen and corrupt cops and sees to it that human rights are not violated. “Carry out their duties properly and we can work together properly,” Fernando said in Filipino. He added that the high incidences of drug problem and criminality in Bulacan could be attributed to its accommodating informal settlers from Metro Manila. (With reports from Emmanuel Tupas, Ramon Efren Lazaro/

6 • (702) 792-6678



Collateral damage


THE police chief of Rodriguez town in Rizal and 19 of his men have been relieved and are facing investigation for the death of a three-year-old girl during a drug sting over a week ago. The anti-narcotics team claimed Myka Ulpina was carried away as a human shield by her father Renato Ulpina, a suspected member of a drug trafficking gang, as he tried to flee while shooting at the raiders. Renato was shot dead at the scene; Myka succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head a day later in a hospital. Senior M/Sgt. Conrad Cabigao, the undercover cop who posed as a buyer, also died together with Renato’s alleged drug ring cohort, Enrique Kahilig. We can believe cops when they say that nobody wants to see a young girl killed. Not wanting it, however, must be complemented by efforts to prevent such tragedies from happening. The country is not a war zone, and firearms must be discharged with utmost care. The possibility of causing serious injuries and even death – as in the case of Myka Ulpina and countless others in the past years – can never be taken for granted, especially in crowded

communities. Relatives of the Ulpinas said the girl was asleep when the gunfire erupted. The public can only hope that probers will unearth the truth and justice will prevail. Investigators must disregard the comment on Myka’s death by the principal implementer of Oplan Tokhang, PNP chief-turned-senator Ronald dela Rosa: “S**t happens.” Give Dela Rosa an A for candor, and a D-minus for sensitivity. Accidents – and especially accidental deaths in the course of law enforcement – can be avoided or minimized. The PNP is supposed to have rules of engagement and guidelines on how to handle cases involving children. It’s not unusual for fleeing suspects to use human shields. The PNP must fine-tune its rules when children are used as shields in an armed encounter. In law enforcement, human life as collateral damage must be avoided at all costs. (


Why we need Kamala Harris


REP. TED LIEU DONALD Trump’s election in 2016 was a turning point for our country. He has lowered our standing around the world, sought to divide us, and inflicted pain on too many Americans -- particularly immigrants and children of immigrants. We cannot afford four more years of him in the White House. We need to elect Kamala Harris as the next president of the United States. Kamala would be the first Asian American in history to be elected president. We need her in the White House fighting


ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS THERE is evidence to argue that we are a country where political community is bound less by the state and our laws than by our enormous sense of “kapwa.” We saw this when for a few days in 1986 we didn’t have the semblance of a government after former President Ferdinand Marcos left for Hawaii, and former President Corazon Aquino had yet to assemble a working government. Our political community did not unravel, there was no widespread violence and mayhem, and we continued our daily routine. We saw this during “Ondoy” and “Yolanda,” when in the face of death and wanton need for shelter and food, when government was momentarily immobilized, we relied on ourselves and on one another. Neighbors helped neighbors. Volunteers self-mobilized. And in the middle of it all, we saw the spirit and will to survive, seen in people still able to smile and laugh, play basketball, celebrate a birthday, and wave at journalists for the world to see a people unbent and undaunted. This led Anderson Cooper to comment that we are a remarkable people, a powerful lesson for others on how to rise up and live. I see this driving everyday, where order on the roads emanates less from the traffic lights and signs than from what Sikolohiyang Pilipino refers to as “kapwa,” “pakikipagkapwa,” “pakikiramdam” and “pagbibigayan.” When there is a breakdown of order, we do not say that it is because people do not obey traffic rules. What we say is that there is a breakdown of that sense of photo

for the issues that are critical to our community. The power to make change in this election is in our hands: Nevada’s APIA community is the fastest growing demographic in the state and a powerful voting bloc. Groups like One APIA Nevada, Asian Community Development Council, and AAPI Democratic Caucus are funneling this growing strength, and we need to harness it to elect Kamala as our next president. I’ve known Kamala for many years. During the first Democratic presidential debate, Americans all over the country saw what I’ve always known her to be: tough, smart, compassionate and prepared to take on Trump. Everyone who tuned in to the debate saw what kind of president she would be. A president who

is focused on the real tangible issues on voters’ minds -- the things that wake them up at three in the morning. She spoke clearly about the struggle parents across our country face when they have a child burning up with a high fever and have to take them to the emergency room, knowing they’ll incur thousands of dollars in medical bills even if they have insurance. Kamala will take on these issues through what she calls her 3AM agenda. An agenda that will have a direct and immediate effect on people’s lives, paychecks, and health care. She will reverse the Trump Administration’s trillion-dollar tax cut for big corporations and the top 1%, and pass her LIFT Act to give a tax break of up to $6,000 to working families

A broken sense of ‘kapwa’ “pagbibigayan.” This is nowhere more pronounced than what happens in the intersection of Osmeña and Buendia in Makati, where there are no traffic lights and where despite the absence of traffic enforcers a sense of order from what others would see as chaos emerges. Drivers give way to other drivers, and rely on “pakiramdaman.” This is what is characteristic of our political landscape. The strength of our political community lies less on law but more on our enormous sense of community subsisting on our deep sense of “kapwa,” or shared self. And it is this very sense of “kapwa” that is now being threatened and eroded. While political contestations had emerged before, the divisiveness and vitriol were not as alarming as what we are seeing now. Two things may have contributed to the intensification of a deeply polarized political culture. First is the pent-up resentment of people frustrated with elite politics, and angry at the failure of our leaders to deliver what was promised when the elites kicked out Marcos. Second, and more importantly, is its juxtaposition with modern social media technology that made the expression of such anger more immediate, and in real time, where anonymity is allowed, and the threat of actual retaliation or of suffering the consequences of uttering hate speech or a personal attack is remote. In the past, one had to participate in actual political mobilization to express a grievance. All it takes now is a laptop or a mobile phone to launch a political attack, without the fear of being tear-gassed, or of being slapped or physically manhandled for calling someone an idiot or a moron. And thus we see the intensification of gutter politics where

there are no more rules, except that imposed by Facebook. We now see partisans abandoning logic to launch ad hominem attacks on their opponents. We see critics of the president labeling anyone who praises him as a blind apologist and a “Dutertard,” simply because they do not see the good things that he does. And we see loyal supporters of the president attacking anyone who dares criticize him — even if done fairly and with basis — as a hater and a “dilawan” simply because they are in this perpetual state of being defensive that any such attack is an attempt to oust the president and install Leni Robredo as in his place. They suspend their autonomy and reason, shut out valid criticism, and take on the position that the president could not possibly be wrong, and even if he is, it is their sworn duty to rationalize his actions and defend him at all cost. We end up being dominated by ad hominem labels, and focusing less on the substance of political discourse and more on people’s physical defects or personal misfortunes or impairments that have nothing to do with the validity, or lack thereof, of their arguments. For example, people focus on Franklin Drilon’s sleepiness rather than on his political position on issues and his advocacies. Instead of divining what Leni Robredo is trying to say, she is derisively dismissed by simply calling her “lugaw.” Rather than focusing on the president’s pronouncements and dissecting the flaws of his China policy, his critics would rather launch ad hominem attacks. And the vitriol and hatred are so alarmingly palpable — the namecalling, the shaming, the credential-bashing, the personal attacks — that one has to wonder if our Republic will ever recover and be PAGE A8

each year. Education is a key component of Kamala’s agenda and she will make the largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history to fully close the teacher pay gap and give the average Nevada public school teacher a $15,000 raise. Kamala won’t stop there. She will push to make sure our families are protected, insured, and healthy. As gun violence continues to plague our communities, she will not wait to act. If Congress does not send comprehensive gun safety legislation to Kamala’s desk within her first 100 days as president, she will take executive action to mandate the most comprehensive federal background checks in history, revoke the licenses of gun manufacturers that break

Babe’s Eye View BABE ROMUALDEZ IN one of my regular engagements with key people from the U.S. Defense and State Departments, one of the officials from the Department of Defense halfjokingly told me: “We will never give you a divorce.” To which I replied: “That’s alright – we don’t have divorce in the Philippines anyway.” Obviously, this conversation uniquely underscores the fact that the United States will always look at the Philippines as an important part of their national defense and security strategy. The U.S. needs us just as much as we need them, knowing that our strategic location is significant in maintaining maritime peace and security, and keeping the balance of power in the Asia Pacific region. This is a reality that has long been acknowledged by U.S. officials such as former Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter who said the Philippines is a “central part” of the United States’ pivot to Asia policy. The same also holds true for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy of the Trump administration since our country is an important location for American military presence especially in light of China’s emergence as a “strategic competitor,” as described in U.S. 2018 National Defense Strategy documents. No less than President Trump admitted this when he said that it is “important to remain allied with the Philippines,” which he described as “a most prime piece of real estate from a military standpoint.” In other words, the relationship between the Philippines and the

the law, keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and ban the importation of AR-15 style assault weapons. As the child of immigrants, Kamala also deeply understands the pain our communities feel when this administration continues to treat immigrants as less than human-- separating families, caging children, and threatening DACA recipients with deportation. For Kamala, protecting our families also means keeping them together. As president, Kamala will take executive action to keep immigrant families together and eliminate barriers that prevent Dreamers from accessing a path to U.S. citizenship. We still need a 21st century immigration reform, and Kamala will fight to get one passed. Until then, her plan will

protect Nevada’s 64,000 immigrants from deportation. This is the Kamala I know -- a tough fighter and a relentless advocate for the people. Her candidacy means so much more than just the plans she will enact. That’s why I’m proud to support Kamala Harris for president and ask that you join me and millions of other Americans to help us win. *** Ted W. Lieu represents California’s 33rd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Ted is serving in his third term in Congress and currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was also elected by his Democratic Colleagues to serve as a Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

