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August 7-9, 2019 Volume 29 - No. 61 • 2 Sections - 16 Pages


DATELINE Popular boba chain settles on alleged sexual harassment of young Filipina employees FROM THE AJPRESS NEWS TEAM ACROSS AMERICA

Lawsuit alleges manager of two franchises targeted Filipina employees between the ages of 17 and 23

Duterte prays: Spare PH from ISIS attacks by RITCHEL


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 5, admitted that he has been praying to God to spare the Philippines from possible attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS). According to him, the thought of the extremist group harming the country makes him nervous. He said he is afraid that a lot of Filipino will lose their lives if ISIS enters the Philippines. “Meron po akong ISIS at ito yung nagbibigay sa

akin ng kaba talaga. I am not a person easily swayed itong mga dito, but… nakikita naman niyo, nababasa naman ninyo — CNN, you go to YouTube, wherever you are — makita ninyo ngayon (I’m still thinking about ISIS and that makes me nervous. I am not a person who is easily swayed but you see what’s happening on CNN or on YouTube, wherever you are),” said Duterte in a speech in Malacañang Monday evening. “Ang tinatakutan ko yung (What I’m scared of is)… just like Iraq, Syria na maraming inosenteng taong nadadali (where a lot of innocent people died). Ta-

lagang ako’y nagdarasal, I’m praying, I really pray, talagang lumuluhod ako sa Diyos na (I really kneel in front of God) to spare us the kind of brutality and cruelty in our country because it will really be bloody. Bloody as it can ever be,” he added. However, Duterte assured that he will not go down without fighting. “Ayaw kong mag-umpisa. Ayaw ko naman sa panahon ko na gagawin mo sa akin ‘yan. Do it some other time pero ‘wag sa akin. Hindi talaga ako papayag at hindi ako magpalugi (I don’t want to start it.


IN late July, the popular boba and restaurant chain Tapioca Express settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on allegations that a franchise owner harassed young Filipina employees. Per the settlement, Tapioca Express is to pay $102,500. The lawsuit alleges that the owner of two Tapioca Express stores in Chula Vista and National City “intentionally” took “advantage of time alone with” young Filipina employees between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier called for an end to the the ages of 17 and 23 to make “repeated and un- “visa upon arrival” privilege of foreigners entering the Philippines. photo wanted comments of a sexual nature and physical contact,” according to the EEOC. “We commend the young women for coming forward to shine a light on the harassment to which they were subjected,” Christopher Green,

PH visa to be stamped on passports of Chinese nationals


Cesar Sayoc, Fil-Am who mailed pipe bombs, sentenced to 20 years in prison THE Filipino American man who pled guilty in March for mailing inoperative pipe bombs to high-profile Democrat leaders and public figures was sentenced on Monday, August 5, to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In reading the sentence, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff concluded that Cesar Sayoc, 57, made a “conscious choice” to design bombs that would not explode. “He hated his victims, he wished them no good,” said U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “But he was not so lost as to wish them dead, at least not by his own hand.” Sayoc was charged for 65 felony counts from four sets of charges after he mailed 16 explosive packages to 13 political targets including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President President Joe Biden, and current 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.




THE Philippine visa will now be stamped on passports of Chinese nationals wishing to enter the country. President Rodrigo Duterte has approved Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s proposal to replace the practice of putting the visa on a piece of paper, presBEAUTIES AND THE PRESIDENT. President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with the Miss Earth Philippines 2019 winners who paid a idential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.


courtesy call on the president at the Malacañang Palace on Monday, August 5.

Malacañang photo by King Rodriguez

Sara Carpio undecided about Senators weigh in on running for president in 2022 reimposition of death penalty by DAPHNE




CEBU CITY –– Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is still undecided as to whether or not she will run for the country’s top post in 2022. In an interview Tuesday, August 6, Carpio said she was still keeping herself busy with running the affairs and projects for Davao City. Political plans for 2022 elections, she said, were still not discussed. “I haven’t thought about 2022 yet. My administration is busy to make sure Davao City would experience some gains during the administration of President Ro- Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor drigo Duterte. I don’t want the Dabawenos to be disap- Sara Duterte-Carpio attended Cebu’s 450th pointed,” Carpio said. Founding Anniversary on Tuesday, August 6.

u PAGE A2 photo by Dale Israel

SENATORS in the 18th Congress on Tuesday, August 6, had their first debate on the plenary floor on the reimposition of the death penalty. After Sen. Manny Pacquiao delivered a privilege speech on the matter, several senators took their turn to interpellate. In his speech, Pacquiao insisted that “it is high time” that the death penalty be imposed against drug traffickers and manufacturers as the government’s war on drugs could no longer deter them

committing crimes. However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III interjected that among the reasons behind the continuing problem on illegal drugs is “bad demand reduction strategy.” “We won’t need the death penalty. We won’t need these laws if our demand reduction strategy is very successful,” Sotto said during the interpellation. He proposed that the government implement resistance education programs in schools so that children would know that consuming drugs is bad.


Advocates respond to USCIS plan to cut parole for family of Filipino WWII vets by CHRISTINA


tional chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Eduction Project, said the pronounceFILIPINO AMERICAN veteran ment is an “egregious act of inorganizations are decrying the justice and discrimination.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration “This is another broken promServices (USCIS) announcement ise against our veterans. It is to terminate the pathway that re- senseless and totally unacceptunited Filipino World War II vet- able to terminate a program that erans with their families. would have allowed children to USCIS on Friday, August 2 said rejoin their parents,” Taguba that it plans to cease the Filipino said. “It is patently arbitrary and World War II Veterans Parole unjust to target aging and ailing program in line with President veterans who only have a few Donald Trump’s 2017 executive years to live.” order on border security and The administration said it will immigration enforcement that stop the categorical process and File photo from June 9, 2016 shows Filipino World War II veteran Rudy Panaglima speaking about the parole program for veterans like him, as Senators Tim Kaine and Mazie Hirono look called for determining parole on determine per case if the parole has “urgent humanitarian reaon. Under the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, Panaglima’s two adult children a “case-by-case basis.” Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, na- sons or significant public benewere able to come to the United States. Photo courtesy of FilVetREP AJPress

fit” consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act. “In a time where the Trump administration often questions the patriotism of others, we question where is that patriotism now for our veterans? When America needed them, our Filipino World War II veterans fought and sacrificed…Parole authority is provided when there is significant public benefit or an urgent humanitarian reason. The public benefit of our WWII Filipino veterans was met in their service to country nearly 80 years ago,” Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, an organization that advocated for the parole program, said in a statement follow-

ing Friday’s announcement. The Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, which was rolled out in 2016 under then-President Barack Obama, expedited the process for certain family members of the veterans — who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents — to come to the country. While waiting for their immigrant visas to be issued, these relatives could provide immediate support and care for the aging veterans, given that visa wait times for Filipino American families can exceed 20 years. As of June 21, 301 Filipinos have received travel documents


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Duterte prays: Spare PH...

PAGE A1 I don’t want it to happen within my term because I will not allow it and I will not go down without a fight),� he stated. Threats of Islamic State militants began when local terror group Maute pledged allegiance to ISIS and laid siege to Marawi City. The attack led Duterte to declare Martial law in Mindanao

on May 23, 2017. Over the weekend, a supposed leaked alert memo issued to intelligence units in Northern Luzon ordered intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) to confirm a report on a “Crusader City� in their area of operation that are “being targeted for terror attack.�

From the Front Page

A crusader city, according to the memo, is a term used by ISIS to describe a “target area� to fuel a supposed war between Muslims and Christians. The AFP, for its part, clarified Monday that there were no verified terror attacks in cities in Northern Luzon. It added that the memo was authentic but it contained raw information. n

Sara Carpio undecided... PAGE A1 Carpio attended the 450th Founding Anniversary of Cebu, which gathered all mayors, vice mayors, and councilors of the 52 component towns and cities of Cebu. She was invited as a guest of honor by Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, whose local political party, One Cebu, is allied with Carpio’s Hugpong Ng Pagbabago. Carpio will still return to Cebu as both local government units will soon be signing a sisterhood pact between the Cebu Provincial government and the Davao City government. During her visit to Cebu, Carpio reiterated that she was praying for God’s guidance as to what her decision would be. Asked whether Pastor Apollo Quiboloy had convinced her to run, Sara said: “No. He just told me to pray because only God can answer that question.� The Davao City Mayor said she even joked that her decision will be made in 2023 to dispel speculations and questions. But she said people continued to ask her decision. Carpio arrived at the Cebu Capitol for the traditional flag-raising ceremony for the founding anniversary of the first and oldest province in the country. She later toured around each of the Agri-fair booths set up by the 52 towns and cities of Cebu at the Capitol grounds. Afterward, she attended the program with dignitaries and top Cebu officials. During her speech, Carpio said she took the opportunity to be here so she could personally thank the Cebuanos for their support during the last elections. n

TACKLING D I V O R C E B I L L S. Se n a te President Vicente Sotto III (left) and Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri answer queries on the pending divorce bills during a press conference at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday, August 5. PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan

Senators weigh in on reimposition of...

PAGE A1 Sotto also proposed a “massive� rehabilitation program for those already dependent on illegal drugs. “The bottom line is the day we stop buying, the day they stop selling,� the Senate President said. He said he hoped the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights that will tackle the bill would concentrate on the demand reduction program so that legislation for the death penalty could be focused “only for highlevel drug trafficking.� Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros argued that, though the death penalty would only be imposed on high-level drug traffickers and manufacturers, there would be no assurance that this would solve the country’s drug problem. “Kahit limitahan ang parusang

kamatayan sa mga drug lords, kahit pa sa mga mandarambong, walang katiyakan na matutugunan nito ang problema sa droga at pagnanakaaw sa kaban ng bayan (Even if the death penalty would be reserved for drug lords and even plunderers, there’s no certainty that this will solve the problem of drugs and stealing from the country’s coffers),� Hontiveros said. She said the “sustainable� solution would be the reformation the country’s overall justice system “to ensure that the law would be applied swiftly and evenly.� According to her, “the real deterrent to crime� is not the reimposition of capital punishment but the “certainty� that criminals will be “arrested, prosecuted and punished.�

“The effectiveness of the law is not determined by its harshness or ruthlessness, it is determined by its sureness, its certainty,� she added. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also questioned the argument that the imposition of the death penalty, saying: “A thought in our minds: Is it really a deterrent? Because in some countries where they have the death penalty, there is still a proliferation of drugs.� He said he hoped that proof that capital punishment as a deterrent to crime could be presented in further tackling of the issue. On the issue of enforcement, Zubiri said the government should support the police by giving them the best equipment so that they could “do their job to the best of their ability.� n

PH visa to be stamped on passports of...

PAGE A1 Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, vowed that the Department of Justice will monitor the stay of Chinese tourists in the country. During the Cabinet meeting Monday night, August 5, Guevarra assured the president that the DOJ will implement immigration measures should the Chinese nationals exceed their allowable stay in the country. Last week, Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete bared that the Bureau of Immigration has been reviewing the visa upon arrival privilege of foreigners entering the Philippines. According to Perete, there have

been informal recommendations to review the scheme to address the loopholes in the system. The Immigration bureau has been reviewing the mechanism as early as about a month before Locsin suggested ending the visas upon arrival scheme. “We saw a rise in the number of foreign nationals in the previous years due to emerging industries such as the online gaming industry,� Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in May, referring to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, where 138,001 foreign nationals are employed based on data from the BI and the Department of Labor and Employment.

