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NOVEMBER 9-12, 2019 Volume 29 - No. 88 • 4 Sections – 30 Pages


US backs Robredo in new anti-drug role THE U.S. is ready to support Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo in her “new role” as head of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, its envoy to the Philippines said on Friday, November 8. “Congratulations to Vice President @Leni Robredo on her new role as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs,” U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said on Twitter. “We look forward to continuing to work together as #FriendsPartnersAllies to support Philippine government drug demand reduction efforts,” Kim tweeted. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin on Wednesday, November 6, said Robredo must prepare her participation in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) review now that she has accepted the task to lead the Philippine government’s war on drugs. “TY (Thank you), Leni. Now get your team together to attend UNODC review in Vienna,” Locsin said on Twitter on Wednesday night. u PAGE A3

Massive outrage sparks over Spanish-produced animated feature on Magellan, Elcano

Critics accuse film of ‘inaccurate’ depiction of the Philippines, petition to ban the film in Philippine theaters gains traction

SELECTIVITY, historical bias, and cultural disrespect are among the main reasons why Filipinos are calling for a boycott of the release of a Spanish-produced animated film that depicts the first circumnavigation of the world. Slated for a 2020 release in the Philippines, “Elcano and Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World” tells the story of the Spanish expedition around the world in the 16th century led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, the latter of whom took over the journey after Magellan was killed in the Philippines. “This is the story of the brave seafarers who grabbed the helm of history and changed its course forever,” CrystalSky Multimedia, the u PAGE A4

Robredo vows to stop killings in drug war VICE President Leni Robredo on Thursday, November 7 said that as the new leader of the government’s campaign against narcotics, she would put an end to the killing of drug suspects but pursue the crackdown with “the same vigor.” “I have no plans to have anybody killed since that is outside the bounds of the rule of law,” said Robredo, who on Wednesday, NOvember 6, accepted her appointment by President Duterte as cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, becoming the country’s new drug czar. Her appointment came after she angered Duterte with her criticism of his brutal war on drugs, saying in an Oct. 23 interview with Reuters that too many

people had been killed but the drug problem had remained prevalent. A chance to stop killings Six days later, in a fit of pique, Duterte dared Robredo to lead the campaign. On Oct. 31, before flying to Thailand for a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, the president signed Robredo’s appointment as drug czar. Against the advice of her allies, who had said she was being set up to fail, and amid taunts from Duterte’s aides, who had expected her to kick away the gauntlet, Robredo announced her acceptance on Wednesday, saying she was aware of the politics behind the challenge but was willing to endure it all if it

meant she was getting “a chance to stop the killings” and “bring to account those responsible.” The war on drugs, Duterte’s signature policy, has cost the lives of more than 6,000 suspects, according to figures from the Philippine National Police, but human rights groups say the toll could be as high as 20,000. The UN-backed International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary investigation and the UN Human Rights Council has approved a resolution for an international probe of the killings. Protesting what he calls interference in Philippine domestic affairs, Duterte has withdrawn the Philipu PAGE A2

More Filipinos seek anti-polio vaccination by SHEILA


1ST ICAD MEET. Member-agencies of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) attend their first meeting at the Office of the Vice President in New Manila, Quezon City on Friday, November 8. Aside from Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo (center) who has been designated as ICAD co-chair, (from right to left) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chair Catalino Cuy; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and ICAD chair Aaron Aquino, and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez attended the meeting. PNA photo by Ben Briones

MANILA — With 19 countries now requiring travelers from nations affected by polio to submit vaccination certificates, the office of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) in Manila is flooded with applicants seeking immunization. BOQ director Ferdinand Salcedo said the number of people submitting to anti-polio vaccination had jumped significantly in the past days. “More countries are requiring the polio vaccination certificates so more people are coming to be vaccinated. I think it’s 19 countries now,” Salcedo said. He said majority of those who want to be vaccinated are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) traveling to Brunei, Georgia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Pakistan, Seychelles and Indonesia. These countries either deny visa or entry permit if a traveler is coming from a country with polio cases like the Philippines and does not have such certificate, u PAGE A3

Families of SAF 44 seek Mamasapano reinvestigation, hold Aquino accountable by ELIZABETH


MANILA — The families of the 44 police commandos killed in an anti-terror operation that went awry in 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao trooped to the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday, November 8 to seek a reinvestigation of the carnage and to hold former president Benigno Aquino III accountable. Assisted by the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the kin of the 44 slain members of the Philippine National

Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) filed with the ombudsman a seven-page motion to reopen the investigation. VACC legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said their group is confident that the ombudsman, under a new leadership, will find merit in their complaint of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino, former PNP chief Alan Purisima and former SAF director Getulio Napeñas. “This time, it will be different. We submitted new evidence. We hope that this time, with a fair and impartial ombudsman, we File photo shows the destruction wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013. On Friday, u PAGE A2 November 8, the government vows to resilient communities in the Philippines as the country commemorates the sixth anniversary of Yolanda’s onslaught. photo

Duterte mulling nationwide plastic ban — Palace Gov’t vows to create ‘safe, by CHRISTINA


File photo shows flood waters, along with garbage from Manila Bay, overflow toward Roxas Boulevard. photo by KJ Rosales

MANILA — President Duterte is mulling a nationwide ban on the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate climate change, amid what sectors have claimed as a pollution crisis in the country on account of poor solid waste laws and high usage of single-use plastic among consumers and businesses. Duterte expressed his interest in banning plastic during last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. During the meeting, Vernice Victorio, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Development Corp. (NRDC), shared with the Cabinet the Priority Programs

for Environment and Climate Change Resiliency. It was during her presentation that Duterte floated the idea of banning the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action, said Panelo. The NRDC is an attached government-owned and controlled corporation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Panelo said the plastic ban was discussed as part of the administration’s efforts to mitigate climate change. Two pending measures by Sens. Cynthia Villar and Francis Pangilinan that seek to ban the use of single-use plastic are currently pending at the comu PAGE A3

resilient communities’ six years after ‘Yolanda’ by NESTOR


MANILA — The government has vowed to create resilient communities in the Philippines as the country commemorates the sixth anniversary of the onslaught of supertyphoon “Yolanda.” “Once again, we honor the sacrifices of those in the frontline agencies of the government, the different organizations, the many volunteers, and the unnamed and anonymous Juan de la Cruz, who responded during

one of the most difficult times our country faced. We laud the exemplary resilience of our own people, which in the face of great adversity, have remained steadfast and have moved forward,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Friday, November 8. Yolanda pummeled the Visayas on November 8, 2013, and killed at least 6,000 people in the region. It was called the strongest typhoon that ever hit land. Panelo said Yolanda has “taught us, especially those in u PAGE A3

A November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

From the Front Page

Families of SAF 44 seek reinvestigation... PAGE A1 t will finally attain justice [and] the right charges will be filed,” Topacio told reporters after the filing of their motion. Topacio said their homicide complaint will be boosted by the affidavit of former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and incumbent Baguio City mayor Benjamin Mag-

along, who chaired a PNP Board Inquiry (BOI) that conducted an investigation on the Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident. “In addition to the evidence already on record, we are attaching herein a copy of the affidavit of (Magalong) as evidence to support the filing of a case for the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide under

Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code against the former president Aquino III,” the motion for reinvestigation read. Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed the original homicide complaint families of the slain commandos filed against Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas in 2016. Morales, in a resolution promulgated on June 13, 2017, instead approved the filing of cases of violation of Section 3 (a) Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices and usurpation of official functions under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code against the trio. The cases were formally filed with the Sandiganbayan in November 2017. The cases stemmed from Aquino’s alleged act of allowing then suspended PNP chief Purisima to participate in the planning and implementation of Oplan Exodus, a police operation aimed to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman. Marwan was killed but the operation resulted in the death of over 60 people, including 44 members of the PNP-SAF. Early this year, Morales’ successor, Ombudsman Samuel Martires, moved for the withdrawal of the cases, saying that upon review of his office, “no sufficient ground and evidence” was found to support the graft and usurpation charges. The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, on Aug. 22, approved the withdrawal of the cases “without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charge/s” against Aquino and the two former police directors. ‘Cases are a joke’ Topacio reiterated his support for Martires’ move to withdraw the Morales-initiated cases, branding them as “silly” charges. “It’s a joke. Those two cases are a joke, to be blunt about it. We were fooled by Conchita CarpioMorales. They were destined to fail... From the start we have already expressed our opposition to such charges and said that we will not participate (in the proceeding). Because it’s a joke that will give validity to the travesty of justice of the ombudsman,” Topacio said. The VACC had earlier accused Morales of rushing the filing of u PAGE A4

Vice President Leni Robredo is being surrounded by residents of Sitio Macantog, Barangay Tandang Kutyo in Tanay, Rizal, where she led the ceremonial turnover of solar kits from One Meralco Foundation Inc. The Office of the Vice President, in partnership with Meralco, installed 29 units of solar kits in each household at Sitio Macantog, in which 60 families have no access to potable water and electricity. Photo from the Office of the Vice President

Robredo vows to stop killings...

PAGE A1 t pines from the Rome Statute that underpins the ICC, and halted negotiations for loans from the countries that voted to approve the human rights resolution. In accepting her appointment on Wednesday, Robredo made clear that she was “against the killing of the innocent” and “abuses committed by officials.” On Thursday, she said the war on drugs would “continue with the same vigor and intensity,” but there would be no killings. “My No. 1 concern is these killings. I believe that we can continue this campaign while maintaining it within the rule of law and the bounds of human rights,” she said. Changing the metrics “Let’s change the metrics— counting not … the … dead but … [the] lives improved,” she added. Robredo said that as soon as she accepted her appointment on Wednesday, she called a meeting of the interagency committee to determine the best course of action. She is scheduled to meet with the heads of the committee’s members on Friday afternoon, and she would be given a briefing by her cochair of the panel, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino. Robredo said she planned to tap civil society groups and faithbased organizations for help in the fight against illegal drugs. “There are a lot of private or-

ganizations that have really done a lot. I want the message to be clear that this fight is not just the [committee’s] fight, and not just the President’s fight, but rather it is the entire nation’s, so we need to help each other,” she said. Catholic Church leaders said they would support Robredo. “I can only assure her of my prayers and moral support,” Caloocan Archbishop Pablo Virgilio David, a critic of the killings in the war on drugs, said on Thursday. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he supported Robredo’s decision to accept Duterte’s challenge to lead the campaign, and hoped government agencies would cooperate with the Vice President. Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive director of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said Robredo’s approach to the drug problem was the same as the Church’s. “I think the Vice President accepted the post because she has good intentions. Let’s give it a try,” Gariguez said. The Makati Business Club said it hoped Duterte and Robredo would work together to strengthen the rule of law in the war on drugs and provide more rehabilitation, education and other programs to curb drug abuse, “which the business community is ready to support.” ‘Good,’ president says Duterte has not spoken pub-

licly about Robredo’s acceptance of his challenge, but his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, said on Thursday that the President received her decision well during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night. “It was good,” Panelo quoted Duterte as saying during the meeting, which Robredo did not attend. “The president expects that the [vice president will] see the realities on the ground, particularly with respect to the government’s position against extrajudicial or state-sponsored killings, and understand that deaths occur due to the violent reactions on the part of agents of the illegal drug trade against the strict enforcement of the law,” Panelo said in a statement. He told reporters later that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would set up a meeting between Duterte and Robredo for a discussion of the vice president’s new job. Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, was also scheduling a meeting with Robredo, who had expressed willingness to listen to his suggestions on fighting illegal drugs. “I am grateful and humbled by her gesture,” Lacson said, referring to Robredo’s text message to him accepting his offer of advice. “It shows her sincerity and seriousness in tackling her new task,” Lacson said. (Patricia Denise Chiu, Tina Santos and Julie Aurelio/

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Doubts about the Census: How will the first online census work and who guarantees confidentiality?

As 2020 approaches, many readers have questions about the upcoming census. If you have a question or any doubts about the Census, please write to and we will consult the experts to get the answers. These questions were gathered thru social media. Question: Do you mean that this Census will be digital and we will have to put our information online? How will this work? What will happen to people who do not have access to a phone or computer? 1. The census will be online, but not exclusively. As we do with almost any other transaction today, the 2020 Census will be conducted primarily online. This will be the first time this happens in the survey’s 117 years of existence. 2. The way things used to be: Historically, the Census has been conducted through printed forms that are sent to homes. If the form was not returned, a Census enumerator would then be sent to conduct the survey in person. 3. Choosing how to respond: The 2020 Census will be conducted on a variety of platforms. This time, it will be different, explained Patricia Ramos, a Census Bureau spokeswoman. “Responding to the 2020 Census will be easy for everyone. For the first time, you can choose to respond online and you can also choose to respond by phone, mail, or to a Census worker who arrives at your home. 4. You will get an invitation to go online: Esperanza Guevara, director of Census programs for the Human Immigrant Rights Coalition (CHIRLA) explained that beginning March 12, the Census Bureau will send a letter to 80% of all households inviting them to fill out about ten questions online using a special identifier number. Another 20% will get similar letters plus a paper questionnaire. 5. Not everyone has the Internet. But the first online census does not forget that there are sectors of the population that simply do not have easy access to a computer or an Internet connection. According to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, 90% of households in California use the Internet and 73% have a cell phone. However, there are populations that are less connected: in low-income communities, rural areas and Latinos or African Americans, only 54% to 67% are connected to the Internet. 6. You will have more than one opportunity to participate. “The invitation will also include information about the option of doing it on paper or by phone,” said Guevara. “Then they will send four more reminders until the end of April.” All households that haven’t self-responded by mid-April will receive a

paper form in the 4th mailing. The fifth mailing – a “it’s not too late” postcard – will be sent to those who haven’t responded. If there’s no response from a household after that, an enumerator will come to the door. 7. There will be computers in the community: Guevara indicated that his organization, CHIRLA, is one of the “trusted” messengers who is working to answer community questions and to inform them of the importance of filling out the Census. CHIRLA will provide computers in its offices and knock on doors to remind the community that it is important to participate. It is anticipated that Public Libraries with computers will also become a favorite place for those who do not have easy access to the Internet. 8. It takes little time to respond and it means a lot: “We want to remind you that the Census takes little time to complete, but it means a lot to our communities,” said the activist. “Their results help bring resources to their homes and ensure that our values are represented in government.” Question: How can i be sure that my information will be kept confidential or that it will not be used against me by the government? According to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 63% of Californians are concerned about the confidentiality of the data they give to the government in the Census. This sentiment is accentuated in communities such as Latinos (74%) and African Americans (74%). There are two levels of mistrust. The first is mistrust of the platform or whether delivering data “online” to the government is safe at a time when hacking into private financial companies is often in the news. The second is mistrust of the government and how it will make use of citizen data. As for the first question, the Census Bureau says it has worked at various levels to protect the information it will collect online or through its doorto-door enumerators who will also carry phones with a special application that will transmit data directly to headquarters. The data will be “encrypted” to protect its transmission. Staff must use double authentication to verify users and the government will use the Einstein 3A system to monitor networks and identify malicious activity around databases. Second, the confidentiality

US backs Robredo in new... PAGE A1 t “I’ll get USDEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration) cooperation as well. They’re toughest and best. No sissy stuff — just go out there,” Locsin tweeted. Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Program and the Center for International Crime Prevention, the UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Sen. Leila de Lima is confident

that Robredo could send government’s drug war “into right direction.” The senator has expressed support fir Robredo’s decision “to co-chair the committee against illegal drugs to ensure the government’s success in winning the anti-narcotics campaign.” De Lima said Robredo’s acceptance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s designation as co-chairman of ICAD “would legitimize the right policies against illegal drugs.” (Bernadette Tamayo/

Gov’t vows to create ‘safe... PAGE A1 t

the bureaucracy, a hard lesson in public service.” “The Office of the president recognizes that natural hazards have become the new normal in

the 21st century, and therefore, we must continue to be relentless in creating safe, adaptive and resilient communities. It is our collective responsibility,” he said. n

More Filipinos seek...

PAGE A1 t he said. On Thursday, the number of vaccinees had exceeded 600 but as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the BOQ had already vaccinated close to 500 individuals. To meet the demand, Salcedo said some BOQ workers from

other offices were pulled out to help. The agency also had to procure printers needed to produce the certificates. He added the vaccines are given for free by the agency but those who want to be vaccinated will have to pay P300 for the certificate. n

Duterte mulling nationwide... PAGE A1 t mittee level. The measures seek to ban food establishments, stores, markets and retailers from issuing singleuse plastic. Consumers will instead be using reusable materials, while manufacturers will be tasked to control the circulation and disposal of single-use plastics.

The bill also seeks to give incentives to individuals and businesses that use alternative materials, as it provides for the prohibition of the importation of single-use plastic. A 2015 report on plastic pollution ranked the Philippines as the third biggest source of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia. n

of the personal information is guaranteed by law, according to Census spokespeople. “The law is clear: no personal information can be shared,” explained in an email Patricia Ramos, regional Census spokeswoman. “Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot disclose any identifiable information about individuals, households or businesses, even to law enforcement agencies. All Census Bureau employees take an oath to protect your information. We have sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of your data. We could go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 if we violate that oath,” she added. Guevara, of CHIRLA added that the law is on the side of confidentiality. And for those who do not trust this government, the activist asked to trust the vigilance of the legal community and community groups. “We are committed to serving as guardians of what happens, we are not afraid to take on the fight necessary to ensure that this government complies with the law,” she said. n

NEW MAYOR OF BERGENFIELD. The borough of Bergenfield, New Jersey has just elected its new mayor, council member Arvin Amatorio (second from right) along with his team Buddy Deauna and Ora Kornbluth who both got reelected to the borough council. Photo shows Amatorio and his team with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy who visited Bergenfield on Tuesday, November 5. Amatorio is the second Filipino American to serve as mayor of Bergenfield after Robert Rivas who won as mayor in 2000. Photo from Arvin Amatorio for Mayor Campaign

Fil-Am Amatorio wins Bergenfield, New Jersey mayoral race BERGENFIELD, New Jersey — Filipino American immigration lawyer Arvin Amatorio, a Democrat, defeated his incumbent Republican opponent in last Tuesday’s election and is the new mayor of Bergenfield, New Jersey. Amatorio bested Schmelz by 166 votes (2,803 to Schmelz’s 2,637). The Baler, Quezon native is the second Filipino American to win as mayor of Bergenfield, following Robert Rivas, who served from 2000 to 2002. Amatorio is a councilman in Bergenfield Borough; his term as

mayor begins in January 2020. “This is a great night for Bergenfield because of you, despite the malicious attack, despite the negativity that has been thrown to us we kept the fight positive,” Amatorio told his supporters. Just days before the election, Schmelz publicly accused Amatorio of violating the anti-trafficking law because he had served as the immigration lawyer for someone who was later accused of human trafficking. Amatorio’s campaign announced that he is suing Schmelz for defamation. New Jersey Governor Phil

Murphy congratulated Amatorio, 48, for his victory on Twitter. Another Filipino American, Salvador Deauna, was also reelected councilman on Tuesday’s elections. Amatorio’s parents were public school teachers. He moved Arvin Amatorio moved to the United States with wife, Ilya, in 2002. He passed the New York Bar Examination in February 2006 and has since practiced immigration law. More than 5,000 Filipinos make up the biggest ethnic group in Bergenfield’s 27,000 population. (

A November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL

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Flavor bans multiply, but menthol continues to divide Cebu, Baguio cited by UN body as top creative cities by AnA


Kaiser Health News

AS states and communities rush to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products linked to vaping, Carol McGruder races from town to town, urging officials to include what she calls “the mother lode of all flavors”: menthol. McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, has tried for years to warn lawmakers that menthol attracts new smokers, especially African Americans. Now that more officials are willing to listen, she wants them to prohibit menthol cigarettes and cigarillos, not just e-cigarette flavors, to reduce smoking among blacks. McGruder and other tobacco control researchers are using the youth vaping epidemic — and the vaping-related illnesses sweeping the country — as an opportunity to take on menthol cigarettes, even though they are not related to the illnesses. “We started to see that vaping is something that we could leverage in order to deal with this whole menthol issue,” said Valerie Yerger, an associate professor of health policy at the University of Califor-

nia-San Francisco. Menthol is a substance found in mint plants that creates a cooling sensation and masks tobacco flavor in both e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Those properties make menthol more appealing to firsttime smokers and vapers, even as they pose the same health threats as non-menthol products and may be harder to quit. Nearly nine out of 10 African American smokers prefer mentholated cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But even as tobacco control activists see opportunity, some African Americans, including smokers, fear discrimination. They predict that banning menthol will lead to a surge in illicit sales of cigarettes and result in additional policing in communities that already face tension with law enforcement. Joseph Paul, director of political and civic affairs at City of Refuge Los Angeles, a church with about 17,000 members in Gardena, Calif., spoke at a board of supervisors meeting in September against a proposed flavor ban in Los Angeles County that was adopted a week later. If officials truly wanted to end

youth vaping, he later told California Healthline, the ordinance should have targeted only vape flavors and exempted adult smokers and their menthol cigarettes. “Menthol cigarettes are very popular in the black community, my people smoke menthol cigarettes,” he said. The Los Angeles County ban prohibits sales but not possession of flavored e-cigarette products, menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco in the unincorporated area of the county, inhabited by about 1 million people. Shops have until April to clear their shelves of flavored tobacco products. Paul warned that people will start selling menthol cigarettes illegally: “It’s supply and demand.” That will make the community more vulnerable to police harassment, he said. In New York City, when officials proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes earlier this year, which has yet to be acted upon, the Rev. Al Sharpton made a similar argument against the measure: Banning menthol would lead to greater tensions with police in black communities. “I think there is an Eric Garner

by GhIo


WITH the inclusion of the cities of Baguio and Cebu in the “Network of Creative Cities” under the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Department of Tourism (DOT) is urging other local government units to follow their example in harnessing creativity for tourism and other programs. DOT praised Cebu City’s “leaders, shakers and movers” for their significant involvement in efforts leading to the inclusion of the city by UNESCO. Last Oct. 30, UNESCO direc-

tor- general Audrey Azoulay announced 66 cities in the world made their way to the roster of the Network of Creative Cities, which included Cebu City as a “Creative City of Design.” The award affirms the wellspring of creative talents manifested in the furniture, fashion accessories and other sectors, the latest of which is in the global transportation hub sector, evident in the first-ever “resort airport” in the world – the Mactan Cebu International Airport. The airport’s new Terminal 2 was opened by President Duterte in June and opened to flights in July last year. In late 2017, Baguio City was

also included as a “Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art.” “It set up the Baguio City Creative Circuit (BCCC) that will physically link existing buildings and venues to showcase Baguio City’s creative spirit, directing the general public towards creativity as an essential element for sustainable urban development,” according to UNESCO. Now with 246 cities joining the network, the Creative Cities Network aims to make the cities “champions of sustainable development actions that directly benefit communities at urban level” through “innovative thinking and action.” n



