Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - February 6, 2021

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FEBRUARY 6, 2021


Surviving Disasters with Caring Preparedness and Hope HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Philippine Consulate to Celebrate Filipino Food Movement in Hawaii Via Virtual Summit


When the U.S. and PHL Compete for Worst Crime Against Democracy


HI Chamber of Commerce Releases Pulse of Business Survey Results



Hawaii Physician Shortage Problem Must Be Given Higher Priority


he shortage of physicians nationally and in Hawaii has been as the saying goes watching a train wreck in slow motion. Data projecting a shortfall has been available for some time, even before the COVID-19 pandemic that exacerbated the situation to its current grim levels. But just like the multiple pitfalls of the US healthcare system – runaway drug prices, runaway healthcare costs (all out there for everyone to see and struggle with) – the problem of a physician shortage was left ignored, and because of the economic instability caused by COVID-19 that we find ourselves facing, will most likely be put aside for yet a longer period of time. Some of the reasons for the shortage in Hawaii include the aging of physicians and retirement; not enough new physicians are coming to practice in the state; the high cost of living is driving doctors to leave the islands; insurance reimbursement is lower in Hawaii compared to other states; Hawaii lacks adequate residency training positions that forces local graduates to move; administrative tasks got too complicated; and newer technology also got too complicated for older physicians not tech savvy. Some of these problems are not unique to the healthcare industry. Certainly technology has pushed many seniors into early retirement in many industries from accounting (new software rendering old-school methods obsolete) to engineering. Some of these problems are as natural as the earth’s rotation in a given year – that physicians get older and leave the workforce. Some of them are more complex to solve like the high cost of living in Hawaii (that won’t change) because its tied to fixed market forces like the lack of land space affecting lease space and isolation affecting shipping fees. Both drive the cost up in every aspect of Hawaii life, that also impact all small businesses. Healthcare, ultimately a business, is not immune to such market forces. Then there are bigger problems for the physician shortage rooted in the sickness of the healthcare industry itself – the overburdening requirements by the insurance companies and government -- that requires a large, costly and specialized administration staff. This doesn’t look like it will be changing anytime soon. Coupled with the higher-than-average (compared to the mainland) fixed costs of doing business in Hawaii and the hefty administrative costs, it’s no wonder why some Hawaii physicians are opting to leave; and younger, more entrepreneurial physicians are choosing to set up practice on the mainland. Doctors are trained to heal people not be businessmen and businesswomen. So as the healthcare industry (particularly in Hawaii) transforms to a more business-oriented environment, it was almost certain that physicians not trained in business or have no interest in it, find themselves leaving solo practice to work for large physician-groups (better paying options on the mainland) or taking an early retirement.

UH Medical School is Key to dealing with physician shortage The central challenge, the long-term goal is how do we get younger physicians to stay in or move to Hawaii to meet the local population’s medical needs? There is a bright upside to this. Hawaii is still a very desirable place to live and work. When the state economy stabilizes, more aggressive steps can be done to increase the UH Medical School’s admissions level and its residency programs. Both will help tremendously to retain new graduate physicians to stay in Hawaii. In the meantime, there needs to be more efforts in recruit(continue on page 3)



