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Volume10 – Issue 10 • 16 Pages


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House passes bill to award Fil-Am WWII vets with Congressional Gold Medal Bill headed for obama’s signature

by KLArizE


curing complete approval from Congress. the bill—which now awaits a fILIPINo and filipino-American soldiers who fought in signature from President Barack World War II are now closer to obama—would honor the more being honored with one of the than 200,000 filipino soldiers highest civilian awards in the who fought alongside American soldiers and Allied forces during United states. the United states house of the second World War. the filipino soldiers—of representatives on thursday, November 30 passed s. 1555, whom more than 18,000 are also known as the filipino Vet- still alive—join the ranks of the erans of World War II Congres- tuskegee Airmen and hawaii’s sional medal Act of 2015, se- 442nd Infantry Battalion with



from the AJPress NEWS TEAM AcroSS AMEricA

Federal judge blocks overtime pay expansion law A feDerAL judge on tuesday, November 22 blocked a new law that would have expanded eligibility for time-and-and-a-half overtime pay, affecting millions of whitecollar workers in nearly every sector of the American workforce. U.s. District Judge Amos mazzant III of the eastern District of texas granted a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the expanded eligibility rules violated the fair Labor standards Act (fLsA) of 1938, which included exemptions to overtime requirements. the law – which was released by the Department of Labor (DoL) in may and would have taken effect on thursday, December 1 – would raise the maximum salary cap required for overtime qualification from $23,660 to $47,476 for full-time executive, administrative and professional workers. the increased salary requirement would


Long Beach police reopen investigation into 16 year old case of missing Filipina-Hispanic woman AN anonymous tip drove detectives to formally reopen the case of a Long Beach, California resident who disappeared 16 years ago, but an excavation in Kern county conducted on thursday, November 17 did not produce the victim’s body. Diana raquel rojas, whom police describe as 5’2” woman of filipina and hispanic descent, was last seen at her home on friday, November 20, 2000. her family failed to locate her after she missed an appointment the following saturday. they then contacted police the next day. evidence found at the scene led detectives to suspect foul play in her disappearance. the case grew cold over the years until police decided to formally reopen the case and classify it as a potential homicide after receiving an anonymous tip earlier this No-


being bestowed with the honor. Less than 7,000 surviving veterans are residing in the U.s. today, some estimates show. “these loyal and courageous soldiers suffered, sacrificed, fought and gave their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war,” rep. tulsi Gabbard (D-hawaii) said on the Congress floor before the house voted. “We’ve waited far too long to recognize these heroes who


FILIPINO VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL ACT OF 2015. Representatives of the Filipino Veteran Recognition and Education Project and veterans await the passage of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Medal Act of 2015 on Wednesday, November 30. Photo courtesy of the The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project

Anti-Marcos groups Terror Alert Level 3 up after foiled bombing near US Embassy launch protests on by AJ


SUSPECT. The Philippine National Police (PNP) released on Tuesday, Nov. 29 the computerized sketch of the suspect who left the improvised explosive device (IED) near the United States Embassy in Manila. PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa presented the image of the suspected bomber who was driving a white taxi when he left the IED in a trash bin near the embassy. Dela Rosa described the suspect as 5’5” tall, of medium build and fair complexion. photo by Romina Cabrera

mANILA – the whole country is under terror Alert Level 3 after authorities nabbed persons of interest in the planting of an improvised bomb explosive near the Us embassy this week. Philippine National Police Director General ronald “Bato” Dela rosa did not elaborate on what the raised alert level means but reminded the public to expect tighter security measures. “they should expect strong checkpoints, oplan sita anytime, some raids on suspected terrorist personalities and lairs na puwede nilang pagtaguan,” Dela rosa said in a press briefing at Camp Crame on thursday. oplan sita is a police campaign


Andres Bonifacio Day by DAnA

sioson AJPress

DIffereNt groups and various individuals crowded at the People Power monument in Quezon City and launched a protest to show opposition on the burial of former President ferdinand marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNmB/ heroes’ Cemetery). Protesters denounced marcos as a ‘hero’ of the country during the demonstration event, which was also referred to as “siklab Bayan” by the protesters, on Wednesday, November 30, which also marked the national holiday honoring filipino revolutionary and hero Andres Bonifacio. the protesters were mostly youth from groups called Coalition Against the marcos burial in LNmB, millennials Against Dictators, as well as victims of torture during martial law and their families. former head National historical Commission


Tañada to Duterte: Yes, Marcos Largest Fil-Am mural in US vandalized was president, but what kind? by Eric

by JhEssEt


“Yes, marcos was president. Yes, he was a soldier. But what kind of president and soldier?” former sen. Wigberto “Bobby” tañada asked. And thousands of people chanted loudly: “thief! Dictator!” this was among the scenes that unfolded on Wednesday

at the People Power monument outside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where a huge crowd, many of them millennials, gathered to protest the burial of the late dictator ferdinand marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. tañada, who is now the chairman of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani foundation, referred to his statement as the


Duterte unveils ‘mega’ rehabilitation center in PH by DAnA

sioson AJPress

the first phase of the “mega” Drug Abuse treatment and rehabilitation Center (DAtrC) in fort magsaysay in Nueva ecija opened on tuesday, November 29, with Philippine President rodrigo Duterte himself leading the facility’s inauguration.

the rehab facility, built on an 11-hectare compound, is expected to have the ability to accommodate about 10,000 patients once all four phases are completed. With 172 building units, it will be the largest drug rehabilitation center in the country. to prevent the Philippines from becoming a “narco-state,”


Anthony LicAs AJPress

Los ANGeLes — Vandals defaced a 21-yearold mural in historic filipinotown celebrating historical and multicultural elements of filipino heritage sometime before tuesday, November 22. Photos circulating on social media show black graffiti spray painted over a central portion of the massive outdoor acrylic painting titled “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana (A Glorious history, A Golden Legacy)” located in the neighborhood’s Unidad Park. the artwork stretches roughly 150 feet by 50 feet and depicts tradi- The defaced portion of the murial Photo courtesy of Bayani Art tional motifs and significant moments of filipino and filipino- that ended the abuse of farm laborers in American history. It was first completed central California. “It is even more thoughtless and hurtin 1995 by muralist eliseo silva, 30 years after a multiethnic coalition of farm work- ful that the tagger targeted the part ers staged walkouts and demonstrations u PAGE A3


From the Front Page

House passes bill to award Fil-Am WWII… PAGE A1 t deserve this honor.” Gabbard, along with Rep. Judy Chu (D-California) and Mike Honda (D-California), pushed for the bill in the House, where it received 312 co-sponsors. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) was the Republican lead in the House for the bill, noting Filipinos’ efforts to secure a win for the U.S. and the Allies. “Filipino soldiers helped ensure Allied victory in the Pacific,” Heck said in a press conference in 2015 when the bill was introduced. “Bestowing this honor upon them is past due, but I am pleased to join in this bipartisan, bicameral effort to award these friends of the United States the Congressional Gold Medal.” On July 13, the Senate unanimously voted to approve the bill, as previously reported by the Asian Journal. NO. 1 CRITIC, SUPPORTER. President Rodrigo Duterte and former president Fidel Ramos bump their fists during the reunion of the San “The day has finally arrived for Beda College of Law in Taguig City on Saturday. Duterte described Ramos, who has criticized his anti-American stance, as ‘my No. 1 critic this group of heroes to receive and No. 1 supporter.’ Malacañang photo the recognition they deserve for their sacrifice and service to our nation during World War II. With Nevada being home to ‘The Military operations against the Mighty Five’ Filipino veterans – I PAGE A1 t in the Philippines in December am proud to see these brave indiwhere motorcycles are flagged 2015 in response to reports that group continue. down and riders are asked to the Abu Sayyaf or the BangsamThe IED came all the way from viduals finally rewarded for their present their license and regis- oro Islamic Freedom Fighters Mindanao and was brought to military service. With both House tration. Manila by land using a Toyota and Senate passage, I look forwould stage attacks. ward to seeing this legislation “’Huwag kayo ma-alarm, alerto Dela Rosa presented to the Revo, Dela Rosa said. lang tayo. I’m advising the public media the two persons of interIt was originally planted in Lu- swiftly signed into law by the to be vigilant, alert, and be cau- est identified as Rayson “Rasid” neta Park but it did not explode. President,” said Senator Dean tious but don’t panic. Relax, en- Kilala and Jiaher Guinar, who “Ang una nilang target Lu- Heller (R-Nev.) in a statement. Heller teamed with Senator joy Christmas,” he added. he said are members of jihadist neta, pumalpak lang doon. Hindi Alert level 3, or “high” alert, group Ansar Al-Khalifa and are sumabog kaya nilipat nila sa Mazie Hirono (D-HI) for bipartisan means there is a strong possibil- connected to the Maute group, Roxas Boulevard, malapit sa emity that a terrorist attack will hap- which attempted to take over a bassy,” Dela Rosa said. pen. The mobile phone that was town in Lanao del Sur over the The alert was raised in 19 areas weekend. u PAGE A3

Terror Alert Level 3 up after…

Duterte unveils ‘mega’ rehabilitation…


Duterte campaigned on the promise of cracking down on illegal drugs nationwide, earning him a landslide victory in the recent May 2016 elections. Since the president took office on June 30, police records show that around 700,000 drug users and 53,000 drug pushers have surrendered to the authorities. “Iyong mga tao na tumago at naghintay ng opportunity for a rehab or something good along the way, baka may makukuha sila, iyon ‘yung dadating dito. (Those who hid and waited for an

opportunity for a rehab or something good along the way, they might get something, those who come here),” Duterte said during the inauguration. He added that the center will accommodate drug addicts who surrender to the government. However, he reiterated his hardline stance to those who choose to fight back and refuse to surrender. “Those who choose to fight it out, made a stand, they are there in the memorials and cemeteries. I am sorry for them,” he added. According to the Philippine

National Police (PNP), around 4,000 people have been reportedly killed in the country in relation to the government’s war on narcotics — 1,800 of which were fatally shot during legitimate police operations and about 2,600 by unknown suspects. In his speech, Duterte also thanked the Chinese tycoon, Huang Rulun, who helped in building the rehab facility. Huang, chairman of the board of directors of Century Golden Resources Group, has reportedly donated an estimated P1.4 bil-


Senate passage of this legislation. This historic moment for Filipino veterans comes over 70 years after they dedicated their service. Celestino Almeda, a 99-yearold Filipino WWII veteran from Gaithersburg, MD, said the recognition is “long overdue” especially since the veterans were “treated unjustly, which was painful and humiliating” after serving in the war. Following the war, Congress had passed the Rescission Act of 1946, which stripped Filipino soldiers the benefits promised to them by President Roosevelt. 86-year-old Rudy Panaglima, who was 13 years old when he served with guerrilla forces in the Philippines as a courier and scout, said “it’s better late than never.” “Leo Ansis, an 89-year-old New Philippine Scout, felt that his service has been forgotten, but [was] very excited to hear of the bill’s passage. Mrs. Lourdes Poblete, a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and a recognized guerrilla who served from 1942 to 1944, is also overjoyed to receive the honor while she is still alive. She is 92 years old,” Luisa Antonio, San Francisco Veterans Equity Center (SVEC) executive director, said. Various Fil-Am leaders and organizations who have been fighting for recognition on behalf of the veterans — including The Filipino Veterans Recognition and

Education Project (FilVetRep) — applauded the news. “Today is truly a great day, a significant seminal period in American history – second only to the liberation of the Philippines and surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces on August 15, 1945,” said Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), chairman of FilVetREP. “Now we can tell our veterans with pride in our hearts that this grateful nation has, at last, granted them recognition for the selfless sacrifice they endured in war, and restored their dignity and honor in service to their nation.” Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro said the recognition will not only benefit the U.S. and the Philippines, “but all people who value liberty and democracy.” “We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for giving the ultimate sacrifice that we can never repay,” he said. The California State Board of Education recently approved curriculum changes of the state’s high schools to incorporate more information about Filipinos’ roles in the war in Grade 11 U.S. History lesson plans. Earlier this year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a new family-based immigration program for Filipino WWII veterans and their families called the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program. n

Anti-Marcos groups launch protests on…


of the Philippines (NHCP) Maria Serena Diokno, Sen. Leila de Lima, former DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, Rep. Edcel Lagman and lawyer Barry Gutierrez, also reportedly joined the demonstration. “The burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is wrong; it denies our history, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom,” Diokno, who recently resigned her post as NHCP head following Marcos’ burial, said in a previous statement. Despite the public objection

of martial law victims and their families, Marcos was buried “in secrecy” and with military honors at the LNMB on November 18. It was President Rodrigo Duterte who earlier gave the green light to bury the late dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery, living up to his campaign promise that he would let the event happen to “unite” and “heal” the nation. The burial was postponed until the Supreme Court ruled that Marcos can be buried at the cemetery in November, dismissing all the petitions against the burial. Several artists also joined the protest, including rock band Moonstar88, singer Gary Grana-

da and Jim Paredes of Apo Hiking Society. Earlier on the same day, a public demonstration was also conducted along the Mendiola street in San Miguel, Manila. Another anti-Marcos protest is reportedly set for International Human Rights Day on December 10. “The victims of Marcos and all victims of state fascism will continue to fight for justice, freedom and democracy as we gear for mass actions on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day,” Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said in a statement released on Bonifacio Day. n

