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October 9-11, 2019 Volume 29 - No. 79 • 2 Sections - 16 Pages

US a bit insecure over Russian ties — Palace by ALEXIS


THE Duterte administration’s effort to seek stronger ties with Russia may impel the United States to give the Philippines fairer deals, Malacañang said Monday, October 7. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the U.S. may feel “a little insecure” about the stronger ties between Manila and Moscow, which were affirmed during Duterte’s recent official visit to Russia. “As he (Duterte) said, ‘I will President Rodrigo Duterte and the members of his delegation hold a bilateral meeting with maintain our relations with the FRESH FROM RUSSIA. President Rodrigo Duterte is accorded foyer honors upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Polyana 1389 Hotel in Sochi on Thursday, October 3. Malacañang photo by Karl Norman Alonzo


DATELINE Immigrants who can’t afford health care may be denied visas FROM THE AJPRESS NEWS TEAM ACROSS AMERICA

New Trump rule set to take effect Nov. 3


Davao City on Sunday, October 6 following his successful official visit to the Russian Federation.

Malacañang photo by Arman Baylon

‘We trust PET and wait,’ Robredo spokesperson says after voting reset anew by KRISTINE JOY


AS the Presidential Electoral Tribunal again deferred voting on former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest, Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson expressed hope that the tribunal would release the official result of the initial recount. The Supreme Court sitting On October 8, the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal has reset as PET on Tuesday, October voting on the former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against 8, deferred action on Marcos’ Vice President Leni Robredo. photos protest. SC spokesperson Bri-

IN a new controversy that combines two of the hottest-button issues — immigration and healthcare — President Donald Trump on Friday, October 4 announced that incoming immigrants will be turned away if they can’t prove they’re covered by health insurance or have the means to afford insurance. by JULIE M. AURELIO The latest in a consistent to-do list of gration restrictions that says immigrants are required to show that they have or can afford A SUPPLEMENTAL communihealth insurance within 30 days of entering cation by a Church-backed group the country. asking the International Criminal Trump provided the current political battle Court (ICC) to admit additional u PAGE A4 evidence in the crimes against humanity case against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in connection with his war on drugs was “contrary” to Filipinos’ “standard norm and behavior.” The supplemental communication submitted to the ICC by Rise Up for Life, a Church-backed civil

an Hosaka said that the case “remains pending and is still being deliberated by the members of the tribunal.” A source told that the voting was reset to October 15. Gutierrez, in a press conference, said that it is “business as usual” for the Office of the Vice President. “We just have to wait again for developments next Tuesday,” he also said. “In the meantime, we continue to watch and trust the PET that they will decide on

the basis of their own rules and basis on the actual account,” he added in a mix of Filipino and English. But the spokesperson said they wish that the tribunal would grant their pleading filed Monday, October 7, seeking the release of the summary of recount on the three identified pilot provinces in the poll protest. Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s lead counsel, asked the tribunal to


Panelo: Latest bid vs Duterte at ICC Duterte most trusted PH official – survey ‘contrary to standard’ Filipino norm

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs legislation banning ‘Pay for Delay’ to fight runaway prescription drug costs



PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has remained the most trusted public official in the country, despite a decline in his approval and trust ratings, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey. The survey result released on Monday, October 7, showed that most Filipinos appreciated the accomplishments of Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for the past three months. The Pulse Asia survey conducted in September, with 1,200 Filipino adults as respondents, showed that Duterte obtained the highest approval and trust scores at 78 u PAGE A2 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

society group, drew the ire again of Malacanang. Rise Up urged the ICC to investigate alleged massive human rights violations and summary killings in Duterte’s drug war but Malacanang called it a “cheap political propaganda.” Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the reports aimed to “embarrass President Duterte while he is busy working outside the country to promote the Philippines.”

SACRAMENTO – Building on the state’s first-in-the-nation investments in the California budget and the Governor’s executive actions to lower prescription drug costs, Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, October 7, signed into law three bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs and increase access to care for California families. These bills will block pharmaceutical companies from keeping cheaper generic medicine off the market, improve black maternal health, and expand access to PrEP and PEP HIV medication. AB 824, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) and sponsored by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, makes California the first state to tackle pay-for-delay agreements which hurt consumers and increase drug company profits by blocking the development of generic drug competition. According to a Federal Trade Commission study, these anticompetitive deals cost consumers and taxpayers $3.5 billion in higher drug costs ev- The shutdown of Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT 2), which at least 200,000 people ride daily, prompted the government and a


private company to step in with measures to ease the suffering of commuters relying on the train line. Contributed photo

The ratings were 7 and 11 percentage points below the 88 and 85 percent he received in June. Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo brushed aside the perceived dip in the President’s ratings, saying the numbers were “still high.” “The rating is still high, it’s more than 70 percent. Surveys fluctuate depending on when they get them. If it is taken at the time when there are controversies hounding, it may affect the survey results. The fact remains that 70 percent plus remains still high,” Panelo said during a press conference. The drop in Dutetre’s ratings came amid the Senate investigation of the al-


Manila is 3rd among 56 cities with lowest quality of life – report indices from Deutsche Bank’s report, ranking 53rd in terms of purchasing power, 46th in safety MANILA ranked poorly at third index, 45th in both health care place among 56 cities worldwide index and property price to inwith the lowest quality of life, re- come ratio, 51st in traffic comsearch published by Deutsche mute time, 54th in pollution inBank has shown. dex, and 47th in climate index. Based on its May 2019 report, In terms of cost-of-living inDeutsche Bank said the top three dex, the country’s capital ranked cities with the lowest quality of 10th out of 56 countries but life were Lagos, Nigeria; Beijing, lagged in terms of monthly salChina; and Manila, Philippines. ary (net of taxes) ranking 50th One the other hand, the cities out of 55 cities. with the highest quality of life, The Deutsche Bank report according to the research, were stated that the net monthly salZurich, Switzerland; Wellington, ary in Manila dropped to $480 in New Zealand; and Copenhagen, 2019 from $498 in 2018. Denmark. Other cities with the lowest Manila also lagged in other u PAGE A2 by KRISSY


A october 9-11, 2019 • Socal ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

From the Front Page

US a bit insecure over Russian...


U.S.’ I don’t think it will be affected. Perhaps if there is any effect, it would be for the better because U.S. would now feel a little insecure about it; where before we tailor our position with that of the United States,” Panelo told ANC.

“Apart from that, it should be more open into giving us fair deals,” he added. Panelo cited the Philippines’ plan to buy firearms from the U.S., which some American lawmakers opposed due to allegations that Duterte is promoting human rights violations.

He claimed there was no such condition when Philippine officials talked to their Russian counterparts about the possible purchase of military equipment. “Remember the Marawi incident, where the Chinese government and the Russian government gave us rifles, until now, they haven’t asked a single… according to the President not even a single toothpick. It’s free,” Panelo said, referring to the 2017 terrorist attack in Marawi that prompted Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law. The relationship between Manila and Washington became uneasy when Duterte became president in 2016. The U.S. under then president Barack Obama had criticized the spate of deaths linked to Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, an act that the tough-talking Philippine leader regarded as an intrusion into Philippine affairs. Duterte has denied endorsing extrajudicial killings but has repeatedly ordered policemen to shoot drug suspects who pose danger to their safety. While Duterte was hostile to Obama, he was friendly to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has expressed support for his anti-drug war. He even described Trump as “a good friend.” In a speech at the Valdai forum in Sochi last Oct. 3, Duterte said he was not against the U.S., which he described as a “close friend” of the Philippines. He also clarified that the issue is not the current global order, but the “actions of certain actors that violate the very principles that underpin this order.” “We are tired of the misguided and self-serving crusades of the few. It is time that they are challenged,” Duterte said. “The Philippines does not ask for special treatment nor favors from its partners. It does not seek exemption from the norms and principles that have kept the peace in our world for decades,” he said at the forum. “What we seek – as I assume what the Russian people and all nations also desire – is fairness, equality and mutual respect. We want a strengthened rules-based order where countries, big or small, are treated the same,” he added. n

BILIBID INSPECTION. Metro police chief Guillermo Eleazar inspects personnel and the security system at the New Bilibid Prison where seized illegal drugs were reportedly sold. photo by Paul Sugano

Manila is 3rd among 56 cities with lowest...

PAGE A1 net monthly salaries indicated in the report were Istanbul, Turkey with $433; Bangladesh, Dhaka with $375; Jakarta, Indonesia with $362; Lagos, Nigeria with $236; and Cairo, Egypt with

$206. San Francisco in the United States, meanwhile, was ranked as the city with the highest monthly salary at $6,526 followed by Zurich in Switzerland at $5,896.

Deutsche Bank clarified the research “makes no representation as to its accuracy or completeness” though it assured the information and its public sources are “believed to be reliable.” n

Duterte most trusted PH official... PAGE A1 leged irregularities at the Bureau of Corrections and the supposed involvement of “ninja cops” or erring policemen in the recycling of seized illegal drugs such as crystal meth (shabu). Meanwhile, Vice President (VP) Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo got a 50-percent approval rating and a 46-percent trust rating, a decrease from the 55percent and 52-percent ratings, respectively, from the previous quarter. Sotto also got a slight decrease in his trust and approval ratings, garnering 72 percent and 66 percent, respectively, from the previous quarter’s 73 percent and 77 percent. On the other hand, Cayetano, who will only serve for 15 months under a power-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, received a

64-percent approval rating and a 62-percent trust rating. Supreme Court Justice Lucas Bersamin, who is set to retire on October 18, had a 42-percent approval rating and a 34-percent trust rating, a slight change from last quarter’s 41 percent and 35 percent, respectively. The Office of the Vice President said the dip in ratings was a “challenge.” “We take the latest survey results as a challenge to redouble our efforts, both in continuing to serve the public and keeping the Filipino people better informed of the work VP Leni is doing. We are likewise grateful that the VP continues to enjoy significant support from our fellow Filipinos,” Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez said. “This support will further strengthen her commitment to stay true to her constitutional

mandate, uphold our nation’s interests and work to uplift the lives of our people, especially the poor and marginalized,” he added. Meanwhile, Cayetano’s colleagues in the House of Representatives attributed his high ratings to his brand of leadership. “This is the first time that Speaker Cayetano has been rated by the Filipino people through the Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan survey, and we are collectively proud of our leader’s exemplary trust and approval rating,” said Majority Leader Martin Romualdez. “The trust and approval extended by our countrymen to Speaker Cayetano will definitely prompt all of us in the House of Representatives to work harder in the legislative mill in the days to come,” he added. (With Glee Jalea)

Panelo: Latest bid vs Duterte at ICC ‘contrary to...