“Issues and challenges only appear now. This has never been a problem in the past because of the relatively smaller number of foreign nationals working in the Philippines then,� he also said then. “We need to put an end to visas upon arrival; all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting. We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide,� Locsin tweeted July 31 This was in response to the remarks of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that he considers the influx of Chinese nationals in the country as a threat. n








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With less than half of eligible Fil-Am voters registered in Biden is latest 2020 presidential California, civic engagement project seeks to change that hopeful to court Vegas AAPIs by RAE


FILIPINOS are one of the largest Asian populations in the United States with a population exceeding four million. In California alone, 1.6 million Filipino Amercans all the state home, making them the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander group. Yet despite the large numbers, Fil-Ams lack in civic engagement and political representation. Of the 19,432,609 registered voters in California, only 396,000 or 33 percent are Fil-Am. Furthermore, there is only one Fil-Am in the California state Legislature — Assemblymember Rob Bonta — but none in the state Senate. In comes the Filipino Voter Empowerment Project (FVEP), a nonpartisan project that was founded in 2017 as a spinoff to efforts done by the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) on increasing civic education and participation in elections among Fil-Ams. Running the project are Aquilina Soriano-Versoza, the founder and current Executive of the PWC; Alex De Ocampo, a philanthropic advisor for the Saban Family Foundation; and Marco Meneghin, who has worked as a communications

Former VP stresses power of AAPIs, calls for gun control after El Paso shooting by KLARIZE


Pilipino Workers Center Executive Director Aquilina Soriano Versoza talks to volunteers who are running a phone bank for the Filipino Voter Empowerment Project.

consultant, speech writer, and political advisor in government and nonprofits. “At the end of the day, you want your community to be there when decisions are being made and when legislation is being drafted. That’s going to impact the community, and it’s vital that we have representation,” De Ocampo told the Asian Journal. “When you look at what’s happening across America with voter disenfranchisement, a lot of people are not realizing the potential things in terms of right to vote,” he added. “When we came together, we were realizing that there needed to be more voter

education and civic engagement within the Filipino community.” One of the issues FVEP seeks to improve is Filipino visibility in California and making sure that the concerns and needs of Fil-Ams — as a large part of the state’s population — are addressed and known. “As Filipinos, we also face a lot of different challenges,” said Soriano-Versoza. One example she gave was of the 2016 California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which extended overtime pay rights to personal attendants working in homes who were not previously PAGE A4

Advocates respond to USCIS plan to cut... PAGE A1 under the parole program since 2016 and 75 cases are still pending adjudication as of March 31, USCIS spokesperson Maria Elena Upson told the Asian Journal in an email. Among the program’s beneficiaries is 89-year-old Rudy Panaglima of Arlington, Virginia, whose two adult children were able to come to the U.S. from the Philippines in 2018 to care for him and his late wife before she passed away. “We served under the American flag, and yet we continue to be treated as if our sacrifices don’t matter,” Panaglima said, recalling the 1946 Rescission Act that denied Filipino war veterans benefits. “Who are we that the president should think less of us?” Justice for Filipino American Veterans national coordinator Art Garcia said the Filipino American community “can never forget this transgression” and should consider policies like this during the

upcoming election cycle. While the phase out of the program is not yet final, families who have benefited will be covered until it expires in June 2021, “unless otherwise terminated,” USCIS said. The agency also suggested that it may allow a 90-day transition period for beneficiaries who have not adjusted their status after the parole expires. Some immigration lawyers are suggesting that families in the meantime look for alternatives for lawfully staying in the country. “Those beneficiaries of the program should proactively seek other avenues of lawful presence, including through more general parole programs, and other non-immigrant status until their priority date becomes current, at which point they can seek adjustment of status through their veteran family member’s petition. They should also explore other family and employment-based avenues to obtain permanent residence,” Darrick

Tan, an attorney in Los Angeles who has advised several cases on the parole program, told the Asian Journal. USCIS’ announcement on Friday also affects the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program. Estimates show that there are currently less than 6,000 Filipino World War II veterans still living in the United States. In recent years, there have been multiple efforts to honor the remaining veterans, including the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Act in 2009, which rewarded a one-time lump sum payment to these veterans and their families. Before leaving office, Obama also signed a measure that awarded them with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act was introduced in both the House and Senate this past May to expedite the visa process for children of Filipino World War II veterans. ■

LAS VEGAS — While on his campaign tour through Las Vegas, on Saturday, August 3, former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joseph R. Biden met with members of the Las Vegas Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community at Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant to share his campaign plans and promises. Before Biden addressed the crowd of Las Vegas’ AAPI community leaders, U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) delivered remarks on the former vice president, and among Biden’s achievements, she noted that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 brought forth

two key benefits for the AAPI community: the Veterans Equity Compensation Fund for Filipino World War II veterans and the “first-time funding” for AAPI health clinics. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for that,” Titus said, introducing Biden to the applauding crowd. Biden then met and shook hands with some of the attendees — which included some Nevada lawmakers — cheekily introducing himself as “Jill Biden’s husband.” Before discussing his campaign, Biden acknowledged the Walmart terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas that happened hours before. “Before we begin, a somber note I apologize, but it can’t go without saying what just hap-

pened,” Biden told the crowd. “We don’t know much of the details right now but I can say with conviction: enough is enough is enough and it’s been enough for the past five years.” The attack had been lodged by a single shooter who used a semiautomatic firearm to murder 20 people. Biden called for tighter federal gun laws including universal background checks for the sale of firearms. (In the 1990s as senator of Delaware Biden championed bills that prevented the manufacture and sales of certain assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but they were not renewed after 10 years.) “This is a sickness. This is well beyond anything we should be tolerating and the fact is we can PAGE A4

Cesar Sayoc, Fil-Am who mailed pipe bombs... PAGE A1 On Monday, Sayoc apologized and told the court, “I am beyond so very sorry for what I did.” “Now that I am a sober man, I know I was a very sick man. I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life. She told me to get help,” he added. Other targets of the mailed explosives included public figures like actor Robert Deniro and billionaire George Soros, as well as the CNN offices in Atlanta and New York. A list of over 100 names were also found in Sayoc’s van, which was covered in political images and stickers of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. In pleading guilty in March, Sayoc said that while the devices were “intended to look like pipe bombs,” he had no intention for them to detonate, but was aware of the possibility that they would. “I wish more than anything I could turn back time and take back what I did,” said on Monday. “With all my heart and soul, I feel the pain and suffering of these victims and I will be apologizing to them for the rest of my life.” Seeking to get Sayoc a minimum sentence of 121 months or 10 years, Sayoc’s defense attorneys in the weeks leading up to his sentencing, pointed to a troubled childhood, mental illness, and steroid abuse. In a 39-page sentencing memo,

Sayoc’s attorneys said that a “series of traumatic events” including abandonment by his father and sexual abuse by his Catholic school teacher as a child, pushed Sayoc “further and further into the margins of society” before finding a “sense of ommunity” among ardent Trump supporters. Assistant Federal Defender Ian Marcus Amelkin again on Monday highlighted Sayoc’s mental health and steroid use as having played a part in Sayoc’s actions and political radicalization. “We believe that the president’s rhetoric contributed to Mr. Sayoc’s actions in this offense,” said Amelkin. He said, “It is impossible to separate the political climate and his mental illness when it comes to the slow boil.” Prosecutors on the other hand, sought a life sentence and highlighted that in addition to planning and mailing the IEDs, real and highly dangerous components were used in making then. They also pointed to Sayoc’s previous run-ins with the law, including a 2002 conviction for making bomb threats, as justification for seeking a life sentence. On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Kim said that Sayoc’s plan was to “deter and chill political activity” and that Sayoc “set out to terrorise people.” “Politics cannot justify a terrorist attack,” she added.

Cesar Sayoc Jr. Photo courtesy of the Broward County Sheriff

Though not agreeing to a life sentence, Rakoff described the defense team’s focus on Trump’s and his supporter’s influence as a “sideshow.” ‘What counts is what he did, and what he intended at the time that he did it,” said Rakoff, further describing Sayoc’s actions as “by any measure, horrendous.” The decision to sentence Sayoc to 20 years as “no more” and “no less” than what he deserved,” said Rakoff. “While none of the devices exploded, at the very least, they were intended to strike fear and terror into the minds of their victims and to intimidate those victims (mostly prominent political figures) from exercising their freedom,” wrote Rakoff in his opinion. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)

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Palace slams New York Times editorial vs Duterte by Ritchel

Mendiola AJPress

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for president, makes a campaign stop at a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 3. AJPress photos by Robert Macabagdal

Biden is latest 2020 presidential hopeful to court... PAGE A1

beat the National Rifle Association (NRA), we can beat the gun manufacturers because I did it. There are answers to this, we can do this. One of my priorities as your president will be on Day 1 to go after [the NRA]. We’ve beat them before and we can beat them again.” Going into his relationship with the AAPI community, Biden said, “In a sense I was raised politically by” renowned AAPI U.S. senators from Hawaii Daniel Inouye and the late Spark Matsunaga and he “learned early on the fact that what was going in the AAPI community we ignored for much, much too long.” “The AAPI community has made enormous contributions to America, and the fact that you are the fastest growing group in this state and other parts of the country is really consequential,” the former vice president remarked, noting the resourcefulness of Asian immigrants who started businesses from the ground up. Immigrants, Biden said, are the foundation of the United States, noting the similarities between ancestors’ decision to leave everything they knew in Ireland to move to the U.S. and families from Central America who are doing the same thing today. “Folks, you’re the reason why we’re who we are. It is not a joke, it’s the god’s honest truth. What makes us the most unique country in the world is that we constantly remake ourselves, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing, mak-

ing sure that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is fully integrated into everything we do,” Biden said, who brought up the Obama administration’s efforts to compensate the more than 200,000 Filipino veterans who fought in World War II and their families. Biden also brought up the plight of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and he noted that the Asian immigrant experience should not be left out of the national conversation on immigration reform. “Most people think only about Latino immigrants when we talk about DREAMers and DACA, but the fact of the matter is that DACA offered opportunities to thousands AAPI DREAMers as well,” Biden said. “We need to fix our immigration system but we can’t leave behind certain communities living in constant fear. It’s not who we are.” Leveraging his experience as vice president under President Barack Obama, Biden noted that he wants to restore the U.S. as a model of diplomacy and a country that works to strengthen alliances with other nations. He also made a case for diversity within the systems of power in the U.S. government, reminding the crowd of the volume of AAPI officials appointed under the Obama administration. “We have great responsibilities and our country and administration should look like our people. It should look like who we are. We had more AAPI judges than

all other administrations combined [and] more women than all other administrations. When you look at our administration, it looked like America and that’s critically important, especially at a time when this president is so engaging in such vile conduct in the way he talks about people,” Biden said, citing President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks on the black, Latino and Muslim communities. Similar to the rest of the pool of Democrats looking to unseat Trump in 2020, Biden condemned the sitting president’s language, referencing Trump’s declaration that there were some “very fine people” at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia two years ago as well as the policies and proposals that limit the scope of opportunity for minorities. “It’s not a question of whether we want to win or whether we can win. We have to win,” Biden said. “We can begin to become the country we thought we were and working our way towards.” After months of “will he or won’t he” whispers among political pundits, Biden officially announced he was running for president on April 25, and since then, he’s held a steady lead in the polls. As of Tuesday, August 6, Biden has a comfortable lead according to two polls: a poll from Quinnipiac puts Biden 11 points ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a poll from Politico/Morning Consult puts the former vice president 14 points ahead of Sanders. n

