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San Diego’s No. 1 Source of News & Information for the Filipino Community • An Award-Winning Newspaper Since 1986 March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021

www.thefilipinopress.com • (619) 434-1720

PH doing best to secure jabs despite global shortage

MANILA -- Limited supply and global shortage have caused the delay in the delivery of coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, as he cited atleast 10 countries already secured 75 percent of the world's supplies. "Yung global supply talaga ay kulang. May shortage kaya naantala madalas ang delivery (The global supply is very limited. There's a supply shortage that's why the delivery of vaccines is often delayed)," Duque said during the symbolic vaccination rollout at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City on Wednesday afternoon. He said even the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that it has yet to begin the inoculation of most low- and middle-income countries. The government, meanwhile, maintained it is doubling its efforts to hasten the delivery of secured vaccines under the COVAX Facility. During the event, Duque cited the huge contribution of the private sector in the country's fight against the pandemic. "We have always been of the strong belief in the complementarity between the national government and the private sector's capacities," he said. "We have seen that the capacity of St. Luke's is huge, therefore impactful." Duque assured all governmentprocured vaccines for Covid-19 are safe for public use as he urged them to get vaccinated. "As of today, there's a demand of 3.4 million doses of vaccines, whatever vaccines, for 1.7 million health care workers across the country.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with local officials during the inauguration of the Lawang Bato National High School in Lawang Bato, Valenzuela City , encourages people to make sure COVID-19 protocols are observed at all times (MNS photo) On Sunday, we received only 600,000 doses of vaccines and if you do your math easily this is less than 20 percent – or 17 percent to be exact – of the total requirement of the health care workers," he said. "Don't hesitate. Let's line up for the vaccination." Duque insisted the vaccine is safe

and effective as it underwent stringent protocols of the health authorities. Get inoculated with Covid-19 vax, PRRD prods Pinoys President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday encouraged his fellow Filipinos to get inoculated with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)

vaccines, reassuring them that these are “safe” and will play a key role in reopening the Philippine economy. Duterte made the call following the arrival of 487,200 doses of Covid-19 vaccines developed by the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca in the Philippines.

During the turnover rites of AstraZeneca vaccines at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Duterte said Covid-19 jabs should be administered to Filipinos the “soonest time possible.” “I would like to appeal to all our kababayans (countrymen), please

get vaccinated against Covid-19 and be the [government’s] partner in preventing further spread of the disease. I encourage you to get vaccinated as a soonest possible time. These vaccines are safe and they are the key to reopening our society,” he said. The Philippines is expected to receive around 44 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, a global initiative that guarantees access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide. The 487,200 vials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine delivered to the Philippines on Thursday were developed in South Korea and donated by Germany, the European Union, Norway, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, and Greece. The distribution of Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca will commence after repackaging. Boosting vaccination drive Duterte was elated that the Philippines was able to receive AstraZeneva vaccines through COVAX facility. “Let me thank you, to our key partners in the entire international community represented by their ambassadors tonight. Their cooperation in public health is very much needed. Positive engagement is very much welcome,” he said. Prior to the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines, the country also received on Sunday See

PH on 10

California on Track to Reach ON THE RECORD WITH GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM: Capacity Goal of 3 Million Vaccines A SHOT IN THE ARM AGAINST COVID-19 Per Week, Pending Available Supply

By Governor Gavin Newsom

After one of the most challenging years of our lives, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel—the COVID-19 vaccines are here, and my administration is working to ensure that no community is left behind. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They are our best hope to end the pandemic. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is free, even if you’re undocumented or don’t have health insurance. After the federal government authorized the use of the vaccines back in December, our own Western States Scientific Safety Review Group confirmed that the vaccines are safe. The Panel includes nationally acclaimed scientists, many from California, with expertise in public health. Although supplies of the vaccine are limited right now, we’re working in close partnership with the federal government to get more vaccines into the state. And we’re working hard to build a system for swiftly

and safely vaccinating Californians with equity at the forefront. While supply of vaccine is constrained, we’re prioritizing vaccines for the Californians most at risk–including healthcare workers, individuals 65 and older, and workers in education and childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture. That means grocery store workers, restaurant workers, farmworkers, those who work in food processing facilities and many others may now be prioritized. And we’re working to ensure that the communities most impacted by COVID-19–so often the communities of color and essential workers who have been sustaining us through this crisis– can access the vaccine. We’re investing in communitybased organizations and partnering with trusted messengers who have been providing critical services and information to California’s diverse communities during the pandemic so that they can help educate, motivate and activate people to get vaccinated when it’s their turn. We’re also building messaging through a public education campaign, creating inlanguage content with cultural humility and meeting Californians where they are—literally, through the mobile vaccination sites that have deployed throughout the state to community centers, places of worship and health clinics. Vaccination sites are being set up throughout the state, and we’re working closely with community partners to make sure that vaccines are distributed to those who have been hit the hardest by this virus.

You may see people in uniform or police protecting vaccine sites. They are here to help Californians get vaccinated and are not immigration officials. The federal government, under President Biden, has confirmed that they will not conduct immigration enforcement operations at or near vaccine sites or clinics. You should not be asked about your immigration status when you get a COVID-19 vaccine. Also, your medical information is private and cannot be shared with immigration officials. And, vaccinations do not count under the public charge rule. All Californians can sign up on myturn.ca.gov to be notified when they are eligible for a vaccine. Eligible individuals in several counties, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and San Francisco, can also use My Turn to schedule an appointment, with more counties expected to begin using My Turn for scheduling in the coming weeks. My Turn is also accessible via a toll-free hotline at 1-833-422-4255. Operators speak English and Spanish, and thirdparty interpretation is also available in 250+ languages. You can also ask your physician or your pharmacy about scheduling an appointment. After you’ve been vaccinated, it’s still important to wear a mask, wash your hands often and continue to stay six feet apart to protect others in your community who have not yet been vaccinated. I encourage every Californian to get vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn. Together, we can end the pandemic.

My Turn to Become Leading Source for Scheduling Appointments Over Time

SACRAMENTO, CA -- Taking another step to fulfill Gov. Gavin Newsom’s charge to build a Statewide Vaccine Network that can administer vaccine as quickly as it becomes available, California announced recently that it is on track to create the capacity to administer 3 million vaccinations per week by March 1. “While supply is still extremely limited, we need to prepare now for a time in the near future when supply increases and hopefully dramatically,” said Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency and the state’s lead on vaccine operations. “We are well on our way to hitting our 3 million doses per week capacity goal, and by the end of April, our goal is to create the capacity to administer 4 million shots per week.” That 3 million capacity figure includes both providers in the Statewide Vaccine Network and other providers who receive their vaccines directly from the federal government. When additional vaccine becomes available, the state is in position to quickly scale up operations. As counties and providers are onboarded in the coming weeks into the Statewide Vaccine Network, MyTurn.ca.gov will become the main source for Californians to sign up for appointments. Over 500,000 vaccinations have been administered via My Turn, and more than 1.6 million Californians have signed up for a My Turn notification. Next week, My Turn will begin piloting

the use of single use codes, allowing community-based organizations, navigators or others to sign up members of disproportionately affected or other prioritized communities. This feature also minimizes the unauthorized sharing of codes. Over time, providers administering vaccines will be required to use My Turn or an electronic health record that automatically shares vaccination data with the state’s immunization databases, and to work with the state to connect into the My Turn platform. The use of My Turn will also help the state have greater visibility into who is getting vaccinated and how to better fine tune equity-focused allocation and outreach efforts. This will be a key component of the state’s continued focus on vaccine equity. My Turn is available in eight languages, and for those without internet access, appointments can be made by calling (833) 422-4255. The hotline is available in English and Spanish, with third party translators available in more than 250 additional languages. Blue Shield of California, the state’s Network Administrator, has expeditiously contracted with large volume providers across the state, with a focus on those providers who serve Wave 1 counties. “The enhanced network will build on the state’s existing capacity and vaccination processes that are working well, while enhancing state oversight of the vaccine supply and accountability for all vaccine doses

to ensure equitable access to vaccines for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California. “The state will continue to have responsibility for allocating the vaccine to ensure Californians get the protection they need from Covid-19, and we are working diligently in support of those efforts.” The state and Blue Shield also announced an updated implementation timeline for the Statewide Vaccine Network. On March 1: All providers and local • health jurisdictions will move to a uniform, state-directed eligibility criteria, eliminating confusion on who is eligible to receive a vaccine on a county by county basis. • Blue Shield of California will begin making allocation recommendations – based on criteria set by the state – to state officials for doses delivered the following week. The state will make final allocation decisions, continuing to use the existing split which prioritizes 70 percent of doses for those 65+ and the other 30 percent in the educational and childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture sectors. Included in that is the 10 percent set aside for educational and childcare workers. This allocation is for first doses only, with second doses being sent to the provider who administered the first vaccination dose. See CALIFORNIA on

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2 • March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021

Filipino Press

Filipino Spearheads SHARP South Bay Vaccination Superstation It’s just after 7pm on a Tuesday night, and SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station has all but 8 staff and volunteers left inside the former Sears at Chula Vista Center. Myron Soyangco, a first-generation Filipino-American, leads the operation and shares that SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station has the capacity to serve up to 4,000 patients daily, depending on vaccine availability. In fact, nearly half of the leadership team responsible for the site is Filipino. In just over a month, Myron and his team have already vaccinated over 50,000 members of our South Bay community, which has unfortunately seen a disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections and deaths throughout the pandemic. Myron shares, “As my colleague, Julian, has coined, in this clinic, we are a celebration of life. When folks come in for their dose, whether it’s because of worries about vaccine shortage, a fear of needles, or because they’re just so tired of COVID, everybody has a lot of nervous energy. Our mission is to convert that nervous energy to positive energy. We play music. We have pom pons. We have a cut-out of Dr. Fauci that people can take a selfie with. We just want it to be a very positive experience for our community.” As I shared last week, my own parents received both of their vaccine doses at SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station. They had only rave reviews for Myron and his team, saying that the experience was, in fact, very positive and very efficient.