US: ‘We will never divorce’ United States is considered as something that is more special than others. And obviously, majority of Filipinos would like to keep it that way. A recent survey conducted after the “incident” involving 22 Filipino fishermen — whose boat was rammed from behind by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank within our exclusive economic zone — showed that the trust level of Filipinos for the U.S. as a dependable ally has gone up to 92 percent. This is significantly much higher than the results of the latest Social Weather Stations survey that showed 71 percent of Filipinos having much trust in the US, while the latest Pulse Asia survey had 84 percent of Filipinos saying that they trust the U.S. the most. While Filipinos don’t really mind doing business with China and are more receptive when it comes to economic ties, they continue to regard the United States as the only ally when it comes to military partnership. v During the recent ASEAN summit in Bangkok, President Duterte stressed the need to craft a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to keep tensions from escalating in disputed maritime territories. This is particularly significant considering ASEAN’s goal of centrality and its adoption of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific that seeks to consolidate the regional bloc’s economic power. In a speech in Leyte the other day, President Duterte dared the United States to fire the first shot at China if it really sees them as a major threat to peace and stability in the region. The president is constantly reminded of what happened in Scarborough Shoal when we were advised by the U.S. to leave and they promised China will do the same. We left, the Chi-

nese did not. President Duterte was also reminded about a U.S. State Department official in the Obama administration stating, “We do not get involved with territorial disputes. Those are just rocks, anyway.” Today, those rocks are now Chinese military bases. Nonetheless, there is no doubt the Trump administration has changed its attitude towards the region, perhaps learning from the past. There is no question the United States today is more than ever committed to their treaty allies. ASEAN’s economic goals will be hard to achieve if tensions particularly in the South China Sea keep escalating. Even our ASEAN neighbors recognize the importance of continued U.S. presence for maritime peace and security, and in protecting freedom of navigation and maintaining a rules-based order in disputed maritime territories. In other words, stability and security are important, which is why the U.S. continues to make its presence felt and will keep strengthening its alliances with key players in the Indo-Pacific region. While we pursue relations and seek engagements with other nations in keeping with the president’s independent foreign policy, the relationship with our one and only treaty ally — the United States — remains unique and irreplaceable, enduring despite the ups and downs that have shaken but not sundered our long-standing friendship. That’s because of the deep people-to-people ties that bind our two nations, manifested in the fact that an estimated 4.3 million Filipino-Americans reside and work in the U.S., or that every other Filipino has a relative in the U.S. or want a visa to visit the U.S. PAGE A8

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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Dateline P‘I killed hiliPPines because I felt she wanted it,’

Locsin calls ICC a fairytale endeavor by AJPress Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday, July 9, justified the Philippines’ exit from the international Criminal Court (iCC), likening it to a ‘fairy tale endeavor.’ “Better we stick to real science instead of fairy tale endeavors like the iCC which like the Queen

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

tion (UneSCo) for the period 2019-2021. The Philippines withdrew from the iCC on March 17, a year after the Philippines formally submitted its letter of withdrawal from the rome Statute — the founding treaty of the iCC — after a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity of President rodrigo Duterte and his men was launched by the tribunal’s chief prosecutor. The court, however, can still investigate alleged crimes against humanity in relation to the president’s anti-drug campaign. According to iCC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the court retains its jurisdiction over crimes committed in the context of the war on drugs even after its withdrawal from the rome Statute. earlier this year, Malacañang said iCC investigators would be barred from entering the country if they insist on probing the alleged extrajudicial killings tied to Duterte’s war against illegal DFA photo drugs. n

in Alice in Wonderland cries out, ‘First the judgment, then the trial.’ Why i got us out. i will keep doing that,” he posted on Twitter. His statement was in response to the Philippines securing a seat by acclamation in the 40-member international oceanographic Commission (ioC) executive Council, which is under the Un education, Scientific and Cultural organiza-

PhilHealth chief told: Start purge by Darwin


THe new president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Health insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said President rodrigo Duterte had told him to set an example by pursuing corrupt officials of the state health insurance system. “The exact word of the president is ‘sampolan mo’ (Make an example of these officials),” former military major general ricardo Morales said. in a news briefing, Morales said sustainability was the challenge of the organization, as negative image of the health insurance body welcomed him when he took office. He gave assurances that he would practice consensus and consultation in his leadership, pointing out that his assignment now was “not a combat operation.” Morales said reorganizing PhilHealth was his top priority. He mentioned doing away with face-to-face transaction, which was susceptible to fraudulent

PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales

actions, and making sure that every claim of every member was legitimate through a biometric identification system. According to him, even developed countries such as the United Kingdom still faced problems with their health insurance system. on the case of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center, Morales said the agency had suspended the accreditation of the establishment and had filed criminal charges against 10 individuals, three of whom were arrested and seven are photo by Ruy Martinez

under investigation. Currently, he added, the agency had 12 lawyers who were handling 15,000 cases, which makes it hard to process all the cases. Morales, meanwhile, said he was ready to face the Senate once a hearing would commence in the chamber. The president appointed Morales to be the chief of the government-run health insurance agency after the resignation of roy Ferrer and six board members over bogus claims of kin of dialysis patients, who had already died. n

Alan, Allan to share speaker’s term by catherine

s. Valente

iT’S final: The House of representatives will have two speakers in the 18th Congress — Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco. President rodrigo Duterte on Monday said Cayetano and Velasco would share the speaker’s term of office, ending the bitter row that had festered for weeks. Leyte rep. Martin romualdez, another contender to the House top post, will be the majority leader. “So, your speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano. He shares the term with Lord Velasco. And romualdez will be the majority floor leader,” Duterte said in his speech during the oath-taking ceremony in Malacañang. “i tried to distance myself from the… But apparently i said it’s time that i talk. So, that’s the setup,” he added. The announcement came after the three candidates “sought the assistance and help of the President to settle the conflict among them,” according to Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo. “Since the election of the speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the breakup of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their

Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Allan Velasco

credit agree to respect the choice of PrrD (President rodrigo roa Duterte),” Panelo said in a statement. “it’s Alan Cayetano as the speaker in the first 15 months, then the next 21 months, the speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco, with Martin romualdez as the majority floor leader,” he added. Cayetano ran as Duterte’s vice presidential bet in 2016. over the weekend, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Davao rep. Paolo Duterte met with the three candidates in Davao City. The President’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, earlier chose Velasco as its candidate for speaker. Sara and Paolo, meanwhile, photos

formed the “Duterte Coalition” in the House with eight other Davaoeño lawmakers to support Davao rep. isidro Ungab’s bid for speakership. in his speech on Monday, Duterte urged the incoming House leaders to push for a change in the Constitution. “We have to change the Constitution whether federal or whatnot. Sabi ko, ‘if you want to change the Constitution, do it now.’ Andiyan pa ako (i’m still here) and i can tell the military, ‘no, no, no, you better…’ Kasi ang military mainit na (the military is getting fidgety),” he added. Members of the House of representatives and the Senate are set to elect their leaders on July 22, 2019. n

DOTr to complete upgrade of more airports by richmonD


MAniLA — The Department of Transportation (DoTr) has committed to complete the upgrade of 27 more commercial airports in the country before the term of President Duterte ends in 2022. The DoTr said the government in the first half of the Duterte administration has completed 17 commercial airport projects. These include the construction of two new international airports — the Lal-lo international Airport in Cagayan and the Bohol-Panglao international Airport — and upgrading of 15 existing gateways. “Connectivity and mobility in transport are key components in socio-economic development. By building new airports and rehabilitating existing ones, the transportation sector contributes to both regional and

national progress,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said. To pursue its plans to improve air connectivity in the country, the DoTr said it is accelerating the ongoing infrastructure development in 27 commercial airports and one military air base. The government is also set to build one more international airport. The DoTr said rehabilitation works for Terminal 2 at the ninoy Aquino international Airport (nAiA) are ongoing, while construction is also ongoing for the second passenger terminal building of the Clark international Airport. The Bicol international Airport is now more than halfway complete, according to the agency, with the gateway expected to accommodate two million passengers a year when completed next year.

international airports in Davao, general Santos, Zamboanga, iloilo, Kalibo and Laoag are also undergoing improvements, while development projects continue as well for domestic airports in Busuanga, Cauayan, naga and Tuguegarao in Luzon; BacolodSilay, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Dumaguete and Tacloban in the Visayas; and Bukidnon, ipil, Laguinduingan, Mati, M’lang, ozamiz, Sanga-Sanga, Siargao and Surigao in Mindanao. “A number of airports we have rehabilitated were in a dismal state when we took over. We are proud of what we have already accomplished, but we know that we can do more. With the guidance of our hardworking Secretary Tugade, we will continue to build, build, build towards the golden Age of infrastructure,” Civil Aviation Authority director general Jim Sydiongco said. n