awaii could be facing another potential healthcare crisis besides COVID-19 in the coming years. It is the growing shortage of doctors. Already data shows a major shortfall is afflicting many parts of the state, particularly in rural areas and the neighbor islands. There are many reasons for the shortage, in part, it’s due to the aging of Hawaii’s physicians and the lack of newly minted doctors to take the place of those retiring. It’s a serious problem that can only worsen if actions are not taken. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo looks at the alarming statistics, where the shortage is most dire, in what areas of the medical profession, and what are some consequences a doctors shortage could cause -- anywhere from subpar patient care to traveling longer distances (even off island in cases needing specific specialization) to potentially life-threatening situations. Several prominent physicians weigh in on the matter, including Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who is also a physician. HFC’s very own Dr. Charlie Sonido provides a Filipino angle to the problem, saying “the Filipino community is in for a big shock. It will be harder and harder for them to find a primary care physician in the next few years who understands their culture because their own physicians are retiring and there is no one to replace them.” Collective efforts to recruit and retain doctors are underway, but not in the scope that’s needed. The cover story also looks at some of these efforts done by the state-federal government and the John A. Burns School of Medicine which recently put out a Hawai’i Physician Workforce Assessment Project Report on the subject. The Hawaii Filipino Healthcare (HFH) group is joining in the effort to find solutions to the shortage. For their part, the group is active in recruitment. There are other well thought out solutions being proposed by healthcare experts that are carefully outlined in the cover story. Also in this issue we have an article “Surviving Disasters With Caring, Preparedness And Hope” written by our new contributor Dr. Freddie Rabelas Obligacion, an alumnus of Ohio State University-Columbus where he received his PhD and MA in Sociology. He is also a graduate of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Welcome aboard Freddie. For our Healthline segment, Hieu Phung Nguyen, a UH-Manoa Biochemistry graduate and aspiring physician contributes, “2020 and Its Contagious Lessons.” In it, she talks about her experience doing volunteer work with the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii (PMAH) in educating the public in COVID-19 safety guidelines, as well as PMAH’s other outreach community projects like last year’s Blood Donation and Bone Marrow Registry Drive. HFC columnist Emil Guillermo contributes yet another evocative piece, this one called “When the U.S. and Philippines Compete for Worst Crime against Democracy.” Be sure to read our other interesting columns and informative news. For those interested in planting a seed of entrepreneurship, even during this pandemic-challenging times, we have a feature written by Thea Lautner, “What You Need to Know to Start Your Own Business in Hawaii.” Lastly, perfect timing for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Puguan writes “Love that Overcomes,” a heartfelt personal accounting of how her love for her husband and children (and their love for her) enriched all their lives. February is such a wonderful month for us to show our appreciation for all whom we cherish and love dearly. I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. And thank you for your continued support. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. Rose Churma Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D. Caroline Julian Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias Maita Milallos Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D. Renelaine Bontol-Pfister Seneca Moraleda-Puguan Mark Lester Ranchez Jay Valdez, Psy.D. Glenn Wakai Amado Yoro

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

Neighbor Island Correspondents: Big Island (Hilo and Kona) Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



Look to the Great Depression; Biden Must “Go Big” in Lifting the Economy a new sense of hope and optimism (which is why Biden’s latest polling numbers are ent’s still early couraging). but already two History tells us that FDR polls, the Mornwent “big” – investing in peoing Consult and ple and investing in the counHill-Harris X, try. In his first 100 days he got have President Congress to pass major reJoe Biden’s approval rating in forms in the Emergency Bankhis first weeks of office soaring ing Act. He formed the FDIC, at 56% and 63%, respectively, which insured bank depositors higher than former President from losses -- a major achieveDonald Trump ever had (52%) ment that instilled confidence. in his four years of office. He pushed through the New This is encouraging beDeal, a mix of public sector cause Biden will need all the investments. He created Social support he can get to undergo Security, established a national the massive work ahead to lift minimum wage and a first Fair the nation from the COVID-19 The Great Depression Labor Standards Act. crisis beating us down by the The Great Depression One of today’s brightest day. was the longest and most seminds when it comes to the Pulitzer prize winning his- vere economic downturn in economy, Janet Yellen, a former torian Doris Kerns Goodwin modern history. What is still Chair of the Federal Reserve and award-winning filmmaker unique about the Great Deand now Biden’s Treasury Secand historian Ken Burns draw pression (compared to today) retary gave the best advice for a striking parallel between the is that even the banking sysBiden, and that is to pass agGreat Depression years and our tem and financial sector colgressive economic relief. She current state amidst the pan- lapsed. There was massive said Congress also must “act demic. deflation (negative inflation) big” to fight the financial fallThe US Great Depression which means that all prices for out from the pandemic. She started in 1929 and lasted close goods and services dropped Go Big, Get Things Done to 10 years. It was marked with considerably. In some cases, Back to Biden and what recommends a more responsible spending resume after the mass unemployment, econom- goods were worth nothing. must be done. ic instability and sharp rates of Businesses faced lower profWhen President Frank- economic crisis. There is a reason why poverty and homelessness. itability, hired fewer workers lin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) the Federal Reserve and Wall Goodwin says we have that spelled disaster for both took office three years after the similar levels of fear, anxiety consumer and capital markets. fangs of the Great Depression, Street backed all the massive and uncertainty. UnemployThe two massive govern- historians say that signaled a stimulus packages, including ment is still at record-break- ment stimulus of 2020 helped turning point. With FDR came this latest one Biden is pushing. Why? They ing is certainly a disincentive, to say the least. This is know AmeriHawaii Physician...from page 2) why the state-federal repayment program must contin- cans need the ment. And there already are initiatives by the state and ue. How it works? Qualified physicians must commit help. But they physicians-groups working on this. But are their reto practicing in Hawaii for set years in exchange for also know that cruitment efforts too narrow in scope, is the question. the economy is assistance with their educational loans. Tapping into the foreign workforce pool should still very fragile be an option. Incentivizing foreign physicians to help and could take Shortage Consequence with the medical labor dearth locally arguably is the The collective remedies to correct the local physi- a tailspin. fastest and immediate way to deal with Hawaii’s phycian problem cannot be left as they are now -- small, sician shortage problem. incremental, loosely coordinated efforts. The situation Further down in the far future, perhaps the state inis dire; but it could get worse where patients’ medical vesting in a UH Medical hospital where graduates can needs will not only be an inconvenience to meet (longdo their residency (opposed to relying on local hospiwait times, traveling farther distances, substandard tals and clinics) as we see in other major universities care), but it could also have a consequence of death would do wonders in providing a steady stream of phydue to lack of timely access. sicians wanting to stay and work in Hawaii. Every industry is subject to change prompted by technology and often competing interests. The healthStructural Problems care industry is no different. What makes the healthIn addition to the structural problem of excessive care industry arguably more unique is the gravitas of regulations the health insurance companies and govits work of patients health, and the consequences that ernment require (a situation with no easy way to fix could mean life or death. because it’s a political one; not to mention some govWe’ve already seen how short-sightedness and a ernment regulations are actually preferred as a check lack of funding in public health have harmed our comon the industry), there is the other structural problem munities vis-à-vis COVID-19. And we certainly don’t that the healthcare industry must contend with that is want to be playing catch up as what the entire pandemputting Hawaii at a disadvantage – the high cost of edic is, a reactive response to what was already known, ucation. that a major pandemic was (and is) looming. This is all Medical school students upon graduating facing a the more reason why dealing with the physician shortquarter-to-half a million dollars in debt, then having age problem must be given higher priority. them practice in Hawaii with its exorbitant cost of liv-