The most difficult part of the experience, of course, is scheduling an appointment. Myron shares, “We ask for everyone’s patience with that. The County releases new appointment slots roughly two times per week. We don’t have control or knowledge of when that happens, but we recommend that folks just keep checking the website.” Those who have received their first dose with SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station will receive an emailed link to a protected appointment around one week prior to being due for their second dose. This guarantees the availability of a second dose, which should bring comfort. Our community needs to continue to put our Bayanihan Spirit to good use, assisting elders with making appointments, especially those who find online scheduling challenging. When they were able, SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station reallocated some of their Pfizer vaccine doses to keep its commitment to the community and continue to vaccinate, though it is primarily a Moderna vaccine site. So, is there a noticeable difference between the two vaccines and is one more preferable? Myron shares that both vaccines are safe, effective and will work the same. The only practical difference between the two vaccines is the waiting period between the required two doses. For Moderna, it’s 4 weeks. For Pfizer, it’s 3 weeks. This is only due to the respective studies and the authorizations different companies have to honor. This does not, by any means, suggest range of strength of efficacy for either vaccine. Myron shares further, “The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) says that your golden window to receive a second dose of either vaccine

is up to 6 six weeks after your first. At this time, there is no scenario in which a person would need to get 3 shots (I.E. start their series again). We encourage folks to reach out to their physicians with any concerns.” “Access is a huge factor,” says Myron. “Here at SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station, we are trying our best to be a resource that forwards health equity and access for our community. It was a very deliberate decision by SHARP to have a Super Station here in the South Bay, knowing that this region largely represents our communities of color, an area that has been disproportionately affected by COVID, where there are higher than average expected death rates from COVID. We knew, in choosing this particular location, we were accessible by trolley and bus. Folks don’t need a private vehicle to get vaccinated. We’re working with the County and other organizations to continue to spread the word and heighten access.” Myron shares that it means a lot to him, personally and professionally, to manage SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station, as he is a passionate advocate for health equity for communities of color. “There is a real need here. These are my people, and I need to be here to help usher in these programs and ensure access. It’s more than just putting up signs in different languages. We ask our 75+ volunteers every day which languages and cultures they are familiar with and represent. That degree of cultural sensitivity means a lot to our community. Between SHARP’s commitment and my choice to be here, it’s a particularly good marriage, because that’s something we can uniquely offer here. We know who our people are, and we want to give them what they need.” SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station is located at 565 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91910, is See FRANCINE MAIGUE on

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March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021 • 3


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Filipino Press

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Vaccination for general public may start by late April, early May -- Galvez MANILA -- Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday said the inoculation rollout for the general public is seen to start between late April and early May. Galvez said senior citizens, poor families, and vulnerable communities—which are included in the priority—may also start to get vaccinated around the same period. “Ang projection po namin ang general public, pati na ‘yung mga seniors, poor families, at saka vulnerable communities, we will start ‘yung general public inoculation late April, early May,” he said. According to Galvez, the ongoing vaccination of frontline healthcare workers, who are at the top of the priority list, is expected to be finished by the end of March. However, if the supply of vaccines fails to arrive on the expected time, Galvez said the completion of healthcare workers’ inoculation would be moved to April. The Philippines on Sunday received 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac that were donated by the Chinese government. According to Galvez, this first batch of vaccine supply in the country is expected to be completely dispatched this week. The vaccination rollout in the Philippines started on Monday. PH eyes distribution of all 600,000 Sinovac vaccines within first week of March The government is planning to deploy all 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses to different hospitals across the country within the first week of March, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., said Wednesday. The country began rolling out its vaccination program on Monday using shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which arrived on Sunday. The 11 hospitals where the vaccines were deployed so far were able to inoculate 2,793 as of Tuesday evening, said Galvez. "Ang target namin end of the week, ma-deploy na namin 'yung almost 600 (thousand)...Ang target namin ngayong linggo, ma-dispatch na namin, madistribute na namin lahat ng mga doses sa different regions," he said. He said the initial demand allocation set was for 202,182 individuals in Luzon, 51,140 for Visayas, and 94,540 for Mindanao. Each person is supposed to receive 2 doses. Those in excess of 600,000 would be filled in by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives, he said. "Initially, nung unang araw, walang halos kumuha, mga 13 percent lang ang nag-request...Ngayon, halos araw-araw, may tumatawag ng mga congressmen at mga mayors na talagang gusto nilang mabigyan din 'yung mga ospital po nila sa kanilang mga lugar," he said. Galvez was among the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Philippine General Hospital on Monday. He said he did not experience any side effects and the pain on his shoulder is gone. However, he said 12 individuals who received the vaccine experienced "very minor adverse effects" and 154 others were "deferred" after a medical screening. The Philippines has logged 580,442 total coronavirus infections as of Tuesday, after 6 straight days of more than 2,000 new cases. Continuous arrival of more

Covid-19 vaccine doses assured Malacañang on Wednesday assured that there would be a continuous arrival of more Sinovac-made Covid-19 vaccine doses this month. On Monday, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said 1 million more doses of Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac will arrive this March under a PHP700-million purchase deal. This is expected to boost the country’s initial stock of 600,000 doses of the same brand donated by Beijing. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed optimism that the Sinovac-made vaccines will arrive as scheduled. “Tuluy-tuloy na po iyan dahil may inaasahan po tayong isang milyon galing po sa Sinovac, ito na po iyong bibilhin natin (The arrival is continuous because we expect 1 million from Sinovac, this is what we’re going to purchase),” he said in a radio interview. He is also hopeful that the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca vaccines, which were supposed to arrive last Monday (March 1), would finally not encounter any more delays. “Iyong COVAX Facility ay inaasahan po natin na mayroon pa tayong 500,000 plus so sigurado po iyan darating ng Marso (We expect to have 500,000 plus vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility which is scheduled to arrive this March),” he said. The country was supposed to receive some 525,600 doses AstraZeneca vaccines under COVAX Facility, a World Health Organization (WHO)-led mechanism to ensure fair vaccine access, especially for low to middle-income countries. “So sa tingin ko po hindi na maaantala ito at pagdating po ng Abril eh diyan naman po sisipa iyong marami rin nating nabili rin ‘no (So I think there won’t be any more delays and in April that’s when the bulk of the vaccine doses we purchased will come in),” he said. Galvez earlier said there is no definite date yet for arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines due to global shortage of vaccines. Meanwhile, Roque expressed confidence that the country’s front line medical workers would finish their vaccination as scheduled so that the rest of the groups in the government’s priority list could follow. “Kampante po ang gobyerno na tuloy-tuloy na po ito at sa lalong mabilis na panahon sana matapos po natin ang mga health workers, 3.4 million po iyan. Pagkatapos po sana ay mayroon na tayong makuha para sa mga seniors dahil iyon na po ang ating susunod na target ng ating vaccination (The government is confident that this will be continuous and finish vaccinating our 3.4 million health workers. After them, I hope we have enough for senior citizens because they are the second priority in our vaccination),” he added. Over 700 vaccinated on Day 1 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Philippines - officials More than 700 health workers were inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine during the first day of the country's COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Monday using donated doses from the Chinese drugmaker Sinovac, officials said. Department of Health spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said at 404 health workers from different hospitals in Metro Manila have already been vaccinated.

"Based on the current numbers that we have, we have about 404 who were vaccinated in these different hospitals," she said, adding that they have to receive the numbers from Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), as of 8 p.m. Monday. VMMC head Dominador Chiong Jr. said in a separate interview on TeleRadyo that 365 individuals were inoculated in his facility. Vergeire said some hospitals exceeded their expected number of health workers who signed up for vaccination. "Ito po ay tuloy-tuloy hanggang ma-exhaust 'yung lahat ng nagpirma na sila ay willing to accept this type STABLE SUPPLY OF PORK. A customer checks out fresh pork meat at a stall that also sells processed meat of vaccine. Itutuloy po natin yan products along Cogeo Market, Antipolo City on Wednesday (March 3, 2021). The government has ordered a price hanggang matapos po yan. We have ceiling on pork and chicken products amid high prices of these commodities. (MNS photo) allocations po for different hospitals in Metro Manila," she said. Aside from the VMMC, the Sinovac vaccine was also sent to the Philippine General Hospital, V. Luna Medical Center, Dr. Jose N Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Pasig City General Hospital, Philippine National Police General Hospital in Camp Crame, and MANILA -- Defense Secretary Appropriations chair Eric yap said of Social Welfare and Development the Lung Center of the Philippines. Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday the PHP20 billion was a buffer fund, (DSWD) to release the monthly social Vergeire said they are eyeing called on retired military and which the DBM and the legislature pension of indigent senior citizens to finish the initial rollout of the uniformed personnel (MUP) who all agreed to realign in favor of budget every three months instead of the COVID-19 vaccine within 2 weeks. have raised concerns about their 2018 items meant to address the coronavirus current six months. "'Yun pong matitirang bakuna, pension differentials to be patient as the pandemic, including the procurement In a committee hearing, the ipapasok po natin 'yung ating quick government needs to prioritize funding of vaccines and personal protective resolution, introduced by Deputy substitution list," she said. for its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) equipment of medical front-liners. Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, was "Magsusunod-sunod po tayo. Pero response. Yap said he would file a PHP50- swiftly adopted since no discussions this time, we have to look at other Lorenzana made the call amid the billion supplemental budget to help were made due to the absence of a regions as well," she added. controversy surrounding the PHP20 absorb the fund deficiency brought representative from the DSWD's According to Vergeire, among those billion slashed from the Pension about by the PHP70-billion budget cut central office. who were vaccinated, 13 suffered and Gratuity Fund (PGF) for retired made by the previous House leadership According to the committee minor adverse effects, which included uniformed personnel under the 2021 in the 2020 budget. secretary, a representative from the an increase in blood pressure, pain on General Appropriations Act. Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab also central office was invited but no replies the injection site, nausea, itching and In an interview during his courtesy manifested that the 2020 national were made. Some DSWD regional rashes. call to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco budget had several realignments, officials, however, were present in the "Lahat po ito ay considered as at the House of Representatives, confirming that the PGF was then meeting. minor adverse events. And ito po ay Lorenzana said he believes “there’s slashed by PHP74.029 billion by Irked, Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza lahat na vinalidate natin at minanage. no harm done” with the delay in the former House Speaker Alan Peter said the committee should have been Lahat po sila ngayon ay nakauwi na. payment of 2018 pension differentials Cayetano and former Deputy Speaker informed on the matter. This prompted Wala tayong in-admit sa ospital," she to retired MUP. Luis Raymund Villafuerte. him to make a motion for the approval said. “Ito lang po ang paalala natin Ungab chaired the House of the resolution. "Ito po ay common lang, hindi sa pensioners na nagde-demand na Committee on Appropriations during "Kung hindi po sila a-attend, kailangang katakutan," she added. makuha na ‘yung arrears ng 2018 na Cayetano’s term as Speaker. pakisabi po sa amin para 'di po kami Solon wants to intensify Covid-19 kung pwede lang po sana ay maghintay Meanwhile, Anakalusugan Party- nag-aaksaya ng panahon, naghihintay vaccine info drive lang tayo ng konting panahon dahil list Rep. Mike Defensor disputed Yap’s sa kanila. This is not a good manner A leader of the House of ‘yung pera kinain ng Covid at marami claim that the PHP20 billion in military of getting government to move in Representatives on Wednesday urged tayong pagkakagastusan dito. Bibili pa and police retirees’ pension money essential matters," Atienza said. the Department of Health (DOH) to tayo ng vaccines so baka hindi kayanin was diverted to Covid-19 vaccine "Failure on their part, I will move boost its information dissemination (Our reminder to our pensioners who procurement. for the approval of this resolution of campaign on the national vaccination are demanding to get their arrears for “To set the record straight, the Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, program to increase public confidence 2018 is to wait for a while because the vaccine procurement fund approved with no participation from the social in the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) funding was diverted for Covid and by Congress, as recommended by welfare people who don't seem to be vaccine. we have a lot of expenses for this. We the bicameral conference committee interested in the subject anyway," he In a media forum, House Committee still have to purchase vaccines so [the (bicam) and carried in the 2021 budget, added. on Health Chair Angelina Tan said the budget] might not even be enough),” was PHP2.5 billion, which is good for At the later part of the virtual vaccination challenge is to persuade Lorenzana said. just a few thousand doses and which meeting, the committee secretary Filipinos to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Lorenzana said the government is was the amount recommended by the said she was just informed that a Tan said if there are only a ‘few not backing away from its obligation, executive branch at the beginning of representative from the DSWD central takers” because of existing doubts and and pensioners can help by being the pandemic,” he said. office would be attending the meeting. uncertainty about the vaccine, then the patient in waiting for their pension Defensor noted that PHP2.5 billion However, Atienza said, "Congress goal to achieve herd immunity through arrears. is the amount that is “sure of funding,” should not be made to wait for their vaccination won’t happen. “Huwag nating pilitin ang gobyerno as it is part of the “programmed” convenience. Whether they are coming “Since day one, I think naging na mangutang para ibayad sa inyo. portion of the 2021 national budget. or not is immaterial since the resolution maayos po ‘yung pag rollout ng Anyway, dinoble naman ang pension He said Congress allocated an is already approved." ating National Vaccination Program. ninyo since 2018, except ‘yung four additional PHP172 billion but lodged Resolution Maganda ‘yung proseso. Siguro lang, months—January to April—so palagay it in the “unprogrammed” part of the Rodriguez's resolution cites nabigyan ko na rin naman ng diin ito ko hindi kayo mahihirapan (Let’s not outlay, which means it is available only DSWD's Memorandum Circular sa DOH, na paigtingin pa nila ‘yung force the government to borrow money if there is excess revenue, there is a 4-2019, noting that the release of the pagpapaliwanag sa ibaba katulong just to pay you. Anyway, your pension new tax measure as funding source, or monthly social pension at P500 per ang local government units (Since day was doubled since 2018, except for there are loans. beneficiary will be done every six one, I think the rollout of our national four months--January to April--so I “Through the bicam, Congress months or P3,000 per semester. vaccination program has been smooth. think you won’t have a hard time),” he juggled at least PHP182 billion in For Rodriguez, the period of The process was good. The only thing said. appropriations recommended by waiting is too long. that needs to be improved on --which I The Department of Budget and President (Rodrigo) Duterte in his The resolution further states that already stressed to the DOH -- is how Management had originally proposed version of the budget. None of that, due to the lockdowns implemented they could convince the grassroots PHP172.9 billion under the PGF to not even a centavo or peso, was added during the COVID-19 pandemic, to take it with the help of local partially fund the payment of the 2018 by the two chambers to the Palace- many businesses have struggled and government units,” Tan said. pension differences for MUP. recommended PHP2.5-billion vaccine this resulted in a number of Filipinos Tan said while she understands However, in the final version of the procurement fund,” he said. losing their jobs, including senior 2021 GAA, the amount was reduced House panel adopts reso urging citizens. to PHP152.9 billion or a difference DSWD to release poor senior "Six months wait for our senior See VACCINATION on 7 of PHP20 billion, thus affecting citizens' pension every 3 months citizens and indigent pa certainly is the payment of the 2018 pension The House Committee on Senior not the proper way to be of help to our differentials. Citizens adopted on Thursday the senior citizens. That is why I have to House Committee on resolution urging the Department file this," Rodriguez said. (MNS)

