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December 5-7, 2018 Volume 28 - No. 94 • 3 Sections - 20 Pages

Palace: It’s a go for fuel tax hike by CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO, JOVIC YEE & JULIE AURELIO

MALACAÑANG is supporting the decision of government economic managers to push through with the second round of fuel tax increases next month. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Despite declining gas prices, labor groups say the government’s insistence on a second round of fuel tax shows its low regard for Panelo said the economic managers the welfare of the poor people affected by the tax policy. had their reasons for withdrawing photo by Grig Montegrande




Fil-Am Air Force veteran claims Starbucks barista wrote a racist name on order Starbucks issues apology after customer complains to corporate office A STARBUCKS location in Vacaville, California has apologized to a FilipinoAmerican customer after a barista wrote down a stereotypically Asian name on his order. Johncarl Festejo, an 18-year veteran of the Air Force, took a morning trip to Starbucks with his 12year-old daughter Milan on Monday, Nov. 26. Festejo used

their initial recommendation to suspend the fuel tax increase amid rising inflation. “I’m sure they have basis to make that recommendation. They are competent and able to explain themselves to the lawmakers,” Panelo said at a press briefing on Monday, December 3. Labor groups assailed Malacañang’s backing of the economic managers’ proposal to reimpose

the second round of the tax on fuel, saying it was proof of its “low regard” for the poor who are most affected by the administration’s tax policies. Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Socioeconomic Panning Secretary Ernesto Pernia recommended the continuation of the next round of taxes. They cited the recent decrease in

crude prices as the reason for withdrawing their previous recommendation to suspend the next round of fuel tax increase. President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday night that he would hold a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, December 4, to discuss the recommendation to push through with the next round of increase in fuel tax. The president told reporters to


Military seeks 1-year martial law extension by AJPRESS

ARMED Forces Chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday, December 3, announced the military is set to recommend another year of martial law in Mindanao. He cited the need to quell terrorists still “lurking” on the island. According AFP Chief Carlito Galvez Jr. photo to Galvez, the “clamor” of local government officials in Mindanao, regional peace and order councils and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was what the recommen- CHRISTMAS KICK-OFF AT THE PALACE. President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio looking at performers dation is based on. during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony of the Office of the President (OP) at the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacañang on Monday,


December 3.

Malacañang photo by Rey Banquet

Duterte ‘jokes’ about cannabis use Palace praises gov’t anti-crime to keep up with grueling schedule drive, disregards survey results


by AJPRESS PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, December 3, said he uses marijuana to stay awake and keep up with the tight schedules along with the other heads of states. “It’s a killing activity,” he said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore last month. “Me, [I don’t fall asleep] as much because I was taking marijuana to stay awake. For others, it’s not possible,” he added. After his speech at the conferment of awards on the Association of Southeast

Fil-Am Air Force veteran Johncarl Festejo shared a photo of his Starbucks cup after noticing a stereotypically Asian name associated with his order. Photos courtesy of Johncarl Festejo

Pentagon to allow green card holders to attend recruit training following court order Philippines makes up largest number of green card holders in US THE Pentagon will be sending backlogs of green card holders in the military services to basic recruit training in order to comply with a new federal court order. The new order suspends a Trump administration policy that called for lengthy background checks on immigrants looking to serve.


Asian Nations (ASEAN) National Organizing Council officials and personnel, Duterte clarified to the reporters that he was only joking about using marijuana. “Of course it was a joke. Pero nobody can stop me from just doing my style. Minsan sabi ninyo misogynist ako, magbiro ako ng ganun. That’s my style. It’s too late to change. If I want to joke, I will joke (Of course it was a joke. But nobody can stop me from doing my style. Sometimes you tell me I’m a misogynist, for joking like that. That’s my style. It’s too late to change. If I want to joke, I will joke),” he explained. “Ngayon, kung maniwala kayo, eh


by AJPRESS PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Saturday, December 1, claimed that the government has made “significant strides” in its campaign against criminality even though results of the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey suggested otherwise. “Significant strides have been made by the current administration through its war against criminality, including those related to illegal drugs,” Panelo said as re-

ported by The Manila Times. The spokesperson said that the Filipinos feel secured with the policies implemented by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) since the leader is seen as vocal with his desire to curb crime in the Philippines. “Indeed, Filipinos now feel safer knowing fully well the government’s stance against criminals and drug pushers,” Panelo added. Panelo said the government would not remain “complacent”


Sandiganbayan allows Imelda Marcos to post bail due to ‘old age’, like Enrile by AJPRESS THE Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Monday, December 3, granted a post-conviction bail to Ilocos Norte Second District Representative Imelda Marcos due to her advanced age and health conditions, a decision similar to that of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. In an order dated November 28, the graft court considered the old age of the former first lady in deciding whether or not to permit her to post bail. Such is a case likened to the controversial verdict penned by now Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin to allow Sen. Enrile to avoid detention due to “fragile health and advanced age.” “Taking into account primarily the fact that she is of advanced age and for health

reasons, consistent with the doctrine in Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan, bail is allowed for these seven cases,” the decision stated as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The 89-year-old widow earlier presented medical documents before the court claiming that she is currently suffering from seven ailments namely diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, status mini strokes, moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss, chronic recurrent urinary tract infection, chronic recurrent gastritis and multiple colon polyps, and recurrent respiratory tract infection. The graft court based their decision on Rule 114, Section 5 which states that admission of bail will not be permitted should the In its minute-resolution dated Nov. 28, the dispositive portion of which was released to the accused “(a) be a recidivist, quasi-recidi- media only, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division said the Office of the Ombudsman’s prosecution


panel failed to present any valid circumstance that would justify why Marcos should be denied her right to post conviction bail. photo by Michael Varcas

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From the Front Page

Military seeks 1-year martial law... PAGE A1

In a chance interview with reporters after a flag-raising ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, he said they will be recommending another year for martial law so that they can substantially make a significant dent on terrorism. He also told them that terrorism still persists in Mindanao,

citing bombing incidents in Maguindanao, Basilan, Sultan Kudarat and General Santos City, and the presence of the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu. The deadly bombing in Lamitan City, Basilan he referred to resulted in the deaths of 10 persons and wounding of seven others. This incident was followed by bombings in Isulan City, Sul-

tan Kudarat and in General Santos City. “There is really a need to constrict and limit the maneuver space of the terrorist to the maximum,” Galvez said. “We have a very weak terrorism law so with that, martial law is needed to completely defeat terrorism,” he added. Galvez’s successor will present the recommendation during a command conference before Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on December 12 — the day the military chief retires from service. The military’s move is backed by Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde, who said martial rule would enable authorities to move against “lawless violence.” Martial law in Mindanao was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in May last year. This was in response to the attacks made by the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in Marawi City, which lasted for five months. He issued Proclamation 216, placing the entire Mindanao under military rule — a declaration that was good only for only 60 days. However, it was was extended by Congress until the end of 2017 and was further extended until the end of 2018 by the legislative branch. Palace: Duterte ‘may be persuaded’ Malacañang on Monday said the President “may be persuaded” to approve the recommendation of the military and police to extend martial law in Mindanao for at least one year. Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said, “Given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the president may be persuaded to go on to approve the recommendation. But of course, again, that is the prerogative of the president.” According to Panelo, Duterte would consider the safety of the people in Mindanao in deciding whether or not to extend martial law in the south. “Well, the basis palagi (always) would be the safety of the people there. If the threat remains and there is still an ongoing rebellion, then, constitutionally, the basis would be valid for PAGE A4

HEARING ON SMUGGLED SHABU. Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, directs PDEA to arrest the two officials involved in drugs as he presides over the continuation of the public hearing on the alleged shipment of P6.8 billion worth of ‘shabu’ into the country at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday, December 3. Also in photo (inset right) is BID Commissioner Jaime H. Morente, former BOC Commissioner and TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino. PNA photos by Avito C. Dalan

Palace: It’s a go for fuel...

PAGE A1 just wait for the outcome of the meeting, which will arrive at a consensus on the matter. Asked whether there would be a decision on Tuesday, the President said: “Not necessarily. But I hope we can resolve it in the Senate.” He underscored the need for his economic managers to speak about the impact of the fuel tax on government projects and “the lack or sufficiency of money in government to go on with the projects.” P2 excise, 24 cents VAT The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act imposes an additional tax of P2.24 a liter for diesel and gasoline, consisting of P2 excise and 24 centavos value-added tax (VAT), starting on Jan. 1. An excise of P2.50 a liter was slapped on diesel and bunker fuel this year. This would go up to P4.50 in 2019 and P6 in 2020. Excise on gasoline rose from P4.35 a liter to P7 in 2018, P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020. Dubai crude price Under the TRAIN law, the imposition of fuel taxes can be suspended if prices of Dubai crude

exceed $80 a barrel for three consecutive months. Dubai crude as of Nov. 29 trading was fetching $65.59 a barrel, down 28 percent from $84.12 on Oct. 3. On Sunday, December 2, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate economic affairs committee, said the passage of the 2019 national budget might be delayed if the economic managers would proceed with the next tranche of fuel taxes. Three other senators have warned that raising fuel taxes in 2019 might result in a new wave of inflation. Asked to comment, Panelo said Gatchalian was only one of the 24 lawmakers in the Senate and that the “passage of the budget would again depend on the call of members of Congress.” “His opinion or observation may not be shared by the 23 others,” he said. Breathing space The Nagkaisa labor coalition said suspending the second round of the fuel tax would have provided the poor breathing space after suffering from the high cost of basic commodities and services over the past few months.

“Pushing for its implementation depicts this government low regard for the welfare of the poor people affected by its tax policy that burdens them more,” Nagkaisa spokesperson Rene Magtubo said. The group earlier blamed the high inflation rate, which reached a nine-year-high of 6.7 percent in September and October, to the fuel tax. The Associated Labor UnionsTrade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said the government should not push through with the imposition of the additional tax as workers had yet to recover from the impact of this year’s high inflation rate. ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said a new round of fuel tax increases “will directly impact his (Mr. Duterte’s) candidates in next year’s midterm elections.” Sentro secretary general Josua Mata said he was not surprised by the economic managers’ decision. “Cloistered in their rich men’s world, they no longer are capable of empathizing with the lot of the working people,” Mata said. n

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DFA: No Filipinos hurt in Alaska magnitude 7 quake by FAYE


NO Filipinos were reported injured following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, November 30. The assurance was given by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday, December 1, as it continues to monitor the situation. “The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, which has jurisdiction over Alaska, is

2019 SEA GAMES COUNTDOWN. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea (second from right), representing President Rodrigo Duterte, leads the launching of the One year countdown to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at the Bayanihan Park in Clark, Pampanga. From left are Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Athletes Commission chairman Nikko Huelgas, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch” Ramirez, Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PhilSoc) chairman Allan Peter Cayetano, Medialdea and POC president Ricky Vargas. PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.

Fil-Am Air Force veteran claims Starbucks barista wrote... PAGE A1 his first name, John, which was also on the Starbucks mobile app he used to pay for his order. “A few minutes later, I was just waiting in that area, and next thing I know, I hear, ‘Is there a Chang here? Is there a Chang? We got a hot cocoa,” Festejo told KCRA3, adding he didn’t pay attention to the name. The barista, again, called out for “Chang” twice more, and then Festejo realized it was his order, saying, “Then, I hear again, ‘Banana nut bread for Chang.’ I’m like, OK, probably the same order. Then, followed by that was the chocolate frap.” Festejo approached the cashier to ask if that was indeed his order, he said asking the employees, “Is this some kind of joke? For real?” According to Festejo, the barista who took his order snickered when he pointed out the name discrepancy. The daughter asked that they leave before the situation escalated, so he took her to school. But that encounter seemed to linger for both Festejo and Milan. “When I went to school, I started to think about it,” Milan told KCRA3. “How could they get John and Change messed up? I think it was really mean, because I never went to a place where they called me something else.” After dropping his daughter off at school, Festejo contacted Starbucks corporate to let them know what happened that morning and to voice concerns over how customers are treated.

