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Philippines shows highest global support for Trump, poll finds DESPITE low ratings from individuals around the world, support for U.S. President Donald Trump remains its highest in the Philippines, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Results from the nonpartisan fact tank’s latest survey found that 77% of Filipinos said they are confident that Trump would do the “right thing” concerning world affairs, while 19% believed otherwise. The Philippines showed the most positive review for the U.S. president among 32 other countries surveyed, which collectively displayed little support for him. A median of 64% respondents say they do not have confidence in Trump, while only 29% say they do.


Gov. Newsom unveils $222-B state budget The plan affirms the governor’s long-promised goals on public schools, health care and homelessness among other progressive reforms DELIVERING on his promises of a more liberal Golden State, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new $222.2 billion plan that bulks up funding to address some of the state’s most pressing matters including homelessness, public schools, climate change, and criminal justice reform. “We are the world’s capital of innovation,” Newsom wrote in the state budget, released on Friday, January 10. “We have more people




THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Wednesday, January 15, said it has observed more fissures or cracks near the Taal Volcano amid its unrest. Despite the Taal Volcano’s “generally weaker eruption” at the main crater, the fissuring of areas around it shows that it is very much active underneath, according to Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum. “It’s the rising of the magma that is causing the fissures,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. “If the rise of magma is continuous,

there is higher possibility of activity in Taal Volcano.” In its 8 a.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said new fissures or cracks appeared in the villages of Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, Poblacion, Mataas na Bayan in Lemery; Pansipit, Bilibinwang in Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 in Talisay; and Poblacion in San Nicolas. When asked if the new fissures or cracks were signs that a major or climactic explosion was fast approaching, Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Bornas said that it would be hard to tell. Meanwhile, Solidum said it would be better to

observe earthquakes instead. “If we observe harmonic tremors or continuous earthquakes then it should be close (to a major eruption),” he said. Phivolcs’ bulletin noted that, since 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 12, 466 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded, 156 of which were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V. “For volcanic earthquakes, that is strong,” Bornas pointed out. “The earthquakes are also generated by the moving magma,” he added. Taal volcano remains at alert level 4, which means a hazardous explosive eruption is still pos-


‘Slug it out’ in court, DOJ dares De Lima by TETCH


MANILA — “Slug it out,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday, January 15 said challenging Sen. Leila De Lima to avail of all legal remedies to prove that her case was just a form of political persecution. De Lima has been detained since February 2017 at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center. She is facing illegal drug charges in three regional trial courts in Muntinlupa. U.S. Senators have called on De Lima’s immediate release. But, Guevarra said De Lima cannot be released because she is currently facing trial. The detained Senator has quested her indictment that went up to the Supreme Court. A staunch critic of Duterte, the Senator and her supporters believed that she was being persecuted for her stand


Lawyer to withdraw ICC complaint vs Duterte Following criticism, Robredo defends drug war report anew by EVELYN





PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo defended the drug war report based on her findings as former co-chair of the InterAgency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) after receiving flak from administration allies. “If they dismiss it as a mere political [attack], it just means they did not read the report,” she said on her radio show on Sunday, January 12. In her 40-page report, Robredo detailed how the administration failed to curb the illegal drug supply and address the country’s drug problem.

LAWYER Jude Sabio on Tuesday, January 14, said he is set to withdraw before the International Criminal Court (ICC) the communication against President Duterte, whom he accused of committing crimes against humanity as a result of his war on drugs campaign. Sabio said that he is set to send an email to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, wherein he would express his interest to withdraw the 77-page communication titled “The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer.” She also cited figures from the estimated total consumption He would also ask the ICC to government agencies, revealing in the country had been seized by set aside the legal matter with that less than 1% of shabu out of regard to the allegations of the u

73% of Filipinos believe number of drug users declined — SWS think there were “many” human rights abuses during the conduct of his campaign, a latest survey MANILA — About three in by the Social Weather Stations four Filipino adults believe the (SWS) revealed. The poll, conducted from Dec. number of illegal drug users in the country has declined since 13 to 16 and released late SunPresident Duterte took office in day, January 12 found 73 per2016, but almost the same figure u

war on drugs in the Philippines, saying that these were merely “part of the political propaganda” of Sen. Leila de Lima, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV and some members the Liberal Party (LP), who are critics of Duterte. In a text message, Sabio said, “I will send by email later my letter-withdrawal that I executed

today (Tuesday) addressed to Prosecutor Bensouda regarding my intention to withdraw my earlier ICC communication. I am set to submit it personally with the ICC anytime soon.” In his 28-page affidavit, Sabio mentioned that he reportedly did not receive the financial support


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New fissures near Taal Volcano... sible within days or hours. Agri Dept: Affected farmers, fishermen can get gov’t loan The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said farmers and fishermen who lost crops and livestock to Taal Volcano’s eruption could soon get zero-interest loans from the government. Farmers and fishermen can take out a P25,000 loan payable

in 3 years with zero interest under the government’s Survival and Recovery (SURE) program, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said. Based on DA’s estimates, Taal volcano’s unrest left P577.4 million in initial damage to agriculture, including some 2,700 hectares of farmland and almost 2,000 animals. Calls for donations started on

Monday, January 13 to help victims and evacuees in the wake of the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas. The Philippine Red Cross is currently accepting relief goods in the form of face masks, towels, bottled water, easy-open canned goods, cup noodles, biscuits, 3in-1 coffee sachets, cleaning materials, blankets and mattresses and hygiene kits. n

Following criticism, Robredo defends... the government in the past three years. Malacañang, in response, said the vice president was “just trying to be relevant” with her report. Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said her report was a “mere political move.” President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called Robredo a “colossal blunder” after her report said the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign was a “massive failure.” Robredo stressed that the opening parts of her report outlined that the creation of ICAD was a correct measure but suggested that the Dangerous Drugs Board be made the lead in the ICAD instead of the PDEA to maximize it. “Ano yung political doon? Nagsusuggest ako ng mga paraan

kung papaano yung ICAD gawing mas responsive. Sinasabi ko nga, tama yung ICAD, maayos yung pagka-form nito (What was political about that? I suggested ways to make ICAD more responsive. I’m reiterating, the ICAD is right, its creation was good),” she said. Robredo also urged the different ICAD agencies to agree on the numbers that they present to the public after the Philippine National Police claimed that the data she cited in her report were unofficial estimates. This despite the information coming from the national police agency in the first place. “Iba iba yung datos ng mga ahensiya. Mga ahensya kayo ng gobyerno, puwede magkasundo muna kayo (The data from the agencies are conflicting. You’re all agencies of the government, can you please agree among yourselves first)?” she said. She added, “Yung mga pag-

aaral na ginawa ko, galing din naman sa mga ahensya. Sapat na para makapag-ambag ako tungkol sa mga rekomendasyon (The probe I did, [the information] were from the agencies. They were enough for me to share my recommendations).” Robredo also lamented being fired from her position as ICAD co-chair. “I didn’t waste my 18 days. I wish I was given more chances and time so I could’ve done more,” she said. On October 31, 2019, Robredo was appointed as ICAD co-chair to help PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino in curbing the drug menace. She was fired two weeks later due to alleged “missteps,” such as meeting with foreign personalities and groups that have prejudged the drug war and failing to present new measures to stop the drug proliferation in the country. n

Gov. Newsom unveils $222-B state... with access to health care and higher education than any other state. California is showing the nation and the world what bighearted, effective governance looks like.” And that’s what Newsom wanted to highlight in a presentation of the budget at the state capitol on Friday. Despite all the issues plaguing Californians, unemployment is at a record low (3.9%), job growth has remained consistent for 117 months, 3.8% economic growth over the last half-decade and $19 billion in rainy day savings. Referencing President Donald Trump’s goading of California’s issues, Newsom rejected what he calls the “California derangement syndrome.” “If I’m not willing to stand up to a bully, if I’m not willing to stand up to someone who is attacking immigrant communities and refugees and attacking people working very hard every single day to feed their families, then I don’t belong here,” Newsom said. The new state budget calls for closing a state-operated prison within the next five years, improving the technology used in wildfire responses, increased funding for climate change initiatives and establishing a state consumer financial protection bureau, but social reform in three areas — education, health care and homelessness — were key in the governor’s presentation on Friday. Public schools K-12 education, another cornerstone of the Newsom administration, comprises most of the 2020-2021 budget (28%, or $84 billion) following outrage among public school educators on low wages, mounting class sizes and staff retention. Through Proposition 98 — an initiative from 1988 that secures minimum level funding from state and local property taxes for K12 schools and community colleges — the state should see an increase of $3.8 billion for these schools. One of the proposals included a $100 million grant program

that will offer $20,000 to teachers who commit four years to teach in low-income schools as a way to improve the quality of teaching in poorer neighborhoods. The K-12 budget also allocates $900 million toward teacher recruitment and retention in these lower-income areas. Calling the state of special education in California “a crisis,” Newsom also proposed that $895 million should be directed toward providing more sophisticated resources and services for students with disabilities. A special focus will be placed on early intervention and screening for preschoolers. The nutritional value of school lunches has been an issue propagated by parents across the state who worry about the effect of frozen cafeteria food on their children. To address this, the state budget is directing $70 million toward improving the quality of food in public K-12 schools. The initiative, first lobbied by California First Partner Jen Siebel Newsom, was inspired by the Obama administration’s efforts to improve school nutrition across the country — initiatives that have been rolled back by the Trump administration. Health care Amid the continuing national debate on health care, California could be the first state to implement its own generic drug label. One of the most ambitious proposals laid out in the state budget, the proposal could drastically lower the cost of pharmaceuticals for patients for whom the only options are the name brand drugs. Generic drug manufacturers said that drug prices skyrocket because of name-brand companies, some of whom are the only manufacturers of certain medicines. The budget also said that the state would continue to move towards a single market for drug pricing and would establish a new Office of Health Care Affordability to maintain transparency within the pharmaceutical industry. Overall, the budget will allocate $167.9 billion towards all health

and human services programs, a majority of which will be towards the funding of Medi-Cal; as previously reported in the Asian Journal, Medi-Cal is now available for all young adults between the ages of 19 to 25 regardless of immigration status. Notably, the way the state treats mentally ill people could be changing drastically, as well. At Friday’s presentation, the governor did not provide any specific plans, but he promised to revisit the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act which limited the authority of officials to detail those with mental disorders. Additionally, the budget secures $45.1 million for the implementation of a Behavioral Health Quality Improvement Program which will bulk up county-operated mental health and substance abuse facilities because Newsom noted that mental health treatment should be “community-based.” Homelessness One area that California continues to struggle in is the state’s mounting homelessness, a stain left behind from the Jerry Brown administration which Newsom has been promising to correct since he was elected governor in 2018. Calling it “the issue that defines our times,” Newsom proposed $1.4 billion for homeless services that zero in on immediate funding for emergency rental assistance and lodging and health care facilities for those suffering from mental illnesses. According to a 2018 count from the United States Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, California has nearly 130,000 homeless residents. Newsom previously confirmed $4.5 billion in loans and land from tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google to support affordable housing, but this budget offers little policy changes that would make it easier for developers to build. However, Newsom said that his administration is looking to create a new government agency dedicated to housing the homeless. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress) n

Philippines shows highest global support... t Participants were also asked about a variety of policy decisions under the Trump administration, such as his U.S.-Mexico border wall proposal and increasing tariffs. “A median of 68% across the nations polled say they disapprove of the U.S. increasing tariffs on imported goods; a median of 66% oppose the Trump administration’s withdrawal from international climate agreements; and 60% disapprove of Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the border with Mexico,” the survey said. In terms of immigration, 55% of respondents said they disapproved of the administration’s plans to reduce the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. Other countries that showed high confidence in the U.S. president were Israel (71%), Kenya (65%), Nigeria (58%) and India (56%). Though the ratings for Trump are low in most nations, the view of the U.S. remains largely favorable at 54% compared to 38% unfavorable, the survey found.