Lorenzana asks military retirees to patiently await 2018 pension

Phivolcs raises Alert Level 1 on Mt. Pinatubo

Lt . Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, urges members of the military to show strong resolve of support and trust to the government’s vaccination program. (MNS photo)

MANILA -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday raised the alert status on Mount Pinatubo, from normal to Level 1 (low-level unrest). The increasing number of volcanic earthquakes observed has prompted Phivolcs to raise Mt. Pinatubo's alert status, said Director Renato Solidum, Jr. in a radio interview Thursday. Since January 20, 2021, Phivolcs has recorded 1,722 imperceptible earthquakes, with magnitudes 0.5 to 2.8, beneath the Pinatubo edifice. The daily volcanic quake average in alert level 0 is below five. Imperceptible earthquakes are volcanic seismic activities that are not felt, according to Solidum. Phivolcs' Pinatubo volcano bulletin issued on Thursday said all earthquakes

recorded are associated with rockfracturing processes. "Measurements at Pinatubo Crater lake in February 2021 yielded a total CO2 flux of 378 tonnes/day which is still within the background range of 1,000 tonnes/day recorded in the past decade," it added. Slight increases in the temperatures of monitored fumaroles or gas vents were recorded but other characteristics such as acidity (pH) remain unchanged, Phivolcs also mentioned in the bulletin. Solidum said that while Mt. Pinatubo would not erupt soon, residents must take precautions as this data only shows there is volcanic activity. "Take extra caution when entering the Pinatubo crater, and one should only go there when necessary," he said.

He also pointed out that while it may take many years before Mt. Pinatubo could erupt again, the public must not be complacent. Phivolcs continuously monitors its volcanic activity, including other factors like a strong earthquake that could strike near Mt. Pinatubo, as this could affect the volcano. "We will see whether we need to raise or lower the alert status of the volcano," he said. Meantime, Solidum urges the local government in the area to review their disaster risk reduction and management plans. As of Thursday, other active volcanoes Taal, Mayon, and Kanlaon are still under alert level 1. Solidum reiterated that residents near those volcanoes must not enter the Permanent Danger Zones. (MNS)


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THE LONG HISTORY OF BEWILDERING AND OFTEN VIOLENT RACISM AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE UNITED STATES SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Greetings! Up until the eve of the COVID-19 crisis, the prevailing narrative about Asian Americans was one of the model minorities. The model minority concept, developed during and after World War II posits that Asian Americans were the ideal immigrants of color to the United States due to their economic success. But in the United States, Asian Americans have long been considered as a threat to a nation that promoted a white-only immigration policy. They were called a “yellow peril” – unclean and unfit for citizenship in America. In the late 19th century, white nativistsspreadxenophobiapropaganda about Chinese uncleanliness in San Francisco. This fueled the passage of the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act, the first law in the United States that barred immigration solely based on race. Initially, the act placed a 10-year moratorium on all Chinese migration. In the early 20th century, American officials in the Philippines, then a formal colony of the U.S. denigrated Filipinos for their supposedly “unclean and uncivilized bodies.” Colonial officers and doctors identified two enemies: Filipino insurgents against American rule, and “tropical diseases” festering in native bodies. By pointing to the Filipinos’ political and medical unruliness, these officials justified continued colonial rule in the islands. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to incarcerate people under suspicion as enemies to inland internment camps. While the order also affected Germans – and Italian Americans on the East Coast, the vast majority of those imprisoned in 1942 were of Japanese descent. Many of them were naturalized citizens, second – and third – generation Americans. Internees who fought in the celebrated 442nd Regiment were coerced by the United States military to prove their loyalty to a country that locked them up simply for being Japanese. In the 21st century, even the most “multicultural” North American cities, like Toronto, Canada are hotbeds for virulent racism. During the 2003 SARS outbreak, Toronto saw a rise of anti-Asian racism, much like that of today. In her 2008 study, sociologist Carrianne Leung highlighted the everyday racism against Chinese and Filipina healthcare workers in the years that followed the SARS crisis. While publicly celebrated for their work in hospitals and other health facilities, these women found themselves fearing

for their lives on their way home. No doubt about it, no expression of patriotism – not even being front-line workers in a pandemic – makes Asian migrants immune to racism. Just recently, a man attacked an 83-years-old Filipino woman for no apparent reason at all right here in our beloved hometown of “The Finest City in America” San Diego trolley last February 15th. Several witnesses came to the elderly’s aid and helped the unidentified woman report the assault to the police, according to ABC 10 News. She was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. “My first reaction is anger and then I was just sad for her,” said JoAnn Fields, a community advocate and director of the Filipino Resource Center. “The previous president calling the coronavirus the Chinese virus…that just amplified I believe, hates towards our community,” added Fields. “To see this trend, awful trend happening throughout the United States should put us on alert,” Fields told ABC 10 News. The assault on the unnamed Filipino woman came at a time when attacks on the Asian American community have been increasing. Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, there has been 2,500 hate crime reported against Asian Americans nationwide through September of 2020 according to a study released by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY). The study suggests that Asian Americans have been unfairly blamed for the pandemic allowing them to become the target of increased discrimination and violence. Another group Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islanders)Hate started tracking anti-Asian hate nationwide beginning in mid-March. It recorded more than 2,800 accounts by the end of 2020. The San Diego District Attorney’s office is currently handling these antiAsian hate crime cases. There were none in 2018 and 2019. Indeed, fears of another wave of antiAsian violence have arisen following a string of viral videos depicting attacks against Asian Americans. In late January, a clip circulated of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an eighty-four-year-old man originally from Thailand, being assaulted as he walked down a street in San Francisco. He died days later. Around the time, another clip, showing a ninety-one-year-old Asian man in Oakland’s Chinatown being shoved to the ground while walking down the

street made the rounds. The actors Daniel Dae Kim and David Wu offered rewards for information on the assailants. A few days later, Kim Wu, and the activist Amanda Nguyen appeared on MSNBC, in part to chastise the mainstream media for being slow to cover these attacks. Even as outlets began reporting on these videos, assaults continued: A FilipinoAmerican man’s face was slashed in New York; a Korean-American man was beaten in Los Angeles’s Koreatown while assailants shouted slurs at him. About a week ago, another viral clip circulated, this one of a fifty-two-years-old Asian American woman being shoved into the ground in Flushing, Queens. For some Asian Americans, the videos provided proof of what they have been feeling for some time now, namely that they are increasingly being targeted on the basis of their appearance. In the cases of the San Francisco and Oakland attacks, some officials, and even local community members, questioned whether these assaults were random rather than racially motivated. The attacker captured in the Queens video was released, and no hate crime charges were brought against him. Beyond pressing for media coverage, however, the demands around what to do next was sometimes contradictory. Calls for more protection in Asian neighborhood struck critics of police brutality as the wrong answer; in particular, Kim and Lee’s so-called bounties were perceived to undermine the efforts of Asian American

organizers already working toward community-oriented solutions to public safety. Villainizing the suspects, at least two of whom were Black only served to play the racist narratives of inner-city crime. Some felt dismayed that Black and brown community leaders had not rushed to the defense of Asian Americans; others claimed that such standards construed to fight for justice as quid pro quo. Calls to center and protect Asian “elders” drew criticism for playing into respectability politics that casts a kindly grandma or grandpa as sympathetic, innocent victim. According to an article by New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, “Visibility matters.” Yet obsessing over it sometimes obscures the longstanding challenges of organizing Asian Americans around a single, shared story, he writes. Hsu continues,” It’s different to describe anti-Asian racism when society lacks a coherent, historical account of what racism actually looks like. The parameters of activism often get defined by hashtags - #StopAAPIHate, #ProtectOurElders, #NotYourModelMinority – rather than a sense of history. In the age of Black Lives Matter, the desire to carve out a crisp, pithy position is greater than ever. But to past weeks’ conversations had illustrated how the Asian American experience doesn’t always fit neatly into conventional, understanding of victimhood.” “For decades, Asian people in America tended to identify more with their own nationality and ethnicity than with a broad Asian American community. But, in the sixties and

March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021 • 5

Jesse T. Reyes

Filipino Potpourri

seventies, a more inclusive sense of Asian American identity grew out of a desire for political solidarity. This new identity assured a kind of cross-generational ethos, as younger people forged connections with older immigrants, helping them to navigate social services and to understand their rights. And it found clarity through collective struggles, as when, in 1977, in San Francisco, Asian American community organizers, aided by a multi-racial coalition of allies, came to the defense of a group of elderly Asians, mostly Filipino men, who were being evicted from their longtime homes in the I-Hotel. But the real turning point came in 1982, when two white men, one of whom had been laid off from his job as an auto worker, followed Vincent Chin, a young Chinese-American draftsman, from a Detroit bar to a nearby McDonalds’ and beat him to death. Witnesses said that the three had initially fought at the bar and that during the altercation the men had allegedly mistaken Chin for Japanese and blamed him for the American auto industry’s decline. The men later claimed that it was a fight that had gotten out of hand, and that they were not motivated by Chin’s race. They were given probation and fined. The lenient sentencing sparked a national campaign against antiAsian racism and inspired an Oscarnominated documentary, ‘Who’s