According to the Starbucks district manager, that employee has not been assigned any shifts pending an investigation. The Starbucks corporate office and the district manager both apologized to Festejo. “At Starbucks, we take great pride in providing a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who enters our stores and expect our partners to uphold our values and follow through on our commitment. We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and the experience in question was not reflective of our mission and values,” a spokesperson for Starbucks said. “We have reached out to the customer and shared our deep regret for their experience, are conducting an investigation into the matter and will take the appropriate actions.” In response to the Vacaville incident, the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), issued a statement condemning “any instances of racial bias and stereotyping” and suggesting that Starbucks complete a “thorough investigation.” “If this event was in fact true, Starbucks should make an immediate public apology to the individual, and continue to develop its trainings to address such instances of racial discrimination,” APAPA wrote. The Vacaville incident joins a string of controversies for the coffee power house. In May, a similar incident in La Canada Flintridge occurred

when a barista was accused of printing a racial slur on a Latinx’s order. The customer, who gave his name as Pedro, found that “Beaner,” a known racial slur against Mexicans in the U.S., had been printed on his order. Priscilla Hernandez, a coworker of that barista, told CNN that she “was really upset about it, because that isn’t OK.” “Out of all the names they could’ve put on his coffees for ‘misunderstanding’ him they decide to put ‘beaner,’” said Hernandez, who filed a complaint against her coworker. In April, two black customers asked to use the restroom of a Philadelphia Starbucks but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything yet. An employee asked them to leave, but when they declined that employee called the police, who put the men in handcuffs (despite them not committing a criminal offense) and escorted them out of the coffee shop, as seen in a viral video of the incident. On May 29, thousands of Starbucks locations across the country were closed for “racial bias education training” following the Philadelphia incident. Back in 2015, the coffee chain’s Race Together campaign — which encouraged its baristas to discuss race and its political implications with customers — prompted skepticism and derision; the company quickly dropped the initiative. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

also in touch with leaders of the Filipino Community in Anchorage who reported that no Filipino was among those initially reported to have been injured in the earthquake,” the DFA said in a statement. Back-to-back strong quakes were recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey, leaving highways and buildings badly damaged. Consul General Henry Bensurto said more than 25,000 Filipinos are residing in Alaska. Bensurto said Filipinos make

up 52 percent of Alaska’s Asian and Pacific Islander population and represents the largest racial minority in Anchorage. Bensurto has requested the Office of Foreign Missions of the Department of State to provide further details on the situation of Filipinos in Alaska following the strong quake. Filipinos in the area have been asked to seek shelter, prepare for possible aftershocks, and avoid unnecessary road travel for safety purposes, Bensurto said. ■

Medicare cuts payments to nursing homes whose patients keep ending up in hospital by JORDAN RAU Kaiser Health News

THE federal government has taken a new step to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions of nursing home patients by lowering a year’s worth of payments to 778 California nursing homes. It gave bonuses to nearly 317 others in the state. These financial incentives, determined by each home’s readmission rates, significantly expand Medicare’s effort to pay medical providers based on the quality of care instead of just the number or condition of their patients. Until now, Medicare limited these kinds of incentives mostly to hospitals, which have gotten used to facing financial repercussions if too many of their patients are readmitted, suffer infections or other injuries, or die. “To some nursing homes, it could mean a significant amount of money,” said Thomas Martin, director of post-acute care analytics at CarePort Health, which works for both hospitals and nursing homes. “A lot are operating on very small margins.” Nationally, the new Medicare program is altering a year’s worth of payments to 14,959 skilled nursing facilities based on how often their residents ended up back in hospitals within 30 days of leaving. Hospitalizations of nursing home residents, while decreasing in recent years, remain a problem, with nearly 11 percent of patients in 2016 being sent to hospitals for conditions that might have been averted with better medical oversight. These bonuses and penalties

are also intended to discourage nursing homes from discharging patients too quickly — something that is financially tempting as Medicare fully covers only the first 20 days of a stay and generally stops paying anything after 100 days. Over this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and goes through the end of September 2019, the bestperforming homes will receive 1.6 percent more for each Medicare patient than they would have otherwise. The worst-performing homes will lose nearly 2 percent of each payment. The others will fall in between. (You can see the scores for individual nursing facilities here.) For-profit nursing homes, which make up two-thirds of the nation’s facilities, face deeper cuts on average than do nonprofit and government-owned homes, a Kaiser Health News analysis of the data found. In Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, 85 percent of homes will lose money, the analysis found. More than half in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state will get bonuses. Overall, 10,976 nursing homes will be penalized, 3,983 will get bonuses, and the remainder will not experience any change in payment, the KHN analysis found. Medicare is lowering payments to 12 of the 15 nursing homes run by Otterbein SeniorLife, an Ohio faith-based nonprofit. Pamela Richmond, Otterbein’s chief strategy officer, said most of its readmissions occurred with patients after they went home, not while they were in the facilities. Otterbein

anticipates losing $99,000 over the year. “We’re super disappointed,” Richmond said about the penalties. She said Otterbein is starting to follow up with former patients or the home health agencies that send nurses and aides to their houses to care for them. If there are signs of trouble, Otterbein will try to arrange care or bring patients back to the nursing home if necessary. “This really puts the emphasis on us to go out and coordinate better care after they leave,” Richmond said. Congress created the Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing Program incentives in the 2014 Protecting Access to Medicare Act. In assigning bonuses and penalties, Medicare judged each facility’s performances in two ways: how its hospitalization rates in calendar year 2017 compared with other facilities and how much those rates changed from calendar year 2015. Facilities received scores of 0 to 100 for their performances and 0 to 90 for their improvements, and the higher of the two scores was used to determine their overall score. Facilities were then ranked highest to lowest. Medicare is not measuring readmission rates of patients who are insured through private Medicare Advantage plans, even though in some regions the majority of Medicare beneficiaries rely on those to afford their care. Through the incentives, Medicare will redistribute $316 PAGE A4

Dateline USa

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OFW inclusion automatic under SSS bill by Bernadette


OveRSeAS Filipino workers (OFWs) will automatically become members of the Social Security System (SSS) if a measure that seeks to overhaul the SSS Charter becomes law. Among the new powers and

key reforms under Senate Bill (SB) 1753 is the compulsory SSS coverage of OFWs, “provided that they are not over 60 years of age.” The bill may help expand the number of OFWs with SSS coverage from 500,000 to over 2.5 million, Sen. Richard Gordon said. “even Filipinos who became

naturalized Americans and retired in the United States may be invited to invest in the provident fund,” the senator added. The Senate ratified last week a bicameral conference committee report on the bill amending the SSS Charter to improve the pension fund’s financial standing and services. n

Balangiga bells back in the PH on December 11

CHRISTMAS SPECTACLE. Children and adults gaze at a house bedecked with lights and decorated with dozens of images of Santa Claus. The house in Mandaluyong City draws huge crowds every night. photo by Ruy Martinez

Duterte ‘jokes’ about cannabis use... PAGE A1 gago kayo (If you believe it, then you’re dumb),” he continued. According to Senator Koko Pimentel in a text message, Duterte told him during the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross for the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that “he has never touched marijuana his entire life.” Duterte has long been criticized by human rights groups

for waging a bloody war against drugs. Then Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in May said Duterte is against the legalization of medical marijuana. In the Philippines, the possession and use of marijuana is illegal. Anyone can be punished by up to life imprisonment and a 10 million fine. ‘A disconnect’ Duterte’s joke is bound to upset families of the victims of his

war on drugs, which has killed thousands since he took power in 2016. Carlos Conde, a Philippines researcher with the New Yorkbased Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that the joke “will definitely anger the families even more.” “There is a disconnect between what the president admitted to do and what the president said he will do to those who use drugs,” he added. n

THe Balangiga bells, which were taken by American soldiers as war booty in 1901, will finally return home to the Philippines in December. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the church bells will arrive in the country by next week. “On December 11, the Balangiga bells will arrive in villamor Air Base aboard [United States Air Force] aircraft. We don’t know if it’s a C-130 or another aircraft but 9 a.m.,” Lorenzana said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ “The Source” Tuesday morning, December 4. Last November 15, a military ceremony was held at F.e. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where two of the church bells are located. Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis attended the ceremony, which formally marked the beginning of the repatriation of the bells. “In returning the Bells of Balangiga to our ally and our friend the Philippines, we pick up our

Two of the Balangiga bells are located at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The church bells taken as war booty by American colonial forces in 1901 will arrive in the Philippines on December 11. Photo courtesy of DFA

generation’s responsibility to deepen the respect between our people,” Mattis said. The Philippine government expressed its appreciation for Washington after announcing the return of the bells, which were once used as a signal to attack American troops in the town of Balangiga in eastern Samar. The Philippines also paid trib-

ute to both Filipino and American soldiers who fought in World War II. “The significance of this event is the fact that we honor all of those and the kind of relationship that we have with the United States,” Romualdez said, adding that the return of the Balangiga bells signify closure of the Filipino-American war. (Patricia Lourdes Viray/

change is by definition arbitrary and capricious,” said Tigar. In a statement made Monday, December 3, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said that lawful permanent resident recruits were slated to be assigned to initial entry training “in the same manner as any other recruits, based on the availability of training slots, open class dates, career field quotas, and recruit preferences, all of which may affect a particular individual’s ship date.” “Pursuant to an implementation memorandum signed on November 30, the Services have been directed to implement the order, and they have begun the process of doing so,” said Gleason. Fought by the American Civil Liberties Union and lawyers of prospective enlistees from China and Jamaica, the injunction brings easement to thousands of potential troops who have hoped to join in service for self improvement and critical skills,

or as a path to U.S. citizenship. Green card holders in the states come from countries with which the U.S. has had friendly ties with—the Philippines provides the largest number of legal permanent residents in the nation. According to data obtained by the Washington Post, about 656 green card holders are hopefully waiting to attend Navy boot camp are from the Philippines. A significant number of immigrant recruits also come from China, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Mexico. The Post reported Pentagon officials saying that roughly 18,000 U.S. troops were green card holders at the start of the Trump administration. Waiting to start basic training are over 2,800 green card holders. According to the judge’s ruling on the federal case, approximately 5,000 legal permanent residents enlist in the U.S. military every year. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)

Sandiganbayan allows Imelda Marcos to post... Pentagon to allow green card holders to attend...

PAGE A1 vist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration; (b) previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification; (c) committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon; (d) had the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or (e) had an undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal.” “None of the afore-enumerated circumstances is effectively shown to prohibit Mrs. Marcos’ availing of post-conviction bail,” the court said as reported by Rappler.

The Marcos matriarch is charged with an additional P300,000 separate from the initial P150,000 that she paid while waiting for the final decision. She was given 15 days from November 28 to settle the amount along with other court requirements. The decision also noted that it is not necessary for the accused to appear personally to pay for the bail. Imelda Marcos withdraws from gubernatorial race Following the Sandiganbayan conviction, the former first lady withdrew her candidacy for the Ilocos Norte gubernatorial position. She was then replaced by her grandson and Imee Marcos’ son Matthew Marcos Manotoc, the Marcos’ camp announced on Thursday, November 29.

“Previously, he had filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice governor of the province, but has since decided to substitute his grandmother, 2nd District Rep. Imelda R. Marcos, in the 2019 gubernatorial race,” Manotoc said in his Facebook post. Imelda Marcos’ chief of staff Bebot Diaz confirmed with Rappler that Manotoc’s uncle and Board Member Nonong Marcos would replace him for the vice governor candidacy. Nonong is the son of Pacifico Marcos, the late dictator and former president Ferdinand’s younger brother. Manotoc will run against Ilocos Norte First District Representative and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) candidate Rodolfo Fariñas. n

PAGE A1 The U.S. Department of Defense said it would now follow a preliminary injunction that was filed in federal court last month in the District Court for the Northern District of California. The November 30 memo by Judge Jon S. Tigar requires the military services to return back to the policy in which green card holders were allowed to attend basic training while background checks were still pending. Lawful permanent resident recruits challenged the Trump administration’s October 2017 rule change, arguing that the policy was unfair in that it did not apply to U.S. citizens. Tigar, in his November 16 order, said that the Department of Defense failed in providing evidence that lawful permanent residents were of a greater risk than U.S. citizens. “If there was no evidence that [lawful permanent residents] posed a greater risk, this policy

Palace praises gov’t anti-crime drive... PAGE A1 despite the achievements of the administration in the past two years. He added that the toughtalking leader would remain dedicated to resolving the country’s crime and drug problem until his term ends. “This achievement, however, will not render us complacent. As PRRD said, his campaign against criminality and illegal narcotics shall be pursued until the last day of his term to ensure that our streets are completely safe from criminals, drug personalities and other rogue elements,” the spokesperson explained. He also clapped back at the critics of the administration, noting that they are either guilty of committing illegal activities or non-receptive with regards to

the achievements of the government. “It also becomes clear that those who remain to dissent the president’s policies are either people who are connected with illegal activities or politicians belonging to the opposition, as well as their blind followers, who cannot accept the feats of the government,” Panelo said as reported by Rappler. SWS shows 1.4M families as crime victims The SWS survey released on Thursday, November 29, revealed that around 1.4 million families or 6.1 percent claimed that they were victims of common crimes — pickpocket or robbery of personal property, break-ins, carnapping, and physical violence in the past six

months. The said figures proved to be higher than the 1.2 million reported in June 2018. The said survey also showed that 159,000 families reported physical violence during the same period. This is significantly higher than the estimated 50,000 families reported in June of this year. Results also stated that about 52 percent of Filipino agreed with the statement, “In this neighborhood, people are usually afraid that robbers might break into their houses.” Meanwhile, 46 percent agreed that people fear for their safety on the streets at night. The survey also showed that 41 percent agreed that there are too many addicted to illegal drugs in their neighborhood. n

Military seeks 1-year martial law... PAGE A2 continuation of martial law,” he said. However, Panelo said it would still be up to Congress to heed the recommendation and extend military rule in Mindanao. “Again, the Constitution grants them the authority to decide whether or not it will extend

martial law. So we’ll leave it to them,” he said. House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., meanwhile, said that once Duterte backs up the recommendation of the Armed Forces and the national police to extend the martial law in Mindanao for another year, it would likely push through.