Ratings were positive in the Philippines, Poland, South Korea and Israel where “in each about eightin-ten say they view the U.S. favorably,” Pew found. The countries that had the most negative views of the U.S. were Germany, Russia, Turkey and Mexico. “In some countries, views of the U.S. have become more positive since 2018. This increase in favorable views of the U.S. is especially prevalent among those who favor right-wing populist parties or place themselves on the right end of the ideological spectrum,” Pew said. A similar survey was last conducted in 2017 — the year Trump was inaugurated — which found that 22% had confidence the president would do the right thing in international affairs. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has previously said that the Philippines and U.S. continue to share amicable ties, even with certain American lawmakers criticizing PH President Rodrigo Duterte’s human rights record and the latest U.S. Senate resolution to put

sanctions on local government officials involved in the arrest and detention of opposition Senator Leila De Lima. The Philippines also continues to view the U.S. as its most dependable, according to a Pew survey from December 2019. “Trump is generally more popular among people on the political right. In 18 nations, those who place themselves on the right side of the ideological spectrum express more confidence in the U.S. president,” the think tank noted. Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte have shown support for one another, with the former congratulating the latter for an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the country. Philippine respondents also rated Russian President Vladimir Putin positively with 61% confidence and Chinese President Xi Jinping with 58%. The Pew survey released this week was conducted across 33 countries from May 18 to October 2, 2019 using face-to-face interviews among 36,923 respondents. (AJPress) n

against the government. “If you believe that the charges against you are not true then slug it out, fight it out, file a demurrer to evidence. If you want to file a petition for bail, so there are so many legal remedies available to her,” Guevarra told de Lima. “If that is her position, why has not she applied for bail Why is it that other people, even foreigners will be asking for her freedom now, temporary or permanently. But she herself has not applied for bail. So what could be the reason for that? We can only guess about the possible reasons. It’s up to you to think why she hasn’t filed a petition for bail,” he added. Guevarra said the US govern-

ment should exercise “some prudence and circumspection.” “I’m talking about the US State Department. They will realize that where is the wrongful imprison-

ment, wrongful detention here? Everything was followed in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines,” he added. n

‘Slug it out’ in court, DOJ dares...

Lawyer to withdraw ICC complaint... in representing Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed assassin whose deposition was part of the ICC case. Sabio said, “Madame Prosecutor, in light of all these and under the circumstances obtaining, I am left with no choice but to formally withdraw from your office the communication that I filed way back on 24 April 2017. I fervently request that it be expunged or erased from the record, and that it should not be used in any way in the ongoing preliminary examination.” “I also fervently request that the legal matter pending with

your office in relation to the war on drugs in the Philippines should be set aside and thrashed (sic) for being just a part of the political propaganda of Senator Trillanes, Senator De Lima and their LP-led opposition which I do not wish to be part,” he added. Sabio was accompanied by lawyer Larry Gadon when he had his affidavit notarized in Quezon City. Gadon said, “Attorney Jude Sabio who filed a complaint and information before the International Criminal Court against President Duterte has executed, signed and sworn an affidavit and

statement withdrawing the ICC case, saying that he did not approve of what Trillanes and other LP personalities have resorted to aimed at besmirching the honor of the President.” Trillanes was not bothered by Sabio’s move and said the “withdrawal” would not have any effect in the ongoing ICC probe against Duterte because the court has its own processes. He said what matters is the testimonies given by Matobato and retired policeman and self-confessed Davao death squad member Arturo Lascañas, that Sabio simply “facilitated” in writing for submission to the ICC. n

Team Trump says administration’s action on health care ‘is working.’ Is it?

Census poses no risk to DACA holders, experts say, encouraging participation by PILAR MARRERO Ethnic Media Services/La Opinion

WITH the 2020 election months away, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is touting his health care record as a key reason voters should grant him another term. Those talking points were distilled in a Dec. 31 social media post from Team Trump, the campaign’s official Twitter account, and again in a post on Monday from the president’s account. It represents messaging the president will likely repeat, especially as polls consistently show health care is a top concern for voters. The tweet advanced five specific achievements. Trump reiterated those claims Monday, arguing that he was “the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare,” while “winning the fight to rid you of the … Individual Mandate.” But a closer examination of the list of achievements suggests the claims are not as straightforward as the 260-odd characters would suggest. Let’s take a look at the big picture. Access and affordability According to Team Trump, the specifics behind these claims include a range of actions, from steps designed to increase organ transplantation and access to HIV medication to loosening regulations around short-term limitedduration health care plans and association health plans as well as “more participation” in ACA insurance markets. Critics dismissed this perspective. “That tweet is so far inconsistent with the direction of their policy push,” said Linda Blumberg, a health policy analyst at the Urban Institute, a think tank. “It’s just astounding to me.” The administration has attempted to or successfully undermined coverage, argued

Blumberg and other policy analysts, pointing to the Affordable Care Act repeal effort, which the president championed and continues to prioritize, along with changes made to the individual marketplace, where people buy insurance. Plus, the critics said, the administration has encouraged state-based experiments with Medicaid, the government health plan for low-income people. In particular, they pointed to the administration’s approval of some state plans to implement work requirements that, research suggests, would limit the program’s reach by introducing new layers of bureaucracy. These work requirements are controversial and the subject of legal challenges. “Those policies haven’t always succeeded, but it is rather misleading, if not comical, for an administration that has pursued multiple policies that would reduce access to health care to claim that it has expanded such access,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy professor at the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill. In fact, the number of Americans without health insurance has crept up under the Trump administration, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before Trump took office, the uninsured rate had been dropping since 2010, when the ACA took effect. As for health care costs: Growth has slowed, but costs are still going up, said Robert Berenson, a health policy analyst at the Urban Institute who studies hospital pricing. That’s largely because the price of hospital and doctor care continues to increase, he said, which makes health care more expensive.

73% of Filipinos believe... cent of respondents saying the number of illegal drug users has fallen compared to when Duterte assumed the presidency in June 2016, against 14 percent saying it has risen. Twelve percent of Filipinos say it “stayed the same.” Of the 73 percent who think the number of drug users in the country has decreased, 28 percent said it has “fallen a lot” and 46 percent claimed it has “fallen somewhat.” The survey also showed 76 percent who “see” many human rights abuses, such as extrajudicial killings (EJKs) during the anti-illegal drug operations. Of that number, 33 percent said “very many,” 42 percent said “somewhat many” while 24 percent believe “there have been few” abuses. The nationwide survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults. Malacañang said it was “unsurprised” with the survey results, attributing this to what it described as the attempt by critics to “demonize” the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign. “The administration’s war on drugs has been demonized by the relentless disinformation launched by (the) president’s vocal critics and the political opposition at its inception and not without the cooperation of some shameless media outlets. A lie repeated many times over is somehow stamped with a perception of truth,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. He added that “these rambunctious peddlers of disinformation have associated the extrajudicial killings, which are not state initiated, with the government’s drug-related operations. This constant vilification has gained an undeserved currency.” Panelo insisted that drug-related deaths happen because of “violent resistance” by the suspects in buy-bust and police

operations or are the result of internecine killings within the drug organization. “Crushing the illegal drugs that have proliferated during the past administrations due to neglect requires aggressive strategies against those who have been used to being coddled by those in power,” the Palace spokesman said. “The president is unconcerned about the popularity of his policies. He remains obedient to the constitutional command to him of serving and protecting the Filipino people regardless of the consequences to his life, honor and liberty,” he added. The SWS said 44 percent of Filipinos think Duterte was “sincere” in appointing Vice President Leni Robredo as cochairperson of the Interagency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs or ICAD, while 27 percent said otherwise. Twenty-nine percent were undecided about the matter. Nearly half or 49 percent, however, agree the removal of Robredo from the ICAD is an admission by the administration that its war on illegal drugs is failing, while 21 percent disagree, for a net agreement score of +28, classified as “moderately strong.” Thirty percent were undecided, the pollster said. The survey also found 60 percent agreeing and 15 percent disagreeing that Robredo had the right to see the list of highvalue targets when she was cochairperson of ICAD, resulting in a “very strong” net agreement of +45. Twenty-five percent were undecided about the matter. For 56 percent of respondents, there’s nothing wrong with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s move to investigate the alleged EJKs in the government’s drug war, while 20 percent disagree with the statement, for a net agreement score of “very good” +36. Twenty-four percent were undecided about the matter, the SWS said. n

There is one area in which prices appear to have dipped: In the 2019 and 2020 health insurance years, the rate of ACA premium increases slowed and, in some cases, declined, Blumberg said. But context matters. In 2018, marketplace premiums rose dramatically. Experts attribute those increases to a general climate of uncertainty stemming from efforts to repeal the ACA, the elimination of the tax penalty for people who don’t have insurance


IN this issue, we continue with our occasional series meant to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding the census. If you have a question or doubt about the census, please write to and we will consult the experts to get the answers. These questions were gathered through social media. Question: “I am a citizen and I live with my boyfriend, who has DACA. If the Supreme Court approves ending DACA, should I include my boyfriend’s information in the census count of my house-

hold? I am afraid including him may have negative consequences for him.” The DACA program, a deferred-action decision allowing temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, was put in place by President Barack Obama in 2012. In 2017, the Trump administration announced it would phase out the program, alleging that it was illegal from the very beginning. Several lawsuits argued that Trump’s planned termination of DACA violates federal law requiring certain procedures before major rules are changed, as well as equal protection and due process

guarantees. Federal courts issued nationwide injunctions blocking the administration’s plans to end DACA and forcing the continuation of program renewals. The Supreme Court took up the cases before lower courts had fully heard them, an unusual step. A hearing was held in November in front of the Supreme Court, which could issue its ruling at any time before June. That means the final decision on DACA could come in the middle of census field operations, which start in remote areas of Alaska in January and continue through several phases up until the end of July.


Filipina American becomes first woman of color promoted to full professor at USC English department by CHRISTINA



LOS ANGELES — A Filipina American this week became the first woman of color to be promoted to the rank of full professor within the University of Southern California’s English department. Karen Tongson, who was been at the university’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences since 2005, announced the news on her Twitter account on Tuesday, January 7. She previously held an associate professor title, teaching courses in English, gender studies, and American studies and ethnicity. “As of today, I am the first woman of color to have ever been promoted to the rank of full professor in the USC English dept. I promise I will not be the last,” she wrote. “Thanks to everyone who wrote for me, mentored me, drank w/ me. It took not only a village, but a world to make it happen.” The promotion process weighs the contributions the candidate has made in the field of study and that he or she should be considered an expert in the field at a national and international level, according to USC’s website. “Evidence of excellence in teaching and mentoring is expected,” it added. In an email to the Asian Journal, Tongson said it was a “profound honor” to represent the Fil-Am community at USC and through her work. “When I’d heard from a senior colleague that I would be the first woman of color promoted to full in our department, I was shocked. Then I paused to reflect a little longer and realized that my situation is not in the slightest bit exceptional, but par for the course in U.S. academia,” she said. A 2013 study by professors Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn found that women of color made up 2.3% of faculty who are on the tenure track and who are tenured nationwide. Meanwhile, data from fall 2016 showed that 21% of USC’s faculty members (male and female) were of Asian descent, 25% of whom were on the tenure track and 15% tenured. “Because of the fundamental lack of diversity on a majority of U.S. college campuses in general, students of color, and female students of color, look to us for mentorship and support more

