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DEC EM BER 7-13, 2018 Volume 12 - No. 7 • 2 Sections – 16 Pages

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House approves federalism bill on second reading by RITCHEL


the decades-old conflict in Mindanao and regional economic development in the THE House of Representatives on Tues- countryside,” RBH 15 stated. The proposal was approved through day, December 4, approved the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15, a proposal to voice voting, where lawmakers vote with shift to a federal government, on its second “ayes” or “nays.” The votes of each lawmaker were not recorded because they reading. “Many provisions of the 1987 Con- were only called and asked to vote on the stitution have already served, if not out- said measure. The House only resumed the lived, their purpose, hence the sustained deliberation on federalism late November clamor over the years for amendments this year. As any legislation must be approved on to or revision of the constitution finds justification in the need to provide, among three readings, the recent approval from other much needed socio-economic and the lower house comes after the Palace political reforms, a long-term solution to u PAGE A2



Robredo tells lawmakers: Focus on lowering prices, not Charter change by AJPRESS VICE PRESIDENT Leni Robredo urged the House of Representatives to find ways to bring down prices and give more jobs to Filipinos rather than change the Constitution. “Imbes na maghain ng mga solusyon sa mga problemang dulot ng batas na ito, malinaw na usap-politika ang mas mahalaga para sa liderato ng Kamara, na siya nitong ipinakita sa pagpasa ng House Resolution na photo tulak sa Cha-Cha. (Instead of of-


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 Filipino-American 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 12-year-old Air Force veteran Johncarl Festejo his Photo courtesy daughter Milan on of Johncarl Festejo Monday, Nov. 26. Festejo used 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


Pentagon to allow green card holders to attend recruit training following court order Philippines makes up largest number of green card holders in US

CHILD FRIENDLY CITY. President Rodrigo Duterte awards the 2017 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities (PACFMC) Component City Category trophy to the local government unit of Tagaytay City during the awarding ceremony at the Malacañang Palace on Wednesday, December 5. Receiving the award is Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino. Assisting the President is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. Malacañang photo by Alfred Frias

Vice President Leni Robredo

fering solutions to the problems caused by this law, it’s clear that diplomacy is more important for the leaders in Kamara, which is shown through the submission of a House Resolution that pushes for Cha-cha),” Robredo in a statement said on Wednesday, December 5. The House approved on second reading the proposed draft federal charter on Tuesday. “Ang dapat tutukan ng ating Kongreso ay ang mga panukala na magpapababa sa presyo ng mga bilihin, at magbibigay ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan.

(The one thing that the Congress should focus on is the proposal for bringing down prices of goods, and providing more jobs to the Filipino people),” she said. “Unahin na natin ang ating mga kababayan, at mga alalahaning pinakamalapit sa kanilang bituka at pamumuhay, kaysa sa pamumulitika. (Let’s prioritize our countrymen, and their concerns closest to their stomachs and living, instead of diplomacy),” she added. According to Robredo, she found out while going around the


Palace: ‘Everybody is entitled to a joke’ by NATHALIE



MALACAÑANG defended President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, December 4, stating that the leader can make jokes in public speeches just like everyone else. “Everybody is entitled to a joke,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said as reported by ABS-CBN News. This was after the top leader drew criticism for stating that he takes marijuana to keep himself awake. The spokesperson and chief executive’s legal counsel said that the lack of logic in the president’s statement implies

that he is joking. “Like the one on marijuana, we know it’s not a stimulant to wake a person up. The fact alone that it is not a stimulant, there is no logic in what he said that he uses it to be awake, so the people [yesterday] laughed,” Panelo explained as reported by The Manila Times. Panelo added that Duterte jokes during his speeches to hype the audience because those events are generally boring. Those people who fail to laugh at Duterte’s jokes, according to Panelo, might be offended. “He does it because usually, events are bor-


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

PH Senate divided as House moves Balangiga bells back to approve martial law extension in PH on December 11 by JESS


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. 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.

MANILA — The House of Representatives will approve a request from PresidentRodrigo Duterte to again extend martial law in Mindanao. “If the president will ask for it, then chances are it shall be given. 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,” Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said on Tuesday, December 4. “The inputs and views of congressmen from Mindanao, who represent the people directly affected, will carry much weight during the deliberaVarious groups from Mindanao picket Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on tions,” Andaya said.



Tuesday, December 4 to call for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao. photo by Michael Varcas

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. War-

ren 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 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



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From the Front Page

House approves federalism bill on... PAGE A1 commented that they have confidence that the shift to a federal form of government will be approved. “It’s the call of Congress. If they believe in the president, they will perform their duty and continue what they started,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said earlier that the Senate is now focused on the passage of 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.

The RBH 15 provides that the Federal Republic of the Philippines will have a presidential-bicameralfederal system. Thus, the president and vice president will be elected in tandem but will retain the same power, authority and functions as indicated in the 1987 Constitution. The legislative functions will still be performed by the two chambers of Congress: House of Representatives (HOR) and Senate. The lower house (HOR) will be comprised of 300 members, 80 percent of which are from legislative districts in the country while 20 percent are party-list representatives. While that of the Senate constitute 24

members. Members of the judiciary in the Supreme Court and lower courts will be appointed by the president from a list of at least three nominees prepared by a Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council. The said institution will replace the Judicial and Bar Council. In a report by The Philippine Star, members of the Supreme Court were said to be allowed to serve for a term of 10 years or until they reach the mandatory age of 70. All branches of the government will continue to function in a transitory capacity until all successors are elected. n

PH Senate divided as House moves to... PAGE A1 Senators, however, are divided on the proposal to extend martial law for another year. Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he was in favor of extending martial law as it limited the movement of private armies and has somehow addressed the proliferation of loose firearms in Mindanao. Sen. Sonny Angara said he was open to the proposal but sought an extensive briefing from security officials before making a firm decision on the matter. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon thumbed down the plan, saying a second extension of martial law is unconstitutional. “There is no basis for a second extension of martial law as there was no ground that necessitated the first extension,” Drilon said. Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the military should justify its request for martial law extension with “hard and justifiable facts.” Pangilinan also warned the country is heading toward the midterm elections in May next year, and the extension could be used to harass opposition candidates in Mindanao. The lawmakers were commenting on reports that the military and the police were recommending the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year. President Duterte is reportedly considering the recommendation. He declared martial law in the south in early 2017. Congress first extended his declaration up to the end of last year and then up to the end of this year.

Duterte on Monday said Mindanao remains a troubled land, which is why martial law must be extended for another year. “We are facing a revolutionary front, one that is motivated by territorial, land and the other is driven by the extremist, the ISIS (Islamic State). And it is still in Mindanao, it remains to be a troubled land for everybody. And Mindanao will always be a pain in the… government,” the president said. No legal basis Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said a third request from Duterte for a third martial law extension would “mock the Constitution for wanton absence of constitutional bases which are the presence of actual rebellion and public safety requires the extension.”?“Rebellion does not persist in Mindanao and consequently public safety is not imperiled,” he said. Lagman said both Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Armed Forces, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had not formally recommended to the president any extension. “Galvez and Lorenzana are footdragging in recommending another martial law extension because it appears that it is not of critical immediacy and another extension is an admission that the military has failed to achieve the purported objectives of the previous martial law extensions,” Lagman told a news conference. ?He said Galvez’s justification that “there is public clamor for the extension is flawed because popular clamor is not a ground for martial law or

its extension.”?“Moreover, the alibi that ‘terrorists are still lurking in the area’ is not also a basis for extension because terrorism is not rebellion and the threat of terrorism, like the imminent threat of rebellion, is not a constitutional ground for martial law or its extension,” Lagman explained. He said the old ground of “imminent threat of rebellion” has been removed in the 1987 Constitution because “threat is contingent, selfserving and nebulous.” Lagman announced that he and his colleagues would question before the Supreme Court a third extension of martial law in Mindanao. The congressmen challenged the president’s martial law declaration, but the high court upheld Duterte’s proclamation. Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said the proposal to extend martial law for another year is getting to be a habit. “Let’s not normalize martial law,” Hilbay said on his Twitter account. “This is patently unconstitutional since there’s no invasion or rebellion at the moment. So what reason will they give this time to justify their request?” he said. Militant groups held a protest rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo, accusing the military of abuses against lumad people and workers’ groups in the region during martial law implementation. Lorenzana, for his part, said they are checking out reports that would justify the extension of martial law in Mindanao. n