MALACAñANG on Saturday, August 3, slammed the New York  Times (NYT) for spreading “false information” about the Duterte administration. In the NYT’s editorial entitled “In the fight to save the planet, its defenders are being killed,” the publication cited a survey by rights group Global Witness that named the Philippines as the most dangerous country for land and environmental activists. According to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the editorial was “not surprising” since the newspaper “has been dishing out false information and untruthful narratives on the Philippine situation” under President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership. “The American publication has not exerted the research required of responsive journalism. Neither did it conduct an in-depth inde-

pendent study on such a delicate subject-matter,” he said in a statement. “The NYT has the reckless habit of relying mainly on false facts regarding this administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and the causes of murders occurring in the land areas of the country, peddled by the communist rebels and their supporting leftleaning organizations, as well as the political opposition,” Panelo added. The spokesman pointed out that communists were to blame for the high number of land defenders’ killings, not the government. “Global Witness made it appear that it is the government which is to blame for the situation, while failing or omitting to factor the local communist movement and armed conflicts as critical components thereof,” Panelo said. “It has not considered the fact

that many of our local authorities, security forces and even tribal leaders died protecting land rights against communist insurgents who want to control these areas. Necessarily, the president had to undertake measures to maintain peace and order in the affected localities,” he added. Panelo also defended Duterte after the NYT editorial called him “brutal.” “The president is not brutal. He does not allow any law enforcer to use savage methods in enforcing the law. Anyone who goes against police protocols in effecting arrest and complying with court orders are prosecuted administratively and criminally,” Panelo said. “The president is very strict in enforcing the law. No friendship, alliances or blood relationship temper nor impede this enforcement. No one is spared from the harsh application of the law,” he added. n

Popular boba chain settles on alleged...

PAGE A1 director of the EEOC office in San Diego, told the Times of San Diego. “Their strength may give courage to other young people or those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who may be suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace to come forward as well. The EEOC added that the alleged harassment led to some employees to quit their jobs. The EEOC did not disclose how many employees were harassed, but according to a statement from Tapioca Express sent to Asian Journal, the EEOC lawsuit “involved two employees.” In the statement sent to the Asian  Journal, Tapioca Express denied the allegations and

maintained that it operates “in a non-discriminatory fashion,” saying that “we would never tolerate the harassment [of our] team members.” “While we vehemently [deny] the EEOC’s allegations — including that it would ever discriminate based on an employee’s sex — the organization has moved far beyond those issues, and it made no sense to litigate the case through trial, especially considering that the cost of resolving this matter was far less than the cost of going forward through trial and would allow us to avoid wasting unnecessary resources which are better directed towards our members and our mission,” Tapioca Express wrote. Along with monetary relief to

the victims, Tapioca Express has also agreed to hire “an external monitor” to evaluate the company’s sexual harassment policies and procedures so they are in compliance with EEOC regulations. All employees will also undergo anti-sexual harassment training. “Harassment remains a persistent problem in the workplace, which must be addressed topdown in any company,” Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement. “We are encouraged by the steps Tapioca Express has taken to resolve this matter and the measures it has put in place to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

With less than half of eligible Fil-Am voters... PAGE A3 entitled to overtime pay under California state law. “We’ve been excluded from a lot of protections and we took a legislative campaign to change the law — to include caregivers into a lot of these protections like all other workers,” added SorianoVersoza. “We really saw how important having a strong presence by the Filipino community is in the eyes of elected officials and policymakers.” When it comes to challenges of civic involvement and voting behavior, FVEP has noticed them coming from lack of education and knowledge of the U.S. system, and from there being little research regarding the Fil-Am community and their concerns and voting behaviors. “Part of it is due to the fact that we’re a highly immigrant population, so we’re less familiar with this system here and how much it can make an impact on your life,” said Soriano-Versoza. “There is some cynicism in terms of dealing with corruption in the Philippines for example, and then also not necessarily doing full ownership of having a voice in this community and in this country,” she added. As for Filipinos being very underrepresented in terms of political representation, she said it would make a difference for FilAms to actually see themselves in the realm of politics and policymaking. Asked why Fil-Ams have had a tendency to shy away from civic involvement, De Ocampo suggested that as an immigrant population, it simply hasn’t been made a priority. “There hasn’t been this rush,” said De Ocampo. As immigrants, many Fil-Am families have naturally gravitated to what has worked in providing stability and financial security. For De Ocampo — who has worked in non-profit and political spaces, and was a 2017 candidate for District 51 of the CA State Assembly — a big majority of his family members have worked in the healthcare industry as nurses, or in business as accountants. “My parents immigrated here from Pampanga, they put their head down, and they worked hard,” said De Ocampo, adding that they too gravitated to professions in the medical field. “Those are great professions and it’s amazing that our community is out there, but for a lot of these spaces, there hasn’t been a pipeline,” said De Ocampo. “I think there’s some opportunities there and we need to encourage

our community to join and be a part of that pipelines to get more people involved in civic engagement and involved in working in government.” To address these challenges, FVEP has continued outreaching through phone banking, meeting with people one-on-one during outreach and community events, or through media like the Filipino Channel or GMA. In addition to providing education and information, FVEP has also been working on establishing infrastructure and data to make sure Fil-Ams and their concerns remain visible in the future. One way has been through working with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in developing survey tools to answer fundamental questions about the Fil-Am community. This includes research on Fil-Am trends and statistics around Filipino voting, on what barriers and challenges they face, and on what things the Fil-Am community responds to, to ultimately create a helpful report. ‘Through the Looking Glass’ On Saturday, August 10, FVEP will be hosting an event called “Through the Looking Glass: An Exploration of Alternative Realities” as a non-partisan effort to bring awareness to Fil-Ams across California and the nation. The benefit event will be held at Rose Studio 54 in Los Angeles, and will allow attendees to explore eight separate art installation rooms created to not only bring people into alternate realities and take photos within the rooms, but to interact with the spaces and become part of artists’ visions. De Ocampo described the event as being “Instagram ready,” thanks to the handpicked individuals who created the spaces. “It’s going to be real fun and we want everyone to stop by and take photos and enjoy with other people from the community. It’s really a great way to raise awareness about getting Fil-Ams to be engaged in and to vote in this upcoming election,” said De Ocampo. Soriano-Versoza added that events and efforts like this are important in that they show the public that there are those that want to invest in the Filipino community. “We’re the ones who have to do a lot of fundraising because it takes actual machinery to be able to get information out to our large community,” said Soriano-Versoza. “Phone bankers, all the infrastructure for phone banking and canvassing, and running PSAs and creating campaigns — all those things take a lot of resourc-

es,” she added. “So this is us having a fun visible interactive even that brings them together so that our community.” General admission tickets are still available for the event and can be found on Eventbrite through FVEP’s “Through the Looking Glass: An Exploration of Alternative Realities” Facebook event page. A worthy cause Through FVEP, the team has been able to see first hand how efforts to get Fil-Ams more involved in civic engagement and in exercising their voice has impacted the community. For Soriano-Versoza, many of her favorite encounters have come from phone banking where phone bankers of not only different ages, but of different Filipino dialects come together. “When we get a lot of different folks who speak different dialects, it’s refreshing for those who get on the phone,” said Soriano-Versoza. “Not only are they getting outreached to, they’re getting outreached to in their own language and their specific dialect. They’re just so happy to engage and they’re surprised that their language is being represented and has that kind of value.” One of De Ocampo’s favorite personal stories happened at a citizenship swearing-in ceremony where FVEP was outside tabling and providing information on voter registration and on how to be civically engaged. De Ocampo recalled meeting one elderly Filipina visibly excited to register to vote. “It meant so much to her and to see her make that signature and hand me the registration card was very heartwarming,” shared De Ocampo. He added, “It meant to much to her and it meant so much to me, and I think it means to much to the community to see someone like her who shared her story with me about her struggle to gain citizenship, and how she now felt whole as a Filipino-American.” De Ocampo also encouraged those interested in getting involved with FVEP to look at the different options of helping out, whether it be spreading the word about the FVEP’s programs, making a donation, or volunteering their time by joining a voter registration drive or through phone banking. And as always, he added, find ways to encourage people and work in any way to strengthen the Fil-Am community. “And if that’s not with us, it’s through volunteerism or through keeping engaged and aware,” said De Ocampo. n

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Living in the dark

MEN have gone to the moon and people can enjoy face time with loved ones almost anywhere in the world, any time, thanks to electronic gadgets. Yet in the Philippines, an estimated two million families, or about 13 million people, are still living without electricity, according to the head of the party-list coalition in the House of Representatives. Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman said 19,000 barangays still have not been covered by the government’s rural electrification program. That’s over a tenth of the population still relying on kerosene, wood or paper for lighting purposes. Apart from lighting, what can people not have or do in the absence of electricity? Obviously, nighttime activities are limited with inadequate lighting, and productivity is retarded. In a wired world, access is acutely limited for people without electricity. People in remote areas cannot enjoy television and the full benefits of the Infor-



mation Age. Battery chargers for cell phones and computers need electricity. In some remote villages, people must travel to the town center just to charge their

cell phones. The electrification program is supposed to be supervised by the National Electrification Administration. Romero wants to expand the authority of the NEA to discipline rural electric cooperatives that are inefficient or fail to live up to their commitments in rural electrification. Apart from electrification, the government must also ramp up efforts to provide safe water and sanitation facilities in rural areas. If communities are too remote for electrification, they usually also lack modern water networks and sanitation facilities including toilets. Residents in such areas rely on deep wells, but the safety of groundwater is un- the illnesses attributed to contaminated drinking reliable. Periodic outbreaks of diseases including water. Safe water and electricity are among the basic cholera have been reported in recent years, with photo

human needs in the modern world. Any anti-poverty program must give priority to meeting these needs. (

Facts reveal how Trump’s hateful rhetoric and Congress’ inaction have led to recent mass shootings The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS PUT YOURSELF in the shoes of the men and women who have just lost their son, daughter, mother, father, spouse, or best friend to the bullets coming from these senseless mass shooting in America. As of August 5, which is just the 217th day of 2019, there have been 255 mass shootings in the United States, which means there is an average of more than one mass shooting a day. A mass shooting, as defined by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), refers to “any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.” Almost all of these mass shootings have one thing in common — the shooters use assault weapons that were made to be used by soldiers in war zones, not by civilians! As CBS News reported, just in the past eight days, more than 100 people have been shot, including the most recent shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas with 22 people killed, and at least 24 wounded. In less than 24 hours, nine people were killed and 27 were injured in a historic district of Dayton, Ohio.