“If the president will ask for it, then chances are it shall be given,” Andaya said. “The concurrence will be expedited if the military and the police will renew their commitment to respect the constitutional rights of every individual in the territory covered by the declaration,” he added. n

Medicare cuts payments to nursing homes... PAGE A3 million from poorer-performing to better-performing nursing homes. Medicare expects it will keep another $211 million it would have otherwise paid to nursing homes if the program did not exist. The new payments augment other pressures nursing homes face from Medicare and state Medicaid programs to lower readmissions to hospitals. “Skilled facilities have been working toward this and knew it was coming,” said Nicole Fallon, vice president of health policy and integrated services at LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services. The American Health Care Association, a trade group of nursing homes, said in a statement that it had supported the

program and was gratified to see that more than a quarter of facilities received bonuses. While most researchers believe that readmissions can be reduced, some consumer advocates fear that nursing homes will be reluctant to admit very infirm residents or to re-hospitalize patients even when they need medical care. “It may end up causing great pain to residents who actually need to be hospitalized,” said Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which is based in San Francisco. Fallon said Medicare eventually may penalize homes that have done all they can to prevent return trips to the hospital. But because of the program’s design by Congress, Medicare still will need to punish large numbers of

homes. “There’s always going to be winners and losers, even if you make good progress,” Fallon said. “At what point have we achieved all we can achieve?” Meanwhile, Medicare is looking to expand financial incentives to other kinds of providers. Since 2016, it has been testing quality bonuses and penalties for home health agencies in nine states. Richmond, the nursing home executive, applauded that kind of expansion. ‘There’s a whole bunch of people in this chain” of institutions caring for patients at different stages, she said, “and we all need to be working in a common direction.” This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. n

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Duterte rules out pardon for cops in Kian delos Santos slay by aJPress

SEALED WITH A KISS. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada kisses the right hand of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio after they signed an alliance agreement between their political parties Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. photo by Rene Dilan

‘Physically impossible’ to sign 2019 budget by December 15 - Sotto by aJPress Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday, December 3, said that it is not physically possible to approve the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 by mid-December due to time constraints. “not physically possible. Printing alone takes days. assuming we are able to pass [the bill] by next week, how about the [bicameral conference committee and printing]?” Sotto said as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. the Senate president said that logistical difficulties were caused by the delay from the House of Representatives in transmitting the 2019 proposed budget to the upper house. Sotto said that President Rodrigo Duterte will be unable to sign such into law right on schedule due to the delay from the lower house. “[the House] should have considered that when they delayed their transmittal to us,” Sotto said as he explained that the Senate will be unable to present a ratified, consolidated version of the budget measure by December 15. “the revamp in the Lower House is the major cause of the delay,” the Senate president add-

ed as he refers to the transition from the leadership of former Speaker Pantaleon alvarez to Gloria Macapagal-arroyo during President Duterte’s third State of the nation address (SOna). Senators need more time to discuss the 2019 budget Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson objected the scheduled deadline for the proposed appropriations law. Lacson explained that should the Senate follow the original timetable, lawmakers had to work for 24 hours with no meal breaks. they would also discuss the budget allocation per agency for only 15 minutes each. “We would be discussing the budget of one agency, one office in 15 minutes, assuming no breakfast break, no lunch break, no dinner break, no merienda (snacks),” Lacson said. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said on Saturday, December 1, that they are willing to extend their working hours in order to thoroughly review the budget issued to government offices for next year. “We will not prevent [our peers] from speaking out, but we in the leadership are prepared to work 12-hour days,” Zubiri said. Lacson proposed a Senate caucus to discuss a revision on the

Senate President Vicente Sotto III photo

timetable to which Zubiri seconded. the senators called for more time to scrutinize the budget amid allegations that there are last-minute “pork barrel allocations” in the general appropriations bill. the lower house is scheduled to have its last session day on December 12. However, a revised timeline would extend it for at least another day so that both Houses could ratify the budget measure. “Last year we were [already] starting on the budget by October. this year we are starting on December 4,” Sotto said. n

PReSIDent Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, December 3, said he will not pardon the 3 policemen convicted of murdering Caloocan teenager Kian delos Santos. When asked by reporters if a pardon from him may be expected, he answered: “Of course not. Maybe one million years from now.” His promise to police and military personnel that he would pardon them when they are accused of wrongdoing while enforcing his crackdown on illegal drugs was then pointed out, to which Duterte said his promise covers only law enforcers who are “in the performance of their duties.” “If they commit some acts which can be considered criminal but done in the performance of their duties, hindi ko iwanan ‘yan kasi kung hindi, papatayin ako ng sundalo ko pati pulis kasi ako ang nag-utos sa kanila ng ganoon. (I won’t leave them be-

PO1 Jeremias Pereda, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO3 Arnel Oraes take their oath during the Senate inquiry into the killing of Grade 12 student Kian Loyd delos Santos during an anti-drugs operation last August 16, 2017 in Barangay 160, Caloocan City. The policemen claimed they were forced to shoot back at Delos Santos after he fired at them while trying escape. photo by Lyn Rillon

cause if I do, the soldiers and police will kill me because I gave the order to them),” he said. “But for you to murder, hindi kasali ‘yan (that’s not covered),” he added. Police Officer 3 arnel Oares, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda, and Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz

on november 29 were convicted by a Caloocan court and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole. the policemen, the court found, killed a helpless Delos Santos and lied about the events that led to his death. n

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Violence against women and girls


THE World Health Organization has expressed concern over the deaths of at least 18 children including infants in a remote village in Malapatan, Sarangani over the past month. The children reportedly showed symptoms of measles. Officials of Barangay Upper Suyan said about 100 measles cases were recorded in their village alone. The deaths followed measles outbreaks recorded throughout the year by the Department of Health in various areas of the country including the Davao region, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga City and a village in Taguig. The DOH reported that from January to November, measles cases went up by 367 percent from the previous year, from 3,706 to 17,298. With the year approaching its end, immunization rates have plummeted nationwide, thanks to the scare triggered by the scandal that erupted over the administration of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine to more than 830,000 public school students, many of them in grade school. The concern is not unfounded; pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur belatedly issued qualifications for the safe use of the first-ever vaccine developed against dengue. Officials of the previous administration are facing charges in court for what accusers say was the careless and hasty implementation of the anti-dengue vaccination program. Claims of deaths caused by the vaccine have


been made but remain unproven. But the claims have set off a scare bordering on hysteria, which has dealt a serious blow to all the immunization campaigns of the government and posed risks to public

health. DOH personnel are still trying to explain to the public that the vaccines for dengue and the many other illnesses that have been tamed by immunization are different. But public apprehensions persist. WHO officials estimate that from a high of 93 percent in 2015, vaccine confidence among Filipinos has plummeted to 32 percent this year. From zero incidence in 2015, measles has re-emerged in epidemic proportions. The DOH reports that this year, the government has fallen way below its annual target of vaccinating 85 to 90 percent of children against a wide range of diseases other than dengue. This problem should be confronted with urgency before the lack of immunization triggers a spike in child mortality. ( photo

Fil-Am lawyer George Conway leads conservative and libertarian lawyers to call out Trump’s attack on the rule of law

The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert Mueller may now be in the stage of putting the pieces of the Russia probe evidence together and with this, President Donald Trump has gone ballistic in his tweets against those conducting the investigation on the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to discredit his political opponent Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the presidency. This week, Trump spewed tweets involving two of his former allies — one is in praise of the ally who refuses to cooperate in the Russia probe, and the other in a sentencing mode against his former loyal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, who just pleaded guilty to lying before federal investigators about

the true nature of Trump’s business interests in Russia. Trump tweeted on Monday, December 3: “’I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’” This tweet runs contrary to his previous statements during the campaign whereby he chastised Clinton allies who invoked the “Fifth Amendment,” saying that those who used their “right to remain silent” must be hiding something and must, therefore be guilty of the crime. On the other hand, Trump stated in two tweets: “‘Michael Cohen asks judge for

no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get........his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.” And the president yet again boosted his attack against Mueller: “Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats, don’t want the truth, they only want lies. The truth is very bad for their mission!” These tweets do not sit well not only among Democrats, but even among Republican legal experts

The DU30 death squads


FRANCISCO TATAD DURING the U.S. Prohibition era, the Feds could not bring down Al Capone, Chicago’s “Public Enemy No. 1,” for the Valentine’s Day massacre and other murders, so they prosecuted him for tax evasion. He was convicted and jailed for 11 years, got sick and died not much later. “What lesson can we learn from this?” my 16-year-old U.S.-based grandson Raf asked his 14-yearold brother Matt during a parlor game. “Pay your taxes before you start killing people,” Matt answered with quick wit. This brought the house down. Rappler on the block It seems the Department of Justice has decided to take a leaf from Al Capone’s saga when it filed tax evasion charges against Rappler, the online media platform, and Maria Ressa, its executive officer. The Duterte government has been trying to overcome Ressa and Rappler’s fiercely independent reporting, by questioning the legality of their corporate funding. This has gotten the government nowhere. Apparently the government hopes to do better on its tax evasion charges, which carry a fine and a prison sentence. If found guilty, Ressa could serve time and, for the duration, be physically prevented from functioning as a journalist and as Rappler’s executive officer. This could mean one major source of critical reporting and analy-

ses less for the administration. But it’s too early to tell. DU30’s problems with the media arise not so much from the fact that he has more critics than paid or principled defenders, as the fact that he does not have a good narrative to tell. He tends to shoot from the hip instead of dealing with issues on the basis of facts and reason. He has made himself his own irrepressible spokesman, and allowed someone like Salvador Panelo to share the honor. And he has allowed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to get involved in the handling of media affairs. That has not helped either. The case vs ABS-CBN I refer to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s and PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde’s recent tangle with ABS-CBN and the producers of the widely popular “Ang Probinsyano” teleseries on what it should and should not contain. For a while the PNP suspended its logistical support for the series, while Año, who has administrative supervision of the PNP, threatened to sue its producers and ABS-CBN, if they did not change its plot and storyline which, according to him, cast the police in a bad light, and was destructive of their morale. “Ang Probinsyano” is based on a 1997 blockbuster by the late “movie king” Fernando Poe Jr., who nearly became president in 2004; it has been airing on ABS-CBN since 2015. It portrays the adventures of an honest and hardworking policeman, Senior Police Officer 2 Cardo Dalisay, played by actor Coco

Martin, against the venal forces within and outside the fictional national police organization. Dalisay has to contend with a corrupt chief of police and corrupt politicians. Anyone who has followed the series should have known that the good guy in the story is a policeman, even though the bad guys are also policemen and corrupt politicians. And it is the good guy who wins. An imagined coup Some have suggested that Año’s and the PNP chief’s adverse reaction might have been provoked by an episode in which the fictional PNP chief conspires with the fictional vice president to overthrow the fictional president. It is a political scenario that could actually happen here, thus, the sharp reaction. But it is pure fiction. In the U.S., many films have taken the liberty of portraying fictional attempts to take down the president in order to install somebody else, including a foreign power. For instance, in the movie “Olympus Has Fallen,” the White House is taken over by armed North Korean terrorists, the president is taken hostage, and only a U.S. secret service officer is left to save the president. None of these films have provoked the slightest protest from the government, the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, or the police who are not always portrayed in the best light. In one recent film (“Hunter Killer”), hypothetical U.S. Navy seals rescue the fictional Russian president after he has been captured by the Russian

as well, by nature of their content and intent. They posit that the president’s tweets could represent an illegal attempt to influence a witness in the special counsel’s investigation. One of these legal experts is the president’s now vocal critic in the Republican Party who is the husband of Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway. On Twitter, Conway replied to Trump’s tweet, suggesting that the president violated portions of the U.S. code governing witness tampering and obstruction of justice, stating: “File under “18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512”, a statute referring to threatening and intimidating witnesses: “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror…” (law. In fact just last November, Conway organized a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers to form “Checks and Balances”, a group that grew from their need to publicly reaffirm the importance of the rule of law, which they feel is being threatened by the Trump administration. As the Washington Post reported, the group “rallies behind the notion that it is important for lawyers who see President Trump’s actions as unconstitutional to speak up.” Checks and Balances wrote in their mission statement: “We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse. We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or

persons in power. We believe in ‘a government of laws, not of men.” It is about time. Donald Trump — the celebrity, reality show star, businessman, president and commander-in-chief of the United States — is NOT above the law. As the spineless Republicans in Congress continue to condone and enable the President’s attacks against the rule of law, as well as the democratic institutions and processes of the United States — we, the people, should open our eyes and ears, speak out and hold him and his cohorts accountable. ***

defense minister in a military coup intended to set the stage for launching a nuclear war. No one in Russia has denounced the American filmmaker’s attempt to plant treasonous ideas in the minds of Russian military officials. And not even Hillary Clinton has denounced the ungodly idea of the U.S. Navy risking the lives of its men to rescue a captured Russian president, whose hackers in real life reportedly interfered in the last U.S. presidential elections. Año’s threat to sue ABS-CBN and the producers of “Ang Probinsyano” and the PNP’s withdrawal of logistical support from the series drew sharp reactions from the public, including the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), which denounced the attempt to intervene and dictate the narrative in favor of the PNP as “tantamount to censorship and suppression of creative freedom.” It sends “a chilling message to all TV producers, writers and directors,” the group said. Año’s U-turn It is to Año’s and Albayalde’s credit that they finally took a u-turn, and reaffirmed support for the teleseries, which has become a regular Monday to Friday evening fare for countless Filipino televiewers. So long as the portrayal is purely fictitious, no matter how negative it may look, no drama series should be able to destroy the PNP’s morale, reputation and prestige. The actual conduct of its officers and men, if it shines, would belie any negative film characterization of it. But the officers and men should make sure that no slander or false rumor against them goes

unanswered, and that nothing dark in their past follows them in their present assignments. Año and Albayalde should take the lead in this. For example, in Albayalde’s last posting as provincial police director of Pampanga, his men were reported to have seized a big shipment of drugs, estimated at not less than 300 kilograms. However, the postoperation report, according to anti-drug intel sources, acknowledged only 36.681 kg. The discrepancy was reportedly recycled by the team that had seized it. This was reportedly investigated by then-CIDG director Benjie Magalong, who recommended dismissal from the service of all those involved. But the “dismissal” was reportedly downgraded to mere “suspension,” allegedly upon the intervention of the provincial police director. I have heard positive things about Albayalde, and I find this hard to believe; but I am in no position to say it is “fake news.” It is best that he clarifies this matter before it ends up as a fictional episode in the tele-series. Decriminalizing the death squads Most of DU30’s problems are self-inflicted. To his many such injuries, his latest addition takes the cake: the “Duterte death squads” against the New People’s Army (NPA), with whom the Armed Forces of the Philippines is still engaged in an armed conflict. What does this mean? The creation of a “death squad,” whatever its target, can only be the act of a crime boss, never that of a constitutionally elected president of a democratic and republican State.