frequently and more intensely,” Tongson said, adding that faculty of color carry a greater obligation because of this. She continued, “Filipino Americans are also dramatically underrepresented amongst university faculty in general, let alone at the senior ranks.” Fellow USC professor, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, started gathering other Fil-Am faculty members at the university — there are six Fil-Ams teaching across various disciplines out of 4,000 full-time faculty, Tongson said. The English professor intends to use her new rank to continue mentoring students and scholars of color at USC and at different institutions. “I will make sure to fight for the resource and research support they deserve to help them make progress to tenure, as well as to full,” Tongson vowed. “And I will be a powerful advocate for their work, and contributions to departmental and university leadership.” Though culturally Filipino families tend to push medical, finance or engineering fields, Tongson said that Fil-Am students who want to study the liberal arts should go ahead and do it if they’re passionate about it. “Learn as much as you can about the system and how the process works before committing yourself to this life,” she advised. “Like those other fields favored by your parents, this world has its own rules, and the more you understand them and are prepared to navigate them, the better chances you’ll have at achieving your goals.” She will still teach the same courses in English, gender studies and American studies both at

the undergraduate and graduate level, including a food politics and culture seminar that allows students to travel around different communities in California and Las Vegas. As an educator, Tongson comes into her courses with a sense of humor and trust and allows students to have some freedom to be “expressive and creative, with a mix of assignments that aren’t simply formal, but that also tap into the range of their skill sets,” she said. Tongson published her second book, “Why Karen Carpenter Matters,” in 2019 about her connection to the late singer and growing up in the musical Katindig family of the Philippines. That same year, she won the Lambda Literary Jeanne Córdova Award for lesbian/queer nonfiction. She is also the author of “Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries” (2011) and co-editor of the awardwinning book series, “Postmillennial Pop (with Henry Jenkins)” at NYU Press. In addition to her new rank, she is working on two books “one on karaoke, queer cultures, and aesthetics, and another on television and its ‘spectacles of normalcy,’” she said. She also plans to launch the second season of “Waiting to X-Hale,” a Gen-X themed pop culture podcast she co-produces and co-hosts with Wynter MitchellRohrbaugh. Before coming to USC in 2005, Tongson received a doctorate degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and held a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Literature at UC San Diego, and a UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Irvine. n

Census poses no risk to DACA holders... More than 700,000 people in the United States have active DACA permits, and they often live in mixed-status families with others who have a variety of immigration situations or are native-born citizens. People may fear that they are putting family members in some kind of danger by naming them in the household’s census response. But that is not so, said Daniel Sharp, legal director for the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles, a leading organization helping young immigrants with DACA become aware of their rights under terms of the policy. Sharp worries that DACA holders or their families won’t participate in the census due to the misconception that their name and other information could be disclosed to the Department of Homeland Security and used against them for potential immigration enforcement. “There’s a two-part answer to that question,” Sharp said. The first is that the Census Bureau has very strict laws about sharing personal information. “The confidential protection laws that apply to the census information are among the strongest that exist in our laws,” Sharp said. “The U.S. Census Bureau is prohibited from virtually all inter-agency information sharing.”

That means the Census Bureau can’t disclose the person’s name, their immigration status or any other information. It can only share “aggregated data,” meaning how many people are in a particular demographic group, for example, but cannot pass on any individual’s information to any other department of the government. “This is by law,” Sharp added. The second answer to that question is that adding the DACA holder to a particular household’s census answer does not give the government any additional information it does not already have due to the person’s having applied for DACA. “The federal government already has all this information,” the lawyer said. “Whatever risk of deportation the individual DACA holder has is independent of whether or not they participate in the census. They have given their information to the government when they applied and renewed their DACA. Even if they moved, the government could track their social security number and find where they work or live.” Furthermore, the information given to the government by DACA holders is protected under terms of the 2012 policy stipulating that the government may not use the information for immigration enforcement unless

the person poses a national security risk. The issue itself is in litigation right now. The federal government is under a nationwide injunction to follow its original 2012 promise about not sharing or using DACA recipients’ private information for enforcement purposes against them or their family members unless certain circumstances exist, such as that the person poses a national security threat or has committed certain crimes. Sharp says that adding DACA holders to the census responses in the household where they live is “desirable and encouraged. The information is safe, and it’s important to be counted.” Sharp also recently emphasized that even in the case of an adverse Supreme Court decision on the DACA program, most of those affected would still have the right to defend themselves in court against a deportation order and are likely to be able to stay in the country for years, even in that worst-case scenario. Activists and lawyers want to make sure that every DACA holder is counted in the census because even if they spend years battling to legalize their status in the long term, they have the right in the meantime to get the resources and services everyone else gets from the once-every10-year population count. n

Team Trump says administration’s... coverage, and a White House decision to halt government subsidies to insurance companies that offered marketplace plans. Those payments were meant to make up for discounts that plans were required to give low-income customers. What happened in 2019 and 2020 represented a course correction by insurers, in spite of administrative policy, marketplace analysts said. People who do not qualify for subsidies still faced very high rates. “We would have been in a different place to begin with had they not caused all the disruption,” Blumberg said. The administration argues otherwise. “We are reporting that for the third year in a row enrollment in the Federal Exchange remained stable,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma in a Dec. 20 statement marking the end of 2020 open enrollment. “Far from undermining the Affordable Care Act — as some hysterical and inaccurate claims would have it — the Trump Administration is making the very best of what remains a failed experiment.” Separately, the White House loosened regulations on other forms of coverage, such as shortterm and association health plans, which are not required to comply with ACA regulations and carry lower premiums. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described these plans as providing “a much more affordable option for millions of the forgotten men and women left out by the current system.” Conservatives say they also appeal to consumers who may not be interested in such a robust set of benefits. “Giving people more choices of affordable options is better for consumers than giving them a take-it-or-leave-it plan that may cost too much and cover everything,” said Doug Badger, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who previously worked in the George W. Bush administration. Plus, he said, the Trump plans don’t get rid of marketplace plans for people who want them. They can still get the benefits of ACA regulations, if they choose. “None of the Trump adminis-

tration regulations took away the availability of coverage for people with preexisting conditions,” Badger said. Others argued that these shortterm plans — which can deny people coverage based on preexisting conditions — are a net loss. The lower premiums, they point out, are possible largely because they cover far less than an ACA plan would. Consumers drawn in by the low prices may be surprised later to learn how few of their health needs are covered. “That’s not generally a positive for consumers. It’s not a positive for the markets,” Blumberg said. The individual mandate and preexisting conditions In its New Year’s Eve tweet, the Trump campaign also highlighted repealing the individual mandate — which required all Americans to have insurance or pay a penalty — and the still-intact protection for people with preexisting medical conditions to get coverage without a higher price. Technically, though, the individual mandate is still on the books. What no longer exists — through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 — is the penalty for not having coverage, rendering the mandate more or less meaningless. Axing the penalty opened the door to a legal challenge to the ACA. A group of Republican state attorneys general and governors are suing to have the whole ACA overturned, arguing that the individual mandate’s penalty was central to the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision upholding the law. Without it, they say, the entire law — including protections for people with preexisting conditions and other popular provisions — must be thrown out. The Department of Justice has chosen not to defend the law, and experts predict the case will eventually reach the Supreme Court. The White House hasn’t revealed any replacement or contingency plan in the event the ACA is struck down. “Not only did President Trump have nothing to do with covering preexisting conditions, he and congressional Republicans tried in 2017 to pass legislation repealing the ACA that would have eroded those consumer protec-

tions,” Oberlander said. Generic drugs and the drugpricing debate The point touting a “record number of generic drugs approved” is true and fits into a larger policy concern — escalating prescription drug prices — which voters have called one of their top health care issues. How much relief this push means for consumers at the pharmacy counter is still unknown. According to research published this fall, most of the new generics greenlighted because of the administration’s efforts are for drugs that already have competition. For consumers, the problem of high drug prices is most acute when brands don’t have two or more generic alternatives. In that category, the number of approvals for generics didn’t increase. Plus, the approval of new generics doesn’t translate to consumer access. Last February, a KHN review of FDA data suggested that nearly half of the newly approved drugs weren’t for sale in the United States — meaning they weren’t helping lower prices. This November, an analysis in The Wall Street Journal reiterated those findings. Generics manufacturers may not sell their new drugs for a host of reasons, including, some experts have suggested, anticompetitive behavior and patent lawsuits by bigger pharmaceutical companies. “Approval doesn’t mean launched or available on the market,” said Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University. Addressing the other pipeline issues, she said, would take “a lot” of policy legwork. On the pharmaceutical subject, Team Trump argued that a number of administrative actions have brought down prices. But evidence supporting their position is scant. “They want to take credit … on having a prescription drug bill that purportedly does something but it hasn’t passed,” Berenson said. The administration’s proposed rule changes and regulations have been similarly lackluster, he said. This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Shefali Luthra / Kaiser Health News) n


Couple ties knot as volcano erupts Duterte rejects Manila Bay reclamation projects by ARIC JOHN


NOT even a volcanic eruption could stop a couple from tying the knot. Chino and Kat Vaflor were getting married at the Savanna Farm in Tagaytay City when Taal Volcano erupted on Sunday, January 12. “Tuloy ang kasal (The wedding goes on)” they wrote on their Facebook page. Photographer Randolf Evan Castro said the crowd and the couple were “calm” throughout the ceremony. “The overall atmosphere was pretty calm,” he told The Manila Times. “We were of course aware of what was going on as we were monitoring via social media news outlets. However, the good thing was the couple was relaxed and

collected throughout the whole wedding and that really made the difference.” The photographer said the eruption was “unexpected.” “To be honest, we haven’t discussed contingency plans for supernatural events of this kind,” Castro explained. “It was definitely unexpected for everyone because first, there were no prior warnings issued and second, volcanic activity escalated in just a matter of hours.” Castro said his team was glad that the couple still had their “dream wedding.” “In the end, we’re still glad we pushed through with Chino and Kat’s dream wedding,” he said. “After all, it was eight years and two kids in the making, and it must be a special day for them no matter what, with or without Taal Volcano’s intervention.” n



Evacuation of OFWs to push through – Panelo by CATHERINE


CONTINGENCY plans for the massive repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remain in place as the situation in the Middle East is still unstable, Malacañang said on Monday, January 13. “Per initial report of the Committee to Oversee the Repatriation of Filipinos in the Middle East, [Environment] Secretary Roy Cimatu, special envoy to the Middle East, is now in Qatar implementing repatriation on the ground and constantly assessing the situation in Iran, Iraq, Libya and other neighboring states,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. “The situation in the area is still unstable and our contingencies for massive repatriation are still in place,” he added. The first batch of evacuees, numbering 14, was transported from the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq to Doha, Qatar en route to Manila. “This number may increase, however, as the embassy continues to call on our countrymen who wish to go home,” Panelo said. The Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Gabriela Silang was in Malta and ready to sail anytime to nearby countries where Filipinos were in danger. “We are closely monitoring Kuwait, which just raised its secu-

rity level to maximum last Jan. 9, 2020,” Panelo said. He advised Filipinos in Iraq and in Tripoli, Libya to contact the nearest Philippine mission to facilitate their mandatory evacuation. “The Alert Level in Tripoli, Libya, up to a 100-kilometer radius, was raised to 4 (mandatoryevacuation). Outside the 100-kilometer radius, it remains at Alert Level 2,” Panelo said. “We will provide further updates as soon as we receive and collate relevant data. The Filipino people are assured that the Philippine Government is committing all its efforts for the protection of the safety and security of our citizens in the Middle East,” he added. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a company-sized contingent would be deployed to the Middle East to assist in the

evacuation of OFWs. Lorenzana said the contingent would sail on the Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Davao del Sur to the Middle East. Apart from the naval assets, aerial equipment were also set ready for deployment, including two C-130 aircraft and one C-295 transport aircraft. The Defense chief said Cimatu that the first batch of OFWs would arrive in Manila on Tuesday. According to Lorenzana, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac also left Manila for Saudi Arabia on Monday “to personally see to the welfare of our OFWs in the Middle East and assist in the repatriation effort.” “Requests for repatriation from OFWs in Iraq, Libya and other Middle East hotspots have been received by our Embassies and Consulates and their exit clearances are now being processed,” he said. He added that Cimatu, along with Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Alan Timbayan, Labor Attaché David Dicang, Vice Consul Benjamin Celedio Jr., Administration Officer Cotawato Arimao and Consul General Roussel Reyes — are exploring all possible routes of repatriation by commercial airlines from Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq to Doha, Qatar and then to Manila. n