"It's difficult to describe anti-Asian racism when society lacks a coherent historical account of what it actually looks like."

killed Vincent Chin?’” “In contrast to racism against other groups, anti-Asian racism has rarely been gruesome and blatant as it was in the Chin killing. There have of course been other violent incidents, like the ‘Chinese massacre’ that occurred in Los Angeles, in 1871, or the Sikhtemple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012. But the history of Asian victimhood in America is varied and muddled. A presumption of foreignness might look exclusionary immigration policies of the nineteenth century to the internment of the Japanese during the Second World War, to paranoia around Asian American scientists, which resulted in the mistreatment of a TaiwaneseAmerican nuclear scientist named Wen Ho Lee, in the nineteen-nineties; and post 9/11 Islamophobia. Yet even the effects of the broad patterns of discrimination aren’t uniformly felt. And the needs and disadvantages of refugee communities and poor Asian Americans have been obscured as much by the myth of Asians as the ‘model minority’ as by the movements particularly among the professional class to resist the myth.” “The current moment underscores the in-between space that Asian Americans inhabit. It’s hard to prove bias as a hate crime, and it’s typically done by showing how a particular crime draws on recognizable histories of violence or neglect. This becomes difficult when people are mystified by the idea of anti-Asian racism. In Chin’s case, the culprits were white men who espoused racist ideas, which made it easier to recognize the assault as a hate crime and to organize the community around it.” “Some recent attacks also make legible the ways in which systemic injustices affect Asian Americans. In late December, police officers killed a Chinese-American named Christian Hall in Monroe County, Pennsylvania; soon after, a Filipino-American man named Angelo Quinto, died, after a police officer choked him by kneeling on his neck in Antioch, California. Both Hall and Quinto were suffering from mental-health episodes at the time. Officers claimed that Hall, who was standing on an overpass, pointed a gun in their direction. Quinto died as his family, who had called the See

JESSE REYES on 7

PUT MORE CZARS ON THE JOB My favorite anecdote about “improving operations efficiency” is that one about the kid who overheard his engineer father tell his assistants to “put more men on the job” in order to fast-track an infrastructure project. The kid, being an only child, also wanted his parents to give him a baby brother. When his father replied that it would take a while to do so, the kid suggested,”Why not put more men on the job?” While, I realize that the subject is no joking matter, the fact that the Philippines has lagged behind the other ASEAN nations in acquiring COVID-19 vaccines reminds me of that anecdote - because it appears that President Rodrigo Duterte’s solution to the problem is, in effect, to put more officials on the job. Duterte has appointed five “czars” to deal with the coronavirus crisis. No kidding! Last July 13, 2020 - over half a year ago - the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran this headline: “Palace names ‘PH anti-covid czars’”. The news item read: “MANILA, Philippines — Five months since the Philippines recorded its first coronavirus case, Malacañang on Monday introduced the country’s anti-coronavirus czars who would spearhead the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic." At that time, Duterte designated four senior officials to address specific aspects of the anti-pandemic effort: Public Works Secretary Mark Villar as “Chief Location Czar,” to take charge of “overseeing the country’s quarantine facilities;”

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong as “Chief Tracing Czar;” to handle contact tracing; Vince Dizon, president of the Bases Conversion Authority as ”Testing Czar;” and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega as “Treatment Czar.” Then, in November last year, Duterte added a fifth czar: retired Philippine Army General and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Carlito Galvez, as “Vaccine Czar,” apparently in anticipation of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Don’t be surprised if Duterte adds a sixth Czar - an Inoculation Implementation Czar - to guarantee the efficient conduct of the vaccination process. You see, this January, Manila City Mayor Isko Domagoso organized what the media described as a “mock inoculation” exercise, with the mayor - who prefers to be called Yorme simulating a vaccination. It was a dress rehearsal of sorts, in preparation for the arrival of the first shipment of the vaccine. President Duterte will probably want to carry the title of Czar-inChief, unless he decides to give his presidential wannabe daughter, Sara Duterte, the title of Czarina (no truth to the rumor that the title could be conferred on presidential spokesman Harry Roque). Using he title of “czar” is one way of giving due importance to the various “critical aspects” of solving the coronavirus crisis (not to mention the need to rationalize the extra emoluments, as well as the new

budgets for personnel, office quarters, equipment and official vehicles). But why use the title, “Czar”? Why not a Chinese title like Kabisi, since the Duterte government reportedly prefers to acquire the Chinese-made vaccine, Sinovac? Does this suggest a secret Russian leaning on the part of the president? (Didn’t we always wonder why Duterte’s language has been loaded with such expressions as Putin-Ina?) At any rate, with their functions delineated and their titles properly conferred, one would expect the czars to get to work and deliver results. Wellll….they have - in a way. After all, it’s hard work batting out press releases on their important appointments. Besides, there are important preliminary steps to be taken. We can only guess what these are (accuracy not guaranteed). First of all, there is the allimportant oath taking ceremony to be officiated by the president himself, and then a solemn induction of all key personnel and staffers - the undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and the secretaries of the assistant secretaries, as well as the department supervisors, section heads, and the confidential assistants of each of the czars. With that done, the Pandemic Czars would be ready to get some serious work done. Right? That’s exactly what the czars may be expected to do. But first, to ensure optimal coordination and to avoid duplication of key areas of accountability and responsibility, the

czars must first hold a Coordination and Integration Summit (in the Philippines, a meeting of important high-ranking officials is always called a “Summit”). But prior to the summit, the czars and their retinue need to go on an Overseas Observacation and Tourientation Trip to critical coronavirus areas, like New York, Los Angeles, London, Brazil and South Africa. This is in order to learn “Best Practices” in combating the pandemic. Thus, when the czars stage the Summit, each one will be armed with a Comprehensive COVID-19 Battle Plan. Naturally, each czar has to hire foreign consultants and experts to help formulate the strategies. Needless to say, the individual strategy documents have to be presented to the president - but only after seeking the imprimatur of the Secretary of Health who, in turn, must get the approval of the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, with the endorsement of the House Committee on COVID-19 and its equivalent in the Senate - of course, after thorough study and analysis by the respective Sub-Committees on Testing, Isolation, Contact Tracing, Treatment and Vaccine Procurement (assuming only five czars, but then, there is the possibility of an Inoculation Implementation Czar, remember?). I guess these critical preparatory steps must be taken to ensure the effective and efficient execution of the anti-pandemic campaign - and understandably, these steps take

Greg B. Macabenta

Street Talk

time, which explains why up to now the Philippines has not brought in the vaccines. But better to be safe than sorry, di ba? What we cannot understand is why the Presidential Security Command couldn’t wait a year or two for the entire process to be consummated. We understand that the PSG went ahead and smuggled its own supply of vaccines from China. Last we heard, smuggling is illegal. but that doesn’t bother Duterte because of the need to protect the president. Indeed, it would have been more dangerous for the president’s security force to be the main reason for his health insecurity. Duterte's special envoy to China, columnist Ramon Tulfo, recently admitted having been inoculated with a smuggled vaccine which he got from an unspecified source. But he himself had not participated in the smuggling. In fact, Tulfo wants to bring in the vaccines legally by becoming a Philippine distributor. He sees no conflict of interest in this. After all, as the late Senate President Jose Avelino aptly put it, "What are we in power for?" In this regard, there are VIP Vaccinations for powerful and influential folks who are more entitled

to survive the virus than the average Pinoy. Thus, Mang Juan, Aleng Maria, Karyas and Kikay have to wait for the vaccines to become available for them in a year or two - that is, if they have the money to pay for the antidotes. There are other issues swirling around the Philippines’ determined effort to fight, conquer, eliminate and irrevocably vanquish the virus. Too many to cover in one column. Hopefully, COVID-19 will eventually be overcome. But there is a virus that may continue to gnaw at the guts of the poor people of the Philippines. Last February 25, the country observed the elimination of one such virus - but the virus has mutated in many ways. It may take more than five, six or even a dozen czars to eliminate that virus. In fact, before that happens, the Filipino people may develop “herd immunity” - which is another way of saying, “If you can’t beat the virus, then be a virus yourself!” Email Greg Macabenta at gregmacabenta@hotmail.com


6 • March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021

Filipino Press

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CALIFORNIA

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The data-driven allocation o criteria will continue to evolve to reach equity targets, and will be adjusted to reflect newly-eligible populations. • Wave 1 and Wave 2 counties continue onboarding. (See counties included in each wave below.) • In partnership with the counties, continue targeted equity strategies in place, such as farmworker mobile and pop-up sites, opening clinics in lowest quartile HPI tracts, etc. On March 7: • Wave 2 and Wave 3 Counties Continue Onboarding On March 31 • Blue Shield will take full management responsibility for the statewide vaccine network and continue providing vaccine allocation recommendations to the state to assist in its allocation decisions. Wave 1:

VACCINATION

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the apprehensions of some health care workers on the Chinese vaccine because of the recommendations of the Food and Drug Association (FDA), she encouraged them to read on the studies and published data on CoronaVac. She, however, noted that vaccination is voluntary and that health workers will not be forced to be inoculated. “Pag sinabi nilang ‘no’ and they are willing to wait, ginagalang naman iyon (But if they said ‘no and they are willing to wait, then we respect that),” she said. She also urged the barangay health workers to grab the opportunity to be vaccinated once vaccines are available since they do not have direct contact with Covid-19 patients. ‘Influencers’ inoculation possible in next batch of vaccines It is still possible for “influencers” to be given priority in receiving coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) jabs when the next batch of vaccine doses is delivered to the country, Malacañang said on Wednesday. In an interview with Radio Mindanao Network, Roque said the proposal to inoculate around 50

• Fresno • Imperial • Kern • Kings • Madera • Merced • Riverside • San Joaquin • Stanislaus • Tulare Wave 2: • Amador • Butte • Calaveras • Colusa • El Dorado • Glenn • Inyo • Lake • Lassen • Los Angeles • Monterey • Nevada • Orange • Placer • Sacramento • San Benito • San Bernardino • San Diego • San Luis Obispo

influencers ahead of other Filipinos was rejected since the Philippines only has a limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines. “Siguro kasi 600,000 pa lang ang dumarating eh hindi pa po pinayagan. Pero tingnan po natin. Baka naman kapag dumating na ang mas maraming supply, baka matuloy pa rin po ‘yung ating proposal (Perhaps, it was not allowed because we only have 600,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine. But let’s see. Our proposal might be approved, once we receive more supply),” Roque said. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier proposed to reserve vaccine shots for influencers to boost public confidence in vaccines. The influencers, Roque said on Tuesday, included him and other government officials, media personalities, and movie personalities. However, the interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) rejected the proposal, saying the vaccines must be given to frontline healthcare workers. The iNITAG only approved the priority vaccination of Covid-19 vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Covid-19 testing czar Vivencio Dizon, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Banjamin Abalos Jr.