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From the Front Page


Terror Alert Level 3 up after…


supposed to trigger the bomb was recovered from Guinar. “Ang motive nila para lumuwag ‘yung operations doon sa Maute Group and gusto nilang ma-recognize ng ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] kung nakapagpasabog sila ng bomba at nagkaroon ng malaking pinsala, malaking casualties,” Dela Rosa said. The suspects are facing criminal complaints for violation of R.A 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms

and Ammunition Regulations Act) and PD 1866 as amended by R.A. 9516 (Illegal/Unlawful Possession of Explosives). They will also be charged for Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism under R.A. 9352 (Human Security Act). The foiled bombing happened while the country is still under the state of lawlessness declared by President Rodrigo Duterte last August. “Aaminin ko talagang nakalusot, that’s our fault. Sorry, nalu-

sutan tayo,” Dela Rosa said. “Honestly, hindi ko masasabi na hindi na mauulit but rest assured our PNP and our Armed Forces of the Philippines are trying their very best to secure the country,” he added. Dela Rosa, however, clarified that Alert Level 3 was already raised when Duterte declared a state of national emergency in September in response to the bombing in a Davao City night market. n

Federal judge blocks overtime pay…


A DAY OF RALLIES. It was Andres Bonifacio’s day, but thousands of rallyists gathered at the People Power monument at EDSA on Wednesday to denounce the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. photo by Ruy Martinez

Duterte unveils ‘mega’ rehabilitation…


lion for the construction of the drug rehabilitation center. “Mr. Huang, please accept my gratitude and that of the Filipino people,” Duterte said in his speech, calling the businessman a ‘good samaritan.’ The president then added, “He (Huang) just came out of nowhere and went to my office and said that he would help me solve the drug problem.” The Chinese businessman lauded the president for his strong campaign against illegal drugs, describing it as “the common enemy of mankind.” “Drug trafficking and drug abusing are the chief culprits in wrecking the society and destroying the people’s minds. Drugs have long plagued governments and people all over the world, and the spread of drugs has brought great harm to the economic development and social stabilities of all countries in the world,” Huang said. According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, the first batch of patients in the new facility would be male patients from the “overcrowded” drug rehabilitation centers in Central Luzon, as well as other nearby areas. “We hope that it will really help the victims of the illegal

INAUGURATION. President Rogrigo Duterte and Huang Rulun, board chairman of Beijing’s Century Golden Resources Group, talk during the inauguration of the mega drug rehabilitation center donated by the businessman in Nueva Ecija. The rehabilitation center occupies a land area of 11 hectares and has a total construction space of 60,000 square meters with 172 building units, making it the first large scale drug rehabilitation center in the country. Malacañang photo

drug trade. The patients are actually victims of the illegal drug trade so we want to ensure that they are provided adequate and compassionate services for rehabilitation,” Ubial said. In a statement, Malacañang said the DATRC comprises the “health component” of the antidrug campaign. “The government has responded to concerns about the availability and preparedness of facilities to accommodate those willing to submit to treatment by putting up the (DATRC),” it added. n

Largest Fil-Am mural in US… PAGE A2 t

that honors Latino-Filipino unity through the Delano Grape Strike,” Silva told the Asian Journal via email on Wednesday, November 23. The vandalized section of the artwork specifically commemorates September 16, 1965, the day laborers from the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) joined forces to form what would eventually be known as the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Black lettering now mars the likenesses of Cesar Chavez and Filipino and Latino farmworkers depicted just beneath larger-than-life portraits of Fil-Am labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz. “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” is the largest mural dedicated to Filipino heritage in the United States. Its presence partly inspired city officials to designate the community surrounding the mural as Historic Filipinotown in 2002. “Any tagging is undesirable,” Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Joel Jacinto told the Asian Journal on Monday, November 28. However, he went on to concede that “graffiti is a natural occurrence of its public life.” Last week wasn’t the first time parts of “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” have been vandalized. In addition, the mural had never been treated with a protective coating that would help preserve it and make it easier to remove spray painted graffiti.

Shortly after Unidad Park opened in 2009, Silva had performed a partial restoration of the mural, but by then, other portions were showing signs of wear. On Monday, Silva told the Asian Journal he would be willing to give his time to perform a comprehensive restoration and enhancement of the mural if enough funds could be pooled to pay for materials. He said he had been in touch with the nonprofit which stewards Unidad Park, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, as well as city representatives, and groups like the Social Public Art Resource Center regarding fundraising options. He estimated that it would cost roughly $10,000 to repair the damage done earlier this month and $50,000 to refresh the entire mural and apply a protective coating. Procuring that money may require partnerships between public and private parties and efforts to bolster interest in supporting and preserving public art, according to Jacinto. “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” is the last of seven murals painted in Los Angeles celebrating Filipino heritage, according to Silva. Jacinto said that this mural and the many others that beautify the city’s public spaces serve an important role in celebrating and commemorating Angelenos’ rich and diverse identity. “Murals in Los Angeles are lessons in the world that’s been and the world we want to see,” said the commissioner on Monday. n

Tañada to Duterte: Yes, Marcos…


“third question” that President Rodrigo Duterte should answer. Last Nov. 24, on his arrival from his trip to Peru for the APEC Economic Managers’ Summit, Duterte defended his decision to allow Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani by asking his criticis two questions: Was Marcos a president? Was Marcos a soldier? He said if they could answer those questions in the negative then he would gladly step down. According to regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, presidents and soldiers are among those qualified to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The Supreme Court cited those regulations in deciding that no law forbids the burial of the former presi-

dent there. Tañada also pleaded with the Marcos family to return the remains of their patriarch to Batac, Ilocos Norte province. “He was there for 27 years, and we never bothered them,” he said. “Why would they transfer him? Just to deepen our wounds?” The remains of Marcos, who died in 1989, were flown from Hawaii, where he lived in exile since his ouster in February 1986, and taken to Batac, Ilocos Norte. Last Nov. 18, his remains were transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani – without any announcement from either the government or the Marcos family, triggering protests all over the country. Wednesday’s gathering was the biggest so far, with almost 20,000 people attending, according to the latest estimate of organizers. n


have extended overtime protections to nearly 4.2 million workers, 7 percent of whom are protected by the FLSA compared to 62 percent in 1975, according to the DOL. While the FLSA does allow employers to exempt white-collar employees from overtime, Mazzant said in his 20-page ruling that the rule “creates essentially a de facto salary-only test.” The DOL — as well as worker advocacy organizations — argued that the law would fairly pay employees for the extra hours they work past the 40hour weekday, adding that it would contribute to closing the wage gap between wealthy and low-to-middle income households. The DOL expressed strong disagreement with the judge’s decision and was looking into further action including a possible appeal as the Obama administration comes to a close. “The department’s overtime

rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options,” the DOL said in a statement. The DOL can appeal to the New Orleans, Louisiana-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, which has blocked many Obama initiatives in the past. But even if it passes the court, Presidentelect Donald Trump’s administration could enact legislation that could upend the rule. Twenty-one states and dozens of businesses and business groups -- including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- had challenged the expansion on the grounds that the new regulation would hike up government costs in their states by $115 million next year. Moreover, they argued that costs would also increase for small, private businesses by millions. “This is a victory for small business owners and should give

them some breathing room until the case can be properly adjudicated,” said Juanita Duggan, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, told USA Today. In the months leading up to December 1, many businesses across the nation have already begun making changes to accommodate the new law including raising employee salaries to avoid overtime costs. Many have begun preparation to demote salaried employees to hourly employees. This is the fourth time in 21 months that a federal judge from Texas has stymied one of President Barack Obama’s executive orders. Previous blocked Obama initiatives included protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation, establishing inclusive bathroom mandates for transgendered students, and requiring federal contractors to disclose labor violations. (Klarize Medenilla/AJ Press)


Dateline USa • (212) 655-5426

Over 120 organizations call on California schools and colleges to be designated as sanctuary schools and campuses

LOS ANGELES — Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA), together with more than 120 community, education, health, faith, labor, student, and parent organizations in California, has released an open letter calling on California’s educational leaders to address the growing fear around deportation and the troubling spike in hate crimes, incidents, and bullying in K-12 schools and on college campuses since the election of Donald Trump. Coordinated by the College for All Coalition, the open letter calls for safe, inclusive, and equitable NEW FIGHTER JETS. Four new supersonic fighter jets, FA-50PH from South Korea land in Clark Air Base in Pampanga after flying in learning environments for Califormation during the ceremonial turnover on Thursday, December 1. The jets are part of the 12 fighter aircraft bought for P18.9 billion fornia students, especially those in 2014 by the Aquino administration from the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI). photo by Nino Jesus Orbeta who are most vulnerable. The President-elect campaigned on a promise to deport undocumented immigrants and, since Election Day, has stated that his administration will seek to deport up to 3 million indiTHE United States has shifted Killing thousands of drug per- dent thing to do was to refocus viduals, generating significant the focus of its police assistance sonalities to prevent the country the way that assistance was befear across diverse immigrant programs in the Philippines from becoming a narco-state ing spent,” Kirby added, reitercommunities. In addition, hate from the government’s illegal has been among the core of ating the United States’ “deep incidents have been on the rise drugs control to maritime secu- Philippine President Rodrigo concern” over the alleged spate in recent months. of extrajudicial killings in the rity and human rights concerns, Duterte’s electoral promises. Even before the November 8 a State Department official said Since Duterte took office last Philippines. presidential election, the SouthFor the past few months, the on Tuesday, November 29. June, the Philippine National ern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) “Since the start of the drug Police (PNP) has recorded an Philippine government’s brutal reported that more than twocampaign, our law enforcement estimate of 1,800 deaths in the crackdown on illegal drugs has assistance has been refocused country during legitimate police been receiving criticism from away from narcotics control to operations, while about 2,600 the United States and other insupporting maritime security people were slain by unknown ternational bodies, including the efforts and to providing human suspects, in relation to the gov- United Nations. Duterte, on his part, has rerights training to the Philippine ernment’s war on narcotics. National Police (PNP),” State “And as I said, since the be- peatedly revoked these critiDepartment Spokesman John ginning of this counternarcotics cisms, lambasting the United by Dino Maragay Kirby said. campaign, we decided the pruu PAGE A5

US assistance shifts away from PH anti-drug operations to maritime security, rights concerns

thirds of 2,000 K-12 teachers surveyed nationwide said that students - mainly immigrants, children of immigrants, and Muslims - expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election. In the aftermath of the election, these fears have been exacerbated with widespread reports of a disturbing increase in the targeting of students of color and of immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ, differently abled, and female students in schools and on college campuses across the nation and in California. “We in California have an obligation to counter bigotry and hate by protecting the safety and well-being of our diverse students and their families,” stated Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-LA. “The spike in hate crimes and incidents in the wake of the presidential election and the President-elect’s threats to deport three million immigrants are extremely troubling and antithetical to our values as a nation and as a state. We call on California’s educational leaders to rise to the challenge and ‘go all in’ to put our values of diversity, inclusion, and equity into action for our state’s students, families,

and communities.” The open letter urges Califor nia’s K-12 and higher education leaders to protect vulnerable stu dents who are being targeted in this current climate, particularly students of color and immigrant Muslim, LGBTQ, differently abled, and female students, and to transform this into an oppor tunity to support educators, stu dents, and their families in pro moting diverse and welcoming learning environments by: • Designating all K-12 public schools and colleges and univer sities to be sanctuary schools and campuses; • Allocating adequate re sources and support to promote diversity, inclusion, and positive intergroup relations; and • Protecting all California stu dents from being bullied, intimi dated, harassed, or discriminated against on the basis of protected categories. While some K-12 districts and higher education institution have already indicated they plan to take steps to protect undocu mented immigrant students the open letter offers specific recommendations for sanctuary schools and campuses, includ ing prohibiting access to fed


Mayweather flaunts $100-M check from Pacquiao fight

Long Beach police reopen investigation into 16…


vember. Based on that lead, forensics experts identified four locations in Ridgecrest, a town in Kern County, California, that might have contained the victim’s remains. Cadaver dogs dispatched to sniff out traces of human remains showed interest in one of those locations, but the police led excavation on Thursday failed to locate her body. However, investigators have received several tips since then and are actively looking into them. The victim was last seen wearing sweatpants featuring a Winnie the Pooh logo, a jacket with a medical insignia, and a pink

spaghetti strapped shirt. Police also hope to locate her vehicle, a black 1992 Nissan extended cab truck missing a driver’s side door lock and car stereo with texas plates, which hasn’t been seen since Rojas’s disappearance. As of Thursday, November 17, officers had not identified a person of interest in the case. Rojas’s estranged husband had been interviewed and ruled out as a suspect earlier on in the investigation. Rojas had been caring for a 2year-old daughter at the time of her disappearance. She worked at a church providing aid to other single mothers. “If there is anyone out there

with any information, anything, please help my family find closure,” Rojas’s brother, Solomon Cortez, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, November 16. Anyone with information that might help detectives make a break in Rojas’s 16 year old case are urged to call Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Mark Bigel and Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7244. Potential informants can also submit an anonymous tip via the LA Crime Stoppers hotline at (800)-222-TIPS(8477) or their website at (Eric Anthony Licas / AJPress)