What will DU30’s death squad do? Assassinate suspected NPA members, without recourse to the just rules of war, as governed by international conventions and treaties? It doesn’t make any sense. DU30 has gone to great lengths to deny accusations that as Davao City mayor, he had organized the “Davao death squad” to eliminate his enemies and that the DDS had killed thousands. Lawyer Jude Sabio, supplemented by party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, has filed a “communication” before the International Criminal Court at The Hague accusing him of “crimes against humanity” for the alleged murders committed by this DDS. DU30 has responded by announcing his withdrawal from the Statute of Rome, which created the ICC, although there is no sign the ICC will give him a free pass. He has called God “stupid” for the bishops and priests who have denounced the extrajudicial drug killings, savaged every dignitary who ever showed an interest in the same. And now this. Has he come to believe that by announcing, matter-offactly, that he has created the “Duterte death squads” for the NPA, he has thereby legalized what was illegal, monstrous and murderous, and freed himself from any responsibility for all the DDS murders and those that had been committed and will yet be committed by his anti-drug police and so-called vigilantes? Where is the law in all this? Isn’t it time for the ordinary law enforcement officer to take a stand and say, “we cannot obey an illegal order, Mr. President.” (

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to, https://www.facebook. com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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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House OKs draft federalism charter on second reading

MANILA — The House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 4 approved on second reading a proposal to shift to a federal government. The proposal, Resolution of Both Houses 15, was approved through voice voting, where lawmakers vote with “ayes” or “nays.” Unlike in nominal voting, where lawmakers are called and asked to vote on a proposed measure, there are no records on how each member of the House voted. The House resumed floor debates on the draft charter for a Federal Republic of the Philippines in late November. RBH 15 argues that “many provisions of the 1987 Constitution have already served, if not outlived, their purpose, hence GRAND TRADITION. Thousands of Marian devotees follow an image of Blessed Virgin Mary, during the 39th Grand Marian Procession held the sustained clamor over the in Intramuros, Manila on Sunday, December 2. More than a hundred Marian images were paraded around the walled city to celebrate the years for amendments to or reviImmaculate Conception. photo by Gerard Seguia sion of the consitution finds justification in the need to provide, among other much needed socoeconomic and political refroms, a long-term solution to the deby Alexis RomeRo cades-old conflict in Mindanao and regional economic development in the countryside.” MANILA — President Duterte Under Resolution of Both yesterday expressed hope that Houses 15, the Federal Repubthe late senator Miriam DefensorSantiago would inspire Filipinos to work for positive change and to serve their fellowmen. Duterte conferred the Quezon Service Cross Award, the highest national recognition of outstanding civilian service, on Santiago, making her the first woman to be given such honor. Santiago’s family led by her husband, Narciso, received the award, which was given a year Duterte conferred the Quezon Service Cross Award, the highest national recognition of after she was nominated by the outstanding civilian service, on Santiago, making her the first woman to be given such honor. Malacañang photo by Toto Lozano President. “Throughout her life, Senator go would greet and talk to him stellar career, she embodied the Santiago profoundly stirred our whenever they saw each other in highest standards expected of nation, especially the youth, to public. He claimed that they cam- any public servant with her acachallenge pre-conceived notions paigned for each other during the demic, professional and moral excellence,” the President said. on political and social issues. I am 2016 presidential race. “All these achievements clearly “During the campaign, she hopeful that as we recognize her exemplary contributions to soci- was campaigning for me, I was demonstrate how her values, ety, she will serve as an inspira- campaigning for her in short. So ideals and dedication to public tion to a generation of Filipinos magandang laro iyon (It was a service highly compare to the standards exemplified by the who will use their talents for the good game),” he said. Duterte said he had hesitated to late President Manuel Quezon,” benefit of the country and their fellowmen,” Duterte said during ask Santiago questions during the Duterte added. Before becoming a three-term presidential debates. the awarding ceremony. He said he was honored to senator, Santiago served as pre“Let us all do our part, however small, in helping bring about posi- confer the Quezon Service Cross siding judge of the Quezon City tive change in the country. May award on Santiago, whom he de- regional trial court, immigration Senator Santiago’s shining exam- scribed as “an esteemed lawmak- commissioner and agrarian reple be the legacy that we will leave er, constitutionalist and states- form secretary. Duterte said Santiago made her behind to future generations of woman.” “Senator Santiago dedicated mark in the Senate not just by Filipinos. Let her memory serve as the light that will guide us toward her life to public service for almost crafting crucial legislation but by a more progressive, inclusive and 50 years, holding the distinction “helping formulate policies that of serving in all three branches touched the lives of ordinary Filiequitable society,” he added. Duterte recalled that Santia- of government. Throughout her pinos.” n

Miriam Defensor-Santiago gets highest civilian award

lic of the Philippines will have a presidential-bicameral-federal system. The president and vice president will be elected in tandem but will have the same powers and functions as in the current constitution. Congress will have two chambers: A House of Representatives with no more than 300 members, and a 24-member Senate. A total of 80 percent of the House members will be composed of lawmakers from legislative districts across the country from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, while the remaining 20 percent will comprise what is called the party-list lawmakers. Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts will be appointed by the president from a list of at least three nominees prepared by a Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council, which will replace the Judicial and Bar Council. Members of the SC will serve for a term of 10 years or until they reach the mandatory age of 70. The draft federal charter also states that territorial and political subdivisions of the country will have political autonomy.

Federal states may be created upon petition of any contiguous, compact and adjacent provinces, highly urbanized and component cities, and cities and municipalities in metropolitan areas. Local governments and federal states will have the power to create their own sources of revenue and impose taxes, fees and charges. The national government will provide local governments with their just share in national taxes as determined by law. All branches of the government will continue to function in a transitory capacity until all successors are elected. The approval on second reading—legislation must be approved on three readings— comes after the Palace said over the weekend that it is confident that Congress will pass legislation for the shift to federalism. Senate President Vicente Sotto III had previously said the Senate is focused on passing the proposed General Appropriations Bill for 2019. The House, from where legislation of the national budget bill begins, passed its version of the bill in November. (

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Christmas: The online shopping season BLACK Friday and Singles’ Day may be the new kids on the block, but for Southeast Asia, Christmas is where it’s at, representing the majority of online engagement about holiday shopping. A new report from Meltwater titled ‘Ecommerce in SEA: Supercharging Holiday Sales Through Social Media’ analyzed consumer sentiment during the year-end shopping period last year to help ecommerce companies better reach their audiences. The report found that Christmas shopping pulled in 56.6 percent of chatter, while Black Friday represented 22.5 percent of buzz. Fast-growing Singles’ Day — a shopping holiday started by internet company Alibaba in 2009 — is credited with kicking off the nearly two-month shopping period, and accounted for 20.9 percent of social media conversations. Within the region, Indonesia drove the highest volume of conversations (57 percent), which file photo

isn’t surprising considering the country’s increased internet penetration and smartphone usage in recent years. Philippines and Malaysia represented 30 percent and 12 percent respectively, while Singapore brought in 1 percent of the buzz. While the top brands varied from country to country, it’s clear that the marketplace model emerged the real winner. In Singapore, Amazon dominated social media with 51 percent of online conversations; Shopee led the buzz in Indonesia; Qoo10


Inflation to finally start slowing – poll 6.1-6.6% result seen for November, down from 2018 high of 6.7%

5.8-6.5 percent. The Finance department has followed suit with a 6.3-percent forecast. INFLATION likely slowed Official inflation data is schedin November with economists uled to be released this Wednespolled by The Manila Times day, December 5. pointing to cheaper fuel and rice, Projections among others, as having helped Land Bank of the Philippines snap a 10-month run of elevated market economist Guian Angelo consumer prices. Dumalagan had the highest foreForecasts ranged from 6.1 per- cast of 6.6 percent in the Times cent to 6.6 percent, all lower than poll, citing lower fuel and rice the nine-year high of 6.7 percent prices and the peso’s recent aprecorded in September and Oc- preciation. tober but still well above the 2.0“Falling yet still elevated 4.0 percent target for 2018. domestic inflation, along with With consumer price growth widespread views of more U.S. having steadied, the Bangko rate hikes ahead, could prompt Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last more hawkish moves from the week said it expected the No- BSP until next year,” he noted. vember figure to settle within u PAGE B4 by Mayvelin

U. Caraballo

Tax amnesty faces delay file photo by ben

o. de vera

THE much-awaited tax amnesty early next year may be delayed if Congress will not pass it together with the automatic exchange of information and the lifting of bank secrecy for taxation purposes as part of the proposed tax reform package 1B. “We will see what the final version is going to be. But honestly we really need that partner measure,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters last week. The bicameral committee already ap-

proved tax amnesty, but reportedly without the two tax administration measures. “The problem with the bicam is the fact that our original proposal is not completely adopted and it is very necessary for us, we believe, that the law on bank secrecy be relaxed in cases where there is a suspicion. As I’ve mentioned, this is not being requested frivolously. If there’s a law for us to collect a tax and then you don’t give us the tools to do it, then it will be very difficult for us to do it,” Dominguez said. “If there was no such limitation on the bank accounts, the Mighty case might have

been solved earlier,” the finance chief added, referring to the tax evasion charges filed last year against the homegrown cigarette manufacturer, which had used fake cigarette tax stamps to evade payment of the correct taxes. “And you know that [tax settlement with Mighty] was P30 billion. [But] we do not know how much is out there. For all you know, that P26-billion [tax evasion cases filed against Mighty] is really small in comparison to what is being hidden. So that’s why it’s very necessary to relax bank secrecy for tax purposes,”


Tourism industry enjoying young workforce by Czeriza


THE country’s tourism industry is enjoying a young workforce and with more available jobs being easy to fill, the industry profile recently published by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. The 2016 industry profile for the tourism industry showed 457,000 persons employed in the sector, with 55.7 percent of them aged between 15 to 30 years old. This is also a sector that provides more jobs for women ac-

counting for 46.4 percent of the total tourism workforce. Most of the available jobs in the industry or 74.3 percent have also been described by employers as being easy to fill while positions considered hard to fill comprised only 25.7 percent of the total. From January 2015 to June 2016, the total number of vacancies in the tourism industry was estimated at 55,000. Positions that were considered to be the hardest to fill were those for nursing professionals, bus and tram drivers, medical imag-

ing and therapeutic equipment technicians and waiters. Establishments surveyed during the period reported either having few applicants for the job, applicants lacking the skills needed, or applicants lacking years in experience. As of June 30, 2016, around 6,000 establishments were engaged in tourism-related industries nationwide. Out of the total employed in the sector, 85.2 percent were rank and file workers and a small portion of 0.8 percent were working

owners. Most of the rank and file workers in the sector at 71.8 percent enjoy regular employment status, while 28.2 percent are non-regular workers employed on a contractual or project basis, seasonal basis and as apprentices. The tourism industry also relied heavily on contractors as it was found that more than half or 52.1 percent of the total establishments in the sector were engaged in subcontracting activities done on-site employing 81,000 agency hired workers. n


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Peso may remain weak as current Philippines growth to account gap seen further widening further slow in 2019 — ING by Lawrence


by Ben

O. de Vera

THE Philippines’ current account deficit is expected to further widen next year, keeping the peso weak and government securities expensive, the Washington-based Institute of International Finance (IIF) said. “The recent widening of current account deficits has overshadowed the near-term economic outlook of India, Indonesia and the Philippines,” Reza Siregar, head of the IIF’s Asean and India research, said in the Oct. 31 report titled “Economic Update: Asean and India Current Account Challenges.” “The Philippines’ goods trade deficit rose to 15.6 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] in the second quarter of 2018, the highest in the postglobal financial crisis period,” the IIF noted. Across the three aforementioned countries, the IIF projected their respective current account deficits to be within the range of 2.1-2.5 percent of GDP next year. “Addressing current account imbalances may entail wider import curbs, affecting investment imports. Given the high import content of investment activities, taxes on capital and intermediate imports may dampen investment and curtail GDP growth in 2019,” the IIF said. “Structural current account deficits are expected to sustain depreciation pressures on local currencies and upward pressures on yields of local currency bonds

What’s New Arlene Al-os, CPA, MBA YOU have not filed your income tax returns for the current year and previous years because: 1) you decided you are not required to file? 2) You are a victim of identity theft and therefore excused? 3) You know you will owe taxes and you will have to pay when you file, decided not to file; 4) You were out of the country and you forgot to file? 5) Any other excuses. If you are unsure if you are required to file, go to the IRS website and read on Publication 17 or ask your tax professional. If you owe taxes on your tax return and cannot pay in full, you can establish payment agreement file photo

in 2019,” it added. The peso had fallen to 13-year lows due to market concerns on the widening current account deficit as a result of the also expanding trade-in-goods deficit. As of June, the current account deficit ballooned to $3.1 billion— equivalent to 1.9 percent of GDP, from $133 million or only 0.1 percent of GDP a year ago. The government had reported that the trade deficit widened to $3.9 billion in September, the biggest monthly deficit so far this year, as imports jumped while merchandise exports declined that month. At end-September, the year-todate trade-in-goods deficit stood at $29.9 billion. In the case of the Philippines, India and Indonesia, the IIF said “the performance of merchandise trade has been the primary contributor to changes in current account balances for these three countries,” citing that “the correlations between quarterly move-

ments of goods balances and current accounts between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2018 are all well above 90 percent.” “Services balances and transfers are important buffers for current accounts in India and the Philippines. The quarterly surpluses from transfers and services averaged close to 6 percent and 11 percent of GDP for India and the Philippines, respectively, from the first quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2018. The Philippines received over 10 percent of GDP in remittances in 2017. The global business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is forecast to reach close to $200 billion in 2018, of which India will account for around 35 percent. Services, income, and transfers balances have been negatively correlated with the goods balances in India and the Philippines since 2010, providing much-needed cushions for their overall current account positions,” the IIF said.n