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The controversial movie follows the voyage of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano. The two set sail in 1519 and arrived in Cebu, Philippines in 1521. Photo from Facebook/Crystal Sky Multimedia

Darrick V. Tan, Esq. Licensed in California for over 17 years Licensed in Nevada for over 12 years* UCLA, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science with Cum Laude honors Southwestern University Law School, Juris Doctor Admitted to U.S. District Court, Central District of California Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Consumers Attorney Association of Los Angeles Former Member, Board of Governors, Philippine American Bar Association *Inactive

Massive outrage sparks over Spanish-produced... PAGE A1 t film’s Philippine distributor, said in a since-deleted Facebook post. “A journey which, as many people know, was started by Ferdinand Magellan who was killed by Lapu-Lapu and his men from the Philippines at the battle of Mactan but that not so many know was concluded by Juan Sebastián Elcano.” As a film rated for all ages, the conceit of “Elcano and Magellan” is similar to that of Disney’s “Pocahontas” in that it is a children-friendly rendering of one of the most well-known cases of colonialism, many denizens remarked. But unlike “Pocahontas,” which humanized the indigenous Americans, critics say that “Elcano and Magellan” is filled with historical inaccuracies that demonize native Filipinos who fought to protect the land from the Spanish conquistadors. There was particular outrage at the film’s depiction of Lapu Lapu, the ruler of Mactan who led the Filipinos in the Battle of Mactan, which resulted in the killing of Magellan. “Portraying lapu-lapu [sic] as a villain when he was just protecting our land??? This film

is gross,” the popular Filipino parody account @PANGINOON tweeted. Another Twitter user @jamaisryuu wrote in a thread, “Please do not, under any circumstances, support the Elcano and Magellan movie. It portrays colonizers in good light like they’re heroes when Magellan brought suffering to the native Filipinos. And it also portrays natives (especially Lapu-Lapu, one of our country’s national heroes) as villains, which is WRONG.” Months ahead of the film’s release in the Philippines, Filipinos have called for a boycott of the film even setting up a petition to get the film banned in the Philippines. (As of press time, more than 4,300 people have signed the petition.) “I can tell the atrocities my ancestors were exposed to will not be in the film (the burning of our writings, the rape and killing of our spiritual leaders, etc.),” Mikael S. Diola, a scriptwriter based in Davao City, wrote in the campaign’s description. “The Filipinos in the film are also shown to be savages when in reality, that is far from the truth. We were kingdoms that already had dip-

PAGE A2 t graft and usurpation cases against Aquino in order to shield him from graver charges. Topacio explained that each count of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide carries a penalty of imprisonment of four years. He said Aquino must be held liable for 44 counts of the offense for the death of the 44 members of SAF. Topacio said a graft case only carries a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment while penalty for usurpation of authority is convertible to just a fine. The VACC had earlier filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court (SC) assailing the ombudsman’s June 13, 2017 resolution dismissing the multiple homicide complaint. The SC, in a decision promul-

gated as a whole last Sept. 3, junked VACC’s petition. The high tribunal said it did not find any “grave abuse of discretion” on the part of the ombudsman in dismissing the complaint. Topacio said the reopening of their homicide complaint cannot be considered a violation of the constitutional provision against double jeopardy as the accused are not yet convicted in court. Topacio pointed out that Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas were not yet even arraigned for their cases at the Sandiganbayan. Meanwhile, Magalong, who was present during the filing of the motion for reinvestigation with the ombudsman, said his affidavit was based on the findings of his team’s investigation on the Mamasapano incident. “Everything was lifted. What-

lomatic relationships with other Asian countries, had complex social classes and laws and civilized enough to celebrate art.” Following public outcry and calls for a ban of the film, Malacañang said that it’s up to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to determine the film’s release in the Philippines. “Sila ang magde-decide doon (The MTRCB makes that decision),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press conference on Thursday, November 7. “We don’t want to preempt the jurisdiction of that agency.” CrystalSky Multimedia also respond to the online backlash, releasing a statement on Friday, November 8 that noted that it “has heard the public’s sentiments of the film” and “after careful thought and consideration,” it is reconsidering the film’s future in the Philippines by consulting with historians and academics. “We will base our next steps and actions on their comments and recommendations,” CrystalSky wrote. (Klarize Medenilla/ AJPress)

Families of SAF 44 seek reinvestigation... ever were the significant findings in the Board of Inquiry report, they’re in there (the affidavit),” Magalong said. The BOI report released by Magalong’s team in March 2015 concluded that the PNP’s chain of command was violated when Aquino directly dealt with Purisima and Napeñas instead of then PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina. Categorically asked by reporters if he personally saw any negligence on the part of the former president, Magalong answered: “Yes, of course. We (BOI) really noted some glaring errors that were committed.” “If only the decision makers at the time – president Aquino and general Purisima – were decisive, the incident could have never happened,” Magalong added. n

Assisted by the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the kin of the 44 slain members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) filed with the ombudsman a seven-page motion to reopen the investigation. photo

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Flavor bans multiply, but menthol... International organizations seek release of Negros activists PAGE A4 t concern here,� the civil right rights activist told The New York Times in July, referring to the well-known case of a 43-year old black man who died in a chokehold in 2014 while being arrested by New York City police on suspicion of selling single cigarettes. The flavor bans that are currently sweeping the country have more to do with e-cigarettes than menthol cigarettes. That’s because a mysterious vaping-related illness has sickened more than 2,050 people nationwide and led to at least 39 deaths. In California, at least 150 residents have fallen ill and at least three have died, according to the California Department of Public Health. Most of those illnesses have been associated with vaping cannabis products, and yet politicians’ urge to adopt flavored tobacco bans continues. In July 2016, Chicago became the first major U.S. city to ban menthol cigarette sales, but it limited the prohibition to within 500 feet of schools. Of the more than 200 communities in the country that restrict or ban the sale of flavored tobacco, fewer than 60 include restrictions on menthol cigarettes, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Aspen, Colo., will ban all flavored nicotine products, including menthol cigarettes, effective Jan. 1. A few communities in Minnesota already have such bans in place. In California, close to 50 communities restrict or ban flavored tobacco products; of those, more than 30 include restrictions on menthol cigarettes. Notably, San Francisco banned menthol cigarettes along with all flavored tobacco products in 2018, before banning all vapes and e-cigarettes earlier this year. At the national level, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of flavors in combustible cigarettes in 2009, but exempted menthol. Last November, the agency proposed a ban on menthol-flavored combustible cigarettes, calling their use among youths “especially troubling,� but it has not yet taken action. Then the Trump administration said in September it would soon ban all flavored e-cigarette products, but it may now be backing away from banning mint and menthol. Menthol, which was first added to cigarettes in the 1920s, is as old-school as it gets when it comes to flavored tobacco, yet it hasn’t

prompted action in the way that vape flavors such as cotton candy and strawberry-melon have. That’s because vaping was embraced by a specific population: affluent white teens, Yerger said. Big Tobacco aggressively pushed menthol cigarettes on black youths in the 1950s and 60s, and now some people consider Kools and Newports part of black culture, McGruder said. McGruder and others point out that the tobacco industry has supported and funded civil rights groups and causes, forming relationships with prominent black leaders such as Sharpton. Big Tobacco acknowledged that it has contributed to Sharpton’s organization, the National Action Network, and similar groups. McGruder said it’s difficult for the African American community to contradict respected male civil rights and religious leaders, so when they argue that menthol bans will lead to criminalization, the community listens. But Bobby Sheffield, a pastor and vice president of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, said the criminalization argument is a scare tactic. “We’re not trying to have anyone incarcerated because they have this product in their possession,� Sheffield said. His organization, which represents local businesses, started campaigning this year for menthol bans in California’s Inland Empire, including the cities of Riverside, San Bernardino and Perris. Some smokers understand the need to keep tobacco out of the hands of children, but they don’t think it’s fair to include menthol cigarettes. “It’s stupid. Now they’re trying to act like menthol cigarettes are the problem. These have been around for a long time,� said April Macklin of Sacramento, who smokes Benson & Hedges menthols. She smoked when she was younger, quit, and started again three years ago. The city of Sacramento will ban the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes, effective Jan. 1. Macklin, 53, said she might just quit because she won’t smoke anything other than menthol. But even with a ban in place, she doubts menthol cigarettes will be gone for good. “I’m sure people will figure something out,� she said. This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

AT Least 59 international organizations called on the Philippine government yesterday to release the 57 people arrested in simultaneous raids on the offices of militant organizations in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental last week. “We express our solidarity with fellow land and people’s rights advocates in the Philippines in urging the government to immediately release and stop the persecution of 57 community leaders,� a joint statement issued by labor and human rights organizations read. “We strongly condemn as a blatant vio-

lation of human rights the mass arrests of activists, including peasant leaders as well as several minors... by Philippine state forces,� it added. Among the signatories in the joint statement are PAN Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Asia Pacific Research Network, Asian Peasant Coalition, Asian Rural Women’s Coalition, Coalition of Agricultural Workers International, European Network for Justice and Peace in the Philippines, and Youth for Food Sovereignty. Authorities said 14 minors were among



TAXES. Just hearing or reading the word creates anxiety, doesn’t it? It is as common as the air you breathe. It is “everywhereâ€? or on any type of transaction you enter into. You acquire or sell something, you are taxed. You earn, you are taxed. Nowadays, almost nothing is tax-free. DEATH is another word that creates anxiety. Mankind has made great progress in medi-cal science, but none of it, as far as we know, has defeated mortality. Perhaps, with death being unavoidable, there is nothing else one can be remembered by except with what he leaves be-hind‌ his legacy. But, alas, even your legacy is subject to tax! The truth behind Ben Franklin’s “nothing in life is certain except death and taxesâ€? is like a thousand volts of electricity hitting your body, isn’t it? (There is a pun here somewhere.) In the Philippines, the tax imposed on the property passing upon death is called ESTATE TAX. It is almost ironic that taxes, being the lifeblood of the nation, accrues when death of a person occurs. The tax rate is 6% if death occurred on or after January 1, 2018. What about those deaths which occurred before that date? The rate is between 5% to 20% depending on the value of your net taxable estate. :KDWKDSSHQVZKHQ\RXIDLOWRÂżOHDWD[UHWXUQDQGSD\WKHWD["7KHODZLPSRVHV the following civil penalties: a) 25% penalty, and b) 20% interest per annum on the tax due. To illustrate, let’s say Mr. A died on September 30, 2017. He left behind pieces of real property with a net taxable value of P12 Million. His family occupied the said properties without paying the estate tax. They did not even bother to transfer the titles to the properties under their names. If the Bureau of Internal Revenue will assess the estate for taxes due, how much is the family of Mr. A supposed to pay? Since death occurred before January 1, 2018, the estate tax will be P1,215,000.00 IRUWKHÂżUVW3PLOOLRQSOXVRIWKHH[FHVV3PLOOLRQZKLFKLV3IRU a total of P1,615,000.00 as estate tax due. Applying the 25% surcharge for non-payPHQWWKHUHLVDQDGGLWLRQDO36LQFHWKHGHDWKRFFXUUHGRYHUWZR\HDUV DJRDWLQWHUHVWSHUDQQXPWKHUHZLOOEHDQDGGLWLRQDORIDWOHDVW3DV LQWHUHVWSD\PHQW7KXVWRFRPSXWHWKHÂżQDODPRXQW  


P1,615,000.00 3 3 3

Estate Tax Due 3HQDOW\ 20% Interest x 2 years 727$/$02817'8(

It is not hard to imagine the level of anxiety you will experience when you receive this computation from the BIR. It is also safe to assume that you don’t have such an amount ready on hand. There is also the criminal aspect. Conviction of the crime of tax HYDVLRQLVSXQLVKDEOHE\LPSULVRQPHQWDQGÂżQH AMNESTY (breathe a sigh of relief here!) Yes, the Philippine Government is aware of the cost-prohibitive nature of estate tax. There is such a low rate of compliance by Filipino families in paying what is due to the government that it passed two ODZVWRDGGUHVVWKLVLVVXH7KHÂżUVWRQHLV5HSXEOLF$FW1RDOVRNQRZQDVWKH 75$,1/DZZKLFKORZHUHGWKH(VWDWH7D[WRDĂ€DWUDWHRI7KHVHFRQGSLHFHRI OHJLVODWLRQLV5HSXEOLF$FW1RRUWKH7D[$PQHVW\$FWRI%HJLQQLQJRQ -XQHOHJDOKHLUVRIDQHVWDWHRIDGHFHGHQWZKRGLHGRQRUEHIRUH'HFHPEHU FDQEHQHÂżWIURPWKLVQHZODZ%HQHÂżFLDULHVZLOOSD\HVWDWHWD[DWWKHUDWH of 6%, as well as have the immunity from any civil, criminal, and administrative cases and penalties. This can be accomplished by settling estate tax obligations within two years from the amnesty’s effective date. Applying the amnesty program to the illustration above, 6% of the P12,000,000.00 net taxable estate is P720,000.00. Simple! That’s about 73% reduction of what the IDPLO\RI0U$LVVXSSRVHGWRSD\7KHVDYLQJVLVVLJQLÂżFDQWEXWQHHGVWREHVHWWOHG within the two-year period. This opportunity for big savings will end at the stroke of midnight, June 16, 2021. Don’t wait until the deadline! Act now! 2XUWHDPRIOLFHQVHGDQGH[SHULHQFHGDWWRUQH\VIURPERWKWKH8QLWHG6WDWHVDQG the Philippines, can guide you through the intricate maze of the Philippine inheritance and tax laws to help you receive, and protect, what is rightfully yours. To schedule DSKRQHRUYLGHRFRQVXOWDWLRQSOHDVHYLVLWXVRQOLQHDWZZZ)LO$P/DZ\HUVFRPRU FRQWDFWXVDW),/$0/$:RU

those taken into custody for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and human rights group Karapatan had claimed the guns and explosives were planted, adding that those arrested were peasant leaders, human rights defenders, women’s rights activists and cultural workers. The Philippine National Police denied allegations of a crackdown on left-leaning organizations, saying the raids were part of “normal� law enforcement operations. (Elizabeth Marcelo, Emmanuel Tupas/

A November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

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Foreign employers of OFWs not complying with POEA rules by Mayen JayMalin

ECONOMIC GROWTH. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia says the Philippine economy expanded by 6.2% in July to September this year, one of Asia’s fastest, after two quarters of deceleration, during a press conference at Astoria Plaza, Pasig City on Thursday, November 7. The upbeat performance of the agriculture sector, growing by 3.1% in the third quarter, from 0.8% earlier this year, was driven by increased production of corn, coconut, and pineapple. PNA photo by Ben Briones

SC chief Peralta wants US-Marshall patterned security for PH judges by TeTCh


MANILA — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta is pitching for a legislative act that will create a battalion-size independent armed unit patterned after the United States Marshall Service to secure the judiciary. “We have around 2,600 courts in the Philippines and [the number is] increasing. The ideal number [for the marshall] would be

500,” Peralta told reporters during the “Salu-salo kasama ang Punong Mahistrado.” The creation of a U.S. Marshal Service-type of security was one of the 10-point agenda raised by Peralta during his first flag-raising ceremony as head magistrate of the High Court last Oct. 28. Last Tuesday, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez was shot to death last Tuesday. He was the fifth active judge killed since 2017 and the 31st ac-

tive judge killed since 1999. Of the 31 judges killed, only around 10 percent have been solved. “If we had a Marshall patterned after America, our Marshalls can do the work. In other words, they could investigate, they can summon witnesses to appear in the investigation and allow them to file the cases before the fiscal’s office. In that way, we have control of our Marshalls, we can get positive results,” Peralta said. According to its website, the U.S. Marshals Service was the first federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. put up in 1789 and is the enforcement arm of the federal courts, involved in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative. The duties of the U.S. Marshals Service include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, housing and transporting federal prisoners and operating the Witness Security Program. The marshals also provide assistance in locating and apprehending their most violent fugitives. “If Congress is willing to help us, probably they could come up where there are powers given to investigative bodies like NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP (Philippine National Police) be given to us,” he added. n

MANILA — The government is still unable to monitor the condition of all Filipino workers abroad due to the refusal of some foreign employers and recruitment agencies to comply with hiring regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. POEA chief Bernard Olalia reported that on account of privacy and confidentiality, some foreign employers and recruitment agencies are not reporting relevant information about the Filipino workers they are employing. Olalia reminded recruitment and manning agencies as well as foreign employers and principals that they are mandated under POEA regulations to report the status, condition or significant events relating to their hired workers. “Incomplete reports are deemed as not compliant with POEA rules and other issuances and data privacy should not be a reason for their non-compliance,” Olalia stressed. Olalia pointed out that processing of personal information about overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is provided under existing laws. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012,

he said, allows the processing of personal information when “the processing is necessary to protect vitally important interests of the data subject, including his or her life and health; and the processing of personal information is necessary for the fulfillment of the constitutional or statutory mandate of a public authority.” Olalia further noted that Republic Act 8042 mandates the POEA to formulate and implement a system for promoting and monitoring the overseas employment of Filipino workers, taking into consideration their welfare and the domestic manpower requirements. “Failure to report on the status of employment of an OFW is a prohibited act under Republic Act 8042,” Olalia said. He said POEA may impose corresponding penalties against agencies and foreign employers who fail to comply with the regulation. Failure to monitor and report the status, condition or significant events relating to its hired worker carries a penalty of suspension from participation in the overseas employment program for six months to one year on the first offense and permanent disqualification in the overseas employment and permanent disqualification and delisting from the roster of accredited principals/employers on the second offense.

OWWA releases P43-M rebate to OFWs More Filipinos abroad, meanwhile, are now availing themselves of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)’s rebate program. OWWA chief Hans Cacdac reported that the agency has released P43 million since the start of the rebate program’s implementation in September. “We have 17,214 beneficiaries who have received rebate benefit with P43,002,888 released so far,” Cacdac disclosed. Cacdac further reported that among the total beneficiaries, 186 have opted to donate their rebate for the education of distressed OFWs. OWWA previously allocated P1 billion for the distribution of rebates to more than half a million members. Qualified OFWs can claim a minimum of P941.25 up to P13,177.50 depending on the number of their contributions. The computation of the amount is based on the capability of the agency to implement the rebate program without negatively affecting its regular programs and services. OFWs who have been members of the agency for at least 10 years with at least five or more contributions made as of Dec. 31, 2017 are qualified to avail themselves of the rebate. n

NUJP urges PNP for swift action in resolving other media killings by Consuelo


MANILA — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to swiftly resolve the cases of other media killings in the Philippines. “We urge the leadership of the Philippine National Police to require the same diligence and swift action in resolving the scores of other media killings in the country,” NUJP said in a

statement on Friday following the arrest of two suspects in the Nov. 7 killing of Dumaguete City broadcaster Dindo Generoso. NUJP also urged PNP to conduct an honest probe into the suspected role of law enforcers and other state security forces in the murder of members of the press. Teddy Reyes Salaw and retired policemen Glenn Corsamein, two of the three suspects in Generoso’s slay, were taken under police custody.

Police said the alleged gunman, Roger Rubio, is an active policeman assigned at the 2nd Mobile Force Company in Guihulngan City. Rubio is still at large. The media organization said two policemen as suspected killers are a “cause for concern” and “reinforces the findings of informal studies by media organizations that tend to indicate the involvement of state security personnel in many journalists’ murders in the country.” n

Tourist arrivals hit 6 million in 3rd quarter MANILA — Foreign arrivals breached the six-million mark in the first nine months of the year, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed, with about 1.36 million Chinese accounting for the biggest increase. It was not clear, however, if the Chinese were regular tourists or workers in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) offices who enter the country by securing tourist visas on arrival. The DOT said foreign arrivals totaled to 6,161,503 from January to September, a 14.37 percent increase from 5,387,458 arrivals in the same period last year. Despite being a lean month in terms of visitors, foreign arrivals in September surged 17.09 percent to 606,553 arrivals from 518,041 arrivals in the same period a year ago “The figures look very promising, and we are glad that more tourists are visiting us in light of the accolades received by the Philippines and our destinations throughout the year,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-

Puyat said. Korea still remained the country’s top source market in the nine-month period with a total of 1,450,792 arrivals, an estimated 23 percent increase from the 1.18 million arrivals reported last year. This was followed by China with 1,359,817 arrivals, 39.8 percent higher than the 972,500 Chinese arrivals a year ago. The United States claimed the third spot with 792,619 arrivals, while Japan registered 518,211 arrivals, landing in the fourth spot. Taiwan secured the fifth spot with 252,578 arrivals. The continued increase in arrivals is a testament to the recent recognition received by the Philippine tourism sector, Puyat said. Among these was the 8th spot on the 20 Most Favorite Countries in the World of the Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) Readers’ Choice Awards, where the Philippines earned a 90.63 score among the 600,000 readers of the New York-based luxury and travel magazine.