FLOyD Mayweather Jr. again reminded the public why he fondly calls himself “Money.” The retired Mayweather took to Instagram to post a photo of a Bank of America check dated May 2, 2015, which he received as partial payment after his megabuck showdown with Manny Pacquiao last year. The amount? A whopping $100 million (around Php4.9 billion). Mayweather first brandished the check before reporters at a press conference after he defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision in Las Vegas in May 2015. Mayweather earned at least $220 million in the fight, which went down in history as the richest boxing match ever. It generated over $400 million in revenue

Floyd Mayweather’s $100 million check, a partial payment from the Manny Pacquiao fight, photo of which he recently posted on his Instagram account.

and sold a record 4.6 million payper-view units. Pacquiao, for his part, took home at least $150 million. And with the huge purses the two superstars earned fighting each other, a rematch seems to be a logical choice financially. Mayweather recently showed up ringside at Pacquiao’s fight

against Jessie Vargas at the Tho mas & Mack Center in Las Vega last November 6, stirring talks tha the two are headed for anothe clash. The Filipino, for his part added fuel to the fire when he recently sported a coat featuring pictures of him and Mayweathe inside. n

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Dateline USa


Dateline PhiliPPines


De Lima’s ex-lover back in Camp Crame by anthony


CONFISCATED. Policemen and soldiers found heavy military armaments in the lair of wanted drug trafficker Renz Tukuran, chairman of Barangay Lumupog in Midsayap town in North Cotabato. Tukuran, also known as Datu Puti, and his followers escaped to a marsh near the vast Liguasan Delta when they noticed combined teams of soldiers, policemen and guerillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) approach their hideout in Barangay Lumupog to arrest him. Superintendent Bernard Tayong, spokesman of the North Cotabato police, confirmed on Saturday the recovery of a .50 caliber machinegun, a .30 caliber machinegun, two 60 millimeter mortar launchers hidden in the abandoned hideout of Tukuran, an ethnic Maguindanaon. photo by John Unson

PH COA pushes for performance audit via its CPA program Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo urges citizen participation to enhance transparency, accountability

THE Commission on Audit’s (COA) mandate is quite expansive as the Philippine Constitution has given the agency the authority and duty to examine, audit and settle accounts owned or held in trust by the government. Overall, the COA is involved in financial, compliance and performance audit. However, with its expansive mandate, the COA has focused more on financial and compliance audit, with little time and resources given to performance audit. Now with the new administration’s goal to eradicate corruption by promoting accountability, the COA is on a course to change this by working towards a more performance audit focused approach. Performance audits examine the effectiveness, economy or efficiency of a government program. Auditors assess whether value has been delivered for the money spent and whether available resources deliver the best services. COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo talked about the commission’s strategic plan and capacity building during his speech at the recent International Leadership Conference (ILC) in Washington, D.C. The ILC is one of many conference series presented and organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) to focus on the urgent need for new vision and moral leadership. This year’s theme is “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Government, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations.” Aguinaldo shared that in connection with performance audit, the COA has been working on an initiative called the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA). “The Citizen Participatory Audit began as a response to the pursuit by the previous Philippine administration of the key result area of institutionalizing open, transparent, accountable

Philippine Commission on Audit Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo

and participatory governance,” said Aguinaldo. “The reform sought to overturn the political culture of secrecy, impunity and collusion by introducing transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.” The CPA is a mechanism for partnership and an audit technique that brings together citizens and government auditors to conduct a performance assessment of government projects and programs, Aguinaldo explained in his speech. The initiative entails the participation of citizens in an audit team for a particular project or project. The citizens undergo training and then are sent to the field under the direct supervision and control of government auditors. At present, over 80 citizens have been trained and over 20 civil society organizations have been engaged. According to Aguinaldo, the CPA also has completed the audit of farm-to-market roads in 12 provinces, disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction, solid waste management, the Department of Education Water Sanitation and Hygiene Program, tourism roads, and disaster relief fund utilization in a number of regions, cities and/or provinces. The CPA was also utilized to check on compliance with the conditions of a conditional cash transfer program. Currently, the

CPA is involved in the audit of revenue assessment systems of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) together with the organization of certified public accountants. “Don’t get me wrong; the citizens do not substitute the auditors,” said Aguinaldo. “They assist the auditors in the conduct of a performance audit.” Now with the help of technology, the COA is able to go further and engage with individual citizens directly through geotagging, or Global Positioning System (GPS). Through this technology, it enables users of mobile phones or gadgets to capture real-time photos with metadata. The Philippines has a database of more than 10,000 roads mapped out and verified to date with the help of the World Bank. Geotagging also allows the COA to monitor infrastructure projects as they are being built by posting photos and information on social media sites such as Facebook. “Transparency breeds accountability. With transparency, there is a better chance for corruption to be curbed, delivery of public services to be improved, and business and economic environment to be enhanced,” shared Aguinaldo and then added, “It is our hope that the CPA will create greater transparency and community involvement.” Aguinaldo was appointed to head the COA in 2015. As head of the COA, he is currently the external auditor of the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, and the International Labor Organization. Prior to his appointment to the COA, he was the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President from 2011 to 2015. He also headed the Investigation and Adjudication Office and oversaw the implementation of integrity consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). (AJPress)

US assistance shifts away from PH anti-drug… PAGE A4 t

States for its supposed “hypocrisy” and “meddling” in the local affairs of the Philippine government. According to reports, the U.S. has committed to provide $5 million worth of law enforcement assistance to the Philippines from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017 — $4.5 million of which has shifted to maritime law enforcement, specifically to the Philippines Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries. The remaining half a million dollars, on the other hand, is being allocated to human rights and internal reform efforts. “And just to remind, the United States vigorously vets all units and individuals before providing assistance to the security forces of the Philippines, as we do elsewhere around the “We remain deeply concerned by reports of extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of world,” Kirby added. (Dana M. government authorities in the Philippines,” US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby Sioson/AJPress) said in a press briefing. Photo courtesy of US Dept. of Defense

RONNIE Dayan, the driverlover and alleged bagman of Sen. Leila de Lima when she was the secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the administration of then-President Benigno Aquino III is now back in Camp Crame. Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief on Thursday, December 1, confirmed that Dayan has been brought back to the camp, the police national headquarters in Quezon City. “Gusto niya magpa-secure muna rito … andito siya sa loob ng kampo [He said he wants to be secured here.. he is here inside the camp],” Dela Rosa told reporters at the sidelines of a news briefing in Camp Crame where he had presented two suspects in a foiled bombing near the US Embassy in Manila last Monday.

Ronnie Dayan photo

Dayan was arrested by the police last November 22 in a village in San Juan town in La Union province. A P1-million reward was earlier offered by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) for any information that would lead to the arrest of Dayan, who also confirmed De Lima’s earlier admission that they had a seven-

year affair from the time she was a private law practitioner until she became Justice secretary. He was ordered arrested after he snubbed a summons issued by the House Committee on Justice that has been investigating the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons that allegedly benefited de Lima. Dayan appeared before the committee last November 24 and admitted that he had been receiving drug money for de Lima. After his House appearance, he was turned over to the custody of the PNP chief and immediately brought to a safehouse in Pangasinan province. Dayan is set to appear before the Senate justice committee on December 5 where he is expected to face drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, one of those who allegedly gave at least P2.8 million to Dayan as campaign money for the senatorial bid of the former Justice secretary. n

Amid protests, Bongbong renews call for unity by Perseus


MANILA – Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. renewed his call for unity amid protest rallies against the burial of his father and namesake former president Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City. In a post on his Facebook account, Marcos also paid tribute to Andres Bonifacio, father of the Philippine revolution, on his 153rd birth anniversary. The former senator said the bravery and patriotism of Bonifacio should serve as an inspiration these days to show the importance of unity and love of country. Marcos said the spirit of the revolution of Bonifacio is to achieve unity and not to divide the nation. “Now is the time for a united effort to achieve peace and progress in the country,” he said. The Marcos family has implemented strict measures to their supporters visiting the tomb of the former president at the LNMB. Supporters who wish to visit the tomb must first secure clearance from the Marcos family for security reasons as anti-Marcos

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

groups called for the exhumation of the remains of the late dictator. The Marcos camp also clarified that there is no vigil being held by loyalists beside the grave as soldiers tightened security at the military cemetery. On Tuesday night, a group of 50 anti-Marcos activists camped out outside the perimeter fence of the heroes’ cemetery. The group peacefully dispersed yesterday morning. Another resignation Following the resignation of photo

chair Maria Serena Diok-no of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), another commissioner announced to the public yesterday his resignation. Francis Gealogo, NHCP commissioner and member of the board, posted his resignation letter dated Nov. 19 on his Facebook account. “Now that our chair has officially tendered her resignation, I can now make public this letter that I submitted the day after the burial,” Gealogo said. n

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eral immigration officials unless there is a judicial warrant and guaranteeing privacy and refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of students, staff, and community members. The open letter also recognizes and expresses concern that other vulnerable student populations, such as students of color and Muslim, LGBTQ, differently abled, and female students,

have experienced a rise in hateful bullying and intimidation. The letter makes a broader call to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students, and for California’s educational leaders to invest resources to increase the capacity of educators, students, and their families to develop and implement strategies that reduce prejudice, address implicit bias and stereotyping, and promote positive intergroup relations.

The letter is being sent to State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, California State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White, and incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. Members of the College for All Coalition also will be delivering the open letter to their local school districts and colleges and universities. n

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AS soon as she took a stand against the alleged rising cases of extrajudicial killings in the country, Sen. Leila De Lima put a target on her back. When she criticized the government’s bloody war on drugs, she was chastised.

Some lawmakers are now hellbent on linking the senator to the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). the former justice secretary is accused of receiving money from drug lords who have been conducting drug trafficking at the national penitentiary. to implicate her further, some congressmen are willing to destroy her character and reputation. When De Lima’s former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan faced the house Committee on Justice last week, lawmakers pried on their seven-year relationship. the objective of the house inquiry was to determine De Lima’s alleged involvement in the NBP drug trade, where Dayan is accused of serving as her bagman. intimate details of their love affair were divulged as lawmakers asked about the “intensity” and “climax” of the relationship and even asking whether an alleged sex video exists. De Lima earlier admitted that she had an affair with Dayan. Dayan also confirmed having a relationship with the former Justice secretary despite being married. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez defended that this line of questioning is relevant to the inquiry. “if you look at the whole picture, there is a connection because here is a woman pretending to be clean, righteous, graft-buster, crime buster. But here also are the allegations against her. how can you demolish her credibility?” Alvarez asked.

For her part, De Lima cried foul over the probe she described as “spectacle that diverts from more important issues” of the country. “As a woman, it breaks my heart that my private life and personal relationship have become subject of the public and Congress’ ridicule. No woman, whoever or whatever she may be, whether a sitting senator or a humble secretary, deserves to be betrayed, to be treated with so much disrespect and without dignity before the public eye, by any man she is with or had a relationship with,” De Lima said. the senator said she is ready to prove her innocence when her accusers bring their cases to the courts. “May justice and truth prevail today and the days to come, as we sort out the truth from the lies that are easily weaved into this tall-tale narrative of a human rights and justice advocate turned drug queen. Regardless of the Goebbel’s playbook they are following, a lie repeatedly told can never become the truth. instead, the truth revealed will set us all free from this madness that we should stop from becoming our new normal,” De Lima said. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has been asked to disbar De Lima over her illicit affair with Dayan who is a married man. the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said that De Lima’s public admission and Dayan’s testimony were

Editorial photo

enough to prove that the senator committed gross immorality that should warrant the cancellation of her license as a lawyer. Furthermore, De Lima also faces a show-cause order to explain why she should not be cited for contempt for preventing Dayan from attending the house hearing.