DOH debunks false text message claiming SARS case in Philippines by RATZIEL


MANILA — A chain message about a patient from China with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome visiting the Shangi-La branch of mall-based health clinic Healthway has been debunked by both the Department of Health and Healthway Medical. “DOH assures the public that there is no reported case of SARS in the country and there is no reason for panic,” the department’s Tuesday, January 14 alert read. The message circulating through text and social media reads:

“Just have an info huhu May friend si Papa na doctor sa Healthway Shang ri la tinawagan siya just now... AVOID GOING DAW MUNA SA EDSA SHANG MALL. Nagka patient siya this morning galing from business trip from China. Nagpacheck up then meron SARS huhu so super contagious daw even healthway reported it sa Admin ng shang. Now ayaw I labas publicly Pero pinapalinis ng Shang buong 5th floor near healthway. But Sabi ng doctor it can be passed on by simply sa nahawakan na buttons sa elevator, door knobs and other things. As per the doctor na friend ni papa Wala daw mask

yung patient niya kanina cause he didn’t know na sars so possibly via air Pwede din.” Healthway also responded to the claim, urging Filipinos to be vigilant against false information. “Let us all be on guard. Make sure to confirm and verify information encountered in social media platforms,” the company said in an advisory. “There was no reported SARS case in any Healthway clinic specifically the Shangri-La branch. To protect the interest of the public, we will take this matter seriously and will not hesitate to take necessary actions.” n

Executive order lowering prices of life-saving medicines to be signed by ALEXIS


MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to sign a proposed executive order that would lower the prices of more than a hundred life-saving medicines, saying it would benefit the public. The Department of Health has been pushing for an EO that would cut the prices of 122 drugs by half, noting that Filipinos are spending more on medicines compared to their neighbors in the region.

Drugs that may be covered by the price regulation include those that treat cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, neonatal diseases and chronic lung diseases. “I will sign it (proposed EO). That’s good for the Filipino, reduced prices or maintaining a price, I will even sign the document twice over,” Duterte told broadcaster Ted Failon in an interview aired over dzMM on Sunday, January 12 Duterte said agencies are still studying the proposed order.

“Maybe they are reviewing it. If it’s on my table, I would read it at night. I have not come across any. I heard of it but hard facts are not yet there. But in principle, I will even sign it twice over,” he said. The pharmaceutical industry is opposed to the price regulation, saying it could lead to the closure of small and medium-sized drug stores. The proposed list of medicines to be covered by the price caps was recommended by the Drug Price Advisory Council. n

Duterte wants number of POGOs regulated by ALEXIS


MANILA — President Duterte wants to limit the number of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in the Philippines, saying the presence of too many gaming hubs has “side effects” and will pose difficulties for regulators. Duterte said while POGOs have created jobs, they cannot be “in every town and city,” otherwise authorities would not be able to police them all. “Many Filipinos have benefited from jobs but you have to temper it also with the corruption. There is always the law enforcement. I am not only zeroing in on police, but I am warning them, there are a lot of, how do you call it, side

effects of too many (POGOs),” the president said in an interview aired over dzMM. “If you add more to this number presently operating you will not be able to police them all. So you have to set a number for that, it cannot be in every town and city about so many POGO games going on,” he added. About 130,000 Chinese nationals are working for POGOs. Last year, China asked the Philippines to ban online gaming, saying it could lead to crimes like money laundering. Duterte denied the request, saying the ban would result in job losses. The government has earned about P1.6 billion in withholding taxes from POGOs and service providers in the first eight months of 2019, way higher than the 579

million it collected in 2018. Duterte said China, through its new ambassador Huang Xilian, has vowed not to interfere with the Philippines’ law enforcement efforts against Chinese nationals who violate the law. He said the matter was discussed during a dinner with the envoy last Jan. 8. “The former ambassador and the ambassador said that if you must do it because the law is the law, and that if there is a need to deport, arrest, then they’re keeping their hands away from all these things,” the president said. “(The envoy said) you have prerogative to do what you want to enforce the law. In fairness to Chinese government, they understand,” he added. n

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he was unlikely to approve any proposed reclamation project in Manila Bay, saying the scope of the proposals was “almost mindboggling” and “stupefying.” Duterte made the statement after the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) last month said at least four reclamation projects had been given the green light. “That entire, how many? 10,000 hectares? It would be, surely, for habitation. There might be some offices or some residences there,” the president said in a television interview on Monday, January 13. “But you have to make an audit now of whether or not the environment of the entire area there can absorb the waste and where would it go after being treated. Because now, you must have water treatment. If you have a new building, make sure you are connected to [a] water treatment facility,” he added.

Duterte said he was not ready to approve any reclamation project if there was no concrete plan showing how the environment would be protected. “That big [of an area] is stupefying. Mukhang (I think), I am not ready for that. I am not ready even to say I will grant it. Not in my time,” the president said. “As long as there is no guarantee that the environment will be protected and the health of

the people also safeguarded,” he added. PRA General Manager Joselito Gonzales earlier said the approved projects were the Navotas City Coastal Bay Reclamation Project, Pasay 360-Hectare Reclamation Project, Pasay 265-Hectare Reclamation Project and the Horizon Manila 418-Reclamation Project. In February last year, Duterte gave the power to approve reclamation projects back to the PRA. n


Enhancing disaster preparedness


IN some lakefront towns of Batangas, visibility was zero after Taal Volcano exploded on Sunday, ejecting a massive plume of ash. The volcanic particles were borne by the wind to much of Batangas and Cavite, parts of Laguna and all the way to Metro Manila. The last time the country saw such an enormous amount of ashfall was when Mt. Pinatubo woke up from hundreds of years of sleep and erupted in June 1991. The eruption of what most people didn’t even know was a volcano altered weather patterns around the planet and Pinatubo’s ash cloud reached as far as Vietnam. Pinatubo led to improvements in the country’s preparedness for volcanic eruptions. Volcanic warning protocols have become better coordinated with evacuation and other emergency responses undertaken by local government units. Health officials now have on hand water purification tablets for distribution to areas where water supply has become contaminated by volcanic debris. As experts have pointed out, however, the latest activity in Taal is showing areas where there is still room for improvement in preparedness for volcanic eruptions. Evacuation centers remain inadequate. The zero visibility due to the ashfall shows the need for fog lamps, to prevent accidents

and improve relief assistance. Traumatized residents need more counselors for mental health. Despite the clear danger, there were still people in the high-risk zones who showed strong reluctance to abandon their homes. One of the reasons was that they would have to abandon livestock and pets, which are not allowed in evacuation centers. In other countries, there are evacuation areas and special shelters even for animals where their owners can continue caring for them during disasters. People breed livestock for livelihood, and keep pets for personal wellbeing. Being forced to abandon the animals can be extremely distressing for the owners. Wildlife also need protection from natural calamities. Every calamity should lead to better measures for preparedness, resilience, emergency response and disaster mitigation. Taal Volcano should open opportunities for enhancing disaster response capability. (


The Fil-Am Perspective GEL SANTOS-RELOS TAAL Volcano – a volcano within a lake within a volcano. This spectacular dreamy view of Taal from Tagaytay is perhaps one of the most memorable sights of the Motherland that we Filipinos already living abroad always go back to. Being only 31 miles away from the nation’s capital, this picturesque destination is part of a lot of our warm family memories for our quick day trip from Manila, a wedding, a honeymoon or a retreat and recollection venue. The image of Taal Volcano in Taal Lake from Tagaytay is at the forefront of these memories. But on January 12, Taal Volcano had awakened. From that picture of serenity, Taal again unleashed its fiery wrath, being the second most active volcano in the Philippines. Taal Volcano has 34 recorded historical eruptions. Along with


REYNALDO O. ARCILLA PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte aka Digong’s statement that the Philippines would side with the United States if violence erupts and Filipinos get hurt is a bit unclear, if not premature. What if Filipinos are hurt or killed due to U.S. military action like bombing Iranian or Iraqi targets where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are located? Whose side do we choose then? I believe it is also ill-advised for Digong to say that he would allow transit through the Philippines of U.S. troops and warships for refueling and getting provisions during an Iran-U.S. armed conflict. “I said that’s normal. We allow ships of…the gray ships of other nations to park here and get some… ‘yung provisionings nila (their provisionings),” he said. Normal, yes, but not when they are gray ships of nations that are at war with another country, especially where we have a good number of OFWs. He added that this was in honor of the country’s defense ties with the U.S., meaning the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. Huh?! Surely, he does not have to be reminded that the U.S. did not honor its commitment in that treaty insofar as our dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea is concerned. Besides, it doesn’t seem logical that the U.S. would use the Philippines for transiting troops and

Taal Volcano unleashes its wrath: A call for the Bayanihan spirit, obedience and faith among Filipinos the other volcanos in the Philippine archipelago, Taal is part of the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Volcanic turmoil had been chronicled since 1572, the year the Augustinian priests founded the town of Taal in the shore of the lake in what is now known as San Nicolas, Batangas. The first recorded most violent eruption happened in 1754 which lasted for 200 days – from May 15 to December 1, which caused the relocation of the towns of Tanauan, Taal, Lipa and Sala. But one of the most destructive and devastating wrath of Taal happened in January of 1911, killing 1,335 lives and injuring 199, because of scalding by hot steam and/or hot mud. Seven barangays were wiped out, several villages were destroyed, including nipa

houses, farms and livestock. There were more recorded volcanic activity from 1965 to 1977. The 1965 eruption was generated by the interaction of the magma with the lake water that led to the violent explosion akin to an atomic bomb explosion. Such eruption generated surges that travelled across Taal Lake, devastating on the lake shore, killing about a hundred people. Taal Volcano had a nine-month respite until another similar eruption occurred in 1967. Five months after, in 1968, the volcano produced the first historical lava springing out from Taal. The last major volcanic eruptions occurred in 1976 and 1977. While there were minor eruptions thereafter, Taal Volcano woke up after 43 years. On January 12, 2020, the eruption started from the main crater on Volcano Island, escalating fast from Alert Level 2 to

Alert Level 4. Taal Volcano spewed toxic ashes to areas covering Metro Manila, Calabar Zone (Cavite-LagunaBatangas), and even some parts of Central Luzon. Ashfall, volcanic thunderstorms and lightning above its crater with ash clouds and lava fountain were reported and captured on video and reported by major news organizations and shared online. Mandatory evacuations were made, especially because of the dangers of possible tsunami. Fissures (ground cracking) have already been observed in the area. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) of the Department of Science and Technology has been issuing warnings to help save lives. PHIVOLCS has identified a 14km “Permanent Danger Zone” which could be the most vulner-

able areas to a possible impending violent and devastating explosion. The list as reported by my former colleague Charie Villa: CAVITE 1. Tagaytay City 2. Silang (Ilang Bahagi) 3. Alfonso (Ilang Bahagi) 4. Mendez (Malaking Bahagi) 5. Indang (Ilang Bahagi) 6. Amadeo (Ilang Bahagi) BATANGAS 1. Talisay 2. Laurel 3. Agoncillo 4. Taal 5. Santa Teresita 6. Alitagtag 7. Cuenca 8. San Jose (Ilang bahagi) 9 Mataas na Kahoy 10. Balete 11. Malvar 12. City of Tanauan 13. Calaca (Ilang bahagi) 14. San Luis (Ilang Bahagi)