BUDGET DELIBERATIONS. Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, together with Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senator Panfilo Lacson confer with each other before the start of plenary debates on the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget on Wednesday, December 5. Senate photo by Jun David

Balangiga bells back in PH on... PAGE A1 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 relation-

ship 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/

Palace: ‘Everybody is entitled to a... PAGE A1

ing. He is joking because he wants us to laugh. Now, if [he told a joke and] no one laughed, that means they were offended,” he said. Although the president’s camp clarified that the chief executive is only joking, some people still questioned if there is some truth behind the leader’s proclamation. Panelo said that he has yet to discuss the matter with the president. However, he further explained that he doesn’t have to “because we’ve been together for 30 years.” Panelo also clapped back at those who might have taken the jokes seriously. He said that the president has set a good example by being a good leader.” The strong-mouthed leader called those who believed his jokes as fools. He further noted that he will not change just because people do not like his “style.” “If I want to joke, I will joke.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo

now, if you believe that, you are fools. Pero nobody can stop me from just doing my style. You may say it’s misogynist, I was just joking, that’s my style. It’s too late to change,” the president said. Panelo also added that Duterte was joking when he called saints fools and drunkards during All Saints Day. The public voiced photo

out the irony of Duterte’s remark since the president has been vocal on his opposing stand with illegal drugs even before he was elected for office. His war on drugs focused on illegal drug trade and usage. However, the president expressed his support in the use of marijuana for medical purposes. n

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Dateline USa



Fil-Am Air Force veteran claims Starbucks barista... Number of unauthorized immigrants PAGE A1 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

in US reaches historic low, study says by Klarize

Medenilla AJPress

A REPORT from the Pew Research Center released this week found that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has fallen to the lowest level in more than a decade, refuting President Trump’s claim that the Central American migrant caravans are amid an “invasion.” Pew cited the sudden drop “entirely to a sharp decline in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization.” The study — which used 2016 federal data — found that there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. that year, compared to the 12.2 million figure in 2007. The 2016 sum is the country’s lowest since 2004. Pew found that the decline of unauthorized

by nathalie


diseases aforementioned. They figured that due to the increase in the cost of sweetened drinks, THE World Health Organiza- the public would either cut their Fil-Am Air Force veteran Johncarl Festejo shared a photo of his Starbucks cup after noticing a stereotypically Asian name associated with his order. Photo courtesy of Johncarl Festejo tion (WHO) on Wednesday, De- consumption or stop patronizing cember 5, expressed their sup- such products altogether. of racial discrimination,” APAPA tion training” following the Phila- port on the Philippines’ move to “The new sugar-sweetened wrote. delphia incident. Back in 2015, increase the sugar-sweetened beverage tax may help reduce The Vacaville incident joins a the coffee chain’s Race Together beverage (SSB) excise tax, re- obesity-related premature deaths string of controversies for the cof- campaign — which encouraged vealing that doing such would and improve financial well-being fee power house. its baristas to discuss race and its prevent deaths caused by diabe- in the Philippines,” the researchIn May, a similar incident in La political implications with custom- tes, stroke and heart failure. ers said as reported by Reuters. Canada Flintridge occurred when ers — prompted skepticism and The health organization stated Researchers from the ora barista was accused of printing derision; the company quickly ganization said that imposing that the tax imposed this year a racial slur on a Latinx’s order. dropped the initiative. (Klarize taxes would reduce the fatali- would lead to the reduction of The customer, who gave his name Medenilla/AJPress) ties brought by the deadliest 24,000 premature deaths for the as Pedro, found that “Beaner,” a known racial slur against Mexicans in the U.S., had been printed on his order. Priscilla Hernandez, a co-worker 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 educaAJPress

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)

Robredo tells lawmakers...

PAGE A1 country that the main sentiment of the people is the unabated price increases of basic goods and services. “Umaasa sila na ibubuhos ng pamahalaan ang kakayahan nito para pagaanin ang kanilang dalahin sa araw-araw. (They’re hoping that the administration would exert effort into giving them relief in their everyday burdens),” she said. However, she noted that lowering of prices does not seem to be a priority of the government. “Delayed na nga ang ayuda para sa mahihirap, binawi pa ang suspensyon ng fuel excise tax sa January 2019. (Not only was the aid for the poor delayed, the suspension of fuel excise tax on January 2019 was also recanted),” she said. President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, December 4, approved

percent. There was no change in the number of undocumented Asian immigrants, a group that had 1,300 unauthorized immigrants in 2007 and in 2016. But there was an increase in the number of recent arrivals; in 2007 it was 13 percent undocumented immigrants, and in 2016 that had risen to 22 percent. The study posited that this would put a strain on what experts call “mixed-status households,” families in which the children were born in the U.S. to unauthorized immigrant parents. “As their typical span of U.S. residence has grown, a rising share of unauthorized immigrant adults – 43 percent in 2016 compared with 32 percent in 2007 – live in households with U.S.born children,” the study’s researchers wrote. n

WHO supports PH’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax

Pentagon to allow green card holders... PAGE A1 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 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.

immigrants meant that “their share of the total U.S. workforce over the same period” also decreased. Despite the overall drop, Pew found that the number of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has increased by 375,000 from 2007 to 2016; a majority of the immigrants in the highly publicized migrant caravans that have spent months traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum (which is legal per federal and international law) are from these countries. The study also found that there was also a decline in recent arrivals, which the study categorizes as those who migrated to the U.S. within the last five years. In 2007, recent arrivals accounted for 32 percent of all unauthorized immigrants (from all continents and regions) from, and in 2016, that figure dropped to 20

the imposition of the second round of fuel tax increases beginning on January. The government, for its part, has taken an effort to solve joblessness in the country with the Ease of Doing Business Act that Duterte recently signed. The Ease of Doing Business Act or Republic Act No. 11032’s aim is to “streamline business processes and reduce processing time in all government agencies to make the country more conducive to investments thereby creating more and better jobs for our people.” The rice tariffication bill was also recently approved by the Senate which seeks to lift restrictions on rice importation to help the country’s rising inflation. It is is expected to alleviate the impact of the nine-year high inflation and address the country’s rice shortage. n

next 20 years. It comprised of a perceived decrease of 6,000 diabetes-related deaths (25 percent), 8,000 stroke-related deaths (33 percent) and 10,000 heart failure-related deaths (42 percent). The WHO favored the taxation initiated by the Philippines Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Health (DOH) stating that a 10-20 percent hike in retail prices would eventually prevent the general public from purchasing such beverages.



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Borderline shooting victim Alaina Housley Dateline PhiliPPines laid to rest, honored at memorial Senators open to legalizing medical marijuana The Fil-Am Regents scholar was the youngest of the 12 victims by Klarize



FaMILY, friends and classmates of Borderline Bar shooting victim alaina Housley mourned her passing on Wednesday, nov. 28 in a memorial service at Pepperdine University, where the 18-year-old was in her first year. as previously reported in the Asian Journal, Housley — whose mother is Filipina — was the youngest of 12 victims who were killed in a mass shooting on nov. 7 at the Borderline Bar & Grill in thousand oaks. (the bar hosted an 18+ college event that night.) Housley had been attending Pepperdine as an english major since august 2018 but quickly acclimated with the student community, joining the school choir and mock trial. Wednesday’s memorial followed Housley’s funeral in her hometown of napa, California. Housley was a regents Scholar and english major at Pepperdine where both her parents and aunt and uncle went. on the night of the shooting, Housley’s parents said the last they heard from their daughter was before she left to go to Borderline for line dancing. Her father, arik Housley, said that “she was invited to go line dancing at a place we used to go when” he and Housley’s mother, Hannah Housley (née Punzalan), used to frequent when they at-