According to the data tracked by the GVA, “there have been a total of 33,237 total shooting incidents, resulting in 8,796 gun deaths and 17,480 injuries in America in 2019 as of August 5 alone. “These 2019 numbers could top the record of 2016, which recorded 382 mass shootings. The GVA reported that “the past two years came close, with 346 mass shootings in 2017 and 240 in 2018.” Even before President Donald Trump was sworn in, the United States was already notorious for being obsessed with guns, more than any other country in the world. According to a November 7, 2017 New York Times report, “no other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shooters than the United States. According to a 2015 study by Prof. Adam Lankford at the University of Alabama, “Americans comprise 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns.” The Times further reported that according to the study — from 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American. The University of Alabama study found that worldwide, “a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience mass shooting,” and this relationship held when Prof. Lankford excluded the United States, which would

reveal that mass shootings “could NOT be explained by some other factors particular to the United States. It remained true when he controlled for homicides, which would suggest “mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.” We would think a progressive and information-driven rich industrialized nation like the United States would address this issue head-on, just like how other nations have acted decisively to put an end to this tragedy. But not in the United States, thanks but no thanks to the powerful lobbyist National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has been heavily investing in lawmakers and the executive office by channeling most of their powerful dirty money to the election campaigns of members of the Republican Party and President Donald Trump. This is why no stricter gun control laws have been passed even despite the string of mass shootings in the United States, offering only “thoughts and prayers.” The last time the U.S. federal government enacted a law to limit gun ownership was 25 years ago — the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It was written to be effective only for 10 years, the law banned the manufacture, sale and possession of some military-style assault weapons, including AR-15. However, the law reduced the

number of mass shootings during the decade it was in effect, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery published in January 2019. When that law expired in 2004, several attempts had been made to bring back the law. Following the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2013, President Barack Obama pushed to renew the ban, only to be blocked by the Republican-led Senate. Obama initiated his own measure to ban the mentally ill from purchasing a gun following the San Bernardino shootings in 2015. This Obama-era regulation required the Social Security Administration to submit records of mentally disabled people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the FBI database used to determine whether someone can buy a firearm under the 1993 Brady Bill. As reported by USA Today, this rule would have applied to about 75,000 people who were “adjudicated as a mental defective” and who had applied for Social Security benefits, and had a mechanism to notify those affected so they could appeal. HOWEVER, when Trump became president, this regulation was among the very first pieces of the Obama legacy that he overturned. On February 28, 2017, Trump killed this regulation that would have tightened gun background checks to help prevent the mentally ill from

buying a gun. When the Democrats won back the House, they passed a sweeping gun control legislation in February 2019. While there were a few Republicans who joined the House Democrats, the Republican-controlled Senate NEVER debated nor acted on this new legislation. Now Trump blames violent video games, violent television programs, the media, and past administrations for the recent mass shootings. Reading from a teleprompter, Trump denounced hate, racism, violence, and would be visiting El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. EL PASO said it would be better if Trump would not come because they blame the president for the tragedy, especially as the victims of the mass shooting were Hispanic, intentionally targeted by the killer. Trump ran his presidential campaign on scare tactics and hateful rhetoric demonizing people of color, Muslims, undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers. The policies he has pushed as president have just further escalated this attack — by blaming these people who quite do not look like the “white Americans” for the crimes, social and economic problems of the United States. Trump would call this an “invasion,” “infestation” of America by criminals, murderers and rapists. In his rallies, he has encouraged chants among the audi-

ence shouting “send her back” about four duly elected congresswomen of color who are critical of him, even if three of them were born in the United States and one is a naturalized American who came in as a refugee. In Florida, he was firing up his base on how to solve the problems with these undocumented immigrants and somebody in the audience shouted “shoot them”, and he LAUGHED and said, “Only in the Panhandle can you get away with that.” THE FACT: The rise of violence in the United States has been perpetrated not by people of color nor Muslims after 9/11. These strings of violence have been committed by domestic terrorists— the white nationalists and supremacists who have been emboldened since Trump campaigned and got elected as president. Trump would not even accept this problem despite facts substantiated by hard data, whether here in the United States nor in other parts of the world. ENOUGH OF THESE SENSELESS MASS SHOOTINGS! Fellow Americans, speak out and speak up and compel our leaders to ACT. Now! *** Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to, https://

US State Department daunted to use ‘concerning’ on PH drug war


YEN MAKABENTA IT is striking that the U.S. State Department punctiliously avoided using the word “concerning” in expressing its view of President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, and what it has achieved so far. In a report that got the top headline in the Manila Times, one U.S. State Department official sought to relay to Philippine authorities his government’s concern about the drug campaign. The official involved is Mr. Jortgan Andrews, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Andrews told reporters in a teleconference that the United States will continue to keep a critical eye on President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposedly infamous war on drugs. “We will continue to raise our concern,” Andrews said. Further, he said the U.S. “remains committed to human rights,” which are continuously linked to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Philippine President. “Essentially, I know programs in the Philippines focus on drug prevention and treatment services and justice reform, professional development, law enforcement,” he added. The U.S. official recognized the

country’s focus on the strengthening of the rule of law, but with “respect to human rights.” Andrews disclosed that he and his Philippine government counterparts had discussed various topics, including the combating of illegal drugs. Additionally, he said, they talked about criminal justice engagement, criminal law reform, reform on investigation and prosecution method, criminal justice program and enhancement of legal aid services for “Filipino citizens to have more access to justice.” The Manila Times headlined this story as: “U.S. State Department official: Duterte drug war cause for concern.” I was fascinated by this report because the State Department went into so much trouble and verbiage to avoid using the adjective “concerning” in describing the Philippine drug war, whereas officials and people nowadays employ “concerning” with total abandon. The effect of the official’s punctiliousness was to suggest that the U.S. is not really troubled or alarmed by the drug campaign. Is it possible that the U.S. State Department, unlike its boss, Donald Trump, is punctilious in observing strictly the rules and traditions of English usage? I personally do not use “concerning” to denote the sense of “troubling,” “unsettling” or “alarming,” even though I have a virtual license to use English as

I see fit. It does not look right to me. The Grammarist online provides an enlightening and expert guide on the use of “concerning.” It reads: “The use of concerning as an adjective, meaning of concern, has been decried by writers and usage authorities for being grating, for being nonstandard, and for sounding like a made-up word. But these complaints are not grounds for saying concerning is incorrect or is not a real word. The complaint about “concerning” having a grating sound is subjective; we can’t block a word from the language just because some people dislike its sound. The complaint about it being nonstandard is a few decades behind the times. And all words are invented, so the complaint about concerning sounding ‘made up’ doesn’t really say anything. “There are countless precedents for the formation of the participial adjective concerning from the verb concern, among them several synonyms of concerning that are similarly formed. For example, no one questions upsetting, disturbing, distressing, or alarming. If we accept these words, we should accept that concerning is a legitimate word, even if we don’t like it. “Also, while it’s true that concerning has grown in prevalence over the last few decades, the word is not new. The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) lists examples

of concerning used this way from as far back as the 17th century, and additional examples are easily found in Google searches of historical texts. We’ve found no explanation of its recent increase, but our guess is that synonyms like alarming and troubling are sometimes too extreme to accurately replace concerning, which has perhaps become gentler in modern usage. One complaint against concerning does stand up: The word is also a preposition meaning in reference to or regarding, and the adjectival concerning can cause confusion when readers or listeners initially interpret it as the preposition. For instance, if you hear someone say, ‘His email was concerning,’ you might at first expect something to come after concerning. This complaint isn’t a rock-solid case, though, as many words in English have multiple functions, but it’s a good reason for those inclined against the word to continue avoiding it.” By email, I received from a reader timely information on the climate change debate. It consisted of a report on how a scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US has switched sides from climate alarmist to climate-change denialism. Headlined, “More evidence man-made ‘climate change’ is hype,” the report read: “A former NOAA scientist with more than 50 years’ experience

in weather and climate research reports censoring evidence at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has now crossed to the other side and become a climate-change denier. “There is a darker — much darker — reason behind those who push man-made climate change. “Censoring evidence, ‘fiddling’ with data and silencing skeptics were part of life at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to Rex Fleming, a former NOAA scientist who no longer believes carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic climate change. “Rex Fleming admitted that while he worked for NOAA, he attributed global warming to carbon dioxide despite ‘having doubts.’ “‘Eventually I just read enough to realize it’s a totally wrong direction,’ he said in a podcast interview July 25 with British journalist James Delingpole. “‘And so, in the past 10 years, I’d say, I’ve been on the other side.’ His conversion, however, has shut him out of academic journals, despite his Ph.D. in atmospheric science. “The author of The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change, Fleming told Delingpole he had to travel to Europe to have his 2018 paper on climate change peer-reviewed and published. “‘The ‘deniers’ have so much evidence,’ he said, while the glob-

al-warming believers ‘bring nothing to the table of scientific proof.’ “‘All they have is hearsay. All they have is media coverage. All they have is government people saying it’s true,’ said Fleming. “‘He said more scientists would abandon the theory, but they are in ‘this groove of getting funds for huge, bigger computer systems to run these massive climate models.’ “‘And they want their salaries to increase. They don’t want to change,’ he said, describing it as ‘a wonderful gravy train.’ “Fleming agreed with Delingpole that carbon dioxide levels historically have risen due to warm temperatures rather than the other way around. “‘Past climates have been warm and cold and warm and cold with no changes in carbon dioxide,’ he said. ‘How can that be a cause when there’s no correlation?’ “Fleming said that one of the reasons proponents of the theory of man-caused climate change target the fossil fuel industry is to push socialism. “‘They’re using a calamity as a measure to get people’s attention,’ he said. ‘So, the climate is a good one to use. Because the media and scientists have wrongly, without any proof, assumed this is the problem.’ “Fleming has more than 50 years of experience as a scientist and manager in weather and climate research, noted Climate Depot.” (