The Philippines was also hailed as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination by the 2019 World Travel Awards (WTA) in its Asia and Oceania gala held last October in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Subsequently, DOT was awarded as Asia’s Leading Tourism Board by WTA at the same event for the significant increase in tourist arrivals for the Philippines in 2018. In addition, the Japan Tourism Awards (JTA) also presented DOT with its Excellent Partner Award for the agency’s crucial role in the closure and successful rehabilitation of the tourist-favorite Boracay Island. The award was received at the opening of the Tourism Expo Japan last month. “While these awards prove prudence in our efforts to bolster Philippine tourism, ultimately, what keeps us doing what we do in the DOT is seeing more of our countrymen revel in the positive impacts of genuine sustainable tourism,” Puyat said. (Ghio Ong and Catherine Talavera/Philstar/ com)

Palace welcomes satisfaction rating on government by ChrisTina


MANILA — Malacañang welcomed the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey from Sept. 27 to 30 of this year, which revealed that 78 percent of adult Filipinos are satisfied with government performance under the Duterte administration. Despite a dip in the ratings, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo still believes that a great majority of the Filipino people have once again expressed satisfaction with the performance of President Duterte. “The rating, classified by the independent pollster as very good, demonstrates that a significant number of our countrymen possesses discernment that can stand and see beyond the endless politicking managed by the opposition, as well as the rhetorical aspersions peddled by the President’s detractors, critics and skeptics,” he said. Of 1,800 Filipino adults surveyed for the third quarter, the SWS said 77 percent were satisfied with the national government’s general performance, 11 percent were undecided and 10

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo

percent were dissatisfied. This yielded a +67 net satisfaction rating, six points lower than the record high +73 the administration achieved in the previous quarter. The pollster attributed the lower rating to the declines in satisfaction in Mindanao, balance Luzon and the Visayas. The Office of the President noted that the satisfaction rating Filipinos gave on the subjects helping the poor, providing information needed by the citizens to properly examine what the government is doing photo

and having clear policies are the highest. This signifies the people’s acknowledgement of the President’s genuine empathy, transparency and decisiveness. Panelo noted that while the satisfaction ratings of the President starting from his assumption to the presidency are incomparable to his predecessors, he could not care less about these scores because for him the true measure of proper governance and public service is accomplishing the job entrusted by the electorate without expecting any reward for it. n

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Chief Justice Peralta defends hero burial for Marcos, asserts objectivity by Franco Luna

CLEAN LAWTON UNDERPASS. Photo shows the newly painted underpass leading to Park ‘n Ride (Liwasang Bonifacio side) and Lawton Underpass (near City Hall). Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso signed an executive order mandating all barangays and frontline service offices to conduct a weekly clean-up drive in the capital city. PNA photo by Gil Calinga

ASF does not affect humans, says health officer by Eva

vispEras, ric sapnu, Marc Jayson cayabyab

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The provincial health officer here said there is no case of the African swine fever (ASF) virus transferring to humans, contrary to a recent claim by a local resident whose family members were hospitalized. Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman made this clarification after a man alleged that four of his family members fell ill because of ASF after they ate pork adobo. “He is only seeking media attention,” she said. The affected family members were rushed to Pangasinan Provincial Hospital in San Carlos City on Oct. 24 after they ate the dish. Their attending doctor investigated the matter and found out it was not because of ASF, De Guzman said on Thursday, November 7. The patients, all from Malasiqui town, are aged one, four, seven and 24 years, she added. She said they ate sinigang na baboy on Oct. 23 and nothing unusual happened to them. The leftovers were cooked into adobo which they consumed the following day. “Sinigang has tomatoes that can spoil fast… so, definitely there is contamination there. Also, there could be a problem in the food handling,” De Guzman

explained. “It has nothing to do with ASF,” she declared. De Guzman added that what happened was possibly a case of food poisoning and not because of the ASF virus. She stressed that ASF virus is not transferred from pig to human. “It does not cause sickness to humans,” De Guzman reiterated. “There is no known case worldwide of humans getting afflicted with ASF. It’s pig-to-pig,” ahe said, adding that the virus also dies after the pork is cooked at very high temperature like boiling. For food safety, De Guzman said even if the pig has colds only, it is not advisable anymore for humans to consume its meat. “For example, botcha (double dead meat). It is not really advisable for humans to consume the meat,” she said. De Guzman also pointed out that such a case is not confined to pork only. “It is for all meat products, like chickens or goats, it is not fit anymore for human consumption once it is sick of something,” she said. “But to allude it at once that it is because of ASF, that’s not true. There’s no such scientific evidence that a human can fall ill because of ASF,” De Guzman explained. In Cabanatuan City on Wednesday, November 6, Mayor Myca Vergara, along with acting city

veterinarian Lorna Rivera, led meat vendors and the public in eating lechon and other pork products in a boodle fight at the public market, amid a drastic downtrend of pork sales due to the ASF scare. Rowena Mina, chair of the Cabanatuan City Meat Vendors cooperative, said the public was apparently scared of the animal disease despite assurances that it would not affect humans. Meanwhile, the city governments of Malabon and Caloocan have assured the public that they were able to contain the ASF virus by culling hundreds of pigs in affected barangays. The Caloocan City government has culled 494 infected pigs in Barangays 168 and 179 since October, according to Caloocan City veterinarian Ted Rosales. In Malabon, 18 pigs were culled to contain the virus, according to city health officer Dr. Roberto Romero. n

MANILA — Asked about his role in allowing a hero’s burial for the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said on Friday, November 8 in a press conference that the decision was founded on the principle of law. “We cannot resolve cases based on public opinion,” he said. “As chief justice, I will base it on the evidence and the law applicable. Insofar as the other cases, I’ve always been objective in the performance of my work. There is no law or even a resolution prohibiting the burial of a former president.” Before his appointment as chief justice, Peralta previously wrote the ponencia that allowed for a hero’s burial for the late strongman three years ago. Sitting as an associate justice at the time, Peralta himself rejected the petitions file against the burial. The press conference marked Peralta’s first with the media since his appointment, where the 26th chief justice of the Philippines also contradicted claims that he was unfairly favoring the dictatorial family. “It’s not correct that I’m favoring the Marcoses,” he added. When asked about the status of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, he simply restated the ruling that both parties were required to comment on the latest developments. “We did not dismiss the case yet,” he said. This came after he outlined the integrity of the court as one of his core focuses for his term, and the “weeding out of misfits in the judiciary,” one pronounced point included in his

ten-point agenda. Upon his appointment, he bared that he intended to implement the procedure of “Res ipsa loquitur” in the Supreme Court, which assumes negligence upon any untoward incident. At the media briefing, he said that he planned to pursue the SC’s self-initiating of investigations of case relating to misdeeds in court decisions.

Peralta was appointed to his post by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 23. He will sit as chief justice until March 27, 2022, outlasting even Duterte’s presidency. Amnesty International has reported that the Marcos dictatorship was marked by wanton human rights violations, where 34,000 were tortured and 3,240 killed. n

A8 NOVEMBER 9-12, 2019 • LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797


‘Her success is our success’


HER principal beef with the campaign against illegal drugs is the brutal method employed. Now that Vice President Leni Robredo has decided to accept the challenge of leading the war on drugs, she has promised to address this aspect of the controversial campaign. The parameters for measuring the success of this aspect of the war are much clearer than for gauging the success or failure of the campaign. The drug menace has been around for centuries, and no country can honestly claim to have completely eradicated it. The best that can be done is to ensure a sustained campaign, to reduce drug trafficking and addiction, the corruption engendered by the drug trade and the damage it inflicts on the social fabric. Even drug-related killings are not new. Those engaged in the illegal but highly lucrative trade do kill each other as well as suspected police informers. Drug dealers do kill anti-narcotics cops, and some do fight back or resist arrest violently, endangering the lives of arresting officers or nanlalaban. What’s new is the scale of the drug killings, and a seeming propensity of the police to take legal short cuts in nailing down drug suspects, shooting to kill and asking questions later. The Philippine National Police counts about 6,000 drug-related killings since the start of the Duterte administration; human rights advocates believe the total is

over four times that number. Stopping the violence is something that the Vice President can do, now that she has been put in charge of the war on drugs. A significant drop in the number of drug-related killings in the next six months can already be considered a success in her own strategy of waging this war. As for the other aspects of the war, the Vice President can succeed only if she gets full support from the administration. This includes all the authority she needs to order law enforcement agencies to carry out the campaign in the manner that she wants. Before accepting the appointment, she had pondered warnings that she was being set up for failure. The administration must show that such concerns are baseless, by giving the new anti-drug czar all the support necessary for this war. Following Robredo’s acceptance of the offer, the presidential spokesman declared: “Her success is our success.” The same can be said for the country and its fight against illegal drugs. (

Editorial photo

Court ordered Trump to pay $2 million for using charity foundation to benefit his political campaign in 2016

The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS WIN. Win. Win. No matter what the cost. No matter what the laws are. No matter what the truth is. Just to win. Win. Win. This appears to be the motto of Donald Trump as a person, as a businessman, as a candidate for the most powerful position in the nation, and as president of the United States. A whole newspaper won’t be able to contain all that Trump did to support what I wrote above. Let us just focus for now on this latest news. New York State Judge Saliann Scarpulla “ordered President Donald Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit organizations in connection with a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office to resolve a civil lawsuit alleging the foundation unlawfully coordinated with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.” As CNN reported, Justice Scarpulla wrote in her decision that

came out on Thursday, November 7, that “Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation,” including by “allowing his campaign to orchestrate” a televised fundraiser ostensibly for the foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, in January 2016, and allowing the campaign to direct the distribution of the money raised from that event “to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.” As in so many cases filed against him and his business empire, Trump settled before a decision was made. You would recall how in June of 2018, a lawsuit was filed alleging that Trump and his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — “violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status.” CNN further reported that the lawsuit alleged that Trump and his three eldest children “allowed the foundation to be used “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”

Trump then vowed to fight the lawsuit and in a tweet even said, “I won’t settle this case!” But the judge wrote in her decision that in October, the lawyers on both sides — The attorney general’s office and Trump’s lawyers — came to a “consensual resolution of the bulk of this proceeding” and agreed that the judge would determine the amount of damages Trump would be required to pay. True to his character of maligning and mischaracterizing any person, official, or institution that puts him in a bad light, casting himself as the victim and the underdog, Trump said in a statement after the decision came out on Thursday night that “the New York Attorney General is deliberately mischaracterizing this settlement for political purposes” and that all money in the foundation has gone to charity. Take note that “the settlement comes in the wake of an agreement by the foundation in December to dissolve under judicial supervision,” CNN reported.

On being a Filipino in Mexico

Street Talk GREG B. MACABENTA FOR sure it will take more than a day’s visit to truly understand the culture, the nature and the essence of a nation, but there is something about Mexico and Mexicans that can make a Pinoy feel “at home” upon setting foot on America’s southern neighbor. My first visit to Mexico was back in 1981 when I was asked by the Malacanang press office to join a group of media, advertising and public relations professionals who made up the official contingent of then President Ferdinand Marcos for the North-’South Summit in Cancun. Except for the dominance of beans in the meals and the total close-down of businesses for midday siesta, I sensed something very familiar about the environment in Mexico that was almost deja vu. Even the proliferation of good-looking femininity was so reminiscent of Metro Manila “Ang daming tisay!”(So many mestizas), my advertising colleague, Emil Misa gushed as we watched the girls go by at a Mexico City street corner. Emil, along with fellow ad men Greg Garcia III, Louie Morales, Tom Banguis, and myself, were jestingly called the Cacun Boys because of that

trip. In fact, to make ourselves “useful” at the Cancun Summit, another ad executive, Tony Zorilla, and our group decided to put out a supplement in the leading Mexican English language and Spanish language dailies, highlighting the remarkably tight bond that make Mexico and the Philippines virtual utol or kaputol (a Tagalog idiom referring to siblings cut from the same umbilical cord). I wrote almost all of the articles for the supplement around the theme of shared Spanish colonial history, religion, culture and even language, going back to the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. But it was in the early 1990’s, on a subsequent visit to Tijuana, the northernmost Mexican city bordering the US (in San Diego), that the similarity between the Philippines and Mexico really struck me. The streets of Tijuana looked so much like Cubao or any Manila commercial area, store fronts, dusty streets, traffic and all - even the people. This week, I have just made a quick trip to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, a favorite playground of America’s rich and famous, and I have become even more convinced that a Manileno would have no difficulty integrating into Mexico’s mainstream. While the general impression is that the Latin American coun-

tries, chief of them Mexico, were so dominated by the Spanish conquistadores that nearly everyone looks Hispanic, the fact is that the indigenous Indio populace have managed to maintain their presence and brown continues to be a dominant race in these countries. The fact that Columbus Day, a US holiday, is observed in Mexico and other Latin American countries as Dia de la Raza (The Day of the Race), not with joy and fondness but with bitterness and horror, is a testament to the massive and forcible Hispanization of the Indios, often through rape. This, observes one historian, is where the Spanish colonization of the Philippines and the Latin American countries has differed. The Spanish conquistadores in Latin America committed genocide, decimating the indigenous population and siring thousands of half-breeds who became the dominant mestizo class. This was not the case in the Philippines, although the Spanish friars did help themselves to Filipina womanhood, thus leaving Hispanic seeds throughout the islands, particularly in the major cities in the Visayas, Mindanao and Luzon. Dr. Jose Rizal underscored this in Noli Me Tangere, with the tragic character of Maria Clara, sired by Padre Damaso. But even Rizal’s hero, Crisostomo Ibarra,

U.S. President Donald Trump

White House photo


“The court’s decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not

a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States.” WHEN ARE YOU MAKING THIS PRESIDENT ACCOUNTABLE? Up to when will you give him a pass in all his actions and words that are beneath the honor and dignity of the Office of the President of the United States? Up to when will you condone and enable him? Wake up!

Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at gelrelos@, or send her a message via Facebook at Relos.

belonged to the elite mestizo class himself. While the US, mainly through the Thomasites, succeeded in obliterating much of the vestiges of Spain and displacing them with Americanish, the Hispanic physiognomy is still apparent among many Filipinos. And because the Malayan race is very similar to that of the Indios in Latin America, the non-mestizo Pinoy could be mistaken for a native Mexican, and those of who have some Spanish in their blood, even with dominant Malayan features, could pass for a typical brownskinned Mexicano. Needless to say, the mestizos and mestizas who populate the Philippines’ entertainment industry could well be mainstays of Univision, the leading Hispanic TV network in the US. Between 1565 and 1815 Spanish galleons braved the Pacific Ocean manned by crew members forcibly taken from the local population. According to one article, entitled, For the Love of Mexico, an estimated 100,000 Asians from Malaysia and the Philippines were brought to Mexico as slaves on the galleons. One can safely assume that at least half of them were natives of Las Islas Filipinas since most of the galleons set off from the Visayas, mainly Cebu. To this day there are communities in Mexico where many families trace their roots to the Philippines. These are obviously

the descendants of the natives of Las Islas Filipinas who sailed to the New World on the galleons. Many of these Filipino crewmen managed to settle down in Mexico, particularly in Acapulco, While a number jumped ship and escaped to the marshes of Louisiana (journalist Lafcadio Hearn wrote about them, calling them Manila Men), there were those who settled in Mexico, married Mexican women and raised families. One of them was Antonio Miranda Rodriguez who became one of the pobladores sent to found El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de Porciuncula, which we now know as LA. But Rodriguez could not make it to the founding of LA at Olvera Park because he had to attend to his dying daughter in Baja California. He subsequently became armorer at the Presidio of Santa Barbara, where he died of an illness. Some of the galleon crewmen established themselves in Mexican society with remarkable success. The book, “Race Mixture in the History of Latin America” by Magnus Morner, in the archives of Mexico City, contains an entry about the marriage of one of the more prominent Filipinos to a member of Mexican high society: “Don Bernardo Marcos de Castro, Indian cacique and native of the City and Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippine Islands, and now resident at this Court…and Doña Maria Gertru-

dis de Rojas, Spanish and native of this City, legitimate daughter of Don Jose and Doña Rosa Clara Montes…” The footnote to this entry is equally revealing: “Archivo del Sagrario Metropolitano, Mexico City: Libro de matrimonios de españoles, vol. 41 (1810-1811); Libro de Amonestaciones de los de color quebrado, 1756-1757, 13 v. Also in the archives is an account about a certain General Isidoro Montesdeoca who was reported to be of Filipino descent. Montesdeoca was a Lieutenant Governor of Guerrero, the state named after VIcente Guerrero who became president of Mexico following the war of independence from Spain. While the bond between Filipinos and Mexicans deserves to be celebrated, there is a shadow hovering over this relationship in the era of President Donald Trump. Trump has unfairly demonized Mexicans (he does not bother to distinguish between Mexicans and other Latin Americans), calling them rapists, criminals and terrorists. I hope my fellow Pinoys do not use this demonization as a reason to distance themsleves from our Mexican and Latin American brethren. The Trump era is just a fleeting phenomenon and will soon be but a bad memory, while our ties with Mexico, which have lasted hundreds of years, will last centuries more. (

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


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Dateline PhiliPPines

Vietnamese fishermen immediately sought shelter in the West Philippine Sea after being warned of passing severe tropical storm Quiel. Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard

Coast Guard helps Vietnamese fishermen seeking shelter in West Philippine Sea MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) extended assistance to at least 200 Vietnamese fishermen that sought shelter in the West Philippine Sea as severe tropical storm Quiel passed through. The Vietnamese fishermen aboard six fishing vessles immediately sought shelter after being warned of the weather disturbance. The PCG assisted the foreign fishermen to safely arrive at the

port of Subic Bay in Olongapo City, Zambales. The fishermen received humanitarian aid from local authorities in Olongapo City and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Thursday, according to the PCG. Subic Bay is about 200 kilometers from Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, which the United Nations-backed tribunal ruled as a traditional fishing ground of Filipino, Chinese and

Vietnamese fishermen. In June, a Vietnamese fishing vessel rescued Filipino fishermen after their boat collided with a Chinese ship near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. The 22 Filipino fishermen were abandoned by the Chinese vessel after hitting their boat and were left floating in the sea for hours before being rescued. (Patricia Lourdes Viray/Philstar. com)

SC grants extension plea to resolve Maguindanao massacre THE Supreme Court on Friday, November 8, granted the plea of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes for another 30 days to resolve the 10year-old Maguindanao massacre case. In his first meet the press, newly appointed Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta cited a memorandum issued by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez extending the time from November 20 to December 20, 2019. “This Office finds the ground for your request reasonable and hereby grants the same. Please be reminded however, that you are hereby granted a Non-Extendible period of 30-days from 20 November 2019 or until 20 December 2019 , within which to decide the said criminal cases,” Marquez said. Peralta said that under the 1987 Constitution, all trial courts must rule on the case within 90 days after its submission for decision.

However, Peralta said that being a former prosecutor and judge, he knew the hardships of ruling on a case and found Marquez’s decision to grant the extension reasonable. “Under the Constitution it provides that all trial courts that means the first and second level courts should promulgate their decision within the 90-day period so there are some rules that require a shorter period to promulgate the decision. In the case of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes you know very well that there are so many accused and there are so many victims in that case, but we also allow meritorious motion for extension and we understand her predicament and we allowed her to have an extension of one month. But as I said motions for extension were the exception rather than the rule and we understand her plight and I hope that she will no longer ask for an-

other extension so that before the end of the year those cases will finally be decided,” Peralta told the media. Peralta recalled that being a fiscal and a judge, it was the “first time” even “in the last century” that he has yet to hear cases “involving the massacre of so many people.” “The accused are all entitled to what we call due process but we adopted several ways in order to fast track the resolution of cases. It’s good that the parties agreed to these tools that were adopted by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes in order to, as early as possible, resolve the cases,” said Peralta. Fifty-eight people, including 32 journalists, were massacred on Nov. 23, 2009 in Maguindanao. Members of the politically powerful Ampatuan clan were tagged and tried in one of the most heinous crimes in the country. (Jomar Canlas/



A10 November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Annual Travel Trade and Consumer Expo bigger and better in 2020 Pasadena Convention Center will be the venue on its 3rd year

The Asian Journal’s premier project is going to be one of the biggest Filipino American business events of 2020. Inspired by the positive responses from participants the last two years, the Travel Trade and Consumer (TTC) expo moves to the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California on August 8 and 9, 2020 as a bustling hub for opportunities to do business and travel to the Philippines as well as to reach the vibrant Filipino American community.

Located in the heart of Pasadena (Los Angeles), California, the Pasadena Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall A ( 24,000 sq ft) will be the home for the two-day event focusing on Filipino and Filipino American businesses, travel, trade and consumer opportunities.

Pasadena Convention Center, the location for the annual Travel, Trade & Consumer Expo on Aug. 8 and 9, 2020.