PAGE A1 “This action is foul to say the least,” Panelo said. He added that it ran “contrary to our standard norm and behavior to be united for our leader.” In a statement, he dared Rise Up to just file complaints in Philippine courts if it has evidence to back its allegations of extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs. Rise Up, Panelo said, “should have the decency to honor the memory of those who died and file actual complaints before our courts.” He added: “Its immediate resort to the ICC, when our courts are able and willing to hear any and all cases in the country, shows that they are using the deaths to pursue its own selfish agenda.” Panelo made the remarks days after Rise Up asked ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to admit as evidence the official figures on deaths in Philippine police’s anti-drug operations, claiming these were “manipulated” to “shield the perpetrators.” The group also asked Bensouda to take into account the

deaths of 74 minors in police operations and the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution seeking a probe into the drug war. Panelo said the supplemental communication was “doomed from the very start,” adding that Rise Up’s “existence is bound by their sheer hatred and common despise” against Duterte. “This group of noisy antiDuterte critics and detractors is known for resorting to political theatrics and gimmickry,” said Panelo. Rise Up was “exploiting the grief and loss of widows and mothers whose husband or children had been neutralized by the anti-narcotics campaign,” said Panelo, using the word neutralize as a euphemism for kill, as the practice of the military and police. He said he also doubted Rise Up’s motives, accusing the group of citing figures that “have no factual basis.” “They know the same allegations will not hold up in court,” Panelo said. “They are trying to blemish the legitimate operations of

our law enforcement personnel, who were only forced to protect themselves in the performance of their duty,” Panelo said, echoing police reports on killings as necessary because the targets of operations fought back, or “nanlaban.” Panelo said Filipinos were “intelligent and discerning” enough to be “fooled by this cheap political propaganda.” But he said he knew Filipinos would continue to “solidly support” Duterte “for the remainder of his term.” He added that the loss of lives in police anti-drug operations “pains” Duterte. “We stress that the loss of any life is a heavy toll that no country should pay for its preservation of its general welfare,” he said. “It pains him when any Filipino is slain under whatever circumstance,” Panelo said, referring to his boss. Duterte had boasted he was willing to rot in jail just to protect the country from the drug menace and would take care of police involved in antidrug operations that lead to killings of suspects. n

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AMBASSADORS OF TRUTH. Eight leaders of indigenous peoples (IPs) in Mindanao recount their ordeals at the hands of the New People’s Army (NPA), during a press conference at the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) central office in Quezon City on Monday, October 7. Datu Nestor Apas (with microphone), who represents the municipalities of Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte, claimed there have been at least 1,000 of IPs killed by the NPA for not supporting them. The IPs just returned to the Philippines from the United States and Europe. PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs legislation banning... PAGE A1

ery year. The bill prohibits these agreements between brand name and generic drug manufacturers by making them presumptively anticompetitive. “California will use our market power and our moral power to take on big drug companies and prevent them from keeping affordable generic drugs out of the hands of people who need them,” said Governor Newsom. “Competition in the pharmaceutical industry helps lower prices for Californians who rely on lifesaving treatments.” SB 464 by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) will reduce preventable maternal mortality among black women by requiring all perinatal health care providers to undergo implicit bias training to curb the impact of bias on maternal health, and improving data collection at the California Department of Public Health to better understand pregnancy-related deaths. The 2019-20 state budget includes more than $65 million of ongoing total funds to expand the California Home Visiting Program and the Black Infant Health Program, which will improve the health and wellness of mothers and children and allow more families to access these important culturally appropriate services. “California is sending a clear message that discrimination has no place in our health care sys-

tem,” said Governor Newsom after signing SB 464. “We know that black women have been dying at alarming rates during and after giving birth. The disproportionate effect of the maternal mortality rate on this community is a public health crisis and a major health equity issue. We must do everything in our power to take implicit bias out of the medical system – it is literally a matter of life and death. I applaud the California Legislature for taking action to save the lives of mothers and children.” SB 159 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) authorizes pharmacists to furnish pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) without a physician’s prescription. The bill also prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorizations for patients to obtain PrEP coverage. The state budget includes one-time $40 million General Fund for infectious diseases prevention and control and ongoing $2 million General Fund specifically to address sexually transmitted diseases, as well as an additional ongoing $5 million General Fund for HIV prevention and control. “Recent breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of HIV can save lives,” Governor Newsom said of signing SB 159. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight

against HIV and AIDS. I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us closer to ending HIV and AIDS for good.” Today’s actions build on the Governor’s efforts to confront the cost crisis affecting working Californians. Just moments after being sworn in, the Governor launched a series of firstin-the-nation actions to make health care more affordable for all Californians and to move the state closer toward the goal of health care for all. Those proposals included Executive Order N-01-19 to create the nation’s largest single-purchaser system for drugs and to, ultimately, allow all Californians and private employers to sit together at the bargaining table across from big drug companies when negotiating prescription drug prices. Earlier this year, the Governor announced that the counties of Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Alameda and San Francisco, among the largest public purchasers of prescription drugs in California, will partner with the state to use our combined market power to take on drug companies and lower the cost of prescription drugs. The 2019-20 state budget signed by the Governor makes historic investments in health coverage protections for Californians and includes a series of PAGE A4



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WHO: Difficult vaccine access triggers PH outbreaks by Jovic


THE World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the measles and polio outbreaks in the Philippines were triggered not only by the parents’ refusal to have their children vaccinated but also by the country’s “logistical challengesâ€? that made it difficult for the public to gain access to vaccines. “The situation in the Philippines is complex because it’s not only vaccine hesitancy. [There are] logistical challenges, limited stockouts [that are] happening frequently in many health facilities,â€? WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe told NEW DRUG REHAB CENTER. Senator Cynthia Villar (right), and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (left), lead the ribbon cutting ceremony reporters on the sidelines of of the newly opened Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center facility in Barangay Ilaya, Las PiĂąas City on Monday, October 7. Accompanying them are Las PiĂąas Mayor Imelda Aguilar and Representative Camille Villar. The idle buildings in the city were transformed the five-day 70th Session of the into a rehab center in support of the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific. “Even when there is no vaccine hesitancy, there are challenges in accessing vaccines, [that’s why] children remain unprotected,â€? he added. He said WHO had also noticed “inadequacy of staffâ€? in some OVER 2,000 Philippine, U.S. and had said amphibious, humanitar- peace and development in our health centers. Japanese troops will be joining the ian assistance and disaster relief region, especially in Southeast While these problems cut third “Kamandagâ€? exercises at the operations would be featured in Asia, and we will also be joined across sectors, the impact is Subic Bay International Airport on this year’s exercises that would by our allies from the Japan more pronounced in poor comGround Self-Defense Force run until October 18. Wednesday, October 9. The Philippine Marine Corps [which will be more focused on] Capt. Felix Serapio, Philippine Marine spokesman, said will be testing its recently ac- capability enhancement and deon Tuesday the 1,400 soldiers quired amphibious assault ve- velopment with regards to huwould come from the U.S.; 600 hicles (AAV) from South Korea, manitarian response and disaster relief operations,â€? Serapio from the Philippines; and 100 as well as its artillery assets. Serapio said this would be the told reporters. from Japan. Some scenarios for the exerSerapio said Japan sent its first time that the Philippines by Kristine JoY Patag cises will be calamities, disasters Ground Self-Defense Force Am- would use its own AAV assets. “[The exercises] will be a and situations where amphibious phibious Rapid Deployment BriTHE United States Senate gade, a marine unit of Tokyo re- building of friendly alliances capabilities will be used, Serapio and developing our coopera- said. (Dempsey Reyes/ManilaT- committee seeking to ban entry sponsible for water operations. of Philippine government offiThe U.S. Embassy in Manila tion as stakeholders to regional cials involved in the “politicallymotivatedâ€? case of Sen. Leila de Lima may be seen as an “interference,â€? but Chief Justice Lucas PAGE A1 will respect whatever decision Bersamin said Monday, October that she already has.â€? furnish the parties with a copy of Gutierrez clarified that what that the PET will take with re- 7, that the American lawmakers the Summary and Report on the they have is the unofficial tally of spect with the release of the of- are free to do so. revision, recount and re-appre- the recount based on the reports ficial report.â€? In an exclusive interview with ciation of ballots from three pilot of their revisors, who were part Marcos’ spokesperson Rodri- CNN Philippines’ “The Source,â€? provinces. of the team that conducted the guez, for his part also said that Bersamin said the nature of the Macalintal argued that the par- recount from April 2018. they continue to wait for the tri- action is “interference,â€? but ties “need to be apprised on the He reiterated that releasing bunal to finish its deliberations. stressed: “They are privileged to truth of the real result of the re- the official summary will “help “Like everyone else, we also do that.â€? vision, recount and re-apprecia- dispel and correct any or the patiently waited for the PET de“Those in the U.S., they have tion of ballots from the three pilot misunderstandingâ€? regarding cision that was moved again to the fullest freedom to do what provinces.â€? the 15th,â€? he said in a text mes- they want to legislate, to adopt a the case. In a statement on Monday, He noted that the speculations sage to reporters. resolution in the Congress about Marcos spokesperson, lawyer Vic and misinformation cannot be Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin intervening to other countries, Rodriguez, slammed Robredo’s helped as the public has long on Monday said that Marcos’ we cannot do anything about motion and said she and her law- known that a report on the re- case has always been set in the them,â€? he said in a mix of Engyers should “stop deceiving the count was submitted last month, SC’s agenda for every en banc lish and Filipino. Filipino by requesting from the but official action has yet to be session. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois) high court, through a preposter- taken by the tribunal. The next full court session is lauded the U.S. Senate’s approous motion, copy of something The spokesperson added: “We on October 15. n priations committee for passing the amendment to prohibit entry of Philippine government officials that had a hand in De Lima’s detention that he proposed with Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vermont). “Good to see the Senate Ap-

Over 2,000 PH, US, Japanese troops join ‘Kamandag’ exercises in Subic

munities as relatively well-off areas “can find alternatives,� Abeyasinghe said. By WHO estimates, there are around 750,000 children who remain unvaccinated. Waning rates Since 2014, vaccination rates across the country have been waning, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Over the course of five years, the immunization rate for polio ranged from a high of 75 percent in 2015 to a low of 66 percent last year. In the same period, measles coverage peaked at 79 percent in 2015 and dropped to 67 percent last year. For a community to achieve herd immunity and prevent an outbreak of any of the vaccinepreventable diseases, the coverage rate should be 95 percent. Staffing problem At the Senate’s hearing on the government’s immunization program last month, Dr. Anthony Calibo, officer in charge of the DOH’s children’s health division, acknowledged the severe staffing problem. “You have a big country to work with, a large population of infants you need to cover and yet

the technical capacity is down to two persons at the central level. At the regional office, you only have one medical officer and a nurse coordinator/cold-chain manager,� Calibo said. In neighboring Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the national immunization programs have at least 40 experts in the central office alone, he said. To close the gaps in the country’s vaccination efforts, Calibo said the DOH had requested the creation of an immunization unit. RITM budget cut Unfortunately, the Department of Budget and Management disapproved the proposal. Similarly, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) suffered a budget cut of P80 million for its laboratory surveillance. It was RITM’s surveillance that helped detect the presence of vaccine-derived poliovirus in Manila and Davao. Senators have said that the immunization unit proposal would be considered and RITM’s P198million budget for 2020 would be restored, on top of possibly adding another P50 million for the center to expand its surveillance. n

Bersamin: US senators ‘free’ to adopt call to bar Philippine officials involved in De Lima detention

‘We trust PET and wait,’ Robredo spokesperson...