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July inflation likely eased to 2.2-2.6% – analysts Peso 2nd best performer in Asia by anna Leah

e. gonzaLes

HEADLINE inflation likely continued to decelerate last month on reduced food and fuel prices, which would allow the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to resume slashing interest rates, according to analysts polled by The Manila Times. Inflation forecasts for July ranged from 2.2 to 2.6 percent with a 2.3 percent average, lower than the 2.7 percent posted in June and the 5.7 percent recorded a year ago. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier projected the rate of the increase in the prices of goods and services last month to fall between 2 and 2.8 percent. The Philippine Statistics Authority will release official July inflation data on Tuesday, August 6. Moody’s Analytics offered the highest inflation projection at 2.6 percent. “We see CPI (consumer price index) cooling to 2.6 percent in July amid cooler rice and fuel prices. The door is wide open for the BSP to continue with [its] interest-rate cuts” Moody’s Analytics economist Katrina Ell said. The central bank on May 9 reduced interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) after a series of rate hikes last year on account of easing inflation. It took a “prudent pause” during its meeting on June 20, keeping overnight borrowing, lending and deposit rates at 4.5 percent, 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively. ANZ Research, HSBC Global Research and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) forecast inflation to have eased to 2.3 percent. In a report, ANZ Research said lower transport prices and reduced electricity tariffs helped offset the slight uptick in some food prices. “We expect headline CPI to have risen by 0.2 percent monthon-month in July. Food prices likely rose in the month, although [those for] staples, such as rice and corn, remain muted,” ANZ Research economist Mustafa Arif

by Lawrence


THE peso is expected to remain one of the most stable currencies in the region as it emerged as the second best performing currency after the Thai baht, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said in his latest economic bulletin the peso appreciated by 2.82 percent to close at 51.07 to $1 on July 31 from 52.52 to $1 on Jan. 1. Data showed the Thai baht gained 4.27 percent to 30.95 to $1 from 32.26 to $1, while the Indonesian rupiah was the third best performing, appreciating by 2.69 perA vendor arranges vegetables at the Paco Market in Manila. Last month’s inflation continued to cent to 14,002.5 to $1 fro 14,458 to decelerate because of reduced food and fuel prices which would allow the Bangko Sentral ng $1. On the other hand, the South Pilipinas to resume slashing interest rates. photo by DJ Diosina Korean won emerged as the worst eased after the mild El Niño performing currency, depreciating said. “Transport prices are also ex- drought… The Rice Tariffication pected to have contributed posi- Law [is] yet to fully take effect, tively to inflation in July, while re- and this could lead to lower rice duced electricity tariffs provided prices amid increased [imports of the staple] and could support [the some offset,” he added. Despite the “sequential rise,” easing of inflation further] in the Arif also said inflation was ex- coming months,” he explained. “Other non-monetary meapected to be lower in the next few months on account of a high sures of the government since base during much of the second late 2018 to increase the importation and boost [the] local suphalf of 2018. For its part, HSBC Global Re- ply of food items, [including] search said the Bangko Sentral rice, sugar [and] fish, to lower would likely cut policy rates on food prices and overall inflation, the back of below-target eco- would help ensure stable food nomic growth and cooling infla- prices and overall inflation in the coming months [and] years,” he tion. “We expect the BSP to cut its added. Ricafort noted that the peso expolicy rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 4.25 percent on August change rate against the US dol8. Inflation is likely to decelerate lar, which has lingered at a little further in 2H19 (second half of over 51 recently, could further 2019), potentially dropping be- ease prices of imports and help low 2 percent by the end of 3Q lower overall inflation. The sharp decline in interest (third quarter),” HSBC Global rates would help lower borrowResearch said in a report. Further monetary policy loos- ing costs for businesses and conening is expected in the quar- sumers, and this could help ease ters ahead, according to HSBC, prices and overall inflation, acforecasting the policy rate to be cording to him. Regina Capital Development slashed further by 25 bps. Michael Ricafort, head of Corp., offered the lowest outlook RCBC’s Economics and Industry at 2.2 percent, with Head of Sales Research Division, also said infla- Luis Limlingan saying favorable tion likely decelerated last month base effects, lower fuel and food on easing prices of food, espe- prices, and the appreciation of cially rice, and a stronger peso the peso also served as contributing factors for the projected exchange rate, among others. “Some prices of food…already easing. n file photo

by 6.65 percent to 1,184.88 to $1 from 1,119.10 to $1 followed by the Taiwanese dong that shed 1.75 percent to 31.08 to $1 from 30.79 to $1. In terms of volatility, Beltran said the Philippines stayed in the middle of the pack of 12 countries in the region with a coefficient variation of 0.82 percent, lower than the 0.93 percent average in the region. “The peso-dollar exchange rate also remains stable throughout the

period,” Beltran said. The South Korean won was the most volatile currency followed by the Japanese yen, Thai baht, Chinese yuan and Indian rupee with 1.06 percent. The finance department’s chief economist said the main reasons for the peso’s growing strength and stability are the country’s strong balance of payments (BOP) position due to strong inflows of remittances, foreign direct and portfolio investment, recovering export earnings among others. “Strong foreign exchange inflows from exports of services, remittances, income from investments abroad, direct foreign investments and foreign borrowing all contributed to the strong BOP position. These in turn boosted the confidence in the Philippine peso,” Beltran said. n


Asian Journal

mdwk The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

Wednesday, AUGUST 7, 209







cover story The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

3 Fil-Am books for end-of-summer reading by Christina

songstress’ influence persists today is the premise of “Why part of the drug war. From the Karen Carpenter Matters” get-go, the young adult novel (University of Texas Press) by tackles death and the ways we Karen Tongson, a University of Southern California professor learn how to process grief, or and culture writer. even avoid it. The character With other biographies on of Jay is refreshingly sensitive and vulnerable and is trying to Karen Carpenter available, make sense of his place in the “Why Karen Carpenter Matters” doesn’t disclose any new world. information per se, but rather “That’s the foundation offers a part memoir, part of the rest his character — if biography that shows how her you’re sensitive and thinking life has impacted someone about things carefully and like Tongson. deeply, then you’re going to Tongson — the daughter have to process things about of two Filipino musicians who your identity, about what you named her after the Carpenthink about your family. Beters frontwoman — draws parcause if you’re stoic and that stereotypical idea of a male is allels between her upbringing repressing emotions, then you and that of Karen Carpenter, don’t think about those things be it their Southern California carefully,” Ribay, a high school upbringing or explorations of self-identity. In a chapter teacher in the Bay Area, told called “Queer Horizon,” for the Asian Journal. Though Jay lost touch with example, Karen Carpenter’s struggles with anorexia and Jun after years of letters, his physical presentation are curiosity won’t stop him from explored. “One of the new uncovering the truth of the matter. The book avoids being revelations in the biography I’ve written is really to cona ‘savior’ story wherein Jay’s purpose is to go to the Philip- sider her anorexia in relation to some kind of discomfort pines and save the day with a with her gender presentation. solution to the drug war. That’s kind of a queer read,” “I didn’t go into the story intending for Jay to lead some the author told the Asian Journal. massive protest and be in the Through this, Tongson restreets and at the end of the flects on how coming into her day, the laws are changed,” own identity had affected the Ribay said. “That’s not the dynamic with her mother and role we Filipino Americans opened up questions about need to play. We certainly her gender. (“I merely wanted have a right to voice our freedom from the discomforts opinions and to advocate but we’re doing that in support of and constraints of femininthe Filipinos in the Philippines ity, not being able to move around, take up space, pee living with that reality.” anywhere you want, and speak Beyond the current politiabove a whisper,” she writes cal climate in the Philippines, on p. 86.) Ribay — who is half Filipino Overall, the book is a and half white and has certain quick read at 130 pages; similarities to Jay’s character there’s nostalgia and empathy — hopes the book opens up you feel and you can’t help conversations of feeling out but play some of The Carof place and having that dual penters’ greatest hits in the identity of being Filipino and background. Though Karen American. Carpenter left the world too soon, her music and legacy will continue to carry on across future generations, regardless of background or race. “The thing that Filipinos are both praised and derided for is our capacity to imitate people’s voices and to perform covers and to be the paradoxically the best imitators of American popular music. I want us to see that is not at all a weakness, but a strength that is a skill and ability. It’s not about the fact that we are just subjected to the postcolonial adoration of American pop culture...we’re not worshipping Karen Carpenter, “Why Karen Carpenter but she in many respects Matters” by Karen Tongson belongs to us and has become Five decades later, Karen Filipino through the way that Carpenter — lead singer and we’ve listened to her, sung drummer of The Carpenters her music, the way that she’s — continues to be an icon become a part of our canon around the world, includand karaoke books,” Tongson ing the unlikely place of the told the Asian Journal. Philippines. Why the ‘70s

M. Oriel / AJPress

IT’S quite an electrifying time for the Filipino American literary landscape as in the first eight months of this year alone, we have come across and devoured several books across genres — whether young adult fiction or cooking. Our editorial team has written about titles, such as poetry collection “Loves You” by Sarah Gambito, Grace Talusan’s memoir “The Body Papers,” Malaka Gharib’s graphic novel “I Was Their American Dream,” James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist Margarita Manzke’s cookbook “Baking at République,” and traveling chef Yana Gilbuena’s “No Forks Given.” Other books we’re excited about this year include “Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion” (August), a book of essays on contemporary digital culture by New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino, and “Lalani of the Distant Sea” (September), an epic fantasy inspired by Filipino folklore by 2018 Newbery Medal Winner Erin Entrada Kelly. With summer almost ending, these following three books by Fil-Am authors are enthralling reads whether you need something to read poolside or during a long car ride.

“Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay Since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, his tough, unfiltered rhetoric and crackdown on illegal drugs have made international headlines. For the Filipino diaspora — particularly the second and third generations growing up in the United States — this has opened up debates as to whether they have a right to an opinion on the current administration or to take action if they don’t even live in the Philippines and do not experience the day-to-day realities. In “Patron Saints of Nothing” (Kokila), Filipino American teenager Jay Reguero faces these questions of identity after his cousin Jun is killed as

“Somewhere in the Middle” by Deborah Francisco Douglas Deborah Francisco Douglas grew up not fully knowing her Filipina side, but an opportunity to learn about it was some sort of fate when she was assigned to the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. What started as a series of blog posts and journal entries, “Somewhere in the Middle” (Peaceful Mountain Press) is Douglas’ debut memoir about her three years living in the country and the lessons of self-discovery along the way. “I am content with being in the middle, and I have also accepted the various names that people use to describe me. Whether mestiza, half Filipino, mix-mix, halo-halo, FilAm, or Filipino American, I am not defined by just a name. I am the only one who can define me, and I will continue doing so for the rest of my life, floating in and out of my cultural identities in the same way the clouds floated through the valley below my mountains upon mountains,” Douglas writes. Douglas leaves no detail behind as she sets the scene of each chapter during her time in the mountain province of Baguio — down to the items tricycle passengers carry with them (e.g. live chickens) to street vendors with taho containers to the route she would run daily. There are funny anecdotes of trying to set boundaries with neighbors and locals who are as curious to learn about Douglas as she is to learn about her Filipino side (and the shameless questions that come with that of ‘what are you?’ Do you have a boyfriend?’), peppered with travelogues of adventures in other destinations of the archipelago country. But there is also the mental toll that living in a new country can take on one individual and whether we truly belong as Filipino Americans in the physical sense either in the Philippines or the U.S. “At the end of the day, we can’t overlook that Filipino Americans are very diverse.

Randy Ribay, a high school teacher in the Bay Area, released “Patron Saints of Nothing” in June. Photo by Dave Londres

Karen Tongson, a professor at the University of Southern California, explores her ties to ‘70s icon Karen Carpenter in “Why Karen Carpenter Matters.”

Deborah Francisco Douglas’ time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines is documented in her debut novel, “Somewhere in the Middle.”

There are people who are very familiar with Filipino culture and are very immersed in it but there are other people on the other side of the spectrum who know nothing about it, yet have a desire to learn,” Doug-

las told the Asian Journal. Email us at to share your reading list and other books by Filipino and Fil-Am authors to check out this year.