De Lima may be free from bars now, but not from the stigma. they say the truth will set us free. Will De Lima’s “truth” afford her the constitutional freedom she deserves or will it slap her with legal consequences? Despite all the scathing accusations, the senator remains innocent until proven guilty. (AJPress)

What Filipinos should learn from Fidel Castro try. Now, it’s doing deals with With Cuba’s half a century of foreign marques interested in stagnation under his rule, the late Commentary manufacturing and marketing communist strongman Fidel Castro, its items. who died last Friday, Nov. 25 at age How to make a nation 90, does not seem to offer much for healthy and bright any nation to learn, except perhaps health is another area of lessons on what not to do. world-class excellence for Yet, in fact, there are at least three RicaRdo Saludo Cuba, focusing more on preareas in which Castro’s Cuba outventing ailments rather than performed many countries, including the Philippines, despite its far less resources, curing them. Visiting in 2014, World health Orgaplus the antagonism from the West: health, educa- nization Director-General Margaret Chan praised Cuba’s achievements not only for its prevention tion, and sports. Despite its small population of just 11.4 million, thrust, but also for its innovation. “Cuba is the only country that has a health care Cuba perennially wins international athletic competitions. in this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics, its system closely linked to research and developathletes took home five golds, two silvers, and four ment,” said the WhO head, who hails from hong Kong. “this is the way to go, because human health bronzes — No. 18 in the world medals tally. in the Pan-American Games predictably domi- can only improve through innovation.” how good is Cuba’s health? Well, take infant nated by the United States, Cuba has won 2,026 medals, including 875 golds since the competition mortality: 4.7 deaths per 1,000 births is better than even the US (6.2), and leads developing nations. began in 1951 until 2015. Sadly, in the Philippines, there are 17.6 deaths that beats countries with far greater resources and populations, like Canada (456 golds), Brazil for every thousand births, as of 2014. it dropped (329), Argentina (294), and Mexico (221). Only the by about one death per year between 2000 (29.5 US has more Pan-American medals (4,431 total, deaths) and 2010 (19.9), but the improvement has slowed since. including 1,948 golds). if the country adopts federalism, it must ensure how does Cuba keep winning? As other communist states do, the government spots talented that regional governments don’t falter in health youngsters and gives them support and training care, as many provinces and cities did after the from youth. But it also disseminates sound physi- Local Government Code devolved the primary sercal development dos and don’ts, like telling moth- vices of the Department of health. One way to prevent that is to learn from Cuba, ers to massage their babies’ muscles 45 days after which provided world-class health services to a birth. the National institute of Sports, Physical Edu- population similar to a typical Philippine region. And the same can be recommended in educacation, and Recreation (iNDER by its Spanish initials) promotes fitness nationwide, but also scouts tion. here’s what an education expert of the Food for and develops young potential. that probably and Agriculture Organization reported about Cuba makes the body too busy to squabble over who in a 2000 paper, “the Cuban Educational System: Lessons and Dilemmas” by Lavinia Gasperini. heads the national Olympic committee. “the record of Cuban education is outstanding: Beyond state programs, Cubans also take great pride in competing and winning for the nation. universal school enrollment and attendance; nearly And with name brands banned by the US trade universal adult literacy; proportional female repreembargo selling to Cuba, its homegrown BAtOS sentation at all levels, including higher education; company makes most sports gear used in the coun- a strong scientific training base, particularly in

Fidel Castro

chemistry and medicine; consistent pedagogical quality across widely dispersed classrooms; equality of basic education opportunities, even in impoverished areas, both rural and urban.” Gasperini, who holds a PhD in Education from the Sorbonne, also noted that Cuba ranked first in math and science achievement for both males and females, in a recent regional study of Latin American and Caribbean countries. She sums up: “in many ways, Cuba’s schools are the equals of schools in OECD [industrialized]countries, despite the fact that Cuba’s economy is that of a developing country.” What if Castro didn’t fight America Actually, Cuba is not far behind the rich world, going by the World Bank’s purchasing-power parity (PPP) ranking of per-capita gross domestic product (GDP), which removes price disparities between countries in assessing the output of goods and services. Based on 2015 World Bank GDP PPP data, Cuba ranks No. 58 with $20,649 per-capita GDP in PPP dollars, just behind several East European and Latin American countries (Croatia, Romania, Chile, Panama, Uruguay), and ahead of thailand

($16,306), China ($14,239), indonesia ($11,035), and the Philippines ($6,969). One wonders how much better Cuba might have done if it had not crossed America by allying with Russia, nearly hosting its nuclear missiles, and fomenting communist revolution in Latin America. For that, Washington not only embargoed trade and travel to Cuba, but also restricted aid and loans from multilateral bodies where the US had clout. Which may be the other lesson the Philippines should learn from Castro’s Cuba: better not pick a fight with any big power, or become a pawn in superpower rivalry. Especially if the nation one would take on happens to be the global engine of economic growth, as America was in the last half-century, and China looks set to become in the current one. to be sure, the US gave Cuba much reason to fight it. the Central intelligence Agency funded the failed Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles in 1961, just two years after the Cuban Revolution installed Castro. And while he might have wanted to improve relations long ago, Washington seemed in no mood, even after the Cold War with Moscow ended after the Soviet Union broke up a quartercentury ago. Now, President Rodrigo Duterte is leading what may be his own revolution, breaking away from America, refocusing on long-deprived regions and services for the poor, and making friends with all, instead of taking sides in big-power tussles. As he leads 100 million Filipinos toward change, the man from Davao would do well to learn from not just one, but two Fidels fond of cigars: former president Ramos, whom Duterte calls “my No. 1 critic and supporter,” and his fellow revolutionary from Cuba. (

Sneak hero’s burial arouses the youth against historical reviWE ARE happy for sionism and the same the country, now that Commentary arrogance of power that the youth have been spelled the downfall of roused by the sneak Marcos in 1986. hero’s burial last Nov. the EDSA Revolt 18 of the remains (or that sent the ailing the wax facsimile) dictator and his family of the dictator Fer- Federico d. Pascual Jr. scampering to hawaii dinand Marcos who was the culmination of died 27 years ago in similar street protests against human ignominious exile. the Black Friday protest rallies at rights violations, oppression and corthe Rizal Park in Manila and other sites ruption – the same issues being raised across the country carried out by the these days. President Rodrigo Duterte, who apyouth and their elders incensed by the stealth of the burial at the Libingan ng proved Marcos’ hurried burial, must mga Bayani bear watching, together heed the lessons of history. Note that he with the administration’s counter- has entangled himself into the protest rhetoric, he is now being denounced in moves. the scattered protests, held in bad the same breath as the late unlamented weather, have not gathered a critical dictator. it is not far-fetched that soon, demass, but – if mishandled by the administration – could spread as mass action pending on how well he swims with or

against the tide, Duterte will not only have his hands full grappling with the country’s serious problems, but also in defending his rule. We note with concern that Duterte has organized his own youth group – like Marcos (and even hitler) did during his time – which could collide with militant students and millennials critical of his administration. Morales comments on ‘trying times’ Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, talked of how Filipinos now live in trying times as he warned of how “great people fall as prey and transform as predators themselves.” in a critical speech last Friday before fellow alumni of the UP College of Law, she said in what we took as an allusion to Duterte’s argument that burying Marcos at the Libingan was not prohibited by law: “Just because you can, does not mean you should.”

She also said: “the people should be bothered when the leaders themselves equally could not figure out what is right and wrong. “When leaders seem to send the message of promoting, rather than condemning, reprehensible acts that transgress basic human rights, the people ought to be concerned about it – rather than cheering for it either out of sheer ignorance, callous conscience, blind loyalty, or gorgonized fanaticism.” “indeed, these are interesting times we live in – again,” she said, recalling how Marcos’ regime divided the nation decades ago. Duterte has said that burying Marcos as his family wished would finally lay the issue to rest and unite the country. it appears, however, that the opposite – the dividing of the nation – is happening. Back to the Black Friday rally, we share with President Duterte these tell-

ing remarks of human rights lawyer Rene Saguisag, among the elders who flocked to the Rizal Park event, in case he has not come across them: “i believe your title is President, not King. You demand respect but seem to being incapable of giving any. We elected a leader, not a ruler, and you can’t seem to tell the difference. “You took an oath to defend the Constitution, but from your actuations since taking office you seem to be testing your new-found powers, from your pronouncements about imposing martial law, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, to having to ‘innovate the law,’ whatever that means. “Be very careful about crossing the Filipino people, sir. the Philippines is bigger than Davao. You cannot bully your way through any decision you make and expect no consequences.” (

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


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Dateline PhiliPPines


Stopping collection of terminal fee from OFWs ‘long overdue’

A LAWMAKER on Thursday, December 1, hailed the decision of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal to stop the collection of the P550 airport terminal fee from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). According to Rep. John Bertiz 3rd of ACTS-OFW party-list group, it is about time that the MIAA rescind its Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 8 that took effect last February 1 because it blatantly violates a law that grants exemptions for OFWs from paying the airport terminal fee, among others. “I commend Monreal’s move to stop the collection of airport terminal fee for our OFWS starting March next year. This is long overdue because its continued collection disregards the exemptions granted by law to our fellow OFWs,” he said in a statement. Beriz was referring to Sec-

tion 35 of Republic Act 8042, as amended by RA 10022, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act, which exempts OFWs from paying travel tax, documentary stamp and airport terminal fee. Monreal earlier announced that starting March 2017, the OFWs will no longer have to queue at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to refund the P550 terminal fee integrated in the airline tickets they purchase. He disclosed that while his office is finishing technical details with international airlines so that they would stop collecting the fee from OFWs, it will be ready to refund OFWs who can present a copy of their E-ticket, boarding pass and passport. “Finally, our hardworking OFWs need not have to queue at the refund counters. This is indeed a very welcome development as we have been fighting for

years to revoke this illegal memorandum issued by the previous administration,” Bertiz said. He also earlier filed House Resolution 14, which seeks a House inquiry into the implementation of Memorandum Circular 8, Series of 2014 integrating the P550 airport terminal fee in the airline tickets of all international passengers, including OFWs. “This directive [MC 8] not only removes the benefits granted by law to millions of OFWs, notably their exemption from payment of airport terminal fee, but also the very spirit of the law and the intention of our lawmakers,” Bertiz said. The MIAA acknowledges the OFWs’ exemption by providing a scheme where the workers can refund integrated terminal fee upon showing of the Overseas Employment Certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. (

Execution by hanging, firing squad included in proposed Death Penalty Law by Patricia Lourdes


MANILA — Three methods may be used in executing the proposed Death Penalty Law — hanging, firing squad or lethal injection. House Bill 1 (HB 1) which proposes such methods in executing the death penalty seeks to amend Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code. Last Tuesday, the House subcommittee on judicial reforms endorsed a bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes including drug violations. Six lawmakers voted for HB 1 while five wanted to limit capital punishment to drug-related crimes, arson and carjacking. “The death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of Corrections... who shall take steps to ensure that the hanging, firing squad or lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death of the convict,” the proposed measure read. The proposed measure also requires all personnel involved in the execution of capital punishment to be trained prior to the performance of the task. Meanwhile, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) ap-

Hanging will be one of the methods of execution in the proposed Death Penalty Law. photo

pealed to the House of Representatives to immediately cease efforts to restore the death penalty in the Philippines. “Filipino lawmakers seem intent on embracing the barbaric practice of executions purely as a political measure, without any understanding or even proper discussion of the death penalty’s impact or what their actions would mean to the international obligations of the Philippines,” ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser Emerlynne Gil said. Gil stressed that the reimposition of the death penalty would usher the country into a “dark period where respect for the right to life is comprehensively degraded.” The ICJ executive noted that

thousands of alleged cases of extrajudicial killings have already been reported in the country. The organization stressed that the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. “The UN General Assembly has repeatedly adopted resolutions by overwhelming majorities, calling on all retentionist States to impose a moratorium with a view to abolition,” the ICJ said. In 2006, the imposition of the death penalty was suspended with the enactment of Republic Act 9346 or “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines” signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. n


END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Vice President Leni Robredo with other women during the start of a campaign to end violence against women at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. photo by Marianne Bermudez

Palace: Duterte ‘threat’ vs rights advocates a figure of speech by Kristian Javier

MANILA — Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s “threat” to kill human rights advocates is just a figure of speech and should not be taken seriously. “It was just out of frustration. The president did not really mean na gagawin niya talaga yun,” Andanar said in an interview with radio dzMM, adding that that is just how Duterte speaks. In a speech on Monday, Duterte said he would include human rights activists when “harvest time” comes because, he said, they are contributing to the country’s drug problem. “Sabi ng human rights, pinapatay ko raw, sabi ko ‘sige na maghinto tayo, paramihin natin.’ Para ‘pag panahon ng harvest time mas marami na tuloy mamatay, isali ko na kayo kasi kayo ang nagpalaki eh,” Duterte, who has talked about killing drug dealers and drug lords but has also denied that he condones extrajudicial killings, said. Andanar said that Duterte’s statement should not be taken seriously, and that the remarks were from frustration that his sentiments on the war against drugs are not understood by the public. A Social Weather Stations survey in September that was

released last month found that respondents rated the government’s war on drugs “excellent” at a net score of +78. Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., meanwhile, said in an interview on GMA News’ News to Go that the president knows “that he cannot do that” and that it would be wrong to. “Wala akong narinig na sinasabi ng pangulo na ganyan,” Yasay also said. ‘No joke’ Sen. Leila De Lima, meanwhile, said in a statement that the president’s statements should not be taken as “mere jokes.” “We must defend those who defend human rights in this country and oppose all initiatives and actions that would make international accountability for HR violations and abuses difficult,” De Lima, former chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said. She also added that, as president, Duterte’s statements must be taken seriously. The Palace has said in the past that although Duterte’s statements hint at policy, they do not become policy unless action is taken. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella has also suggested that the media use “creative imagination” when reporting the president’s statements. Andanar has said media should take a cue from Davao-based journalists to know when Duterte’s words should be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, the Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) also expressed distress that the president “would even think of human rights activists as the enemy.” “His comment -- that human rights is part of the drug problem and, as such, human rights advocates should be targeted too -- can be interpreted as a declaration of an open season on human rights defenders,” NAKPhilippines said. They also added that due to the rate of summary and extrajudicial killings in the country, they are taking the president’s perceived threat seriously. “We appeal to President Duterte to revoke this statement so as not to give police officers and the death squads out there the wrong impression that, in the war on drugs, human rights are also targeted. Human rights activists are not the enemy,” NAKPhilippines said. They also called on “defenders of the law and security sector to observe the rule of law and uphold human rights.” Andanar has assured human rights groups that Duterte has many styles of speaking and that they should not take the way he expressed his frustration literally. “We also have to think of the manner and the style by which the president speaks,” Andanar said. n


december 2-8, 2016

James BarBour as The PhanTom & ali ewoldT as ChrisTine

PhoTo By maTThew murPhy

people events arts culture entertainment





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The Asian Journal N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY D Ec E m b E R 2 , 20 1 6