15. Lipa (Ilang Bahagi) 16. San Nicolas 17. Lemery LAGUNA 1. Ilang bahagi ng Calamba City 2. Ilang bahagi ng Cabuyao City If you or your family in the Philippines live in any of these areas, please urge them to heed government warnings and evacuation orders even when they think there is a moment of calm. Let us pray for them, our volunteers and government officials. God bless you all! ***

Siding with US in Iran-US conflict is premature

replenishing fuel and provisions. There are U.S. bases much closer to Iran and Iraq where it can do those things, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, not to mention its military bases in Western Europe. In short, I agree wholeheartedly with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd that the Philippines should remain neutral in the Iran-U.S. quarrel. US prevented Iran FM from addressing Security Council Last week, I wondered why the United Nations Security Council had not taken up the U.S.-Iran crisis even after Iran rained ballistic missiles on two air bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. It turned out that the reason the council had not done so was because the UN denied entry to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif to address the council in New York. Under the agreement between the world body and the U.S., the latter is obligated to allow the entry of members’ representatives to attend UN meetings. What the U.S. did, according to UN sources, however, was to simply ignore the Iranian request for its foreign minister to enter the U.S. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, when asked why Zarif was denied a visa, flippantly said that the U.S. State Department does not respond to visa matters. As a result, the council could not be convened to deliberate on the issue. It has not been able to do so up to this writing. Fortunately, after exchanges of threats and counterthreats, both Iran and the U.S. appear to have

decided not to escalate their dispute. But I do not think the world is out of the woods yet, so to speak. ‘Tweeterboy’ Locsin on Suleimani In a Philippine Star report dated Jan. 6. 2020, Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin Jr. said that Iran’s top military commander Qassem Suleimani, who was assassinated by the US, was not a terrorist. This was contrary to the U.S.’ assertion that Suleimani was a known terrorist for leading militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans. Locsin said Suleimani was a “great” general. “He was a soldier, not a terrorist. He was a general, possibly one of the best in modern times, and never lost a battle so far as I know,” he tweeted. “He was a soldier and soldiers die as he did, in battle, by assassination by any means to stop his brilliance from carrying the day, day in, day out on any battlefield. Honor the enemy, honor yourself,” he added. Locsin’s comments on Suleimani most probably did not please the U.S.. But the U.S. knows that deep down, he remains a Washington admirer and a member of the Yellow horde. I just hope that the Philippine National Police (PNP), which has started profiling groups that “may sympathize with the death of Suleimani to thwart possible retaliation,” does not include Locsin in its list. “There are also security concerns, kasi syempre merong

sympathetic either by race or ideology, so the PNP is profiling possible threats, possible groups who may take advantage or who might sympathize,” PNP Officer in Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a press briefing last week. Locsin’s behavior “‘Pag pikon ka, talo. (If you’re short-tempered, you lost).” That’s how, for one, I would describe Locsin’s behavior toward the group of Filipinos demonstrating at the Department of Foreign Affairs last weekend. Media and other quarters described his behavior as arrogant, undiplomatic, unprofessional, inexcusable and unbecoming. I call it juvenile. Digong to visit Kuwait?! “Duterte visit to Kuwait still a go” — story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer datelined Jan. 6, 2020. What?! Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong’ Go, who still doubles as Digong’s Man Friday and sometimes as spokesman, said: “He (Duterte) plans to go [to Kuwait] this quarter or sometime March or April because after the agreement with Kuwait in 2018, the relations of our two countries have been good as well as the conditions of the OFWs there.” What is intriguing is Go’s statement, as reported by the Philippine Star, that the Kuwaiti government has granted many requests made by the government. Pray tell, what are those? On the other hand, Digong himself said he was not keen on having a deployment ban to Ku-

wait as justice was being done in the case of the murder of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende. “The situation is quite different. We do not see apathy there. And the police authorities in Kuwait acted swiftly, and they have arrested the spouses,” he said on TV last week. “There were arrests made and there’s an investigation going on. Apparently, justice is being done,” he added. Last Saturday, however, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd said he wanted a permanent deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait after he received a “fake and dishonest” autopsy result from Kuwaiti authorities on the death of Villavende. (The NBI autopsy later revealed that the poor victim was also sexually abused.) “Wala na tayong ipadadala doon. Mga walang kuwenta ‘yang mga Kuwaiti na ‘yan. Biro mo ‘yong ginawa nila sa ating kababayan. ‘Pag ikuwento ko sa inyo, baka pati [kayo] magwewelga na. Masyado nilang inapi ang ating kababayan (We will not send anyone there anymore. Those Kuwaitis are worthless. Imagine what they did to our countrymen. If I tell you, even you will protest. They abused our countrymen),” said Bello. “We will not allow injustice done to our OFW. We will see to it that the culprits will answer for their crimes,” he added. What does Digong have to say now? Go on alleged P40-M donation Last week, this space referred

to a news report that Go, tagged as a bilyonaryo by no less than Digong, donated P40 million for the construction of a new town hall for Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya. The good senator had since clarified that the report was incorrect. He said that he merely promised to help the vice governor of the province and the mayor of Kayapa raise the funds necessary for building a town hall to replace the 70-year-old dilapidated one. Perhaps Go would be well-advised to inform the public of the result of his fundraising efforts in due course. *** Reminder This is to remind President Digong of his campaign promise to rid the country of foreign troops and military bases. He only has two-and-a-half years left before his term ends. The longer he waits, the more difficult it would be for him to accomplish this noble objective. It would be his greatest legacy. History will single him out for freeing the Philippines from U.S. neocolonialism, achieving true independence and paving the way to greater economic progress. *** From an internet friend: Funny quotes: When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did — in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car. – Will Ferrell I don’t think my wife likes me very much. When I had a heart attack, she wrote for an ambulance. – Frank Carson. (

SF1 The Asian Jo ur n a l SF M A G A Z I NE - J a nua ry 1 7 , 2 0 2 0

Friday, January 17, 2020


cover story T he Asian Jo ur n a l SF M A G A Z I NE - J a nua r y 1 7 , 2 0 2 0

Leadership, creativity and prosperity: What the Year of the Metal Rat really means by KLARIZE


TO most people in the western world, rats have a bad reputation. They’re scrappy, dirty vermin who have been recognized as little furry vessels of disease; it was known that rats were responsible for the spread of bubonic plague in the 14th century that killed nearly half of Europe’s population. English-speaking cultures have even commandeered the word “rat” to refer to unscrupulous, disloyal people. But in Chinese culture, especially in the context of the zodiac, the rat is a highly regarded creature that symbolizes wealth and opportunity. Rats are seen as resourceful, clever creatures who know what they want and do whatever it takes to get it. This coming Lunar New Year will welcome the year of the metal Rat, the first of the 12 zodiac animals. Those born in the years of the Rat — e.g. 1912, 1924, 1236, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020 — are said to be gregarious opportunists who thrive in leadership positions. The Chinese zodiac animals exist within

five Heavenly branches which represent the five elements of nature: metal, water, wood, fire and earth. 2020 is the year of the metal Rat, and folks born during this year are said to reliable members of the community who can not only endure moments of misfortune, but spin them in their favor. The specification of metal also signals that this will be a good year in the production of many industries like automobiles, information technology, cosmetics and health. Legend has it that the order of the zodiac animals was determined through a competition hosted by the Jade Emperor, the ruler of Heaven, Earth and Hell. According to the myth, the emperor chose 12 animals and had them participate in a great race to the emperor’s palace, and whoever got their first would be the first categorized in the zodiac.

One version of the story purports the Rat and Cat being best friends before the race. Together they schemed to race alongside each other and ride atop the Ox who would’ve been too oblivious to notice the two creatures using him as a vehicle. But during the race, the rat, ever the opportunist, sprinted forward, sending the Cat flying off the Ox and into a nearby river; this has been said to explain the animosity felines have towards rats, mice and other small rodents. As the Ox neared the finish line, the Rat lunged ahead and crossed the finish line first. Much like western astrology, there are compatibility pairings within the Chinese zodiac system. Those born in the Rat are best matched with those

born in the years of the Snake, Rooster, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Dog and Tiger. Alternatively, the myth suggests avoiding those born in the year of the Horse as they are said to be the opposite sign of the Rat. Once the Lunar New Year arrives on January 25, experts in the Chinese zodiac recommend consuming nuts, cheeses and other foods rats enjoy. They also recommend dressing in the finest clothing and jewelry to mirror the Rat’s love for decadence. Most importantly, the Year of the Rat signals a brand new start to the zodiac, and it promises great productivity and creative energy for all.

How the Philippines celebrates Lunar New Year

commonly carried by two dancers with one of them in charge of the head, making the lion’s THE Lunar New Year signiears wiggle and its eyes blink. fies not only the beginning of The color red is prevalent a new year in the Chinese during the festivities as it is calendar, but also the start of a special color in Chinese the Spring season. Unlike the culture, signifying energy, hapfixed new year of the Gregorian piness, and good luck. Most calendar commonly celebrated people wear red clothing as on January 1st, the date of the it represents vitality as well as Lunar New Year varies, deterstrength. Elders also hand out mined by the appearance of red envelopes (Ang Pao) to the new moon — which is why children. These envelopes conit’s called the Lunar New Year, tain money, and giving them as it’s based on the lunisolar is believed to bring good luck Chinese calendar. and long life to both the giver The Lunar New Year is one and receiver. of the most important and The Lunar New Year won’t celebrated holidays in China as be complete without setting well as across the world where off fireworks and firecrackers, there are diaspora Chinese or generally just making noise. communities. And while the Doing this is supposed to drive Chinese community in the away bad spirits, bad luck, and Philippines only makes up 5% the mythical beast called Nian. of the country’s total populaFilipinos commonly use horns tion, the Lunar New Year is still and cooking pots to create one of the most awaited events noise. here. Chinese families also gather How Filipinos celebrate to have their New Year’s Eve Lunar New Year: Traditions dinner where they usually and superstitions serve tikoy (year cake), which Most Filipinos flock to is made from sticky rice and Binondo in Manila for the Lunar symbolizes unity among family New Year. Founded in the 16th members; noodles for long century, Binondo is considered life and represent the eater’s as the oldest Chinatown in life; fish and dumplings which the world. Because of this, it are believed to signify good becomes the center of all Lunar fortune. Families also prepare New Year celebrations in the 12 different round fruits as Philippines, with the area festhey are believed to bring luck tooned with Chinese lanterns and fortune to them. The New and various red decorations. Year’s Eve dinner is perhaps Spectators crowd the the most important dinner for streets of Chinatown to watch Chinese families — that’s why the Parades of Dragons and it’s necessary for all the memLions, a colorful and dynamic bers of the family to be present performance accompanied by for it. the loud banging of drums and During the Lunar New cymbals. The dragon, in China, Year, people across the globe is believed to represent great greet with either Gong Xi Fa power, auspiciousness, and Cai, which means “you attain strength. During the parade, it greater wealth,” or Kung Hei is usually controlled by eight to Fat Choi, which means “con10 dancers. Meanwhile, the lion gratulations and be prosperrepresents safety and luck. It is ous.”