Enlightened Carlo pursues his Why does Nadine keep on dancing? passion amid controversy by riCky lO

by Christina


SHOW business is undoubtedly a challenging industry to be in — besides the ruthless competition among artists, there is also the public’s unrealistic expectation for celebrities to look and act perfectly at every waking moment. If they don’t, then the “chismis,” the intrigues and the bashing begin to hound and pound them. It therefore takes an enduring passion for their craft for artists to survive the “hazards” of the job. For the pressure can get so unbearable it’ll make you want to quit. Thankfully, 33-year-old Carlo Aquino is just as deep into his acting and music as he was as a child star that he is ploughing forward despite his much-publicized fall out with on-and-off girlfriend Angelica Panganiban. It can be recalled that the pair were reunited on screen via the 2018 box-office hit “Exes Baggage.” They rekindled their romance not only on the set, but off-cam too, spending the rest of the year together lovey-dovey like before. And then one day, Panganiban announced out of nowhere she’s distancing herself from Aquino because of all the bashing and negativity she’s been getting for being with him. He said, she said It didn’t help that in the following months, the couple

‘Her emotions are valid’ And so, even as he was promoting his upcoming birthday concert “Liwanag” in concert late last week, Aquino had no choice but to face the lingering controversy. The “bobo” post was very fresh after all, going viral only three days before this interview. A cool and calm Aquino simply said, “Para sa akin lang kasi kung may apoy, hindi mo naman bubuhusan ‘yon ng gasul para lumaki pa. Huwag na lang siguro nating pahabain. ‘Yung emotions niya valid ‘yon, kung ‘yon ‘yung nararamdaman niya, ibigay na natin sa kanya ‘yon, Carlo Aquino Photo from Instagram/@jose_liwanag di ba? Ayaw ko na rin pahabain kasi ang tagal na rin [ng issue], I stopped posting their photos think six or seven months.” together on their social media The singer-actor clarified until netizens allegedly spotted however that he has no ill feelAquino was vacationing with ings for Panganiban and insisted another woman. he had done his part in appeasWhat ensued was a he saiding her very early on. she said scenario, where Aquino “Nag-sorry na naman ako. downplayed the issue and said Sincerely, nag-sorry ako sa kanya he and Panganiban were still on and hindi ko kailangang magspeaking terms; with the latter sorry in public dahil napa-plastiquickly deploring what he said, kan ako kapag ganun. Personal, categorically stating they have mas maganda ‘yon. Ilang beses cut all communication between naman na kaming nag-usap. I them. think okay na ‘yon for me.” Panganiban went a step If anything, the actor galfurther and said that Aquino lantly said it is gratitude that he actually led her on. In fact, she has for his ex-girlfriend, creditposted on Twitter, “Nope. ing her for his resurgence of his Sorry. Spare me. Si khang at si career. josh lang ang tinuturing kong “Di ba ilang beses ko rin pamilya. Gusto kong maging sinabi sa inyo na malaking bagay mabuting tao. Pero ayokong siya kung bakit ako nandito maging bobo :)” Continued on Page 4

NADINE Lustre has a good reason to be dancing. Her career (including movies without her perennial leading man, boyfriend James Reid) is going great, that’s why, Indak, the title of her new movie perfectly describes her present state of being — you know, mapapa-indak ka sa tuwa. It’s Nadine’s second “solo” movie (read: minus James), with Sam Concepcion as leading man. The first was “Ulan” with Carlo Aquino. “Like incest,” laughed Nadine. That’s how she said she felt doing a love scene with Sam in “Indak.” It’s because, explained Nadine, she, James and Sam are such good friends that they are like brothers and sister. Being professionals, Nadine and Sam beautifully acquitted themselves in the love scenes despite the initial awkwardness. For sure, James doesn’t mind. Touted as a musical-romance-drama written and directed by Paul Alexie Basinillo, Indak bears close watching because it’s Nadine’s first movie after winning not just one but two Best Actress awards (for “Never Not Love You”) from the FAMAS and the Gawad Urian, validating her as a serious actress to watch. Having done two movies this year, Nadine has to beg off from “Miracle in Cell No. 7,”

After pocketing two Best Actress awards for “Never Not Love You,” Nadine Lustre shifts gears and dances up a storm in “Indak” with a new leading man in Sam Concepcion. Contributed photo

Viva’s entry in the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) with Aga Muhlach as lead actor, saying that she’s a bit “burned out.” She’s replaced by Bela Padilla. Shot in Bantayan Island, Cebu and Seoul, “Indak” is the story about Vin (Sam) who invites Jen, a simple island girl (Nadine), to join Indak Pinas, a dance group, after her dance video goes viral. The crew is going to compete in the World Championships in Seoul, so Jen’s presence will be of big help. In Manila, Vin helps out Jen in improving her dancing beat, as well as in adjusting to the

metro lifestyle. The two are not only in their groove but also slowly fell for each other. With the rest of the crew, they must work together to churn out the best performance of their lives even if sudden financial dilemmas and past issues get in their way. Touted as “The hottest dance movie of the year,” with G Force and Teacher Georcelle as choreographer, Indak features great soundtracks like “Sumayaw sa Indak” (by Nadine featuring Po Balbuena and Shehyee), “Ikot-Ikot” (Sam’s soulful version) and “Hindi Tayo Puwede” (Janine Teñoso’s heart-wrenching version).

The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

entertainment The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

Maine sets record straight on alleged AlDub separation by Jan

Milo Severo

ALTHOUGH Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards are into solo projects recently, Maine said that their AlDub love team is still active and she is happy about how they are growing individually. “Nandyan naman talaga ang AlDub dahil everyday kami sa ‘Eat Bulaga’ and wala namang any announcement na pinaghiwalay na or anything. Pero siyempre ‘yung nangyayari ngayon sa career ko, iko-consider ko rin siyang refreshed na parang

nag-grow din ako as a person, as a host, as an actress, as a celebrity,” she told the press. “Tulad nga ng sinabi ko, hindi kasi tayo pwedeng magstay lang sa isang place. At a certain point in life, kailangan talaga nating mag-grow, mag move forward. I would consider the changes that happened in my life (to be) positive changes,” she added. The “Eat Bulaga” host said that she expected that she and Alden would learn so many different things, so they can be prepared in the latter part of their lives.

Enlightened Carlo... From Page 2 ngayon? So very thankful ako every day sa kanya.” ‘Liwanag’ Under the overall direction of Frank Mamaril and the expert musical direction of Louie Ocampo, Aquino chooses to look forward to his birthday concert to highlight his lesser known passion for music. “Nagsimula ako na tinuruan ako ng kapatid ko na mag-gitara ng right-handed, eh left-handed ako so hirap na hirap ako. Tapos natuto ako sa kaliwa at dun nagumpisa ang lahat,” he said of

how his musicality grew. Besides guidance from his brother, Aquino shared his father likewise helped him along exposing him to the various genres of music, particularly the classics. And since he’s known for his appeal across all generations whether on TV or the movies, the singer-actor is making sure his repertoire will have something for everyone. “Gagawa ako ng maliliit na fillers ng iba ko pang musical inspirations ko gaya ng boy groups and alternative and acoustic artists pati old hits,” he

“Ineexpect ko na sana marami pa kaming matutunan na ibat-ibang bagay -- tungkol sa buhay, sa industriya, basta life in general. Kasi marami pa kaming pagdadaanan in the future, so sana marami kaming mabaon na leksyon na magagamit namin sa pagtanda namin,” Maine explained. Maine talked about self-love in the press conference as she introduces Betadine Fresh Bliss, a feminine wash designed for women’s daily feminine hygiene needs for women to stay clean, fresh and protected throughout the day.

enthused, clearly making every effort not to wallow in his latest bout of intrigues. Ultimately, in keeping with his show’s title, Aquino hopes to “spark the light of inspiration” and remind people to chase after their dreams despite the odds just like what he continues to do in his career. “’Yun naman ang pinakaimportante talaga di’ba?” he ended. “Liwanag in Concert” happens on August 31 at the Music Museum, after which Aquino will go full blast in shooting his next movie with Maine Mendoza, “Isa Pa with Feelings” under Black Sheep Productions.

Marco takes showbiz career slowly but surely by Jerry


MARCO Gumabao is a dreamboat with acting chops. His roles in “Los Bastardos,” “Para Sa Broken Hearted,” “Aurora” and the upcoming “Just A Stranger” all point out to his ability to become a bida, kontrabida or both (bida-kontrabida). The local tinseltown has been generous in giving him the ground to play meaty roles on the small and big screens. “All I can say is, I’ve been in showbusiness for eight years now, for the past two to four years lang talaga totally (ko ito) na(tutukan),” said Marco of the rate his career is going in an interview with The Star. “I’m happy. Hindi naman ako nagmamadali, I’m happy and I’m not in a rush na gusto kong sumikat agad and to get all the good roles right away… I want (to take things) slowly but surely. So, I’m really happy with the rate (my career) is going.” Marco was one of the Viva Artists Agency talents who graced the two-day recentlyconcluded Viva Convention (VivaCon) 2019, wherein this newspaper was among the media partners. The actor gladly joined The Star in its booth for a Facebook live and granted a one-on-one. Although he has tried his hands at comedy, drama and

Marco Gumabao

some hybrid genres, Marco said he wishes to topbill an action-packed project. One which is replete with fights, car chases and stunts. You know similar to those movies that launched the careers of Robin Padilla, Sen. Bong Revilla, Jeric Raval and Victor Neri. “I really want to do action, gusto ko yung role na fighter, like an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter,” he said. “I really want to train for that also. (I’m game) basta anything action.” Asked about a particular narrative he has in mind to place his dream character in, Marco replied, “Well, nothing in particular, anything action. Gusto ko talaga (action).” Well, given his physique and drive (to take on this genre and bring his acting to the next level), Marco could do a Brad Pitt-inspired role in Fight Club (with Edward Norton as bored individuals who engage in underground fights to break away from the routines of life) or a good-looking MMA fighter with an intriguing past. “Every role is different,” shared Marco, who has done a myriad of diverse roles. “So, I also believe in workshops, especially when you’re getting ready for a role. I believe that you need to do a workshop with the director, writers and co-actors.” He also hinted at the importance of establishing onscreen and off-screen chemistry or rapport among stars and creative people. Marco added that workshops can break the ice (or any form of wall that hinders actors from giving truth to their performances or being in the moment). As for what one may call familiar roles that need no (elaborate) preparations, Marco had this to say: “Siyempre walang ganun (There’s no such a thing). You need to prepare for every role. Even though you can say that this role is the same as (that) role, magkaiba pa rin yung hugot ng bawat character (they come from different contexts and have their own emotional baggage). I think that’s a way you

Photo from Instagram/@gumabaomarco

build your character.” Actors, Marco agreed, need to create the background for their characters, especially in rare cases where writers do not provide the base information for their roles. By doing so, actors may have a deeper understanding of their roles, “para mas lumalim ka. Hindi porket sinabi nila na businessman ka, it doesn’t automatically mean he is happy with his life, you may be successful in business, but you’re not in your love life, personal life,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to create your own (circumstances) for your character.” In the sexy-drama Just a Stranger, Marco’s character gets involved with a woman twice his age (May-December, Spring-Winter love affair). The couple plays beautiful music together and is challenged on how to keep it playing. When it comes to romantic relationships, does age matter? “For me, it doesn’t,” said Marco. “You can fall in love with someone kahit anong age yan. Age is not really important for me, unless na lang kapag minor. Siyempre ibang usapan na kapag minor. For me, age is just a number. Sometimes, you can find someone older and mature… para sa akin, kahit kanino tumibok ang puso ko… even if she is 40 years old or 35 years old, you can’t say no to it (love) right away.” Yes, love knows no boundaries, it knows no age. “For me, I don’t really look for love,” he added. “I just wait for it. For the meantime, habang wala pa (that I’m not yet committed to someone), I will focus on my work. Now, I just want to focus (on my career) na wala akong iniisip. For example, if you have a girlfriend, minsan kailangan mong magpaalam (You need to consult her on the work that you do like) ‘Can I do this role? Can I do this scene?’ What if she says, ‘You can’t.’” Once Marco has found that mood for love and that lucky girl, he will find time for it and for her.