Duterte says at Arroyo testimonial dinner

MAniLA — President rodrigo Duterte, known for his off-color remarks, told lawmakers and politicians that he had killed people because he felt gloria MacapagalArroyo wanted him to during her presidency. The remarks, said at a testimonial dinner for Arroyo on Tuesday evening, July 9, were met with laughter by the president’s audience. Duterte was all praises for the former chief executive and House leader, calling her “a true living icon in Philippine politics and an embodiment of strong political will.” “Madam President, we raise our glasses tonight for the invaluable contributions that you have made as a public servant. May your legacy shine through and inspire millions of Filipinos as we move forward in realizing our dream of building a better and more prosperous Philippines for all,” Duterte said. ‘Of course, I didn’t kill anyone on her orders’ But before he ended his speech, Duterte recalled the time when he—as Davao City mayor— “worked” for Arroyo. “of course, wala akong pinatay na tao na utos niya. Pinatay ko na lang kasi feeling ko gusto niya (Of course, I didn’t kill under her direct orders. I just killed because I felt like she wanted it),” Duterte said, drawing laughter from the crowd of legislators. Duterte has been accused of being involved in the so-called “Davao Death Squad,” a vigilante group that is said to have summarily executed people in Davao City and other cities in Mindanao. Philip Alston, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, visited the Philippines in 2008 to look into reports of eJKs, including vigilante killings in Davao City attributed to the “Davao Death Squad.” “[i]t has become a polite euphemism to refer vaguely to ‘vigilante groups’ when accounting for the shocking predictability with which criminals, gang members, and street children are extrajudicially executed. one fact points very strongly to the officially-sanctioned character of these killings: no one involved covers his face,” Alston

President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the appreciation dinner for the House Speaker at The Manila Hotel on Tuesday, July 9. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante

wrote in his report on the visit. “The men who warn mothers that their children will be the next to die unless they make themselves scarce turn up on doorsteps undisguised. The men who gun down or, and this is becoming more common, knife children in the streets almost never cover their faces. in fact, for these killers to wear “bonnets” is so nearly unheard of that the witnesses i interviewed did not think to mention the fact until i asked,” he also wrote. in 2009, Human rights Watch said in a report on the killings that “the failure to dismantle the Davao Death Squad and other similar groups, prosecute those responsible, and bring justice to the families of victims lies not only with local authorities.” “The administration of Philippine President gloria Macapagal Arroyo has largely turned a blind eye to the killing spree in Davao City and elsewhere,” it also wrote, adding “the continued death squad operation reflects an official mindset in which the ends are seen as justifying the means.” elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human rights Watch at the time, also said: “in the face of evidence pointing to local government involvement in these murders, President Arroyo’s continued silence could be seen as tacit acceptance of death squad killings.” Malacañang often explains Duterte’s controversial statements as jokes, noting even the president is entitled to cracking one now and then.

Sought for comment, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of rights group Karapatan said on Wednesday: “Both of them are murderers and they both deserve to be accountable for their crimes.” Arroyo thanks Duterte for plunder acquittal At the same event, Arroyo thanked Duterte for “providing the atmosphere” that led to her acquittal from plunder charges. “Most of all, i thank you that when you became president, you provided the atmosphere in which the court had the freedom to acquit me of the trumped-up charges of my successor and your predecessor, so that the court voted 11-4 in my favor, including half of those who were appointed by my successor,” Arroyo said. in July 2016, barely a month after Duterte became president, the Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo of plunder over the alleged misuse of funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes office. The Supreme Court ruling allowed Arroyo to walk free after nearly four years of hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center. She was arrested in october 2012 during the presidency of Benigno Aquino iii of the Liberal Party, the administration party at the time. Arroyo, however, said her sole regret in her relationship with Duterte was that he had found her “difficult to deal with.” “it was never my intention to be difficult with you,” she said. (Gaea Katreena Cabico/

Dateline PhiliPPines

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Poe, Revilla push more benefits for elderly by Catherine


A FEW MORE STANDING. People pass by a few stalls occupying the roadside of Recto Avenue in Manila. In a swift, classy move to impose change, Mayor Isko Moreno commanded the clearing operation of illegal vendors in Divisoria, Blumentritt, and other clogged streets in the city of Manila a few days after he took his oath of office. photo by Enrique Agcaoili

Recto: Morenoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts to fix Manila show charter change not sole solution by Gaea



MANILA â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Manila Mayor Isko Moreno actions in his first days in office show that a change in vision and management styleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not charter changeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is needed to fix the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s problems. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto stressed his point Wednesday as he praised the new Manila mayor for his attempt to address the woes of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Isko Moreno is the glowing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Exhibit Aâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of the reality that many of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s problems can be solved without having to rewrite the constitution,â&#x20AC;? Recto said. Among the steps that Moreno, who used to be the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vice mayor, took early in his administration are clearing the chaotic streets of Manila of vendors, signing an executive order promoting open governance, and vowing to stop bribery and corruption within the city. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A change of plans, visions and management style will do wonders and spark change immediately, rather than the untested benefits that charter change promises to bring,â&#x20AC;? Recto said. He added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It seems that more progress can be wrought by seriously implementing whatever existing laws there are than rewriting the basic law of the land later.â&#x20AC;? Recto is the latest public official to praise Moreno. Last Sunday, July 7, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said leaders like the new Manila mayor make

Manily City Mayor Isko Moreno photo

him â&#x20AC;&#x153;look forward to retirement.â&#x20AC;? While Moreno has drawn praise for his enthusiasm to give Manila a makeover, concerns have also been raised on his ability to sustain the gains and whether he can face a tough balancing act of decongesting the city without killing the livelihood of the poor. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Cha-cha shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be railroadedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The May midterm elections saw allies of President Rodrigo Duterte dominating the races for both houses of Congress, opening a path for the chief executive to push forward his plan to rewrite the constitution. But Recto said that changing the constitution cannot fix crime, flooding, traffic and garbage problems. He added it cannot help create more jobs and strengthen industries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having said that, I, however, recognize the right and welcome the move of proponents of constitutional amendments to bring

their proposals for a debate in a manner that is exhaustive, not expedient; thorough, not truncated,â&#x20AC;? he said. The senator added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any idea that is presented before Congress must win by the force of its arguments and not by the mere number of people supporting it. Charter change must not be part of the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s railroad program.â&#x20AC;? Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday the 2022 presidential elections will affect how some of his colleagues will vote on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;divisiveâ&#x20AC;? charter change. But he said the upper chamber will maintain its independence in handling the issue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Senate always prides itself as independent of MalacaĂąang. The people can always rely on that, so they can be assured that any attempt to revise or amend the Constitution to give way for federalism will undergo the regular process and will not be railroaded,â&#x20AC;? he said. n

SENATOR Ramon Revilla Jr. wants to lower the legal age of senior citizens from 60 to 56, while Sen. Mary Grace Poe wants to grant the elderly at least P1,500 monthly stipend. The senators filed their respective bills promoting the welfare of senior citizens amid a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority that the number of Filipinos over 60 years old would triple in the next 30 years â&#x20AC;&#x201D; from 7.6 million in 2015 to 22.6 in 2045. As of 2018, there were 8.7 million elderly Filipinos, accounting for 7 percent of the population. Poe said only 2.9 million or 33 percent were covered by social pension. Revilla also filed on Tuesday, July 9 the proposed Centenarians Act of 2019 and a bill that seeks to establish elderly care and nursing centers nationwide. Under the Centenarians Act of 2019, the P100,000-incentive for Filipinos who will reach the age of 100 should be given in three tranches: P25,000 upon reaching 80 years old, another P25,000 upon reaching 90 and the remaining P50,000 upon reaching 100 years old. Revilla is also pushing for the lowering of the legal age of senior citizens from 60 to 56. This is in line with his other bills lowering the retirement age of private and government workers to 56 so that employees â&#x20AC;&#x153;may opt to retire and enjoy their benefits while still

Sen. Mary Grace Poe

physically capable.â&#x20AC;? Meanwhile, Poe wants to grant at least P1,500 monthly stipend to all senior citizens â&#x20AC;&#x201D; regardless of social status â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs. She recently filed the proposed Universal Social Pension for Senior Citizens to grant the elderly financial benefit to help them deal with â&#x20AC;&#x153;income insecurity in old age.â&#x20AC;? The bill seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) 7432, as amended by RA 9994, or the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.â&#x20AC;? Under RA 7432, senior citizens are entitled to a 20-percent discount from all establishments relative to utilization of transportation services, hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers, and purchase of medicines; 20-percent discount on admission fees photo

charged by theaters, cinemas and other similar entertainment venues; free medical and dental services; exemption from payment of individual income taxes; and exemption from training fees undertaken by the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs. Under Poeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bill, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) may increase or revise the amount of the social pension, but the amount should not be less than P1,500. The DSWD, under its Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, grants P500 monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence of the elderly poor. Poe said many senior citizens, who had stopped working relied on the assistance of their children and government pensions. However, these sources are often not enough. n

A broken sense of ... PAGE A6 whole again, if our sense of â&#x20AC;&#x153;kapwaâ&#x20AC;? will survive three more years of being eroded and broken in the name of political partisanship. Some people would rather escape this by avoidance. They stay away from social media. Others like me do the drastic step of

purging our social media landscape of people who stress us with their vitriol and ad hominem attacks or propagation of hatred. But these are simply escapist remedies and while it can give someone peace of mind, it will not necessarily arrest the erosion of our sense of â&#x20AC;&#x153;kapwa.â&#x20AC;?