Marcelito advances to ‘America’s Got Talent’ semifinals by JAN MILO SEVERO

FILIPINO singer Marcelito Pomoy has advanced to the semifinal round of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” after “superfans” voted for him. “Superfans” is the new element in the show. They are fans from each of the 50 states of the USA. Marcelito’s performance of “The Prayer,” singing both male and female parts, got a standing ovation from the judges and the audience of the show. “That was what I call a 10, a simple as that. I have a feeling that the super fans will put you through to the next round,” Simon Cowell said. “That was so unique, you are a beautiful, wonderful singer with a young woman trap inside of you,” Howie Mandel added. Judges Alesha Dixon and Heidi Klum also praised Marcelito’s unique performance. “I want to see something different, something unique, and Marcelito you just gave that to us. It was absolutely bril-

Marcelito Pomoy performing ‘The Prayer’ with signature dual voices, drawing a standing ovation from “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” judges and audience. Photos screengrabbed from Youtube/America’s Got Talent

liant,” Alesha said. “Honestly, this is one of the craziest things I ever heard in my entire life. Your voice, your range, your sound is just so out of this world,” Heidi said. The program, which functions in a similar format to AGT, features a variety of participants from across the “Got Talent” franchise – winners, finalists, and other notable entries competing against each other across a series of preliminaries to secure a place

in a grand finals and a chance to win a cash prize and the title of America’s chosen “World Champion” within the “Got Talent” franchise. Marcelito is the grand winner of the second season of “Pilipinas Got Talent.” He is known for his ability to sing in both tenor and soprano. He makes regular appearances on “ASAP” and his first studio album, “Duet Yourself,” was released in 2011 under Star Records.

Fil-Am composer gets Oscars 2020 nomination for ‘Frozen 2’ song by JAN MILO SEVERO

FILIPINO-American Robert Lopez and wife Kristen Anderson Lopez have received another Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “Into The Unknown,” from the soundtrack of Disney’s blockbuster animated film “Frozen 2.” According to a BroadwayWorld report, Robert said that “Into The Unkown” is a collaboration with artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios. “For us, ‘Into The Unknown’ is more than a song - it’s a culmination of a decade-long collaboration with the incredible artists at Walt Disney

Robert Lopez with wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Animation Studios, led by our partners and friends Jennifer

Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano

ABS-CBN photo

LizQuen’s real love is back on prime time

we’re very different. She’s very outgoing, loud, spunky and confident — everything THE new year marks the I can say I’m not in real much-awaited return of on life,” the lovely and talented and off-screen love team Liza actress admitted. “So when Soberano and Enrique Gil to I was taping for the first few prime time television in a sedays, I was having a hard ries about opting to love in a time — nangangapa ako sa world full of endless choices. character. Directed by Cathy Garcia“And yet I can say that my Molina and Richard Arellano, take away from doing Billy “Make It With You” premieres is having more confidence this week on ABS-CBN Prime- in myself now. She’s very time Bida. decisive and knows what she At a grand media conferwants and she’ll do whatever ence before the weekend, Liz- she needs to do. As Liza, I’m Quen talked about their latest starting to be more comfortand “most mature” project able with myself as well and for TV to date. Soberano more confident to speak will bring life to Billy, a girl up when I would just keep who takes on odd jobs just things to myself before,” she to make ends meet for her added. family. Incredibly resourceful, Meanwhile, Gil will play Billy hustles as a matchmaker Gabo, a lost soul who finds in Croatia on the side just so himself wandering in Croatia she can regularly go on dates hoping to finally determine and get free meals and gifts his path in life. Determined she can sell for more income. not to return to the Philip“Billy’s a very challengpines, he doesn’t let any ing character for me because hardship deter his spirit and

faces every struggle living in a foreign land head on. Billy and Gabo live two different, separate lives, until one day, Croatian socialite Antonia approaches Billy to match her with Gabo in exchange for money. To make sure Gabo is worthy of meeting Antonia’s father, Billy teaches the young man the culture and traditions of Croatia. But, as they spend moments together, they find themselves falling for each other. “It was such an experience doing this series in Croatia what with the language barrier and needing to tape guerilla-style sometimes,” Gil chuckled. “But as always its very special to get to work together again. Also part of “Make It With You” are Ian Veneracion, Katya Santos, Fumiya Sankai, Eddie Gutierrez, Pokwang, Vangie Labalan and former QC Mayor Herbert Bautista in his showbiz comeback.

Oscar for their hit song “Let It Go” for the movie “Frozen” in 2014. The couple also won an Oscar for the song “Remember Me” from the Disney film “Coco” in 2017. Robert is the youngest of only 15 people to have won

an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. He is also the only person to win all four more than once. Robert and Kristen’s Best Original Song is the only nomination that “Frozen 2” got at the Oscars for 2020.


to work hand-in-hand almost daily for five years helping to craft the story and songs for ‘Frozen 2.’ To be honored by the Academy once more photo by Ruben V. Nepales means the world to us,” he Lee and Chris Buck,” he said. added. “We have been so lucky Robert and Kristen won the



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NVC will shred your case if you don’t respond

DEAR Atty. Gurfinkel: I petitioned my married son in 1998 while he was still in the Philippines. He later came to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa and overstayed. We are now receiving notices from the National Visa Center (NVC) advising his priority date is current, his visa is available, and he needs to apply for his visa. I think we should just ignore these notices and not reply, since he is already in the U.S. Also, I’m afraid the NVC will come after him and put him in deportation. What should I do? Should I just ignore the NVC notices? Very truly yours, RD Dear RD: You should NOT ignore notices from NVC. If a person or his representative does not respond to NVC notices within one year of receipt, the NVC could terminate the case under section 203(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This results in the case or petition effectively being shred, and the priority date is lost. A new petition would need to be filed with a new priority date. Visas are similar to having a reservation on a particular flight. If you have your reservation and seat, then you board the flight to your destination.

However, if the airline makes the boarding announcement and starts boarding the flight, but you do not check in, then the airline would cancel your reservation and give your seat to a standby passenger. Even if you later show up at the airport after the flight has departed, you’re out of luck. You didn’t check in, so your reservation was canceled. The NVC works the same way: they notify you that your visa is available (similar to a boarding announcement) and gives you one year to “check in.” If you don’t, your registration is canceled. This is true even if the applicant is in the U.S. and does not intend to have their case processed at the U.S. Embassy. The NVC still needs to be notified. Recently, I encountered a case where a mother had petitioned her adult son who was in the U.S. and out of status. The priority date became current, and she received notices from the NVC, but purposely did not respond because she was afraid it would endanger her son. As a result, the petition and case were terminated. While there are provisions for having a case reinstated being afraid to respond is not a justification or beyond a person’s control. If a person is receiving notices from the NVC, and they have questions about how to proceed, I suggest they seek the advice of an immigration attorney. In this mother’s case, she decided she knew the law by herself and did not respond. But she messed up her son’s case: the case was terminated

and the priority date was lost. On a separate but related issue, if your priority date is current, but you have not received notices from the NVC, you may also want to consult with an attorney, just in case NVC notices giving you one year to respond are being sent to a different or wrong address. I’ve also encountered many cases where the case was terminated because the person did not respond within one year since obviously notices were sent to a different address. ***

Whether or not the average homeowner realizes it, politics is the most important factor influencing the price of real estate, affecting the state of the economy, the level of interest rates, the nature of

demographics, and a host of other variables that ultimately determine a property’s value. Politics is inextricably linked with all these issues, impacting such things as the level of employment, the cost of borrow-

ing, the direction of immigration, and degree of consumer confidence. What’s in store for 2020? The slow, steady economic growth, low inflation and falling


BAHALA NA MOTHER TOOK TIME IN PETITIONING HER MAKULIT DAUGHTER. Nanay Rosita (2nd from right) went to the U.S. in 1984, leaving behind her children. It was in 1994 when she finally got her green card, and she was able to get all her children, except for Apet (left) who aged out at that time. Nanay became busy juggling two jobs, so she kept putting off the petition for Apet, even when Apet kept hounding her mother. At Apet’s urging, Nanay finally reached out to leading U.S. Immigration Attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel (right) in 2005 to consult and sign up, but it took Nanay another two years before she completed the forms and sent the necessary documents. Meanwhile, Apet was anxious and wanted to expedite the process, so she wrote to the National Visa Center (NVC) without the knowledge of the Law Offices of Michael J. Gurfinkel, when the visa was not even available, creating confusion with the NVC. After follow-ups and monitoring by Atty. Gurfinkel and his team, they were able to reunite Apet and Nanay Rosita in the US, and were also able to bring in Apet’s daughters, Tracy and Nicole (2nd from left). Watch this family reunion, years in the making, on an encore episode of CITIZEN PINOY – on Sunday at 6:15 pm (PST) on TFC. (Advertising Supplement)

Real Estate Knowledge

Political uncertainty vs real estate

of cash to purchase foreign property. The Chinese were the leading buyers for the seventh consecutive year, purchasing an GOING into 2020, rising pol- estimated $13.4 billion worth of residential property. Yet that icy and political uncertainty will continue to weigh on industrial, was a 56% decline from the previous 12 months and comparatrade and investment activitively the biggest percentage ties. The U.S.-China Trade war, drop of all foreign buyers. Trump’s impeachment and the Developers are reporting upcoming presidential elections higher prices for metal goods in are factors that have to do with an already expensive Bay Area the economy, consumer confimarket to build. We also have a dence and the stock market. shortage of skilled construction In 2018, President Donald workers due to the high cost Trump began setting tariffs of wages. Many construction and other trade barriers on companies have quoted $500 China with the goal of forcing per square foot for a high-end it to make changes to what remodeling job in San Francisco the U.S. says are “unfair trade in the past, but we are now seepractices”. Among those trade ing upwards of $700 and more practices and their effects are per square foot. The cost of a the growing trade deficit, the new home keeps rising as the theft of intellectual property, and the forced transfer of Amer- cost of inputs keep rising. Although some believe U.S. ican technology to China. consumers are paying a price Chinese economic growth in the form of higher prices slowed to 6.3% in 2019 comand reduced consumption, the pared with 6.9% in 2017. The tariffs may work over the long Chinese government also tightened its grip on the outflow term. The U.S tariffs on Chinese


goods will force China to cut prices, because they’re so dependent on the U.S. market. Another political uncertainty happened on December 2019 when the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump. He was accused of abusing his power on the first article by leveraging the federal government and taxpayer money for his personal and political gain. The second article accused him of obstructing congressional inquiry into his actions in Ukraine. The Senate trial will decide whether Trump will be removed from office. Lastly, the presidential elections are happening on November 3. Still 10 months away but players in the financial market, where tolerance for the unexpected tends to be low, are already trading the politics of 2020 like a choose-your-ownmystery novel, with the ending unknown. They are figuring out different scenarios if Warren, Sanders or Biden wins or if Trump will remain as president.

Continued on Page SF7


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celebrity world

Sharon Cuneta to bashers: You are not helping

By Ferdie Villar MEGASTAR Sharon Cuneta has penned a heartfelt post to her eldest daughter KC Concepcion, amid speculation that the two have are in the midst of a major ‘tampuhan’. In the Instagram post, according to, Sharon told her daughter KC that the family has missed her presence during the recent holidays, her recent birthday celebration at ASAP and her actual birthday last January 6. The Megastar added that Kakie, Miel and Miguel (her maternal half-siblings) miss her as well and yearn for her love and attention, as does she and her husband, Senator Kiko Pangilinan. In the same post, Sharon revealed that as a mom, she will always love and care for her children, but at the same time she will always let them know if they do something wrong. And that she does not expect her children to be perfect. “Come back to me, to us… And no – I am not stupid to expect any of my children to be perfect. You all deserve a good bonking-on-the-head every now and then, you gremlins! I don’t expect perfection. Just a bit of attention. Respect. Love. That’s all,” the Megastar wrote in the IG post. As for the bashers who made harsh comments online regarding a recent Instagram post, Sharon said no one knows what happens in their lives and that people should mind their own business. “Ang daming taong nakikialam at nagsasabi ng masasakit na salita sa social media when wala naman silang alam

sa buhay natin ng ilang taon na. They talk as if they live with us and believe their own out-of-this-world, very mean, even evil opinions to be facts. When it’s really so simple,” she said. “At kayong mga walang magawa kundi siraan at sirain kaming mag-ina, bahala na ang Diyos sa inyo. Hindi kayo nakakatulong.” She added: “Naaawa ako sa mga nanay niyo na nagpalaki sa inyo dahil parang di kayo natuto ng mabuti. Tigilan niyo na sana kami. Normal lang ang hanapin ng ina ang kanyang anak. Kundi nyo naiintindihan yon, that’s your problem, not ours.” *** Actor Geoff Eigenmann and singer Maya Flores will be getting hitched this year, according to Ricky Lo of philstar. com. The pair, who met while being managed by the same team, have two children – Arabella Simone and Augustus Geoffrey. The couple plans to have the wedding on an outdoors venue (maybe a beach or a cliff) that has beautiful views and will not be hard to reach or go to. The couple have a few choices in mind, they told Lo, without revealing any of those venues. According to the couple, they learn from their parents when it comes to raising their kids. And they want their children to grow up with good values. “We make sure that they grow up well-mannered and may respect sa ibang tao. May compassion,” Maya said. Geoff, for his part, said,

“Whatever comes our way, we stick together. As they get older they will learn many things. We train them to be open with us so when they grow up they won’t keep secrets from us.” Geoff is very happy with Maya and how understanding she is with him and the kids. “She is sobrang hardworking. Any struggle, she faces head on. Di siya papatalo. Now, with our family she’s very nurturing. Very hands-on with the kids. I can’t ask for anyone better to raise a family with,” he said, while adding that Maya has accepted whatever things he did in the past. As for Maya, she says Geoff is very good with their children. “Very hands-on siya, in fairness. He’s fond of kids. It’s natural with him. He has a way of softening your heart. Kahit inis na inis na ako sa kanya, sige na nga, love ko na siya ulit,” she said.