Fil-Am student Alaina Housley was among those killing during a mass shooting at a local bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo courtesy of the Housley family

tended Pepperdine. “We would encourage her, and we would do it all again. We would encourage her to go to Pepperdine, to go line dancing and to try new things,” her father added. tamera Mowry-Housley of “Sister, Sister” fame and her husband former Fox news correspondent adam Housley expressed grief following the death of their niece. Mowry-Housley also co-hosts “the real” on Fox, returning on Monday, nov. 26 and, through tears, shared memories with her

late niece. “I met alaina when she was 5, and the Housleys — we were a group of 10, meaning whenever we were together, we were together,” Mowry-Housley shared. “I’m very blessed to have an amazing mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law. So, they are my family, along with my immediate family.” “We all get along, and alaina was my little sister,” she continued. “She was my niece from marriage, but she was my friend and my sister from my heart.” the grieving aunt also acknowledged the frequency of mass shootings in the United States and called for general action to eradicate these tragedies. “I believe that it starts from within,” she said. “our country – and it’s sad to say this – but you have to be living underneath a rock to not believe these words: our country is sick. It’s diseased, it needs healing. It needs healing from within.” the Housley family has started “alaina’s Voice” to honor gun violence victims. “We as a people in the U.S. must learn to be present, enjoy your loved ones, Be kind to one another, We will advocate for the Media to stop celebratizing (sic) the shooters,” the campaign’s website said. as of this writing, the GoFundMe page created has raised over $97,000, exceeding its initial $50,000 goal. n

WHO supports PH’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax PAGE A3 “the SSB excise tax will help promote a healthier Philippines. along with DoH, DoF supports this as part of a comprehensive health measure aimed to curb the consumption of SSBs and address the worsening number of diabetes and obesity cases in the country, while raising revenue for complementary health programs that address these problems,” the finance department stated. the finance and health department of the country came up with the tax imposition as they realized that the “SSB products are easily accessible and can be found in almost any store, unlike other sweetened products. Most often, the poor and the children are not aware of their conse-

quences.” earlier this year, the Bureau of Internal revenue (BIr) included the imposition of excise tax on SSB in the first package of tax reform for acceleration and Inclusion (traIn) Law. “an excise rate of P6 per liter will be taxed on drinks containing caloric or non-caloric sweetener, and P12 per liter on drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup. 3-in-1 coffee and milk are exempt from this tax.” aside from the building of infrastructure, the proceeds from the taxes would also be allocated to the healthcare savings of Filipinos totaling to P33 billion ($627 million) plus an annual revenue of P43 billion ($813 million). “this is a measure that is

meant to encourage consumption of healthier products, to raise public awareness of the harms of SSBs, and to help incentivize the industry to develop healthier products and complements,” the tax reform law stated. european countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Hungary have adopted, or are about to adopt similar methods following the nearby Scandinavian nations who have used them for years. Mexico also published a study in 2017 showing the impact of Mexico’s tax on sugary drinks. the study discovered that purchases were reduced by more than 5 percent in 2014, and nearly 10 percent in 2015, its second year. n

by AJPress

SenatorS Grace Poe and Panfilo Lacson on tuesday, December 4, said they were open to legalizing medical marijuana in the Philippines. Poe cited cases of marijuana being used for medical purposes on patients, but also noted that it could not yet be considered a cure. In an interview with anC television, she said marijuana could be distributed through hospitals, but its use and dispensation should be under a doctor’s supervision so that “not just anyone can get it.” She added that if a doctor had an allotment and gives prescriptions to, say, 100 people per month, there would be a record of the recipients. “that is a way to prevent a doctor from selling on the side,” Poe said. However, she also talked about how marijuana could be abused if it were legalized. “If you have marijuana, that’s so accessible, people will just stay perhaps at home and then bench out,” she said. Lacson, who supports the medical — not recreational — uses of marijuana, echoed Poe’s sentiment. “Yes, the intention may be good, for medical use, but it may lead to [the] proliferation of marijuana for recreational use. that would defeat the purpose,” he said. He urged Congress to find ways to prevent abuse. a bill that would establish community-based programs in dealing with drug problems that included a provision allowing medical use of marijuana was previously filed by

Senators Grace Poe and Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday, December 4, said they were open to legalizing medical marijuana in the Philippines. photo

Senator risa Hontiveros. Tacit support for bill Poe and Lacson spoke about medical marijuana a day after President rodrigo Duterte said he uses marijuana to stay awake and keep up with the tight schedules — only to withdraw the statement later, saying it was a joke. However, his statement, whether a joke or not, could open the view of approaching the country’s drug problem from a health perspective and it could be interpreted as a tacit support for a bill to legalize the medical use of cannabis, according to two opposition lawmakers in the House of representatives. House Bill no. 6157, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis act, which was authored by akbayan rep. tom Villarin and albay rep. edcel Lagman among others, had been archived after Davao del norte rep. Pantaleon alvarez, one of its principal sponsors, was ousted as Speaker in July. “It might be retrieved from the archive because the statement of the president that he has taken

marijuana is an endorsement of the medical marijuana bill,” Lagman told reporters on tuesday. “But if we are serious about fighting illegal drugs, we should not be joking about taking marijuana,” he added. Marijuana, which contains both mind-altering, or psychoactive, compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol and other compounds like cannabidiol, can be consumed for medicinal purposes to relieve pains, such as the chronic pain that affects people with cancer, nausea and other symptoms of various ailments. It has also been approved as a treatment for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. Countries that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes under various systems of regulations include argentina, australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, nepal, netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. n

PH ranks 11th world’s most climate-related deaths, 20th most affected by disasters by AJPress

tHe Philippines placed 11th worldwide among the countries with the most number of casualties due to extreme climate disasters and 20th in the most affected by climate-related disasters in 2017. In an article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a Global Climate risk Index report by Germanwatch indicated that last year garnered the highest number of weather-related losses ever recorded. Germanwatch’s lead author Marie-Lena Hutfils said that “urgent action is needed to step up mitigation and adaptation.” the index recorded the data on the casualties and losses in weather-related events. Climaterelated disasters include storms, floods, temperature extremes and mass movements. they also considered the number of deaths per

100,000 inhabitants, amount of losses in U.S. dollars in purchasing power parity, and declines in the gross domestic product to assess the ranking. the report revealed that 11,500 people died in 2017 due to extreme weather events, while economic damage amounted to around $375 billion. the three most affected countries were Puerto rico, Sri Lanka and Dominica all damaged by Hurricane “Maria” in September 2017. Puerto rico, was the most affected country last year after it killed nearly 3,000 people. Sri Lanka ranked second after it was bombarded by strong monsoon rains, leading to heavy landslides and floods that killed and displaced thousands. Dominica was the third most affected country after Maria also tore through the Caribbean island nation.

David eckstein, another author of the report, said countries that are repeatedly hit by extreme weather events need “predictable and reliable financial support for dealing with climate-induced loss and damage.” the said report highlighted the losses and damages as an impact and effect of climate change. Some effects of such are deemed as irreversible, noting the loss of life and threats to biodiversity for instance. typhoon “Vinta” with an international name of tembin landed in Mindanao at the end of 2017, killing around 250 people. Beginning in 1998, the Philippines was the fifth country overall that was most vulnerable to weather events, averaging more than 870 deaths annually. the report said the country also lost $2.9 billion annually to climate-related events. n

House okays bill to create PH space agency by AJPress tHe House of representatives approved House Bill 8541 otherwise known as the Philippine Space Development act on its third and final reading on tuesday, December 4. the HB 8541 served as “an act establishing the Philippine space development and utilization policy and creating the Philippine Space agency (PhilSa), defining the purpose and scope of its activities and appropriating funds.” PhilSa will become a national agency in charge of space science, engineering, and other related fields. the said agency will be mandated to look after the development and promotion of the Philippines’ national space program. the policy that encapsulates the bill aims to be “the country’s primary strategic roadmap for space development.” It also seeks to make the Philippines a “space-capable and space-faring nation within the next decade.” Under the wing of the Department of Science and technology (DoSt), HB 8541 provides the establishment of PhilSa as the central government agency

overseeing all national issues and activities related to the use of space science and technology applications (SSta). the SSta is referred to in the bill as the “scientific principles and their applications to space science, engineering, and other allied fields.” the measure also proposes a framework on space policy that focuses on six key development areas including national security and development, hazard management and climate studies, space research and development, space industry capacity building, space education and awareness and international cooperation. at present, several agencies are currently shouldering the functions that are often entrusted to space agencies. Some functions include disaster risk management under the national Disaster risk reduction and Management Council (nDrrMC), astronomical science studies under the Philippine atmospheric, Geophysical, and astronomical Services administration (PaGaSa) and mapping under the national Mapping and resource Information agency (naMrIa). the national Space Develop-

ment Program funded by DoSt and monitored by the DoSt-Philippine Council for Industry and emerging technology research and Development is responsible for the “frameworks and foundations” of the proposed first central space agency in the country. In an article from rappler, the program is said to be implemented through a collaboration between the University of the PhilippinesDiliman, the DoSt-advanced Science and technology Institute, Hokkaido University, and tohoku University. although the Philippines have yet to establish a central space agency, it did not impede the country’s advances in space science. Diwata 2, the second Philippine-made, earth-observing microsatellite was launched last october 29 from tanegashima Space Center. Diwata 2 is created to capture images of earth for environmental assessment. It is specifically used to monitor the extent of damage from disasters. HB 8541’s counterpart in the upper house — Senate Bill 1211 — introduced by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” aquino IV is now on the committee level. n

BACK TO P9. A jeepney driver receives a payment from one of his passengers. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) decided on Monday, December 3, to cut the jeepney fare rate to P9 from P10 following successive fuel price rollbacks. photo by Rene Dilan

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Dateline PhiliPPines


ICC continues initial review of Duterte, drug war despite Philippine withdrawal by Gaea

HARDCOURT KINGS. The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, led by Antonio Asistio, celebrate their win over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons during the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on Wednesday, December 5. Ateneo’s victory is their second straight UAAP championship crown. PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.