US: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We will never...

PAGE A6 Judging from the huge attendance during the recent U.S. Fourth of July and Fil-American Friendship Day celebration hosted by U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim at the Rizal Ballroom of ShangriLa Makati with over a thousand guests, this close affinity to the U.S. is as strong as ever. People

I have not seen for years during such occasions literally showed up to signify their support and appreciation for Ambassador Kim whose tour of duty in the Philippines is ending by yearend. (See photos in This Week on PeopleAsia at the Allure Section of the Philippine Star today.) As articulated by Foreign Af-

The challenge to elevate our political discourse is indeed daunting. But it has to be done. presidents come and go. President Duterteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s term will end in 2022, and it behooves all of us to make sure that our sense of community and â&#x20AC;&#x153;kapwaâ&#x20AC;? will remain. (

fairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, America is â&#x20AC;&#x153;all we have,â&#x20AC;? likening the relationship to having a â&#x20AC;&#x153;spouseâ&#x20AC;? that you â&#x20AC;&#x153;canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t live withoutâ&#x20AC;? even though â&#x20AC;&#x153;sometimes you wish you could.â&#x20AC;? In other words, this is a marriage that hopefully, will remain strong and long lasting. (


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Journal Sharon, Regine in casting coup project 3 Filipino filmmakers invited to be members of the Academy by RoNNie



IS Lea Salonga’s loss Regine Velasquez’s gain? Recently, Sharon Cuneta posted a picture of herself with Regine with the hashtag #SeeYouInOctober, sending netizens in an excited flurry. As though it were a telling sign of things to come and watch out for the netizens could only surmise that Asia’s Songbird is replacing Lea as one of the judges in “The Voice of the Philippines” which returns on air come October. If true, the local franchise of the popular American singing search will have Sharon, Sarah Geronimo and Regine as its latest addition. Vignettes believes though that retaining Lea will be a much more powerful ensemble what with her international renown all three let’s face it have yet to achieve. “Parang casting coup kumbaga sa pelikula,” quips a Vignettes source. But for all the netizens who were quick to jump the gun know, Sharon and Regine’s October partnership might be in a show

by Ritchel

meNdiola AJPress

THREE Filipino filmmakers were invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the governing body behind the Oscars wherein members vote for the winners of the prestigious awards show. Ditsi Carolino, PJ Raval and Baby Ruth Villarama were among the 842 new members invited by The Academy. In the complete list released Tuesday, July 2, prominent personalities such as Tom Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, “The Crown’s” Claire Foy, Lady Gaga, “Crazy Rich Asians” Regine Velasquez and Sharon Cuneta are up for something big come October. director Jon Chu, and Gemma Photo from Instagram/@reallysharoncuneta Chan were invited, as well. on ABS-CBN or a film under alien to this department. Back in The Filipino filmmakers took Star Cinema. After all, except GMA where she had spent more to social media to express their for Regine and her husband than a decade of her career, joy about being welcomed by Ogie Alcasid, unknown to us are Regine though hosted an all-origi- The Academy. the provisions stipulated in the nal Filipino singing search. Raval, known for his works Still ongoing is ABS-CBN’s like “Call Her Ganda” and “BeAsia’s Songbird contract upon “Idol Philippines” where she sits fore You Know It,” said on Inher transfer. Judging-wise, Regine is no as one of the judges. stagram: “WHAT A DAY!!! Not only is @callherganda having its @pbs broadcast premiere on @ povdocs tonight at 10pm (check local listings!!!), but just got

Lea mistakenly introduced as environmentalist Anna Hughes in UK newscast

give up flying for a whole year to help the planet?” anchor Stephen Dixon said, referring to Hughes’ “WHO is that girl I see?” Lea environmental advocacy of calling Salonga sings in “Reflection” as for 100,000 individuals to pledge against flying. Disney princess Mulan. “I am not Anna Hughes, I’m Sky News UK, in its recent episode, apparently didn’t see sorry. I don’t know what’s gotoo clearly after mistakenly intro- ing on. I am not Anna Hughes, ducing the Tony-award winning sorry about that,” Salonga said, actress as environmentalist Anna laughing. Dixon apologized immediately Hughes. Salonga was guest at the morn- and corrected his mistake by quiping show “Sunrise” in its July 5 ping, “Why does Princess Jasmine episode to promote her concert not want to fly for a year?” After the show took a break, tour in the UK. “Would you be prepared to Dixon admitted “We are mortiby

KRissy aguilaR

Ditsi Carolino, PJ Raval and Baby Ruth Villarama

invited into the @theacademy!!! And I’m in such great company too! Congrats to all!!! Best. Day. Ever!!! #WeAreTheAcademy.” Meanwhile, Villarama, whose notable works include “Sunday Beauty Queen” and “Jazz in Love,” posted on Facebook about how it is an honor to raise the Philippines’ flag in The Academy. She also thanked Filipina documentarist Ramona Diaz, who was also previously inducted into the AMPAS, for being a champion. “I guess life can really take this young dreamer from Baliuag

by surprise. To changing the narrative how the world sees us and how we see ourselves within, it is my honour to raise our three stars and sun; our white, yellow, blue and red to be with the world’s finest in ushering the best documentary films from Asia and the world,” Villarama said. Carolino is best known for her documentaries “Mula pabrika hanggang Fukuoka” and “Bunso: The Youngest.” The Academy announced that half of the new members it invited were female and 29% are people of color.

Matteo on the ‘best experience’ of his life by Nathalie


CALL him 2nd Lt. Matteo Guidicelli. After recently completing the Scout Ranger Orientation Course at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan with flying colors, Matteo is recommending his experience to fellow actors and young Filipinos. The Cebuano actor-athlete took on the month-long leadLea Salonga ABS-CBN photo ership-development training fied,” but Salonga took it all in after enlisting as a Philippine stride and said: “We are laughing Army reservist, a voluntary service to the country, especially very, very much.” needed in times of disasters and emergencies. He enjoyed no special treatment and battled tough challenges along with some 90 other trainees, made up of officers and Philippine Military Academy cadets. During his “emotional and happy” graduation, he received special commendation for being an outstanding student and the only reservist in the batch. The Star got to talk to Matteo about it during the launch of Sun Life Financial’s new and inspirational campaign, Kaakbay: Stories of Lifetime Partnerships, last Saturday (July 6). The event saw him and other celebrity endorsers Piolo Pascual and son Iñigo, Enchong Dee and Charo Santos-Concio opening up about “lifetime partners” in a series of videos, to be unveiled to the public via @SunLifePH on YouTube on July 13. Obviously, Matteo has resumed his showbiz work, but it appears the army experience is giving his life and career a new energy and purpose.

Matteo was recognized as an outstanding student during his graduation from the Scout Ranger Orientation Course at the Scout Ranger School, First Scout Ranger Regiment, at Camp Tecson in Bulacan. Photo from Instagram/@matteog

Below are excerpts from the interview. On why he joined the Reserve Force and took part in the Scout Ranger course: “I’m already 29 years old, but I’ve always wanted to do it. I found the opportunity. Scout Rangers opened the doors to me. They said, are you able to join? I said yes right away. “Before being in the military, I was always working with different advocacies. I also have my own sports foundation. But I thought of focusing on one, and I felt the army was the best because it

represents the country. It’s helping the country, it’s helping the troops and it’s helping our fellow Filipinos. “You know, other countries (in Asia) Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, they all have mandatory military training. In Israel, (they do it for) three years. Us, we don’t. And the youth today need that discipline and need that patriotism again. So, I encourage our youth. It’s something that you will cherish forever, I promise! It’s about discipline and what the army will teach you, it’s something that you can pass on.”

John Lloyd officially back in circulation by aRlo


son, Elias Modesto (named after Adarna’s late father), in June last year. JOHN Lloyd Cruz was the trendSupport still strong for ‘Popoy ing topic on social media again last and Basha’ week after Piolo Pascual and Bea Cheered on as Popoy and Basha Alonzo posted a picture with him (their characters in the 2007 movie on their Instagram accounts. The “One More Chance”) forever by three signed a contract with snack their fans, one follower commentbar Turks Shawarma as brand amed on Alonzo’s post on Instagram: bassadors on July 3 at Luxent Hotel “Popoy and Basha together again. in Timog, Quezon City. I’m the happiest fan! Wahhh never Pascual and Alonzo shared nawala ang chemistry n’yo! Part 3 photos from their pictorial on please #onemorechance.” Instagram, with the former even A more intriguing comment on posting a short video clip of them the photo though pointed Shaina three. Magdayao as ex-lover of both Cruz Since the venue was very close and Pascual. to ABS-CBN, many were hoping In a material sent to The Manila and praying that Cruz will soon be Times by the company behind the back doing projects for his home brand, Cruz was quoted as saying, studio. His most popular Facebook “Thank you sa leading man ng Turks, Mr. Gen Zenarosa, dahil pinatulan mo ang mga naglalarong ideas sa utak ko.” Fans of Cruz hope it will be the same as Pascual for their idol, regardless if he’s shaven or not. Alonzo, a pescatarian (one who does not eat meat but eats fish), meanwhile said, “Dahil sa Turks bumalik ako sa pagkain ng meat.” The shawarma business took in Pascual as endorser in 2017, and since then has seen its franchise grow, with the actor’s face plastered in posters almost in every mall and supermarket. He said he’s thankful as part of the John Lloyd Cruz joins Piolo Pascual and former love team Bea Alonzo as brand ambassador of company that is leading small and a shawarma brand — firing speculations that this signals his comeback since going on hiatus medium entrepreneurs to greener in 2017. Photo from Instagram/@beaalonzo pasture. fan page though, simply named “John Lloyd Cruz” posted a photo of him together with Alonzo in Palawan, which the actress said was “secret” what the project was all about. Going through other posts using the hashtag #johnlloydcruz, The Manila Times discovered that indeed Cruz and Alonzo are doing a movie together with Pascual and Julia Montes, as posted by fans of the latter. Cruz went on hiatus in 2017, leaving his weekly sitcom “Home Sweetie Home,” whose void was later filled by Pascual albeit playing a different character. The A-list actor focused on his relationship with sitcom co-star Ellen Adarna, who bore him a