Megastar Sharon Cuneta recently posted a heartfelt Instagram message to daughter KC. photo

Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018, is now the co-host for The Filipino Channel’s noontime daily show “Tawag ng Tanghalan” with Vice Ganda.

Klea Pineda, a 21-year-old talented actress is showing her acting abilities in the GMA Pinoy TV primetime series “Magkaagaw.”

Geoff Eigenmann and partner Maya Flores with children Beanie and Angus during a recent pictorial.

Photo from

Filipina business executives in Northern California Natty Guarin and Shirley Ordoveza were two of the devotees of the miraculous Black Nazarene who attended the recent festivities at the Villar residence in South San Francisco.

Immigrant Living: 101 and Beyond MONETTE ADEVA MAGLAYA I STAUNCHLY believe that the gift of life is from God and that life begins at the moment of conception. For me, there can be no equivocation on this issue. That is why, the decision by the state of Virginia to uphold late term abortion up to the moment of birth is, in my opinion, the most heinous and barbaric of all evils during the present time. This must be challenged and erased from the face of the earth. Abortion is nothing less than the murder of innocents — a most grievous offense against the Holy Spirit from whom ALL LIFE emanates. It is the duty of all who hold human life sacred to fight for it and uphold moral laws that guarantee the life of future generations. This moral issue far transcends any earthly concerns. The economy, the war on terror, national security, taxes, energy independence — all these are important issues. And PRAISE THE LORD, all these are being dealt with after decades of corrupt and feckless leadership. In due time, all of our earthly concerns will come to pass. The issue of abortion IS fundamental to our humanity and must take center stage. The amoral and immoral left of the political spectrum are pushing climate change as their focus and political mantra. Climate has been changing for 4.5 billion years.

Fight for dear life “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” — Ronald Reagan These hucksters just found a way to push a globalist agenda getting their hands on trillions of dollars in a world where nationalism, patriotism and the right to worship are sidelined so that an elite few can rule the world based on the flimsy phenomenon of climate change. Most of the media have been paid to push this nonsense. Climate change is nothing more than the rebranded new idolatry making it the be-all and end-all of life as we know it on planet earth. Don’t be deceived. Abortion strikes at the root of our essence as human beings. This is a call to fight for the unborn — the most defenseless of all creatures, a call to preserve the life of thinking, feeling, spiritual beings in human form. Estimates of the number of abortions in this country alone have reached the 50 million mark, the population of a small country. Worldwide, the figures could be staggering. I would enjoin those among you who also believe that protecting the life of the unborn is of supreme importance to the well being of this nation and of the world to pray like you’ve never prayed before, because so much is at stake. For those who can take action, there are thousands of pro-life groups that are doing all they can to fight this evil.

We are up against a powerful enemy. Note one so-called actress just recently in an event ascribed her decision to abort her child as one of the reasons she got her meaningless award and questionable success in that cesspool of amoral swamp called Hollywood. The consequences of doing nothing and allowing the horrible evil of abortion to continue unchallenged, unabated are dire. Sometimes, we feel that by ourselves alone, we are powerless to stop this horror from being indelibly imprinted into the fabric of modern life. But persist in prayer. Together as one voice, countless silent prayers sent heavenward by millions among us who believe in the power of prayer and trust in God’s divine mercy are being heard. Miracles rain down upon the earth. So here is one bold prediction. Human life will not only survive but thrive. Abortion will be no more. Even as we speak, there are and will be for an untold number of generations yet to come, bumper crops of humans born to bless the earth with meaningful lives pleasing to God. ***

Love and deportability: Divorce, domestic violence, and immigration laws The CTV Files


WHAT if I do not have legal papers, and my spouse is abusive? If safety is a concern, we urge people to seek help first, particularly if there are minor children who may also be at risk of abuse. For non-emergency calls, individuals may dial 2-1-1 to seek help in finding resources for health, mental health, or temporary shelter. Options available for victims of abuse: VAWA SelfPetition. The spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, or the parent of a U.S. citizen, who is battered or subject to extreme cruelty may file a self-petition independently of the abusive U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. The spouse or child must demonstrate that he or she resided with the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent spouse or parent; was battered or subject to extreme cruelty during the marriage (or, in the case of a spouse self-petitioner, the child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty); the marriage was entered into in good faith; s/he is otherwise eligible for immediate relative or preference status; and has good moral character. In certain cases, though an individual has not suffered any physical harm, abuse can still be argued depending on the circumstances, since “abuse” is not limited to physical

harm. Each application will be reviewed and examined on a case-by-case basis, and given the whole picture, an individual might just be able to show that he or she is a battered spouse or has suffered extreme cruelty from their U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident husband. If so, a VAWA Self-Petition will enable her to adjust her status without having to rely on their spouse. California Divorce – “No Fault.” California is a no-fault divorce state. A party filing for divorce does not need the consent of the other in order to file a Petition for Dissolution (Divorce) or, in some instances, to get a judgment of divorce. What needs to happen is that the other party (your soon-to-be ex-spouse) needs to be served with process. In proceeding in an action for divorce, there are procedural requirements dictated by law that must be followed to ensure that the other party has notice of the action (that is, that s/he is being brought to court for an action of divorce) and that s/he is given time to respond. However, there is no requirement for the other party to respond. There is no requirement that s/he sign any document at all. All that needs to happen is that s/he is properly served with process according to the rules. Deportability Issues for Green Card Holders with Domestic Violence conviction(s). A non-citizen, even if a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) for ten years, is liable to be deportable if s/he commits or is convicted of certain crimes, even if it’s “just a misdemeanor.” A conviction for domestic violence can make

a non-citizen deportable. A Criminal Conviction’s Negative Impact on Immigration Status. The Record of Conviction (ROC) details an individual’s criminal history – his/her arrest, what s/he plead to, and the final judgment/sentence. The relief(s) available to an individual facing removal/deportation proceedings will depend largely on that individual’s record of conviction. If you are a non-citizen, it is best to consult both with a criminal attorney and with an experienced criminal immigration attorney who handles deportation defense before pleading to anything in criminal court. No two cases are exactly the same. Consult with an experienced and competent family law and immigration attorney immediately, and more importantly prior to filing any applications with the USCIS, or prior to pleading to anything in any court, in order to explore your options and possible legal ramifications that you might be facing. As always, be wary of online tools that offer immigration help or notarios who are not licensed to practice law. ***

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PG&E alerts customers: Have a plan for cold, wet and windy weather



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Calendar of Events across



Parsnip’s Executive Chef Jeffrey Salazar, of Filipino heritage, is partnering with the BOSFilipinos community for a one-night only Filipino feast. The spotlight for this Pop-Up dinner is Filipino cuisine, still a rarity in Boston, and a move towards building better intercultural relations, removing boundaries, and creating a global community. Please email info@bosfilipinos. com if you have any questions.

Santo Niño Cruzada USA is inviting all devotees of Santo Niño to come and join us in the 33rd year anniversary mass celebration of the Feast of Santo Nino, the Divine Infant Jesus, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. The principal celebrant is Bishop Alex D. Aclan. Please come early since the pre-liturgy will start around 3:00 p.m. Participants include the Knights of Columbus - Los Angeles District, Precious Blood and St. Kevin Church Choirs, Southern California Sinulog Dance Co and other dance groups and religious organizations. This mass will also be offered to honor the late Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who gave the Santo Niño statue that is used to celebrate the annual feast, to Los Angeles Archbishop Emeritus Roger Cardinal Mahony and Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik several years ago. For more information, please contact Romy & Tess Esturas at (213) 387-6982.

All are welcome to the Sto. Niño Feast Day on Sunday, January 19 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Long Beach, CA. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. with the procession; 3 p.m. mass; and 4 p.m. reception at Msgr. Gualderon hall (just across the street). Please bring your Sto. Niño images for blessing at the mass. For more information, please contact Beth Silva at (562) 756-4201 or Tony Silva at (562) 822-5803. The church is located at 540 W. 6th Street, Long Beach, CA 90802.

Register for a free parenting workshop at Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) every Thursday starting January 23 until March 26. It will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 3200 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, CA. Opening Doors is an evidence-based comprehensive training program created by and for Latino parents with children ages 0-5. Despite this, Opening Doors has been facilitated to not only Latino families, but to Black and Asian families with positive results. This program hopes that parents can raise their children to reach their highest potential. The first five years of a child’s life are integral for lifelong learning and social and brain development. This program’s approach strives to build parent leadership skills through an understanding that they are their child’s first teacher and their home their child’s first school. Building upon the tenets of understanding your child, ensuring children’s success at home, and continuing education at home, the mission of Opening Doors is to encourage parents as leaders of their families and as their child’s first teacher and advocate. This program works with parents wholly so that they can empower themselves to be mindful and positive forces in their children’s lives. For any questions, contact Eddy M. Gana at eddy@sipacares. org. and register at BIT.LY/OPENINGSIPADOORS. More information about SIPA can be found at

Have you ever thought of starting your own business? The Asian American Professional Association, in partnership with ACEL & ACE NEXTGEN, has assembled a diverse group of entrepreneurs in various industries that are leading and paving the way for new rising success stories. Join in on some intimate conversations on Thursday, January 23 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. with both young entrepreneurs who are changing the industries they’re a part of, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs who will share their inside stories to success. Learn their tricks of the trade, the reasons why they decided to become their own bosses, how they made it to the top, and how you can, too! Participate in small group Q&A sessions with Asian American and minority community entrepreneurs in various industries, such as e-commerce, food & beverage, entertainment, media, and traditional and non-conventional businesses, who will answer your questions and give you some insight and perspective on entrepreneurship. It will take place at City National Bank (555 S. Flower Street, South Hall, 13th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071). It is open to all. RSVP on Eventbrite by Tuesday, January 20. Questions? Please email

The Infant Jesus of Prague Apostolic Group invites you, your family and friends to the 37th annual Novena of the Infant Jesus of Prague on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Starting at 6:45 a.m., it will be held at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church at 19855 Sherman Way, Winnetka, California. The 2020 Novena Theme is: …and He said, “Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). Several esteemed priests from Southern California have been invited keynote speakers. There will be hourly topics about Walking with Christ in the Modern World, Discovering Our Gifts Through Journeying Together and Guiding the Youth in their Discernment as Members of the Body of Christ. Lunch is provided and the Holy Mass is celebrated after the Novena. A blessing of the Infant Jesus images and a blessing of children will also take place. Now on its 37th year, the novena is attended by devotees from all over the United States, the Philippines, Australia and other parts of the globe. For more information, please contact Leo Nevada at (818) 633-3926 or visit