Duterte OKs rehab for Bohol, El Nido by Louise



MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the massive rehabilitation of tourist spots in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, following the six-month closure of Boracay in Aklan. Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel and presidential spokesman, yesterday said the Cabinet had agreed on the rehabilitation of Panglao Island and El Nido. “The Cabinet agreed that there is no need to issue an executive order,” Panelo said. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told reporters that the DOT, along with the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior and Local Government under Secretary

Eduardo Año, would ensure the rehabilitation of the two renowned beaches in the country. Puyat said the President was happy that the rehabilitation efforts are underway and that environment laws are enforced in other areas. “I was the one who brought it up in the Cabinet, and he said he was very happy,” she said. According to the tourism chief, Duterte said all major tourist destinations should follow environmental laws. “We (Cimatu, Año and myself) first spoke to El Nido mayor last Nov. 14 at the DENR and we all went to El Nido last Nov. 28,” she said. Boracay reopened recently after a six-month closure. The rehabilitation efforts in Bohol and Palawan would be pursued, Puyat said, but no closures are needed this time. In a chance interview at Malaca-

ñang, Año said they are not recommending a total closure of El Nido beaches but there would likely be a crackdown on resorts not complying with environmental laws, she said. An inter-agency task force recently conducted an inspection of both the islands of El Nido and Panglao in line with efforts to begin the rehabilitation of the two tourist destinations. Last month, the task force said El Nido would not be entirely closed like Boracay as local officials have agreed to cooperate with the national government. “We’d like to give credit to the mayor and El Nido officials because they took the initiative to make this initial rehab and cleaning operations,” Año said. “This did not happen in Boracay. In fact, when we were trying to clean Boracay, there were so many objections from the local government unit,” Año said. n

DOJ seeks travel ban vs Trillanes from other courts

MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday, December 6 that the Department of Justice has filed separate motions seeking travel ban against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV before other local courts. Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda earlier allowed Trillanes to leave the country for speaking engagements in the United States and Europe later this month and on January. The Justice chief said that he is not certain on the number of motions for the issuance of

a hold departure order against the senator that was filed, but he stressed that this move is separate from a Makati court’s order that allowed the senator to leave the country to travel to United States and Europe. “It just so happens that there are other cases pending against Sen. Trillanes. Some for inciting to sedition and some for libel,” Guevarra said. Trillanes is facing an inciting to sedition complaint before a Pasay court, while a libel case was filed against him at a Davao court. The DOJ has already sought for the reversal of the court’s

order that temporary lifted the hold departure order against the senator. The court set a hearing on the government’s motion for reconsideration on Friday, December 13. The Justice secretary also maintained that it is within the prerogative of the state prosecutors to file a motion for the issuance of an HDO. “These are pending elsewhere in other [regional trial courts] and the prosecution has the right to file a motion for the issuance of an HDO in those courts,” Guevarra also said. (Kristine Joy Patag/

Palace praises gov’t anti-crime drive, disregards survey results 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 reported 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” 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

Imelda Marcos posts P300,000 bail as she appeals graft conviction FORMER first lady and graft convict Imelda Marcos posted the P300,000 bail bond on Wednesday, December 5, for her provisional liberty while she appeals her conviction on seven counts of graft. According to a report in The Star, Marcos posted the bond through her lawyer. Receipts also show Marcos paid P4,500 in legal fees in addition to the bail bond. She also filed another notice of appeal requesting her records of the case be forwarded to the Supreme Court for further proceedings. Marcos’ first appeal to elevate the case to the Supreme Court was denied on November 28. “The notice of appeal filed by Marcos is premature as the court has not yet resolved her motion for leave to avail herself of post-conviction remedies,” the Sandiganbayan

Former first lady Imelda Marcos photo by Michael Varcas

said then. “Therefore, the court cannot take action on the same.” On November 16, the court allowed Marcos to post a P150,000 bail bond for her provisional liberty while the court was deciding if she would be allowed a post-conviction bond.

The Sandiganbayan allowed Marcos to appeal her graft convictions on December 1–either through a motion for reconsideration before the anti-graft court or through a notice of appeal directly before the Supreme Court. She was, however, directed to double her bond to P300,000 to enjoy temporary liberty. The 89-year-old Ilocos Norte representative was convicted on November 9 by the Sandiganbayan on seven counts of graft over stolen public funds between 1978 and 1984. Marcos, widow of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was the minister of human settlements from 1976 to 1986 and concurrent Metro Manila governor from 1978 to 1984, during her husband’s term. (Ryan Macasero with reports from Elizabeth Marcelo/




MANILA — The International Criminal Court said it will continue to assess the communications into President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity despite the Philippine government’s withdrawal of its ratification from the Rome Statute. The ICC said this in an annual report on its preliminary examination activities released December 5—10 months after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in the Philippines. Examination is not the same as an investigation. The ICC said the Office of the Prosecutor has been conducting a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available in order to reach a reasonable basis to believe that the alleged crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the court. “The office has continued to gather, receive and review information available from a wide range of sources on the crimes allegedly committed in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines,” it said. The ICC, moreover, said that any alleged crimes occurring in the future in the context of the same situation could be added in the office’s analysis. “The office has further closely followed relevant developments in the Philippines and will continue to do so,” it said. A total of 52 communications on the situation in the Philippines have been sent to the ICC, it said. These include the communications filed by lawyer Jude Sabio backed by a supplemental communication by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) in 2017 and the families of alleged victims of extrajudicial killings last August. These communications alleged that Duterte and other senior government officials promoted and encouraged the killings of suspected drug users and dealers. The Philippine National Police has counted at least 22,000 deaths under inquiry since the president launched the war on drugs in 2016. Official government data showed that more than 4,900 “drug personalities” have been killed in antinarcotics operations. In the same annual report, the Hague-based court insisted that “it retains jurisdiction with respect to

alleged crimes that have occurred in the Philippines during the period when it was a state party to the statute.” Last March, the administration formally sent the Philippines’ letter of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the Hague-based tribunal. The government cited “outrageous” attacks on him and the supposedly illegal attempt by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to place him un-

der the Hague-based court’s jurisdiction as reasons for the country’s withdrawal. But the Philippines remains a party to the Rome Statue as the withdrawal will only take effect a year after the date of receipt of the notification. In August, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the consolidated petitions challenging the country’s exit from the international tribunal. 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 in-

vestigators 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

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

among Republican legal experts 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 ap-

ply 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.