The Pasadena Convention Center has recently undergone a $1.9 million renovation. It has been awarded the LeeD® Gold Certification, and is one of the greenest convention centers in all of North America. It is a premier hub of mainstream conferences, exhibitions, product fairs and concerts. There will be zones of health & Wellness, Importing & exporting, Franchising, Travel, Real estate, Agriculture and Consumer Goods & Services. The TTC expo fosters Business-to-Business Opportunities, Business-to-Government Networking and Businessto-Customer Selling. The TTC expo will be open to the public. The TTC expo will feature the health and Wellness CONFeX 2020, a Philippine Roadshow that was launched in Dubai. It brings a wealth of beauty and green living products, wellness resorts, specialty clinics by top Filipino cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists and more. Industry talks and panel discussions will be on the main stage earlier in the day, then cultural performances and other live entertainment follow the open stage on the exhibit floor. The requisite expo giveaways will be available, and raffles and prizes shall be scheduled throughout the day. The seminar room will be booked with focused talks by industry speakers. A VIP Lounge will be available for registered delegates that represent commercial buyers and marketing executives and exhibitors to make a connection and further any business prospects. Through agreements with Philippine trade and local offi-

cials, delegations bringing export quality Philippine-made products are expected to participate from various provinces once again. Past exhibitors have reported growing their sales by participating in past TTC events. The Asian Journal aims to level up the business, advocacies and representation of the Filipino American demographic through the TTC expo. Approaching 30 years in business, the Asian Journal Media Group is one of the leading media companies, providing news and information, advertising, public relations, and business and brand development. The Asian Journal has a variety of online and offline media platforms, which enable businesses to get inside the eyes, homes, and hands of a fast-growing and prosperous group of consumers. Sponsorship Packages and exhibit Booths are open for booking for businesses to exhibit Travel Destinations, hotels & Resorts, Tours and Pilgrimages; Trade (Logistics, Consumer Goods, Distributorship, Import & export) and Real estate (house and Lot, Condominiums, Land Development, Architecture & Interior Design.) The TTC expo is also open to exhibitors for Business Opportunities in Franchising, Agriculture / Farming, Technology and Small Business; Medical Tourism, Beauty & Aesthetic Clinics, Carehomes, hospitals, Medicines, Insurance; Consumer Goods & Services (Jobs, Food & Beverage, electronics, Cars, Technology, Apparel, Legal Services, Financial Services). Interested parties may contact n

Philippines’ Health and Wellness CONFEX roadshow coming to America

The health and Wellness CONFeX, a global campaign that seeks to promote the Philippines as a world-class health and wellness center, is officially coming to America! Originally launched in Dubai in 2018, this promotional roadshow produced its first conference-expo in Manila earlier this year in April. Next year, for 2020, in collaboration with the Asian Journal Media Group, the health and Wellness CONFeX will mark its official entry into the US market at the 3rd annual 2020 International Travel Trade and Consumer expo. Dubbed “TTCe”, the grand event ignites, drives, and fuels business-to-business, business-to-government, and business-to-consumer networking, direct sales and marketing, and brand engagement opportunities and collaboration between the U.S. and Philippines. To be held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California on August 8-9, 2020 is a two-day event powered and presented by the Asian Journal Media Group. The

event will feature a health and Wellness CONFeX Pavilion where sustainable wellness, beauty, tourism, fashion, food natural and green living products and services from the Philippines will be showcased including Internationally-accredited Philippine hospitals, award-winning wellness resorts and specialty clinics manned by top Filipino dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons will have booths in the pavilion as well to provide a preview of the various services they offer which are already attracting a rapidly growing traffic of health and wellness tourists to the country. This should prove particularly helpful for U.S-.based Filipinos planning to go to the Philippines for health and wellness reasons. As balikbayans, they can avail themselves of medical, dental, and even beauty and anti-aging services that are as good as, if not better than, the services they can get in the U.S. – at a fraction of the cost. The Travel Trade and Consumer expo 2020 will also have Shown above during the partnership signing ceremonies are Raphael John Oriel and Roger Lagmay Oriel of TTCE and Maricris Soriano, Joyce Selga, Cory Quirino, and Vilma Selga of HWC. a B2B matching session where Philippine manufacturers of initiatives of the hWW team health and wellness products – including the health and Wellcan meet with U.S. importers to ness Confex2020 that will be held explore business opportunities on September 11 & 12 next year and forge mutually beneficial at the SMX Convention Center, partnerships. Metro Manila’s principal exhiBut the collaboration be- bition venue. After all, although tween the Asian Journal and the based in California, the Asian health and Wellness World team Journal Media Group is headed does not just involve the Pasade- by Filipinos who will be most na event. The Asian Journal will happy to see the Philippines also help promote among to emerge as a leading health and their global audience the other wellness center. n

For sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, please visit the event website at,, or


Shown from left during the partnership signing ceremonies are: Raphael John Oriel, Maricris Soriano, Joyce Selga, Cory Quirino, Vilma Selga and Roger Lagmay Oriel. Asian Journal’s Travel Trade & Consumer Expo (TTCE) will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena (Los Angeles), California on August 8-9, 2020 featuring Health and Wellness Confex (HWC).

For more information on the Asian Journal Media Group, visit us at or call 818-502-0651.

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A12 November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

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Journal Fil-Am model is a knockout! Sarah wears huge diamond ring from Matteo by JoaquIn


LOS ANGELES — She’s been on nearly every major Top Rank boxing event for the last five years and Fil-Am model C.J. (Cielo Jean) Gibson remains a fan favorite with the official round girls team called The Knockouts. C.J., 35, was born in Clearwater, Florida to Thomas Gibson, an American of Irish-Polish-Italian descent and Filipina Cielo Jocon of Quezon City. As a kid, she used to visit the Philippines every year. Now that she lives on her own in this California City and is busy with her career, the 5’7”, 115-lb. C.J. hasn’t “come home” in two

By Iza IglesIas

AN exciting development took place in showbiz on Thursday evening after Matteo Guidicelli posted his photo with girlfriend Sarah Geronimo wearing a huge diamond on her left ring finger. While the handsome actor didn’t actually say they’re engaged, he captioned their picture, “I love you my love, now and forever.” Within minutes of posting, congratulatory messages flooded from friends and fans. “So happy for you!!!!!” Alex Gonzaga commented. PAGE B2

Matteo Guidicelli and Sarah Geronimo

Photo from Instagram/@matteog

Tempo grand opening at the Resort in Rancho Cucamonga Saturday, November 9! RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA — A vibrant new neighborhood is making its way to Rancho Cucamonga! Today, Saturday, November 9 come out for the Grand Opening of Tempo by TRI Pointe Homes, new single-family homes coming The Resort. This is your chance to enjoy model tours and refreshments—plus discover this bright new master-planned community that’s designed to bring out the best of everything. With modern amenities, beautiful green belts, paseos and sustainable, style-forward home designs, it’s a vibrant new living destination crafted for you to explore, discover and connect, and it’s calling you home. At The Resort, distinctive new neighborhoods will feature beautiful construction, offering stunning single-family residences,

townhomes and contemporary flats with elevators designed to innovate and stand the test of time. Now open at The Resort, Tempo by TRI Pointe Homes offers stunning new single-family homes ready to carry you into the future. Where life is always moving forward, vibrant and connected, three incredible plans present 1,890 to 2,265 square feet with up to four bedrooms and three bathrooms as well as fresh, open living spaces. Tempo is priced from the mid $500,000s. Now selling, Lumin by Van Daele Homes brings new detached bungalows and contemporary flats for single-level living to The Resort. With flexible spaces, bonus rooms, private courtyards and a host of premium appointments, this home collection is

perfectly suited for every lifestyle. Offering three exceptional designs to choose from, these stunning residences boast 1,448 to 1,934 square feet of quality design with up to four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Lumin is priced from the mid $400,000s. With a name like The Resort, you know there will be the amenities to match. And it will begin with a forward-trending, resort-style recreational and fitness center made to kickstart and shape every action, connection and experience in your wellness journey. Find your stride at the swimming pool or your zen in the yoga room. Sit back and relax with newfound friends at the barbecue area. Here, there will be countless places to gather and connect—or even take to nature, PAGE B2

years. The second youngest of six, C.J. attended St. Petersburg College in Florida and did modeling jobs until landing the gig with The Knockouts whose founder/manager is also a Fil-Am Christine Montehermosa Stokes. She’s available to do commercial and promotional work outside of Top Rank for as long as it doesn’t involve boxing. “No conflict of interest,” she said. “Of course, I’d be open to do work in the Philippines.” C.J.’s mother migrated to the US when she was 30 and initially worked as a waitress. She then Cielo Jean ‘C.J.’ Gibson has been on nearly every major Top Rank boxing event for the got married and raised a family. last five years. PAGE B2 Photo from Instagram/@misscjgibson

B November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL

EntErtainmEnt • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Jeric and Klea: Already an item? by Lhar


Tempo grand opening at the... PAGE B1 with beautiful green belts, paseos and a bark park. Whether it’s downtime at the outdoor lounge or breaking a sweat at the fitness center, The Resort will redefine what it means to have an active and healthy lifestyle. Your front door will be your gateway to everything when you live at The Resort. Take a short stroll to get a quick retail fix or hop in the car to find the perfect date-night restaurants and trendy

shops to browse at Victoria Gardens and Ontario Mills. If you’re looking for some entertainment nearby, head to the Toyota Arena for a concert or hit the Auto Club Speedway for high-speed fun. Being in a prime location walking distance to the Metrolink train station and close to the 10 and 15 freeways, you’ll always have easy access to employment, recreation destinations and entertainment hotspots in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and more. Plus, nearby

business centers offer an abundance of opportunities. With all that and the Ontario International Airport close to your new home at The Resort, you’ll be surprised at just how convenient your life will be here. The Resort is located at 9301 The Resort Parkway, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. For more information on The Resort, please visit or call (909) 270-4284. 


ARE they or are they not? A real life couple that is, as netizens continue to ask about the real score between onscreen tandem Jeric Gonzales and Klea Pineda who topbill GMA Afternoon Prime’s “Magka-agaw.” The buzz started when both Jeric and Klea posted pictures of their out-of-town trips over their respective social media accounts. Judging from the way they looked at each other in these shots and how they held each other close, their followers couldn’t help but wonder if there’s something going on between them. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

Aware of the speculations, both Klea and Jeric reckon it’s their strong chemistry be it on TV or mere photos that’s gotten people thinking. “Nakakatuwa lang that they’re noticing us now. Suddenly, they’re expressing interest in us. The first time we were together in a soap, in ‘Ikalimang Utos,’ there was nothing like this. Walang issue about the two of us,” Klea enthused. They do admit their closeness is real though. Both stars say they’ve gotten to know each other more since they talk endlessly on set and are now very comfortable with one other. Asked if they can say they care for each other too, the response Klea Pineda and Jeric Gonzales admit they’re getting to know each other deeper was postive. PAGE B4

thesedays.  PhotofromInstagram/@jericgonzales07

Sarah wears huge... PAGE B1 “Yesssurrr brotha!!! congrats!!!!!” Rayver Cruz, Geronimo’s rumored ex-boyfriend said. “Congrats you two very happy for you guys,” Marlon Stockinger, Guidicelli’s fellow car racer and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s boyfriend wrote.

Guidicelli, 29 and Geronimo, 31, have tried to keep their relationship private since getting together in 2013. Confirming they were an item only a year later, they would often decline to talk about their relationship in interviews but were visible in supporting each other’s milestones. Geronimo for example was

present at the actor’s graduation as 2nd lieutenant at the Philippine Army in May, while Guidicelli posted a very touching Instagram message for the singer-actress on her 31st birthday in July. Besides the photos, the couple has yet to officially announce their engagement as well as their wedding plans.

Fil-Am model is a knockout... PAGE B1 Today, she’s 77. “I just spoke with my mom who’s visiting in the Philippines,” said C. J. “She’s coming back in a few weeks with my pasalubong, papaya soap which I love.” C. J. is named after her mother Cielo and her second name Jean comes from her Filipina grandmother Eugenia. C. J. said she grew up embracing Filipino values and eating Filipino food. “My favorite is adobo but I also love lumpia, pansit, taho, bangus, sinigang and siopao,” she said. “Do I have a Filipino boyfriend? Nope.” Does she speak Pilipino? “Not fluently,” she said. “But I understand it.” In her visits to the Philippines, C.J. said she has gone all over to enjoy the beaches, particularly in Coron. “I love the water,” she said. “I can’t wait to go back. When I visit, I stay with family in Quezon City and Sampaloc.”

As a Top Rank fixture, C.J. said interacting with boxers has become part of her life. Her most memorable engagement was the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in Las Vegas in 2015. “I love Manny, the way he connects with the fans, the way he fights for his country,” she said. “I was supposed to work during his fight against (Tim) Bradley but I went down with tonsillitis and was too sick to report. I really wanted to show up. Doing Manny’s fight against Mayweather was a big honor because it’s still the highest grossing pay-perview event ever.” C.J.’s younger sister Raquel is also a model and was Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Month for November 2005. C.J. has been featured in several magazines, including Maxim, FHM, American Curves, Supreme, MuscleMag International, Muscle & Fitness,

Teeze and in a Bowflex ad. In 2007, C.J. appeared in a home workout video called ENVY where she was Eliana for E in ENVY. Her co-stars were Martina Andrews for N or Natasha, Kara Monaco for V or Vala and Brittany Lee for Y or Yvette. In 2009, she was Miss November in the Spring Break calendar. In an interview with Open Your Eyes Magazine, she spoke about the stereotypes of her ethnic Filipino heritage. “I hate the rumor that we eat cats and dogs and I love that we age well,” she said. “I’m thankful for my great skin. I hope I look as young as my mom still does when I reach her age.” She described herself in three words loyal, honest and humorous. Her favorite way to kill time? “Family comes first so maybe, take my mom to the mall then nap,” she said. “We both love to shop.” C.J. is a lot more Filipina than she looks.

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IS THERE HOPE FOR A PERSON WHO WAS SENT BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES, AIRPORT TO AIRPORT, FOR ADMITTING THEY WORKED IN THE U.S. ON A PREVIOUS VISIT? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION AND MORE ON “CITIZEN PINOY: YOUR TANONG, MY SAGOT!” The first batch of Kapamilya who attended the “Citizen Pinoy” taping in Virginia get the chance to have their questions answered this Sunday. Find out whether someone who jumped ship 16 years ago, but who now has a U.S. citizen son, can acquire her green card. Get answers to these and more on a brand new episode of — “Citizen Pinoy,” this Sunday at 6:15 p.m. PST/EST (9:15 p.m. EST thru select Cable/Satellite providers). (Advertising Supplement)

If a person is sent back to the Philippines, airport to airport, does that mean they are banned for life? Get the answer to this question this Sunday on — ”Citizen Pinoy: Your Tanong, My Sagot!”

“Citizen Pinoy,” the most popular immigration program on television, just finished several successful tapings with Kapamilya in Virginia. this Sunday, get the answers to questions from the first batch of attendees, who likely have the same concerns and questions as you. Leading U.S. immigration attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel

answers audience questions like “How can someone who jumped ship 16 years ago, but now has a U.S. citizen son, legalize their stay in the U.S.?,” or “My visa was approved when my sons were still minors, but due to lack of financial resources, the children were unable to go to the U.S. immediately. Can that same approval apply to them now that

they are in their 30s?” the answers to these questions and more will be answered on an all-new episode of the information-packed, public service program on television —”Citizen Pinoy: Your tanong, My Sagot” — this Sunday at 6:15 p.m. PSt/ eSt (9:15 p.m. eSt thru select Cable/Satellite providers). (Advertising Supplement)

Carla laments being at ‘most unhealthy’ state at 33 CARLA Abellana was taken to a Quezon City hospital after a shoot at a hospital in Pampanga, she revealed on her instagram Stories yesterday, nov. 7. the actress did not say what her condition was, but admitted she was not in her best state in an instagram post. the picture Carla Abellana says she is at her “most she shared showed her left unhealthy” state at 33. Photo from Instagram/@carlaangeline hand in an iV drip.

“At 33 i am at my most unfit and unhealthy state. i wish i were fit and healthy again, but my illnesses hinder me from getting there,” she lamented. She found comfort in her mom, who brought her breakfast of dried fish and fried eggs to help with her recovery. Abellana is set to star in the GMA family drama series “Love of My Life.” (



Jeric and Klea: Already an... PAGE B2 “May mga text kami like, ‘O, pahinga ka na, matulog ka na. Goodnight, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ May mga ganyan kami. Tapos pag tahimik ang isa, the other one will ask if there’s anything wrong? It’s really genuine care for each other,” Jeric stressed. They will also go as far as saying they’re getting to know each other deeper now. “Alam mo ‘yung you feel

excited about going to work the next day because the person close to you will be there? What happens is we inspire each other to work. Even in front of the camera, we help each other. We discuss the scenes we will do and support each other. So nagiging mas madali naming naitatawid ‘yung eksena–even the highly dramatic ones,” she elaborated. The close and caring friends are also thankful that their tan-

dem has gone beyond their series. Last Saturday morning, they starrred in the long running drama anthology “Maynila,” and were happy to portray lighter roles for in the guesting. Definitely a respite from the highly dramatic scenes they do in Magka-agaw. “Taping the episode of Maynila was such a breeze for me and Jeric. It was very light — no heavy crying scenes, walang mga sigawan, walang sampalan. Dito, sobrang chill lang kami,” Klea quipped. Meanwhile, the actress told Showbuzz that viewers are in for a big development in Magkaagaw,” “Lalo na ako, as Charrise, na pahihirapan ni Veron — the character of Sheryl Cruz — because she will discover something about me. And because of that, she will be very angry with me to the point that she will do everything to ruin my marriage with Jeric’s character. Kaabang-abang talaga ‘yan,” she guaranteed. **** The first time Ruru Madrid met Jasmine Curtis Smith, he was only 14 years old and fresh from winning the GMA reality show “Protegee.” They were both attending a teen magazine event at a time when Jasmine was considered one of the hottest young stars. Ruru was naturally starstruck to meet the popular personality. After that, they only bumped into each other in showbiz events where they just exchanged hi and hellos. “I was intimidated by her,” Ruru admitted to Showbuzz. “Siyempre, sikat siya, big star tapos ang lakas pa ng personality. Honestly, when I was informed by my management that I was doing the movie ‘Cara X Jagger’ with her, I was thinking how our working relationship would be like.” Good thing was they had a familiarity workshop before shootinh where they got to know each other better. And as they proceeded with the shoot, they got started to be more comfortable with each other. “We talked a lot on the set. I noticed that Ruru was not intimidated with me anymore. It also helped that in the movie, we play boyfriend and girlfriend undergoing a difficult test in their relationship. It all worked out and now we’re very good friends,” said Jasmine. • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Every morning is a day of Joy MOONLIGHTING by MYLAH DE


CALL it the sickness pompous, the spell that hushed the household with desert-like stillness felt through its innermost chambers; one in a world unto herself — her own theater. A swerve fit of indisposition under the name of a fall from dignity (or careless demeanor) amounting to a deposition that made me a prisoner of me, in pain and grief, for some days now. But the state of sickness is but a magnificent dream to lie in bed, with the daylight curtains drawn to shut out the sun, in a total oblivion of all the works going under it, and become insensible of all the operations of life under it, except the beating of our feeble pulse and the agonizing wait for a phone or doorbell to ring that never did. Can this be her? This creature of news, of chat, of anecdote, of everything except physique? Newspapers always excite curiosity, yet no one ever lays one down, without a feeling of disappointment. Sickness enlarge dimensions of one’s self — to herself, to become her own exclusive object; in the regal solitude of the sick bed where caprices are without control over the catalogue of moans and strong armor of sickness; wrapped in the callous hide of suffering, sympathy and correct compassion. It would seem to be your only rise, not to be insulted with soothing fictions. Then, as you backtrack, you recall that morning sickness; knowing, it will be months again before you can see your toes. Strapped down and delivered into in a place where pain winces off the walls, that doctor bearing down like a foreman to this sweating laborer, forcing one life from another. It’s something I’ve signed for at that moment when I would have signed anything! “Give it up!” says a bad wit. “Push!,” orders the nurse.

A cheerful doctor is the best cure for any illness.

She’s crowning the doctor says, but there’s no one royal but this barefoot peasant, greeting a barefoot infant. In that puzzle of sickness, how can anything so beautiful come from so much pain? Never again (till the next time around), but I did FOUR! And what of this small truce called remission, that shaky dance of pretense, knowing that the pulse in our own wrists is ticking away while the body waits, having waged war on itself for years. But the heart will lead, and the head will explain, for the common pathway is the heart, whatever kingdom may come. And what matters finally is how the human spirit is spent: every morning is the day of joy…the morning to rejoice, for it is the beginning. Yet to be sick is to enjoy monarchal prerogatives: from the bed of sickness, to the elbow chair of healing, a scene of one’s regalities. Hushed are those mysterious sighs, those groans that are so much more awful, not knowing from what caverns of vast hidden suffering they preceded. And into this flat swamp of

healing, left by the ebb of sickness, yet far enough from the terrains of established health; notes reach me — requests, summons, deadlines, something hard. The quibble relieves me, for it seemed to link me again to the petty business of life, which I had lost sight of: a gentle call to activity, however trivial, awake once more from the preposterous dream of self absorption and puffy stuff of sickness, in which I have stayed long and had spread over. The conundrum of sickness that swells contemplation of one’s suffering, wasted to a span of giant self-importance of which I was so periled lately. Now, I am once again in my natural pretensions — the same old woman, of lean and meager figure, your insignificant columnist. Writing occasional sentences that shimmer on its own, with freedom in expressing whatever narcissistic nonsense that would come within one’s kin: taking pleasure in the show or rapid movements of my pen — as I write with my hand. *** E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol. com.