Ali Ewoldt: BrEAking BoundAriEs And AchiEving drEAm rolEs by MoMar

Ali Ewoldt made history when it was announced earlier this year that she has been chosen to play the role of Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera’s leading lady. She is the first woman of color, the first Asian-American to do so in the musical’s almost 30-year history. “it means a lot just to do the part let alone be the groundbreaker or somebody at the forefront of change in that way. i’m just trying the best job i could do and to help tell the story the best way i can, which is to sing the songs really well,” Ali said, reacting to the news back in June. The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway in January 1988, and Ronald Reagan was president. it became the longest running show on Broadway a decade ago, back in 2006, beating the record set by Cats. This week, the cast celebrated another unprecedented Broadway milestone, their 12,000th performance. Since the Andrew lloyd Webber musical debuted on January 26, 1988, it has grossed over $1 billion with total attendance of 17.4 million. Even now, it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows. “it is really incredible to be in a show that has been in existence for the past 28 and a half years or so on Broadway. There’s so much history steeped into the theater,” Ali Ewoldt, the talented Fil-Am theater actor who currently plays the role of Christine Daae, told us. “Even in the dressing room, knowing that this was the dressing room that Sarah Brightman created the role in. The chandelier is the same chandelier that was there when they opened the show. There’s a great energy about being part of something that has moved and inspired so many people,” Ali continued. She has been approached by people who tell her that they are inspired by her, after watching the musical. “Now, they can aspire to be Christine on the show someday because they see me doing it. That’s something much bigger than me and it is kind of amazing to inspire people that way,” she added. For Ali, it is all bout her attaining one of her life goals, one that she set when she was barely ten years old. it is as vivid as she remembers. She was ten years old when she watched Phantom of the Opera for the very first time and she absolutely loved it. it was also then that she fell in love with all things musical theater “i really hoped that i’d be Christine someday, even if it’s not on Broadway. i’ve sung Think of Me a hundred times, including an embarrassing one at a cruise ship when i was only ten years old,” Ali laughed as she recalled the moment. Growing up, she studied voice for a long time and in college, she tried to study something a little more practical or something that would give her a more stable career path. That is why


G. Visaya/AJPress



our leading lady here became a Psychology major at Yale. While there, her love of performing didn’t wane a bit. On her senior year, she was performing with the Graduate Opera Program. They needed an extra soprano for The Marriage of Figaro and she was cast as Barbarina and did her thing onstage. One of the cast members had a friend in the audience who happened to be a casting agent from New York. She was asked if musical theater was something she would consider and that their agency could represent her. She agreed and went on to various auditions. Ali made her Broadway debut as Cosette in the first Broadway revival of les Miserables back in 2006. She was understudy for Tuptim at the recent revival of The King and i. She was also Maria in the first national tour of West Side Story and luisa in the longrunning Off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks. Phantom has always been one of those dream shows, specially for a soprano. “i’ve always wanted to sing the beautiful music that Christine gets to sing. She auditioned for the role many times during the years and thankfully, it finally worked out and i’m just really happy to be singing Christine at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway every night,” Ali shared. First night “i was definitely nervous,” Ali admitted. “We had a great rehearsal process, lots of amazing people were helping me to get ready for the show. it was basically my first time with everyone else in costume.” Ali eventually got adjusted to hearing the orchestra, to moving around in her costume –beautiful but very heavy and tricky - and she said she can’t walk backwards in them. “i was trying o find the quiet amidst all the chaos that was going on. it was so exciting,” she said. But that first night almost did not happen. A little back story. let’s just say that Ali has had her share of heartbreaks and rejections and when the opportunity presented itself again, she had cold feet and she had to think it over. “There’s so much in this business of ‘You’ll never know, maybe this time…’. As much as i’d like to say ‘i don’t want to put myself through that again’ or ‘i can’t go through not getting the role one more time’, there’s always that seed of hope and excitement and possibility,” she shared. “i just tapped into that. What if i don’t go and this is the time. Thankfully,





my agent was also wonderful in pushing me to go for the same reasons.” And that seed of hope blossomed into a beautiful opportunity for Ali, one that she has been aspiring for since she was a little girl. Creating Christine Ali knows Christine now based on what she has seen as a young girl and based on her own research about the young soprano on the show. She went back to the source material and started reading the book again, which was according to her, “useful and somewhat not”. “i wanted to understand what Christine was like. Here’s a girl who is sucked into this supernatural world and believing in this phantom and giving his trust to him. in the book, it is explained that she is Scandinavian and they believe in myths and folklore and that’s in her mind,” Ali shared to us, and this was when she paused for emphasis. “And i said, wait, that’s just like Filipinos! Filipinos are incredibly superstitious and believe in ghosts. i remember getting to my aunt’s cabin and there were portraits on the wall and we were told not to stay in this or that room. it was something that i understood culturally as well and let me open the door to Christine that way and let logic aside to get swept up in this world,” she said, completing her story. Ali’s narrative, particularly her love for music, is mostly because of what’s in her DNA.



Her mom grew up in Pangasinan and they’ve always been close to her side of the family. She is one of eight siblings and they always had reunions every year when Ali was growing up. “Experiencing the closeness of family that way was fun. We were singing most of the time. Music had a huge part in my upbringing with my Filipino relatives and magic mike and talent shows every year. it was about the passion for music and gathering around the table at Thanksgiving and everybody would just sing in harmony because they love it. That was important to me,” Ali said. She fondly remembers one of her mom’s sisters – Tita lenlen from Alabama, who showed her the DVD of the making of Miss Saigon and introduced Ali to lea Salonga and how incredible she was. “Then we went to see lea in Miss Saigon and her playing Eponine in les Miz. it was a huge watershed moment for me because here was a Filipino who is playing an amazing role in a very successful musical on Broadway and it wasn’t about her being Asian or Filipino or anything, it was just her telling the story. it was groundbreaking that way,” she continued. And now, it is Ali Ewoldt who is groundbreaking herself. She may have broken boundaries in order to achieve her childhood dream of becoming Christine Daae on Broadway but there’s a lot more in store for this Filipino-American go-getter. We’ll just have to wait and see.


AliisactiveonsocialmediaandthroughherpostsonFacebookandInstagram,sheisableto updateherfansaboutthedevelopmentsonhercareer.Sherecentlysharedaphotoofher parentsonacruisedressedadThePhantomandChristineandhashtaggedit#parentgroupies. WhenshewasstilldoingTheKingandI,shepostedaphotowithKenWatanabewhensheplayed theroleofTuptimduringoneoftheshows.Andwhensheandco-starJordanDonica(who playsRaoul)joinedthecastofPhantomlastJune,Alipostedhergratitudetoher“Phantom Phamily”forwelcomingthemwithopenarms.Itwasn’tonlythecurrentcastthatwelcomed thembutBroadwaystarSierraBoggess,aformerChristineDaaeherself,sentAliflowersto congratulateherforbaggingtherole.

Immigration Corner Atty. MichAel Gurfinkel, eSQ After Donald trump was elected president of the United States, many people became fearful, anxious, and nervous about their future in America. After all, he started his campaign by stating he wanted to deport ALL of the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. He recently modified that position, by stating he wants to first start with immediately deporting the approximate 3 million undocumented immigrants who are felons, terrorists, and “bad people.” As for the remainder of the undocumented immigrants, he still has to decide what to do. He has also brought in as advisers some very hard-liners on immigration reform. Some of these people helped draft some of the harshest immigration laws across the country. those same immigration hard-liners will be advising him on proposed new immigration laws. Some people are worried that there may now suddenly be a “knock on the door”, by Homeland Security officers, with guns and badges, “arresting” them at their home or work, and taking them directly to the airport, because of some minor crime they committed years ago, or they may have been ordered deported in the past. While it remains to be seen how trump and the republicancontrolled Congress will deal with immigration reform, here are some of my thoughts (which are merely my opinions, and not established fact, and may not come to pass.): 1. Build a wall: I think trump will attempt to build some kind of fence or wall along the Mexican border, both to keep his campaign promise, and to stop the flow of people across the border, just in case he may later decide to have comprehensive immigration reform. Last year, tens of thousands of people poured across the border from Central America, and Obama was

What to expect from President trump on his immigration plan trying to deport them as quickly as possible. If there will ever be some form of immigration reform, I think the lawmakers don’t want hundreds of thousands of people pouring in to the US in anticipation of such immigration reform. So they want a wall first. 2. Deporting the felons: I believe he will move forward on his pledge to deport the “bad guys” as quickly as possible. these would include convicted felons, terrorists, etc. I hope it would not include people with old “in absentia” removal orders. I would also hope he would leave in place prosecutorial discretion, allowing ICe to focus on these bad people, but leaving the “low priority” undocumented alone for now. 3. Convert DACA into the Dream Act: Pres. Obama brought about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by “executive action,” after Congress did not pass the Dream Act. But if you think about it, DACA and the Dream Act are similar, in the sense that both address the issue of allowing young people who were brought to the US at an early age to remain in America. trump’s opposition to DACA was that it was brought about through executive action, rather than congressional legislation. He seems to have no problem if these measures are brought about by way of laws passed by Congress. therefore, if the republican-controlled Congress will pass the Dream Act, it would not be “executive action”, and may even be politically expedient for the republicans to gain favor with the Latino community, as they would definitely benefit by the enactment of the Dream Act in lieu of DACA. 4. eliminating the 3/10 year bar and bringing back Section 245(i): One of the main impediments to people being able to legalize their status is that they are not eligible to do so in the US, and if they depart the US to process their immigrant visa at the embassy in their home

country, they could be banned for 10 years. If he eliminates the 10 year bar, it would be easier for people to consular process. Moreover, if he brings back Section 245(i), and has people pay a fine or penalty of perhaps $5000 so they don’t have to travel back to their home country, he could make billions for Homeland Security. Let’s not forget that trump was the author of the best-selling book, “the Art of the Deal”, which involves give and take, negotiations and compromises in order to make deals. this shows that while he may take a particular position at the outset, he may be willing to change his position. And that attitude may be far better than other people, who once they take a position, refuse to change it. As a businessman, he may be willing to negotiate and change his positions when it comes to immigration reform. And finally, now, more than ever, it may be a good idea to make sure you have an attorney representing or readily available to you, with these massive anticipated changes to the immigration landscape. An attorney can help navigate you through these dangerous waters. *** michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the state bar 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. the information contained herein including testimonials, “success stories,” endorsements and reenactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. no attorneyclient relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader. Website: call toll free to schedule a consultation for anywhere in the us: (866)—GurFinKel Four offices to serve you: lOs AnGeles · sAn FrAnciscO · neW YOrK · pHilippines (Advertising supplement)

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A HusbAnd’s 30-YeAr-Old “secret” AlmOst derAiled tHe FAmilY’s Green cArds On An encOre episOde OF citiZen pinOY! leading us immigration attorney micHAel J. GurFinKel was able to revive Alice’s petition by her us citizen father, after it was terminated due to the petitioner’s death. the family was then eligible to get their visas years ahead of schedule by using the priority date of Alice’s lebanese husband, Andre. but Andre refused to come to the us because of a “secret” he had kept for 30 years, preventing him from going back to the us. Atty. Gurfinkel worked “miracles” to resolve the mystery behind this fascinating success story, on an encore episode of citiZen pinOY – on sunday, december 4 at 6:15 pm (pst) on tFc.