5,6,1*&+$//(1*(6)25/$&2817<),5(6 ),5675(6321'(56

propriations Committee pass my amendment with @SenatorLeahy today to prohibit entry to any Philippine government officials involved in the politically-motivated imprisonment of Filipina Senator Leila De Lima in 2017,â&#x20AC;? the Democrat from Illinois said. According to reports, the amendment was to the 2020 state and foreign operations appropriations bill. While the chief justice acknowledged that the U.S. senators are free to adopt the proposal, he, however, said he would not allow them to dictate what would happen in a matter that has already reached Philippine courts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The law there is let the courts function. Let the person involved there like [De Lima] do it in that forum... I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like that they will dictate to us, pressure us to do this one way or another,â&#x20AC;? he added. Durbin was one of the lawmakers who introduced a bipartisan resolution in April condemning the continued detention of De Lima and calling for her immediate release. The other legislators were Edward Markey (Massachusetts), Marco Rubio (Florida), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee)

and Chris Coons (Delaware). The resolution was read twice and referred to the chamberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foreign relations committee. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Vote on De Lima case was a judicial functionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Bersamin also said he does not consider himself to be one of the officials covered by the supposed ban. He explained that what he did was an exercise of a judicial function. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She came to the court and asked for relief and we considered the plea. We debated it. Of course, she should not expect that all of us will agree one way or the other,â&#x20AC;? he added. Bersamin also explained that his vote was because he was not convinced that De Limaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arguments that the SC should â&#x20AC;&#x153;deprive the trial court to have jurisdiction against her.â&#x20AC;? The SC voted 9-6 on Oct. 10, 2017 to uphold the constitutionality of De Limaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s detention, in connection to the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illegal drug trading case against her. The high court affirmed its earlier ruling in June 2018. Bersamin, then an associate justice of the SC, voted to junk both of De Limaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pleas. n

Immigrants who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford health care may be...


PAGE A1 over healthcare as a reason for the proclamation. In other words, the government shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exacerbate a problem by risking increasing the pool of uninsured, the president said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of [immigrants] who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs,â&#x20AC;? the proclamation noted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers with higher costs.â&#x20AC;? The White House bolstered the argument by saying that the proclamation protects â&#x20AC;&#x153;health care benefits for American citizens,â&#x20AC;? fitting squarely in the presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;America Firstâ&#x20AC;? promise. Trump said that the ban only applies to people seeking to enter the U.S. with an immigrant visa and does not apply to refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, Iraqis or Afghans seeking a Special Immigrant Visa or those on temporary visitor visas. Employer-based or individually-purchased insurance would be permitted per the new order, and it can be for long- or shortterm coverage. But it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be through the Affordable Care Act, which both the GOP and


Gov. Gavin Newsom signs legislation banning...





proposals that leads the nation in reducing health care costs and increasing access for families. The budget: â&#x20AC;˘ Invests $1.45 billion over three years to increase Covered California health insurance premium support for low-income Californians â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and provides premium support for the first time to qualified middle-income individuals earning up to $72,000 and families of four earning up to $150,000, partially funded by restoration of an enforceable Individual Mandate;

the Trump Administration have been fighting to tear down. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They will need health insurance to be in the country legally [and] the only way they may be able to afford coverage is with ACA subsidies. But if they buy insurance with ACA subsidies, it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t count as insurance under the proclamation,â&#x20AC;? Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation explained. Immigrants who are on Medicaid would also not qualify. Throughout his presidency, Trump has made cutting both legal and illegal immigration programs and processes a priority. The border crisis, his plans to cut family reunification programs and the controversy surrounding the 2017 termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have colored the 45th presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first three years This new rule comes at the heels of the Trump administrationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s controversial decision to change the public charge rule which says that incoming immigrants may be turned away if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a strong likelihood theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll require food stamps, subsidized housing and other government assistance programs. That rule is set to take effect on Tuesday, October 15. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People who come here shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t immediately be on public assistance. We should bring people here who contribute and not drain resources,â&#x20AC;? a White House official told POLITICO.

â&#x20AC;˘ Expands Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible undocumented young adults ages 19 through 25; â&#x20AC;˘ Includes an increase of $1 billion, using Prop 56 funding, to support increased rates to MediCal providers, expanded family planning services, and valuebased payments that encourage more effective treatment of patients with chronic conditions; â&#x20AC;˘ Invests in and supports Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seniors by expanding health and other vital state services to this fast-growing part of Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population;

As with the public charge rule, immigrant rights organizations decried the proclamation, calling it yet another attack on the immigrant communities and installation of fear that prevents lawful immigrants from seeking assistance. (According to the White Houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s written proclamation, â&#x20AC;&#x153;lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than U.S. citizens to lack health insurance.â&#x20AC;?) The National Immigration Law Center responded in a tweet, saying, the proclamation is nothing but a way to â&#x20AC;&#x153;distractâ&#x20AC;? from the presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent scandals involving foreign leaders that have led to a House impeachment inquiry. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trump is yet again pointing the finger at immigrant communities to distract us from his scandals. This latest attack on immigrants is not good for hospitals, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not good for patients [and] itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not good for the health and well-being of communities across the country,â&#x20AC;? the NILC said. Democrats also denounced the proclamation, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has endorsed universal health care, tweeted on Oct. 5, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The United States doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ever even offer guaranteed healthcare for *its own citizens,* yet wants to demand it from people of other national origins. Hypocrisy, xenophobia, and barbarism all in one policy.â&#x20AC;? (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

â&#x20AC;˘ Ends the â&#x20AC;&#x153;senior penaltyâ&#x20AC;? in Medi-Cal by raising the income eligibility limit for older Californians; â&#x20AC;˘ Expands eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level for the Medi-Cal Aged, Blind and Disabled program, estimated to help 22,000 Californians; â&#x20AC;˘ Invests boldly in responding to Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease including $3 million for research grants with a focus on women and communities of color, and $5 million for Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease local infrastructure. n

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Artist, cultural activist Carlos Celdran passes away at 46 Napoles asks SC for halt order vs plunder proceedings at Sandiganbayan by Kristine Joy


MANILA — Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, believed to be the brains behind the pork barrel scam, asked the Supreme Court to issue a halt order against the Sandiganbayan’s plunder proceedings against her. Napoles filed a Petition for Certiorari assailing the Sandiganbayan’s resolution rejecting the demurrer to evidence she filed, that sought the dismissal of plunder case against her, and a separate motion to dismiss. She urged the SC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from the proceedings and nullifying the assailed resolutions due to “lack or excess or jurisdiction.” A demurrer to evidence is a pleading that challenges the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence against the accused. It paves the way for the dismissal of the case halfway through the trial, without the accused having to present their counter-evidence. A copy of the plea was made public only on Tuesday, October 8. Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is Napoles’ co-accused in the case. Named as respondents are Sandiganbayan 5th Division Associate Justices Rafael Lagos, Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpuz-Mañalac.

No main plunderer in charge sheet Napoles’ lawyers raised that the Information or charge sheet failed to identify Estrada as the main plunderer in the case and does not constitute a charge of plunder. “The requirement of identifying the mastermind or main plunderer in the crime of plunder was introduced or came about only in the year 2016 when the Honorable Supreme Court en banc decided the GMA case,” the petition read. They were referring to the 2016 SC ruling that cleared former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo of plunder. The SC granted Arroyo’s petition and set aside the rulings of the Sandiganbayan denying her demurrer to evidence. ‘NGO not even a respondent’ Napoles’ lawyers pointed out that the Sandiganbayan failed to summon or indict the supposed bogus non-government organizations involved in the scam, nor did it determine their true ownership. They said that the Sandiganbayan justices established the link between Napoles and the NGOs based on “say-so of the self-confessed criminals turned state witnesses who unequivocally admitted that they were officers of the NGOs.” “The miserable failure of the Ombudsman to indict the said NGO-corporations in the Information for Plunder or even sum-

mon them through any of the processes of the court, deprived the Sandiganbayan, 5th Division and the public respondents-justices of any jurisdiction over their persons, hence, it is not possible to pierce the veil of their corporate fiction in order to determine their alleged true ownership,” the petition read. When the Sandiganbayan junked Estrada’s demurrer to evidence, it held that testimonies of the whistle-blowers, including that of star witness Benhur Luy, “show to the court every step or layer of the crime charged.” Among the prosecution’s evidence cited by the court was the project listing from Estrada’s office identifying the Napoles-linked non-governent organizations Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. and Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. as partners in the implementation of his supposed livelihood projects. Napoles is following the steps Arroyo took to her freedom, as the former president also challenged the Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of her demurrer to evidence before the SC and was eventually ordered freed. In December, the Sandiganbayan convicted Napoles for plunder in a separate case involving the PDAF allocations of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Estrada ran in the same slate with Revilla but failed to win in the 2019 midterm elections. n

Court allows Ressa to to file demurrer plea that may lead to cyberlibel case dismissal MANILA — The Manila court handling the cyberlibel case against Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa has allowed them to file a pleading seeking the case’s dismissal without presenting counter-evidence. In a one-page order dated October 8, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa granted Ressa’s Motion for Leave of Court to file Demurrer to Evidence. This means that Ressa is allowed to file a demurrer to evidence, a legal challenge to the sufficiency of the prosecution’s

evidence against her. A demurrer to evidence paves the way for the dismissal of the case halfway through the trial, without the accused having to present counter-evidence. Rappler is given 10 days to file the motion, while the prosecution is given the same period to file a comment. After the parties submit their pleadings, the court will deem it submitted for resolution. Ressa and Rappler’s former reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. are facing a cyberlibel charge over a May 2012 article. The article cited an “intelli-

gence report” saying businessman Wilfredo Keng had been under surveillance for his alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling. Keng said the article was malicious. The DOJ indicted Rappler, Ressa and Santos on cyber libel charges, despite the cybercrime law being signed four months after the publication of the story. State prosecutors pointed out that the story was updated on Feb. 19, 2014, which puts it under the “multiple publication rule.” (Kristine Joy Patag/

MANILA — Carlos Celdran, the cultural activist and tour guide who stirred up controversy for staging a protest at the Manila Cathedral in 2010 against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Reproductive Health law, has died. He was 46. Celdran “passed from natural causes,” his wife, Tesa, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, October 8. “As the family is making arrangements to bring him home, no details can be announced yet,” Tesa wrote. Born in 1972, Celdran studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. He was known for creating works that use Manila as the primary subject. According to Celdran, his “most shocking work” was his ”performance piece” called the “Damaso” — a protest he staged in September 2010 at the Manila Cathedral where he dressed up as Jose Rizal and held up a placard with the word “Damaso” be-