You have not filed your income tax returns for years? with the IRS if you are required to file and owe a balance. Here are the reasons why you should file. What happens if you do not file by the due date and you are required to file? 1. Unless there is reasonable cause and not willful neglect, you are subject to failure to file penalty of 5% of tax owed of each month up to a maximum of 25% with minimum penalty of $210 if more than 60-days late filing. 2. There is also failure to pay penalty of 0.5% of each month up to 25% of unpaid tax owed from due date until fully paid. 3. Interest is assessed from the original filing date on taxes not paid by due date. 4. File your income tax returns before the extension ends. If you don’t the IRS will file a return for you and accrues taxes based on

their records. You will receive a bill based on their calculation. 5. If you are due a refund, there is no penalty for failure to file BUT you could lose your refund. 6. There is a statute of limitation in claiming for refund even you did not file your income tax returns. 7. Refund Statute: You have to file your income tax returns within 3 years from the due date to claim the refund either issuance of check or application of overpayment to subsequent year/s tax liabilities. 8. If you have not filed your income tax returns for Tax Years 2012 and prior, and you are due with a refund, you will have to say bye-bye to those tax years’ refunds since it is already beyond


DUTCH financial giant ING Bank expects the Philippine economy to slow down further next year as inflation is expected to remain elevated while rate hikes may take its toll on growth. In a report, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa said the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) growth may ease to 6.1 percent in 2019 from the projected 6.2 percent in 2018. He added recent monetary policy adjustments are expected to sap economic growth momentum. In response to above-target in-

flation in 2018, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) unloaded an aggressive 175-basis point rate hike salvo that would continue to weigh on overall growth momentum in 2019. “Elevated borrowing costs will sap both consumption and investment momentum and this will be a key theme throughout 2019,” he said. The economist pointed out inflation is expected to trend lower and eventually fall within target by the second half after monetary and non-monetary policy measures feed into the economy. For the first half, Mapa said election-related spending would boost growth, but a five-month ban on public spending could

offset the positive momentum. “Post-election, decelerating inflation will partially restore lost purchasing power while also helping to lead financing costs lower. This should lead to a slightly faster pace of growth in second half as household spending, business investment and government spending accelerate from the first half,” he said. Mapa said three main threats and opportunities next year include the current account position of the country, the hawkish stance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the pressure on the peso would largely determine whether the country would be able to outpace its growth path or slip below forecast.n

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond

A Christmas Story: The Innkeeper’s Untold Tale

Monette AdevA MAglAyA

“As he told the story of that wondrous night to Luke, Joshua carefully removed himself from the narrative. It was to be between him and God alone”

JOSHUA was excited with his new job at the inn. It sure beats having to herd sheep this time of the year when the cold nights chilled his bones on the hillside pasture where he tended his family’s small herd of sheep and cattle. The job fell to his younger brother this time. Jacob, the owner of the inn was his father’s friend who had asked if Joshua could help him mind the inn for a little while as he and his wife will be going on a long journey. Jacob liked and trusted Joshua like the son he never had. The young man was a good worker and a natural who quickly picked up the ropes of the business. Not long after, Jacob and his wife left for their journey to the town north of the country where they were born many miles away to comply with the Roman emperor Augustus’ decree that everyone be counted for the census. Few, if any, in Israel dared disobey the mighty Roman Empire. The inn was busy. People for miles around were on the move going back to their own hometowns. The brisk business brought by overnight travellers in their otherwise sleepy town tired him out. Yet, he felt pretty proud of himself of the work he was doing. Today, just before sundown, he had filled the 12 modestly furnished rooms with tired and hungry travellers. He thought of meeting up with his shepherd friends in the pasture once he had turned over the inn’s affairs to the

night attendant. He had heard his shepherd friends on night watch talk about an unusually bright star that has been moving in the heavens for many nights now. They said it was a spectacle to behold and he wanted to see it for himself. The rumor buzzing around town was that the soothsayers in King Herod’s palace studying the unusual heavenly display were cowering in fear, loathe to tell the king the meaning of the unusual star. Eventually, they had to tell the king for nothing escapes him. Herod did not suffer fools gladly. The prophecy will come to pass. The king to rule all kings was to be born very soon within the kingdom. It was no wonder King Herod was in a vicious mood. Joshua thought the ruthless king would remove all threats to his kingship by all means fair or foul. It was bad enough he had to bow to the superior might of the Roman conquerors who had allowed him to be king within his territory. Just as Joshua was about to lock up for the night, a couple came in. The man, visibly tired and leaning on his staff with one hand, was supporting the woman who was heavy with child with his other hand. The woman looked to be in some pain. Still, Joshua noted the stately calm, grace and beauty about her. There was this mysterious glow. The man asked Joshua for a room and told him

his wife was about to give birth. Alas, the last room has been let and Joshua told him so. Joshua glanced at the woman and his heart was filled with pity. He thought quickly of his own home for them to stay for the night but it was some distance away. He had to think and act quickly. It looks like the woman was about to give birth at any moment. Joshua had seen to his own mother at childbirth. He had helped his own father deliver some of his brothers himself. “Maybe, I have something for you. It’s not much but it would get you through this cold night at least,” he told the couple. “Come with me.” Joshua gathered some blankets and sheets quickly. He gave instructions to his attendant to heat water. He then gathered food and other provisions. He moved in haste leading the couple to an empty stable a few yards at the back of the inn. Earlier in the day before the sun was up, he took to clearing the stable himself. He didn’t know why he did it. But now he was glad he did so. He thought the squalid stable with its walls and roof can shield this poor couple from the cold night as the woman delivers her child. Joshua gave the man the blankets and clean sheets, the warm water and some extra oil for the lamp to burn through the night.


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Debt Relief

ATTY. LAWRENCE YANG LET me give you the background on this case. The husband is 81 but still looks active. He is slim and sprightly. The wife is 79 and looks nervous. Normally, spouses are on the same track and agree what has to be done. But in this case, I’m not sure what is going on. The wife owes between $20,000 to $30,000 of credit cards, which are all past due. One card has sued her and she has agreed to a stipulated judgment promising to pay $150 a month. Other cards are threatening to sue. They call her every hour to collect their pound of flesh. The wife looks really worried. She says she hides under the table when they call. I guess she can’t take the stress caused by these credit cards. She says that she was able to pay these cards until she stopped working two years ago. She suffered some kind of trauma in her work and received disability payments for a while. She was a caregiver in a hospice and her patient had violently killed himself in front of her. This scene had caused her extreme mental anguish. She could no longer work as before. This work-related trauma qualified her to receive temporary disability, which recently expired. She did not feel like going back to work. She received social security of $700. Well, if she owed $20,000 credit cards, she would need at least $750 to keep $20,000 of credit cards current with minimum monthly payments. In other words, all of her social security would have to be used to pay credit cards and she would still be short $50. Where would she get $50? All eyes go to her husband. The husband has not given her the $50 so eventually, all her cards became past due. You know what happens when cards become past due, past due amount plus penalties make the bad situation even worse. As she said, they call her every hour to collect. One has sued her. They threaten to sue. They want all of her social security. What struck me the most was

Barrister’s Corner ATTY. KENNETH URSUA REYES CONSIDER this common factual situation. You are over 21 years old and your US citizen parent petitions you while you are inside the United States. Since this is a preference category, you have to wait many years for your priority date to be current. As the years go by, your petitioning parent dies which in turn revokes the petition. Can you still apply for your green card when your priority date becomes current? Under Section 204(l) of the immigration and nationality act, you may apply for a green card despite the death of the petitioner once your priority date becomes current as long as 1) you were in the United States at the time of the Petitioner’s death, and 2) you continuously resided in the United States until the present time when you apply for adjustment of status. This provision does not apply to beneficiaries that are outside the United States. This provision also applies to both approved and pending Petitions. This avenue is available to all family based petitions as outlined in INA section 204(l)(2). This includes 1)immediate relative petitions and 2)preference family petitions such as unmarried sons and daughters of us citizens, spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lpr, married sons and daughters of us citizens, and


A couple considers how to tackle debt relief for wife her statement that she had to hide under the table when they call. I believed her. She was clearly stressed out. I empathized with her. At her age, she should just be collecting social security and enjoying what’s left of her life, the golden years. She should not be living each day cowering in fear. Her life sucks. I’m wondering what’s going on with the husband. He says he also owed a bunch of cards. His social security is $2,000. He says in addition to social security, he still works full time. But the employer is not doing too well. Even though he owns 25 percent of the business, his paycheck of $2,000 does not come in consistently. There are times when the paycheck is delayed and he doesn’t get paid. It looks to me that there’s more stuff going on here, although it’s my policy not to get involved in matters that are between husband and wife. I think wife doesn’t want to be harassed by her creditors anymore. She can’t take the everyday stress and creditor collection calls every hour. In California, we only use tables to hide under during an earthquake. We don’t use them to hide under when creditors call to collect. The wife cannot do Chapter 7 because they own their house, which supposedly has more than $175,000 of equity. Being seniors, their homestead exemption is $175,000. In Chapter 7, there’s a big risk they might lose their house to the Chapter 7 trustee who will sell it and give them $175,000 in cash and use the rest to pay off her credit cards. It doesn’t make sense to lose your house because of credit cards. So, I will not file a Chapter 7 for them in this case. I will only file a Chapter 13 with the smallest possible plan payment so that there is no risk of losing the house. The wife obviously cannot pay her credit cards. She needs her $700 of social security to buy necessities. So why won’t her husband help her out in any way he can, like pay her credit cards? First, let me say that this is a matter between them as husband and wife. It initially looks to me that all their expenses are separate

— she pays her own expenses and he pays his own expenses. A de-facto pre-nuptial agreement when it comes to expenses. Second, there seems to be something that’s not being said. I can tell from the bodily movements. So, eventually what has not been said is now said. The husband is paying $1,000 a month for a $250,000 term life. He believes that when he dies, the $250,000 will help the surviving wife pay down their mortgage of $400,000. The wife doesn’t know what to think. All she knows is that since she stopped working, she’s has been and continues to be a nervous wreck because of the credit card debt. Her entire social security benefits are not enough to cover minimum monthly payments on the cards. I can only say that Chapter 13 will give her peace of mind, immediately. And, only God knows when we die. Whatever the outcome and the future, it’s better all around for peace of mind, not to have these credit cards around to bother you when you get older, right? So get rid of them now if you can with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. You don’t want them getting half or all of your social security or pension when you retire. Lastly, all of us will have to leave this world, sooner or later. We have frail and imperfect bodies because of sin. Without sin, we would have perfect bodies. We would never get sick and we would never die. True. Mortality is our human condition because Adam & Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Fortunately, Jesus died for us so we can have eternal life in heaven with our God who loves us so. So it’s all good. Death for us is not the end. It’s the beginning. *** Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in bankruptcy, business, real estate and civil litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 1000 S. Fremont Ave, Mailstop 58, Building A-1 Suite 1125, Alhambra, CA 91803. (Advertising Supplement)

Can I qualify for a green card despite the petitioner’s death?

brothers and sisters of us citizens. Derivative beneficiaries of pending or approved employmentbased immigrant visa petitions are also covered by this section. This includes the spouse and unmarried children under age 21 of an individual who was sponsored under the employment-based category. If you fail to meet the requirements of INA 204(l) because you did not continously reside in the US since the death of the Petitioner, you may still try to reinstate the Petition under 8 CFR Sec. 205.1(a)(3) Humanitarian Reinstatement. The DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) may exercise discretion “for humanitarian reasons” to reinstate the petition and to allow the Affidavit of Support requirements to be satisfied by the qualifying I-864 of a spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-inlaw, brother-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild or legal guardian of the beneficiary, as long as the petition was “approved” prior to the Petitioner’s death. DHS discretion does not mean “guaranteed” approval. The case will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Some of the factors that the DHS may consider are 1) disruption of an established family unit; 2) hardship to US citizens or lawful permanent residents; 3) beneficiary is elderly or in poor health; 4) beneficiary has had lengthy residence in the US; 4) beneficiary has no home to go to; 5)undue

delay by USCIS or consular officer in processing petition and visa; 6) and Beneficiary has strong family ties in the United States. The beneficiary must be prepared to show proof of the original I-130 that was filed, proof of I-130 approval if approved, a copy of the Petitioner’s death certificate, proof of substitute sponsor’s relationship to the beneficiary, and meet all the I-864 requirements. *** 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 has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail or visit our website at (Advertising Supplement

A Christmas Story: The Innkeeper’s...


He set a makeshift table for the bread, fish and wine and lit the lamp in one corner. He moved quickly as he helped the man make his wife comfortable. He could see the woman’s face etched in pain for the birth pangs seem to be stronger now. Beads of sweat lined the woman’s brow. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to meet up with his friends tonight. Somehow he knew his place was right here where he was needed for the long night ahead. Just before he went back to the inn to fetch a few more things, he said to them, “I’m Joshua. Let me know if you need anything else.” The man replied, “I’m Joseph and this is Mary. Thank you. You have done more than you can possibly know. The Lord’s light burns bright in you.” Mary looked up at Joshua and smiled through her pain. For as long as he lived, Joshua will never forget that smile. Mary’s child was born that night. Joshua could not remember a night more filled with wonder, mystery and myriad points of light. It was a night like no other. Joshua’s entire being was en-

gulfed with the mystery happening before his very eyes. He remembered Mary wrapping her child gently in swaddling clothes and placing the child in a manger. The child was bathed in light. The whole stable was filled with warmth. Soft, sweet music seem to emanate from a choir of angels above the stable and a sweet heavenly fragrance wafted through the air. Joshua’s shepherd friends came to visit the child. How could they have known? His friends told him that an angel told them about the good news. They were led to the stable where they found the child. Filled with awe, they knelt before the child who was to be king. Later on that night, three men garbed in royal splendor and bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh travelling from afar, came to pay the child homage. They had been following the bright star hovering about the heavens for many nights leading them to that dusty town called Bethlehem. Many years later in his old age, the memory of that night still stayed with Joshua. He had remained the innkeeper. He had struck a friendship with a man

called Luke, a physician who was a regular guest at the inn. He observed that the thoughtful, quiet Luke was always writing in rolls of papyrus in his room. Not wanting to keep the wonders of that night to be forgotten when he passed, Joshua told the story to Luke. As he told the story of that wondrous night, Joshua carefully removed himself from the narrative. It was to be between him and God alone. Joshua’s life was never the same again. The light of that bright night burned in his soul forever. He could not have known at the time he was witness to the unfolding of the greatest mystery on earth. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL! *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@ To read past articles, click on the link Online: asianjournaldigitaledition” http://issuu. com/asianjournaldigitaledition or you can do searches in the least invasive search engine duckduckgo or bing or yahoo even before agenda-driven google.