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MONETTE ADEVA MAGLAYA Conclusion of 2 parts CHARISSE’S natural curiosity as a researcher would normally drive her to check out her story on the internet. But she felt Dolly’s story was told to her in confidence like a secret and so it will stay that way. She purposely didn’t ask for her full name because she enjoyed the mystery and the company of the older woman. She thought that too much information overload has killed all the mystery and wonder in this world. And so she just let it be. Charisse dressed up carefully for Dolly’s birthday party. She had put on light make-up but applied a bit more layer of mascara for effect. She let her hair down and wore her antique chandelier earrings. She wore her emerald green sheath silk dress that outlined her slim figure, put on her single strand pearl necklace and her black Spanish mantilla shawl. She slipped on her one and only black pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes that revealed her nice gams. It isn’t often she gets to play dress-up but when she does, she can be quite a sight. She placed her Crema de Fruta with the candlewax numerals 8 and 0 in the middle on a pedestal rectangular crystal tray. A friend dropped her off at the Senior Center. It was festooned in bright lights and was a buzzing hub of activity when she arrived. It seemed pleasantly odd that it was decorated more festively than usual, with vases of fresh orchids, liveried waiters, an ice sculpture of the numerals 8 and zero, a gorgeous food spread of many courses, a roast beef carving item and an open bar that smacks of first class catering. There was even an orchestra. “What is going on?” she thought.


Mass suicide atop Masada Bedans celebrate 3rd international grand reunion

SUICIDE by individuals or a group of people have serious PHILIP S. CHUA, medical and MD, FACS, FPCS psychological implications. The mass killing for a nobler cause atop the Masada fortress by the Dead Sea in Israel added a great historical significance and dimension about the Jewish people. It is a blessed symbol of the indomitable power of survival, principle of freedom over physical existence with slavery and abuse, of a persecuted people, and the final resurrection of the Jewish nation. While on our family tour of Israel last month, we traced the footsteps of Jesus in Jerusalem (Via Dolorosa) on His way to His crucifixion at Calvary (Golgotha), floated at the Dead Sea, and visited the Masada National Park, taking a cable car to the top of Masada, over 1350 feet above the surrounding dessert and the Dead Sea, the lowest point in the globe, 420 meters below the sea level. When I was there in 1960 as a medical student attending a conference, the only way to get to the top of Masada was by foot, a 400-meter snake path hike that took about 90 minutes around this historical mountain. The cable car was built in 1971. Each year, about 3.6 million tourists visit Israel, 78 percent, Jerusalem, about 49 percent, Dead Sea and this magnificent strategic Masada fortress in the Negev dessert, and 35 percent, Tiberias and Galilee. Tourism contributes about $5.8 billion annually to Israel’s economy. The most interesting story about the Masada Moshe Gilad, the fortified mountain stronghold, seemingly insurmountable and impervious, was the account of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish rebel leader captured by the Romans, about the First Jewish-Roman War and the Roman siege against the last remnants of the Jewish zealots (the Sicarii rebels) and their families (967 of them) hiding atop the Masada plateau since they overtook that Roman garrison in 66 CE. The 15,000 invaders (warrior Roman legion X Fretensis) who were led by the Roman governor of ludaea, Lucius Flavius Silva in 73-74 CE (Common Era, same as BC and BCE, but used to be politically-correct at the time avoiding reference to Christ, BC, Before Christ, and AD, anno domini, the year of our Lord), had to build a siege ramp (one made of a giant massive uphill mountain of earth reaching the top) against the western face of Masada for 2-3 months to enable the Romans to walk to the top of this tall mountain. Josephus wrote that when the Sicarii rebels and their families realized the inevitable doom was near, they decided to choose death over capture, slavery, rape, and abuse, that each man would kill his own family as painlessly and humanely as possible, and drew lots and killed each other in turn, down to the

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond


last man, who then killed himself, the only one to break the rabbinical law, because Judaism prohibits suicide. Two women and five children survived, hiding inside a water cistern, according to Josephus, who claimed the women quoted these words of exhortations by rebel leader Eleazar ben Ya’ir to his followers before the mass suicide: “Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice ... We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom.” These rebels believed they were destined to die to save Israel as a future nation, preferring death with freedom to life of slavery and inhumanity. The Masada fortress with two well-appointed palaces was actually built by the insecure King Herod the Great, well-known as an excellent builder, for his own protection between 37 and 31 BCE. He was appointed by the Roman Empire King of Judea till 4 BCE. Prior to the Parthian invasion he successfully quelled earlier on, he was governor of Galilee since 47 BCE. On April 16, 73 CE, the Romans were finally able to breach the wall of the fortress atop Masada, anticipating the capture all 967 Jews. Instead, they found “a citadel of death,” a sea of lifeless bodies sprawled all over, men, women, and children. The rebels had set all the storerooms on fire, destroying all jewelries and other valuable items, but saved the foods, medical herbs, and (hid) some records, to show the Romans the defenders retained the ability to live as they were more than well-stocked, even with water, to the end, but killed themselves as planned in defiance of the Roman empire and declared a “glorious death, preferable to a life of infamy.” To this day, inspite of some unanswered questions by Jewish and other scholars, this romanticized legend of the siege of Masada lives on as a symbol of Jewish patriotism, steadfast principle, selfless courage, and heroism, “a last stand of the State of Israel against an aggressive, tyrannical, brutal empire, with a major role in forging national identity and pride.” This UNESCO World Heritage Site will forever remain an inspiring fortress to behold for all the peoples of the world who believe in freedom and justice. *** Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. Email:

Once upon a time series...

CHARISSE’S CONFECTION A story in two Scoops Charisse wondered if she may have gotten the venue wrong. She looked at her Crema de Fruta and thought it might be out of place if she is indeed in the right place. And then she heard Dolly call her name from across the room. Dolly looked the epitome of glamor. Her hair was in a French chignon and with a tiara no less and her mauve silk gown looked like haute couture paired with what seemed like Bulgari emerald jewelry one only sees in Vogue magazine ads. Dolly was standing with a tall man in a tuxedo. He looked like he just stepped out of a GQ magazine photo shoot. Charisse was sure she has never seen him before in the center. “Must be a director of the center or something,” she thought as she made her way to them. He certainly didn’t qualify as a senior. Dolly saw the cake she held and her smile reached her eyes. “You baked this for me?” she asked. Charisse nodded and told her, “But of course. You are special, Dolly. Happy Birthday!” One of the waiters came and took the cake from her. Dolly instructed him to place the cake at the center of the fancy food spread. Dolly and Charisse kissed and hugged like old friends do. “Charisse, this is my grandson, Alex. Alex, this is Charisse, the woman I have been telling you about.” Alex shook her hand, eying her closely. Charisse thought he held her hand a bit longer than usual. “It must be my imagination,” she quickly checked herself. “Nana’s been telling me about you. You are her favorite topic on Facetime.” Alex told her with a slight smile. Then looking at Dolly, he said cryptically, “You’re right, Nana.” Just then, the strains of the Sinatra song of “The Way You Look Tonight” played and the couples took to the dance floor. Alex held out his hand to ask Charisse to

dance. They glided surprisingly seamlessly on the dance floor. Dolly went around the room to greet and talk to her guests. She relished being the silver-haired belle of the ball. Alex was attentive to his grandmother through the night but he kept an eye on Charisse who went around the room to chat and exchange pleasantries with her senior friends and their families. Many guests came and had a blast with the cuisine and the special program prepared for Dolly. Laughter rang through the night. It turns out that Dolly is a lady from a prominent family that likes to stay quiet and incognito even if her family is a big donor for many charities. She preferred to be at the Senior Center because she liked company, particularly Charisse’s company. The older woman seems to see herself in Charisse. Dance had a language all its own that magical night. Alex took her for a spin many times on the dance floor as they tried to hold their own against those tireless senior couples. If poetry can be set in motion, it was Alex and Charisse twirling the verses on the dance floor. It was as though they had cut the rug many times in a previous life. They talked easily. They would burst out laughing at the instances they could finish each other’s sentences. To their surprise, they found out they were both baptized Catholic by the same priest in the same small Spanish style church about 7 years apart — Alex first, since he was older. It was an ‘Oh My God!’ moment for Charisse — pure cosmic serendipity. Alex told her he is moving back in town after managing companies overseas to be closer to Dolly. They only have each other after all. Charisse felt her heart singing. She couldn’t remember a time to equal this one night. She felt so PAGE 12

THE 3rd International San Beda Alumni Grand Reunion will take place on July 19 to 21, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bedan alumni from all over the world are invited to join the celebration. The highlight of the weekend affair is the Gala Night on July 20 at the Nevada Ballroom of Harrah’s Hotel & Casino. Other activities include welcome socials at The Piano Bar of Harrah’s,

a golf tournament at Bali Hai Golf Club, tour of the Hoover Dam, lunch at the D’Pinoy Joint and mass at the Guardian Angel Cathedral. Organized by the San Beda Alumni Association of Southern California, this grand reunion will bring together Bedan alumni from different cities in the United States and other countries, including Manila, to reconnect with

Calendar of Events across

fellow Bedans and renew ties with their alma mater, San Beda University. This international grand reunion is made possible by Duty Free Philippines, Jun Castillo, and the GS ’72 & HS ’76 Batch of San Beda University. For inquiries and reservations, interested parties may call Philip Policarpio at (818) 536-9898 or Rey Castillo at (714) 749-2971.