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond Monette AdevA MAglAyA eMMA looked down at the busy huddle in the operating room. She was floating, hovering above the doctors and nurses in their blood spattered scrub suits while working on someone. they were desperately trying to bring a patient back to life. emma took a closer look. “Why that’s me,” she thought. the doctors were trying to bring her back from the brink. Her vital signs were weakening. If the monitor flat lined, emma knew she would be gone for good. there seems to be a thin silver thread that still anchors her to her body but the physical life force is ebbing away fast. She remembered being in a car accident. emma was only 42. “Go back,” she seemed to hear someone tell her but there was no sound. emma felt so light, so free. She hadn’t felt this wonderful in a long time. A feeling of wellbeing was

Coming back from the brink NDE: The Near Death Experience “ Unless a grain of wheat shall fall upon the ground and die, It remains but a single grain with no life.”

— From a hymn composed by Bernadette Farrell

engulfing her. She was in a tunnel and a white speck of light glowed at the end. there was a being of light in the distance. She began moving towards it. Suddenly, she felt the grief of her husband and her two young children weighing down on her. She caught a glimpse of them in the hospital waiting room. Matt, the younger one, has his face pressed against the windowpane staring out through the glass at the pouring rain. Her heart was filled with love for them. they still need her. “Go back. It’s not yet time,” she seemed to hear the gentle voice once more although there was no one and there was no sound. And emma did.

She heard one of the doctors say to her, “Welcome back.” emma knew her life, what remained of it, was never going to be the same again. emma is only one of several millions the world over who have come back from the edge of death, having gone through what is called NDe or Near Death experience. Are you afraid of death? I am. I suppose so do most of humankind through most of history. In Greek mythology, the fates represented by 3 women named, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos determined a person’s destiny upon birth. Clotho is the spinner who Continued on Page 5

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On the PEP Front

People, Events, Places

Mark Bautista emboldens career image as he (still) sings on a high note

BoBBy T. yalong ThE moniker “Mark Bautista” has persistently been a household name since his emergence in the Philippine music arena via a local reality TV talent search, Star For A Night, where he demonstrated an excellent struggle but finished close behind its top contender Sarah Geronimo. Undaunted and resolved Mark was challenged even more and vowed to achieve what he has enormously aimed for as goaded by his intention to augment the family income. During his youth, while most kids his age would either spent hours on computer games or indulge in strenuous physical activities, Mark was kept engaged with imbibing from the goblet of Sinatra and other iconic balladeers that gave him that enviable resonance in his musicality. he was timid and hesitant to perform but when dexterity prevails he could readily persuade the audience to his side either through his compelling oratorical or emotional-laden musical pieces. Every personal struggle with good intention is being sanctified with a well-deserved leeway and effortlessly surpasses possible detriments that might impair a genuine aspiration. Earlier after having successfully passed the initial phase of the local Star For A Night

tryout, the usual financial setback of going to Manila for the final audition process was easily resolved… and lucky enough, he qualified for the Grand Finals. A product of a closely-knit clan, young Mark was inspired to inflexibly work and conscientiously save for his family (a sister and two younger brothers) following his father’s untimely retirement due to health issues. The Cagayan de Oro City-bred singing sensation initially became a member of an all-boyband, Voicemale, known for its Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Backstreet Boys’ hit covered songs. Ably enthused by the elusive fame within his reach, Mark was dead-serious to pursue singing as a career. In 2004, ABS-CBN made him sign on dotted line where he became a regular fixture of its Sunday television musical variety show, ASAP, host of the Search for the Star

The sexy side of Mark Bautista

The singer-performer as a hunk


Mark Bautista headlines Christmas In Our Hearts.

A perfect profile of a renaissance talent Mark Bautista, the Pop Heartthrob

In A Million (Seasons 1 and 2), and Star Magic. Subsequent to the instantaneous hit of his first album in September of 2005, “Dream On”, a follow-up full-length album, “Dream On Expanded,” was fittingly released by Viva Records and a first major concert, justifiably dubbed “Pop heartthrob,” was mounted at the Aliw Theater two years later (March 2006). his name became synonymous with easy-to-the-ear lovesongs and sentimental ballads that straightforwardly made him carved an unprecedented status and effortlessly established a divergent image in the Philippine music industry. Since change is the only permanent thing on earth, Mark saw to it that it should be invariable and for the relentless development towards his envisioned career path. After having had numerous television exposures he just felt his talent wasn’t maximized to its fullest. There’s still much more to be exploited. Aptly armed with an even ferocious decision to seek for a potential course he shifted home studio where he was overtly received with regular musical shows and lead dramatic TV roles. For a more diverse and broader professional growth Mark stanchly dipped his hands into the movies (“Kimmy Dora,”“Lastikman,”“Status Single,”“Masikip Sa Dibdib,” etc.) and even theater (“here Lies Love” at the Royal National Theater in London). his calculated steps, with surefire moves toward the right


explored his inherent ingenuity into a new horizon that leads to film making and production, and that will competently equip him with comprehensive factors for effectual entertainment conceptualizing and structuring. “Going back to school The CDO City-bred singer soars high from his and getting the adequate humble beginning knowlegeability related to entertainment could certainly track, were meant to achieve what enhance not only my selfhis heart desires. he painstakingly assurance and deftness on stage crafted his way to fame from his but that enviable authority to be innate craving and paramount at the rear and at the helm of the obsession to succeed in an already project. There’s no alternative for jam-packed arena of ardent factual learning and accumulated hopefuls and jilted fame-seekers. edification…I need to grow as Treading a struggling career an artist and take a grip on every path in the entertainment field, possible change for advancement particularly music, is undeniably in the field where I am at,” Mark tantamount to mastering the “art of challenge” coupled with unwavering readily responded when queried about his decision on taking a crash persistence. Aside from a multitude course in film and production in of ready-to-gamble co-hopefuls New York Film Academy. “This has this dog-eats-dog arena could been a long time career plan but seemingly open doors to someone just got the chance to squeeze who’s there on the right place and it into my (uninterrupted) hectic time… while blessed with Lady calendar… and finally, I made it!” he Luck’s charmed smile. sounded in a thrilling tone with an Standing confidently against air of arrogance (which was quite a multiplicity of equally talented understandable) but tried to convey multi-regional (not to mention multi-racial) singers and performers, it in a controlled and subtle manner. It was actually tediousness and Mark is capably fortified with an the monotony of his daily grind that intense desire to be a step or two strongly pressed him to pursue a ahead of the rest and all geared Film Making course. up to show what he was innately After achieving a paramount born with that sets him apart from asset like a new plume added to his among his contemporaries. already feathery cap, Mark could But he soon came to realize only sigh in great relief. “Now, I feel that altering his career path could effectually empower his professional absolutely fulfilled knowing that status while simultaneously gaining I am enthusiastically prepared to resurface on the limelight after an an unyielding confidence in his epigrammatic hiatus.” every performance. An academic Nothing gets people either advancement can undoubtedly embolden a fresh push to his career revved up or melted down than listening to a pulsating beat or image while accumulating that schmaltzy ballad only a singeressential dynamism in his growing performer of Mark Bautista’s list of achievements. caliber could offer. Consistent in Already driven and focused on his singing style and song choices, pursuing a field associated with Mark maintains a strapping iconic where he’s productively thriving, Mark, after defying all odds, daringly image and a formidable figure in



the generation where he rightfully belongs. his merely being dubbed as a “Pop heartthrob” is not actually a fragile misnomer but a title wanting of a more glaring luminosity and modified intensity which would possibly be re-dubbed as “The Renaissance heartthrob.” And with a new-fangled identity justifiably attached to his name, the instantaneous resurrection of a prolific entertainment proponent won’t be remotely visible in the offing. Watch out for a “more loaded” Mark Bautista when he comes home with a bash! For comments and suggestions, please email to: gemini0646@yahoo. comMark Bautista emboldens career image as he (still) sings on a high note The moniker “Mark Bautista” has persistently been a household name since his emergence in the Philippine music arena via a local reality TV talent search, Star For A Night, where he demonstrated an excellent struggle but finished close behind its top contender Sarah Geronimo. Undaunted and resolved Mark was challenged even more and vowed to achieve what he has enormously aimed for as goaded by his intention to augment the family income. During his youth, while most kids his age would either spent hours on computer games or indulge in strenuous physical activities, Mark was kept engaged with imbibing from the goblet of Sinatra and other iconic balladeers that gave him that enviable resonance in his musicality. he was timid and hesitant to perform but when dexterity prevails he could readily persuade the audience to his side either through his compelling oratorical or emotional-laden musical pieces. Every personal struggle with good intention is being sanctified Continued on Page 6

Ping Medina on Baron Geisler: He doesn’t respect the industry By roseTTe


ACTOR Ping Medina late Monday evening, nov. 28 called out his colleague Baron Geisler who allegedly urinated on him in a shooting scene. In his lengthy and curse-laden Facebook post, angered Ping narrated how Baron almost ruined the scene in the movie “Bubog” they were shooting, with an uncalled for move to pee on him. “Right before mag-take dun may narinig akong sinabi ka: May gagawin ako sa’yo Ping ah. Sana ‘wag ka magalit.” Ping narrated, adding that he initially thought Baron would spit on him. However to his surprise, Baron allegedly peed on Ping while his hands and feet were tied while his mouth was taped. “napakabilis ng pangyayari. naramdaman ko na lang na may bumabasa sa dibdib ko. Medyo mainit at may amoy,” Ping said as he almost left his character. “Umagos ito. Basang basa ang shirt ko. Umagos ito hanggang sa bibig ko. Buti may nakatakip na tape,” he added. Ping said he continued the scene as a professional actor. Right after the scene, he mulled on fighting with Baron but the latter was not fighting back.

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Vice and Coco: ‘Tis the season to share your blessings By Pablo

a. Tariman

On this early evening encounter at a Resorts World Manila restaurant, the cast and director of the new Star Cinema release, “The Super Parental Guardians,” are surprisingly positive about a lot of developments in local cinema. Their filmfest entry, “The Super Parental Guardians” didn’t make it Ping Medina narrated how Baron Geisler almost ruined the scene in the movie “Bugbog.” photo in the Magic 8 of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival and so does was a changed man after being Ping instead punched a other equally popular entries tagged alcoholic and violent concrete wall which led to his perceived as sure-fire audience when drunk. fracture. He lamented Baron’s favorites. Baron promised to be sober behavior. The kids in the cast — Simon on the film’s set however he still “Baron... Hindi ka isang ganap “Onyok” Pineda and Mcneal escaped to drinking beers despite na ‘actor’ dahil ang tunay na actor “Awra” Briguela — said they are chances given. ay may malasakit sa trabaho. sad because they will miss the Ping then warned his Hindi ‘yung pumupunta ka sa set traditional parade of stars where colleagues to always ask if Baron na lasing and God knows kung they were supposed to enjoy their is part of the project before ano pa tinira ng p******** yan,” first rides on a float. accepting it. He also asked ABSPing said. But let’s hear it from Vice Ganda CBn executive Cory Vidanes and “Baron... Hindi ka tao... Ang who remains very positive about GMA’s Jay Tordecillas to stop hayop hindi iniihian ang kapwa the recent development. giving Baron a benefit of the na nangingisi-ngisi pa nang Said he: “In the spirit of the doubt. patago. nag-enjoy ka sa ginawa season, I want to be very positive Film Development Council mo!” he added. this Christmas. Of course, we of the Philippines chief Liza Prior to the incident, expected to be in the Magic 8 but Dino was also angered by Baron, Ping said he had a five-hour then this is not a reason to soursaying he doesn’t respect the conversation with Baron which grape. We enjoyed doing the movie, industry. he said made him think the latter we made it with the intention to provide wholesome entertainment for the kids and having said that, we should not lose heart because Many report of meeting even seeing how doctors, nurses the movie will actually be shown From Page 3 deceased relatives. Many go and technicians struggle to bring before the festival and that’s good through a flashback of powerful them back from the brink. They are spins the thread of life and Lachesis news for those looking forward to memories like a review of their life, is the measurer who chooses a man’s literally hanging on by a thread. It is watching our film. We respect the both good and bad. Above all, an out of body experience and that lot in life and how long it is to be. there seems to be an overwhelming decision. We were given equally there exists a thin silver iridescent Atropos is the most dreaded one. It good chances in the past and now feeling of release from all the is she who decided how and when a cord that still connects them to we think we should give other films constraints of their physical lives. man is to die, using her large, sharp, their own bodies. If that cord is cut, For some, the decision to return a chance to find their audiences this it means that they are now truly unrelenting scissors to cut off the Christmas.” is theirs to make. For others, the physically dead and that they will thread of life. no one, not even the decision has already been made continue on to the afterlife with no Gods at Olympus trifled with her. Coco agreed. “This is the season that their time to die hasn’t come more chance of coming back to Should we fear death? Stories to share the good blessings. Hence, yet and that they must go back. their previous physical life. abound that tell of those who have I also respect the choices of the An unfinished business or a strong Many of those who have gone gone through nDE that strongly newly appointed MMFF jury. We emotional attachment can make though nDE report that there is that indicate that there is grace in dying. have good reasons for doing this some go back and resume living. feeling of being drawn into a tunnel. There is strong evidence of life film and that is basically to bring The impact of nDE is life There is the presence of a strong, beyond death and that the act of changing. Documentation for those joy to kids and their families on white, comforting light at the end dying is transitioning into that life. Christmas Day. I can see that there who have been declared clinically of it. The light appears small and as In almost all cases of nDE, is no film entry catering to children. dead and have come back to they progress through the tunnel, people relate of feeling weightless, resume living shows that those who Again, I respect their decision. But floating and hovering above looking it becomes a strong being of light Continued on Page 6 as the local saying goes, ‘Pag may filled with love and compassion. down at their own bodies and

Coming back from the brink NDE...