Hosted by Officezilla-Los Angeles, the 2020 Office & School Supply Business Expo will be a showcase of new and innovative products on Thursday, January 30. The event kicks off at 4 to 5:30 p.m. with a complimentary networking mixer where you can meet likeminded business professionals. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hilton Los Angeles San Gabriel, the expo will feature hundreds of exhibitors featuring office products, cleaning products, furniture, promotional items, printing solutions safety products, school supplies, ink/toner and so much more. They will also be raffling a variety of products. Guests must be registered and present to win. To register, please visit

Potential outages are possible due to approaching weather SAN FRANCISCO, CA — With unsettled weather expected to return to its service area this week, PG&E is asking customers to have a plan for inclement weather and be prepared for unexpected power outages. PG&E meteorologists are forecasting a change in the weather pattern over Northern and Central California later this week. The most impactful storm of this pat-

tern was scheduled to start on Wednesday afternoon, January 15 with wind, rain and mountain snow and lasting into Thursday, January 16. Unsettled weather may continue over the weekend and into the following week. “An impactful winter storm is on the way and we’re asking customers to have a plan to keep themselves and their families safe. Our team of meteorologists is closely track-

ing the weather system and working with our employees in the field to stage resources and ensure we’re prepared to restore power safely and quickly,” said PG&E senior meteorologist Evan Duffey. PG&E is closely tracking the weather system and will be mobilizing crews and materials into areas expected to feel the brunt of the storm, so they can get to work and Continued on Page SF7

The Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies and LEAD Filipino are inviting all interested nonprofit, grassroots, and student organizations to the 2020 Filipino Policy Symposium on Saturday, February 1. It will be held at Cal State University East Bay in Hayward, CA. Breakfast and registration begin at 9 a.m. with the conference from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join as Filipino organizations from across California come together to discuss issues affecting the community and determine which legislative bills/public policies to push during the upcoming 2020 Fil Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Tickets ($25 for General Admission and $15 for Student) can be purchased on Eventbrite at

people & events Welcome a year of good fortune and prosperity with U.S. Bank

programs, and celebrating the success of ABA members as the title sponsor for the organization’s annual gala,” The Asian Jo ur n a l SF M A G A Z I NE - J a nua ry 1 7 , 2 0 2 0 says Boltran Hu, U.S. Bank Business Banking Manager in Los Angeles. Creating affordable housing for the Chinese community in San Francisco U.S. Bank is proud to com/LunarNewYear. ming possible in Los AngeU.S. Bank will celebrate support the Chinatown ComStrengthening the Chinese les. In February, U.S. Bank Lunar New Year at branches munity Development Center community in Chicago will also sponsor the Young and Lunar New Year festivals (CCDC) in building community U.S. Bank is a proud sponEntrepreneurs Forum in Los across the country. and enhancing quality of life sor of the Chinese American Angeles. “Southern California for residents of San Francisco “Lunar New Year is all Service League (CASL), a non- is home to numerous Asian about sharing joy and good – for more than a decade. profit social service agency communities spread across fortune with family and “We’re proud to work that strengthens the physical, Los Angeles, Orange County, together with CCDC as advofriends,” says Della Ng, Vice San Diego and Inland Empire cates, organizers and develPresident of Multicultural Mar- economic and mental health of people of all ages and markets. We are excited to keting for U.S. Bank. “We’re opers of affordable housing backgrounds of the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year excited to celebrate the Year in Chinatown and neighborand kick of the Year of the of the Rat alongside the com- community in greater Chiing communities,” says Fady Rat at multiple locations munity – and all year long, we cago. Local employees go a Zoubi, assistant vice president as we continue to embrace support the important work of step further, hosting homeand business banking officer festivities that honor Asian nonprofit organizations creat- buyer education, financial at U.S. Bank. “Our partnership education and tax workshops American culture,” says Char- with the CCDC allows us to ing possibilities for upward through CASL to benefit the lene Paez, U.S. Bank Asian mobility in the Asian commutruly make a difference in the Heritage Business Resource nity as part of our Community Chinese community. communities we serve.” “I have been working Group president of Southern Possible efforts.” Supporting the Chinese with CASL for more than 13 California. Visit a participating U.S. community in Seattle Growing San Diego’s Bank branch to pick up a copy years,” says Pauline Chin, The Chinese Information U.S. Bank branch manager economy through small busiof the 2020 Lunar New Year and Service Center assists at Chinatown Wentworth in ness support calendar and red envelopes new community members in Chicago. “I’m grateful for the U.S. Bank has worked with King County by providing in(while supplies last). opportunity to educate immithe Asian Business AssociaU.S. Bank is committed formation, referral, advocacy, grants about banking topics, tion (ABA) in San Diego for 10 social and support services. to Asian communities across like how to save money and years. “Through our relationthe nation U.S. Bank supports CISC ship with the ABA we have U.S. Bank celebrates Lunar how to understand checking, through grants and board savings and credit products.” been able to strengthen our New Year across the counservice. Enabling Chinese-owned relationship with the Asian try, at festivals in Chicago, “I’m proud to have served business growth in Los AngeAmerican business community on the board of CISC for more Los Angeles, San Diego, San by hosting workshops to help than a decade,” says Rocky Francisco and Seattle; through les and San Diego For a decade, U.S. Bank business owners grow such partnerships with local nonFong, vice president, corpoas marketing workshops, acprofits; and through employee has made Asian Business rate social responsibility and cess to our supplier diversity events. Learn more at usbank. Association (ABA) programContinued on Page SF7


Let Aviation Institute of Maintenance take your career to new heights Fremont campus graduate shares his experience

FINDING the right aviation school is not easy, as they come in all shapes and sizes. However, the perfect school should inspire confidence that your success is their highest priority. Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is ready to help aspiring students to reach their goals of having an exciting career in aviation. The education and training not only meets the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) strict standards, but exceeds it as well. “I chose AIM because I found their school really welcoming and supportive,” shared John Brenan P. Roque, 21, a graduate from the Fremont campus. “They believed in me from the start when I enrolled. I saw how dedicated the staff and the teachers (are) with their students,” he said and added, “During the time I was there, staff and teachers gave me the full support to be the best aircraft technician. Roque also shared that the support he received from AIM made sure he was on top of his attendance, grades and exams. “They made sure I was on track to graduate and get the job I desired,” he said. At present, Roque works at Thales Aircraft Technical

Services and believes that his experience at AIM has helped him get to where he is today. “I would recommend AIM to others, because AIM will make sure that each and every student will be taken care of to reach their full potential to become one of the most trained aircraft technicians to graduate from an A&P school.” AIM can enroll students with an M1 visa, a non-immigrant student attending a non-academic trade or vocational school, which has been approved by the INS to offer such training. Not on a M1 visa? Students may still be able to study with AIM. AIM San Francisco BayMetro is located at 420 Whitney Place, Fremont, CA 94539 and offers Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Maintenance Technician programs. The AMT program is designed to provide students the knowledge and skills as an aircraft mechanic and prepares them for the FAA test. The maintenance technician course prepares the student for entrylevel employment within a wide variety of maintenance-related fields. Learn how you can start your career in aviation at www. (Advertising Supplement)

Luck and wealth are waiting for you at Graton in this new year!

LUCK and wealth are here in this New Year! Let’s gather with relatives and friends at Graton Resort & Casino to spend great times and moments together! Graton will host two wonderful Lunar New Year Lion Dance shows on January 25 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please don’t miss the chance to see the performances! Graton has prepared lots of activities allowing you to experience exciting casino games, gourmet food and entertainment shows, and ensuring that you are all satisfied at the same time! Luck is waiting for you! During the last Fridays of January, February and March, there is the Lexus and Cash Giveaway, where a Lexus will be guaranteed to be given away, as well as 50 cash winners. Every 25 points gets one entry, giving your new year an unexpected good fortune! And, starting from today till March 26, every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Good Fortune Slot Tournaments will be held, with the top prize up to $15,000 cash, and total prizes up to $400,000! All reward members get one free entry into each tournament. Premier and Platinum members win double the prize amount, and Elite members wins triple the prize amount! Come to Graton Resort & Casino to join the party now! Get together at Graton, and luck will follow. For more information related to the promotions, please visit or call 707-588-7100. In addition to the exciting entertainment gaming, dim sum is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Boathouse Asian Eatery. Master Dim Sum Chef Pit-fun Li introduces his dishes that emphasize the use of natural ingredients which brings out the classic dim sum flavor profile without using MSG. Chef Pit’s signature dishes are the House-Roasted Duck and Shao Lung Bao (soup dumplings). Prices range from $6.50 to $8.50 for many of the most popular dishes. Come and try them out! And, there are 200 elegant comfortable rooms and luxurious suites, a glamorous lobby and luxurious spa, more than 130 table games, including Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker and more, at Graton. It also offers 3,000 slot machines, live poker, video poker and a large function space for different music concerts and special

events. Graton Resort & Casino’s 9,000 square feet non-smoking gaming area, which offers 300 slot machines and video poker, is located just next to the casino valet. You can enjoy gaming in a non-smoking environment at Graton Resort & Casino! What’s more, there are delectable restaurants and bars that offer different cuisines in the casino, such as twelve-time World Pizza Champion Chef Tony Gemignani’s Tony’s of North Beach, Pan-Asian eatery Boathouse, a top-quality steakhouse in 630 Park Steakhouse, classic American dishes from Daily Grill, and 500 seats in the Marketplace, which offers casual and convenient eateries, for your selection. You will surely have a happy and unforgettable experience. Graton Resort & Casino is located in Rohnert Park, California, next to the Golf Course Drive exit of 101 freeway, with easy access to transportation. It has gourmet food, entertainment & accommodation all in one, and is the largest integrated resort in the Bay area. The casino is owned and operated by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and managed by Station Casinos LLC. For more information, please

Welcome a year of... From Page SF6 president, Seattle Asian Heritage Business Resource Group, U.S. Bank. “Through CISC, we help new immigrants find their roots within the community through employment services, ESL, cultural navigation programs, translation services, after-school programs and much more.” Find us at an event near you for information about special offers, fun activities and giveaways. Los Angeles – Monterey Park LNY Festival, Jan. 11-12

Seattle – Wing Luke LNY Celebration, Jan. 25 Chicago – Chicago Community Center Parade, Feb. 2 San Diego – San Diego Chinese New Year Fair, Feb. 8-9 San Francisco – Southwest Airlines CNY Festival & Parade, Feb. 8-9 For more information on how U.S. Bank is celebrating all the good fortunes and possibilities to come this Year of the Rat, visit (Advertising Supplement)

Political uncertainty... From Page SF3 interest rates that allowed the real estate asset class to thrive in recent years will start to dissipate. Most real estate experts anticipate the housing market moving sideways rather than up or down. A strong job market and low mortgage rates should sustain the housing market in 2020.


(Advertising Supplement)

visit www.GratonResortCasino. com, GratonCasino or www.twitter. com/PlayGraton. (Advertising Supplement)

people & events SF7 PG&E alerts customers: Have a... T h e As ian Jou r n al S F MAGAZ IN E - Jan u ary 1 7 , 2 0 2 0

From Page SF5 restore service to impacted customers more quickly. PG&E’s meteorology team has developed a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historical data and system knowledge to accurately show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages. Storm Safety Tips: • Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it – and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-7435002. • Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, pets and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

• Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. • Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer. • Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines or property. • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area. • Turn off appliances: If you

experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal. • Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked. Other tips and more information can be found at www. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and pge. com/news.


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011720 - Northern California Edition  

011720 - Northern California Edition