Carlos Celdran

fore then-Papal Nuncio, Gaudencio Rosales, several bishops and attendees of the ecumenical service. “Damaso” is a reference to the villainous friar Padre Damaso in Rizal’s classic novel “Noli Me Tangere,” a character regarded as a symbol of oppression and corruption by the church during photo

the Spanish occupation. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld Celdran’s conviction for offending religious feelings. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in 2015 said that Celdran had been forgiven by the church for the incident. (Ian Nicolas Cigaral/Philstar. com)

A6 OCTOBER 9-11, 2019 • SoCal ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797


Here to stay


CONSIDERING the culture and the environment, perhaps President Duterte was just being realistic when he said that violent fraternity initiation or hazing is here to stay. This, however, shouldn’t be seen as a statement of surrender. Law enforcement and the toughest penalties have not completely eradicated any crime. The President himself has said that drug trafficking will continue beyond his administration – an acknowledgment that it is not possible to deliver on his campaign promise of eradicating the drug menace whether in six months or the six years of his watch. Certain crimes are committed out of necessity; some arise from greed. The lure of big money in drug trafficking has made people risk capture, incarceration and even capital punishment. Other crimes are perpetrated due to psychological or emotional problems, the influence of drugs or alcohol, or twisted concepts such as those behind fraternity and sorority hazing. Around the world, the continuing commission of crimes has led to the crafting of relevant laws as well as better ways of crime prevention and control. Scientific methods of criminal investigation

have led to the conviction of killers and rapists and at the same time have saved innocent people from capital punishment. Technological developments have improved surveillance and strengthened the fight against terrorism and human trafficking. International cooperation and better regulation have boosted the fight against money laundering. Laws and weapons against cyber crimes are evolving with the technology. Yes, hazing may be here to stay. But if the perverted sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that leads to violent initiation rites will persist, there should also be no let-up in the efforts to prevent them from happening. Environments that enable the beastly hazing to thrive can be changed. There’s a new law that can save people – especially youths – from death and serious injury. The new law has stronger wording, wider coverage and tougher penalties against hazing, and it deserves to be fully implemented. (

Editorial photo

Tipping point?: A majority of Americans now support opening of impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump

The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS DESPITE impeachment fatigue reflected in previous polls, it looks like the recent Ukraine scandal has pushed the American people to a tipping point. President Donald Trump effectively confessed to the scandal through his administration’s “transcript” memo and his own defense of his communications with the Ukrainian officials. According to the recent Washington Post-Schar School poll, “A majority of Americans say they endorse the decision by House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, and nearly half of all adults also say the House should take the additional step and recommend that the president be removed from office.” As the Post reported, this quick shift of public opinion followed revelations about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian government officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 campaign rival, and Biden’s son Hunter. Even without basis in fact, it was just to dig dirt on Trump’s potential political rival in the 2020 presidential elections using the power and resources of his position to use military aid needed by Ukraine as leverage. The poll reveals that 58% of Americans now say “the House of Representatives was correct to undertake the inquiry,” with 38% opposing.

In fact, 49% of all adults express the House needs to do more, saying, “The House should take the more significant step to impeach the president and call for his removal from office.” The poll says “another 6% say they back the start of the inquiry but do not favor removing Trump from office, with the remainder undecided about the president’s ultimate fate.” The Post reported that results among registered voters are almost identical. While the results of the poll continue to highlight the partisan divisions that surround the Trump presidency and any impeachment inquiry, the Post report pointed out “the degree to which there are defections among Republicans.” Among Democrats, more than 8 in 10 respondents endorse the impeachment inquiry and nearly 8 in 10 favor a vote to recommend that Trump be removed from office. Meanwhile, only 3 out of 10 Republicans support the impeachment inquiry, and almost 20%, or 2 out of 10 Republicans say they favor a vote recommending Trump’s removal from office. Among independents —a majority — 57%, now support the impeachment inquiry with 49% saying the House should vote to remove Trump from office. The defections among Republicans is revealed by the movement in public opinion toward an impeachment inquiry since a July poll by The Post and ABC

among all three groups, with support for the inquiry rising by 25 points among Democrats, 21 points among Republicans and 20 points among independents. When respondents were asked whether President Trump upholds adequate standards for ethics in government, 60 percent of Americans say he does not, while only 35 percent say he does. These findings come AFTER several betrayals of public trust and the oath he swore by when he took office, as outlined by the Slate among others: Trump’s abuse of power revealed in the Mueller Probe, soliciting help from Russia to dig dirt on Hillary Clinton to help him win the election; Trump’s “love affair” with North Korean dictator Kim Jongun which according to the Slate is their connivance “to lie about North Korea’s arsenal; Trump’s covering up intelligence about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder of U.S. legal resident/Saudi Arabia dissident/ Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi; Trump’s pressuring Israel to deny entry to four Democratic congresswomen of color who are critical of him— all born in the United States except for one who is a naturalized refugee: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib. These poll results came BEFORE the news report about

U.S. President Donald Trump

the second whistleblower from the intelligence community that had firsthand knowledge about Trump’s call with Ukrainian officials. Just this week, another bombshell: Trump threatened to ‘decimate’ Turkey’s economy if it injures U.S. troops. Members of the Republican Party who have always defended and supported the president openly rebuked Trump over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a report by The Guardian: “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime…and it would increase the risk that

White House photo

Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.” Senator Lindsay Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added, as reported by the Guardian: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the U.S. in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.” Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, is reported by The Guardian to have admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we

expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against Isis in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend” These are on the foreign relations front. There are transgressions alleged and are being investigated on the abuse of power to advance and protect Trump’s financial interest. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata! *** Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to, https://www.

Chirac and the Muslim mosque in the south; brief Qatar visit and tension in Persian Gulf


WE were in Paris with wife Gina when former French President Jacques Chirac passed away. He was 86 years old. World leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Russian President Vladimir Putin joined French President Emmanuel Macron in paying tribute to Chirac, with Macron hailing the late two-term President as a “great Frenchman.” Chirac, one of the most popular public figures in France and Europe, whose political career spanned some 50 years, served his country as president for 12 years, two-time prime minister, mayor of Paris for 18 years, and Cabinet Minister in various capacities. He was also an officer in the French Army during the Algerian War. The late French leader strong-

ly opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq in 2003, which was considered by many as one of his most notable foreign policy decisions as president. He was also a steadfast advocate of the European Union. This columnist as then Speaker of the House of Representatives remembers with honor and gratitude receiving in Paris in 2005 from then President Chirac the prestigious French Legion of Honor, the Grand Cross, which was also previously awarded to President Fidel V. Ramos, President Corazon Aquino, President Manuel Quezon, General and Foreign Minister Carlos P. Romulo, and Press Secretary Teodoro Benigno, who used to work for the Agence France Press (AFP) in Manila. We are also happy to note that in 2008, as co-president of the French Legion of Honor Association in the Philippines and with then French Ambassador to Manila Gerard Ches-

nel, we contributed even in a modest way to help rebuild the first Muslim mosque in the Philippines, located in the deep southern Tawi-Tawi, built in the first years of Islam in the Philippines by Muslims from the Arab world and converts in Indonesia and Mindanao. The mosque was built in 1380, some 141 years before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the Philippines in 1521. Our good friend Ambassador Chesnel and we considered it a “small, humble project but it symbolizes Christian-Muslim solidarity in a strategic isle of the Sulu Sea where Islam began in the Philippines.” We said to him that while we achieved something noteworthy in the country’s deepest south, we should also consider doing something that could be noteworthy in our country’s farthest north in the Batanes islands. We should talk to our old friend, former Congressman and Secretary Butch

Abad, about building a modest memorable project that we and France could perhaps undertake in our farthest north to match our memorable project in the farthest south. We also regarded the project in the southernmost isle as a “dramatic expression of friendship and confluence of Philippine and French foreign policy.” We should speak with the new well-regarded French Ambassador Nicholas Galey whether we could again work with France to establish a joint modest project in the farthest north in Batanes to match our modest little work in the deepest south at the end of the Sulu archipelago. The French Legion of Honor is an order of chivalry established by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the oldest and highest ranking medal of honor in France. *** After recovering from flu at a

now almost age 83, and missing a speech before the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Baku, Azerbaijan three weeks ago, we moved on to the south of France and to Lourdes for a month-long vacation, our first after several years of hectic speaking engagements in the international community. We were with wife Gina, sister-inlaw Chona Ampil, stepson Philip Cruz III, business executive Tony Reyes, and our Assistant Joy Cristobal. We accepted a kind and most enjoyable invitation from the famous couple, Christian Baverey, scion of a great industrialist French family from Lyon and his wife, Tetta Agustin, who is highly-regarded in Europe’s prestigious fashion houses and who continues to do active charity work when she and her husband visit the Philippines every year. We boarded their yacht Tosca, named after their bright

and beautiful daughter, lawyer and successful entrepreneur in Brazil and Portugal, and sailed the Mediterranean with brief stops in Nice, Monaco, the Italian coastal waters of San Remo, Lavagne, Portofino, and Sta. Margherita in the French and Italian Mediterranean. We wished we sailed further to Athens, Greece where in the mid-70s, we scored a coup as an aggressive entrepreneur by purchasing an old cruise ship, docked in Piraeus, Athens, without an engine, and which we purchased for $5.6-million to house our 3,000 workers in Jeddah for the operation of the Port of Jeddah, then a much-needed project in the mushrooming newly oil-rich Middle East. The port was so busy that without our army of stevedores and port managers, cargo ships docked offshore had to haul their cargo onshore through helicopters, a most expensive way of stevedoring. (To be continued next week)

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


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Philippine economy moves past speed bumps – ING Fitch Solutions: Foreign investments key to infra growth by Czeriza


THE Philippine economy is now over speed bumps that slowed down growth in the first semester of the year, said an economist of ING Bank Manila. During an economic briefing late Thursday, October 3, ING Bank Mania senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the recent rate cuts implemented by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the low inflation environment and acceleration of government spending would give the domestic economy the steam to attain a full-year growth rate of six percent for 2019. This entails a growth rate of 6.3 percent in the third quarter and 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter after growth rates of 5.6 percent in the first quarter and 5.5 percent in the second quarter. “We’ve passed the speed bump that we alluded to in the first half of the year after government spending weakened and capital formation contracted. BSP started cutting policy rates by 75 basis points year-to-date so we can hopefully see a recovery in capital formation,” Mapa said. “We should improve our growth prospects moving forward. Now that we’ve passed this speed bump I think we’re going to chase six percent growth and a strong finish for this year,” he added.

by Mayvelin

U. Caraballo

During an economic briefing late Thursday, October 3, ING Bank Mania senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the recent rate cuts implemented by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the low inflation environment and acceleration of government spending would give the domestic economy the steam to attain a full-year growth rate of six percent for 2019. file photo