Financial enrichment program in Los Angeles Come and join Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) for this FREE financial workshop on Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Attendees will be introduced you to the world of investing and learn topics such as: smart ways to invest, investing with kids, and more. Guest speakers are Jennifer Taylor, Justin Naoe, and Gerry Palon. SIPA is located at 3200 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Enter through the Robinson St. parking lot (with the basketball hoop). Limited Free Parking spots, with street parking is also available around the area. Please read/follow posted signs. If you have any questions, please contact John Swing at (213)382-1819 ext. 108 or email him at

J U LY 1 3 -AU G U ST 1 0

Tagalog classes in Los Angeles This Filipino Language & Culture Pilot class is hosted by Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) and is organized by the Filipino Language Movement led by Ms. Ivy Daulo. This is the only community-based Filipino language & culture ADULT program in the City of Los Angeles in collaboration with the Filipino Language Movement. This is a 5-session program that starts July 13 to August 10, 2019. (*Schedule is subject to change based on the number of enrollees). Come and bring your entire family and learn Tagalog together! Student benefits include certificate of completion, handouts / workbook provided, learn with other peers (adults and youth are not mixed); family learning opportunity; taught by university Filipino language instructor and lifetime member of Council for Teaching Filipino; practical language learning tips & application each week Limited slots! Hurry and register now! Prices are for all 5 sessions: Individual Adult: $150 each for 5 sessions; bring a [artner: $250 for 5 sessions ($125 each adult); parent + child: $200 for 5 sessions ($150/parent + $50/child). We urge everyone to do the whole program so you can learn more but if it’s not possible to attend all 5 Saturdays, you can choose the dates you want to join us. $30 / session for adults or $10 / session for children. Payment methods: Cash, Check (payable to: SIPA), Venmo (SIPALA) and Credit/Debit Cards are accepted. Send check payments to: SIPA at 3200 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90026. Please register by emailing Fidji Victoriano ( if paying outside of Eventbrite. SIPA is located 3200 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Limited free parking on surface lots along Robinson St. and Dillon St. Street parking is also available around the area. Please see posted signs for details.

J U LY 1 9 -2 1

International San Beda alumni grand reunion in Las Vegas The 3rd International San Beda Alumni Grand Reunion will take place on July 19 to 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bedan alumni from all over the world are invited to join the celebration. The highlight of the weekend affair is the Gala Night on July 20 at the Nevada Ballroom of Harrah’s Hotel & Casino. Other activities include welcome socials at The Piano Bar of Harrah’s, a golf tournament at Bali Hai Golf Club, tour of the Hoover Dam, lunch at the D’Pinoy Joint and mass at the Guardian Angel Cathedral. Organized by the San Beda Alumni Association of Southern California, this grand reunion will bring together Bedan alumni from different cities in the United States and other countries, including Manila, to reconnect with fellow Bedans and renew ties with their alma mater, San Beda University. This international grand reunion is made possible by Duty Free Philippines, Jun Castillo, and the GS ’72 & HS ’76 Batch of San Beda University. For inquiries and reservations, interested parties may call Philip Policarpio at (818) 536-9898 or Rey Castillo at (714) 749-2971.

J U LY 2 0

The Ibaan Association USA-Canada gala dinner in LA The Ibaan Association USA-Canada will hold its 32nd Annual Gala Dinner & Dance July 20, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City - Ballroom A at 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, California 91608. For reservations call Monica Benitez at (323) 697-3731 / email: or Irene May Villafranca at (323) 423-2299 /email: Tickets are $85 for Adults and $40 for Children (3 to 10 years old). Please make checks payable to: Ibaan Association USA-Canada and mail to: Merly Pagunsan at 5025 Heintz St. Baldwin Park, CA 91706. For sponsorship information on our 2019 Souvenir Program please contact President Noli Reyes at or call (818) 458-7888. Please RSVP by April 12, 2019.

J U LY 2 1

FACRC’s Pentecost Celebration in Granada Hills, CA The Filipino American Charismatic Renewal Community (FACRC) will have its pentecost celebration on Sunday, July 21 at St. John Baptiste De La Salle Church in Granada Hills, CA. With the theme “Holy Spirit, Set Our Hearts On Fire,” there will be a mass with Auxiliary Bishop Alex Aclan beginning at 1:30 p.m., followed by a speech by keynote speaker Fr. Ramon Valera and healing led by Bro. Robert Canton. The program will last until 7 p.m. Registration is $10 per person. St. John Baptiste De La Salle Church is located at 10738 Hayvenhurst Avenue, Granada Hills, CA 91344. For more information, please contact Ging Mangaliman at (213) 453- 2595 or May Mallari at (323) 401-0886.

J U LY 24 -28

40th annual Philippine Nurses Association of America National Convention in Atlanta, GA The Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) will have its 40th annual national convention from July 24 to 28 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA, hosted by the PNA-GA chapter. More information and details TBA. To learn about the PNA-GA, please visit:

AU G U ST 1 - 9

University of the Philippines Nursing Alumni Association International Convention & Alaskan Cruise The University of the Philippines Nursing Alumni Association International, Inc. (UPNAAI) will have its 40th convention on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. The theme will be “In the New Millennium - UPNAAI at 40: Evolving and Emerging Nursing Roles.” On Aug. 1. it will be UPNAAI Volunteers Service Day in Seattle, then 2-9 will be a cruise from Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Endicott Arm & Dawes, Victoria, and back to Seattle. Convention Fee $100 for Alumni in addition to cruise pricing. No convention charge for friends and family members. Contact Hours will be provided for the educational conference. For more information/to register and view cruise rates, please visit

AU G U ST 3 - 4

Travel, Trade & Consumer Expo in Carson, CA The second annual Travel, Trade & Consumer Expo is back on Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4 at the SouthBay Pavilion in Carson, CA. The two-day event is Southern California’s largest B2B expo showcasing tourism, trade, and investment opportunities in the USA and Philippines. It will feature networking opportunities for business-to-business, business-to-government, and business-to-consumer. The event is powered by the Asian Journal and Balikbayan Magazine. For more information, please visit

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



July 11-17, 2019 • lAS VEGAS ASIAN JOuRNAl • (702) 792-6678

Why Dawn wants to play a superhero—at 50 Richard gives in to the ‘lure of gold’ by

AllAn PolicArPio

by christinA


WITH her two children now teenagers, Dawn Zulueta feels the need to be more present in their lives. Show biz, therefore, has to take a back seat for now, she said. “My time is so precious, and I really want to devote it to my kids. My boy is turning 14 and has a lot of questions; I have to be there to answer them. That’s the reason my focus isn’t so much on work … It’s not my priority,” the actress told the Inquirer at a recent press conference for the upcoming dramatic feature, “Family History.” “Soaps were all I did since 2012. But it got tiring, so I decided to slow down three years ago,” added Dawn, who has a 13-yearold son, Jacobo, and a 10-year-old daughter, Ayisha, with her husband Antonio Lagdameo Jr. Dawn could change her mind if presented with a good pitch for a movie or show. Otherwise, she would rather stay at home. “It would take a really nice offer—a good role, a good story—to make me go out now,” said the actress, whose last soap and movie was “You’re My Home” (2016) and “Meant to Beh” (2017), re-

Dawn Zulueta

spectively. “This kind of work takes up so much of your time. And that’s why I can’t go full blast or do this every day. So, unless it’s something I enjoy, I wouldn’t sacrifice my time with my family,” she added. Is there anything specific she’s looking for in an offer? “I don’t know … I just know it when I see it. I have always wanted to be a superhero, but I haven’t gotten offers of that kind,” she related,

Photo from Instagram/@dawnzulueta

laughing. “But I believe that there are a lot of things that can be done, even at 50.” For “Family History,” which opens on July 24, the clincher was the rare opportunity of sharing the screen with comedian Michael V, who also wrote and directed the film. “He’s a fun director,” Dawn said. “I find it cute that people call our pairing ‘BiDawn.’ I feel fortunate that people find it interesting enough.”