Angelica apologizes for ‘disrespectful’ Holocaust Memorial photo by


ANGELICA Panganiban has apologized after posting an “OOTD” (Outfit of the Day) while at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, last Nov. 6. The Holocaust Memorial, which pays homage to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide during World War II, consists of 2,711 rectangular blocks of concrete that resemble tombstones. In Panganiban’s Instagram Story, she can be seen posing in the middle of the concrete blocks, wearing a long black dress and holding up a black umbrella. “Kabibili ko nga lang pala ng bansang ito. Ayun sa OOTD ko (I just bought this country according to my OOTD),” said Panganiban via Instagram Stories on Nov. 6. “Tabi! Dadaan ang madam (Move over! The madam is going to pass through)!” Panganiban’s post drew flak online for its insensitive nature, including FeistyMomma blogger Dexie Wharton who called out the actress on her blog. “You just can’t take a photo at the Holocaust Memorial while joking that you just bought the country and for an OOTD post, no less,” Wharton wrote on Nov. 6. “Learn the history of places you travel to and be respectful. Even without educating yourself about the Holocaust there’s still a thing called common sense. Not everything is for your self-

Angelica Panganiban

Photo from Instagram/@iamangelicap

ies, jokes, or outfits. JUST NO! DELETE DELETE DELETE!!” A day later, Panganiban took to Twitter to apologize for her OOTD post. “While there is no malice and intention to malign and disrespect the memories of the Holocaust, I would like to apologize for offending the sensibilities of others over a picture i posted on my [IG] story,” she said on Nov. 7. “As I travel, I will be more informed about the history and use this as learning experience to be more conscious on things

I post,” she added in another tweet. “Again, my sincerest apologies.” Panganiban is currently traveling in Europe and was in Italy the previous week. She landed in trouble while in Rome when she was reprimanded by a police officer for sitting on the famous Spanish Steps, which lead to the Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church. New rules implemented in Rome just this year ban sitting down on the steps, with violators facing a hefty fine of €400 (P22,600).

Ruffa gives message for Barretto family by DENI ROSE M. AFINIDAD-BERNARDO

BEAUTY queen Ruffa Gutierrez seemed to no longer have an issue with fellow actress Gretchen Barretto. “I’m so happy and talagang wala akong inaaway so smile lang, kasi ang mga wrinkles, ‘di ba?” she said at the black carpet of the recently held “Opulent” ball, co-organized by her brother Raymond. When she was asked if she feels fresh, she said: “Fresh na fresh! Can you tell?” It can be recalled that Ruffa and Gretchen began their spat when Ruffa commented “Freshhhhh” on Julia Barretto’s selfie on Instagram.

“Sawsaw pa more. Ruffy!! take it take it,” Gretchen wrote on an Instagram story. When asked for a message for Gretchen, Ruffa initially said: “Wala akong message.” Instead of a message, she just shared her wish for the sisters: “Actually, ang message ko para sa kanilang tatlo sana magbati-bati na sila kasi ever since naman close talaga sila as a family. So, like everyone else, we’re hoping na magkabati-bati sila magkakapatid.”

Ruffa Gutierrez

Photo from Instagram/@iloveruffag

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Hainan Deng: A passionate vision that never fades by Jenny le

Today, with entertainment and all forms of media being so ingrained in today’s culture, some may forget that behind the amazing work we consume, there are those who spend hours to write the foundations of all of our beloved plays, movies, shows, musicals, and books. Some even question what the value of writing or studying subjects such as literature is when

skills could be gained in more practical areas. However, figures such as Hainan deng and his countless contributions to China’s literature and culture over the years demonstrate how writing can be used to not only entertain, but to educate, impact, and change audiences and others in the field for many years to come. deng began writing at a young age, inspired by the mix of both Chinese and Western literature

he read during his time as a teenage soldier. While enlisted, deng started out by writing poems—the humble beginnings of his passion for writing, which would eventually lead to over hundreds of poems, dramas, and plays by his hand. after his time in the military, deng published some of his poems, a number of which receiving extensive praise and awards. deng then continued to develop his skills by branching out into screenwriting and stage plays. Having lived during China’s turbulent Cultural Revolution, deng frequently uses his work to delve into China’s past—and current—political and social atmosphere in ways that reach the hearts of many. He attracted attention for his extensive poetry collection about the Cultural Revolution, “Man-made Misfortunes,” which resonated with many others of that generation and other famous poets of that era. He brought awareness to those that did not live in the chaos of that era, while building connections to those that experienced that time period. years later, deng also expressed his thoughts on society’s decline in his poem, “If the Beautiful Words Never Leave Us.” despite having been written over 20 years ago, this particular poem remains popular with today’s youths, demonstrating the timelessness of both deng’s writing

and impressions of society. However, deng is not an author who has not faced his share of difficulty as a writer and creator in Chinese society, especially when he was working with the leading drama troupe for the Nanjing Military Region Political department. He has met with officials trying to censor and ban scenes of his work, such as with his 1990 musical production, “Marriage Notice.” With the same production, students from universities would be outraged at the inclusion of military props being brought onto their campuses. However, deng and his fellow troupe members were always able to stay determined in their journey to carry out their vision to the public, forging the trail for future creators to have their voices heard. His vision and insight on China’s history and constantlychanging environment is also evident in works such as his collaborative project “Sea Breeze,” which was a commentary on social reformation and moving away from isolationism. More recently, he has approached and masterfully addressed sensitive matters of China’s past in his writing for the 2017 drama, Nanjing Trial, directed by the nationally-acclaimed Pan Xiping. despite having to revisit topics such as the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese war crimes, deng was able to skillfully recreate that era to promote a message of hope and justice despite adversity. Beyond simply integrating elements of commentary into his screenwriting and poetry, deng has also formally written political theory such as his article “The Proletarian dictatorship and the Presumption of Enemy.” Given his position and the nature of the writing, deng is highly aware of how difficult it is to critique his country’s politics and society. However, just as he has done in the past, deng remains true to his values of having his voice heard and striving for the knowledge and enlightenment of his fellow people. along with his more politically-conscious work, deng’s writing has attracted and resonated deeply with countless audiences for the past few decades. His most acclaimed works include the dramas, youth Nirvana and El Niño Report, both of which earned the Cao yu drama and

Screenwriting awards in 1999 and 2000, respectively. In China, the Cao yu awards are the highest possible awards one can receive in screenwriting, and it was no small feat for deng to receive the award twice and for two years in a row. one thing to note is that deng’s works are also ones that persist in their impact on their audiences. For instance, El Niño Report continues to be recognized for its excellence and captivating script. after 1999, El Niño Report also won awards such as the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s Wenhua Screenwriting award—the most prestigious award for TV dramas—and the China drama Literature award. However, deng’s participation in China’s literature and drama does not stop at just his own personal work—it extends into advancing the field as a whole. deng notably serves as the vice chairman of the Nanjing Writers association and has been a crucial figure in organizing and assisting the development of his fellow writers. He is also a member of the China Writers association and China Theatre association, both well-established organizations whose members and influence span across all of China and have been essential in cultivating talents and knowledge. Members of these

associations are all required to have a certain degree of prestige and skill. For example, to be a part of the China Writers association, applicants have to fit criteria ranging from having a leadership position in other writer associations, to having successfully published a significant amount of words. deng’s writing has also attracted the attention of some overseas audiences. His novel, Jesus is the Way, the Truth & the Life, has been already been picked up and distributed by major american retailers such as amazon and Barnes & Nobles. He is eager to expand the reach of his writing so he can touch the minds and hearts of those beyond just his home country. deng has had no shortage of success and growth in China’s expansive literary field. Eager to express his ideas wherever he can, his writing and work can be found influencing numerous fields and people—the millions of TV screens in China, the stages with some of the most famous acting troupes, to the shelves of political theorists, and so on. deng’s original writing have already created an important and thought-provoking impact in both China and around the world and his future contributions to the field are highly anticipated. n

B November 9-12, 2019 • LA WeeKeND ASIAN JoUrNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

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A two-week Marian pilgrimage led by Filipino priest, Fr. Joel Bugas by


We all got lucky, blessed by God’s immense grace, the Blessed Mother’s faithful intercession, and the 14 saints we visited. Even the weather was temperate for most days, pleasant to the pilgrims and the locals. It was sunny with deep blue skies and the pillowy white clouds, that through a glance at the verdant undulating hills with freshly mowed green farms in the countryside, one could breathe deeply and feel serenity. In some farms, herds of ponies, sheep and Charolais, a French breed of taurine beef cattle, for delicious beef bourguignon, could be seen. No, we are not talking food, just putting you right in the heart of France, after visits to Portugal and Spain. Man-made reservoirs were evident in most farms to catch the rainwater and images of water next to green made for a picturesque countryside France. Weather forecast was cold with rains and when we got the “wet,” we were inside the tour bus, on

the way from Portugal to sunny parts of Spain or with umbrellas traveling the sidewalks on the way to the Basilica of St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1, 2019, her feast day, as rains are indicators of God’s blessings manifested, as my Ethiopian-American friend once told me. It must be of such value to that country, just like California’s decade of drought and finally, periods of strong rains and snow to revive our reservoirs and water tables. Making spaces for God’s miracles When we stopped at Nevers in Central France, the burst of sunset greeted us with light reflecting on a segment of the Loire River. There were many more images that made us say, “Oh my God!” or simply in awe of our timing. After all, we had 14 days of pilgrimage from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4, 2019, which took us from LA to Portugal to Spain to France, then travelled over 1,000 miles by bus, stayed in eight different

hotels of moderate to upscale quality, walked over 130,000 steps and reached places. This was 75 miles on foot, but if we count trips to bathrooms, restaurants, and limited shopping on souvenir shops, perhaps it was nearly 80 miles. We are pilgrims, after all, not tourists, committed to doing a pilgrimage to the Heart of Jesus, the correct descriptor, as we visited the saints. One of them was St. Margaret-Mary, “who experienced a vision of Christ, scourged and bloody.” The local priest of Paray Le Monial delivered a special lecture for us, describing the apparition – that while in prayers, St. MargaretMary’s heart was taken from her body and merged with the Heart of Jesus and then, the merged heart back into her. St. Pope John Paul II’s note to Msgr. Seguy, Bishop of Autun, in 1990 said: “During my pilgrimage to visit the tomb of Margaret-Mary in 1986, I made the request that, in the spirit of what she had conveyed to the Church, we consecrate a veritable cult to the Sacred Heart. For it is through the

Marian Pilgrimage Group led by Fr. Joel in front of Mural of Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Photos courtesy of Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D.

Heart of Jesus that the heart of man learns the true and unique meaning of his own life and his destiny and it is thanks to the Heart of Jesus that man learns to love.” Fellow pilgrims like the Lucero family, particularly Margaret Lucero, shared her own miracle of praying to St. Margaret-Mary. She wrote: “My oldest daughter, Jessica, had to have open-heart surgery at 3 years old. I was so desperate for God’s help and Blessed Mother that I found a prayer for St. Margaret-Mary. I am also devoted to the Sacred Heart who appeared to her and not knowing what she looked like nor her entire story I simply begged for her intercession to please pray with me for a good recovery for my Jessica. Since then, I have prayed to her. I have never in my wildest dreams ever think I would be able to thank her in this church. This is so emotional for me as I begged her to help me pray to God for my baby girl. Her incorrupt body is a blessing to me and I wish I can share this with Jessica, now healthy and about to get married.” I believe we were being led by a holy priest, Rev. Fr. Joel de Oño Bugas, who celebrated a mass most days, except travel days, including inside the airport in France on the way back to Los Angeles. Sacre Coeur Basilica, dedicated to the Heart of Jesus, in Montmartre, France, crowns the hills in the 18th arrondissement, north of downtown. This is where tourists enjoy a panoramic city view. Cold blustery winds greet you. During prior visits, we could not attend a mass and simply had audio tours. This time, we were blessed with a special mass for pilgrims celebrated by Fr. Joel inside the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I took a photo of one row of rainbow lights by the altar. After

The Marian Pilgrimage group in front of Chapel of Visitation in Paray Le Monial

I examined this photo, it now has three rows of light, perhaps a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which Fr. Bugas implored to animate our pilgrimage at the start of over a thousand miles bus ride. Esterlita, a fellow pilgrim, showed me her photo of one row of light and confirmed what I saw. At the medieval town of O’Cebreiro, a Celtic town traceable to 1500 years, where it sits 4,242 feet above sea level, a 4.3-mile climb uphill, defined by mountain ranges of Os Ancares, and O’Courel, sits the statue of Santa Maria La Real of O’Cebreiro carrying Infant Jesus inside its parish church. The miracle story goes that a reluctant monk secretly despised a peasant from Barxamaior who braved the frightening snow to hear Mass and to receive the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, in the sixteenth century. At the moment of consecration, “the sacramental Wine to Blood seethed and stained the corporals, the white linen cloths upon which the elements of bread and wine are consecrated). The corporals remained in the Chalice, and the Host on the Paten,” according to the Franciscan Fraternity brochure I obtained in Lugo, dated Sept. 26, 2019. Inside the church is this statue of Santa Maria La Real of O’ Cebreiro, the Virgin of Healing,

Fr. Joel Bugas celebrating mass. When I took the photo I saw only one row of rainbow colors, but later it had three rows.

with The Infant at her breast, and where the legend goes: “the Virgin bent her head in adoration of The Miracle, but some add that the Infant in her arms opened his eyes for the same reason,” as stated in the book published by Fama Vigo. In this medieval Church, I took a photo of Christ on the crucifix, a 12th-century carving, during our visit. When I looked at the photo later, it had three crucifixes, one original and two shadows of the crucifix. I again was in awe of what I saw that I compared it with Esterlita’s whose photo had one crucifix. We were blessed to have a Mass inside this historic



Tax & Stock Tips Victor Sy,

cPA, MBA (retired)

AN ETF is a basket of securities that you can buy or sell through a brokerage firm on a stock exchange. It’s called Exchange-Traded because it’s traded on an exchange just like stocks. It’s a fund because money is pooled from many investors. This is unlike mutual funds, which are not traded on an exchange, and trade only once per day after the markets close. 1. Consider the track record Stay away from these ETFs that: • Don’t have $100 million of assets. • Are thinly traded (less than $500,000 per day). • Do not trade close to the true value of their stock holdings. Find out if an index ETF’s performance been similar to the performance of the index it’s aiming to track. Measure an index ETF’s tracking error relative to its underlying index, look at the ETF’s most recent annual

Tapat Sa Batas Atty. rheA SAMSon ANG Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) ay naging epektibo noong Agosto 2002. Ang CSPA ay isinabatas upang mapanatili ang “child status” ng ilang mga beneficiary na maaaring mag-“age out”. Ang isang beneficiary ay masasabing nag- “age out” kung sila ay naging 21 taon gulang na bago siya mabigyan ng immigrant visa at ito ay dahil sa administrative delays sa visa processing. Sa ilalim ng Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), ang beneficiary ay masasabing isang “child” kung siya ay (1) wala pang 21 taon gulang; at (2) walang asawa. Kung ang beneficiary ay magpapakasal, siya ay mawawalan ng kanyang child status sa ilalim ng INA, kahit siya ay wala pang 21 taon gulang. Sa ilalim ng CSPA, may formula sa pag-compute ng edad ng childbeneficiary-applicant. Ibabawas ang mga araw/buwan kung gaaano katagal maaprubahan ng USCIS • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

What to consider in buying Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

or semi-annual report. If there are significant periods where the ETF outperforms or underperforms the index, this could be a sign that the ETF manager is struggling to match the index portfolio. 2. Consider the structure ETFs have different legal structures: • Commodity ETFs that hold a physical commodity such as precious metals are usually structured as Grantor Trusts. Gains are taxed as collectibles at a rate of up to 28% currently, but the funds do not issue K-1 statements. • Commodity ETFs that hold futures contracts (most commodity ETFs other than precious metals) are usually structured as Limited Partnerships. These funds report shareholders’ share of partnership income on Schedule K-1 instead of Form 1099 and are vulnerable to contango (when the future price of the commodity is higher than the current price). K-1s are more complex to handle on a tax return than 1099s, but professional tax preparers or well-informed individuals who

do their own taxes should be able to handle K-1s correctly. • ETFs that track indexes of the near-term futures contract are likely to perform worse than ETFs that track indexes that include longer-dated futures contracts. 3. Consider the firm As with any investment, due diligence is important. Pick ETFs with strong companies behind them, just as you would with a mutual fund. Look for stable management with a clean record with regulators. *** Victor Santos Sy graduated Cum Laude from UE with a BBA and from Indiana State University with an MBA. Vic worked with SyCip, Gorres, Velayo (SGV - Andersen Consulting) and Ernst & Young before establishing Sy Accountancy Corporation. *** He retired after 50 years of defending taxpayers audited by the IRS, EDD, BOE and other governmental agencies. He published a book on “How to Avoid or Survive IRS Audits.” Readers may email tax questions to

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) ang immigrant petition sa edad ng applicant noong petsa na naging available ang kanyang visa. Halimbawa, ang I-130 Petition for Alien Relative ay nai-file noong Enero 1, 2010 at naaprubahan noong Abril 1, 2010 para sa child-beneficiary na ipinanganak noong Mayo 1, 1990. Kung ang immigrant visa ay naging available noon Hunyo 1, 2019, ang child-beneficiary ay masasabing nag-“age out” na. Ito ay dahil ang kanyang CSPA age ay 28 taon at 10 buwan. Ito ang computation: Ang edad ng applicant sa petsa ng visa availability noong Hunyo 1, 2019 ay 29 taon at 1 buwan. Ibawas dito ang 3 buwan na ang I-130 Immigrant Petition ay pending sa USCIS (Enero 1, 2010 hanggang Abril 1, 2010). Ang lalabas na CSPA age ay 28 taon at 10 buwan. Kahit ang applicant ay hindi nagpakasal o hindi nagka-asawa, siya ay nag-“age out” na. Kung ang I-130 Petition for Alien Relative ay nai-file noong Enero 1, 2010 at naaprubahan noong Abril 1, 2010 para sa child-beneficiary

na ipinanganak noong Mayo 1, 1998 at immigrant visa ay naging available noon Hunyo 1, 2019, ang child-beneficiary ay mananatiling “child” sa ilalim ng CSPA. Ito ay dahil ang kanyang CSPA age ay 20 taon at 10 buwan. Ito ang computation: Ang edad ng applicant sa petsa ng visa availability noong Hunyo 1, 2019 ay 21 taon at 1 buwan. Ibabawas dito ang 3 buwan na ang I-130 Immigrant Petition ay pending sa USCIS (Enero 1, 2010 hanggang Abril 1, 2010). Ang lalabas na CSPA age ay 20 taon at 10 buwan. Kahit ang applicant ay mahigit 21 taon gulang noong naging available ang kanyang visa, siya ay nananatiling “child” sa ilalim ng Child Status Protection Act. Kailangang ang applicant ay hindi magpakasal upang mapanatili ang kanyang “child status”. *** The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) became effective in August 2002. CSPA was enacted to preserve “child status” for certain beneficiaries who would otherwise


The Prophetic Voice reVerend rodel G. BAlAGtAS OUR junior high kids in the Religious Education program were in high spirits when I visited them in their class last Sunday. Three students took turns responding to their teacher’s question about our purpose in life. One student answered, “Our purpose in life is to be happy!” Another said, “God created us to love and serve him.” A third student responded, “Our purpose is to live!” I pondered for a while on this last student’s answer. Was it too worldly, devoid of any religious tone? I asked myself. Then I realized that it was not so as I thought of St. Irenaeus’ famous phrase, “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” Indeed, our purpose is to live life to the fullest as God intended us to do. And so we must lead

God not of the dead, but of the living one’s life doing our best to enjoy it, to find one’s vocation, to find meaning and fulfillment in it. For as we always remind ourselves, we only live once. With this thought, I reminded the students that it’s good to enjoy life and to be happy. Still, happiness is not just based on having pleasures and material things and thinking of oneself. It’s also based on helping others and making a difference in people’s lives and the world. It’s also found in building beautiful and meaningful relationships, such as marriage, family, and friendships. “But what do we do when a marriage fails, and family shatters? When promises are broken, and one’s dream or ambition is not fulfilled? When a loved one gets cancer and dies?” some students may ask. “What do we do when we can’t help someone in need because this person’s problem is too complex or has more to do with society’s

big problems?” others may ask. Well, that’s when the genius of our Christian faith and tradition comes. That’s when the words of Jesus would guide and enlighten us: “If you want to be my disciple, you must take up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 15:24) That’s when we look beyond life in this world—the eternal life promised to us all where there is no more pain and suffering, no more tears and death. That’s when we can rise above our fears and tragedies because of the Spirit and Life that Jesus gives to those who remain steadfast and faithful to him. Sometimes there are no easy answers to life’s pains and mysteries. But one thing remains: God is “not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive!” (Luke 20:38) *** Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

Waiver of joint petition to remove conditional permanent residency on less than 2-year-old marriage

THE Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 (IMFA) requires an alien obtaining a green card through a marriage less than two years old to come back at the end of that two years with the petitioning spouse and show that they are still married or, if the marriage was terminated, to show that the marriage was entered in good faith before the USCIS will issue them a permanent (unconditional) green card. Any alien who obtains a green card through a spousal petition by virtue of a marriage entered less than twenty four months before the status is obtained will only receive a conditional green card under INA §216(d). To remove this condition, both spouses must file a form I751 with the USCIS within 90 day period preceding the expiration of the conditional green card along with other supporting documents showing the marriage was entered in good faith. However, sometimes alien spouses are not able to file this Joint Petition to remove the condition on their green card because the couple got divorced or are in the process of filing a divorce and is having difficulties getting the cooperation of the US citizen spouse. When the alien spouse falls into this situation, it is still possible for