As the domestic economy is not heavily reliant on exports, growth is largely supported by investments, government expenditure and household consumption. Economic growth shifted to an even lower gear in the second quarter, falling way short of forecasts, due to the spillover effects of the budget delay and the election ban on infrastructure projects. During the period, capitol formation contracted particularly on the government side. Consumer confidence was also hit as seen in the slowdown in household consumption. “In the second quarter, capital formation was negative because of the effect of the rate hike last year. They say a rate hike today

Farm tourism growing in PH Foreign, local tourists want to ‘go back to basics’ and help Mother Nature by ronnel

W. DoMingo

EVEN as the world goes further high-tech through what pundits are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, agriculture and farms are regaining importance due to deepened awareness of healthy living and an increased desire for alternative experiences. There is an increasing push to “go back to basics” and to avoid contributing to the deterioration of the planet by way of activities that increase the emission of greenhouse gases. One resulting trend is that people—especially those who want to travel—are giving agriculture a second look and are reestablishing their connection with nature. This, in turn, is giving rise to “farm tourism.” Travellers seek learning and recreation in farms, and this demand engenders increased economic activities not only in the farms themselves, but also in the surrounding rural communities. That is why Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat describes farm tourism as “a catalyst for sustainable tourism and inclusive development.” To enable this, the farm tourism development law was enacted in May 2016. Finally, after more than two years, the rules to implement the law were promulgated in July. “Farm tourism holds the promise of food sufficiency and additional income for our tourism stakeholders, including farmers, farmworkers and fisherfolk,” Puyat says in a statement. “After all, gainful employment, enhanced productivity and sustainable livelihoods are what tourism is really all about,” she adds. Republic Act No. 10816 recognizes the importance of agriculture in making available food and other products that not only are necessary to sustain and enhance human life but also provide livelihood to a major portion of the population. Citing data from the World Bank, Puyat says about two-fifths of the Philippines’ total land area of 300,000 square kilometers is devoted to farming, which engages about one-fourth of the country’s workforce. She says that this, coupled with the world-renowned Filipino hospitality, provides competitive advantages that farm tourism in the Philippines can leverage. So far, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has accredited 174 farm tourism sites all over the archipelago. She says the number will surely increase as the government’s farm tourism strategic action plan is expected to be completed within the next three months. Through RA 10816, the government’s goal is to identify or help establish at least one farm tourism camp—both agricultural as well as fisheries-related—for each of the 81 provinces in the Philippines. Currently, 31, or about one-fifth of all the accredited farm tourism sites, are concentrated in Calabarzon and more than half are spread out in the Visayas and Mindanao. The DOT, along with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, is tasked to further encourage the

establishment of farm tourism sites, and to promote those already identified. These three agencies, along with private sector representatives, will constitute a farm tourism development board as the law mandates. To be highlighted is the inclusiveness of benefits from farm tourism. For tourists, there will be more options for destinations, especially in the segment of educational tours. For rural communities, there will be greater opportunities in jobs such as those for tour guides, drivers and hotel and restaurant workers. For farmers and farmworkers, there will be additional sources of revenue aside from their harvest. For the country as a whole, food security is bolstered, thanks to these additional incentives for farmers and fishers to continue their activities instead of switching to other jobs. There are two types of farm tourism sites. One is a “day farm,” which is located near highways and main business areas and, thus, ideal four-day tours and visits. The other is a “farm resort” that offers accommodation and dining services. Guests can take part in activities in the farm or enjoy interactive attractions as part of an immersive experience offering—for example, they can collect eggs, harvest vegetables or catch fish for their own meals. Considering this, a farm resort is required to have facilities for sleeping as well as a restaurant. But for all farm tourism sites, each should have been operating for at least three months and the location must be “generally safe and peaceful.” They all must have a reception or information desk, parking areas, dining or multipurpose areas, a farm guide and a souvenir shop or mini trading area. In terms of infrastructure, the farm tourism site must be accessible by road and have amenities such as electricity, water and communication services. A farm tourism site must have at all times security personnel on duty, firefighting facilities and well-stocked first aid kits. Safety signages must be conspicuously displayed, and “off limit” areas must be clearly demarcated. For sanitation, the sites must have clean and well-maintained restrooms as well as areas “with ample amenities.” The sites must be equipped with garbage cans and have waste management systems in place. The DOT cites three establishments as showcase examples of accredited farm tourism sites. One is the Nature Wellness Village in Tagaytay City, whose main offering is spa or pampering services but maintains an on-site organic garden that supplies some of the food it serves. Another is the Oceanview Farm and Cottages in Siquijor, a regular venue for lectures and seminars on organic agriculture. A third example is the Vita Isola Leisure Farm in Bohol, which offers a tour of its organic farm, encounter with farm animals that include chickens, quails, turkeys, goats and even rabbits. n

hurts nine months down the road. We are still feeling that in capital formation. With the BSP cutting rates, hopefully there is some effect,” he said. Mapa said the acceleration in government spending and policy easing will give government projects and private sector investment the momentum throughout the rest of the year until 2020. “With growth expected to recover in the second semester, BSP can be expected to cut rates early next year or maybe even squeeze in another rate cut before the end of the year. It all depends on the inflation dynamics as well as third quarter GDP numbers,” he said. n

A FITCH Group unit on Friday highlighted the importance of private and foreign investments for the Philippines’ flagship infrastructure program. “The Philippines’ infrastructure needs will be partially met by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Build Build Build program, but its large infrastructure deficit means that the country will have to attract more private and foreign investments into the sector to close the gap,” Fitch Solutions said in a report. Large-scale infrastructure development is a priority for the current administration under Build Build Build, which includes 75 priority projects. That said, the macro intelligence solutions provider pointed out that the Philippines would benefit from its improving bilateral relations and deepening cooperation with China following the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines in November 2018. “This puts the country’s construction sector in a good position to benefit from agreements signed between the two leaders,” Fitch Solutions said. file photo

During Xi’s visit, Manila and Beijing signed 29 agreements, including the memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting cooperation in key infrastructure projects in the Davao region. Fitch Solutions also said foreign financing would remain key to the growth of the country’s infrastructure sector over the next decade, noting Japanese funding to the sector. Japan is currently the largest foreign contributor of funds to the infrastructure sector, accounting 40 percent of the share of foreign financiers. The Fitch unit said the Ja-

pan International Cooperation Agency was the key provider of funds, making more than 250 commitments totaling 2.8 trillion Japanese yen, or about $260 million on a cumulative basis, to the Philippines. “Chinese funding pales in comparison with that of the Japanese, but going forward, we expect Japanese dominance to slowly erode over time, and Chinese funding to play a greater role in project financing, especially with the Philippines now part of the BRI,” said Fitch Solutions, referring to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. n

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Pinay visionaries: A spotlight on Filipina American elected and appointed officials Interviews by Malou liwanag-Bledsoe, Joseph

THE late Thelma Buchholdt paved the way for Filipino Americans to serve in public office, when she was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1974, becoming the first Fil-Am woman legislator in America. She served four terms until 1980. Since then, Filipina American women have occupied statewide or local positions, whether through elections or appointments, in states like California, New York and Nevada, to name a few. In a large city like New York, for example, Mayor Bill De Blasio has appointed a record number of Filipina Americans as commissioners: Anne del Castillo, Office of Media and Entertainment; Carmelyn Malalis, Commission on Human Rights; Maria Torres Springer, Department of Housing Preservation and Development; and Minerva Tantoco, the city’s first Chief Technology Officer. (Torres Springer and Tantoco have since vacated the roles, however.) In the 2018 midterm election cycle, three Filipina Americans vied for congressional seats: Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District (she’s since announced she’s running again in 2020); Cristina Osmeña for California’s 14th District; and Jennifer Mijares-Zimmerman for Florida’s 1st District. While we have yet to see Filipina American representation in Congress, it’s a start for individuals to have the backing and support to run on that level. This year’s Filipino American History Month theme of “Pinay Visionaries: Celebrating Filipina American Women,” recognizes the vital but underreported role of Fil-Ams in U.S. history, especially their work public office. The Asian Journal spoke to several current Filipina Ameri-

peralta and Christina M. oriel /AJPress

cans who have been elected or appointed to public offices about their contributions and what needs to be done for more Pinays in these types of leadership roles. Southern CAliForniA In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti — who has often said that LA is a “very Filipino city” — has Fil-Ams across levels of his administration and has made an effort in ensuring that the city no longer has any allmale commissions. Filipina Americans have been reflected in this goal through commission and advisory appointments: Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, Department of Building and Safety; Melany de la Cruz-Viesca, Human Relations; Pilar Diaz, Department of Recreation and Parks; Theresa de Vera, Department on Disability; Myrna Cabanban, Department on Disability; Gerlie Collado, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority; Abigail Zelenski, Civil and Human Rights; and Ethel Rubio, Adams-Normandie Historic Preservation Overlay Zone advisory board. This year alone, Garcetti has appointed two Filipina Americans to prominent city commissions: Susana Reyes to the LA Board of Water and Power and Jessica Caloza to the Board of Public Works — both becoming the first Pinays in these roles. Susana Reyes - Commissioner, LA Board of Water and Power

Susana Reyes

Reyes announced her

retirement from a 32-year public service career earlier this year, until she was nominated by Garcetti in April to join the LA Board of Water and Power Commission, the largest municipal utility in the country. Reyes was previously the director of LA Dept. of Water and Power’s Low-Income Customer Access and was a senior analyst on Garcetti’s sustainability team. Outside of City Hall, Reyes is vice president of the national Sierra Club’s board of directors. On what it means to be a commissioner: Done right, this role can be powerful. I take my duties seriously and as a steward of the communities that LADWP serves, I know I can make a difference from where I sit. I painstakingly ensure policies reflect the values of the organization by working closely with the organization leadership and public stakeholders like neighborhood councils, communitybased organizations, environmental justice advocates, and businesses that promote clean energy and sustainable programs. Being a commissioner requires continuous learning about governance and being an advocate for the mission, making decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, ensuring prudent use of the organization’s assets, and planning for a sustainable future. On being an environmental and social justice advocate: Growing up in the Philippines, I’ve seen firsthand the poverty and inequality in communities that are most impacted by climate change. I was aware of the lack of leadership and corrupt moral compass at many levels of our government. So I took action. I’m reminded of growing up in the Philippines and experiencing water shutoffs and power

outages on a regular basis. I’m reminded of the contamination in the drinking water and the worst air pollution episodes one can imagine. These experiences gave me the courage and the competency to look at our world through a different lens, and maybe, even, to polish the view for others, especially for my grandchildren who will have to deal with the climate crisis. My public service and career is a continuation of my commitment to make a difference where I can most meaningfully serve. I don’t distinguish my passion from my career. To me, they are inherently connected and woven in the fabric of my being. On accountability: I would like the public to see me in my various leadership roles and hold me accountable for my work. I have an open-door policy and I welcome feedback and ideas that are transformative and meaningful. The Fil-Am community can engage with my office in an open and transparent manner. Our ‘kababayans’ can bring to my attention their concerns or ask me for input, comment on my work, or involve me in working groups and panels on particular issues. Effective communications help build trust and a sustainable relationship over the years. On Pinay power: As a Filipina, I take pride in my race, my roots, values, and culture. Being a Filipina means having a unique and authentic voice that lifts up voices of our kababayans. It means having the strength to rise above complex challenges as a strong advocate and leader of social change. I see my role as a disrupter to systemic injustice and racism. I have the power to make a difference simply by showing up and telling the truth, by giving a voice to that which burns fiercely inside my heart.