Alden minus 25 lbs. by ricky lo

THE baby fat is gone…for good, hopefully! “I worked hard for it,” Alden Richards, who stands 5’11”, told Conversations in an exclusive interview. He looks good and feels better, on and off screen. The big “loss” is very visible in “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” Alden’s much-talked-about and eagerly-awaited team-up with Kathryn Bernardo (should we call them KathDen or AlKath for short?), and even more so in AxA, Alden’s project with designer Avel Bacudio (good friends from way, way back) who designed limited edition clothes just like what he did with Matteo Guidicelli. Alden shed those unwanted (unbecoming) pounds for both his movie with Kathryn and AxA. In the movie directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and shot entirely in Hong Kong, Alden and Kathryn submerged themselves in their characters as OFWs after not just talking with our kababayan in Hong Kong but actually “moon-


lighting” in places of work (Alden as a bartender, Kathryn as a domestic). But more on that in another story. Did you decide to lose weight for Victor Magtanggol (the GMA adventure series)? “I’d been wanting to lose weight, but I realized that I was in the wrong path. Nag-stick ako sa intermittent fasting; I was eating food na hindi tama para doon sa diet, so I ended up gaining more. I thought pumapayat ako at that time, hindi pala. Pero yes, I intended to lose weight and make more muscle.” How many pounds have you lost so far? “I used to weigh 185 lbs. and now 160 na lang, so I’ve lost 25 lbs. in only almost two months now. I decided to continue the diet even after the movie kasi mas maganda ‘yung itsura and ‘yung dating.” What kind of workout do you do and how often do you do it? “When I was in Hong Kong shooting for the movie, I stuck to high-intensity workouts and I practiced intermittent fasting.

Alden Richards photo

But during the times na puede na akong kumain, I still incorporated healthy food into my diet.” Oh, your diet. What are the do’s and don’t’s…and do you have “cheat” days? “Mahirap ‘yung early part. You really have to reset your body to accept the new diet and the types of food you’re eating now, kasi ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-crucial. Your temperament sometimes gets bad, sometimes you’re not able to think better and to think well. But now that my body has already adjusted, di na siya mahirap imaintain.”



SHOW business and politics are perennially intertwined, with celebrities running for electoral positions and government officials eager to appear on television shows for a bit of the limelight. It therefore came as no surprise that prime time leading man Richard Yap threw his hat in the congressional race in last summer’s midterm elections. The Cebuano businessman turned actor—who became a household name with roles such as Papa Chen in “My Binondo Girl” (2011) and Ser Chief in “Be Careful with my Heart” (2012)—ran for Cebu City 1st District under the PDP-Laban party. Unfortunately, despite a promising campaign, he failed to snag the post from re-electionist Raul Del Mar of the Liberal Party. Meeting Entertainment media for the first time since May’s elections, Yap was very open to share his experience in that “other world.” He admitted to The Manila Times, “Kung sa showbiz sinasabi nilang mahirap, maraming intriga, I think it’s a hundred times more in politics.” Asked what he learned from his first attempt at politics, he replied, “There’s a lot that we can learn pero I’d rather look on the positive side — marami akong naging kaibigan, maraming mababait na na tumulong at sumuporta talaga sa akin, so that’s when you know kung sino talaga ang mga kaibigan mo.” Yap went on to say, “I am thankful to the 80,000-plus people who supported me [with their votes], also kasi hindi naman expected yun for a first timer.” Looking trim and healthy from what must have been a gruelling campaign, Yap had no difficulty fitting right back into the showbiz scene when he was specially introduced as the latest addition to the fiery cast of the ABS-CBN hit series,

“Kadenang Ginto” Book 3. “I’m very happy to be back,” he declared. Still out to serve But even as he settles back into the life of a showbiz celebrity, Yap promises to be just as active in reaching out to his fellow Cebuanos post-elections as Citizen Richard. “Just because we are not in position doesn’t mean we’re going to stop helping.” Specifically, he is carrying on support for women’s livelihood which he established during the campaign. Additionally, he is actively gathering funds for a nursing school in their district that lacks classrooms and books among other neccesities. “I think [the campaign] is an eye opener that ang dami palang kailangang gawin na hindi nagagawa ng gobyerno — it needs everybody’s help. Even tayo, as ordinary citizens, we can do so much more in our community,” the actor noted. New pot of gold Choosing to use the lessons learned from the campaign to better himself and those around him, Yap meanwhile has his eyes on a different albeit golden goal, that is to give justice to the role of Leon in the hit afternoon soap, “Kadenang Ginto.” “Medyo may pressure because alam ko, it’s already a very successful show so I have to bring something to the table,” Yap admitted. Apparently, the offer to do the show came to Yap just as he decided to take a breather and lay low from commitments for a while. “Actually nabigla ako when I came back from Cebu, kasi in a week’s time ata, kinausap na ako na may offer na pumasok dito sa ‘Kadenang Ginto.’ I wanted to go on vacation first until August pero hindi na nangyari yun,” he recounted chuckling. Pressed to reveal what made him forgo his holiday plans, the actor cheekily replied, “Hindi ko

Richard Yap returns to television via the ABS-CBN hit drama series, ‘Kadenang Ginto’ photo

ma-resist yung lure of gold.” On a more serious note, he added, “This is a very welcome offer and I am very thankful, kinuha ulit ako ng ABS-CBN and my mother unit, Dreamscape.” Yap steps into the show as the new chapter in the riveting lives of Beauty Gonzales’ Romina and Dimples Romana’s Daniela unfold. Yap plays Leon, Romina’s new business partner who will guide her every step of the way and help her retrieve everything that Daniela had taken away from her. “Ibang iba si Leon dito kasi hindi siya mayaman, which is a first [compared to his previous roles where he usually played rich businessmen roles]. Dito, magumpisa ako from the bottom and magtutulungan kami ni Romina,” Yap related. “It is a challenge because itong character is quite complex, what you see is not what you get so you have to dig deeper.” Overall, Yap is thankful for his inclusion in the show’s new chapter at a time when he is personally starting his. “It feels refreshing to be back, na miss ko rin ang taping!” he ended.

Once upon a time...

PAGE 11 light she could float as though gravity has nothing on her. She beamed with delight when she noticed her cake was a sellout after Dolly blew the candles while everyone sang “Happy Birthday!” Alex held out his hand to his grandmother to dance the waltz. Just then, her phone’s alarm buzzed the midnight hour. Her heart sank and just like that, gravity pulled Charisse back on terra firma.

She heard herself sigh. “Time to call for my uber ride home,” she thought feeling a little deflated. She retrieved and wiped clean her crystal tray and walked over to Dolly and Alex to bid them goodbye and thank them for a wonderful time. Dolly kissed her on the cheek and hugged her tight telling her she is looking forward to seeing her at the Senior Center Night next week. Smiling broadly, she assured her she will be there


come hell or high water. Then out of the blue, Alex asked her, “May I take you home?” It’s funny how four small words can make one’s heart do a somersault and thump away like kettle drums. “Yes, I’d like that,” she said. *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@


(702) 792-6678 •



No need to bring your own ‘Baon’: Fil-Am chef AC Boral opens new restaurant in LA By Christina M. Oriel / AJPress WHEN news spread that Filipino American chef Charles Olalia’s four-year-old Rice Bar was closing down in May, many loyal customers deemed it a loss for lunchtime eats in Downtown Los Angeles. But when one door closes, another one opens. The 275-squarefoot restaurant along 7th Street was quickly taken over by Fil-Am chef AC Boral, who fittingly named it Baon, tailored to the working crowds who don’t bring their own packed lunch. “We have big shoes to fill because people still miss Rice Bar. When they closed down, it was a loss,” Boral admits. “We know it will take some time for people to understand what we’re doing. We’re not Rice Bar but I think we’re something that’s also really good.” Boral — a self-taught chef from Oxnard who has done Rice & Shine brunch pop-ups and special events throughout Southern California for the past six years — had a previous stint working at Rice Bar and started conversations with Olalia in April to replace the lunch counter. “Baon is a word that is really deep in the Filipino culture — food that you travel with or food that you take with you, from taking it to lunch to having it be something you bring from a family party. It’s really ingrained in us and it’s a great word

to describe what we want to do out of here,” he says. By June 17, Baon opened for weekday business with a new, expanded menu, but a similar rice bowl, comfort food concept. “I’m very bullish on wanting to be upfront with Filipino culture and not apologize for it. It’s important to me to not shy away from what the dishes are,” Boral adds. “You’re not going to tell a Thai restaurant that they can’t name their place Thiptara, or you’re not going to tell a Chinese restaurant they can’t name it something Chinese. So why would we do the same thing for our food? It’s a word that I love and people need to learn it somehow. They’ve got to start somewhere.” The interior, which has a complete view of the kitchen, seats 11 diners, but like its predecessor, it accommodates take-out and delivery orders during the lunchtime period between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The main rice bowl dishes include the chicken apritada (chicken and vegetables with tomato sauce), mushroom & tofu laing (a vegan and gluten-free version of taro leaves in coconut milk, ginger and chilies, but can be topped with an order of shrimp), pork belly adobo (a widely recognizable Filipino dish with a side of strawberry relish), and ginataang hipon (poached shrimp in coconut milk, ginger

Pork belly adobo with strawberry relish and vegetables

and chilies). What makes Baon stand out as a modern Filipino American restaurant is straying from the common popular dishes found elsewhere and introducing dishes that are typically served at home like the apritada or laing. For those wanting an accessible, yet even deeper dive into Filipino cuisine, this place is a start or for those who haven’t had these dishes in a while, Baon can fulfill that craving. “I wanted to cover different flavor profiles. Filipino food is just as varied as sinigang to apritada to pork belly to suman. It doesn’t necessarily make sense if you look at it on paper if you were to share this food with somebody. It’s a showcase, but I’m also very mindful of