Barrister’s Corner Atty. Kenneth UrSUA reyeS them to obtain their permanent green card by filing a waiver. The waiver must be based on one of the following reasons 1) Extreme hardship would result if such alien is removed 2) The qualifying marriage was entered in good faith by the alien spouse, but … has been terminated (divorce or annulled), and the alien was not at fault in failing to timely file the joint petition and attend the interview; or 3) The qualifying marriage was entered into in good faith by the alien spouse and during the marriage the alien spouse or child was battered by or was the subject of extreme cruelty perpetrated by the US citizen parent or permanent resident spouse or parent and the alien was not at fault in failing to file the joint petition and attend the interview. INA §216(c)(4); 8 CFR 216.5 If you have a conditional green card and your are having difficulty obtaining cooperation from your US citizen spouse in signing a joint

petition to remove this conditional green card, you should consult an attorney to assist you in planning for and obtaining a waiver. *** 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 kenneth@ or visit our website at (Advertising Supplement)

(818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797 •

Filing claims does not bar employees from working for same employer Q: I AM thinking of filing an overtime claim against my employer because I and my coworkers are doing a lot of offthe-clock work. However, I am concerned about losing my job and not being able to work in this company any more. Should I still file a claim? What should I do? A: You should still file a claim. There are several laws that protect employees when they assert their legal rights. First, your employer is prohibited by law from retaliating against you if you engaged in a protected activity. Engaging in “protected activity” means that the employee has complained or opposed a practice which is forbidden by law (e.g. not paying overtime or disability discrimination). The complaint may be internal and made to managers or officers in the company. It can also be external and made to government agencies. “Protected activity” may also include complaints or opposition to conduct the employee “reasonably” and in “good faith” believes to be unlawful, even if the conduct is not actually prohibited under the law. When engaging in a protected activity, such as requesting wage payments due or complaining about safety issues, employees should document their complaints or claims. Some may think that anonymity protects them. However, the opposite is true. Presenting

Protecting Employee & Consumer Rights ATTY. C. JOE SAYAS, JR. complaints in writing, even by email, if expressed in a professional manner, will make it harder for the employer to ignore. More importantly, it creates a record of communications that at a future time will be reviewed to determine the true reasons why any action was taken against the employee. Now, suppose you filed a claim and the employer decides to settle your claims by agreeing to pay a sum of money. You will likely then be asked to sign a settlement agreement. In the past, these settlement agreements contain a provision where the employee is asked to resign or to agree not to work with the employer again. Current law in California does not allow any contract that would restrain a person from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business. This law was recently expanded by lawmakers to further protect employees who settle employment disputes. Assembly Bill 749 prohibits an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or restricts an aggrieved

employee from working for the employer where the aggrieved employee has filed a claim against the latter. The new law also clarifies that an employer and an aggrieved employee are free to agree to end a current employment relationship or to prohibit the aggrieved employee from obtaining future employment with the employer, if the employer has made a good faith determination that the employee had engaged in sexual harassment or sexual assault. The employer is not required to continue to employ or rehire a person if there is a legitimate nondiscriminatory or non-retaliatory reason for terminating or refusing to rehire the person. Any agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2020, that violates this prohibition is void as a matter of law and against public policy. *** The Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas, Jr. welcomes inquiries about this topic. All inquiries are confidential and at no-cost. You can contact the office at (818) 2910088 or visit http://www.joesayaslaw. com. , Esq. is an experienced trial attorney who has successfully recovered wages and other monetary damages for thousands of employees and consumers. He was named Top Labor & Employment Attorney in California by the Daily Journal, consistently selected as Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine, and is a Presidential Awardee for Outstanding Filipino Overseas in 2018.] (Advertising Supplement)

Client compares Chapter 13 to various alternatives for $60K credit cards

THE client is 50 and married. He owes $60,000 of credit cards. He pays $2,000 a month as minimum credit card payments to keep the $60,000 current. His wife is not jointly liable on these cards. She owes about only $2,000 of credit cards by herself. They own a house that is currently worth $500,000 with a mortgage of $300,000. So their equity in the house is at least $200,000. Since the client is not yet 65, his exemption for the house is $100,000. This means that there is $100,000 of nonexempt equity. Under the liquidation analysis when compared to Chapter 7, the client will have to pay the entire $60,000 of credit cards in Chapter 13 over five years in 60 equal payments, no interest. All payments made pursuant to the Chapter 13 plan pay down the principal balance because there is no interest applicable. The Chapter 13 plan payment is about $1,000 a month for 60 months that pays of the entire $60,000 of credit cards in five years. If the client makes all the 60 payments pursuant to the confirmed plan, the court will enter a discharge order at the end of the 60th payment. The discharge order will state that the client owes zero or nothing on the credit cards at the end of the 5th year. Can creditors still sue the client for unpaid interest, absolutely not! Legally, the client owes nothing anymore on these cards. Further, while the client is on the plan, creditors cannot sue, call or otherwise contact the client to collect on the cards. The client has peace of mind. He doesn’t have to worry about being sued. They cannot garnish his wages or levy his bank accounts. The bankruptcy court protects the client’s residence from any creditor liens attaching to it. So in Chapter 13, the bankruptcy automatic stay protects the client including all his assets and house. This is the court order from the bankruptcy court ordering creditors to cease and desist from any and all collection efforts against the client and his assets. Pretty cool. The client pays his plan payments to the Chapter 13 trustee,

Debt Relief

ATTY. LAWRENCE YANG an officer of the court whose responsibility it is to make sure that all plan payments are distributed to the creditors who have filed their proofs of claim. The trustee guarantees that all payments are distributed to the right creditors. In other words, the trustee cannot run away with your money. This is another reason why the client will have peace of mind in Chapter 13. He pays the trustee who is under the supervision of the bankruptcy court. What other alternatives were available to the client before he decided to seek Chapter 13 relief for his $60,000 of credit cards? One option he had was getting a $60,000 loan with very high interest to pay off all of his credit cards. There were many offers from lenders for these alternatives. Payday lenders have branched out into this type of high-interest medium-term loans to avoid regulation. The offers are $60,000 at 50% to 100% interest. Does it make sense to get this kind of high- interest loan? No, it doesn’t. The client might end up losing his house if he got this loan. He will live a life of pain. He would have to repay a principal loan of $60,000 with $90,000 to $120,000 in three to five years. Compare it with zero or no interest in Chapter 13. Another option that he had was consolidation. He actually was on consolidation paying $1,800 a month for 60 months for six months to a “consolidator.” A “consolidator” is not an officer of the court. He is a businessman and consolidation is his business. What if he decides to close his business? Well, that’s the risk you take. One problem that arose was that two creditors did not agree to toe the line and proceeded to sue him for $30,000. Compare this to Chapter 13 where the court protects the client from all lawsuits and collec-

tion efforts. All collection efforts including lawsuits stop the minute client’s Chapter 13 is filed. He also had the so-called “settlement” option. He can negotiate directly with the creditors, or use a third party to “settle” the debt at less than what is owed. The client actually did get several offers from various creditors to knock off a portion of the debt owed with a lump sum payment. For example, creditor A will agree to accept 70% of what is owed of $10,000 as a settlement. So for $7,000 payment, the creditor will consider the matter closed. Good luck raising the $7,000. Maybe you can do Uber at night and not sleep at all. After three months you might have $7,000. The problem is they want the $7,000 upfront, not in three months. And, the other creditors do not agree to settle, they prefer to sue you right now to get their money. It’s really not surprising that the client chose Chapter 13 relief for protection of his house from levies, from lawsuits, from wage garnishment, from bank levies and just putting a stop to all those harassing phone calls for collection. Peace of mind, no interest & total legal protection from the bankruptcy court. Trustee guarantees that your payments are distributed to the right parties. Of course, if the client were 65, he would only need to pay $400 a month for 60 months. At the end of the plan, $35,000 is discharged or wiped out. He doesn’t have to pay the entire $60,000, but he just needs to pay only $25,000 of the $60,000 cards because, under the liquidation analysis, only $25,000 is not exempt. If you need debt relief, set an appointment to see me. I will analyze your case personally. *** Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in Bankruptcy, Business, Real Estate and Civil Litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 20274 Carrey Road, Walnut, CA 91789 or 1000 S. Fremont Ave., Mailstop 58, Building A-10 South-Lower Level Suite 10042, Alhambra, CA 91803. (Advertising Supplement)

The Child Status Protection Act...


“age out” or turn 21 years old before they could be issued an immigrant visa, due to administrative delays in visa processing. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a “child” is a person who is (1) under 21 years old; and (2) unmarried. If the child marries, he loses his child status under the INA, even if he is below 21 years old. Under CSPA, the child-beneficiary-applicant’s age is computed. This is by subtracting the number of days that the immigrant petition was pending with USCIS from the actual age of the applicant on the date that the visa became available. Thus, if the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative was filed on January 1, 2010 and approved on April 1, 2010 for a child-beneficiary who was born on May 1, 1990, and the visa became available only on June 1, 2019, the child will have agedout. The applicant’s CSPA age is 28 years and 10 months.

Computation is as follows: Applicant’s age at the time of visa availability on June 1, 2019 is 29 years and 1 month. Subtract the 3 months that immigrant petition was pending with USCIS (January 1, 2010 to April 1, 2010) equals 28 years and 10 months. Even if the beneficiary-applicant remains unmarried, he has aged out. If the I-130 Petition was filed on January 1, 2010 and approved on April 1, 2010 for a child-beneficiary who was born on May 1, 1998, and the visa became available only on June 1, 2019, the child will benefit under CSPA. The applicant’s CSPA age is 20 years and 10 months. Computation is as follows: Applicant’s age at the time of visa availability on June 1, 2019 is 21 years and 1 month. Subtract the 3 months that immigrant petition was pending with USCIS (January 1, 2010 to April 1, 2010) equals 20 years and 10 months. Thus, even if the child is over 21 years old at the time the visa became available,

he is still a “child” under the Child Status Protection Act. The applicant must remain unmarried to maintain “child” status. *** ATTY. RHEA SAMSON is a Partner at LINDAIN & SAMSON LAW FIRM. Atty. Lindain and Atty. Samson are both licensed to practice law in California and in the Philippines. Both Attorneys were also professors. LINDAIN & SAMSON LAW FIRM aims to provide excellent and efficient legal representation to clients, and support clients in achieving their goals and dreams. As professors, Atty. Lindain and Atty. Samson wish to educate the younger generation, as it is through education and continuous study that one can achieve success and serve others. Please visit our office: LINDAIN & SAMSON LAW FIRM 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1710, Los Angeles, CA 90010 Call or text us: (213) 381.5710 Email us: attorneys@lindainsamsonlaw. com. (Advert ising Supplement)



Rescinding a removal or deportation order to allow you to apply for a green card WE have all heard the popular saying, “Timing is everything.” Unfortunately, this saying often adversely applies to those persons who have found an avenue from which to obtain a green card, only to be prevented from doing so because he/she has a prior removal or deportation order. A typical scenario involves a person who entered the US years ago on a B-2 tourist visa, overstayed, and was ordered removed by the Immigration Court. Fast forward to today, that person who was ordered removed finds true love and marries a US Citizen. Seemingly close to finally obtaining permanent resident status, he/ she is precluded from doing so because of the prior removal or deportation order. What options does one have in such a case? A motion to reopen the removal/deportation proceedings and rescind the removal/deportation order can be filed in Immigration Court. If the motion to reopen the proceedings and rescind the removal/deportation order is successful, the alien can pursue whatever relief from removal/deportation that is available to him/her. For the case mentioned in the first paragraph, the relief would be adjustment of status to permanent resident via marriage to a US citizen spouse. The relief would be presented in Immigration Court, with the Immigration Judge to decide the merits of the adjustment of status application. Alternatively, if an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can be obtained to terminate the proceedings, a decision on the

Legal Advice ATTY. DARRICK TAN adjustment of status application can be made outside Immigration Court, by the USCIS. Generally, a motion to reopen removal/deportation proceedings must be filed within 90 days of the date of entry of the removal/deportation order. However, a motion to reopen may be filed past 90 days exist in some circumstances, and are discussed below. Under 8 CFR § 1003.23(b)(4), a motion to reopen can be filed at any time if notice of the proceedings was not received by the person subject to the removal/deportation order, and a removal/deportation order was entered in his absence. Written notice of the time and place of removal proceedings must be given in person to the alien, or shall be given by certified mail to the alien or to the alien’s counsel of record. INA §242B(a)(2)(A). Further, written notice of the proceedings, if provided by certified mail, must be provided at the most recent address reported by the alien. Matter of Grijalva, Interim Decision 3246 (BIA 1995). The requirements for notice of removal/deportation proceedings are strict, and careful analysis of a person’s immigration court file often results in finding evidence that DHS did not comply with required procedure, which can be the basis for reopening the

removal/deportation proceeding. Further, the Immigration Judge has discretionary authority to reopen or reconsider cases on his or her own motion (“sua sponte”) at any time providing a valid basis can be shown. 8 CFR § 1003.23(b)(1). Careful analysis of not only the immigration court file, but also the specific facts and circumstances of a person’s case is necessary to convince the Immigration Judge to reopen the proceedings. Some bases upon which cases I have been able to reopen cases include improper section cited by the DHS attorney in the charging document, insufficient evidence presented by the DHS attorney in proving up the case against the alien, and hardship and humanitarian concerns. If you have a prior removal/deportation order which is preventing you from adjusting status and getting your green card, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether a motion to reopen can be filed. *** Darrick V. Tan, Esq. is admitted to practice law in California and Nevada. Mr. Tan is a graduate of UCLA and Southwestern University School of Law. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Consumers Attorney Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA). LAW OFFICES OF DARRICK V. TAN, 3580 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 900, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Tel: 323-639-0277. Email: info@dtanlaw. com (Advertising Supplement)

People and Events

Arts and Glamour Night on November 16 features art exhibit and emerald awards Celebratory dinner-dance follows visual arts, community hero and trailblazer honors

AN artistic feast will treat attendees on November 16 dinnerdance at the Long Beach Marriott. Visual Art welcomes guests after checking-in at 5:30 p.m. where several works of art will be on display. The sumptuous dinner shall be followed by the Emerald Awards, capped with music to

dance the night away in celebration. Borne from a casual conversation among peers, Rosemarie De Vera, president of Emerald Lantern Group, took on the project. She designed the event to highlight world-class artists, which she felt needed to be recognized

more by the community. Recipients of the Emerald Award for Excellence in Visual Arts are international architect, painter, and book author Wilson Deomampo, global architect Archie Gadon, and creator of the famed mural in Historic Filipi-



Calendar of Events across

America • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Arts and Glamour Night on November 16...


Access to business capital conference in Woodland Hills, CA Presented by the Valley Economic Alliance and Wells Fargo, join on Saturday, November 9 for an Access to Business Capital event at the Hilton Woodland Hills from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration includes: same day loan consultation, business workshops and exhibitors, free networking, coffee and lunch. Panel topics include: Financing Options for Start-Up Businesses (0-2 years); Alternative Financing: Different options for obtaining capital to grow your business; Financing Strategies for Your Existing Business (2+ years); Your Resource Partners and Why They Are Key to Your Success. The event will be held at the Hilton Woodland Hills (6360 Canoga Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91367). For any questions, contact or

Micah Javier - exhibitor

Alberto Dulay - exhibitor

Rodolfo Mora - exhibitor

Roland Escalona - exhibitor

Napoleon Merana - exhibitor

Butch Lara- exhibitor

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Arts and Glamour Night in Long Beach, CA Emerald Lantern Group and Pangasinan Brotherhood USA on Saturday, November 16 proudly present dinner-dance at the Long Beach Marriott from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. This unique concept is the vision of Rosemarie De Vera and the Emerald Lantern Group who want to showcase the world-class caliber of Filipino American Visual Artists.Receiving Emerald Awards for Excellence in the Arts are international architect Wilson Deomampo and author of “Visual Diary” A celebration of Creative Spark in 30 years of Architecture. Another recipient is Archie Gadon, Senior Designer and Architect of Freidmutter Group Newport Beach, Project Designer of Ceasars Forum Convention Center, Solaire Resort and other international properties. Also receiving an award is Filipino-American muralist Eliseo Art Silva, the creator of the landmark mural in Historic Filipinotown’s Unidad Park. Emerald is proud to honor Trailblazer Emmanual E-Man Coquia, celebrity who was names Director of Programming of several radio stations after an exhaustive nationwide search. Mereulo Media’s CEO Otto Pardon selected Coquia for his sensible plan and vision that lined perfectly with the company’s goals. Coquia head programming for 3 stationsL Power 106FM, Classic HipHop 93.5, and Cali 93.9 Latin Music Station. Also to be bestowed recognition are Faith Bautista as a Community Hero awardee for her tireless work in retrieving $331 million dollars back into the housing fund amongst other non-profit efforts. Special Recognition will be given to Henry Sadang, for his charitable work for “Gabay”, parents group of children with autism and cerebral palsy. Gabay is also the beneficiary who will receive part of the proceeds from this event. The art exhibit shall feature the works of Alberto Dulay, Butch Lara, Napoleon Merana, Roland Escalona, Micah V. Javier, Gani, Dino, Rodolfo Mora, event art curator Ron Tuanquin, and more. The Art Exhibit will be open for the duration of the event, open doors at 5:30pm. Guests shall enjoy dinner before the awarding ceremonies, followed by social dancing with DJ Luigi Dizon. Part of the proceeds shall benefit “Gabay” Parents Group of Children with Cerebral Palsy and Autism in the Philippines. Tickets are regularly $100, but readers of this article can use the discount code “AJ” for a 25% discount online at www., or call Vanie (818) 284-7966 or Wawan (818) 648-4709. For more information, email or visit www.emeraldlanterngroup. com. Event starts at 6:30pm on November 16 at the Long Beach Marriott Hotel at 4700 Airport Plaza Dr, Long Beach, CA 90815.

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FACCGLA General Membership Meeting in Northridge, CA FACCGLA General Membership Meeting and Networking Mixer “Winning Together” on Wednesday, November 20 features motivational speaker William Hung. He burst onto the scene via American Idol, and now he is a sought after speaker and author, featured on TEDTalks. Members must attend (free admission) to vote for a new Board of Directors. Guests and future members can get early bird tickets for only $20, and after Nov 15 at $25, available online at (EVENTS tab). Venue is Ninong’s Pastries and Cafe at 19524-3 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91324 at 6:30 p.m.

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World Education Summit on Sustainability and Transformation in Las Vegas The World Education Summit on Sustainability and Transformation is a call to action and transformation to finding solutions to the challenges of our times. Join on November 22-24 for three days of activities, learning, networking and events, such as panel discussions and presentations, industry leader keynote speeches, and a dinner and gala featuring an eco-fashion show. The summit aims to gather stakeholders from educational institutions; business and civic organizations; government agencies and international development organizations to galvanize collaborative and strategic partnership to achieve a common goal in environmental sustainability. We are expecting delegates from different countries. The Summit will serve as a collaborative platform to achieve a unified mission. The venue is The Convention Center at The Orleans Hotel (4500 W Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89103). For more information and to register, please visit

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#HashtagLunchbag/SIPA food drive in LA The Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) and #Hashtag Lunchbag are joining forces to create positive changes in Historic Filipinotown on Sunday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. SIPA will be hosting a Food Drive with #HashtagLunchbag to create letters of encouragement, decorate lunch bags, and assemble sandwiches for those in need in Historic Filipinotown. When finished, they will be giving out lunch bags to homeless youth, women, and families. Registration contact and link: Maria Carmel Valendez at or (213) 382-1819 ext. 107.

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UPAAGLA presents Fil-Am authors on artificial intelligence and sustainability in LA Two Filipino-American authors, Dr. Cris Liban and Elzar “Dodjie” Simon, on Monday, November 25 will discuss two current and relevant topics: artificial intelligence and sustainability. Liban is the executive director for environment and sustainability for the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Simon is director of global infrastructure for New York University. The discussion, moderated by LA Deputy Mayor for Budget & Innovation Miguel Sangalang, will take a deeper dive on: What should you know? Why do they matter to you? How do understanding and embracing these fields help countries like the Philippines be an emerging market? The event, organized by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA), will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Los Angeles Public Library -Echo Park Branch (1410 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026). “A.I. Hacked” books will be available for purchase and signing. A portion of books sold will be donated to the UPAAGLA Endowment Fund.

D EC E M B E R 1

Kalayaan Incorporated’s Christmas Party and induction of officers in Monterey Park, CA Kalayaan Incorporated’s Induction of Officers 2019-2020 will be held during its Christmas Party on Sunday, Decemeber 1, from 12 to 4 p.m., at the Monterey Hill Event Center. The hilltop venue offers a spectacular view of the San Gabriel Valley, and is located at 3700 Ramona Blvd., Monterey Park, Calif. 91754. Kalayaan Incorporated, a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of California, classified as a public charity organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, holds the annual celebration in Southern California of the anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence. Chairing the Induction and Christmas Party is Violet Mislang with Lady Hope Robillos, Co-chair, and Nonie Belarmino, Program Coordinator. Cost of lunch is $40.00. For more information, please contact Violet at (562) 644-4073,; Lady Hope at (310) 500-0917,; or Nonie (310) 357-0222,

Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown anniversary & Christmas Party On Sunday, December 1, the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown will celebrate its 13th anniversary and Christmas Party during a major FUNdraising event. Expect a night filled with food, drinks, entertainment and activities such as raffle prizes and silent auction prizes. The Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown was chartered in 2007 originally of Filipino descendants, who are leaders of the community, professionals and entrepreneurs. Today it has members from different cultural backgrounds. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. at Capital Seafood Restaurant (50 N. La Cienega Blvd. Ste 130 Beverly Hills, CA 90211). Attire is business casual. Donation is $65.