John Ablaza: From nature and culture to couture


The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

The internationally known Filipino designer takes  stage via ‘Nature & Nurture’ fashion show in October WHEN one’s sense of style and fashion is innate, it wouldn’t be hard to transition to different mediums. For international fashion designer John Ablaza, having a degree in horticulture from De La Salle Araneta University did not stop with just growing plants, but rather became the door into something bigger. In 1982, Ablaza transitioned to interior decoration when he landed a job in Taipei, Taiwan, as a florist and decorator of Asiaworld Plaza Hotel, owned by Filipino tycoon Tan Yu. However, the call to fashion was hard to resist and so in 1987, the ever-artistic Ablaza flew back to the Philippines and launched his career in fashion design. From there on until the 90s, he presented shows both local and international. His creations have been featured in print such as Mod Magazine, Women’s, Woman’s Home Journal, Women Today, Miscellaneous Magazine and other countless glossy magazines. In 1994, he once again worked out the country as an in-house designer of Ahla Al Wasayef, a couture shop patronized by the royal families of Bahrain. Coming back to his country in 1998, Ablaza was given the task to do the replica of Jose Rizal’s personal belongings, as part of a traveling museum project by the National Centennial Commission. The exhibit traveled throughout the Philippines and to several cities in the United States and Europe. He was duly credited by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines for all his work and effort in the exhibit. In 2004, he decided to branch out by taking a different avenue in the fashion industry. Ablaza then started designing bags and accessories, which he exported to France, Spain, Greece, Maldives, Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda and the U.S. After a five-year residency in Canada and the U.S., he

Megaworld’s Maria Victoria M. Acosta received the “Award of Excellence” in London.

Megaworld receives World Humanitarian Drive’s award for excellence

returned to the Philippines in 2010. During his time in North America, Ablaza participated in trade shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas to market his products. He additionally undertook interior designing high end homes in New York, Rhode Island, Los Angeles, Toronto and Ottawa. Deeply inspired by models who made an indelible mark in Philippine fashion, he also authored Ramp Diva: Filipina. The 300-page coffee table book chronicled the lives of top Filipina models over a period of five decades. Since 2011, Ablaza has been showcasing his work in a series of fashion gala called

“John Ablaza Couture and Culture.” It has been presented in the U.S., including Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Toronto and Harare, Zimbabwe. He also launched “Le Petite Couture,” a collection of miniature couture gowns, all handmade and mounted on a 23-inch mannequin. It was displayed in a curated exhibit at the Amar Estate in New York last May 2017 during his 30th year in the fashion industry. That same year, the Philippine Consulate General in New York also invited him to showcase “Le Petite Couture” as part of the 119th Philippine Independence celebration.

MEGAWORLD International, represented by its Senior Vice President and Managing Director Maria Victoria M. Acosta, accepted the “Award of Excellence” last June 19 & 20 during the inaugural Trilateral Global Summit convened by World Humanitarian Drive (WHD) in partnership with Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in London. The event welcomed participants from over 25 countries including industry leaders, functional heads, CEOs, consulates, heads of states, ministers from different continents and strategic professionals from across the world. Megaworld International

has been selected by an honorable jury consisting of 12 members for its significant achievements and notable contributions on the field of business and trade, as well as its excellence in giving global opportunities. The annual summit not only aims to award companies and organizations that had significant contributions in their respective industries but it also wishes to enhance trade for peace, explore more investment opportunities and promote integration of global economy and businesses as a pathway for peace. Along with WHD’s Chairman Mr. Abdul Syed and CEO of World Bank

“Nature & Nurture” To showcase his most recent work, One Global Management Company Inc. — in cooperation with the Asian Journal Publications Inc., Balikbayan Magazine, Magic V Inc., Pageantry Global Inc., Miss Balikbayan International, miss Balikbayan USA, One Global Talent, Music Arts Events, Travel, Trade & Consumer, Lombard By The Bay and Premier Asia Pacific

Real Estate and Development — is proud to present “John Ablaza, Nature & Nuture” on Friday, October 25, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Scientology of the Valley Auditorium, 11455 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. In “Nature & Nurture,” Ablaza incorporates natural and organic materials, sourced from all over the Philippines and Africa. He now promotes sustainable fashion

Dr. Raghavan Seethamaran, MWI’s SVP Ms. Acosta also gave a keynote speech and spoke about Megaworld Corporation’s vision, corporate social responsibility efforts and its exciting global opportunities and investments at the Mayor’s Parlour in Craydon. It is indeed a great privilege for the whole Megaworld community to not only be recognized for its excellence but also to be tapped by an international organization as one of the catalysts in strengthening the bond between countries, developing trade investments and helping promote peace across nations.


to show his concern and love for Mother Nature. Ablaza hopes to focus on his advocacy to mentor up and coming designers and artisans in the Philippines and different parts of the world. For additional information on “John Ablaza, Nature & Nurture,” please call Priscilla Marte at (626) 484-0807 and/ or Trini Foliente at (818) 4552132, or e-mail



The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

Consequences of failing to disclose material asset, income, facts and information in a divorce case THERE is a natural tendency among divorcing parties to hide their assets from their spouse and understate income. This is a common problem that I have observed from practicing law for many years. A common question I hear from clients is “my spouse doesn’t know I have an account in this bank, do I have to let him/ her know of this account?” Parties to a divorce proceeding have a duty to disclose financial information to each other. This duty arose based on California’s policy (1) to marshal, preserve, and protect community and quasi-community assets and liabilities that exist at the date of separation so as to avoid dissipation of the community estate before distribution, (2) to ensure fair and sufficient child and spousal support awards, and (3) to achieve a division of community and quasi-community assets and liabilities on the dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties as provided under California law. To promote the above public policy, the family code requires a full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which the parties have or may have an interest be made in a divorce or a legal separation, regardless of the alleged characterization of the property as either community or separate. Parties are also required to disclose all income and expenses of the parties. The parties also have a continuing duty to update and augment that disclosure to the extent that there has been a material change to their financial position. The purpose of the duty to augment and update the disclosures is so that at the time the parties enter into a settlement agreement, stipulated divorce judgment, or trial, each party will do so with full and complete knowledge of all relevant underlying facts of the case. The disclosures are made by the parties by serving each other with a preliminary declaration of disclosure and a final declaration of disclosure. The preliminary declaration of disclosure should be served within 60 days of serv-


Barrister’s Corner Atty. Kenneth UrsUA reyes ing the divorce, separation, or nullity petition. The commission of perjury on the preliminary declaration of disclosure may be grounds for setting aside the judgment in addition to other remedies available under the law. The preliminary declaration of disclosure is not filed with the court but only exchanged by each party. The preliminary declaration of disclosure shall set forth 1) the identity of all assets and liabilities which the declarant may have an interest regardless of the characterization of community, quasi-community, or separate property; 2)The declarant’s percentage in the asset or liability; 3) the declarant’s characterization of the asset or liability. In addition, the declarant shall also provide the other party with a completed income and expense declaration. The declarations may be amended without permission from the court. The parties shall serve each other with a final declaration of disclosure at the time the parties enter into a settlement agreement, stipulated divorce judgment, or if the case goes to trial, at least 45 days prior to the first assigned trial date. The final declaration of disclosure shall include (1) All material facts and information regarding the characterization of all assets and liabilities(2) All material facts and information regarding the valuation of all assets that are contended to be community property or in which it is contended the community has an interest. (3) All material facts and information regarding the amounts of all obligations that are contended to be community obligations or for which it is contended the community has liability.(4) All material facts and information regarding the earnings, accumulations, and ex-

penses of each party that have been set forth in the income and expense declaration. The parties may agree to mutually waive the final declaration of disclosure requirement but not the preliminary declaration of disclosure. A party who fails to comply with the disclosure requirements under the family code may be held in breach of the party’s fiduciary obligation to the other spouse under family code section 721, 1100, and Marriage of Feldman. The party that failed to disclose material assets, income, facts, and information may be sanctioned by the court by awarding attorney’s fees and sanctions to the other spouse under family code section 271. When hiring an attorney to represent you in a high asset divorce case with complex property issues, it is important to hire an attorney that understands the disclosure obligation under the family code. *** Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation. *** Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail “mailto:” kenneth@ or visit our website at (Advertising Supplement)


Calling a spade a spade

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond Monette AdevA MAglAyA I SQUIRM within when family, friends and acquaintances introduce me as a journalist. I am not. It is not a badge I am proud to wear. I consider myself just a wordsmith at some journeyman level, still struggling to earn being called a writer one day. I like things that last — thoughts and things that have a longer shelf life that anyone in any generation can come back to again and again to find inspiration or gain deeper understanding over the course of one’s lifetime. Christ’s parables and Aesop’s fables have eternal shelf life. Neither wrote their stories. Their stories resonated through time and some scribe, unknown wordsmiths and storytellers heard them, knew these were eternal truths and thankfully for us, put stylus to papyrus. Words are powerful. They have the potential to build or destroy. They can shine a light or they can obscure truth by a turn of the phrase. Journalists are just human beings after all, whose personal experiences, biases and motivations create the filters through which they see things. It’s called point of view (POV). In politics, depending on their persuasion and more frequently these days, depending on which side their bread is buttered, journalists spout off agenda-driven opinion pieces intended to influence others on print and these days, mostly on the internet. Like the food we ingest to keep us physically healthy, we ought to be just as discriminating with what we choose to read. Our mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing depends on it. If someone pays journalists to thrust a predetermined idea or policy to gain traction for obfuscating the truth to gain money or power, then they may be rightly called political shills or hacks. They use their craft to entice others to their way of thinking by pretending to endorse an idea in which they have a hidden vested interest. “Presstitute” is a new term that the public has coined to describe this vile specie of journalists. Many journalists, particularly in politics these days, have become quite skilled in the art of obfuscation. It is the malicious practice of hiding the intended meaning of what they really mean to say by

deliberately crafting a confusing message. Like legalese and political correctness, obfuscation is a deliberately muddled and muddied way of writing that is essentially intended to cloak the truth and spew lies. It’s also called the spin. Thankfully, more and more people in society these days have become savvy at detecting which ones can be trusted and which ones they can ignore. Some people call it bulls__t detection skill. Many have become wise and are openly decrying the detrimental effects of the scourge of political correctness. Political correctness has been revealed as a leftist, liberal technique that distorts what is true by ascribing labels and public ridicule to shame people into a way of thinking and behaving. It has been used successfully to call evil good and good, evil. But God will not be mocked. Truth, like sunlight, is the best disinfectant against the rot that is caused by political correctness. The