Jessica Caloza - Commissioner, LA Board of Public Works

Jessica Caloza

In addition to being the first Pinay, Caloza is currently the only Asian American on LA’s Board of Public Works, a full-time, five-member commission that manages projects and programs, such as construction and sanitation, to the benefit of the city’s 4 million residents. Caloza oversees the Bureau of Engineering, which deals with infrastructure. On the call to public service: I was a senior at UC San Diego and I got terribly sick. I was working multiple jobs, had internships, and was taking a full course load and I ended up getting a bad case of pneumonia and [being] hospitalized. The Affordable Care Act was passed a few months before that…and if I wasn’t covered under my insurance plan by my parents, I would have had crushing medical debt. This experience was just so formative…and made me think if I got out of [there], I had to make sure policies like this continue to exist for people who need it the most, for people that really need to be protected by our government. That’s why for me our work is so important because sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. On the impact of local government: One of the things I grappled with the most at the federal level is that you have a hard time grasping what the real issues are that constituents face because

D.C. is a bubble…and you lose a lot of what is important to the everyday person. That’s what I love about working on the local level, I will never not know what the problem is in LA. The Board of Public Works is the only full-time policymaking commission in the city, and we handle a lot of the critical city services and also the city’s infrastructure projects that hit close to home because we impact people’s quality of life. On memorializing Pinays: I hope we institutionalize these Filipina trailblazers when we write in our newspapers, articles and books. When I was looking for these Filipina trailblazers in history, it was really hard to find them in Filipino American history because it is very male-dominated. We just have to keep sharing these stories…until they become part of our history because repetition is everything when it comes to who we remember, whether it’s Dawn [Mabalon] or the one I’m trying to institutionalize in our Filipina history here in LA is somebody like Tita Jocelyn Gaega Rosenthal who is a remarkable community leader and advocate. On representation: Being Filipina is something that I always represent, whether it’s in this role as a commissioner or whether I’m out on my own time. I like to let people know that there are not as many Filipinas in leadership positions and that it is so important for us to identify ourselves where there are some. You could be in the highest position in an organization, but if nobody knows that you’re Filipina, or it’s not something you’re proud of and share with people, then it’s like it doesn’t exist and it isn’t part of your identity. Half of it is telling people and being proud to be Filipina and creating that awareness and having that conversation. Once you identiContinued on Page 3

Pinay visionaries: A...

From Page 2 fy yourself and see that you’re the only Filipina or Filipino at the table, it really does open up a discussion about diversity and inclusion and who’s at the table and gets to make decisions. Melissa Ramoso - Councilmember, City of Artesia

tor for a state Assemblymember, and am a councilmember for the City of Artesia, and a California Democratic Party State Leader as state chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. I am constantly wearing these three hats, but I truly believe in sticking to the rules of not crossing over my responsibilities. During my 9 a.m.-5 p.m., I am on state legislative time. On my breaks and lunches, I put on my other hats. There is no typical day from me. I can go from staffing my boss to cutting a ribbon at a Jollibee in Artesia or spending my weekend studying my Council agenda. I am constantly responding to constituents in my work life that it is almost the same in my City Council Melissa Ramoso life. It takes incredible organization, time and dedication to In 2018, Ramoso became the only woman on the Artesia balance it all. On Filipina strengths: A City Council, a city that is Filipina is a version of your home to numerous ethnic Lola, your Nanay, your Tita, enclaves, including the Fil-Am your Ate and more. I hope to community which makes up the majority of its Asian popu- be the best version of all these powerful, strong, independent lation. Apart from her council duties, Ramoso is district direc- and incredible women in my tor for state Assemblymember life. They all have shaped me to be who I am today. What I Al Muratsuchi and state chair have learned from them and of the California Democratic other Filipinas I admire is how Party’s Asian Pacific Islander I have been able to define Caucus. myself today. On rising up: I never On passing the torch: dreamed of running for office. We must support each other, It wasn’t until one day as a empower each other, respect young legislative staffer, the each other in what we are seed was planted by a longtrying to achieve as individutime community leader in the als and as a community. It is Asian Pacific Islander comextremely important to make munity (who is no longer with sure you include others in your us) that I could achieve more. greater community outreach. I thought to myself, if othIn my eyes, it has never been ers believe I can do it – why about me. It has always been couldn’t I? about my community and The need for Asian Pacific that has always fueled me to Islanders, and most especially Filipino Americans, to step out do more. I make it a point to reach out to those who want of the legislative staffer role to learn and have the potenand into an elected role is so tial to do amazing things. My great. Many people I look up mentors have done this for me, to in the community are those and I hope to continue it with who are in politics. Many are others. Also, I will always be hesitant to step up and into me and am still getting used to the role, so I just had to do my newfound title as Councilit to ensure that my commumember or Honorable. I know nity would have a seat at the it has taken many generations decision-making table. With of Filipino American leaders my most recent election and to get to this point of having second time running, there more Filipinas in elected office, were no women running, so it was even more meaningful that so I do wear my title with pride and will always make sure I am a female voice was accounted not the last to do it. for. Rachelle Arizmendi On her balancing act: I Councilmember, City of Sierra have a unique situation – I run a state office as a district direc- Madre

entertainment  The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - October 9, 2019

Rachelle Arizmendi

Arizmendi has served on the City Council for Sierra Madre since 2014, a city in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley that bears a population of a little over 11,000 residents. In 2017, she was selected to serve as the mayor of the city and is currently a councilmember after being re-elected in 2018. By day, Arizmendi is the vice president and chief operating officer of Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), a nonprofit community development organization that provides job training and employment opportunities. On running for office: Running for office was not a consideration in my adult life. I simply became more involved in my community when my husband, dog, and I settled into our new home in a city where I knew no one. I thought joining the Community Services Commission would be a perfect place to meet new people and volunteer my talent. As I became more involved in the community, I was compelled to fight for the qualities of the little village I fell in love with — that were possibly being challenged. On owning Filipina-ness: When I was 17 years old, I was “crowned” Miss Maria Clara. Initially, I did not fully embrace the meaning of it. Some may contend that what her character symbolized were characteristics contrary to a strong Filipina woman. But as an American-born Filipina, I learned to carry the title graciously. It was a title where I proudly accepted my Filipino roots and stopped trying so hard to “just” being American. Most importantly, being Filipina means to me pride in my culture, appreciation of where my parents were born and raised, understanding that family extends well beyond first cousins and parents

siblings….warmth in how we welcome people into our home, generosity in the sharing of our food, and the sense that we are in a secret society to others who may be strangers but share the commonality of being Filipino (‘FilipinoKa?’). ‘Filipina’ to me is also being a strong woman, while respecting others; knowing when to use honey instead of vinegar; and understanding how we have power that can be used for good. NortherN CaliforNia Juslyn Manalo, Councilmember, Daly City, CA

Visionaries, we must honor those who have contributed to our community and to U.S. society because we have been able to influence, create, lead and empower in so many facets and sectors. It is time to celebrate and give tribute to these women. Sonia Delen - Member, the State Bar of California Board of Trustees

Sonia Delen

Juslyn Manalo

Young as she is, Daly City Councilmember Manalo is no stranger to public service. In 2016, she was the first-ever Filipina American in the city’s 106-year history to be elected mayor. Before that, Manalo also served as the city’s vice mayor after her election to the City Council that same year. On creating a pipeline for the younger generation: I think we need to create a pipeline for more younger women to understand that it is necessary for our community to have representation. Let’s have more mentorship opportunities for younger women. I also say to young people, feel free to reach out to me. On the female myth: There continues to be the underlying myth that you cannot be in leadership roles and have a family, I have experienced that even today. We are in 2019, allow women to be who they are. Do not silo us into one role. We are dimensional. Look at House Leader Pelosi. On paying tribute: Filipina means to me is a great honor to be part of a culture that dates back to leadership with the Baybaylans and we were in a matriarchal society. With this year’s Fil-Am History Month theme celebrating Pinay

Delen’s passion for community and public service has been shaped since her childhood days in a barrio in Batangas City, where her family home was like a community center open for those who needed help. In addition to being a senior vice president at Bank of America’s leasing division, Delen was appointed by then California Governor Jerry Brown in 2018 to the Board of Trustees with the State Bar of California for 2019-2020 and was also reappointed to the Board of Trustees of Health Professions Education Foundation (20162020). On bringing perspective: As a non-lawyer, public member of the Board of Trustees of The State Bar of California, Delen brings a lay person’s view of the legal profession as an engine for a just society. “I represent consumers, the public in general and the underrepresented, which adds to the diversity of law professionals and levels the playing field for legal representation of all citizens.” On community building: We must continue to elevate, lift and encourage one another. Filipinos are known to be some of the best workers and leaders in the world; we have the skills, character and attitude. We need to show the world how effective we are as individuals, how we use culture to our advantage, and how we celebrate diversity to

build collaborations. It is a civic duty of anyone to give more, share more. I mean there are a lot of avenues for someone to be involved in something, whether you financially support a starting Filipina social entrepreneur, mentor young women about her career choices, give time for a weekend volunteer event, support grassroots campaigns, look for sponsors or share an advocacy page poster in social media. There’s always something to do for the betterment of this world. On a united front: We need to be united. As Filipinos and as one nation, we need to show that we can use our economic power/ buying power. We need to insist that we have a voice, that we must be heard and that we are a strong community. These narratives impact and empower people, making ripples of change that influence the minds and inspire people to dream and make a difference in the world. Be it climate change, government policy, politics or nonprofit advocacies, let your voice be heard. Dianne Martinez Councilmember, City of Emeryville, CA

Dianne Martinez

Martinez was recently reelected to the Emeryville City Council, and served as mayor in 2016. She sits on boards of two regional bodies, East Bay Community Energy and StopWaste, which fights solid waste, food waste, and energy waste in Alameda County. On being a voice for the under-represented: I decided to run for office to give a voice to families with small children in a community where we are under-represented. I am proud to be the first Asian American member of the EmContinued on Page 4

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Pinay visionaries: A...