Adobo pork belly tacos with strawberry relish, which chef AC Boral says is inspired by his father’s and upbringing in Oxnard, California.

the kind of capabilities and capacity we have in here,” Boral notes. Each bowl is served with a choice of rice, whether white, garlic or cauliflower (in an effort to be “inclusive” of dietary restrictions) and can be topped with a fried egg. Prices range from $8-12. Also on the menu are “small” dishes, like the sinigang lumpia (pork, rice and vegetable filled egg roll served with a kalamansi crema), strawberry adobo taco, and shrimp taco, the latter two of which are the adobo pork belly and ginataang hipon dishes in taco form. “The adobo is based on my dad’s recipe and the strawberry comes from me growing up in Oxnard, the strawberry capital of the world. It ended up being a perfect compliment that cuts through the fattiness,” Boral says. Of course a meal isn’t complete without a proper sweet ending so you can find ube suman (sticky rice cooked in banana leaves based on Boral’s mom’s recipe and his famed ensaymada butter), an ube ice cream sandwich using chocolate chip cookies, and a nutter butter banana bread made with Hawaiian peanut butter, ensaymada butter and coconut curd. Boral credits his sous chef Janice Dig Cabaysa, who has fine dining experience, for pushing the sweet items on the menu and for also “expanding my knowledge and range as a chef.” Also mentioning his mentors and experience for the past six years in particular, Boral has come a long way from his early pop-ups which he had started to get his foot into the culinary industry. Baon joins the other Filipino spots in the downtown area, with

Self-taught chef AC Boral, known for his pop-up series Rice & Shine, took over Rice Bar and opened lunch counter Baon in June. He will have another restaurant in Long Beach later this year. Photos by Patrick Manalo, The Lokel Show

Chicken apritada (chicken and vegetables in tomato sauce)

Ginataang hipon (poached shrimp in coconut milk, ginger and chilies)

Sinigang lumpia (pork, rice and vegetable filled egg roll with kalamansi crema)

Mushroom and tofu laing (taro leaves braised in coconut milk, ginger and chilies)

LASA and Ord and Broadway in nearby Chinatown. “There’s room for all of us at the top,” Boral notes. “If our food’s good, at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to speak for it.” The lunch counter has recently opened up Saturday hours from 12 to 5 p.m. for those who want to try the food but can’t get to downtown during the weekday. Baon isn’t the only thing on Boral’s plate, however. After years of the temporal pop-ups, he now has his focus on more permanent spaces, with another slated to open along 4th Street in Long Beach by the fall, with soft runs at the end of the summer.

It is said to be the first modern Filipino restaurant in Long Beach. With a Kickstarter goal of $30,000 by July 17, it seeks to be a 40-seat dining establishment, popup venue and community space. While the name is still under wraps, we can expect more creations from Boral in family-style proportions and happy hours with tapa-sized dishes. “At the end of the day, the more people I can make happy based on their dietary restrictions, it’s better that way. Filipino food is about the hospitality, it’s not about ‘you can’t have this.’ We want everyone to sit at our table,” Boral says.


July 11-17, 2019 • lAS VEGAS ASIAN JOuRNAl

Features • (702) 792-6678

Summer Fancy Food Show shines light on specialty food from the Philippines by

FOOD companies from the Philippines began joining the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in 2014 under the branding initiative Food Philippines. That year, Filipino favorites including bananas, mangoes, coconut, coffee, single-origin chocolate, organic rice, pili nut, muscovado sugar, herbal tea and the roselle plant were showcased. Through the years, the Philippine Pavilion has highlighted these Filipino ingredients and introduced them to the mainstream market, promoting the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market This year, some of these products and companies made their way east for the recently concluded Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Convention Center, the largest specialty food and beverage event in the country.

MoMar G. Visaya / aJPress

Nicanor Bautista, Special Trade representative & Consul of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) explained why it took this long to bring them to New York. “For the longest time, the focus of the DTI’s food exports promotion efforts in the US leaned towards the Fil-Am market. With over 4 million Filipinos in the US, and with nearly half of that figure residing in the West Coast, it was logical to start and consolidate efforts targeting this captive market,” he said. Bautista cited the growth of our ASEAN neighbors as one of the reasons why the government’s marketing efforts has shifted. “Our food exports to the US have not grown at par with our ASEAN competitors, mainly Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. With their own immigrant communities

nowhere near the size of the FilAm population in the US, these ASEAN competitors have managed to grow their food exports to the US to nearly four times that of the Philippines, in large part because of their decision, early on, to focus on the mainstream market,” Bautista explained. “Clearly, we have to re-direct our marketing efforts towards the bigger market, i.e., the 300 million plus mainstream food consumers in the US. The first DTI-subsidized participation in the Summer Fancy Food Show of 2019, the biggest and oldest food exhibition in the US, is one of the steps that we are taking in that direction,” he added. Bautista’s PTIC office, in recommending the participation of the Philippines in the Summer Fancy Food Show, provided the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry, with the key food sub-sectors to focus on in recruiting exhibitors to the show. “We took into account, the food products’ supply projections, state of production, export competitiveness and potential, market reception and USFDA clearances,” he said. For the US mainstream market, Food Philippines will be concentrating on the following food sectors: processed fruit, coconut products (coco water, coco cream,

Among the products from the Philippines that were showcased were dried fruits, coconut water and various coconut by-products and artisan chocolates, among others.

For the first time, a delegation of ten companies from the Philippines participated in the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Right photo shows Mansi CEO Charles Medenilla who has made it his advocacy to promote premium calamansi juice to the mainstream market. AJPress photos by Momar G. Visaya

coco sugar, coconut oil), highvalue seafood products, beverage, ice cream and organic, healthcentric natural food products. In line with this focus are a couple of companies, which have been participating in the annual food festival for years now: Sun Tropics and Mansi. With the initial success of their banana chips line using the saba bananas from the Philippines, Sharon Lao of Sun Tropics brought in three new flavors: salted caramel, maple and sweet chili. Mansi on the other hand continues to push its premium calamansi juice in a bottle and how it can be enjoyed cold and refreshing, as a hot, soothing drink or maybe as an aperitif mixed with various cocktails. This year, the company also introduced a new variant, their calamansi iced tea drink. Business is doing well, said Mansi CEO Charles Medenilla, thanks to the backing of Washington Post which declared the calamansi as “IN” in 2019. He excitedly shared that Mansi is now available in some Whole Foods stores. According to the 2015 data of the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Agriculture, the Philippines is the world’s second-largest producer of coconut and banana. The country is also a top global producer of pineapple (3rd), canned tuna (4th), and mango (10th), based on a 2013 data of the United Nations Food and Agriculture

Banana Chips made out of saba bananas from the Philippines are among the products at the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show.

A Brooklyn-based company marketed its calamansi ade products at the Fancy Food Show.

Organization. The ten companies from the Philippines which showcased their products under the FOODPhilippines pavilion at the fancy food show were: Amley Food Corporation, Brandexports Phil-

ippines, CJ Uniworld Corp., M. Lhuillier Food Products, Monde M.Y. San, Profood, S.L. Agritech Corporation, See’s International Food Mfg. Corp., Seabest Food & Beverage Corporation and Theo & Philo Chocolate Factory.

UP Maroons train in Vegas for UAAP Season 82 Dr. NOEL Fajardo of Las Vegas Gastroenterology and Vissia Calderon of Calderon Law played hosts to the UP Maroons basketball team’s in Las Vegas, before the team flies back to the Philippines for the coming UAAP season. The UP Maroons almost won last year’s UAAP championship trophy from the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Bo Perasol, UP Maroons head coach, says that Las Vegas training camp boosts his players’ confidence because of the conditioning, nutrition, training and strenghtening therapy the players get during their two-week training. It’s been more than 30 years since the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons basketball team won its lone UAAP championship trophy and 20 years since made it to the final hour until last year when the UP Maroons almost took home the championship trophy.

Balayan of Las Vegas Association celebrates 441st anniversary

BALAYAN of Las Vegas Association commemorates its 441st Anniversary in Sin City. Officers and Members of the Balayan of Las Vegas originated from the town of Balayan, Batangas. Balayan of Las Vegas’ President resty Martinez Lopez aims to unite Balayanons in Southern Nevada to share the rich culture of the Balayanons and give back through its programs and projects in their hometown. Balayan is located in the southwestern part of Batangas and south by the Balayan Bay. The town is rich among the natural resources of sugarcanes and coconuts. The town of Balayan is known for its significant events, which include the Parada ng Lechon (every June 24) and the Feast of Immaculate Conception celebrated annually every December 8. Widely known products originating from the area include the Bagoong Balayan. In 1978, a commemorative stamp was released by the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHL-

President Resty Martinez Lopez and Board of Director Jun Aesquivel recognized the presence of other Las Vegas Bataguenos (Nasugbu, Lipa, Lemery, Taal and Tanauan)

2019-2021 Balayan Las Vegas Association Officers taking their oath of office with Atty. Nadia C. Jurani

Post) to celebrate the 400 years ity of Balayan in the province of Anniversary of the municipal- Batangas.

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071119 - Las Vegas Edition  

071119 - Las Vegas Edition