Calendar of Events across



JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles features Sou Fujimoto: Futures of the Future exhibition JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is pleased to announce the upcoming SOU FUJIMOTO: FUTURES OF THE FUTURE exhibition, taking place Oct. 27 - Dec. 12, 2018 at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, located at Hollywood & Highland. Named the Wall Street Journal’s Architecture Innovator of The Year in 2014, Fujimoto has designed public and private buildings around the world since establishing his atelier in 2000. This exhibition is a showcase of over 100 models and large-scale photographs of past and current projects by the celebrated Japanese architect. Fujimoto addresses many opposite concepts, including the recurring theme the “primitive future.” This apparent contradiction refers to the primordial, intuitive moments that reconnect us with our own humanity, and open us up to new possibilities. His designs often feature juxtapositions of outside and inside, nature and urbanity, objects and spaces, public and private. And, his work considers the macro and micro: when does an object become a space? Exhibition dates from Oct. 27 to Dec. 12 are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, except Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving Day 11/22). JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (inside Hollywood & Highland). Admission is free. For more information, please call (800) 516-0565 or visit

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Art exhibit inspired by Filipino food movement in Santa Ana, CA In “Super Sarap” — from November 3 to December 15 at Gallery 6/67 — three artists Mik Gaspay, Jeanne Jalandoni, and O.M. France Viana revisit commonplace objects and food within Filipino cooking. Through sculpture and photography, the artists elicit personal and collective memories and offer cultural connections that go beyond the Philippine diaspora. The exhibition title, “Super Sarap,” fuses both English and Tagalog together, to hold multiple meanings. It can convey something that is extremely delicious, an expression of excitement and affirmation. Artists in “Super Sarap” play with these definitions and mutate symbols, making them both strange and familiar, challenging the expectations of cultural norms. It is guest curated by Patricia Cariño Valdez, an independent curator based in Oakland, CA. In addition to the exhibit, there will be two art and culinary events: an intimate four-course gourmet dinner prepared by acclaimed Orange County Chefs, Ross Pangilinan of Mix Mix Kitchen Bar on November 15 and Chef Ryan Garlitos of Irenia Restaurant on December 9 combined with an exhibition walk-through. The opening reception for Super Sarap will be on Saturday, November 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. Gallery 6/67 is located at 404 West 4th St., Suite K (2nd floor), Santa Ana, CA 92701. Gallery visits are by appointment. For more information about the exhibit and related events, visit

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Healing Mass with Rev. Fr. Corsie Legaspi in Reseda, CA Come experience the healing power led by Rev. Fr. Corsie Legaspi on Wednesday, December 5 at 7 p.m. It will be held at St. Catherine of Siena (18115 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335). Contact Divinia Encina at (310) 212-6083 or Rosalie Corpuz at (626) 825-5327 for more information.

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Visayan Voices “Concert for a Cause” in LA The Filipino American Media & Entertainment (FAME), in cooperation with 24/7 Keep In Touch Homecare, Inc. is producing a Concert for A Cause known as Visayan Voices on Friday, Dec. 7 6 p.m. at the Filipino Cultural Center located at 1740 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. All the singers are Visayans with Jo Awayan as the main performer who will be singing some Visayan songs like “Usahay,” “Matud Nila,” “Gimingaw Ako” and some Original Pilipino Music (OPM) songs like “Bukas Kita Mamahalin,” written by Jimmy Borja. Other Visayan performers are: Ciamara Morales, Usher Turek, Lani Sapphire, Athena Durano, Judy D’ Novelty Entertainer, Bona Montemayor, Caren Mempin & Kara Felicity. Diane “Didi” Caneda will perform belly dancing and Justin Rivera will do a comedy magic. It will be hosted by Celine Cortez. There will be a disco ballroom dancing, music by April Velasco and the Hearts of Rhythm after the concert. There is a $45 entrance fee which includes dinner, show and dance. A part of the proceeds will be donated to the landslide victims in Naga City, Cebu. For more information, you may contact Freddie at (818) 350-9609, Jhoy at (714) 683-3219, Lani at (323) 427-0262 or Lotlot at (760) 486-7911 or email,

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Free oil filter exchange in Hacienda Heights, CA ATTENTION ALL HACIENDA HEIGHTS RESIDENTS: Free Oil Filter & Motor Oil Recycling Event! Everyone is invited to bring in their used motor oil and used oil filters on Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All those who recycle their used oil filter will receive one FREE new Oil Filter. Recycling motor oil and filters helps save our environment and keeps our water clean. So don’t miss out – we’re making it easier for you to keep your car running smoothly and efficiently. It will be held at O’Reilly Auto Parts at 15840 E Gale Ave., Hacienda Heights, CA 91745.

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Food for Action: A Filipino food movement gathering in Culver City, CA NextDayBetter + Los Angeles is back on Sunday, December 9 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. with a gathering where culinary tastemakers, foodies, storytellers and changemakers come together to push the Filipino diaspora forward. Together, we feast over Filipino inspired food, libations, stories, and world-changing ideas. The event will feature a fireside chat with Allie Cuerdo, the director and producer of “ULAM: Main Dish,” followed by a Filipino food movement panel with Alvin Cailan (The Usual NYC/Eggslut), Chase Valencia (LASA), Adrienne Borlongan (Wanderlust Creamery), Barb Batiste (Big Boi / B Sweet), and Johneric Concordia (The Park’s Finest). The conversation will be moderated by SOSUPERSAM. The event will take place at Playa Studios (11260 Playa Ct, Culver City, CA 90230). Early bird tickets are $35, regular price is $40. Ticket price comes with access to panel plus food and drinks from popular LA vendors. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://nextdaybetterla.splashthat. com/.

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Long Beach Parol Lantern Festival The inaugural Long Beach Parol Lantern Festival will be held on Saturday, December 15 from 5 to 10 p.m. along Pine Ave. and 4th Street in Long Beach, CA. Celebrate and learn about the Filipino holiday tradition in Downtown Long Beach. There will be parol making lessons, food, entertainment, and more! Inspired by the SF Parol Lantern Fest, Chef Romeo Garcia of Rome Chocolates forged a team of people in the Long Beach community to assist in getting his vision for this event off the ground and onto Pine Ave. The Long Beach Bacolod Association is the non-profit partner for this inaugural event which is sponsored by Romeo Chocolates and First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez. For more information, please visit http://www.lbparollanternfest. com.

PAFCOM’s 3rd Annual ‘Pasko sa Hudson Mall’ in Jersey City PAFCOM is inviting the community to join ‘Pasko sa Hudson Mall’, on Saturday, December 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be health screenings (blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI/weight screening and general health counsellors will be present. There will be Zumba from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon and line dancing from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. There will also be live music and caroling, face painting and tattooing for the entire family.

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


B DECEMBER 5-7, 2018 • SoCal ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

Tax amnesty faces delay PAGE B1 t

he said. Dominguez earlier also warned that the government stood to lose P15 billion in additional revenues if Congress would not include the automatic exchange of information and the bank secrecy relaxation. Tax reform package 1B covers the tax amnesty and other tax administration measures, including higher motor vehicle user’s charge, which were removed by the Senate from the version of the first tax reform package passed by the Lower House last year. Dominguez had said that the government was planning to im-

plement the tax amnesty by April next year to coincide with the deadline for the filing of income tax returns. Once package 1B is passed, it will add about P40 billion in revenues, based on earlier DOF estimates. In July, Dominguez said the proposed tax amnesty program “will help clear the dockets as well as enable the transfer of stranded real properties so that they can be made economically useful.” Under the DOF’s proposal, the government will offer estate tax amnesty wherein it would collect only 6 percent of the net undeclared estate tax for those

who died prior to Jan. 1 this year. Estate tax used to be a higher 20 percent. Also, the DOF had proposed “a general tax amnesty on all unpaid internal revenue taxes excluding internal revenue taxes arising from importation and customs duties,” Dominguez had said. The finance chief had also said they wanted to offer amnesty on tax delinquencies at a rate of 50 percent on the basic tax, excluding interest charges and surcharges. “For those already facing criminal cases in court, we are proposing a rate of 80 percent of the basic tax only,” he said. n

mover advantage in such a competitive environment is critical.” Additionally, the report identified key tips to help brands win the shopping season blitz: Leverage Data — leverage crossdevice data to stay on top of shoppers’ needs and foster even deeper connections; Start Early — get the ball rolling with concentrated marketing efforts as early as possible; Personalize it — demonstrate a deeper understanding of individual shopping patterns by providing consumers with customized and curated of-

fers; and Reward the loyal — using purchase history, online and social behavior, brands can engage and reward customers. “Data from social listening can help brands test the effectiveness of campaigns and derive actionable insights,” Mahmood said. “By understanding the volume and sentiment of what’s being said about them during a specific period or in relation to a specific topic, brands can identify whether or not it is worth investing more resources towards that end.” ( n

Christmas: The online shopping...


was the most talked about in the Philippines; and Lazada emerged triumphant in Malaysia. “The common thread between the winning brands — whether that is Lazada, Amazon or Shopee — lies in their early planning and ability to start campaigns earlier, “ said Mimrah Mahmood, regional director for Media Solutions at Meltwater Asia Pacific. “Whether that is locking down influencers early or working with merchants for promotional activity, it’s clear that having a first



Inflation to finally start slowing... PAGE B1t

Analysts from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and Moody’s Analytics, meanwhile, said inflation likely slowed to 6.5 percent last month. AIM Department of Economics associate professor Emmanuel Leyco pointed to hefty fuel price cuts but added that food prices overall could have continued to rise given the impact of recent typhoons. Moody’s Analytics economist Katrina Ell also highlighted lower global oil prices and added that pressure for further Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) rate hikes would have eased. “Emerging market volatility has cooled while inflation has passed its peak, giving the BSP some much needed breathing space heading into the new year,” she said. Lower oil, fuel prices Dubai crude prices have fallen week-on-week by nearly $4.00 per barrel, while Mean of Platts Singapore gasoline and diesel have also dropped by about $3.70 and $3.00 per barrel respectively, according to a November 21 Energy department report. Local oil companies have cut pump prices for seven consecutive weeks, with diesel and gasoline now down by over P9 and P8 per liter, respectively, with

another reduction of around P2/liter expected to be announced this week. Higher fuel prices have been blamed for spurring inflation well past the 2.0-4-0 percent target, prompting monetary authorities to raise key interest rates five consecutive times for a total of 175 basis points (bps). Meanwhile, HSBC analysts said inflation could have declined to 6.4 percent given administrative measures taken by the government to curb food prices. “That said, we see continued upside risks to inflation in the near term, particularly in early 2019 as the second tranche of tax increases are scheduled to be implemented. We expect a 25-bp hike in first-quarter 2019, bringing the reverse repo (repurchase) rate to 5.00 percent,” they added. DBS economist Masyita Crystallin offered a 6.3 percent forecast and also said: “I think inflation will ease next year, but might still stay above BSP upper limit of 4 percent.” “Currently I pencil in 4.7 percent [for] 2019 and … 3.8 percent in 2020,” she added. ING Bank Manila, the University of Asia & the Pacific (UA&P), Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) and Nomura Securities Ltd. all believe November inflation rate fell to 6.2 percent.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Antonio Mapa claimed that price pressures on the basket-heavy food component had eased substantially as supply conditions normalized. “The continued slide in the inflation print shows that headline inflation will indeed display another humped shape curve (like 2008) given the supply side nature of the recent inflation blow up,” he added. Rate hike pause This development gives would give the doves in the BSP’s policymaking Monetary Board all the ammunition they need to call for a pause at a meeting later this month, Mapa continued. UA&P economist Victor Abola, meanwhile, said the biggest fall in November inflation would be seen in transportation given an over 20percent fall in crude oil prices. Metrobank Research head Marc Bautista also highlighted lower commodity prices. “We expect BSP to maintain rates especially if inflation surprises on the down side but there is always a risk of another rate hike to compress inflation and make it to come down faster,” he added. Nomura’s Euben Paracuelles said the “significant drop from October reflects the sharp fall in retail fuel prices as well as rice




B5 DECEMBER 5-7, 2018 • SoCal ASIAN JOURNAL • (818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797

People and Events

Volunteers wanted to decorate City Winter Solstice Craft Fair & Vintage of Alhambra’s 91st Rose Parade float Market, Dec. 8 at Duarte Statue Plaza CELEBRATE the holidays at the 4th Annual Winter Solstice Craft Fair and Vintage Market on December 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Andres Duarte Statue and the adjacent Grace Fellowship Church, 1551 Huntington Drive. The event is sponsored by the Duarte Historical Society & Museum. Admission is free. Unique handcrafted items and vintage wares will be for sale while

food and entertainment will add to the festivities,” says Nick Montalvo, DHSM event coordinator. “And it will give an opportunity to our local artists to showcase their talents.” In perfect timing for holiday shopping the fair will offer unique gifts handcrafted by local artists. Boosting the spirit, the Senior Choir from the Duarte Senior Center will entertain with holiday

songs on the Plaza at 11 a.m. and the Sounds of Harmony, a Sweet Adeline’s Chorus, will perform at 1 p.m. Monrovian Jim Constantian will play music by Glenn Miller on his vintage photographs throughout the day. Vendors interested in participating may apply the museum website: www.RanchoDeDuarte. org. or call Karen Levein at (626) 201-1449. ■

City of Arcadia kicks off holiday season with Christmas Tree Lighting celebration

Original Drawing by Miss Grace Blackwell.