Shasta • • Sierra • Solano • Sonoma • Sutter • Tehama • Trinity • Tuolumne • Ventura Wave 3: • Alameda • Alpine • Contra Costa • Del Norte • Humboldt • Marin • Mariposa • Mendocino • Modoc • Mono • Napa • Plumas • San Francisco • San Mateo • Santa Barbara • Santa Clara • Santa Cruz • Siskiyou • Yolo • Yuba

Galvez, Dizon, and Abalos were all vaccinated on Monday, the first day of the government’s free immunization drive. It was President Rodrigo Duterte who ordered Galvez and Dizon to receive the vaccine shots, while Abalos represented all Manila mayors. Roque said the IATF-EID has yet to identify the influencers who will be included in the government’s Covid-19 vaccination priority list. “Hindi pa naman alam kung [sinu]-sino iyon. Para lang ‘yung mga personalidad na sa tingin namin kapag nabakunahan ay makakatulong sa pagtaas ng kumpiyansa ‘no (We have yet to identify the other influencers. They may be those personalities who we think can help boost public confidence in vaccines),” he said. The Philippines kicked off its mass Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday, a day after receiving Chinadonated 600,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm, Sinovac Biotech. The first day of the government’s national Covid-19 vaccination program turned out to be “very successful,” Roque said on Tuesday. The Philippines is set to receive around 487,200 Covid-19 vaccines from United Kingdom's AstraZeneca on Thursday night. (MNS)

JESSE REYES

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police out of concern, looked on. Campaigns fighting for the officers to be held accountable fluidly align with the movement for Black Lives and the criticism of the criminal justice system’s overreach and potential for brutality.” “The videos circulating now are more difficult to parse. In the case of the ninety-one-years-old who was injured in Oakland, the culprit was a man with what a judge called ‘significant mental-health issues’ who seemed to target people indiscriminately. Local community leaders in the Bay Area warned against drawing overly simplistic conclusions for these incidents. ‘The crimes and violent situations that happen in Chinatown has been happening for a while,’ Alvina Wong, a director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, explained to the Oaklandside. The attacks captured in video were one of more than twenty tallied by the president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in a two-week span. We might instead read these videos as part of a larger set of stories. The gutting of local reporting and newspapers has made it harder for communities to stay informed about city politics and the conditions driving local crime. Economic policies that once extracted resources from cities have now caused them to gentrify and crowd out the poor, making enemies of neighboring communities. Mayors and politicians who don’t fear at all losing the support of their Asian constituency rarely feel the need to proactively work on their behalf. Meanwhile, a tattered social safety net does little to help those struggling with mental health.” “Some have wondered if the horrific, viral videos constitute a wave, or if they were just random incidents. When your concerns have gone unrecognized for decades, it’s understandable why some within the Asian-American community remains so invested in using these highly visible moments as an opportunity to call attention to hate, even if the incidents seem more varied than that. The wave in question isn’t just two or three incidents. It’s a broader history that stretches past Trump and the pandemic. It’s easy for these incidents to fade from memory.” While digging through old articles, New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu realized that one of the first reported pieces he’d written, in 2020, was about anti-Asian violence on college campuses. He writes, “The same month as the Kao’s killing, in 1997,

a group of mostly Asian students were beaten up in the parking lot of a Denny’s in Syracuse, after complaining that the staff seemed to be seating white customers first. The staff allegedly didn’t intervene as a group of white patrons went outside and assaulted them, shouting racial slurs. A police officer who arrived on the scene reportedly said that it appeared to be nothing more than a parking lot fight. The local D.A. declined to press charges. There were similar incidents at other colleges, and Asian-American advocacy groups questioned whether they were hate crimes. A few years prior in the early nineties, Yoshi Hattori, a Japanese exchange student in Baton Rouge had showed up at the wrong door for a Halloween party. The owner deemed him threatening – Hattori was dressed in a white suit, inspired by John Travolta in ‘Saturday Night Fever’ – and shot him dead. Hattori’s shooter, Rodney Peairs, expressed remorse but was eventually acquitted, thanks to Louisiana’s laws around selfdefense in cases of trespass. Peairs’ lawyers claimed that he and his wife felt threatened by Hattori’s ‘kinetic,’ ‘antsy,’ and ‘scary’ way of moving. Hattori’s father surmised that his son was having trouble seeing anything on account of a lost contact lens: His English wasn’t strong, so Hattori may not have understood what Peairs was saying to him. He probably had no idea what was going on or why this was happening, as he died.” As Hua Hsu concluded “these moments didn’t coalesce into a movement. The assailants often got the benefit of the doubt and were left off Scot-free. They have since been forgotten. Understandably this history won’t bring back Ratanapakdee, Hall, or Quinto. A plea for context won’t defuse tempers between strangers in the street. But nothing is random, even if the logic of American life tries to persuade us otherwise. These histories may help us see a pattern that, eventually, others might see, too.” As record shows, Asian American communities stand to gain more working within communities and across the lines of race, rather than trying to appeal to those in power. I say amen to that! And as my esteemed history professor/colleague from the community college we both worked eloquently explained: “What a tragedy, indeed, so many levels for the families of all whose lives were impacted by these hate crimes. We have to hope that, with the heightened scrutiny of police accountability which has intensified of late, following the murder of George

Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the demands that officials address the wave violence now flaring up against Asian Americans, more sustained attention will be devoted to how this society addresses crime and the ways that police function within communities. We have to encourage people within communities to be vigilant in looking out for one another and in practicing mutual assistance. The statistical likelihood of being a victim to such a terrible crime is very low. But the impact is terrifying and people need and deserve to live their lives without being in constant fear. That said the betterment of society will occur when people support their communities and insist that public officials and police serve all people effectively. I hope your granddaughter is enjoying her time in college but that she also is street savvy. Historically, U.S. society seems to revere violence. The present obsession of so many people with guns stands as irrefutable evidence. All we can do is to conduct ourselves wisely and try to keep out of harm’s way.” In solidarity, my workplace teachers’ team union leader had this to offer in advice: “If we want to dismantle systems of racism, we must do the work today and beyond. There are many antiracism resources available as books, articles, podcasts and other forms of media. Listen to what people of color are saying about their experiences and needs. Learning and talking about race can be uncomfortable but discomfort is necessary for change.” For my two cents, I say the “Model Minority Myth” by which AAPI persons are deemed self-sufficient and as such requiring neither assistance nor attention, and the resultant widespread gas lighting of anti-AAPI racism – ranging from incidents to violent hate crimes occurring nationally is a real threat at all places in America. Each one of us has the right to live and work in a safe environment free of racism, discrimination, intolerance and violence! My fellow “kababayans”, let us all encourage advocacy and collaborative efforts to protect AAPI residents and victims of discrimination and to curb hate acts related to COVID-19 for other groups, including, but not limited to, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Muslim, Jewish and LGBTQlA+ communities, and people with accessibility needs. I say when we put our heads together; we can all work toward many accomplishments that contribute to the general good of our society. Let’s all denounce anti-AAPI racism! Mabuhay!!


8 • March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021

Filipino Press

Spiritual Life Women: A pivotal force for change The California Women Society for Democracy in Iran invited me to be one of their speakers in a virtual forum to commemorate International Women’s Day. I am humbled by the honor given to me to share my own experiences and insights on “Women: A Pivotal Force for Change”. I grew up in a home where men supported the aspirations of their women for higher education, for healthy family life, and for worthy community service. I also grew up in a community where women’s contribution to society are valued and respected. With these influences, I consider myself as an agent of change if not a pivotal force for change in my own home, in my community, and in society as a whole. Being a woman puts you in an enviable position to raise children and to influence them to do good, to be fair and to respect the rights of others. But you cannot do this alone. As a poet once said, “As unto the bow the chord is so unto the man is woman; though she bends him, she obeys him, though she draws him, yet she follows, useless each without the other.” As one of the pioneers of public health education in the Philippines, I worked with a team of women to change the knowledge, attitude, and skills of people towards better health. I was a community organizer at a time when community organizing was not yet a popular term as a process in community development. I made the community aware of what actions to take in order to promote health, prevent disease, and prolong life. Together with other women, we served as a pivotal force in motivating people to assume responsibility for their own health, to strengthen relationship with others, and to improve the quality of life in

Aurora S. Cudal-Rivera

My Personal Testimony

the community where we live. When I came to the United States, my desire to make a difference in the lives of others, especially within my own Filipino American community, became more intense considering the challenges of cultural and social adjustment one has to make in a new environment. Women are strong and resilient. They can sacrifice their own lives for the good of their country and people. I can cite many women leaders in the world who served as a vital force in the fight for freedom and democracy, in upholding the rights of women, maintaining that human rights are women’s rights. The Philippines is very fortunate to have strong women leaders who changed the course of history through their leadership as Presidents of the Philippines, President Corazon Aquino and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I have utmost respect for these women who served as our role models in the arena of politics, social justice, economic development and leadership development. I saw all these as I interacted with women, not only from my own country but from other countries as well, when I served as a UNESCO consultant in Southeast Asia (197883) and then as World Secretary of

the World Federation of Methodist Women (1991-1996). I could cite so many women whether in leadership positions or as farmers, teachers, housewives or caregivers, who in their own right are pivotal forces for change. But there is one woman I could never forget: Maryam Rajavi. Thanks to the generosity of my Iranian friends, I was able to attend the Global Conference on Freedom and Democracy held in Paris, France (2008) where I heard the forceful voice of a gentle lady, encouraging the thousands of people listening to her to continue fighting for freedom, justice and democracy. I can still feel her soft and firm hand as she shook my hands to thank me for my support of Iran’s aspiration to be free from tyranny and injustice. It was my pride and honor to have met Maryam Rajavi up close and personal. I was able to appreciate the beauty of her soul and the strength of her character as she uses her talent and position to change the world. Like her, we can be a pivotal force for change anywhere at any time, but let us be reminded of the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Volunteer for God And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:14) January is a time for new beginnings, a time of creating new resolutions for the betterment of yourself. I make yearly resolutions, and normally they're things to keep me from being idle, but not necessarily spiritually focused. So this year, I created a certain goal that was Biblically-oriented: volunteer. You see, God commands us to serve others. It's not an option. I had been neglecting that commandment, putting it off and saying, "I'll do it later." Many of us forget that not only do we owe God our money, but we also owe Him our time. Volunteering is just one of the ways we can serve God, and it's one of the many neglected service opportunities. I have observed the issue of neglecting service first-hand. The majority of people who send in volunteer applications are people who say they have "too much time" on their hands, normally middle-aged women and retirees who are bored.