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people events arts culture entertainment






An Asian Journal Magazine

From the cover: Top photo: Photo by Graig Labranche Bottom photos: Courtesy of Anthony Alvarez/Oneculture

The Asian Journal N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY D EC E M B E R 7, 20 1 8

Globetrotting with Filipino-French entrepreneur’s lifestyle brand Oneculture by Christina

M. Oriel / AJPress

TWO years ago Anthony Alvarez left a plum investment banking job in London to follow his childhood dream of starting his own clothing company. An avid traveler — coupled with his passions for extreme sports, art, and music — he realized that fashion was a universal language that could lessen barriers and divisiveness. With that mission came the founding of Oneculture, a lifestyle menswear brand that incorporates global influences each season. “I really wanted to convey that message through the clothes, promoting culture and diversity and promoting travel without any cultural barriers,” the 25-year-old Filipino-French entrepreneur said in an interview with the Asian Journal. “This was also during a time when a lot of people were focusing on barriers, such as Brexit or Donald Trump being elected president of the United States. That’s the political side to it. So that’s how I got the name Oneculture.” This September marks one year since Oneculture released its inaugural collection inspired by Manila and opened a boutique in Paris’ iconic Le Marais district. The brand’s pieces have already garnered features in publications like Vogue Paris, Le Monde (France’s leading newspaper) and GQ. Born in New Jersey, Alvarez was raised in a multicultural and multilingual household with his father being Filipino and French on his mother’s side. He moved to Paris at the age of 8 and lived there until he attended Cornell University, studying business and entrepreneurship. After college, he spent a year in New York working in investment banking, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, before moving to London where he was with another bank for two years. “I learned a lot through those experiences. It was a lot of hours of work because…I was working seven days a week, did not get

much downtime, but I think when you’re young, you conform to work as much as you can as long as you are learning,” he recounted. But by the summer of 2016, Alvarez knew it was time to leave the finance world and take another direction. After college, he spent a year in New York working in investment banking, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, before moving to London where he was with another bank for two years. “I learned a lot through those experiences. It was a lot of hours of work because…I was working seven days a week, did not get much downtime, but I think when you’re young, you conform to work as much as you can as long as you are learning,” he recounted. But by the summer of 2016, Alvarez knew it was time to leave the finance world and take another direction. “I wanted to continue my training and education and make sure I had a solid business background before launching my clothing brand, which was always a target dream for me,” he said. He traveled for a few weeks to dive into “creative thinking,” as he was shifting into an industry different from what he was exposed to professionally. “When I was thinking about the name and message I wanted to deliver and things that really affected my life — when I was at Cornell, when it was through my high school friends or family — I’ve always enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions so I thought that’s what brought the best conversations, when everybody around the table has something different to offer,” Alvarez said. He recounted his annual trips when he and his best friends from various parts of the world would converge and meet in one place to go surfing and connect with locals. Oneculture’s eventual logo was derived from sailors’

Oneculture opened its boutique in September 2017 in the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris.

Model Willy Cartier is dressed in Oneculture’s take on the traditional Filipino barong for its debut Fall/Winter 2017 collection inspired by Manila. Photo by Graig Labranche

Anthony Alvarez, the Filipino-French founder and CEO of Oneculture, pursued his childhood dream of owning a clothing brand representing his passions for travel, sports, art, and music. Photos courtesy of Anthony Alvarez/Oneculture

Alvarez in Oneculture’s bomber jacket inspired by the mosaic patterns found during a trip to Fez, Morocco.

Alvarez wears a T-shirt with Oneculture’s mission to transcend cultural barriers and tell a universal story. Using experiences from various trips, his collections so far have been inspired by Manila, Philippines, Fez, Morocco, and Tokyo, Japan.

symbols and flags, creating its own language. Given that Paris is a fashion capital, it was a natural decision for Alvarez to move back and have Oneculture headquartered there. “Eighty percent of our collection is manufactured in France so we’re really betting on ‘Made in France’ to help the economy and the manufacturers,” he said. Though Alvarez did not receive formal design training, styling clothes has constantly been an interest. Attention to detail and recruiting the right talent on board, from a creative director to designers, were further integral steps in building the company — both considerations he carried over from his banking background. The design process commences with a “mood board,” a collage of images and notes from his travels that guide that particular season. When traveling, he endeavors to see the place “with the eyes of a local,” through strolling by foot, shopping at street markets or eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants. He also tries to catch a sports game or play in one himself, like basketball or baseball. He then decides what kinds of items will be included, such as T-shirts, hoodies, or jackets, and relays that vision to a team of designers to “make sure the end product reflects what I had in mind,” he said. Fabrics and materials are predominantly sourced from France and Italy and from trade shows that Alvarez attends at the beginning of each season. “I design pieces that I really would like to wear, that I wish I had in my wardrobe, or what I think I’m missing in my wardrobe. I would never approve a piece that I, or my friends, would not wear. Usually I’m the first test then I send it to a couple of my best friends and ask, ‘Would you wear this?’ If it’s totally a ‘yes,’ then it’s a green light,” he continued. In introducing the maiden collection, Alvarez paid homage to his paternal grandparents who were born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States as young adults. “I grew up in a household that was very Filipino,” he said. “It is a very important part of my identity so I [started] the journey of Oneculture in Manila.” He played upon the “energy and busyness” of the city that

struck him from his many trips there. “Whether it was the high rises or the streets, there was a sense of chaos in the architecture that I wanted to translate through the clothes,” he said, describing the scotch tape techniques to express that movement. One of the statement pieces was a rendition of the men’s barong (a formal shirt made from piña considered the national costume of the Philippines) in the color black and using a more comfortable, sporty fabric. He incorporated the eucalyptus tree that is found in the Philippines and put that print in the inside layer of the clothes. In succeeding collections, comfort and functionality of the pieces are at the forefront, but the high-quality structuring and intricate detail never go unnoticed — seamlessly fusing streetwear, sportswear and high fashion. Though having his own company is a fresh experience, his family of businesspeople and entrepreneurs has been an accessible sounding board for Alvarez. “I was able to apply what my family taught me and what I learned through my experiences, but I’m [still] learning a lot every day. I really learn something or even more than one thing daily. My family gave me some advice from the start but nobody in my family launched a clothing brand before so there are a lot of experiences that are new,” he said. He continued, “From them, I learned, first of all, core values. In anything you do…especially [if] it’s in finance or clothing, you will always be tested so it’s important to follow the right ethics and values.” In such an ever-changing, yet saturated industry like fashion, competing and standing out from the pack push Alvarez to persevere. “My grandpa came to the U.S. at a very young age and he still works extremely hard. He had to make a difference in the work he did and [because of that,] I was able to push myself, whether I was in university or in my investment banking experience, to work more than I thought I could. To push yourself… it’s all in your mental strength and it’s extremely critical to work harder than your peers,” he said. Another value his family instilled in him early on was philanthropy, so he incorporated an aspect of giving back into

Proceeds from a T-shirt designed by Oneculture and Run the World Association went toward providing prescription glasses to over 300 students in Manila. Alvarez and the charity personally delivered the glasses in May 2018.

Alvarez visits one of Oneculture’s manufacturers. Eighty percent of the brand’s collections is made in France.

Alvarez shows the Fall/Winter 2017 collection to model and social media influencer Jasmine Sanders, also known as “Golden Barbie.”

Alvarez wears the fluo jacket — which has an inside print layer of a eucalyptus tree found in the Philippines — from Oneculture’s Fall/Winter 2017 capsule, as he talks about the brand with fashion editors and influencers.

Oneculture. For the Fall/Winter 2017 season, the brand collaborated with the Run the World Association — a French nonprofit promoting access to children’s education — to design a T-shirt and in turn, a portion of the proceeds was put toward bringing prescription glasses to over 300 students in Manila. In May, Alvarez and the charity distributed the glasses at an elementary school in Manila. “We will do this in every city we [are inspired] from. I think that’s really important for the brand and culture,” he said. The brand’s second collection for Spring/Summer 2018 was influenced by travels to Fez, Morocco. “During my trip there, I was really inspired by the tanneries, where they dye leather there. The twist here is we didn’t do leather, but we did cotton hoodies that we dyed in a similar way. We used the traditional language, which is called Berber, and wrote ‘universal culture’ [on] the back of hoodie,” Alvarez said. “We revisited the traditional djellaba dress and…traditional baggy pants. Fez is very known for…palaces built with mosaics inside [so] we used a mosaic print on the bomber jacket.” The latest capsule for Fall/ Winter 2018 is based on Tokyo, including touches from the city’s transportation to street style. Projections show that the menswear market is poised to reach $33 billion by 2020, up 14 percent from 2015, according to a report by Digiday. That figure is in part due to social media platforms like Instagram that make men’s style more approachable versus traditional fashion publications. Each collection released by Oneculture is accompanied with a video in the given location to show the clothes in motion and to illustrate “the culture around them.” “Social media for us has been a way to promote our brand and we’ve developed followers from around the world, starting with my friends who are everywhere,” Alvarez said. “On Instagram