THE City is looking to recruit volunteers to decorate the City of Alhambra’s Rose Parade float. For those interested in volunteering, please view the Volunteer Decoration schedule and guidelines at www. file/201810/2018_rose_parade_ volunteers_20181024_142522. pdf. You can also register to volunteer by visiting the Parks and Recreation Catalog of Activities page or by calling (626) 5703242. The City of Alhambra and the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce have been working on the annual process of selecting a float design and beginning construction for several months now, but this year the design process was helped with the expertise of 5th grade students in Alhambra. The theme for the 2019 Rose Parade is “The Melody of Life”, which revolves around the universal language of music and

2019 Rose Parade Float Adaptation “Home Tweet Home.”

how music shapes our lives. With this year’s theme focused on music, the design contest was opened to any 5th grader in an elementary school in the City of Alhambra, because 5th graders are some of the youngest students that are exposed to music lessons in schools, and they have great imaginations! From the dozens of submissions received, the drawing that stood out the most was created by Miss Grace Blackwell of St. Therese School. She drew a float that featured a “gingerbread” style cottage with trees full of singing birds all around, and a mother standing outside holding her baby and singing along with the birds. The drawing was then adapted into a 35foot long Rose Parade float entitled “Home Tweet Home”, as the cottage was designed into a Victorian-era birdhouse with a family of birds singing, chirping and tweeting along to their own

melody. At this time, the “Home Tweet Home” float is built, and sitting in a float barn in Irwindale, waiting to be decorated in December. There are several volunteer opportunities to decorate the City of Alhambra’s float, starting with Dry Decoration days in December. Dry decorating consists of working with dried organic material like seeds, beans, legumes, corn husks, rice, and dried flower petals. These materials help create the different textures of a float design, and since they are dried, they are applied well before the parade on January 1. Dry Decorating dates are the first four Saturdays in December, the 1, 8, 15, and 22, and the decorating shift is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The intensive week-long floral decorating period begins on Wednesday, December 26 through Sunday, December 30, with two shifts per day: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. ■

LA County library has new, improved mobile app LA County Library has launched a new mobile app, available for iOS and Android, with a range of new features and functions. The app makes it easy to browse the collection, get details on items, make a selection, check out an item or place a hold for later pick up, and renew items previously checked out. Customers will be able to check out eBooks and audiobooks with one-click, and either stream in their browser or

link to their OverDrive account. “Many of our customers use their mobile device to access information online, and we’re excited that our new easy-to-use app allows them to enjoy the library, wherever they go,” said LA County Library Director Skye Patrick. “The app was designed to provide convenient, quick information to our customers.” Customers can search the nearby library locations through

the app’s locator feature, which displays location addresses and hours. The account management tool allows customers to customize the app layout, view fines and fees, and link multiple library accounts together—a great feature for families. Popular website pages can be accessed through the app as well. Search LA County Library in the App Store or Google Play to download the new app now. ■

THE City of Arcadia celebrates the start of the holiday season with the fourth annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration on Thursday, December 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event takes place at the Arcadia Transit Plaza on the corner of Santa Clara Street and North First Avenue, and will feature the lighting of the official Christmas Tree in Arcadia by the Mayor, City Council, and Santa Claus. Santa will arrive on an Arcadia Fire Truck and help the Mayor “flip the switch,” bringing the festive tree to life with lights and

decorations. The celebration includes free cocoa and cookies, strolling carolers, a kids’ craft table where youngsters can decorate their own ornaments, face painting, and holiday photos. One of the highlights of this event is the holiday craft market featuring a variety of local, handcrafted items, gifts, and foods. Bring a little joy to the children in need in our community by donating a new, unwrapped toy. The City will deliver the donated toys to the Foothill Unity Center in time for their annual toy distribution.

Don’t forget to join us for our other fun holiday festivities. The merriment starts at the beginning of December with two holiday events. The always popular Breakfast with Santa is on December 1 at the Community Center with two options for breakfast: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The Holiday Snow Festival is also on December 1 at the Community Center from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. For additional information, please contact Laena Shakarian at or 574-5434. ■


weigh the upward pressures exerted by the wage, transport fare and electricity prices,” he added. Rice prices tagged Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, meanwhile, attributed the department’s 6.3-percent projection to lower rice prices. “Rice prices have gone down, also vegetables,” he said, adding that, “administrative measures that the President ordered in the third week of September are in

effect already. That month, the government issued Administrative Order 13 that lifted non-tariff barriers and administrative restrictions on the importation of agricultural products. Memorandum Order 26 was also released, directing the Trade and Agriculture departments to implement measures to reduce the gap between farmgate and retail prices. ■

Inflation to finally start slowing...

prices finally declining.” Bank of the Philippine Islands Vice-President and lead economist Emilio Neri Jr. had the lowest inflation forecast of 6.1 percent, which he pegged on a global oil price collapse from mid-October through mid-November. “Improving supply side pressures in food also continued to ease, which combined with falling petroleum prices far out-

You have notified your income tax returns...


the refund statute. 9. Filing after Refund Statute: You lose the refund and can no longer receive a check nor apply the overpayment to your future tax liabilities. 10. There is no statute of limitation if you fail to file your income tax returns. This only means that the IRS can still audit and collect taxes for all years you did not file your income tax returns. It will be a nightmare! 11. Consider filing Form 1127 Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship. Meaning it

will be inconvenient and you will suffer financial loss if you pay in full. Supporting documentation. You will be required to attach: 1) statement of your assets and liabilities, and 2) an itemized list of your income and expenses for each of the 3- months prior to the due date of the tax. If you are not sure ask your tax professional. 12. Do not ignore your tax bill it could just be an error. It is important that you review and if there is an error, write to the IRS office using the address on the notice within the time allowed. ***

Disclaimer: Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication is neither intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid taxrelated penalties. *** Al-os & Associates Accountancy Corporation provides accounting and tax services to individuals, corporations, LLCs and business entities. The Firm has a niche in defending taxpayers audited by the IRS and other governmental agencies. (Advertising Supplement)

(818) 502-0651 • (213) 250-9797 •




Asian Journal

mdwk The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

Wednesday, DECEMBER 5, 208







cover story The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

What’s next for Kelsey Merritt after making history as the first Filipina model in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show by

MoMar G. Visaya / AJPress

KELSEY Merritt made history on November 8 when she became the first Filipina woman to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, an annual spectacular event that highlights some of the best and wellknown fashion models in the industry including stalwarts such as Adriana Lima, Gigi Hadid, and Kendall Jenner among others. And finally this past weekend on Sunday, December 2, the rest of the world saw the fashion show (from pink-carpet interviews, model profiles and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the event included) shot and produced live at Pier 94 in New York City, as it was screened online and on ABC network. Kelsey was the fourth model to walk during the PINK segment of the show as singer Bebe Rexha performed “I’m A Mess.” The historic casting is not

lost on the 22–year–old model who grew up in Pampanga watching the fashion show as an impressionable teen. “Siyempre lumaki ako sa Pilipinas, lahat ng mga Pinoy superfan ng Victoria’s Secret tapos wala pang Pinay na naging Victoria’s Secret so nung lumipat ako sa New York, gusto ko maging unang Pinoy na makapasok, naging goal ko talaga na maging part nito kasi wala pang nakagawa nun (I grew up in the Philippines and every Filipino is a super fan of Victoria’s Secret and no Filipina has walked the fashion show so when I moved to New York, I wanted to be the first one to get in, it became my goal to be a part of it because no one has done it yet), ” she remarked in a recent interview with the Asian Journal. Back in July 2017, Kelsey tweeted, “Mark this tweet.  Makakapag VS din ako balang araw (I’ll be a VS model too

someday) #lawofattraction ” One can call it destiny, claiming it, or in her own words, law of attraction. She achieved her dream a little more than a year later. On September 7, she posted on her Instagram account the big news that she has been working on since she moved to New York. “WE DID IT PHILIPPINES,” she wrote, followed by exactly six exclamation points and three Philippine flags. “What an honor it is to be the first Filipino to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018!!! Ahhhhhh I can’t believe this!!” “When I booked it, I was so happy and more than that, everyone else was happy. Parang there was nothing more accurate than me saying that my success felt like the success of the whole country,” she added. Behind the hard work First, it was not a walk in the park. To say that she had to go through the wringer would be an understatement. “I am not exaggerating when I say that this is literally the hardest job you can get in the world. It was so hard that there has never been a Filipino in it. I can’t explain how much hard work I put in on this,” she said. Since she was already represented by an agency, she was told a couple of months before the casting process began that she was “pre-approved”, meaning she did not have to go through the casting cattle calls with hundreds of other models. They choose a select number of girls to do the first casting and when they told her that she was going through, she told herself ‘This is it. This is my chance.’ Her agent then told her three things: she had to prepare herself, she had to work out and she had to, well, look her best. So she did. She worked out regularly and changed her diet, removing pizza and burger out of the equation. The thing with the fashion show is that there was actually no guarantee as to who gets to go through, even for girls who are already working for the brand. But she was hopeful. Kelsey went on the second day of casting and that’s when the models learn if they get a callback for the next round of screenings. She hurdled that step. Next was the runway walk. “The callback happened a week after the first casting. It was the real deal, the big girls fighting for spots. I go in this room and I see all these girls that I follow and admire,” Kelsey recalled. “We all want the same job. It was freaking me out, I never imagined I’d be in that situation.” Faced with her competition, Kelsey realized she was already telling herself that if ever she didn’t get in, it was already a great experience to be in that

room with all of the girls. She found out the good news a few days later when she went to her agency for another casting job.  “I saw the flowers and they told me I got the show. It was the most nerve-wracking thing. The anticipation was killing me,” she shared. Journey to modeling Kelsey was born in Pampanga. She grew up there and that’s where she went for her high school studies. She didn’t know about modeling and how there was an industry behind it. “I was so detached from Manila that I was living in my own world in Pampanga,” she admitted. A friend of hers did modeling and she would go to Manila for modeling jobs. “I found it interesting so I started going with them and my career started there,” she recalled. Kelsey began doing fashion shows, photo shoots, editorials and ad campaigns. Then she moved to Manila when she enrolled for college at the Ateneo, where she took up communication. She graduated in 2017. The Fashion Show For two months, Kelsey prepared and worked hard to prepare for her Victoria’s Secret runway debut. On the night of the show, she was worried that her nerves might take over, although she knew that with the preparation she had to do for the show, she felt ready. Then she relaxed. “All I could feel was that I was excited to be there. I was expecting to be nervous but I wasn’t,” she shared. “The energy backstage was so good and everyone was lifting each other up. It was a good atmosphere and I was so excited and thankful to be there.” The moment she was on the runway, she relished it although she couldn’t really see the crowd and all she could see was the lights and the cameras. She also shared a story that happened during rehearsal. Kelsey looks up to Adriana Lima and back when she was still based in the Philippines watching the VS fashion show, she would copy the poses Adriana would do. On the sidelines, she watched Adriana, the quintessential Victoria’s Secret girl, as she did her thing. “She is beautiful and so amazing on the runway. It was an emotional time because it was her last show and VS gave her a tribute. Every model at the rehearsal was crying,” Kelsey said. “To be able to walk with her on her last show…I felt honored. This was someone I looked up to growing up and I couldn’t believe I was a part of it. It meant a lot to me.” Inspire young girls “Never did I imagine that I’d be on that runway,” Kelsey said, after achieving her dream of working with Victoria’s Secret and walking the runway for the VS fashion show. “Coming from my experience, this is

Kelsey shared on her Instagram account a few photos taken during the fashion show, reminding her followers to watch the show when it airs on ABC. Kelsey also posted her photo with boyfriend Conor Dwyer, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in swimming. Photos from Instagram/@KelseyMerritt

Kelsey Merritt

Photo by Troi Santos

Model Kelsey Merritt announced on Instagram that she will be the first Filipina to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Photo from Instagram/@KelseyMerritt

something that I never thought would be possible.” “If I could go back and tell myself, I would tell her ‘Dream hard, dream big!’ Don’t limit yourself to what you think you can only do,” she added. Kelsey had brunch recently with her parents who are both still based in Pampanga and they told her that they’re so proud of her. “My mom is my number one stalker. For her to see me grow from a small town girl to now a Victoria’s Secret model. She’s my number one fan,” she said. Pinay New Yorker Kelsey’s life has changed throughout this whole process. A day in the life of this VS model: “When I wake up, I have my coffee, then go to the gym. If I have casting, then I do that. I usually do my workouts before work so I don’t have to think about it anymore.” She lives a healthy lifestyle and works out every day to accommodate the occasional cheat meals, which is usually just desserts and sweets. “That’s the hardest thing I had to give up in preparation for the show. I could give up pasta, burgers no problem. I have to have it every day,” she said. When she’s not working out, she’s at home, which is her place to go unwind. “I am a homebody, I love staying at home reading books. New York is great but it also crazy,” she explained. For her comfort food? “Pinoy food talaga, Pinoy siyempre (Pinoy food really, Pinoy always),” she said laughing. “I love bistek, super. Adobo,

sinigang, lahat (all of it).” In her apartment, she only cooks Filipino dishes. “Pag pumupunta ako sa Filipino restaurant dito, parang hindi siya parehas, parang gusto ko ako yung nagluluto. Alam ko yung gusto ko, yung lasa at timpla (When I go to a Filipino restaurant here it’s not the same, I like it when I cook. I know what I want, the taste and the exact blend),” she quipped. Next goal So, what’s up next for her? Her initial next goal after VS was to work with Vogue, which also happened as well with a recent feature on Teen Vogue. So she recalibrated to focus on her next goal now. “Maybe do a designer show, like walk for Dior or Dolce & Gabbana. Something big, something I never thought I’d ever do” she said, putting it out there like she did when she tweeted in July 2017 her Victoria’s Secret aspirations. For now, it’s sky is the limit for this young model, keeping a positive outlook despite comments from netizens and bashers that her Victoria’s Secret casting was not revolutionary because she looks more white than Filipina. Kelsey chooses to engage with fans and supporters instead, particularly those who have been with her since day one. “You guys have always been there for me. I hope I can meet all of you when I go home to the Philippines. Sobrang thank you sa lahat ng support ninyo (Thank you to all of your support),” she said.