Danny Hernaez

From Whom All Blessings Flow Unfortunately, those aren't good reasons to volunteer. We shouldn't be volunteering just because we're bored, rather because God calls us to it. God wants all of us to serve in some capacity, no matter how busy we are, whether we work fulltime, or whether or not we are moms with little children. We all owe it to Him, whether we volunteer with an organization or give of our time outside of an organization. We all should be serving in some capacity. Maybe you're like me, and have put it off too many times. Or maybe you think you don't have time. But remember, Christ saved you from your sins, gave His life up for you, and in doing so, chose to serve others and not Himself. You owe it to Him. Lord Jesus Christ, how we

thank you for your willingness to give up so much to become human. Thank you for your choice to become poor so that we might be rich in you. You know, Lord, how easy it is for me to receive your blessings, but then hold onto them. Help me to be a person who imitates your act of generous giving. As I have received financial blessings from you, may I share them freely with others. As I have been gifted by your Spirit, may I serve people in your church and in the world. As I have received the outpouring of your love, may I love others in my life: at work, at home, at church, and wherever I might be. Help me this very day, Lord, to be rich in you by giving away your blessings to others. Amen. <(((><

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March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021 • 9

After the death of a Filipino man killed by police kneeling on this neck, the silence of anti-racists is deafening By Joe Raiola

When I saw the CNN headline of February 24, “Man dies after police kneel on his neck for nearly five minutes, family says in wrongful death suit,” I knew immediately that the man was not Black. If the man was Black, the CNN headline would have said so. If the man was Black, the story would have likely been the website’s headline. If the man were Black, hosts on MSNBC would already be talking about him. But none of that was happening. The man’s name was Angelo Quinto. Was he White? Hispanic? Should that even matter? I read the CNN story and to my surprise, Quinto’s race was not noted, no doubt because it could not yet be verified. After all, pretty much everything these days is seen through the prism of race, or if not race then gender, or sexual orientation, or some combination of the three. The very notion of color-blindness as championed by Martin Luther King is now widely regarded by the most prominent anti-racists as naïve and/or unattainable. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character…” said King. However, we currently find ourselves in a social climate in which we are continually being told that the color of one’s skin is of primary importance in all aspects of life. Some questions: Is the merit of this essay in any way contingent on my race? What is the relationship between my skin color and the soundness of my arguments? Would knowing my race make you more or less likely to agree with my point of view? To get back to Angelo Quinto: The details of his death are disturbingly familiar. He died after a police officer (or officers) knelt on his neck for nearly five minutes. According to Quinto’s mother, who began shooting video after her son lost consciousness, he pleaded with the officers, “Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.” Quinto, a Navy vet, had reportedly been exhibiting signs of anxiety, depression and paranoia.

On December 23, he suffered an especially acute episode which frightened his sister, Isabella. Out of concern for herself and her mother, she called the police. What happened next is unclear. Isabella told Mother Jones that when officers from the Antioch police force arrived they found Quinto and his mother on the floor. She had him in a bear hug, “as much to comfort him as to restrain him,” according to Isabella. She accuses the officers of pulling Quinto from his mother and taking turns kneeling on his neck. Quinto died on December 26. Two months later we still do not know if the officers were wearing body cameras or had them turned on. While authorities have yet to announce an official cause of death, he obviously died in the same grisly manner as George Floyd. Nevertheless, there have been no protest marches inspired by the death of Angelo Quinto. There are no public memorials for him. There are no activists raising their fists and shouting, “Say his name.” Black Lives Matter has said not a word about Quinto, who was a FilipinoAmerican. The death of an unarmed man who was not Black caused by police kneeling on his neck does not qualify for a mention on the Black Lives Matter website or in its Twitter feed. Arguably, I am holding Black Lives Matter to too high a standard. After all, the National Organization for Women does not issue press releases about the plight of men, nor does the Jewish Defense League call out discrimination against Scientologists. Everyone is looking out for themselves, which is just human nature. That said, given Black Lives Matter’s overwhelming reaction to the death of George Floyd, one would think that the Quinto incident would have inspired a meaningful response, or at least an empathetic acknowledgement. But since it hasn’t, I am asking: Why not? I fear the answer is that the Black Lives Matter movement is suffering from an acute case of tunnel vision by framing the killings of unarmed Blacks by police solely through the prism of race. Here are the facts: About half of the unarmed people killed by

police officers in the past year or so were White, while Whites comprise about 60% of the population. About 35% of the unarmed people killed by police officers in the past year were Black, while Blacks comprise about 14% of the population. But that itself does not constitute proof of racially motivated killing by cops. Writer and podcaster Coleman Hughes is among the prominent Black voices pushing back against the ultra-woke anti-racist worldview. He notes that almost all of those unarmed killed by police in the past year were men, while men comprise about 50% of the population. Does that prove that cops have an antimale bias? To reach a clearer and deeper understanding, Hughes writes, “You must do what all good social scientists do: control for confounding variables to isolate the effect that one variable has upon another (in this case, the effect of a suspect’s race on a cop’s decision to pull the trigger). At least four careful studies have done this… and none of these studies has found a racial bias in deadly shootings. Of course, that hardly settles the issue for all time; as always, more research is needed. But given the studies already done, it seems unlikely that future work will uncover anything close to the amount of racial bias that BLM protesters in America and around the world believe exists.” Whether you agree with Hughes’ assessment or not, the fact is that it has been nearly universally accepted that racial bias was a motivating factor, if not the dominant factor, in the killing of Floyd. But there is no conclusive proof of that, any more than there is conclusive proof that racial bias was a motivating factor in Quinto’s death. Simply put, we don’t know. The common theme in both cases is bad policing that should concern us all. But the next George Floyd turning out to be Asian does not further Black Lives Matter’s preferred narrative. Ironically, according to the antiracist paradigm that so many Black Lives Matter supporters embrace, the movement’s silence on Quinto could arguably be cited as evidence of unconscious racism toward Asian Americans. That is if you buy into the

binary anti-racist worldview which claims there is no such thing as a non-racist and that anyone who isn’t actively anti-racist is a racist, or at the very least harbors racist views. For the record, I do not believe that Black Lives Matter is anti-Asian American any more than I believe that all Whites harbor anti-Black resentment. What I do believe is that Angelo’s Quinto’s life was every bit as precious as George Floyd’s life and his death was every bit as tragic. Sadly, one would never know that from the media coverage or collective response. And so, it must be said: Asian lives matter. Of course, we all have a perspective colored by race and more. All of us, to one degree or another, suffer from tunnel vision. That being the case, the undeniable truth is this: We share a common humanity and are all in this mess together. Joe Raiola is a satirist and was an Editor at MAD Magazine for 33 years, through the end of 2017.

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The 2022 Presidential Campaign Season has begun, Part 2

The Philippine Supreme Court as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) finally junked former Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ election protests thus affirming that Vice President Leni Robredo as the official winner of the 2016 Vice Presidential election. The ruling belied her assertion back in 2016 when she resigned her Housing Secretary portfolio that the Duterte administration was out to steal her elected office. The Supreme Court is now populated by Duterte appointees but the ruling showed their independence. The Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of VP Robredo is finally removed thus solidifying her hold as the opposition’s preeminent candidate for the 2022 presidential election. Despite the opposition floating several names as potential nominees, Robredo will be the Liberal Party nomination being its titular head. The others are vying to be her running mate. Thus, the primordial question that will bedevil Robredo is her winnability factor or lack of. If we have to follow informal polling results, Robredo will have a hard time defeating President Rodrigo Duterte’s anointed bet. Her lack of winnability for this particular race is based on several factors: her human rights advocacy that shaped her political career, lack of boldness and strategic thinking, lacks executive experience and competence for the top job, and her closeness to the Catholic Church will be her albatross. Robredo’s resume is rich on human rights advocacy. Her early career as a human rights lawyer clearly shaped

her brand of politics. Consequently, she became closely associated with the colors yellow and red. The yellow brand stems from her alliance with the former president, Benigno Aquino, Jr. who inherited such a legacy from her mother, former president Cory Aquino. Her work in human rights naturally tagged her the color red and painted her to a corner with leftist groups and the armed struggle of the New People’s Army. Both colors are currently not en vogue in Philippine politics. Early in the Duterte administration, Robredo was appointed as Housing Secretary. In only five months, she resigned her post for some flimsy reasons among which was her suspicion that the administration was trying to steal the Vice Presidency, the Housing Department’s slashed 2017 budget, her recommended appointments for shelter agencies have not been acted on, and the Executive Order meant to make the department more effective were not signed. The reasons were flimsy because by the time she tendered her resignation letter, Duterte was already on record that he would allow the burial of the late dictator to the Heroes Cemetery. This alone gave rise to two things: Duterte is siding with the Marcoses and therefore by extension, will remove her from office and install Bongbong Marcos through the electoral protest. We now know that it was not true. The Supreme Court just affirmed her win. The Marcos burial did happen as Duterte pledged. Robredo’s

vehemence in this issue really reflected that of the former president who could have forced the issue to have Marcos buried in Batac, Ilocos Norte but didn’t. So, it was a sore subject. Robredo owed her election to Aquino’s rich supporters who bankrolled her candidacy. On the budget issue, the F/Y-17 budget was not even signed at the time of her resignation and for heaven’s sake, the administration was merely six months old. Her expectations were clearly unrealistic as the signed 2017 budget made clear that Duterte’s pro-poor priorities were agriculture, education, and peace and order. But her dogged insistence made it clear that she was not going to be a team player, and for good reasons. The last priority was really what got her attention because it meant money for Duterte’s drug war. Robredo made it plain enough that since she assumed office, she consistently opposed extrajudicial killings, reinstating death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women. Her resignation freed her to criticize Duterte’s drug war including lobbying the international community to her advocacy. Robredo missed the bigger picture of the bloody drug war in her tunnelvision extolling human rights. Nothing really wrong with such advocacy but it showed her inexperience and lack of depth. Robredo had a bully pulpit as a member of Congress when Aquino was president but she never used it to criticize graft and corruption in the Aquino administration and more importantly, the widespread drug problem in the country. Both of which disparately impact the poor. Duterte’s drug war was an honest effort, brutally albeit, to save future generations of young people hooked on drugs and the Philippine democracy already contaminated by narcopolitics. Perhaps the biggest indictment of Robredo’s silence was the fact that ten municipalities in her own home province of Camarines Sur including the City of Naga were drug

infested according to a PDEA report. There is a rumor in Bicol now that Robredo will not run for the presidency and gun instead, for the governorship against the Villafuertes. This is probably a ruse despite her campaign showing a video of Robredo finally visiting the far-flung municipality of Siruma because the other opposition presidentiables really does not have the kind of name recognition and popularity that she enjoys. Frankly, this rumor really cheapens her standing and betrays her preparedness for the highest office. During the pandemic and calamities, Robredo became a frontliner by virtue of her ubiquitous projects doling out bags of goodies while trying to outdo the government’s efforts including undercutting local government units. Her supporters clearly marvel at her simplistic

programs like “Lugaw ni Leni” but these are supporters who will already vote for her. The early polling is showing her at the tail end which means that her projects were ineffective, and that she has not done a good job attracting and peeling away Duterte’s supporters. She could have been more effective and strategic by working with legislators to advance liberal policies that will have long term benefits to the poor she was trying to serve, than giving instant relief such as sardines and ramen. Some opposition senators were more practical and effective. Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a staunch Duterte critic, led the pack by setting aside political differences and sought mutual advocacies. Duterte signed several Hontiveros’ bills including expanded maternity leave, addressing

sexual harassment, and the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act. Perhaps the biggest Duterte accomplishment was the signing of the Universal Healthcare Act that an opposition senator championed, former Sen. JV Ejercito. Despite being in detention, Sen. Leila de Lima authored the Magna Carta for the Poor that was signed into law by Duterte. Likewise, Sen. Sonny Angara authored multiple bills that Duterte signed. Sen. Ralph Recto and Sen. Bam Aquino found a way for Duterte to agree with the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, while Sen. Joel Villanueva’s “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act” rounds bipartisan efforts that shows Duterte is able to work with the opposition if they are willing to engage Duterte constructively. (To be continued…)

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Columnists AURORA S. CUDAL DANNy hERNAEz FRANCINE MAIGUE GREG b. MACAbENTA JESSE T. REyES AL vILLAMORA Photographer zENy pLy Circulation ELy hERNANDEz