The stars “The Super Parental Guardians” Coco Martin, Simon “Onyok” Pineda, Director Joyce Bernal, McNeal “Awra” Briguela and Vice Ganda. photo

nagsara na pinto, may bubukas na bintana.’ Because we got an early booking and based on the response to our trailer, we expect the same patronage even as a nonentry in the MMFF.” Both direk Joyce Bernal and Coco admitted the presence of Onyok and Awra in the project changed the content and tone of their latest project. “This is not a sequel of our last year’s blockbuster,” added Coco. “With these two kids in the cast, everything about this movie is different. We have to come up with something for the young audience as we have to offer something different for our adult fans. And as the result of the movie shows, they really added a lot to make the film more engrossing.” “These two kids kept us on our toes,” pointed out Vice. “In the middle of the shooting, we realize the kids have something lasting to contribute. Awra, for one, has his own goldmine of punchlines, thus complementing what I have.” The kids enjoyed every moment of the shoot. “What we enjoyed in this movie is that everybody is happy on the set. Walang malungkot sa shooting. And I keep learning new things from Kuya Coco and Ate Vice. Masaya all the way, plus marami kaming bagong natututunan sa pag-arte.” Like Vice and Coco’s past

blockbuster that raked in P520M in the box-office, this movie has no leading lady to speak of, no gripping love story to look forward to and no special “kilig” formula to make the hearts grow fonder. Indeed, the lead stars of “The Super Parental Guardians” are studies in contrast. He is a drama actor while the co-actor is a comedian honed by many years as a stand-up funny (wo)man. Coco is a man of few words. Vice can, in fact, outtalk anyone and can very well supply the lines of a comedy movie without the help of scriptwriters. With direk Wenn Deramas now gone, direk Joyce has to take over. What the late director liked about Coco on his first comedy film will probably serve “The Super Parental Guardians” well. Direk Wenn earlier intimated to me about Coco: “In the beginning, he is always open to a good collaboration mainly because comedy is strange territory for him. So I guided him how he can be himself and still elicit humor. Even for a comedy film, he takes everything seriously. When I realized how he gave everything in a scene, I just told myself, ‘this is one hell of an actor who can last more than 200 years. His dedication is amazing and his humility is even more astounding.’”

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Chocolate Queen of Cebu presents Philippine chocolate-making

Kris Aquino watches ‘Enteng Kabisote’ film with Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza KRIS Aquino and Maine Mendoza, two of the biggest stars handled by APT Entertainment, met to watch the screening of “Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers” on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The “Queen of All Media” filmed her hang-out session with the Dubsmash Queen in her first-ever Facebook Live video on her page on Wednesday, Nov. 30. “It’s actually the first time I’m going to meet her,” Aquino said before introducing herself to Mendoza. After shaking hands with Mendoza, Aquino bluntly exclaimed, “Maraming salamat for doing this. Ang lamig ng kamay mo. Pinapanerbiyos ba kita (Thank you for doing this. Your hand is cold. Am I making you nervous?)” Mendoza honestly responded by saying she was slightly nervous. The two celebrities began conversing about their hometowns in Bulacan. Aquino’s mother, the late Pres. Corazon CojuangcoAquino, hailed from the town of Malolos while the Mendoza family resided in Sta. Maria. Also, the former ABS-CBN TV personality bragged to Mendoza that she and 11 other friends watched “Imagine You and

Maine Mendoza with Kris Aquino

Me,” Mendoza’s romance flick with love-team partner Alden Richards. The film, which was set in dreamy Lake Como in Italy, so enraptured Aquino that she vowed to tour the exquisite place someday. “Talagang nasa bucket list ko, I have to go to Italy and spend my birthday there,” said the former ABS-CBN actress. “Ang napuntahan ko lang ay yung sa Vatican, tsaka yung Florence (I only traveled to Vatican and Florence).” photo

They also talked about their ages and their corresponding zodiac signs. “Year of the Pig ka din? Oh my God, ka-age mo si Kuya [Noynoy Aquino] at si Josh [her eldest son] (Are you Year of the Pig? You have the same year as my brother and Josh), “Aquino realized. Likewise, the Kalyeserye sweetheart revealed that some of the film’s scenes, especially her scenes with Richards, were shot in Bohol. (

Mark Bautista emboldens career...

From Page 4 Raquel Choa & her daughter, Hannah, demonstrate cacao-making

NEW YORK, NY – Philippine cacao is poised for a breakthrough at the United Nations, New York, as the Filipino-American community, led by Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega, welcomed Ms. Raquel Choa of The Chocolate Chamber (TCC), a boutique and café chain from Cebu and Ralfe Gourmet Chocolates, who conducted a cacao-making and chocolate tasting presentation at the Philippine Center New York Lobby-Gallery on Monday, November 28. The event was attended by the press, community members, and the business sector.

During the event, Ms. Choa, touted as the Chocolate Queen of Cebu, presented unique artisanal chocolate creations and wowed the crowd with her latest creation, the cacao de bola, which is used for garnishing any kind of dish including noodles, pasta, charcuterie, and desserts for a sweet and savory flavor. On December 6, TCC will participate at a chocolate tasting fair entitled “Le Salon Du Chocolat” at the United Nations Lobby, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The Arab Ladies Club to the United Nations (ALUN) and the United Nations African Ambassadors Spouses

with a well-deserved leeway and Photos by Troi Santos effortlessly surpasses possible detriments that might impair a Group (UNAASG), in celebration of genuine aspiration. Earlier after the holiday season 2016, invited having successfully passed the initial 21 Consulates General/ Missions phase of the local Star For A Night to Le Salon Du Chocolat, The tryout, the usual financial setback of event promises to bring the best going to Manila for the final audition process was easily resolved… and chocolate products and brands lucky enough, he qualified for the from around the world to the Grand Finals. tasting. The event is expected to A product of a closely-knit attract a sizeable crowd of traders clan, young Mark was inspired to and buyers based in New York as inflexibly work and conscientiously well as the diplomatic corps and save for his family (a sister and two officials of the United Nations.. younger brothers) following his The Philippine Consulate father’s untimely retirement due to General will also be presenting health issues. The Cagayan de Oro other popular Philippine City-bred singing sensation initially became a member of an all-boychocolate including the awardband, Voicemale, known for its Earth, winningMalagos Chocolate of Wind, & Fire, and Backstreet Boys’ hit Davao at the event. covered songs. Ably enthused by the elusive fame within his reach, Mark was dead-serious to pursue singing as a career. In 2004, ABS-CBN made him sign on dotted line where he became a regular fixture of its Sunday television musical variety show, ASAP, host of the Search for the Star In A Million (Seasons 1 and 2), and Star Magic. Subsequent to the instantaneous hit of his first album in September of 2005, “Dream On”, a follow-up full-length album, “Dream On Expanded,” was fittingly released by Viva Records and a first major concert, justifiably dubbed “Pop Heartthrob,” was mounted at the Aliw Theater two years later (March 2006). His name became synonymous with easy-to-the-ear lovesongs and sentimental ballads that straightforwardly made him carved an unprecedented status and effortlessly established a divergent image in the Philippine music industry. Since change is the only permanent thing on earth, Mark saw to it that it should be invariable and for the relentless development towards his envisioned career path. After having had numerous television exposures he just felt his talent wasn’t maximized to its fullest. There’s still much more to be exploited. Aptly armed with an even ferocious decision to seek for a potential course he shifted home studio where he was overtly received


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with regular musical shows and lead dramatic TV roles. For a more diverse and broader professional growth Mark stanchly dipped his hands into the movies (“Kimmy Dora,”“Lastikman,”“Status Single,” “Masikip Sa Dibdib,” etc.) and even theater (“Here Lies Love” at the Royal National Theater in London). His calculated steps, with surefire moves toward the right track, were meant to achieve what his heart desires. He painstakingly crafted his way to fame from his innate craving and paramount obsession to succeed in an already jam-packed arena of ardent hopefuls and jilted fame-seekers. Treading a struggling career path in the entertainment field, particularly music, is undeniably tantamount to mastering the “art of challenge” coupled with unwavering persistence. Aside from a multitude of ready-to-gamble co-hopefuls this dog-eats-dog arena could seemingly open doors to someone who’s there on the right place and time… while blessed with Lady Luck’s charmed smile. Standing confidently against a multiplicity of equally talented multi-regional (not to mention multi-racial) singers and performers, Mark is capably fortified with an intense desire to be a step or two ahead of the rest and all geared up to show what he was innately born with that sets him apart from among his contemporaries. But he soon came to realize that altering his career path could effectually empower his professional status while simultaneously gaining an unyielding confidence in his every performance. An academic advancement can undoubtedly embolden a fresh push to his career image while accumulating that essential dynamism in his growing list of achievements. Already driven and focused on pursuing a field associated with where he’s productively thriving, Mark, after defying all odds, daringly explored his inherent ingenuity into a new horizon that leads to film making and production, and that will competently equip him with comprehensive factors for effectual entertainment conceptualizing and structuring. “Going back to school and getting the adequate

knowlegeability related to entertainment could certainly enhance not only my selfassurance and deftness on stage but that enviable authority to be at the rear and at the helm of the project. There’s no alternative for factual learning and accumulated edification…I need to grow as an artist and take a grip on every possible change for advancement in the field where I am at,” Mark readily responded when queried about his decision on taking a crash course in film and production in New York Film Academy. “This has been a long time career plan but just got the chance to squeeze it into my (uninterrupted) hectic calendar… and finally, I made it!” He sounded in a thrilling tone with an air of arrogance (which was quite understandable) but tried to convey it in a controlled and subtle manner. It was actually tediousness and the monotony of his daily grind that strongly pressed him to pursue a Film Making course. After achieving a paramount asset like a new plume added to his already feathery cap, Mark could only sigh in great relief. “Now, I feel absolutely fulfilled knowing that I am enthusiastically prepared to resurface on the limelight after an epigrammatic hiatus.” Nothing gets people either revved up or melted down than listening to a pulsating beat or schmaltzy ballad only a singerperformer of Mark Bautista’s caliber could offer. Consistent in his singing style and song choices, Mark maintains a strapping iconic image and a formidable figure in the generation where he rightfully belongs. His merely being dubbed as a “Pop Heartthrob” is not actually a fragile misnomer but a title wanting of a more glaring luminosity and modified intensity which would possibly be re-dubbed as “The Renaissance Heartthrob.” And with a new-fangled identity justifiably attached to his name, the instantaneous resurrection of a prolific entertainment proponent won’t be remotely visible in the offing. Watch out for a “more loaded” Mark Bautista when he comes home with a bash! For comments and suggestions, please email to: gemini0646@

Coming back from the brink NDE... From Page 5

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have seen a glimpse of life beyond death undergo profound changes. Many have changed their view of life for the better. Some have a better appreciation of life becoming more kind, compassionate and considerate of others. For others, there is a renewed sense of purpose and a reordering of life’s priorities. Some have even gone on to develop a sense of spirituality convinced that their new lease on life tells them that they were made for something more. But not all stories of NDE are the same. It seems that for some on the dark side, the experience is totally different. Some report of the presence of a dark void and all the chillingly cold, negative, consuming energies of such emotions as seething anger, loathing and arrogance swirling about in a thick, dark, putrid cloud, the complete antithesis of the typical NDE experience of light. This story is more like horror. Just as there are good people and bad people, the nature of the near death experience seems to

be a direct and proportionate result of the collective, aggregate choices each one makes through life. Remember the movie Ghost? The merciless murderer Willie, was on his way to commit another contract murder, when he is confronted by the invisible energy of the spooky, rampaging spirit of Sam whom he murdered earlier for money. He suddenly flees and in his haste, is run over by a car and dies on the spot. The murderer’s spirit rises from his body as he realizes he is dead. His soul, however, is instantly shackled and suctioned off screaming into the void by howling, hooded, dark, macabre, misshapen creatures rising like toxic fumes and disappearing just as suddenly from the sewers of New York City. That is, perhaps, a glimpse of what it must be like to truly die and go to hell. When the other kind of NDE happens, some report that there is no concept of space or time at all. There is neither beginning nor end. Communication with beings of light or deceased relatives who may accompany the dying is telepathic.