“ Speak the truth, but leave immediatelt after” — Slovenian Proverb time has come for truth to finally come out swinging with an ax. It starts by calling a spade a spade. A friend emailed me the prayer below. I had to do some fact checking with some websites that do the digging about the veracity of email content that does the rounds in the internet. After all, the internet is rife with rumors half-truths and outright lies. It is always good policy to verify and dig deeper. This prayer of repentance has gone viral and despite its longevity in the internet, refuses to die a natural death. My guess is that the prayer resonates with many good, stout-hearted people in the country. The truth, as they said, will make us free. This prayer is probably worth amplifying and passing to others during a time when political correctness marginalizes the truth. American society has been conditioned by popular culture to play nice to the extent that we are afraid to confront what must be addressed. Calling a spade a spade is risky in a time when we have strayed as far away as we could from the core values that held this country for more than 2 centuries. On January 23, 1996, in Topeka, Kansas, Pastor Joe Wright of the Central Christian Church in Wichita led a prayer in the Kansas House that stirred controversy and con-



tinues to stir a hornet’s nest to this day. It’s a prayer that made legislators, particularly those of the liberal persuasion, very uncomfortable. Are you curious as to why a simple prayer can rile some lawmakers and make them uncomfortable and in some cases, angry and unhinged? Are you curious as to why a simple prayer can be so controversial? Here it is in its entirety. Judge for yourself. A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION Heavenly Father, We come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘’Woe to those who call evil good,’’ but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that; we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building selfesteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of this state and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state of Kansas. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your Will. I ask in the name of your Son, The Living Savior, Jesus Christ. *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail

Chapter 7 or 13? A look at a case with $50K debt and $10K collection lawsuit Debt Relief

Atty. LAwrence yAng THE first client is 48 and has just been sued for $10,000 by American Express. He recently received the summons and complaint. He is single with one teenager dependent. He used to have a business but that has failed. He now works as a manager and earns $4,000 a month. He doesn’t own a house now, but did own a house as a joint tenant, which was sold about three years ago. The net proceeds from the sale of the house were $100,000. Being a joint tenant, half or $50,000 of the net proceeds went to him. At first glance, this should be a Chapter 7 where he gets a fresh start and the court wipes out the $10,000 lawsuit and the rest of the $40,000 credit cards. There is really no problem qualifying for the means test for Chapter 7 because his income for a family of two is below the median for California. This looks like a slamdunk case for Chapter 7. However, there was a circumstance during the sale of the house that put a crinkle in this otherwise clear cut Chapter 7 case. For some reason that I don’t really understand, the client transferred his 50% share of the net proceeds from the sale of the house to the other joint tenant. Upon the close of escrow, the entire 100% of net proceeds went to the other joint tenant. At this point in the analysis, this circumstance becomes a “transfer of asset” that occurred in the last four years. However, as the client explains it, he did make the transfer to the joint tenant, but the joint tenant gave him back the $50,000, which he has since used up completely for living expenses. There could be some issue that a Chapter 7 trustee may raise because of the $50,000 transfer that occurred three years ago. The trustee might say that the $50,000 was a preferential transfer, which is within his powers to avoid or cancel. In other words,

the trustee may try to get back the $50,000 from the transferee joint tenant even if the $50,000 was actually returned to the client who then used it all up for living expenses in the last three years. Well, let’s just put it this way. There is a 10% chance that a Chapter 7 trustee may raise this issue but there is a 90% chance that no such issue will be raised in Chapter 7. The defense of the transferee would be that the transfer was nominal and the transferee merely held the $50K in trust for the client, the true owner of the $50K, and the transferee actually returned the $50K to the client immediately. This is a pretty good defense since it’s the truth that the actual owner of the $50,000 was still the client. It was property held in trust by the transferee for the client and under bankruptcy law, property held in trust by third parties for the debtor is still considered the property of the debtor. The problem is that it’s an issue that can be litigated by the Chapter 7 trustee. Once the adversary proceeding is filed, the transferee needs to defend himself. In this situation, the legal expenses go up because it costs money to defend against an adversary complaint. To avoid this problem completely, a low plan payment Chapter 13 is more suitable for the client. Since the client’s income is below the median, he will qualify for a low plan payment under Chapter 13. In Chapter 13, the $50,000 transfer is not a big issue because typically Chapter 13 trustees do not litigate this kind of issue. They may try to increase the plan payment to compensate for the transfer, but in this case, the fact is the $50,000 actually belonged to the client and the money has been used up. That’s the truth. The transfer was nominal only. The transferee held the $50K in trust for the client and immediately gave it back to him and he has used it all up for living expenses for the last three years. How low can the plan payment be? I estimate that the client may pay $200 a month for 36 months. After paying $7,000, the balance of $43,000 will be discharged. Without the Chapter 13 protection, the $10,000 lawsuit from

Free Summer Concert Series in Culver City

SUMMER breezes…an intimate courtyard…free parking…and great music. Enjoy an evening in Culver City for the 2019 Culver City’s Boulevard Music Summer Festival. Boulevard Music presents six free concerts on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. from July 11 through August 15 in the palmlined Dale Jones City Hall Courtyard at 9770 Culver Boulevard. Become an entry-level sponsor by purchasing one of the 100 premium reserved seats for sale at $10 each per show available at Boulevard Music! • Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m.: An Evening of the Music of John Denver with sing-alongs from Jim Curry

• Thursday, August 15 at 7 p.m.: Classic Rock standards (the best covers done by the band Venice) and original songs from The Pine Mountain Logs With frequent service and direct connection to the Expo line, Culver City Bus Line 7 can make it easy to attend concerts at City Hall! Plan your trip online or by calling 310-253-6500. Parking is available at one of the City’s parking structures, and limited parking is available at City Hall on P-1. The first two hours of parking are free with validation. For more information or to purchase reserved seating, please visit Boulevard Music’s website or call (310) 398-2583. n

Diamond Bar free gardening workshops FROM selecting plants that add color and interest to gardens without requiring a lot of water or maintenance to turning yard waste and food scraps into a rich soil amendment, home gardeners will benefit from the Smart Gardening and Composting workshops the City is offering this summer in partnership with Los Angeles County. These workshops take place 9:30 to 11:30 the Diamond Bar Center, 1600 Grand Avenue, and do not require advance registration.] The August 10, and September 28 workshops are tailored for beginners looking to learn the basics of backyard composting, water-wise gardening, grasscycling, worm composting, and edible gardening, while the July 20 workshop will teach advanced gardening topics such as organic gardening, drought-tolerant

landscaping, and integrated pest management. At the conclusion of every workshop, participants will have the option of purchasing a regular backyard compost bin for $40 (valued at $100) or a worm compost bin (includes worms) for $65 (valued at $140). For more information, contact the City’s Environmental Services Division by phone at (909) 8397015. n

American Express will eventually become a wage garnishment. In this instance, American Express will garnish 25% of the client’s gross income every month. That’s $1,000 a month. The amount is too big. The client will not be able to pay his rent. Of course, the client can apply for exemption from garnishment based on the grounds that he has no disposable income every month but the exemption is only good for 90 days. He has to show up in court every 90 days to show the judge that he has no money to pay. So this is very inconvenient. For peace of mind, the best alternative for the client is Chapter 13 with a low plan payment. I had one client who pays only $150 a month for $60,000 of credit cards in the same situation. She sold her house to her brotherin-law for below market and in exchange, he allowed her to stay in the house rent-free until she dies. In Chapter 7, the trustee would try to get the property back because it was sold below market price by $100,000 within the last four years. *** Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in bankruptcy, business, real estate and civil litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 1000 S. Fremont Ave, Mailstop 58, Building A-1 Suite 1125, Alhambra, CA 91803. (Advertising Supplement)

people & events 7 The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - August 7, 2019

NaFFAA to host 13th National Empowerment Conference in Los Angeles Discussions on Civic Leadership, Economic Empowerment and National Advocacy to be highlighted as largest coalition of Filipino American organizations announces appointment of new Executive Director

Washington, DC — From August 15-17, 2019, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) will convene its 13th National Empowerment Conference (NEC) in Carson, California. The theme of this year’s NEC is “Make It Count: Transforming Mindsets for 2020 and Beyond,” which reflects NaFFAA’s commitment to raising awareness around key issues affecting the community, laying out a clear plan of action around the 2020 Census and Presidential election, and building a unified vision of Filipino American empowerment. The three-day national convention will bring together a diverse array of Filipino and Filipino American leaders from across the public, private, and nonprofit sector for panels, workshops and receptions promoting community engagement, knowledge-sharing, and bayanihan—or unity and cooperation. Speakers and presenters will include Hon. Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, Philippine Consul General for Los Angeles; Mayor Albert Robles, Carson; Commissioner Jessica Caloza, Los Angeles Board of Public Works; and Anna Marie Cruz, Business Development Office for CDC Small Business Finance. “NaFFAA is driven by the tireless energy and boundless efforts of

our network of community advocates and leaders,” says Brendan Flores, NaFFAA’s National Chairman. “By holding our NEC in Los Angeles, we have a unique opportunity to leverage the knowledge and power of community leaders, thinkers, and decision makers in a region where a large number of Filipinos and Filipino Americans reside, impacting different industries and all sectors of society.” The 2019 NEC comes just as NaFFAA announces the appointment of Carissa Villacorta as its new Executive Director, concluding an extensive search that yielded a diverse field of candidates from coast to coast. Villacorta is an Author, Community Builder and Public Relations Professional who has created positive change through active listening and authentic storytelling for her clients in philanthropy, entrepreneurship, advocacy and technology. Villacorta began her immigrant’s journey at the Philippine Consulate General of New York, where she helped organize diplomatic receptions, community gatherings and other projects that promoted the talent of the Filipino. She will succeed Jason Tengco, who stepped down in April after two years leading NaFFAA. “I’m elated that NaFFAA’s Board of Governors has invited me to join

them in their tireless work advocating for their rights, progress and well-being of four million Filipinos in America. I’ve admired NaFFAA’s leadership over the years and am grateful to have been invited to continue serving the Filipino American community in this role.” Villacorta will be introduced to the members and supporters of NaFFAA at the upcoming NEC. For the full program of speakers, panelists and special guests, visit or find us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @naffaa.national. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA has been promoting the welfare and well-being of the more than 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy. For more information or to become a member, partner or sponsor, contact us at (202) 803-1353 / n


The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE -August 7, 2019

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080719 - Southern California Midweek Edition  

080719 - Southern California Midweek Edition