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Continued from p­­­­­age 1

FRANCINE MAIGUE

Continued from p­­­­­age 2

open 7 days a week--Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10am5pm, and is by appointment only. At this time, people in Phase 1A (Tiers 1-3) & Phase 1B are eligible to receive the vaccine. This includes healthcare workers, long-term residents in care facilities, those who are aged 65+, food & agriculture workers (I.E. food manufacture and distribution employees), employees in education and childcare, and employees in emergency services. Appointments can be made at: vaccinationsuperstationsd. com. Myron wants to particularly emphasize that our community members in the restaurant industry (as our Filipino community has many such family-owned small businesses) are, in fact, eligible. If employee badges and employer affidavits are not available, when signing in with their photo ID at the Super Station, these food workers may provide a letter from their employer, on the restaurant’s letterhead, stating that the employee (full name) performs certain roles within the business that qualifies them (e.g., “Francine Maigue is a cook for our restaurant.”) The letterhead should include full business contact info (address and phone number) and a business website, if possible. To be clear, the vaccination site must check to be sure that one qualifies for vaccine status (Phase & Tier) and that they live or work in the County. The site will never ask for nor report, however, one’s immigration status. And for those thinking that extra doses may be available at the end of each day and that it’s a good idea to camp out at the site, Myron says, “Sorry, there is a next to zero chance of getting extra doses at the end of the night.” For those who are interested in volunteering as a clinical vaccinator (such as retired healthcare workers), Myron shares that those with expired licenses, but have been in good standing within last 5 years, qualify to help out. Folks can register to volunteer at sharp.com/sharplendsahand. Myron says that he and his team are fulfilled knowing that, “At the close of each day, 4,000 people are that much

safer thanks to the collective actions of our community. It’s our time to step up. And it’s more than our honor and privilege to provide this for the South Bay.” Maraming salamat, Myron Soyangco, and the entire team of SHARP’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station. #KayaNatinTo Exclusively here in The Filipino Press--Follow Francine Maigue’s adventures as she represents our region with grace and honor as one of the "100 Most Influential Filipinas in the World" and the "Global Face of Pinay Power," as named by the Filipina Women's Network. Francine is the FilipinoAmerican History Achievement Award Winner in Humanitarianism, Arts, and Community Service and an Outstanding Filipino American Young

Leaders Awardee as selected by His Excellency Ambassador Cuisia and the Philippine Consuls. Originally from Cavite City, Philippines and raised in Chula Vista, Francine Maigue received her master’s degree from Harvard University and bachelor’s degree from UCLA. Francine is the District Director for California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. She is the Immediate Past President of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of San Diego County, Board Member for the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Foundation and Los Chabacanos of Cavite City, and is a former Miss Philippines of San Diego. Got an organization, business, or event Francine should know about? Email: thepamperedpinay@yahoo.com.

some 600,000 doses of Covid-vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The Philippines kicked off its mass vaccination program on Monday, a day after Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccines arrived in the country. Duterte said the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines would further boost the Philippine government’s ongoing national vaccination program. “I also assure the Filipino people that their government will continue working to ensure the immediate distribution of the available vaccines to the communities,” he said. Continue following health protocols Duterte maintained that public acceptance of vaccines would help the country recover from the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Duterte reminded Filipinos that they still need to observe the health protocols imposed by the government. “Let us continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols while waiting for more Covid-19 vaccines to reach the Philippines. We may not be out of the woods yet but we are making progress and the end is in sight, and with your cooperation, we will overcome this pandemic and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” he said. Duterte reiterated that no one is safe until everyone cooperates to ensure the successful fight against Covid-19. “As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good. the need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than this pandemic because no one is safe globally until everyone is safe,” he said. Get inoculated with Covid-19 vax, PRRD prods Pinoys President Rodrigo Duterte on

www.thefilipinopress.com Thursday encouraged his fellow Filipinos to get inoculated with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, reassuring them that these are “safe” and will play a key role in reopening the Philippine economy. Duterte made the call following the arrival of 487,200 doses of Covid-19 vaccines developed by the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca in the Philippines. During the turnover rites of AstraZeneca vaccines at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Duterte said Covid-19 jabs should be administered to Filipinos the “soonest time possible.” “I would like to appeal to all our kababayans (countrymen), please get vaccinated against Covid-19 and be the [government’s] partner in preventing further spread of the disease. I encourage you to get vaccinated as a soonest possible time. These vaccines are safe and they are the key to reopening our society,” he said. The Philippines is expected to receive around 44 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, a global initiative that guarantees access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide. The 487,200 vials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine delivered to the Philippines on Thursday were developed in South Korea and donated by Germany, the European Union, Norway, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, and Greece. The distribution of Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca will commence after repackaging. Boosting vaccination drive Duterte was elated that the Philippines was able to receive AstraZeneva vaccines through COVAX facility. “Let me thank you, to our key partners in the entire international community represented by their

ambassadors tonight. Their cooperation in public health is very much needed. Positive engagement is very much welcome,” he said. Prior to the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines, the country also received on Sunday some 600,000 doses of Covid-vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The Philippines kicked off its mass vaccination program on Monday, a day after Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccines arrived in the country. Duterte said the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines would further boost the Philippine government’s ongoing national vaccination program. “I also assure the Filipino people that their government will continue working to ensure the immediate distribution of the available vaccines to the communities,” he said. Continue following health protocols Duterte maintained that public acceptance of vaccines would help the country recover from the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Duterte reminded Filipinos that they still need to observe the health protocols imposed by the government. “Let us continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols while waiting for more Covid-19 vaccines to reach the Philippines. We may not be out of the woods yet but we are making progress and the end is in sight, and with your cooperation, we will overcome this pandemic and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” he said. Duterte reiterated that no one is safe until everyone cooperates to ensure the successful fight against Covid-19. “As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good. the need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than this pandemic because no one is safe globally until everyone is safe,” he said. (MNS)


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Raya and the Last Dragon Finds Inspiration in the Cultures & People of Southeast Asia

DMV Online Services Q&A

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the California DMV is increasing the number of transactions that can be completed without a visit a field office. The DMV has several All-new Film Releases Simultaneously in Select Theaters and on Disney+ with to methods to serve customers, including Premier Access on March 5, 2021 online self-service options, through used her expertise in textiles to inform DMV Now kiosks, or via a DMV the design and colors of the characters’ business partner so that customers can clothing, like the sabai top and sampot “visit” the DMV by other means. The pant, found in Laos, Cambodia, following questions cover some of and Thailand. Dr. Juliana Wijaya, a the most convenient ways to access linguist at UCLA’s Indonesian Studies DMV services and complete essential Program, helped craft the characters’ transactions without stepping foot in a names to have special meaning inspired field office. by different Southeast Asian languages. Q1: I have to complete some Laos Angeles, an organization serving DMV business in the near future, but I the Laotian community in Southern want to avoid an in-person DMV visit. California, hosted a Baci ceremony to What are my options? bless the production. A: The health and safety of all The attention to detail pays off in customers and Californians is a top the rich portrayal of Kumandra. “You priority for the DMV. While a few can see the inspiration in the terrain, the select services need to be completed in shapes in the movie, the fabrics people a field office, most DMV transactions are wearing, and the colors used,” said can be completed online. The DMV is Vietnamese American actress Kelly urging customers to use their expanded Marie Tran who voices Raya. “Disney online services or DMV Now kiosks is very meticulous about wanting to to complete most transactions accurately represent the parts of the including eligible driver’s license and world their movies are about.” vehicle registration renewals, change In the film, characters sharing of address, replacement sticker or food together symbolizes trust and registration card, notice of transfer harmony. The scenes of Raya and her and release of liability, duplicate friends sitting around a table to enjoy driver’s license and vehicle license fee meals together commemorates the way refund requests, among many others. food is shared family-style in much Nearly all California drivers are of the region. In many Asian cuisines, now eligible to renew their license there are five disparate flavors– spicy, online or by mail – even if their sour, sweet, salty, and bitter– that come renewal notice states that an office together to create delicious meals. visit is required. Use the DMV’s Communal meals also advance the Service Advisor tool at dmv.ca.gov/ characters’ journey towards becoming online to learn what options are a team and the sense that if they trust available for you depending on your each other and work together, they can needed service. achieve anything. Customers who must come into LOS ANGELES, CA -- Walt sought to ensure that the portrayals of Southeast Asian martial arts are a DMV office for services in person Disney Animation Studios’ new the cultures that inspire the film are front and center in “Raya and the Last during the COVID-19 pandemic animated film “Raya and the Last accurate and respectful. The creative Dragon.” As a warrior princess and will find increased health screening Dragon” is an exciting, epic journey team visited multiple countries in the daughter of the chief of Heart, Raya's and safety protocols. To best serve about the fantasy world of Kumandra, region, including Laos, Indonesia, fighting styles are inspired by Pencak customers and maintain appropriate Thailand, Vietnam, Silat of Malaysia and Indonesia and physical distance, the number of people where humans and dragons lived Cambodia, together long ago in harmony. But Malaysia, and Singapore, to conduct Kali and Arnis of the Philippines. allowed in DMV offices is limited, when an evil force threatened the land, research. Other fighting techniques featured in chairs are appropriately spaced, and Disney also enlisted experts to its the film are inspired by Muay Thai plexiglass shields have been installed. the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, Raya Southeast Asia Story Trust, who and Krabi Krabong of Thailand, multi- Additionally, all employees and that same evil has returned and it’s up had a strong influence on all elements limbed attack styles from Muay Thai customers are required to wear a face to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down of the film. Dr. S. Steve Arounsack, of Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, and covering while inside a DMV office the legendary last dragon to restore the professor of anthropology at California the flying scissor-leg takedowns of and during a behind-the-wheel drive fractured land and its divided people. State University, Stanislaus, guided Vietnam. Co-screenwriter Qui Nguyen test exam, and must maintain six feet However, along her journey, she’ll the creative team through the cultural acted as one of the film’s fight reference of physical distancing. Customers learn that it’ll take more than a dragon inspiration behind the story. Husband choreography consultants. “It was should anticipate longer than usual to save the world—it’s going to take and wife team Emiko Saraswati Susilo really important to me that the fighting wait times while these preventive and I Dewa Putu Berata of Çudamani styles were grounded in physics that measures are in place. trust and teamwork as well. Inspired by the various cultures collaborated closely with the animators are real," he said. Q2: I saw a DMV Now kiosk at Walt Disney Animation Studios’ my local grocery store. What is that, and people of Southeast Asia, the to create character movement inspired imaginary lands of Kumandra in by the philosophies of Balinese dance “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be and can I use it to renew my vehicle “Raya and the Last Dragon” each and gamelan. Dr. Rebecca S. Hall, a released simultaneously in theaters and registration? has its own customs and geography. curator at the University of Southern on Disney+ with Premier Access on A: There are hundreds of DMV Although the film is a fantasy, Disney California’s Pacific Asia Museum, March 5, 2021. Now kiosks located throughout the