There is no sound and no need for words. Many of those who have nearly died and allowed to come back to live out the rest of their lives express a reluctance to return to their previous physical lives. But there was a strong pull, a tug from their earthly life that made them do a Uturn, at least for the time being. What is stunning is this. Nearly all those who have had an encounter with death and did come back to resume their lives claim they no longer fear death. The fear of death is no more. Death for them has become a door one must pass to enter a more beautiful, enticing reality full of love and mercy. What most have learned from their brush with death is startlingly simple. LOVE, they profess, is the most important thing in this earthly life — giving it, accepting it and learning from it. *** Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@

By Monet


Club Balai Isabel: A Paradise at the heart of Batangas

There is no better place than to be than in your own country. I realized that there are a lot to discover in the Philippines. This is my most memorable vacation and I want to share this incredible experience to all my readers. Aside from meeting a lot of good people and spending quality time with my family and friends, I was able to discover a place where I can enjoy the serenity of nature and experience God’s wonderful blessings through his creation. Club Balai Isabel is a residential resort situated in Talisay, Batangas, an hour and a half drive from Quezon City. It’s the best place for those who want a short retreat from the noise of the city. The resort offers a splendid view of the world famous Taal Lake. I was in high spirits when we arrived. I immediately fell in love with the place. Its lush greenery and the warm reception of the staff made me me feel good. The proximity of the resort from Taal Volcano is what makes this place incomparable. Balai Isabel is the best jump off point to get into the island. We really enjoyed trekking along the world’s smallest volcano. It was a rewarding activity since I was able to get up close to a volcanic crater. There are a lot of activities that can be done in this resort. For those who love meditation, you may sit under the trees and find pleasure in reconnecting with your inner self. My family and I also relished the resorts’ one-of-a-kind infinity pools. I even saw tourists who enjoyed kayaking and wakeboarding around the lake. The amenities are also satisfying. They have villas and lodges to stay in and this ninehectare residential resort can actually accommodate up to 800 people. This is also a famous location for celebrity weddings, movie and TV series shootings and pictorials. I am very fortunate to have met the resorts owners; Mr. and Mrs. Nelson and Cecille Terrible. They were so nice and accommodating to everyone. According to them, the place was never meant to be a resort. But everything happens for a good reason; they eventually developed the place into an incredible residential resort and preserved the trees within the area. A long time ago, this land was

a property of the Terrible family. Through the years it was sold to different owners and until 2005 they finally got another chance to reown it. They named the place after their “unica hija “ (only child) Isabel. Now, because of Club Balai Isabel’s significant contribution in the tourism industry of the town, they were able to support the livelihood of the residents around the area. Through their hard work, Mr. Terrible and his wife are now living up to their vision that Balai Isabel will become a special landmark in the province of Batangas. Nelson said that,”I truly care and very proud of this place and for the Filipinos to show that we are one of the best tourist destination in the world.” It is amazing how an ordinary village was turned into a special sanctuary for everyone. Mr. Nelson said that they did this for the love of nature. All of the magnificent view and ambience are really meant to touch a lot of people. I am so thankful to have seen


The wonders of the super gene

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Calendar of Events across



Historic Filipinotown Parol Parade in Los Angeles

even have the audacity to imply their product improves longevity. Unfortunately, people who do PhiliP S. Chua, not know any better, and are MD, FaCS, FPCS simply groping for a relief, a cure, or a remedy to make them ALL of us want to live a long feel younger, swallow all these and healthy life. The search for medically unsubstantiated the ‘Fountain of Youth’ has been infomercials and ridiculous an obsession of man from time assertions, hook, line and sinker. immemorial. More than ever Disappointingly, even our before, our quest for that “secret government and its agencies are formula” today has intensified in impotent in protecting the public the research labs and medical from this sham and scam. centers around the world. Geneticists have now While the scientific exploration identified a gene that allows and pursuit go on, cosmetic people to live to 90 or older and surgery today is able to make also helps prevent the onset of “miracles” with the external dementia we call Alzheimer’s. physical look, from sophisticated Those with this “supergene” have dental procedures to nose and a lot greater chance of hitting the eye jobs, breast enhancements, century mark without the usual facelifts, liposuction and tummy accompanying confused thinking tucks. and memory loss from brain cell While these wonderful damage, which some hypothesize procedures can make a 60could be due to beta-amyloid year-old look 40, or even 30, protein deposition. More studies and improve the psyche of the are underway to settle this issue. individual, they do not confer This gene variant, the physiological youth, health, and “supergene,” is technically known longevity. as CeTP VV. Individuals with this On the other hand, physicians, special gene “age slower and have nutritionists and exercise the ability to resist life-threatening physiologists have continually ailments such as heart disease,” advocated their time proven according to Nir Barzilai, director prescription for health and of the Institute for Aging research longevity: moderation in calorie at the Albert einstein College of intake; a low-fat, low-cholesterol, Medicine in New York. low-carbohydrate, high-fiber “A brain function test found diet consisting mainly of fish, that seniors who had inherited the vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains, gene variant were twice as likely and minimal red meat, eggs to have good brain function - able and other dairy products; daily to think clearly and remember physical exercises; abstinence new information – compared to from tobacco; moderation in seniors without the gene,” says the alcohol intake; stress management report. with mini-vacation and time offs, how the “supergene” with family and/or friends; and a promotes longevity and protects regular annual medical check-up. the brain is still unknown. Past Clouding the issue to a blur, studies have shown that the pseudo-scientists employed by gene “could affect the size of food supplement manufacturers, the lipoproteins in the blood who are obviously motivated that deposit or clear away purely by financial gains, are cholesterol…people with the victimizing the unsuspecting gene tend to be at less risk of public with their grand claims clogged arteries,” according to Dr. that their juices, potions, lotions, Barzilai. tablets and capsules can cure The bad cholesterol or LDL a multitude of diseases on the (low-density lipoprotein) and planet from acne to Alzheimer’s, triglycerides from the food we eat from diabetes to cancer. Some thicken our blood. The thick blood

the beauty of our country through Club Balai Isabel. I would always cherish the peaceful surrounding and the astonishing view of Taal Volcano. This is one of the most wonderful gifts of nature that I have ever seen. The memory of this paradise and the people who built it will always have a special place in my heart. To Nelson and Cecille, thank you for sharing your passion and your vision to all of us. To those who haven’t been here, come and experience the beauty of a paradise called Club Balai Isabel. *** Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary allnatural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit or email him at

is circulated through the arteries and “painted” on the inner wall of all arteries in the body, including the coronary (heart) and cerebral (brain) arteries. As the arterial walls thicken with layers upon layers of thick blood, the arterial lumen (caliber or diameter) becomes narrower, and the arteries eventually get clogged. This obstruction reduces or cuts the blood (oxygen and nutrients) supply to the organs they are supposed to deliver to, which damages the cells and tissues of those vital parts of the body. The usual findings among Alzheimer’s patients are elevated blood cholesterol level, and on postmortem, their brain tissues have a lot of beta amyloid deposits, akin to the cholesterol deposits on the walls of the arteries elsewhere in their body. In view of this, it is postulated that the inherent ability of the supergene to slow down the cholesterol and beta-amyloid deposit, or even clear existing deposits, promoting better blood circulation to the brain and other vital organs, might be the mechanism of its protective action. The final word has not been said on this issue. Since we do not know who among us have the “supergene,” all of us have to behave, live a healthy lifestyle, and take advantage of what today’s sophisticated medical science and technology can offer us to maximize our health, happiness and longevity. Getting older is terrific because the only alternative is to die young. Let us grow in years but remain young at heart. *** Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana 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. Email:

Now in its 9th year, the biggest Filipino-American cultural Christmas celebration of its kind in Southern California is slated for Friday, December 2. Over 35 participants will assemble at 4:00 p.m. at the Courtyard of the Our Lady of Loretto Church at 258 North Union Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. to line up up for the parade. The cultural event is produced by Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council, a 301(3) non-profit volunteer-based organization headed by its longtime President Cecilia Ramos; vice-president & Treasurer, Dr. Leo Pandac and Secretary Dr. Ben Marte. The Council is in partnership with The Filipino Channel for the two Historic Filipinotown heritage events it coordinates every year, the Parol Parade and the August Historic Filipinotown Anniversary Cultural Festival held at the Silver Lake Medical Center (sponsor) held early August. Both events are free to the public. Other major sponsors include MoneyGram, Island Pacific Supermarket, Miss Philippines, USA, and Asian Journal Publications. The general public is invited to view the display of parols at the Loretto School playground, where over three hundred meal tickets will be given at the gate to claim meal boxes which will be distributed on a First Come, First Served basis, courtesy of Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council. Those winning in the cheer competition will be given meal tickets just before the end of the parade. Christmas carols will be sung at the general public celebration in the schoolyard. Participants in the parol parade, sponsors and special guests, including those with media credentials are invited to the event program with entertainment to be held at the Loretto School basement auditorium where they will be served dinner, at which time. Parol Contest winners will be announced. For more information, please call the Parol Parade office of Cecilia Ramos at (213) 300-4055.

Christmas Concert Benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project and Shade Tree in Las Vegas, NV Join the Filharmonic (from NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and “Pitch Perfect 2”) for a special one-night engagement benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project and Shade Tree on Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m. Special guests include “Dom the Bom’s Triple Threat” from America’s Got Talent, Dellys Future Stars, Trippy Muzik, Voices of Hope, and more! The concert will be held at Hope Church Concert Stage at 850 East Cactus Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89183. For more information, please call (702) 263-9594. Get tickets at; enter “FIL” in the search box.

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FASO’s Christmas Concert in Glendale, CA The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, as it presents “A Christmas Concert” on Saturday, December 3, 6:00 p.m. at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center in Glendale, California. FASO will play Christmas carols, accompanied by the voices of various choir groups. John Wayne Performing Arts Center is located at 1440 E. Broadway, Glendale, California 91205. For tickets, call Andy Tecson (323) 467-5096; Bob Shroder (818) 395-8936; and Arlene Ferrolino (213) 248-9850. Tickets are also available at Tickets are at $25, $45 and $75. More information at

Pasko Na Naman in Glendale, CA The Channel of Charity, a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt organization is sponsoring Pasko Na Naman on Saturday, December 3. It is a music and dance presentation that revolves around two siblings, Luz (Lyra Dominguez) and Gene (Peter Jeensalute), who are reminiscing their early childhood at Christmas time while growing up in the Philippines. The music part will be provided by Koro Filipino of Los Angeles under the direction of Ning and Joe Manahan while the dance part will be provided by the Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts. The presentation will prove to be one that is joyful — full of familiar sights and scents that will bring nostalgia especially among Filipinos living in America. The presentation will be held at 3:30 p.m. at Incarnation Community Center at 214 W. Fairview Ave, Glendale, CA. The funds from the show will benefit children in the Philippines who are unable to attend school due to poverty and lack of resources. For ticket information, please call Arnel Bailon at (818) 310-3663. For other inquiries, please call May Mallari at (323) 401-0886.

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Aurora Inter-organizational Alliance-USA celebrates 8th anniversary in Granada Hills, CA Aurora Inter-organizational Alliance-USA announces its 8th anniversary celebration on Saturday, December 10 in Granada Hills, CA. It is an annual gathering of immigrants from the Aurora province’s 8 towns, aiming to further strengthen the camaraderie and spirit of the members. This year’s celebration hopes to gather 100 members and guests, who will be treated with traditional Filipino dishes as well as entertainment amid the sounds of Christmas carols. The night will be capped by the election of new officers for the new year. The event will be held at the Granada Hills Pavilion at 11128 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills, CA 91344 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please contact Atty Al Nabor at (951) 818-8172 or Luchie Cuento at (818) 300-3212.

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Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado Philippine Center New York City Part of the nine-day (and night) novena of masses that has become a tradition among Filipino-Americans of New York-New Jersey-Connecticut and Philidelphia This one has Msgr. Oscar Aquino, JCD as principal celebrant. Each Mass is sponsored by a number of Filipino community organizations. The Simbang Gabi for Sunday, Dec. 11 is sponsored by the Alliance of Manila and Philippine Islander, S.A., the International Network of Filipinos Overseas (INFO), Inc. METROBANK-New York, Filipino Association of St. Michael’s Parish, Philippine American Association of Connecticut (PAAC-CT), United Association of Fil-Am Educators (UNIFFIED), and Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League (PACCAL).

Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Greater LA (FACC-GLA)’s 15th year anniversary The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Greater LA (FACC-GLA) is celebrating its 15th year anniversary by recognizing businesses and community partners and installing officers and board members on Sunday, December 11 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. The event will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Westside at 6333 Bristol Parkway, Culver City, CA 90230. The cost to attend is $50 and formal attire is required. Please make your check payable to FPACC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the educational scholarship funds and to help the underprivileged children in the Philippines. For any inquiries, please email

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Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado Philippine Center New York City The final day of the traditional Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in the heart of Manhattan, New York City (556 Fifth Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets). Each of the nine masses is sponsored by several Filipino –American community organizations. This final Simbang Gabi Mass will have Monsignor Oscar Aquino, JCD, as the principal celebrant. It is sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General in New York, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), the JCI-Philippine New York (JayCees) and the Catholic Fellowship of Young Filipino Professionals.

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An Asian Journal



The Asian Journal N E W YO R K / N E W J E R S EY dEcEmbER 2, 2016

New York/New Jersey -- December 2 -- 8, 2016  
New York/New Jersey -- December 2 -- 8, 2016