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

Orlan Gumatay - exhibitor


notown Eliseo Art Silva. Other honorees are Trailblazer Emmanuel E-Man Coquia, celebrity DJ for Treysongz and Mariah Carey and Director of Programming of several radio stations, and Community Hero Faith Bautista her tireless work in retrieving $331 million dollars back into the housing fund. Special Recognition will be given to Henry Sadang, for his charitable work for “Gabay” parents group of children with autism and cerebral palsy. Gabay is also the beneficiary who will receive part of the proceeds from this event. Among the VIP guests will be Consul General Adelio Cruz, Pangasinan Brotherhood USA President Ferdinand Soriano and Past President Eddie Ferrer. The emcee is Robbyn Kirmsse, DJ by Luigi Dizon, and the program is directed by Annie Nepomuceno. Associate Producer is Giovanni Javier and Art Director is Ron Tuanquin. Sponsors of this event are Mechanics Bank, Asian Journal’s Travel Trade and Consumer Expo, WFL Wealth Financial Life, Henssa International Inc. Entertainment, Filipino American Franchising Trade Mission, and Varsobia Enterprise. Attendees shall have first dibs in purchasing from the artist awardees, plus these exhibiting artists: Ron Tuanquin, Design Manager at Retail Design Collaborative in Long Beach, did commissioned work for clients in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Brunei. His watercolor paintings are currently being shown at the Midnight Gallery in the Arts District in Long Beach. Alberto Dulay has more than a decade of diverse Design and Construction Document Management experience in Asia and the US. He started in the US as a designer for an award-winning Los Angeles architect designing luxury homes for celebrities. Currently, with NEXT Architec-

Ganie Dino - exhibitor

ture, he has exhibited watercolor paintings of urban scenes and portraits in various Galleries within the Long Beach Arts District. Napoleon Merana studied Architecture at Southern California Insititute of Architecture, and in Morcote, Switzerland, Austria, and interned in Berlin, after which he returned to LA to work for famed architect Frank Gehry. He also collaborated with Jon Jerde, his mentor and hero. He feels lucky to have been exposed to the diversity of cultures and points of view of LA, which reflect his approach to design. Roland Escalona works on residential designs and creates art pieces on the side. He has won first prizes at the Architectural Record magazine’s 2014 Cocktail Napkin Sketch competition, and Best of Show at the Orange County Fair. He enjoys creating pieces in which elements are repeated over and over at a very small scale, almost unrecognizable from a distance. As a result, viewers’ curiosity draws them closer to his art pieces to further investigate. Orlan Gumatay’s work credits include animated primetime “The Oblongs”, “Futurama”, “The Cleveland Show”, and “The Simpsons” for which he has received certificates of recognition for his contribution to the Emmy Award-winning show for several years. He currently works on Fox TV/Disney’s “Family Guy” as Assistant Director. He also worked on “The Simpsons Movie”, Yogi Bear “Boo-boo Runs Wild” and The Looney Tunes Shorts. Rodolfo Mora is the creative lead behind many of Next Architecture’s award-winning portfolios. His international work includes Twin Parks, The Gardens in Taiwan and Vanguard in Huzhou, China to name a few. Rodolfo is an exceptional sketch artist with a natural capacity for big-picture planning. Butch Lara is Design Director

@ John Cataldo Architecture and has worked on the Waterfront Hotel and Lahug Convention Center in Cebu Mactan, Robert Cohen Residence in Newport Beach, and Huating Cultural District, Xinyi China. He is a musician on weekends and plays in two professional bands. Ganie Dino worked at Perkowitz & Ruth Architects (P+R) where his projects were Walmart, Sam’s Club and several pad buildings. After working at Boe Architects and Hafco & Associates doing high-end custom homes in Bel Air and Beverly Hills, he now works independently. For 5 years now, he’s been doing apartment buildings, single-family homes and commercial tenant improvements. Micah Javier is the youngest exhibitor at 21 years old, an aspiring artist currently studying Animation at the Animation Guild in Burbank and Concept Design Academy at Pasadena. She accumulated awards at Van Nuys High School and Magnet which inspired her to be in the field of arts, also sparked by being an animated film fan. She has exhibited at Los Angeles Valley Community College’s Art Galleries. She wants to further craft works to show a sense of storytelling with characters and the world around them. She dreams of someday being involved in artistic venues with notable animation studios. Tickets are regularly $100, but readers of this article can use the discount code “AJ” for a 25% discount online at www., or call Vanie (818) 284-7966. For more information email emerald@ or visit Event starts at 5:30 p.m. on November 16 at the Long Beach Marriott Hotel at 4700 Airport Plaza Dr, Long Beach, CA 90815. ■ (Advertising Supplement)

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A two-week Marian pilgrimage ... PAGE C1W

We had a special mass inside St. Therese de Lisieux Basilica by Fr. Joel Bugas Photos courtesy of Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D.

church, founded by Benedictine monks. To the left of the altar lies the tomb of Dr. D. Elias Valiña Sampedro, the parish priest of this church who restored the church and made it his life’s mission to pave a way to O’Cebreiro for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, about 93 miles from here. He wrote publications describing “The Santiago Way,” his best work that has been used as a guide by many pilgrims for many years. He restored the church and created markers to promote this town. He is credited by locals with creating livelihoods for them, enabling them to stay in this region, while visited by pilgrims and 50,000 more during the feast of Santa Maria de la Real on Sept. 8 each year. When we got to Santiago de Compostela Church, it was under renovation and will not be opened until July 2021. Yet, we were fortunate to get inside, follow a trail and give a hug to St. James, a gilded life-sized statue. When I embraced the statue, my tears rolled down and I could smell a special flower scent. The story goes that the remains of St. James, covered in clamshells, floated from where he died to where his body was found in Compostela. Christina Vives, our competent and conscientious tour guide, spoke to pilgrims and inquired about their journeys. We walked a few more yards to attend a mass celebrated by Fr. Joel, concelebrated with local priests from St. Francis de Assisi church. An hour before we walked in, the church was empty and by noon, pilgrims who have completed their Camino, have packed it. Enrique (my husband) completed his Camino Francés of 780 kilometers or 485 miles in 36 days, starting Sept. to midOctober 2019. He too has a lot to share about his journey, one of which is how to be in a state of mindfulness. That we are having our parallel pilgrimages is a grace as well in our winter years. “Everyone falls in love with His humility” Our spiritual director for the pilgrimage was Fr. Joel, who was newly appointed associate pastor of Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Church in Santa Fe, Mexico. Celebrating his 10th sacerdotal anniversary, Fr. Joel was formerly the pastor and associate pastor of eight parishes in New Mexico, some of which were four to five hours away. He was ordained in the oldest Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe (built 1869 to 1887) in 2009. He is the first Filipino American to be ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. His tenth sacerdotal celebration occurred a week after this Marian pilgrimage in his new home parish, Santa Maria de la Paz, attended by 600+ folks who traveled from 12 parishes and mission churches that he has served over the 10 years. Imagine that, as Santa Fe seems to have more land than people. It is also a place of both art and history where you can walk for miles to just visit galleries. But, our focus will be on this the spiritual director, whose anniversary celebration as a priest I attended. Coincidences abound — like Fr. Joel was the former mayor of Nabunturan capital of Compostela Valley in Davao del Norte from 1988 to 1998 to now, 2019, a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Or that our pilgrimage took us to Santa Maria de la Real in O’Cebreiro to now my personal visit to Santa Maria de la Paz in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place where Ansel Adams once described, “The skies and lands are so enormous, the details so exquisite.”

In Compostela Valley, whose capital is Nabunturan, in Davao del Norte, then-Mayor Bugas and his team ushered in infrastructural improvements (public markets, terminals, two high schools, farm to market roads, bridges) to bring prosperity to the city, under his mayoral leadership from 1988 to 1998. He also developed a Simbally Festival in 1989, now on its 30th year of celebration, and has brought “unity and empowerment to the people to share and participate whatever talents, abilities and expertise they can contribute in nationbuilding,” Fr. Joel said, recalling his days as mayor. Nabunturan means surrounded by mountains, presently made up of 27 barangays or smaller administrative divisions, and where children are employed as miners. He brought peace and order to this city through dialogue when he created a reconciliation council, which included the opposition. “I did not want violence as my father died from it,” Fr. Joel referred to the untimely demise of his father Zosimo Bugas who was assassinated two weeks before the city’s elections. Fr. Joel confided that he has had God’s calling quite early in high school, but was dissuaded when his father’s cousins entered the seminary but had other callings. “My grandma always reminded everyone to be open more to God’s calling,” he continued. In 1988 at age 21, he was the first and youngest mayoral candidate ever elected in the Philippines under the Lina Law that was approved and signed by Pres. Corazon Aquino in December 1987, “due to lastminute replacement, I qualified to run,” he shared. Eighty percent of the registered voters in this city’s population of 50,000 voted for him. He was elected for three terms, a total of 10 years. He was groomed to run for the higher position of the governor but a female candidate requested him not to. “The next thing I knew, he was going to the seminary,” according to Susan de Oño Laset, his aunt. Bugas also wanted to end his political life at 31 years old, saying, “I have done my part in sharing some leadership, talents, and abilities. Let others share and shine! Years later, Fr. Joel got ordained in 2009. Now, in 2019, Santiago de Compostela is part of this pilgrimage – is this a coincidence? But his human tongue, as St. Therese of Lisieux wisely said, “It is impossible for the human tongue to express things that the human heart can hardly understand.” Fr. Joel simply said, “What is it Lord that you need me to do?” Could it be that he resides near St. Loreto Chapel, the site of a 20-foot miraculous circular staircase of 33 steps without railings? As the narrative goes, “two 360 degrees turns that create a double helix, like the structure of DNA,” and repaired using square wooden pegs, without the use of nails, and no supporting structure to hold this double helix. To this day, engineers wonder as to how this staircase supported the weight of nuns who used this staircase to reach the loft where they sang from, for eight years, while locals and visitors believe that it was St. Joseph who repaired this staircase. A wood technologist, Forrest Easley, examined even the wood and stated: “No other spruce has square-shaped structured cells like this,” and called this unknown wood, Loretto Spruce. By the way, Fr. Joel did not reveal any of his political achievements, even as hard as I tried to secure an interview during the 14-day pilgrimage, but persistence, good research

and later, goodwill prevailed. Perhaps, God wants Fr. Joel’s talents in the service of many churches? I finally got him to confide about his God’s calling, over turon merienda in Lourdes, France. Still, his humility prevailed. His practices embodied His holiness Fr. Joel’s spiritual practice showed us how to have a much closer relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the saints whose relics and tombs we got to visit. For example, the incorrupt body of St. MargaretMary de Alacoque rests above the side altar in the Chapel of the Apparitions, located at the Visitation Monastery in Paray-leMonial. Outside the souvenir store run by the nuns, Fr. Joel led us in a prayer of consecration to the Heart of Jesus, by St. MargaretMary, and encouraged us to sign our commitment on the day of our collective prayers, Sept. 30, 2019. That day of consecration to the Heart of Jesus marked a qualitative change in all of us to be more tight-knit as a family and to have an unwavering concern for one another, assisting anyone with a visible need for help in walking or getting what they need. I assisted Esterlita, a 73-year-old caregiver and former teacher, whom I thought I was helping by taking her arm as we walked; then, it turned out that she is quite strong, walking slowly but steadily, even if walking with a cane. But, the special mention award for sustained consistency goes to Lionel Pascual, a young man in his 40s, who in his quiet ways would stay behind and ask, “Do you need help to get to the tour bus?” or simply offered to carry your bag if needed. In the end, he also got weary that we had to be told repeatedly how to be safe within the walking boundaries, that these pilgrims, ranging in ages of late 30s to early 80s were lost in our own world of perhaps looking for “apparitions” “magical signs,” or keeping up with a bum knee. For pilgrims who had not ventured out of their “clamshells,” the symbol of a Peregrino, not to be confused with the water San Pellegrino, which few did, a pilgrim chooses to adjust, to be resilient, and not to be the dogmatic “ugly American,” insisting on their own four to five stars accommodation of dining entrees. Had I not read the pilgrim prayer in our handbook from QTS Tours and Travels and having been to the Holy Land before, that would have been me. How horrible would that be for the community paper that I write for and blessed to be part of? During the pilgrimage, Fr. Joel had an extra bag that he carried filled with relics and at key places and he touched these relics at several tombs of the saints. He had his plans of sharing them with his parishioners at his 10th anniversary on Oct. 12, 2019. A spiritual life intersected by God’s light Chama in New Mexico only has 1,022 population as of the 2010 census and a dignified church was needed. It was once housed in a 1970s structure with a corrugated metal roof, rusted and dilapidated, and lacking a dignified sign. The narrative goes, “We have told seven priests now that we need a church. They keep promising. You are the eighth priest, [Fr. Joel]. We wonder if it would be the same story again, a promise and then, nothing?” Fr. Joel raised funds through donors, parishioners, auctioned paintings and rosaries, and after three years, in 2012, Archbishop Michael Sheehan consecrated a new St. Patrick’s Church in Chama, New Mexico and St. Nepomuceno in Canjillon. With his team of faith builders, another brand new Mission in Canjillon called St. Nepomuceno was built, including the renovation of three rectories, parish halls and another church in Tierra Amarilla. “Many wonderful projects and programs WE accomplished together. It was a hard and challenging time. But I welcome it as a great opportunity in doing for the glory of God. And above all, bringing people together as one. I told them that I am only a passing priest. It so happened that I stumbled upon some holes in the walls to fix. In all of my assignments, I don’t want to be remembered by putting plaques/ memorials. Just remember me when you come to the Church, in the altar,” Fr. Joel said. He did what he once had done in improving Nabunturan in Compostela Valley in the Philippines: rally the parishioners and the community to help build brand new churches (3) in New Mexico. Fr. Joel auctioned his sacred paintings that he himself painted to raise thousands to

LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • NOVEMBER 9-12, 2019 help build three brand new churches. Not too long after, Fr. Joel got another assignment to a crossroads city, a destination stop called Clayton, with a 2010 census population of 2,980. Clayton is made up of sprawling ranches, ancient volcano fields and with a popular museum, Herztein Memorial Museum, about the holocaust. It is four to five hours from Albuquerque and Fr. Joel drove this route to celebrate Simbang Gabi, novena of nine masses before Christmas, in the dead of winter with snow on the roads. He kept doing it for years until the community support grew from a handful to now half a church-full, according to Myrna Samson, a long-time supporter and faith leader in Albuquerque, who also joined this pilgrimage. In Clayton, as in Chama, Fr. Bugas spearheaded the renovation of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, the rectory, continued building a ten classroom/office building and in addition, opened a new Catholic Museum housing vintage priests vestments and religious artifacts, the New Museum and Learning Center of St. Francis on May 15, 2019 and has since been renamed as of June 2019 to SFX Museum and Religious Education Center by the new pastor. “We also did many projects and programs together to strengthen the collective lives of our parishioners,” he shared, “that the joy of being a priest is to serve God without any condition or reservation. That people are happy and can attest that “once upon a time, there was a passing priest, his name is Fr. Joel.” We refer to the team that he formed. His fellow priests and parishioners describe him with such love during his 10th-anniversary mass and celebration. Msgr. Jay Vorheese, his former pastor at Our Lady of Annunciation Church, described Fr. Joel as embodying four pillars or hallmarks of his God’s servant/ priesthood. The first pillar as a bridgebuilder. The priesthood is in the bridge business, he said, it is like Jacob who saw a ladder from heaven to earth, with angels descending into earth, carrying blessings from God and ascending to heaven, to bring our prayers and our petitions to God our Father. He then described him as quite an artist, who uses his gift of art to express that union between heaven and earth. His sacred paintings have been auctioned to raise funds for building a church. He was described as “transcendental with his hands and with his words, representing the divine artists, the Almighty God with your art, words and actions.” The second pillar as bright light, “The light shines brightly on you, Fr. Joel,” the Msgr said. The third pillar, as a fountain, “where the Holy Spirit fills up Fr. Joel and in that fullness, you share generously.” Those were not empty words for in the short time that I was with him in New Mexico, he managed to carve out time to give me a ride to the inn Santa Fe and drove his relatives and me an hour away to take us to Albuquerque near the airport and even shared two meals with us. And the fourth pillar “his charism of the spirit is joy.” His favorite saying is ‘God is good all the time and all the time God is good,” that his infectious joy is carried onto the youth. On the eve of his 10th-year celebration, a lapsed Catholic in coma waited for Fr. Joel. He got a call late that night, baptized this Catholic who consciously received the final rites from him. Hours later that person died, according to Alice and Bill Gallegos. Ivy Cabilla of Clayton described him as a “really good mentor, everybody falls in love with his humility and he brings people together.” Another parishioner named Virginia spoke of her personal ordeal of having her son in jail. Fr. Joel visited jails and ministered to inmates. He brought a live Christmas tree and had the inmates decorate them. He invested in these inmates and visited them during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. He helped Virginia’s family get through those daily trials and now, Virginia’s son is leading a new chapter of his life in being productive. When Deacon Leandro spoke, he described Fr. Joel as an evergrowing priest, who continues to evolve to almost perfect, saying, “You have shown your light and so many people have received that grace from you.” Three hundred guests got raffle tickets and 100 received blessed relics during the reception. The team even categorized the diverse food offerings and made the families quite happy to try Filipino, New Mexican and American foods. Have you ever been to a priest’s


Double Helix Staircase in St. Loreto Chapel

Inside the Cathedral of St. Cyr and St. Juliette in Nevers, France

Facade of Santa Maria dela Paz in Santa Fe, New Mexico

sacerdotal anniversary where the priest is thoughtfully thinking of his parishioners and how to deepen their faith including answering their questions about relics and what constitutes firstclass, second-class, and thirdclass relics, as these were? “That during my 10th anniversary,” Fr. Joel confided and that we all witnessed, “I choked and the tears I cannot hold. I was overwhelmed by the presence and representations of all my parishes (12 in 10years) that I served. More than 600 attended the Mass and 300+ attended the lovely reception.” I timed how long he paused with tears — about 3 minutes and the congregation respected that and cried with him. It was a very special, touching moment, even for this writer. In Our Lady of Fatima Apparitions’ chapel, in Fatima, Portugal, Fr. Joel joined a group of priests from Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa leading the rosary in multiple languages of English, Tagalog, French, Spanish, Portuguese, South Korean and African. This was quite a special blessing for him as he confided his wish to be included. Myrna Samson got to also lead part of the rosary with him, like other lay leaders. In the Church of Miraculous Medal in Paris, Fr. Bugas got another blessing, by chance, His Eminence Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec City came to visit. He asked Fr. Bugas if he could concelebrate with him, but Fr. Joel, in his humility, deferred to His Eminence, even though his name was listed as the mass main celebrant. Hours later after our visit, four were murdered in the local police station near the Church of Miraculous Medal. Was it a coincidence that we were not part of the crowd that got cordoned off by the Parisian authorities? You may recall that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe recently filed bankruptcy in June 2019 and several dozen lawsuits against sexual abuse by the Catholic hierarchy were stalled from proceeding, with 300 claims pending. So to have a very holy Catholic priest from Santa Fe in our midst is truly God’s undeserved grace to us, 25 pilgrims who came from Idaho, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Maryland,

Pennsylvania and California. By the 10th day of the pilgrimage, we were more comfortable sharing resources, helping one another, and with unwavering concern for each one needing help. Anita Rubio, whom I met previously in the Holy Land, was again blessed to reunite with a long lost friend, a Camino pilgrim who reached Santiago after walking a week. For two pilgrimages now, she gets reunited with friends and classmates that she has not seen for decades. I told her she must be blessed. Thank you to all my co-pilgrims, and to Fr. Joel for teaching me through St. Bernadette and St. Margaret-Mary and St. Therese of Lisieux, that Jesus’ wounded heart from being crucified shows His boundless love for us. For making me realize that the Lord has greater hurts and pains with our indifference, our negligence, disbelief, and Jesus gets a broken heart. Thank you for teaching me that these saints lived during the Grand Century of Spirituality known as French School of Spirituality formed by St. Francois de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Claude La Colombiere, “a never-ending spring of grace during the period of narrowminded Jansenism,” the answer then was God was Love and today and for always, just like the rivers and fountains of water that we saw and heard described, God is still Love and He awaits men and women’s love in return. Holiness was defined by Fr. Ed Benioff of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California, as someone with an intimate relationship with God. Are you about to conclude, as I did, that we have an exceptional spiritual director who knows instinctively how to build communities of faith, empowers us all to participate, to take turns to do the first reading, to take care of tithes and offerings, to lead the singing that each day leaders emerged to organically fulfill the needed tasks. Do you get a sense that we got not just rain showers, but a river of blessings and God’s grace? There are many more miracles to write about, perhaps by a heart being cracked open to love Jesus in a much deeper way, and in time, those would be the subjects of future pieces.