Retreat Pool & Cabanas Opens for 2021 Pool Season on March 29

Largest Outdoor Dining Patio and Only Poolside Gaming Venue in San Diego SAN DIEGO, CA -- Sycuan Casino Resort announced today that its outdoor pool venue Retreat Pool & Cabanas will officially open on Monday, March 29 for the 2021 pool season. Retreat will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for hotel guests and a limited number of day passes will be available for purchase online and on-site at Sycuan’s Box Office. All health protocols that have been put into place will continue

to be enforced throughout the 2021 season to ensure a safe environment. Upon entering the venue, guests must check in at the host cabana to receive towels, and will be escorted by a host to access their chair, daybed or cabana. All guests are required to wear a face mask unless they are seated, using the pool, eating or drinking. Poolside chairs and daybeds have been spread out to maintain physical distancing

between guests. Retreat features an expansive pool deck with two pools, a swimup bar, lazy river, hot tub, daybeds, cabanas, poolside gaming and a fullservice Pool Bar & Grill. The Pool Bar & Grill menu features seasonal bites and a full bar serving everything from fresh mojitos, margaritas to champagne-infused cocktails. Guests can also enjoy the only poolside gaming in San Diego at Retreat Casino. Retreat Casino offers a one-of-a-kind gaming experience with a view, that’s only steps away from the pool. Additionally, Retreat’s popular poolside entertainment and events are slated to return later in the season, including Dive In Movie Night on Fridays and a brand-new concept Saturday Night Swim on Saturdays. More details about these upcoming events will be announced soon. For more information about Retreat Pool & Cabanas or to reserve a daybed or cabana, please visit sycuan.com/restaurants/retreatpool-cabanas or call 619-659-3376. Please note, guests must be 21 years or older to access the pool grounds. About Sycuan Casino Resort Sycuan Casino Resort began as a humble Bingo Palace in 1983. Now more than 37 years later, it has become a community landmark and one of San Diego’s premier casino and resort destinations. Sycuan is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information visit www.sycuan.com, Facebook: @ sycuancasinoresort, Instagram: @sycuan_casinoresort, Twitter: @sycuancasino and LinkedIn: company/sycuancasinoresort or call 619-445-6002.

March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021 • 11

state to help customers complete their vehicle registration renewal, submit proof of insurance, receive a driver or vehicle record, and more. DMV Now kiosks are convenient and allow customers to conduct transactions quickly and efficiently. Customers simply scan their document, pay the fees using a card or cash (where available) and then print their registration card and sticker, planned non-operation acknowledgment, and more, right on the spot. To locate the DMV Now kiosk nearest you, please visit: www. cadmvnowkiosk.com/kiosks. Customers can also find DMV business partners to complete selected transactions by visiting www.dmv. ca.gov and clicking on “Locations” to find nearby partners. Q3: I am over 70 and received a letter in the mail that states I need to renew my license, but I cannot get to the DMV before my renewal date. What can I do? A: The California DMV is working to help all Californians stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially our state’s senior drivers. Nearly all California drivers are now eligible to renew their license online or by mail – even if their renewal notice indicates an office visit is required. Californians age 70 and older with a noncommercial driver’s license are now eligible to renew online or by mail, eliminating the need to visit a California Department of Motor Vehicles office. Licenses with an expiration date starting March 1, 2020 are eligible.

This new option waives the requirement for many seniors to visit a DMV office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Californians with a suspended license are not eligible. Drivers over the age of 70 can find information on DMV services, safety guidelines, and other resources by visiting www.dmv.ca.gov/seniors. Q4: I still need to get my REAL ID. Can I do this online? A: As of March 23, 2020, the federal government has extended the REAL ID enforcement date to October 1, 2021. However, an in-person field office visit is still required to complete your application for a REAL ID. To limit the amount of time spent in a DMV office and to best prepare for your DMV visit, customers should start their REAL ID application online and use the REAL ID checklist to make sure they have the correct identification documents. The applicant can then upload their documents before coming to the office. After completing the online application and uploading identification documents, the applicant will receive a confirmation code that will be stored for up to one year which DMV employees can quickly access when they visit the DMV office – no appointment is needed. Learn more so you can be ready when the time is right for you to get a REAL ID at www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also renew an expiring license online and get a REAL ID at a later time. For more information or answers to questions not listed here, please visit www.dmv.ca.gov.

Mayor Gloria Commits to 100% Renewable Energy for City Facilities

carbon future,” said Councilmember Joe LaCava, who serves as an alternate member on the SD Community Power Board of Directors and a member of the San Diego City Council's Environment Committee. “Through this partnership we can ensure the next phases of the rollout produce a cleaner mix of energy that is equitably distributed throughout the City.”

SAN DIEGO, CA -- Following the launch of San Diego’s first community choice energy provider recently, Mayor Todd Gloria announced that the City of San Diego will officially transition all of its energy accounts to San Diego Community Power (SDCP) – meaning, city facilities will soon be powered by 100% renewable energy. This move accelerates the City’s ambitious Climate Action Plan goal of using 100% renewable energy sources citywide. “The City of San Diego is leading by example. Making the decision to have 100% renewable energy sources power our City facilities is a choice that will help protect the beautiful city we call home for our children and grandchildren,” Mayor Gloria said. “Our landmark Climate Action Plan set one of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the nation and, we’re one step closer to achieving it. SDCP began providing renewable energy to municipal customers for the first time recently. Agencies can choose between the default option of 50% renewable energy with the default rate or can choose the “Power100” rate, which provides electricity from 100% renewable sources. By comparison, San Diego Gas & Electric’s current mix of energy sources is about 31% renewable. Mayor Gloria today committed the City to the “Power 100” rate.“I applaud Mayor Gloria for taking the bold step to opt up to the 100 % renewable energy for powering our City facilities,” said SDCP Boardmember and San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe. “There are currently 24 successful Community Choice Aggregations operating in

190 communities around California. As the second largest in the state, San Diego Community Power will provide reliable, affordable energy service from cleaner, sustainable sources bringing us closer to realizing our Climate Action Plan goals.” The cost differences are relatively minor with the Power100 plan expected to be roughly comparable with the current SDG&E rate. In Phase 1 of the SDCP rollout, about 9% of the City’s total energy load will transition to the “Power100” plan.“Everybody deserves to live in a healthy environment and should be protected from the impacts of climate change. That is why it is essential to shift from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy as soon as possible,” said Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, chair of the City Council Environment Committee. “I applaud Mayor Gloria's move to shift the City's utility accounts to 100% renewable energy and look forward to partnering with Councilmember LaCava to codify this change so San Diegans can count on their City to lead the way on climate action.” San Diego leads the nation as one of the first U.S. cities to adopt a Climate Action Plan with a 100% renewable energy goal. Alongside community partners, the City has also developed a groundbreaking Climate Equity Index to evaluate access to opportunity in San Diego’s Communities of Concern and guide climate action decisions. “Our decision to 'opt-up' demonstrates the immediate value of San Diego Community Power and their commitment to helping us achieve our climate goals, including a zero-

In Loving Memory of Jimmie Sober

SAN DIEGO, CA -- Jimmie R. Sober 83, of San Diego: Formerly of Shelton, Ne., Passed on at his home in San Diego, Ca. On Feb. 27, 2021. Jimmie was born in Shelton on July 29, 1937, and graduated High school in 1956. He then joined the US Navy. While in the Navy, he continued schooling and received a major in Engineering. He had the pleasure of teaching the Coast Guard how to operate a hovercraft, and also operated it in a movie with Dean Martin as the star. After Jim retired active duty with the Navy, he worked for Rohr Industries in Maryland. He then returned to San Diego and ventured in many learning experiences, along with See Jimmie sober on 12


12 • March 5, 2021 - March 11, 2021

Filipino Press

CALIFORNIA’S $6.6 BILLION SCHOOL RE-OPENING PLAN PRIORITIZES LOW-INCOME, SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN By SUNITA SOHRABJI/EMS Members of the California state Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a $6.6 billion school re-opening plan, which aims to get children in grades kindergarten through 6th back to classrooms by March 15, and older children by mid next month. The plan prioritizes students who would benefit the most from in-person instruction kids from low-income families who may lack computing devices and high-speed internet, English language learners, and those with learning disabilities, among other disadvantaged students. The additional dollars will include money for extended academic and mental health support, help schools adjust for smaller classrooms, and provide Personal Protective Equipment for three months. The state is also set to receive $8 billion in federal funding to re-open schools, and may receive additional funding in the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Schools are set to re-open even in the state’s most-restrictive purple tier. Schools will likely operate over summer to catch students up with coursework missed during the year of remote learning. “We cannot re-open the state’s economy until you safely re-open schools,” said Newsom, noting that positive testing rates have dropped to 2.4 percent, from a high of over 9 percent at the start of the year. Hospitalization and intensive care unit admissions have also dropped by 41 percent. More than 9 million people in California have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — which requires two doses for full efficacy — and more people are expected to be vaccinated as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which only requires one shot and was approved Feb. 27, rolls out. 75,000 doses of the vaccine have been set aside for school personnel. Additionally, the state will run a

mega-vaccination event only for school personnel on March 4 and 5, using FEMA super-sites. The plan was unveiled after weeks of negotiations with the state’s teacher’s unions, the Governor’s office, and members of the state Legislature. Late last year, Newsom had released his ‘Safe Schools For All’ plan, which was thrashed by the state’s teachers’ unions and state legislators. Sen. Richard Pan, a Democrat who chairs the Senate’s health committee, said the plan represented a deep compromise between the Legislature and the Governor’s office. “As a pediatrician, I know that kids are suffering anxiety,

depression, and isolation.” “We need to make up for delays and keep our students on track, but we also know that our teachers are concerned about family members who may be at greater risk of exposure (to COVID,” he said, during a press briefing at Franklin Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also attended the briefing along with members of the state Legislature. AB 86 and SB 86, which formalize the plan, are set for a vote March 4. At press time, the California School Employees

Association had not released a statement on the plan. The California Teachers Association released a statement Feb. 23, noting that the state Legislature had heeded its recommendations. “Vaccinating teachers and education support professionals, coupled with the multi-layered safety protocols, including testing, Personal Protective Equipment, six-feet social distancing, sanitization, proper ventilation, testing and contact tracing are all key to protecting students and their families as well as educators and school staff,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd.

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JIMMIE SOBER

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staying connected with the Navy as an inactive Officer. His last venture was studying law, and practiced law in the areas of social security and workers compensation. His desire was to help the people. He also had a great interest in animals, and spent much of his time rescuing stray dogs and finding them homes. Many of them finding their homes with him. Every day, he sat out containers of cat food to feed the feral cats or those who were abandoned. Jimmie was very active in the Filipino-Am community recognized as an accomplished leader and a person that cares for the community. Past accomplishment and projects include, former PASDC 2016 Veteran for the Year, former president of South Bay Fil-Am Association 2016-2018, past president of the San Diego Executive

Lions Club which accomplished medical and and educational missions to the Philippines, former chairman of the Board of Samahan Oil-Am Heritage which provided educational books to the Philippines and Mexico, scholarships for the underprivileged, feeds th homeless and more. Jimmie left behind his wife Eleanor, 3 daughters, Jody L. Jolene D. Wilson, Jeri L. Farrar, 1 son, Jimmie R. Jr. Sober, 1 step daughter, Melissa and 1 step son Mijan. Also, 3 brothers, Ronnie ‘Joe’ Sober, Terry L. Sober, Dale ‘Scott’ Sober, and 4 sisters, Karen E. Skinner, Pamela Sober-Miller, Judy A. Borowski, and Kelly J. Chastain. Plus, many grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Preceding him in death were his parents, Cornell S. Sober Sr., Marjorie R. Beetem Sober, 2 brothers, Cornell S. Sober Jr. And Arthur L. Sober.

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