From Page 3 eryville City Council,” City of Emeryville Councilmember Dianne Martinez said. As part of the City Council, she responds to emails, read On breaking the glass ceiling: I have experienced a lot of support from my fellow

elected officials since I’ve been in office, but when I first ran, I encountered some serious sexism. I had men AND women question my ability to do the job on top of a career and raising a family. I think a new glass ceiling is being broken by women elected officials,

staffers and lobbyists who are pregnant or new mothers. On being Filipina and celebrating Fil-Am History Month: Living in the Bay Area, we are blessed to be among so many folks who are activists, staffers, nonprofit workers, artists, historians, chefs, farmers and more. While it is important to recognize the sacrifices of our elders, I see so many young Filipinos who are walking the walk — documenting the food and culture of our forebears, and shedding the colonial mentalities like racism and colorism that have held us back as a people. Marico Sayoc, Councilmember, town of Los Gatos, CA

Marico Sayoc

Sayoc first ran for office in 2014 because she wanted to implement sustainability policies she recommended while she was a planning commissioner and fill a gap where she felt she was not represented in their town’s Council. She is also the incoming president of the League of Cities’ Peninsula Division that represents the Counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. On civic engagement: I am proud to be the first Filipina American on a City Council in Santa Clara County and hope that my physical presence will encourage more Filipina Americans to run for office or apply for an appointed position in leadership roles. I also believe that more Filipina Americans need to be more involved in their communities and volunteer in official capacities to begin their growth in public roles. My husband and I both work, have school-age children in the local public schools, and I wanted to ensure that our voices were represented in policy considerations.

in crafting policy and setting the agenda. On speaking up: I feel so lucky to grow up in the Bay Area, and to be able to raise my kids here, where our culture is influential and present in our day to day lives. Being Filipina means representing our values and priorities while serving as a leader and voice for our community every day. We add value to the discussion, and we owe it to future generations to elevate our voice. It’s a point of pride and honor to serve as senior advisor to Mayor Breed. Mayor Breed has lived so many of the experiences of our community. She sees our community. Since taking office, Mayor Breed has proactively included our Filipino community at the table. We encourage interested individuals to seek appointments to boards and commissions, and to engage with our office to make positive change within our community. On structural support: Representation — or lack thereof — is a huge challenge. While we have made tremendous strides over the years, we need to do more to not only encourage more women to run for office but Rozzana Verder-Aliga provide the institutional suplano County Behavioral Health port that reflects the changby day, Vallejo Councilmember ing structure in our families, and ensure that our public Aliga is the first and only Filipina American in elected office (and political) policies also reflect the various responsiin Vallejo and Solano County. bilities women hold personally Prior to her first election to and professionally. We must the council in 2013, Aliga also be vocal and proud of our served several terms on the accomplishments. It’s imporVallejo School Board. tant for us to seek leadership On a passion for public service: I ran for elected office roles in our communities and because of my passion for pub- stay in contact on a very local level with our neighbors and lic service and love for serving families every day. We serve our community. I also believe as conduits and connectors that the Filipino American and must utilize the resources community needs representabefore us to ensure that we are tion and a voice at all levels of touting our vision and accomgovernment. Decisions made by local governing boards and plishments for our community every day. city councils impact our qualLas Vegas ity of life. I care deeply about Cheryl Moss - Judge, families, elderly and children. It Eighth Judicial District Court is critical that we participate of Nevada in the political process and be part of the solution to problems/concerns. On the multifaceted roles of Filipinas: Women face many challenges in politics today, on a larger scale some of these are gender equality and equity issues; financial issues, caretaker/mother/parent/ daughter roles at home; family Judge Cheryl Moss obligations and lack of career Cheryl Moss, a family court opportunities or options. At judge, was first elected to the present, things have gotten District Court, Family Division better for women in politics today, so we need to continue in November 2000 and was reelected in 2014. In 2001, with on this trajectory to support women and also provide them the help of the Nevada Council with the necessary training and on Problem Gambling, she was the first judge in Nevada to mentoring. institute problem gambling asOn mentorship: We need sessments in child custody and to be mentors to fellow Filidivorce cases. Last year, Moss pina Americans. We need to established the state’s firstencourage our young Pinays ever gambling court, which ofto get involved in leadership fers offenders a second chance positions at all levels, such as to get help for their gambling their neighborhoods, schools, addiction. work, nonprofit organizations. On continuing a legacy of I would like to develop a propublic service: My parents both gram or pipeline at the local served over 30 years each in the level (i.e. Emerge, Leadership public sector as physicians in the Vallejo, etc.) to help recruit, veterans administration medical train and mentor current and center. Public service seems to future Pinay leaders. run in the family. A typical day Marjan Philhour - Senior for me as a district court judge Advisor, Office of San Franis to hear court cases throughcisco Mayor London Breed out the day. Sometimes I work Philhour was named a through the lunch hour nonstop because of the heavy caseload. After court session ends, I would spend several more hours into the late night preparing my cases for the next day, responding to court-related emails, and taking at least some free time to relax, breathe, and recover. On embracing Pinayness: Marjan Philhour Being Filipina means embracing and being proud of my heritage. My dad spoke Tagalog and my senior advisor to Mayor Breed mom spoke Visayan. I was raised — the city’s first black female in my early years in Kalibo, Aklan mayor of — bringing more and Bacolod City although I was than two decades in governborn in the United States. Being ment, politics, community elected as the first full-blooded organizing and political advoFilipina to the District Court in cacy. Her experiences include the state of Nevada’s history working for members of has made me proud to repreCongress, working Sen. John sent the Filipino community for Kerry’s presidential campaign, nearly the past 20 years. and serving as senior advisor On engaging Fil-Ams: I to the Chief of Staff in the have provided externships and Governor Gray Davis adminisinternships to Filipino law stutration. dents and newly-admitted attorOn why visibility matneys. I have spoken in the past ters: From an early age, I was at community events for Filipino lucky to benefit from mentors students who are just thinking and community leaders who about their career paths. I also believed in teaching future generations the importance of believe that mentorship and hands-on experience in govpublic service. Whether it was ernment offices will spark their volunteering at a local food bank in elementary school or at interest. I have also enjoyed throughout the years attending my local congressman’s office in high school, the importance Fil-Am community events and gala dinners as it gives me the of public and community seropportunity to stay connected vice was ingrained in me at a young age. I was always taught those in Las Vegas. Winning four elections in a row has brought that ‘you can’t be what you the Filipinos in Las Vegas closer can’t see.’ It’s so important to ensure that Filipino Americans together as a community. It makes all of us feel important are in public positions to set and letting the rest of the world an example for future generaknow that we can do great tions. Our youth are watching things to help others out. us at all times - how we act, On being a community how we lead, how we engage. resource: I have always tried It’s critical that Filipina Americans have a seat at the table so to answer their questions and concerns in my role as a public that our voices are heard and figure or to point Filipinos in the our viewpoints are considered On recognizing the challenges: The challenges facing women in politics today are similar to the challenges all women in leadership positions face on a regular basis. There is higher scrutiny not only externally from the general public but also on one’s self as women tend to expect more of one’s self before applying or pursuing leadership positions. A large personal challenge for me was and continues to be the privacy of my family. On being Filipina: Being a Filipina recognizes the many men and women before me whose cultural celebrations created me and my familyoriented and community-centered values and beliefs. My visits to the Philippines taught me early that [it takes] a village raises a child. Rozzana Verder Aliga, Councilmember, City of Vallejo, CA A senior manager with So-

right direction when they need help. While there are certain limitations in what I can respond to, the fact that I can be a resource of information has given comfort to Pinoys who need assistance in navigating the legal system. They feel like they have representation with someone who is from their community and who understands their needs. We should continue to collaborate to increase interest among our youth about public office. They are our future! Other Filipina Americans in office The Asian Journal reached out to other Filipina Americans elected/appointed officials in California, but due to time constraints, busy schedules and pending deadlines, they were unable to accommodate our requests for an interview for this feature. We do, however, want to recognize them for their achievements and the work they continue to do:

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

• Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California - The first Fil-Am and the second woman to serve as California’s chief justice, Cantil-Sakauye was nominated in 2010 by then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the state’s highest judicial office and was retained in office by voters in 2010.

Mona Pasquil-Rogers

• Mona Pasquil-Rogers - In 2009, Schwarzenegger appointed Pasquil-Rogers as acting lieutenant governor, making her California’s first Asian and first Filipino/a to hold the position. At present, PasquilRogers is Senior Advisor with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services. • Nikki Fortunato Bas, Councilmember, District 2 City of Oakland, CA - Prior to being elected to City Council, Bas was the executive director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), a non-profit that helps with economic and discrepancies of low-income families. She is also the first Fil-Am to be elected to a public post in the City of Oakland. • Pat Gacoscos, Councilmember, Union City, CA - Gacoscos was first elected to the Union City Council in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014. Gacoscos was also Vice Mayor in 2012 and 2017. Previously, she held two elective positions: a Trustee for the New Haven Unified School District; and the Director for the Union Sanitary District. • Joanne F. del Rosario, Mayor, City of Colma, CA - Del Rosario was first elected to Colma City Council in 2006 and also served as mayor in 2015. She was also the past president of the Filipino American Association of Colma and past director of the Filipino American Coalition. • Diana Colvin, Councilmember, City of Colma - Colvin was appointed to Colma City Council in 2008 for a term of seven months to fill a vacancy and then was elected into the position November of that same year. She also was selected to serve as Mayor in 2010. • Malia Vella, Councilmember, City of Alameda - A labor and employment law attorney, Vella was also an adjunct professor at Mills College Lorry I. Lokey School of business and Public Policy. • Buenaflor Nicolas, Councilmember, City of South San Francisco, CA - Born in the Philippines and immigrated with her family in 1988, Nicolas is the third Asian American woman elected to the South San Francisco City Council and only the fourth woman to serve in that capacity. • Tzeitel Paras-Caracci, Mayor, City of Duarte, CA - Representing Duarte’s District No. 1, Paras-Caracci was first elected at-large in November 2001. In the historic 2018 district-elections, she was elected to serve a four-year term representing District 1. As a public servant, Tzeitel has previously served as mayor in 2006, 2011 and 2015. • Letty Lopez-Viado, Councilmember, West Covina, CA - Letty Lopez-Viado is the first Mexican-Filipina American ever to be elected as a councilwoman for the city. She served as a West Covina Community and Senior Services Commissioner beginning in 2013 until November 2018, when she was elected to the city council. Interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

community 5

Does Godzilla live in your house?