C NOVEMBER 9-12, 2019 • LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

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Is there hope after a denial? Philippine economy grows 6.2% in Q3 2019

Immigration Corner ATTY. MICHAEL GURFINKEL, ESQ IN a previous article, I discussed some situations where there could still be hope (or a chance) even if the case was denied. Here are more examples: Petitioner died. Ordinarily, if the petitioner dies, the petition dies with him. However, in certain circumstances, the beneficiary may be eligible to apply for humanitarian revalidation or reinstatement of his petition. Or if the beneficiary was in the U.S. when the petitioner died and has continued to live here after the death of the petitioner, it could be possible to process the case without even needing to seek humanitarian revalidation. Case is denied because of fraud. If a person commits fraud in connection with seeking or obtaining an immigration benefit (such as assumed name entry, fake or altered documents, etc.) their case could be denied. However, if they have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or immigrant, and can demonstrate “extreme hardship” on that relative, it could be possible to have a fraud waiver granted and the case approved.

Part 2 success, if your case was denied, you should consider consulting with an attorney, who can evaluate your situation, and determine if there is hope in overcoming that denial and assisting in helping you reverse the denial and your case approved. *** Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. WEBSITE: Follow us on and Twitter @GurfinkelLaw Call Toll free to schedule a consultation for anywhere in the US: 1-866-4873465 (866) – GURFINKEL Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES · SAN FRANCISCO · NEW YORK · PHILIPPINES

Fraud waiver was denied. Sometimes, a person files a fraud waiver, but it is denied because the officer was not satisfied with the documents or evidence submitted and was not convinced the qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship. Sometimes it’s possible to seek reconsideration and submit new, additional, and stronger evidence. The person could also consider filing a new fraud waiver with a better presentation. Finally, they could appeal the denial to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Washington DC. Person was ordered deported/ removed. Even if a person was ordered deported or removed, there could still be hope. For example, were there any procedural defects or irregularities in connection with their hearing? Are there any forms of relief available that were not asserted or not in existence at the time (such as just married a U.S. citizen for love, U.S. citizen child just turned 21, etc.)? Perhaps the trial attorney will agree to reopen the case to allow the person to apply for relief. The case can also be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) if meritorious grounds exist and the appeal is timely filed. These are only a few examples of where there could still be hope after a denial. Although there cannot be any “guarantees” of



THE Philippine economy recorded a 6.2% growth in the third quarter of 2019, the government announced Thursday, November 7. The country’s gross domestic product is higher than the 5.5% growth in the second quarter this year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said. According to the PSA, net primary income from the rest of the world grew by 2.9% while gross national income increased by 5.6%. The services sector recorded the fastest growth with 6.9%, followed by the industry sector with 5.6% and agriculture with 3.1%. economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines is on track of achieving its target of 6% to 7% GDP for the

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia

year. “This means that the Philippine economy will have to expand by at least 6.7% in the last quarter of the year to meet the low-end of the full year target of 6 to 7% for 2019 — a challenge we are confidently taking on,” Pernia said. photo by Efigenio Toledo IV

Pernia noted that the Philippines ranked second behind Vietnam’s 7.3 growth. The country also recorded a higher GDP than China’s 6%. India is expected to post a growth below 6% and Indonesia 5% for the third quarter. ■

IMF again extends borrowing deal with BSP

(Advertising Supplement)

Business Quote of the Week “As you start working on your company, you start working on yourself. Because this company is a reflection of who you are, and every single one of your insecurities are somehow going to be challenged; they are somehow going to bubble up to the surface. And you are going to have to defeat them in real time, in order to be successful at what you’re building.” — Adna Gansca, founder of Knotch

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas by MAYVELIN


THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has extended anew its bilateral borrowing arrangement with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) worth $1 billion. In a statement on Wednesday, November 6, the international organization said the terms of file photo

its 2016 borrowing agreements between 40 members are now effective through end-2020. This followed the approval by the executive board and consents from all 40 creditors to a one-year extension of the terms of their respective agreements, it added. The $1-billion loan facility was first signed between the BSP and

the IMF in 2013, which was renewed in 2017. The Philippines became a net IMF creditor in 2011 after having fully paid its loans in December 2006. The IMF said that the extension of terms preserves its overall lending capacity of about $1 trillion for an additional year. PAGE D2

D NOVEMEBR 9-12, 2019 • LA WEEKEND ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Trade gap narrows in September; Palace: GDP growth proves Duterte admin competence in protecting economy imports continue to weaken By

In its report, PSA said while the country’s trade balance remained in deficit as imports far outnumbered exports, the gap narrowed by 22.5 percent to $3.12 billion in September from $4.02 billion in the same month a year ago. photo by Geremy Pintolo by Czeriza

ValenCia file photo by Darryl John


MALACAÑANG welcomed Thursday, November 7, the reported growth in the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2019, saying that it demonstrates the Duterte administration’s competence in protecting the health of the economy. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement as GDP growth during the July to September hit 6.2 percent, faster than the 6-percent expansion in the third quarter of last year and the average 5.5-percent growth

in the first half. “While it is public knowledge that the hallmark of this Administration is its unmatched advocacy for peace and order, this development illustrates its competence in other fields, such as protecting the health of the nation’s economy notwithstanding inevitable setbacks it has encountered in the past,” Panelo said in a statement. Panelo said according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, services posted the fastest growth with 6.9%; followed by industry with 5.6%; and agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing with 3.1%.

“Based on reports, this GDP puts the Philippines ahead of India, Indonesia, and even China,” he said. The Palace official went on to commend the Duterte economic team for “maintaining our 6 percent or above ‘fighting target’ for economic growth in 2019.” The government targets a 67 percent economic growth in 2019. “Simply put, this means that we are back on track with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s socioeconomic goal, including the objective to lower poverty incidence to 14% by the end of the his term in 2022,” Panelo said. n

IMF again extends borrowing deal...

PAGE D1 t It is also “a prudent step to provide confidence to members and markets that the fund continues to have adequate resources to meet the potential needs of the membership.” The IMF explained that the deal extension is part of broader package of actions on its resources and governance reform —including support for maintaining its current resource envelope and considering a doubling of the New Arrangements to Bor-

row (NAB) and a further temporary round of bilateral borrowing beyond 2020 — endorsed by the IMF membership at the 2019 annual meetings. The IMF noted that it has entered into several rounds of bilateral borrowing agreements over the past decade to supplement its quota and NAB resources and meet the potential financing needs of its members. “In 2016, in view of continued uncertainty in the global economy, the membership committed

to maintain access to bilateral borrowing, as a third line of defense (after quota and NAB resources) and under a revised governance framework, with an initial term through the end of 2019, extendable for a further year by the executive board and with creditors’ consents,” it added. As of September 2019 exchange rates, total commitments under the 2016 borrowing framework from 40 members amount to about $318-billion worth of special drawing right. n

FOR the sixth straight month, the balance of trade tilted in favor of exports as imports fell at a double-digit rate in September, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday, November 6. In its report, PSA said while the country’s trade balance remained in deficit as imports far outnumbered exports, the gap narrowed by 22.5 percent to $3.12 billion in September from $4.02 billion in the same month a year ago. In the first nine months, the trade deficit eased to $28.09 billion from $29.91 billion in the same period last year. For the month of September, $5.9 billion or 39.5 percent of total trade were exports, while $9.02 billion (60.5 percent) were imported goods. Exports fell by 2.6 percent, snapping a five-month upturn, due to steep declines in the sales of seven out of 10 major export commodities: metals components; articles of apparel and clothing accessories; machinery and transport equipment; miscellaneous manufactured articles; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships; other manufactured goods; and gold. Electronic products remained the country’s top exports commodity, making up 60.9 percent of the total export revenues during the period. Export receipts rose by 3.8 percent to $3.59 billion from $3.46 billion in September 2018.

Imports likewise dropped, at a faster 10.5 percent pace in September, extending its contraction for a sixth month. The decrease was attributed to the slowdown in seven out of the country’s top 10 major import commodities: iron and steel; cereals and cereal preparations; mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials; plastics in primary and non-primary forms; transport equipment; electronic products; and industrial machinery and equipment. Among the country’s major trading partners, exports were strongest in Japan where outbound shipments rose by 19.1 percent year-on-year to $957.06 million in September from $803.90 million last year. This made up 16.2 percent of total exports in September. Other major export trading partners of the Philippines during the reference period were US, $904.15 million; Hong Kong, $868.59 million; China, $780.24 million; and Korea, $329.43 million. China, meanwhile, remained the country’s top supplier of imported goods with a 23.6 percent share to the total imports in September 2019. Import purchases from this country amounted to $2.13 billion, up from $1.95 billion in September 2018. Other major sources of imports in September were Japan, $831.88 million; US, $643.50 million; Korea, $626.21; and Thailand, $621.31 million. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the country should take ad-

vantage of the recovering export momentum in selected markets while sustaining the improvement in infrastructure. It noted that the positive performance in the major markets of Japan, China, Korea and Hong Kong failed to offset the slide in earnings from the US, ASEAN and the EU. “Despite the overall decline in export performance, our export trade to Korea posted doubledigit growth rate for the third consecutive month and exports to Japan showed a significant turnaround from a decline in the previous period,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia. “These export bright spots will pave the way for the country’s trade recovery over the near term,” he added. Pernia said sustaining the infrastructure development momentum should be a priority to improve transportation and logistics in support of trade. “Moreover, the government must sustain faster infrastructure spending in the fourth quarter to achieve the target disbursement performance for the year. The push for high impact and implementable infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build program is expected to improve transport and logistics, which are crucial in supporting the growth of exports,” Pernia said. He added that the timely passage of the proposed 2020 national budget is important to sustain the implementation of construction-related projects and activities. n


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Govt debt eases to P7.90T in September by mayveLin

u. carabaLLo

THE national government’s outstanding debt eased to P7.90 trillion in September, dragged by the movements of local currency and net repayment of external and domestic loans, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported on Monday, November 4. In a statement, the Treasury bureau said the amount was a 0.4-percent or P31.39-billion decrease from August’s record-high P7.93 trillion. “Of the total stock, 33.51 percent were sourced from external markets while 66.49 percent were borrowed domestically,” it added. Domestic borrowings totalling P5.25 trillion — down 0.3 percent from the August amount — accounted for the bulk of outstanding debt, while external

debt declined by 0.6 percent to P2.64 trillion. Outstanding debt the year before stood at P7.15 trillion, with domestic and foreign obligations at P4.58 trillion and P2.57 trillion, respectively. “For the month, the lower level of domestic debt was due to the combined net redemption of government securities amounting to P14.37 billion and P0.17 billion effect of peso appreciation on onshore dollar bonds,” the BTr explained. It noted that the peso appreciated against the US dollar from P52.12 as of end-August to P51.79 as of end-September 2019. Meanwhile, the BTr attributed the decline in external debt to local and third-currency fluctuations, which decreased the value of foreign debt by P17.09 billion and P7.80 billion, respectively. A foreign-exchange rate of

P51.79 against the dollar was used for the latest data, compared with August’s P52.12:$1. The exchange rate used a year earlier was P54.10:$1. “These offset the net availment of foreign loans amounting to P8.03 billion for the period,” the Treasury bureau added. Government guaranteed debt, meanwhile, eased from August by 1.2 percent or P5.84 billion to P484.42 billion in September. It was up 0.6 percent from the yearago figure. The month-on-month decline, the Treasury bureau said, “was due to the net effect of local and third-currency fluctuations that decreased the value of external guarantees by P1.54 billion and P1.57 billion, respectively.” It added that net repayment of domestic and external guarantees amounted to P280 million and P1.57 billion, respectively. n

Stronger peso, cheaper imports seen as PH dollar stash rises by Daxim

L. Lucas

THE amount of foreign currency entering the Philippine market pushed the government’s dollar stash, or reserves, higher in October, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said. More dollars in the stash meant a stronger peso, which meant smaller expenses for industries that buy raw and intermediate materials from abroad using dollars. Initial data showed the Philippine government now has $85.7 billion stashed as reserves, an increase of $120 million.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the increase in dollar stash also reflected BSP income from foreign investments. Payments made for government debts with dollar denomination, however, “tempered” the good news, Diokno added in a press statement. The total dollar stash, or gross international reserve, as of end October 2019 was enough “liquidity buffer” and covered 7 and a half months of importations and other expenses that use dollars, said Diokno. If the entire stash would be used to pay foreign debts, it could cover 5 and a half months’

worth of loans maturing according to original schedule and a little over four months’ worth of debts that has a different maturity schedule, he said. Net dollar reserve, or the difference of gross reserve minus total short-term foreign loan, was higher than in September 2019. At its lowest level in October 2018, Philippine dollar reserves fell to $74.7 billion. The BSP arrested the decline through aggressive anti-inflation interest rate increases which made peso assets attractive again to investors and fund managers. n

Philippine pushes greater No more rate, RRR cuts this year – Diokno access for agri products in US by ian

by mary

Grace PaDin

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Monday, November 4, it would take a pause in monetary policy easing for the rest of 2019, after delivering a series of rate cuts in both policy rates and bank reserves to boost economic activity. In an interview with the ABSCBN News Channel, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank would no longer cut policy rates and banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) this year. “On the cuts, we’ll pause for a while,” Diokno said. “There will be no policy cuts this year and no more relaxation of the reserve requirement.” The central bank has delivered three rate cuts this year, 25 basis points each last May 9, Aug. 8, and Sept. 26 as part of an easing cycle amid the continued downtrend in inflation as well as slower-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The BSP has two more ratesetting meetings remaining for 2019 scheduled on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12. It also recently approved the reduction of the RRR for big and mid-sized banks by 100 basis points effective December. This is on top of the 100 basis point cut in the RRR for universal, commercial, thrift and rural banks which took effect this No-

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno

vember. This brought the total RRR reduction to 400 basis points for big and mid-sized banks, while the RRR for small banks has been lowered by 200 basis points. According to central bank officials, they expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth to settle at a range of 5.8 percent to six percent for the third quarter and 6.5 percent for the fourth quarter. This would bring the full-year GDP numbers close to the lower end of the government’s six to seven percent target, according to the BSP. file photo

BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila earlier attributed this optimism to the normalization in government spending as well as the benign inflation environment that could boost consumption especially during the Christmas season. According to the BSP’s Department of Economic Research, inflation for October may settle within the 0.5 percent to 1.3 percent target range. The BSP expects inflation to ease to 2.5 percent this year before accelerating slightly to 2.9 percent for 2020 and 2021. n

nicoLas ciGaraL

THE Philippines continues to push for greater market access for its agriculture exports to the United States, which remains the country’s biggest market for food and agricultural products. Agricultural attaché to the U.S. Josyline Javelosa said the government continues to engage its counterparts through government-to-government outreach on policies that have bearing on trade and business activities between Manila and Washington. During a luncheon discussion with the economic team of the Philippine embassy in Washington, Javelosa said the Philippines is pushing for better market access for Philippine agricultural products. She said the Philippines has several pending requests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after successfully getting the green light to export bananas, mangoes and fresh young coconut. “We continue to engage the USDA on market access regulations for agricultural product exports from the Philippines,” she said. According to Javelosa, the Department of Agriculture in Manila has a pending request for okra exports to the U.S. “This will go through a long process like for bananas and mangoes which took several years… but we should be ready,

Agricultural products

so when it is opened up then we have the supply to export to the US,” she said According to Javelosa, the Philippines could take advantage after Thailand lost its eligibility under a U.S. trade preference program through the general system of preference (GSP) for several products including okra. Likewise, the agriculture attaché said the DA has also asked the USDA to waive the pre-inspection requirement for mangoes. “We are trying to do away with the pre-waiver inspection for mangoes because it entails more costs making our mango less competitive especially compared from the mango coming from the nearby Mexico,” she said. Javelosa said the Philippines has also asked the U.S. to expand file photo

the point of entry for Philippine pineapple that is currently limited to Guam, Northern Marianas Island, and the North Atlantic region. “Hopefully we could improve the exports of Philippine products to the U.S.,” Javelosa said. Latest data from the U.S. Trade Representative office showed the U.S. remains the top single country market for Philippine food and agricultural products, reaching $1.1 billion last year. Major food and agricultural exports to the U.S. include tropical oils with $535 million, processed fruits and vegetables with $168 million, tree nuts with $113 million, fruits and vegetable juices with $75 million as well as raw beet and cane sugar with $61 million. PAGE D5



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New PPP no-nos for ‘Build, Build, American firm out to prove PH Build’: Guarantees, subsidies remains undisputed BPO magnet by Ben o. de


THE Duterte economic team will issue a set of guidelines for public-private partnership (PPP) projects named on the longer “Build, Build, Build” list to ensure that contracts are not detrimental to the government. “We want to make sure that PPP projects are going to benefit the people,” said Socioeconomic Plannning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia. He said there would be no government guarantees, subsidies or any provision akin to material adverse government action, or Maga. Pernia said guidelines for PPP projects will be released soon alongside criteria for projects in the updated Build, Build, Build list consisting of 100 “flagship” infrastructure projects. Last Wednesday, November 6, presidential adviser for flagship programs and projects Vivencio Dizon said Aboitiz Group’s unsolicited proposal to operate file photo

and maintain the New Panglao Bohol International Airport, the San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-led Bulacan International Airport, and the rehabilitation of the country’s main gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) by seven conglomerates were among the 26 PPP projects on the new Build, Build, Build list. Dizon said other “major” unsolicited airport PPP projects were

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat

also put on the list. The earlier list of 75 projects had only nine with private sector participation—eight PPPs and one to be implemented by a private firm. The interagency Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet by Roy Stephen C. Canivel Committee (ICC-CabCom) and the Committee on Infrastructure (InfraCom) on Wednesday apDESPITE the uncertainty proved the new list. n hounding the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, U.S.-based firm Ibex has invested around $13.5 million to expand its operations in the Philippines, making the country host to its largest workforce globally. The company has in the past few months opened three new sites, which have the capacity to hire an additional 4,500 BPO workers. This would put its total Philippine workforce to 10,000 by year-end. Angel Alvarez, senior vice president and country head of Ibex Philippines, told reporters this figure could breach 12,000 by the first half of next year as the company would hire more file photo people.

tion of sustainable tourism practices across local destinations and tourism-related industries. “The DOT takes inspiration from the Boracay model, and an evolving framework in creating a culture of sustainable tourism is being applied to other destinations in the country. Using this model as the benchmark, the DOT, together with government partners, has prioritized and rationalized the enforcement of environmental and related laws in tourism destinations from northern to southern Philippines such as the Cordilleras, El Nido in Palawan, Bohol and Siargao,” Puyat said.

The tourism chief also lauded the efforts of the local government units that have been taking proactive measures in protecting and preserving their tourist attractions, now more than ever, becoming mindful of carrying capacity levels. “As we build our brand image of sustainability, the DOT is ensuring brand integrity through updating and promotion of green standards as we accredit and rate our tourism enterprises. In addition, we are developing new training modules to direct the whole tourism industry to embrace sustainable tourism values,” Puyat said. n

Philippines joins first G20 tourism meeting by CatheRine


THE Philippines is spreading its message of sustainable tourism to the world’s top economies as it joined the recent G20 Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Japan. “The strong Philippine-Japan diplomatic relations, the active tourism promotions in Japan and the resounding feat of the Boracay Island rehabilitation have led to the historical invitation of the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) to the first G20 Tourism Ministerial Meeting,” DOT said in a statement. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat led the Philippine contingent in the meeting that delved on how proper tourism planning, development and management can benefit visitors and local communities, and expounded on the role of innovation and digital transformation in the advancement of sustainable tourism. Puyat emphasized the DOT’s thrust of creating a culture of sustainable tourism, and how the success of the Boracay Island rehabilitation catalyzed the adop-



Courtesy photo by

Top officials flew in from the United States for the inauguration of its new site in Alabang. Its two other new sites are in Bohol—with Ibex being the first mover in this market—and in Cubao. Although operations already began earlier this year, the two other sites would be inaugurated at a later time. In a press briefing Wednesday, November 6, Ibex Global chief executive Bob Dechant said a 500-seater site would cost about $2.5 million. The company’s expansion plans—totaling 2,700 seats or 4,500 people taking shifts—would cost about $13.5 million, officials said. By the end of this year, the Philippines will account for half of its global workforce, as the company remains confident in Filipinos who see BPO work as a viable career choice as opposed

to just a temporary job. “People in the United States don’t want to be in the call center. Here, people in the call center industry grow up and become country heads,” Dechant said. An example is Alvarez himself, who began working in the industry back in 2003 as a technical support representative and then climbed the ranks until he became country head for Ibex Philippines. The firm’s bullishness comes at a time when the once reigning labor king is wading through unchartered waters as the Duterte administration imposed a ban on new economic zones in the metro and pushed to rationalize the tax incentives. “Coming here is not a price play. It will outperform the United States. It will outperform other markets,” said Dechant. n

Philippine pushes greater access... PAGE D3 t On the other hand, the Philippines remains the 11th largest agricultural export market of the U.S., reaching $3 billion in 2018. Washington remains the major source of soybean meal worth $888 million, wheat with $628 million, dairy products with $248 million, pork with $116 million as well as poultry meat with $110 million. Javelosa said the Philippines has also asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to facilitate information ses-

sions for Philippine exporters when it comes to seafood or food establishment inspections or feedbacks on refusals so that corrective actions could be undertaken. Last September, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs Ted McKinney visited Manila and held discussions with Agriculture Secretary William Dar. In terms of investments, Javelosa said modern renewable firm Green Bison Co. is looking at the production of biomass fuel

pellets from banana leaves, sugar cane bagasse and other fibers in the Philippines. The company, she added, is also looking at establishing a facility for advanced bio-composites structural panels out of shell, coconut fiber and potentially industrial hemp. Javelosa said another American company has also expressed interest in putting up over 20 refineries to produce coco biodiesel as well as other interests in the coconut industry value chain. n



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