Stories, I document a lot of my trips and we in some way help our followers travel with us and also travel with them.” Oneculture’s emphasis on technology, along with the storefront’s location in a prominent art and fashion neighborhood of Paris, has attracted a mix of local French and international shoppers, many coming from the U.S. and parts of Asia. The target clients are generally those around 1835 years old, like sports, and are interested in street culture. Though Oneculture bills itself as a menswear line, women have come in to shop for the “boyfriend look” of oversized hoodies or jogging pants. “They actually became clients even though we didn’t envision them to be initially,” Alvarez noted. While there’s no ‘typical’ day for him — noting that his schedule is divided between alternating the creative and managerial components — Alvarez carves out a few hours to be present at the store to speak with customers. “That’s the best feedback I can get from meeting the clients myself,” he said, adding, “it’s been very exciting and…to be able to deliver a message to people and seeing them appreciate it is extremely rewarding. That is what motivates me to be able to touch more people and to continue to grow.” In the coming years, Oneculture aims to fortify its global community and brand recognition, as well as collaborate with local designers in each destination. The rise and transition of streetwear — comprising of T-shirts, sneakers and hoodies, for instance — from a niche to mainstay has undoubtedly gotten the attention of fashion circles. It’s a path that Oneculture is seeking to put its mark on. An article by Marc Bain in Quartz earlier this year noted that streetwear has signaled “a shift in what younger generations think of as luxury Continued on Page 5

An Asian Journal Magazine

The Asian Journal N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY D EC E M B E R 7, 20 1 8

What do ‘Dates for Filing’ and ‘Application Filing Dates’ mean on the monthly Visa Bulletin? USCIS uses the “Dates for Filing” chart for a particular month, and the person’s priority date is earlier than the priority date on A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE THAT INCLUDED RETROGRESSION OF PRIORITY DATES, AGING OUT, AND THE FATHER SUCCUMBING TO CANCER JUST the Dates for Filing chart, they BEFORE VISA ISSUANCE ON THIS SUNDAY’S “CITIZEN PINOY!” In July 2007, Raffy’s mother adjusted status in the U.S., hoping to immediately can already file for adjustment bring her husband and son, Raffy (left) to the U.S. from the Philippines. However, her priority date retrogressed (moved backwards) and the wait stretched for years. Several setbacks occurred, including further retrogression of the priority dates, Raffy aging out, and Raffy’s Atty. MichAel of status and work authorization father being diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately he passed away in the Philippines without seeing his American dream come true. Gurfinkel, eSQ (provided they are otherwise Raffy’s mother then retained the Law Offices of Michael Gurfinkel, who took over the case from two previous attorneys, who were not eligible). This could allow people taking active steps to move the case forward. Watch how leading U.S. immigration attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel was able to convince the SINCE October 2015, the to obtain work authorization Embassy to reconsider Raffy’s denial, showing he qualified under the Child Status Protection Act, on an encore episode of “Citizen Pinoy” much sooner than when they had – on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement) monthly Visa Bulletin (priority dates) was revised, adding a to wait for the priority date to be new column or chart called the current (in the Visa Issuance or “Application Filing Dates or “Dates Final Action Date column) to file Immigrant for Filing.” (There is also a column for adjustment and be eligible for Living: 101 or chart called “Final Action Dates” a green card. and Beyond or “Visa Issuance Dates.”) The Dates for Filing column But what does the Application would also be about the time the Filing Date mean? How does NVC would send out forms to Monette it affect the issuance of an the beneficiary to be filled out, AdevA MAGlAyA immigrant visa or granting of if the person is applying for an adjustment of status? Many immigrant visa abroad. The Dates JOSHUA was excited with his people are confused between the for Filing column also reflects new job at the inn. It sure beats Application Filing Date and the when the State Department having to herd sheep this time Final Action Date. expects the Final Action Dates king the meaning of the unusual for miles around were on the of the year when the cold nights Final Action date. This is the to be current 8 to 12 months in star. Eventually, they had to tell move going back to their own chilled his bones on the hillside the king for nothing escapes him. column or chart for what had been the future. In other words, if a hometowns. The brisk business pasture where he tended his the actual priority dates, when a person’s priority date is listed in Herod did not suffer fools gladly. brought by overnight travellers family’s small herd of sheep and visa could be issued or adjustment the Dates for Filing column, their The prophecy will come to in their otherwise sleepy town cattle. The job fell to his younger priority date would be current pass. The king to rule all kings was of status approved and to tired him out. Yet, he felt pretty brother this time. calculate a child’s age under the in the Final Action Date column to be born very soon within the proud of himself of the work he Jacob, the owner of the inn Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). in less than a year. However, if a kingdom. It was no wonder King was doing. was his father’s friend who had Dates for Filing date. After person priority date is current in Herod was in a vicious mood. Today, just before sundown, asked if Joshua could help him the State Department publishes the Dates for Filing date column, Joshua thought the ruthless he had filled the 12 modestly mind the inn for a little while as the monthly Visa Bulletin, USCIS it does not mean they are eligible king would remove all threats to furnished rooms with tired and he and his wife will be going on decides whether it will use the for a visa or adjustment of status his kingship by all means fair or hungry travellers. He thought of a long journey. Jacob liked and Dates for Filing or Final Action right now. Instead, they might be foul. It was bad enough he had meeting up with his shepherd trusted Joshua like the son he Dates for accepting adjustment of eligible 8 to 12 months later. to bow to the superior might of friends in the pasture once he never had. The young man was a status applications for family and If you have a priority date, the Roman conquerors who had had turned over the inn’s affairs good worker and a natural who and it is close to being current, allowed him to be king within his employment-based petitions. If quickly picked up the ropes of the to the night attendant. He had territory. heard his shepherd friends business. Just as Joshua was about to on night watch talk about an woman was about to give birth Joshua for a room and told him Not long after, Jacob and lock up for the night, a couple unusually bright star that has at any moment. Joshua had seen his wife was about to give birth. his wife left for their journey to came in. The man, visibly tired been moving in the heavens for to his own mother at childbirth. Alas, the last room has been let the town north of the country and leaning on his staff with one many nights now. They said it He had helped his own father and Joshua told him so. where they were born many hand, was supporting the woman was a spectacle to behold and he deliver some of his brothers Joshua glanced at the miles away to comply with the who was heavy with child with his woman and his heart was filled himself. Roman emperor Augustus’ decree wanted to see it for himself. other hand. The woman looked The rumor buzzing around “Maybe, I have something for with pity. He thought quickly of that everyone be counted for to be in some pain. Still, Joshua town was that the soothsayers in you. It’s not much but it would his own home for them to stay the census. Few, if any, in Israel noted the stately calm, grace and for the night but it was some get you through this cold night dared disobey the mighty Roman King Herod’s palace studying the beauty about her. There was this distance away. He had to think unusual heavenly display were at least,” he told the couple. Empire. cowering in fear, loathe to tell the mysterious glow. The man asked “Come with me.” and act quickly. It looks like the The inn was busy. People

Immigration Corner

A Christmas Story: The Innkeeper’s Untold Tale “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.”

and you have questions as to which chart applies to you and whether you are eligible to apply for immigration benefits in a particular month, you should seek the advice of an attorney, to make sure you’re not missing out on a critical filing date. *** Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. WEBSITE: Follow us on and Twitter @GurfinkelLaw Call Toll free to schedule a consultation for anywhere in the US: 1-866-487-3465 (866) – GURFINKEL Four offices to serve you: LOS ANGELES ∙ SAN FRANCISCO ∙ NEW YORK ∙ PHILIPPINES (Advertising Supplement)

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 Continued on Page 6

Vice, Richard and Dingdong on making an enjoyable movie

An Asian Journal Magazine

The Asian Journal N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY D EC E M B E R 7, 20 1 8

Warner Bros and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ director team up to tell Arnel Pineda’s journey By Nathalie



CRAZY Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu and Warner Bros are set to create a documentary that will showcase the life of the iconic ’80s arena rock band Journey’s lead singer, Arnel Pineda. In an article from Deadline, Chu expressed his desire to portray the “fairy tale and triumph of the human spirit” as he envisioned the upcoming documentary. He also noted that he is a fan of the band’s music. “The success of ‘Crazy Rich Continued on Page 6 Arnel Pineda performing with Journey.