Cherie Gil: ‘Don’t call me tita’ by Cody


IN the entertainment industry, not everything is taught in acting workshops. For veteran actress Cherie Gil, however, certain actors’ etiquette should just well be. It was Tony Award-winning singer-actress Lea Salonga who took to Facebook recently to share the wise words of Gil, who gave her own rules when it comes to the accepted behavior of actors toward her and the people they work with in the industry. “Written by my friend, the incomparable Cherie Gil,” Sa-

longa wrote on Dec. 3, sharing Gil’s actors’ etiquette. What could be the first on Gil’s actors’ etiquette, one may ask. Firstly, she urged that she not be kissed out of courtesy or be called a “tita.” “NEVER ever kiss me in greeting, out of so called politeness and courtesy, if I don’t know who the hell you are!” Gil wrote. “Introduce yourself first! And pllleeeaaasssee don’t call me TITA unless we are blood related (or super super close fam friends).” Gil also believes that what the director instructs an actor should not be repeated to a co-actor.

“Never TEACH your co actor or tell her/him how he should do the scene or his part UNLESS you need something from the actor which would help you in your own process. BUT ask kindly and humbly.” The use of cellphones and “retouching” is a no-no for Gil, too, especially when during blocking or a reading of a scene. “I promise I’ll either slap you or walk out on you,” she said menacingly in Lavinia fashion. Lavinia is the mean character she played in the 1985 film “Bituing Walang Ningning.” Being a veteran actress herself, Gil reminded fellow

artists that they should never make any actor wait for them when called to the set. “ESPECIALLY senior actors,” she emphasized. Art, she believes, is a collaboration. “There is always room to learn from and grow with one another. So… please throw your effing ugly EGO out the window.” Gil also added that there are different types of ego and one must learn to know the differences of each. “KEEP the good kind which is necessary for creativity and your own preservation of self worth!” Ditto.

Cherie Gil

GMA photo


The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

Rayver wants to prove that there’s more to him than dancing by oliver

M. PuluMbarit

ACTOR Rayver Cruz always wanted to prove that there’s more to him than dancing. With his drama series “Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko,� he’s finally getting that chance—and he’s enjoying every minute of it. “Well, there are developments—as time goes on; the Edward Barber and Maymay Entrata, also known as the love team MayWard. show gets deeper, and becomPhoto from Instagram/@edward_barber ing more serious,� he told the Inquirer in Filipino, prior to shooting scenes at a hospital in Quezon City. “Kaabang-abang. I enjoy it, because there’s a mix of emotions, especially whenever there are fight scenes between Kris (Bernal) and Thea Maymay’s stint at Arab Fashion Nagdala ka ng karangalan sa by Jan Milo Severo (Tolentino).� Week in Dubai. ating bansa at ipinakita mo sa It gets even better when He also said that after the mga tao kung paano yakapin his character is caught in that KAPAMILYA young star ang totoong pagkatao nila,� he fashion show, Maymay’s star emotional “conflagration,� the Edward Barber wrote an apshines brighter. wrote. 29-year-old actor added. preciation post for his onscreen “And after Dubai... you’re “You’re an inspiration “For me, when the three of partner Maymay Entrata after shining brighter than any star in to many, not just me. It’s an us share a scene, it feels really her successful Dubai fashion the sky. I’m happy I get to be absolute pleasure to share this good. Napakahusay ng dalshow stint. the moon who gets to watch journey with you. You went awa,� he said of his costars. On his Instagram account, you from afar. Forever your into PBB as a girl with a dream, The afternoon soap, about Edward wrote it was a pleasnumber 0 fan,� Edward said. just a girl looking at the stars. a love triangle involving a transure sharing the journey with The young actress is the Eventually you became one of gender woman, Venus (Thea); Maymay. first Filipina to walk in what is them,� he added. her husband, Gavin (Rayver); “You’re a star. An absolute considered as the most prestigThe Kapamilya teen actor and former wife, Rachel (Kris), star. I know this is long overdue was proud of his partner’s acious fashion show event in the has gotten positive reactions on but you shouldn’t forget this: Middle East. complishment, especially with Twitter, since its debut a month

Edward to Maymay: You’re an inspiration to me

ago. “I’m happy. There’s no criticism from [trans people], so far,� he said. “Gets nila (They get it).� On Janine Gutierrez’s

(his rumored girlfriend) post welcoming him back to GMA 7 and plugging the show on Instagram, Rayver expressed gratitude, saying that industry Continued on Page 4


Catriona Gray hints ‘national costume’ related to Christmas

it represents Christmas,� Gray said in a Facebook live. PHILIPPINE bet to Miss Gray added that Universe 2018 Catriona Gray her costume is heavy. gave hints on her national cosThe Miss Unitume attire for the prestigious verse 2018 national pageant. costume competition In a Facebook live, the will be held on DeBicolana beauty who is now in cember 10 in Pattaya, Bangkok, Thailand for the pagThailand. eant said her costume is related Gray shared that to the Christmas season. Pattaya is a three“It’s never been done before hour drive from This image shows Miss Universe-Philippines Catriona Gray’s offiby a Filipino candidate. And Bangkok. cial photo for the pageant. Photo from Facebook/Miss Universe usually, the only hint that I give “I’m really really Gray is set to compete at is that it’s buong Pilipinas or excited because I’ve never been whole of Philippines but another to Pattaya and it would be really the 2018 Miss Universe on Dehint that I’ll give just for this great to explore another corner cember 17. It will be held at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. Facebook live is that a part of of Thailand,� Gray said. by roSette



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entertainment The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

Are they next? Sarah Geronimo, Matteo Guidicelli attend Christian Bautista’s Manila wedding reception by Jan

Milo Severo

FANS are gushing over the sweet pictures of celebrity couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli at the Manila

reception of Christian Bautista and Kat Ramnani’s wedding on Sunday, December 3, at The Manila Hotel. It can be recalled that last November 15, Pang-masa’s Aster Amoyo asked in the title of

her column, “Rated A,” if Sarah and Matteo would be next to tie the knot. Meanwhile, here are the couple’s sweet moments at Christian and Kat’s wedding reception. After getting married in an intimate ceremony in Bali, Indonesia last month, Christian and Kat held a second wedding reception in Manila. Their marriage in Indonesia was only attended by families and close friends, but they made sure that their friends will witness the celebration of their love at their Manila wedding reception. Wearing a matching outfit designed by Francis Libiran, the newly weds acknowledged their guests in the Champagne Room of the hotel.

Celebrities such as Lea Salonga, Ogie Alcasid, Matteo Guidicelli, Sarah Geronimo, Tom Rodriguez, Carla Abellana, Kuh Ledesma, Jed Madela, Nyoy Volante, Tippy Dos Santos, and Morisette Amon, to name a few, were present to witness the couple’s milestone. “You walked the streets of San Francisco, I rode the rides in Jakarta but we keep comin back to Manila. Anywhere and everywhere, you are my world,” Christian post on his Instagram account. In a past interview with, Christian said he is willing to marry his wife over and over again. “Meron. Marami!” Christian said when asked if wants to get married in the Philippines.

Matteo Guidicelli and Sarah Geronimo at the Manila wedding reception of Christian Bautista and Kat Ramnani. Photo from Instagram/@niceprintphoto

Are Jodi Sta. Maria and Jolo Revilla back together? by Cody


IT was back in June when speculations surrounding Jodi Sta. Maria and Jolo Revilla’s breakup surfaced, thanks in part to the latter’s birthday message that seemingly carried a somber tone and a cryptic hugot (sentimental) post on Twitter. Revilla, then, was absent in Sta Maria’s birthday celebrations and made his message known through Instagram. His love for Sta. Maria, however, seemed to never have waned, as he admitted back in July that he still loves her. Today, however, many of the couple’s fans may delight and find hope in the thought that the two may be back together — as per columnist and talent manager Lolit Solis. Solis took to her Instagram on Dec. 2 where she shared the news that Sta. Maria and Revilla may be back together. “Type ko iyon balita na nagbalikan sila Jolo Revilla at Jodi Sta Maria… Alam mo ba na hoping ako they will end up together? (I like the news of Jolo Revilla and Jodi Sta. Maria getting back together… Did

Jodi Sta. Maria and Jolo Revilla you know that I am hoping they will end up together?)” Solis wrote on her post that showed a picture of the couple during happier times. “Maganda ang influence nila sa isa’t isa, they looked good together at they have been together for the longest time na comfortable na sila sa isa’t isa. (Their influence on each other is good, they looked good together and they have been together for the longest time that they are comfortable with each other.)”

Photo from Instagram/@jolo_revilla Solis further explained why the two seemed to be a good match for each other, saying “Maganda ang samahan ng mga anak nila at pareho nilang mahal ang kanilang mga anak. (Their children share a beautiful bond with each other and they both love their children).” Solis’ claims could not get any truer, as Sta. Maria has treated Revilla’s son Gab as if he were her own. Back in February, she shared a picture of her enjoying a painting session with son Thirdy and Gab, and

called the two “my boys.” “They dream together, pursue their dreams holding each other’s hands,” Solis said. “You cannot do anything if it is not meant, but you cannot do anything also if it was fate.” The veteran talent manager and columnist added that if the two are meant to be, then it would happen. “Kung hindi wala tayo magagawa. But let it flow naturally, huwag hadlangan, huwag kontrahin, huwag din itulak. Hayaan lang silang dalawa. Either fate will work, or it won’t. (If they are not [meant to be], we cannot do anything. But let it flow naturally, do not prevent it nor fight it, but do not push it also. Let the two be. Either fate will work, or it won’t.)” Revilla, on his end, has since shared back in October that perhaps, he and Sta. Maria just both need time. He also said that when it comes to finding love once more, he must love himself first before anybody. “Dahil syempre paano ka magmamahal ng iba kung hindi mo mahal ang sarili mo? (Because of course, how will you love someone else if you don’t even love yourself?)”

Pechanga Resorts Casino presents The Amazing Dance Performance of “My Dream” INTERNATIONALLY known for their beautiful dance performance of “Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva,” the world-famous China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe will return to Pechanga for two shows on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 4PM and 8PM. The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe uses its unique artistic charm and profound spiritual connotation that is beyond the boundaries of language, culture, and ethnic background to let everyone enjoy the artistic blend of spiritual and emotional enlightenment. Established in 1987, The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe composed series of large-scale music and dance for “My Dream” in 2000, enabling the troupe to become a world-class performing arts group. “My Dream” and the performance of “Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva” have also become world renowned trademarks. The performance will be assembled with varieties of vocal music and instrumental music that covers different ethnic and western backgrounds. The dance performances include different cultural styles including ballets, Latin American, modern, opera, musical theater, sign language poetries, dances of the blind, and sign language dances. The Art Troupe also filmed a documentary film entitled “My Dream,” published a book and distributed pictures profiling the special art and life of disability actors.

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since 2002, Pechanga Resort Casino provides an unparalleled getaway. Offering more than 4,500 of the hottest slots, table games, world-class entertainment, 1,090 hotel rooms, dining, spa and championship golf at Journey at Pechanga, Pechanga Resort Casino features a destination that meets and exceeds the needs of its guests and the community. Pechanga Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. For more information, call toll free 1-888-PECHANGA or visit Follow Pechanga Resort Casino on Facebook and on Twitter @PechangaCasino. Pechanga Resort Casino is open 24hours. Guests must be 21 and older to enter the casino. (Advertising Supplement)

Rayver wants to prove that...

From Page 3 friends tend to promote each other’s projects. He disclosed, “She’s also busy. ‘Victor Magtanggol’ just ended. It’s great that she’s supportive of me. I’m glad, too, because she has a lot of followers.” Some of those fans fondly call the pair “JanVer.” Elaborating on his bond with the actress, Rayver said, “We’re

OK. We’re closer, taking things slow. Still dating. When we have free time, we hang out, usually during weekends.” A former child actor in the GMA sitcom “Kiss Muna,” which counted Joey de Leon, Ara Mina and Elizabeth Oropesa among its cast members in the early 2000s, Rayver said that returning to the network after 18 years wasn’t difficult, thanks to generally nice cow-

orkers. Rayver amicably left ABSCBN, grateful for his time with the company, and for being allowed to pursue other career options with GMA. “Nakakapanibago. After a few weeks, naka-adjust na,” he said of being part of the Kapuso family again. “I felt it. The talents may be with different networks, but it’s still the same industry.”

The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

The Asian Jour nal MDWK MAGAZINE - December 5, 2018

120518 - Southern California Midweek Edition  
120518 - Southern California Midweek Edition