THE Japanese created Godzilla a long time ago. It’s a gigantic TRex on steroids that destroys Tokyo and the rest of Japan until someone comes to the rescue and kills it with nukes. Mr. Honda, the author, created the concept of Godzilla as a metaphor for the atomic bombs in 1954 when Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were the recipients of two atomic bombs from the United States, were still fresh in the minds of the Japanese. Now, of course, Kim Jung Un of North Korea has recently threatened to wipe Japan from the face of the earth with his nuclear bombs. So, I am sure that the spectre of Godzilla is now making the rounds again in Japan. No way that Godzilla can be living in your house, right? Well check again. Maybe you got your first credit card 10 years ago and that was Godzilla’s egg. Now, you have 10 credit cards and you have a mountain of credit card statements that you receive every month, each one of them requiring a minimum payment from you to keep them happy. What happens if you don’t make the minimum payment every month? Well, they will turn nasty and create a lot of trouble for you. This is the problem of having Godzilla in your house. It’s

Debt Relief

Atty. LAwrence yAng very hard to kill Godzilla because it is a gigantic monster! You can’t kill it with a 50-caliber machine gun. That’s not strong enough. Those 50-caliber bullets just slide off Godzilla’s tougher-than-steel skin. Five hundredpound bunker buster bombs have been proven ineffective against this monster. He just shrugs them off like mosquito bites. The only way you can kill Godzilla in your house is to put a nuclear smart bomb through its navel and detonate it. Only a Chapter 7 petition has enough legal power to kill all your credit cards in one explosion. Wipe out all your dischargeable debts; keep all of your assets including your house, cars, furniture and retirement accounts, and start fresh in life without accumulated debt. Kill the Godzilla in your house, or it will destroy your life. If you owe $30,000 of credit card debt now, next year, that

debt will become $40,000, then $50,000. You need at least $1,000 of net income to make minimum payments on $30,000 of credit cards every month. For $40,000 of credit cards, you will need $1,200 of net income for minimum monthly payments. If you don’t have the $1,000 or $1,200 of net income, you will have to borrow $12,000 a year to make the $1,000 of monthly payments. This means that your $30,000 debt will become $42,000 in twelve months. If you gross $3,000 monthly, 40 percent of your net income of $2,400 will be used to service your $30,000 of credit card debt. You are being eaten alive by Godzilla even if you don’t know it. The client is 72. She has been a widow for three years. She used to be a caregiver until last year. Last year her patient, a 400-pound woman who is 6 feet tall, threw her to the floor. The patient had mental problems. The client thought she was going to die on the floor since she is only 5 feet and 130 pounds. She became unconscious and was brought to the hospital. Although she survived the fall, she now has a lot of back pain, which makes her eligible to receive disability. She owes $40K of credit card debt. Continued on Page 6

The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - October 9, 2019

Barrister’s Corner Atty. Kenneth UrsUA reyes THE purpose of spousal support is not defined by the legislature in that its purpose varies according to the facts and circumstances of each case. The facts and circumstances of a particular case may be such which call for no spousal support, or for support for a very limited period of time, with the purpose to assist the supported spouse to “get back on his or her feet” as a single person, or until community property is distributed. On the other hand, the facts and circumstances of another case may call for support for an extended period of time, perhaps until death of the supported spouse, the purpose for which to provide assistance to one who cannot support himself. The two situations mentioned hereinabove are extreme cases, on opposite ends of the spectrum. Quite obviously, the facts

What factors will the court look at in awarding spousal support? and circumstances in a particular case may be such which call for some amount of support for some period of time, though not until death of the supported spouse. For example, the court may order support for that period of time required for the supported spouse to obtain or complete an education, to allow the supported spouse to take care of the children until they reach an age where a return to employment would be more feasible, or to become self-supporting within a reasonable time. Although the use of standard guidelines based on income is encouraged in the award of temporary support, such guidelines cannot be used in awarding permanent spousal support. As indicated hereinabove, the award of support is in large part based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. In determining spousal support, the court considers numerous factors, set forth in Family Code Sec. 4320. They in-

clude: 1) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, 2) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party, 3) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living, 4) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage, 5)The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party, 6) The duration of the marriage, 7) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party, and 8) The age and health of the parties. Continued on Page 6


people & events The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - October 9, 2019

Philippine Development Foundation hosts free summit at Google in Playa Vista, CA BEARING its core values of education, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) is back with a summit on Friday, October 18 with the theme “Shared Prosperity through Entrepreneurship.” This year’s FREE summit will be held at the Google Spruce Goose, Playa Vista, Los Angeles from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be a day full of full of meaningful connections, learning opportunities and inspiring stories from thought leaders, allies, visionaries, entrepreneurs, educators and change makers in the Filipino American community. Speakers include Paolo Malabuyo of Google; Priscilla Hunt of Hunt Enterprises; Michael Balaoing of Candlelion; Pulitzer Prizewinner, immigration advocate and author Jose Antonio Vargas; restaurateur and author Nicole Ponseca; PhilDev chairman Dado Banatao; and Tony Alvarez of Alvarez & Marsal. PhilDev envisions a prosperous Philippines. With its mission of eradicating poverty through the benefits of science and technology, it builds and strengthens links for knowledge, capacities, and opportunity exchange. PhilDev’s mission planning began in the United States, and established our main office in the Philippines. In the Philippines, the organization responds to the vision by

bringing together multi-sectoral partners to exchange ideas and share initiatives on the role of science and technology in national development; connect people and organizations in creating scalable and sustainable solutions to domestic needs; and advocate for innovative ideas and usher them to a global platform. In the United States, PhilDev mobilizes the Filipino diaspora to give back and support technology-driven innovations and entrepreneurship in the Philippines. It develops links with private industry and universities to share resources, expertise and collaborate with counterparts in the Philippines, as well as grant-

ing scholarship opportunities. PhilDev was founded by Diosdado “Dado” Banatao, one of Silicon Valley’s most significant men, and together with likeminded Filipinos, committed to make a difference and give back to the Philippines in the way that they knew how. Through their combined efforts and influence, they have been able to initiate programs in education, start-ups and mentorship. Founded in 2011, PhilDev is a registered non-stock, nonprofit organization. For more information and to register for the summit, please visit n

Does Godzilla live in your...

From Page 5 Her disability pay is $1,400 and her social security is $1,000. So, she gets monthly $2,400 from disability and social security. Her rent is $600. Her $40,000 of credit card debt requires 50 percent of her income for minimum payments. She has two sons who have offered to pay the minimum of $1,200 for her $40,000 of credit cards. But what is the logic in keeping these cards? Sons will pay $15,000 this year. Next year, they will pay another $15,000 and the year after next, another $15,000. In 3 years, sons will be $45,000 but client will still owe the same $40,000 of credit card debt after her sons aid


$45,000 of minimum payments for three years! The client decides that she needs the full legal power of Chapter 7 to get rid of all of her $40,000 of credit cards now and to start a new and productive life again at 72! Chapter 7 is the “fresh start” law. You start life again without the burden of accumulated debt whether your are 72, 62, 52, 42 or 32, it doesn’t matter. You can start fresh again in life at any age! The sooner the better for you and your family, otherwise you will have a Godzilla living in your house. If you need debt relief, set an appointment to see me. I will analyze your case personally.

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond Monette AdevA MAglAyA (Continued from last week …) The belief in the presence and power of angels to intervene is strong in popular conservative culture. In a remarkable 1999 Hallmark film, “A Season for Miracles,” an angel plays a pivotal role in helping a loving aunt to two children whose incarcerated, drug addicted mother places them in a situation forcing them to run and escape from the foster care system that threatens to split them apart during Christmas. The film is based on a novel by Marilyn Pappano and scripted by Maria Nation. It was very ably directed by Michael Pressman. It is a heartwarming story set in a small town called Bethlehem during Christmas with engaging characters like Agatha and Corrina. For those with a penchant for romance, the story has spades of it as well. So check this film out on youtube whether it is Christmas or not. In my opinion, this is a timeless piece of good work worth watching a hundred times. It will be an hour and some minutes to lighten your load and feel the presence of angels in your life as well. Suspend disbelief. That is the only way to enjoy stories about angels. Trawl the internet and social media and read about how angels, though unseen in many instances, can be felt by many who believe in them. There are many instances when the presence and oftentimes the direct interventions of one’s personal guardian angel are a part of the twists and turns of the unraveling story of many people’s lives. Many have written about their encounters with angels, documenting how their guardian angels are

Angels among us First of 4 parts

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” — From Frank Capra’s film “It’s a Wonderful Life” a real part of their lives guarding, guiding and protecting them from harm and on many occasions, even from death, because their time had not yet come. I am sure many others have their own personal stories to tell about this unseen entity that can be ascribed to the presence of God himself – an ever-present help to aid us in navigating life on earth. The common image of an angel is a beautiful heavenly being with piercing eyes, big white pair of wings and long cascading golden hair, robed in androgynous white gown and who is neither male nor female but to which we ascribe the word “he” just for convenience. An angel, who is an eternal celestial being, is not subject to the constraints of gravity, time, space or language problems. Communication between protector and protectee is often wordless and automatic. Some are messengers and some bring punishment and death but each has a definite purpose, most of which are beneficial to humans. Some claim to have seen their angels appearing differently from the common image we believe of winged beings. Some morph into human form to lend a hand, to protect from danger or avert disaster then disappear quickly. They appear specially when the humans they are protecting find themselves in dire straits and need help. As one might imagine, angels are extremely busy considering the weakness of humans and their predilection to stray from the straight and narrow. In Frank Capra’s classic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Clarence, a portly, bumbling char-

acter aspiring to become an angel must earn his wings by doing something good for a human being in desperate need and contemplating suicide. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,” is a memorable line in this classic film that is intended never to get old and aptly becomes new again for a new generation around the Christmas season. On the other hand, in the warped imagination of liberal film makers, “Michael” supposedly about Michael, the Archangel, the highest seraphim who fought Satan and flung him to the burning sulfurous depths of hell and believed to be the protector of the nation of Israel, is portrayed as somewhat of a sleaze who is more human than angelic. In this film, Archangel Michael can charm females because he smells of cookies and who is a bit of a Lothario to boot. It may be somewhat funny to color outside the lines in portraying angels but don’t be fooled by the liberal yarn on angels. Hollywood, in my opinion, has no gravitas on angelic matters. Trust your own instincts. Your own personal experience will color the lens with which you view and relate with your personal guardian angel. God so loved the world, He sent His only son to redeem us from sin and death so we may gain eternal life. Angels are sent to help us during our time here on earth towards this arduous journey to eternal life. (To be continued …) *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.

What factors will the court look...

“A FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE RESTING ON THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH GOD, WHO DOES NOT LIE, PROMISED From Page 5 The factors set forth hereinBEFORE THE BEGINNING OF above are only several of the many TIME.” TITUS 1:2 factors the court will consider in *** deciding the issue of spousal supLawrence Bautista Yang specializes in port. In that the amount and duBankruptcy, Business, Real Estate and ration of an award is largely based Civil Litigation and has successfully on the facts and circumstances represented more than five thousand of the case, it is advised that one clients in California. Please call Angie, who is requesting support, or is Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an opposing a request for support, appointment at 20274 Carrey Road, Wal- obtain experienced counsel, who nut, CA 91789 or 1000 S. Fremont Ave., will be able to present the facts Mailstop 58, Building A-10 South-Lower and circumstances in the best Level Suite 10042, Alhambra, CA 91803. light possible. *** (Advertising Supplement)

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 or visit our website at (Advertising Supplement)

The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - October 9, 2019


Profile for Asian Journal Community Newspapers

100919 - Southern California Midweek Edition  

100919 - Southern California Midweek Edition