Photo from Instagram/@arnelpineda2007

By KRissy

aguilaR Inquirer.met

A POWERHOUSE of cast led by Vice Ganda, Richard Gutierrez and Dingdong Dantes will star in “Fantastica,” one of the entries in the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) to be held this December. Directed by Barry Gonzalez, the comedy film serves as the first movie team-up of the three bankable stars, who will be joined by Bela Padilla, Ryan Bang, and award-winning actress Jaclyn Jose. The movie also includes the most talked about Kapamilya love teams — Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber, Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte, and Kisses Delavin and Donny Pangilinan. Also joining the cast are MC Muah, Lassy Marquez, Chokoleit and Juliana Parizcova Segovia. In a media conference at the Dolphy Theater on Tuesday, December 4, Vice Ganda assured that everyone would have “a great time watching Fantastica.” “Hindi po ako natatakot na baka may lumabas sa inyo na hindi natawa sa pelikula,” he said. “Nasisiguro ko po: Tatawa kayo. Meron at merong eksena sa pelikula na magpapatawa sa inyong lahat. (I’m not afraid that some of you might not laugh and walk out. I assure you: You will laught. There are scenes in the movie that will make you all laugh).” Dantes shared his experience in working with the “unkaboggable” Vice Ganda, recounting his first day at the film’s set: “Pagdating ko sa set,

Vice Ganda, center, leads the media conference for “Fantastica” with co-stars Richard Gutierrez and Dingdong Dantes. photo by Krissy Aguilar

nung unang araw ko, sinabi sa akin ni Vice: ‘Basta Dingdong, mage-enjoy lang tayo’. (When I arrived on the set, on my first day, Vice told me: “Let’s just enjoy ourselves.’”) And Vice quickly proved they would. Dantes said: “True enough, nung unang eksena namin, nagbigay siya ng isang linyang wala sa script, kaming lahat natawa. (True enough, in our first, he had this one line that made us all laugh.)” The Kapuso actor added: “Imagine, kami palang na gumaganap sa mga roles doon ay tawang-tawa na kami. Sinisiguro ko sa inyo pag napanood niyo yung buong pelikula, siguradong mage-enjoy kayo. (Imagine, even we who are doing the roles are laughing hard. I assure you that

you will enjoy yourselves when you watch the whole movie.)” Gutierrez, who echoed Dantes’ sentiments, saying it was the first time he made comedy film with Vice Ganda. The Kapuso-turned-Kapamilya actor said what made the movie enjoyable was the “dynamics” of the cast: “Kakaiba yung mapapanood ninyo kasi yung cast din talagang mahuhusay. (You’ll see something different here because the cast members were really good.)” “Fantastica” tells the tale of Bellat, played by Vice, who wants to rebuild his family’s carnival to save it from bankruptcy. Produced by ABS-CBN Films’ Star Cinema and Viva Films, “Fantastica” is set to premiere on Christmas Day in Philippine cinemas nationwide.

Yeng Constantino reflects on turning 30 By KRissy


POP Rock Superstar Yeng Constantino reflected on her change and growth as she turned 30 on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Constantino admitted she used to be scared of growing




old because she thought, “as you get older, pa-boring nang pa-boring ang buhay.” Other things that added to this perspective, she said, were the notions of getting lesser friends and more responsibilities. She added: “Puro trabaho


na lang. Mawawalan na ng amor sa jowa. Aaga na matulog. Magiging masungit parang si Señora at dadami na ang kulubot.” True enough, these things happened, but Constantino was positive and said: “Oo kumonti Continued on Page 6

Health@Heart PHILIP S. CHUA, MD, FACS, FPCS DEPRESSION is a most significant risk factor in suicide. In today’s busy, impatient, materialistic, and fast-paced society, people are subjected to various stressors in life everyday. Encumbered by their personal circumstance, some are unable to adjust and cope, and develop depression. Suicide is a senseless option and a preventable alternative. What is depression? Depression is a state of emotion where the individual has some or all of the following senses, feelings, or moods: downhearted, unhappy, anxious, irritable, unable to concentrate, socially withdrawn, empty inside, has inordinate fatigue and reduced interest in activities which used to be fun, hopelessness, indecision, impaired sleep, misery, helplessness, confusion, monosyllabic speech or abnormally quiet. What is the prevalence of depression? In the United States, about 9 percent, or 28 million American adults “have feelings of hopelessness, despondency, and/or guilt that generate a diagnosis of depression,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three percent or 9.6 million of adults have major depression, a chronic and severe form of depression. In the Philippines, the rate is about 5.3 percent. Worldwide, the rate is between 2.6 percent to 29.5 percent, a pandemic, actually, according to an international study conducted by the World Health organization. In general, women are 70 percent more prone to develop depression, in part due to hormonal changes, especially during menstruation, after pregnancy, and menopause. In the past 50 years, the rate has catapulted from 3.33 percent to 7.06 percent, from 1991 to 2002. The rate for the various types of depression in the United States are: Postpartum – 10 to 15 percent; SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – 4 to 6 percent; Bipolar – 2.6 percent; Dysthymia (minor depression that lasts 2 years or longer) – 1.5 percent; Psychotic depression (most severe form) – 5 percent. Are there screening tests for depression? Yes, there are. Mental health specialists can administer preliminary tests, such as the BDI (Beck Depression Inventory),

Depression and suicide

or the HRS (Hamilton Rating Scale), which is composed of 20 questions to screen the patient. Today, computerized phone interviews are gaining effectivity as a screening tool. These tests are only a small part of the evaluation process, because the specialists have the symptoms of the patient and other criteria to aid them make the correct diagnosis. Don’t we all get depressed sometimes? To some degree, some situations in life trigger depression, and normal people develop a mild form of depression, which is transient, self-terminating, and not a disease. As long as the resultant symptoms are trivial and temporary, and do not debilitate the person, the condition is not clinical illness and does not need any medical treatment What foods relieve depression? Foods that are high in tryptophan, an amino acid involve in serotonin production, provide relief to some people with depression. Niacin (Vitamin B3), which is essential in the production of tryptophan, can be found in dried peas, beans, whole grains, dried fortified cereals, and especially in oily fishes like salmon and mackerel. It is reported that Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil may actually reduce depression. PMS Escape, a high carbohydrate drink, was claimed to increase tryptophan level and would control the depression related to premenopausal syndrome has been found to have impurities by the FDA and subsequently withdrawn from the market. Calcium supplements and Vitamin B-12 have been reported to reduce premenstrual depression. Also, some studies showed that among depressed people who drink caffeinated beverages have a lower incidence of suicide, which seems to suggest that coffee or tea reduces depression. How about exercises? Believe it or not, physical exercises may be as effective as psychotherapy in the management of mild to moderate depression. Prolonged aerobic workouts lead to higher levels of serotonin, adrenalin, endorphins and dopamine in the brain (producing the popular term “runner’s high”). Physical exercises, brisk walking, ballroom dancing, yoga, tae-bo, etc. lead to better

emotional health. As an extra bonus from physical exercises, weight loss and improved muscle tone lead to the sense of well-being and higher selfesteem. Those individuals with strong spiritual faiths have a relatively lower predisposition to depression. These people might benefit from meditation, yoga, and other techniques for obtaining spiritual security, inner peace and happiness. Severe depression needs medical treatment. Does depression play a role in suicides? Yes, very significantly. Depression is present in about 90 percent of the more than 40,000 suicides that take place in the United States annually, and for every two homicides, there are 3 suicides. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the second leading cause of death in the age group 10 to 34. According to CDC, 1.3 million adults attempted suicide in 2014. About 78 percent of them are men, more than 4 times the rate for women. Depression lowers the mental threshold for self-destruction. Do you have depression? If you do, it is most prudent to seek medical help, not necessarily psychotherapy. The first thing to do is to consult your family physician, who can help guide you. With early proper medication and/or advice, depression in most cases can be managed effectively and eliminated faster than one can imagine. Physicians today have invaluable tools in their armamentarium for the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Many individuals with depression, who have sought medical care, are so “cured” with simple oral medications that they look, behave, function and live as normally and happily as anybody else, lost in the sea of anonymity. *** Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indianwa and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. For more data, visit; comments questions: (Advertising Supplement)

Globetrotting with Filipino-French... From Page 2 and status symbols.” Luxury fashion houses have in recent seasons collaborated with streetwear labels, especially to capture the millennial and Gen Z markets. Some notable ones include Louis Vuitton and Supreme (the latter brand was valued at $1 billion in 2017), Jimmy Choo and Off-White, and Manolo Blahnik and Vetements. Brands like Gucci and Balenciaga are among those that have taken cues on the trend with their latest offerings. “The youth… is directing a lot of fashion. Whatever the youth — whether it’s kids lining up at the Supreme store every Thursday for several hours or the latest Off-White — is wearing is whatever is cool,” Alvarez said. “I go to one of the skate parks in Paris and ask the young skaters what they think of Oneculture and hear their opinion. It’s how I evaluate the products.” Expanding the wholesale side is also a top priority as the brand progresses. This past summer, Oneculture presented at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy (an international fair for men’s fashion) and Liberty Fairs in New York. “The goal for us next year is to really develop wholesale and being sold in France and globally. It’s also a great way to spread our message through our clothes being available and for people to be able to touch and feel them around the world,” Alvarez said. The company plans on hosting international pop-ups in cities where it could reach more clientele, like Los Angeles, for example. “The concept and the style of the clothes would please a lot of LA customers. That’s why I


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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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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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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

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

Maine on Coco: ‘He’s such a gentleman’ By JAN


Model Willy Cartier in the Oneculture x Run the World Association T-shirt

Willy Cartier in a F/W ʼ17 T-shirt with Onecultureʼs logo

think LA would be an interesting market for us on a wholesale perspective,” he said. For Oneculture, like any fashion company, it’s a cycle of forward thinking and preparing for upcoming seasons at least a year in advance. The brand has completed its Spring/Summer 2019 capsule and Fall/Winter 2019 is underway. “What I’ve learned in this industry is that you have to

Photo by Graig Labranche

project yourself six months to a year in advance,” Alvarez said. “We have to really see ourselves and predict the styles that will be in vogue then.” Through its conscious and well-crafted collections, Oneculture goes beyond just the tangible aspect — expressing that fashion can tell stories and experiences, transcend borders and make the world not so large and isolating after all.

KAPUSO actress Maine Mendoza shared that their Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles” is now done shooting. In a recent interview with the media, including Philstar. com, at the sidelines of a MaxiPeel Zero event where she is the new endorser together with Marian Rivera, Maine said she is so excited to watch their movie. “Sobrang excited kasi kakatapos lang ng shoot namin noong Sunday at super excited na ako personally to see the movie kasi eto ‘yong sobrang cliche man pakinggan pero pinaghirapan din talaga,” Maine said. This is Maine’s first time to work with “Ang Probinsyano” star Coco Martin, and the actress said she discovered that the actor is

“so gentleman.” “Marami akong na-discover sa kanya kasi first time ko lang to work with him and sobrang bait niya, sobrang gentleman niya. Nakakatuwa kasi hindi niya ko tinrato na parang iba kahit bago ko sa showbiz at taga-syete ako, hindi niya ko tinratong iba,” she

said. Maine hopes to have more projects with Coco in the future, especially, a genuine action film. “For some reason, na-enjoy ko siya. And sana hindi pa ito ‘yung last at sana makagawa talaga ko ng legit action films,” she said.

Coco Martin and Maine Mendoza in a scene from their new movie Photo courtesy of Viva Films

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Warner Bros and ‘Crazy Rich... From Page 4 Asians’ has blown my mind and set me on a path to champion more unique inspirational stories that represent new perspectives from all around the world,” Chu said. The documentary will tell the tale of Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer who was discovered on YouTube by Journey co-founder Neal Schon after the original lead singer Steve Perry left the band. “I am excited to be bringing the audience along on this incredible story with my partners at Warner Bros who have been a leading champion of diverse voices in front and behind the camera,” Chu added. The studio is planning to license the original Journey tunes, most written by Perry and Schon. Warner Bros has acquired rights to “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” — a 2012 documentary that initially shone a light to Pineda’s impossible rise. “An unlikely hero, an undeniable talent, the power

of music and a worldwide stage (literally) have all the ingredients I love about movies,” the “Crazy Rich Asians” director said. The film will tell the humble beginnings of Pineda as he began singing at 15 years old while hanging out at a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Manila. The Filipino talent was discovered by Schon when cover tunes of bands like Led Zeppelin and Journey were posted on YouTube. Perry returned and took

San Pablenos celebrate the holidays, induct new officers of the San Pablo City Association East Coast

THE city of Seven Lakes celebrates the many facets of its heritage with a gala for the Christmas Holidays and inducts the new officers of the San Pablo City Association. The hub of Laguna , Batangas, and Quezon provinces, San Pablo represents the best qualities of the the three provinces. Some residents (maybe crazy as coconuts, sweet as the lanzones, and warm as steaming bowl of Batangas bulalo) may have different things to say. But they will always be positive. You may tease Photo from Instagram/@arnelpineda2007 a San Pableno by adding “y” to every vowel ending Tagalog word the stage with Pineda, Schon but it’s something that makes its and the rest of the band when lingo unique. Journey was inducted in the While it may appear that the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. Their city itself is left behind by the popularity continues, with its construction of the diversion road signature “Don’t Stop Believin’” and no tall buildings along Rizal the soundtrack of the closing Ave to externally indicate progress scene of “The Sopranos.” and prosperity, the way of life and The project will be overseen warmth of its people continue to for the studio by Kevin pervade the climate. McCormick. Temple Hill’s Marty Numerous developments Bowen will be the producer for along people oriented businesses the said film and the team is like tourism developments of its currently in search for a writer natural wonders and assets have that would best portray the steadily progressed. The cultural story of Pineda. affiliation and pride is so deep that while locals move far away, they remain so attached to the womb so to speak. And the San Pablenos in the East Coast is part and parcel of many organizations that remain partial to their beloved home town. Abe, (Abraham Elarmo) who has been with the Association as member and later President in 2010 (Andy Castillo being the first first one in 1986) thinks that the ease of travel and the convenience of the multimedia contribute to the strong bond between the city and its native sons and among kababayans. At any given time, a group will vacation home and as they witness the needs of the locals, they can readily communicate and get immediate response from the those living abroad. “Gupitan sa Barangay,” sound system for Ambray Elem School, all the way to the more recent Photo from Instagram/@yeng medical and dental projects undertaken during Francis Z’s term are but a few of the notable projects undertaken by “patak patak lang“ system. Medical missions are also instant responses as well as donations to the existing causes of the residents. “We want to continue those supportive moves and expand them,” says Alma Grace Avanzado, the incoming President who is convinced that this is her “payback” time to her beloved city. “I know we can do more and even strengthen the bond among those who are far away among themselves and those in the motherland. Technology has made it easier for us to meet via teleconference in meetings (Val Lugti, VP for Maryland and Ruben Medalla from Virginia need not travel to NY to attend a meeting and plan). A fun teleconference would be as good. We shall harness technology and the

Sampaloc Lake

Yeng Constantino reflects... From Page 4 nga talaga ang kaibigan pero ang mga natitira ay TUNAY.” The singer shared how she overcame everything by seeing the good side of these things she used to dread: “Puro trabaho nga pero mas minahal ang ginagawa dahil mas nakikita ko na’ng ito ay biyaya.” She also put fights in marriage to a positive lights, saying “di ibig sabihin nun di na mahal ang isa’t isa.” Constantino admitted becoming irritable, but she eventually learned how to be forgiving and humble. “At narealize na ang WRINKLES ay simbolo ng KARANGALANG tumanda. 30. Salamat Lord sa buhay na ito,” she said. Yeng Constantino

Induction Ceremony

Alma House Initial Meeting

Picnic Election

techies of the city to be more effective.” “We have to be more inclusive if the organization has to be stronger,” adds Soc Biscocho, the incoming Executive Vice President. To welcome all San Pablenos “short, tall, young, old, different religious orientation and sexual affiliation,” he quips with sincerity. VPs of the regions Paul Santiago for NY, Val Lugti for Maryland, Ruben Medalla for Virginia, Tessie Senerador for Connecticut, Jocelyn Danila for North Jersey, Rene “Chew” Perez for South Jersey and Renato

“Onjet” Brion for Pennsylvania are all on board and committed to active participation. “The number of participants and others with their long commute to come and celebrate together is a strong indication that we have the involvement of most current members,” adds Paul Santiago, VP for New York. This organization thrives over the years with commitment of previous leaders who refuse to let it fade away by actively participating. Everyone is welcome to the next major activity, which is the fiesta slated on Jan 12, 2019.

A Christmas Story...

From Page 3 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. 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 engulfed 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@asianjournalinc. com. To read past articles, click on the link Online: asianjournaldigitaledition or you can do searches in the least invasive search engine duckduckgo or bing or yahoo even before google.

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