ing highs. We have families starving, depending on food banks and federal assistance. There is a sense of panic in the air. There is a gap between the rich and poor. In other words, COVID-19 is experienced very differently from two socioeconomic classes. Democracy is fragile and could flounder. Both historians, and other intellectuals say we are living in truly historic times; and to give an appropriate context of where we are and what’s at stake, we must look to the Great Depression years.

to stabilize the US economy. Economists say, both actually saved the economy. Anti-government Republicans and Libertarians can stop minimizing the importance of government from here on. These crucial bailouts are for the history books. Without those stimulus packages, both the financial sector and deflation would have put the country in a far worse and precarious situation. The banking sector and Wall Street (Wall Street crash is what started the 1929 depression) are at the moment holding steady. But we’re not out of the woods just yet because unemployment is still soaring and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) still dangerously low. Should Wall Street take a crash, deflation could erupt and cause a downward spiral in prices. The US consumer price inflation is where we can look to see signs of deflation.

A last characteristic of the Great Depression is that it created a worldwide deep recession. The coronavirus affected world markets, but again, not for such a long duration as in the 1930s. Interestingly, Vladimir Putin recently echoed the same sentiments of historians drawing today’s market comparisons to the 1930s. Putin said the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated preexisting global problems and imbalances, and that these could deteriorate to a point where there is a fight of “all against all.” He added, “All of this cannot but impact international relations, making them less stable and predictable. In the 20th century, the failure and inability to centrally resolve such issues resulted in the catastrophic World War II.” Of course, Putin is not threatening a global conflict, but is warning of the dangers of what global instability can cause. Remember that WWII broke out shortly after the Great Depression. Americans should know that it’s in everyone’s best interest that Biden “go big” and make the necessary changes to lift us from the economic crisis. He must also make a myriad of structural changes in addition to the COVID-19 stimulus package. Lawmakers must do the same, come together and “go big.” If dramatic measures are not taken, there’s the possibility that a depression lingers as what occurred in the entire decade of the 1930s. And this would be the worst scenario for Americans, and for the World.



Hawaii’s Physician Shortage:

What’s Driving the Shortfall and How Do We Get Out of It By Edwin Quinabo


he shortage of doctors is like the chest pain that went ignored but can no longer be left to destiny to settle. Over the years health experts warned about the shortfall. The data raised eye brows; but not the will to enact corrective measures. At least, to the scale and scope it deserved, public health professionals say. Then last year COVID-19 swept through communities, triggering an avalanche of greater urgency as older doctors –whomped by the economic downturn – called in their careers, hung up their stethoscope and white overcoats for good. Early retirement forced at the hand of COVID-19 exacerbated an already bleak prognosis to the physician shortage; and communities now face potentially frightening consequences. What? Possibly not getting proper patient care or having to wait longer at By the numbers Nationally and in Hawaii The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published data on June 26, 2020 that estimates a physician shortage nationally between 21,400 and 55,200 for primary care physicians by 2033. Of all physicians that include primary and specialty, the shortfall could be as high as 139,000 by the same time period. Researchers at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in its Hawai’i Physician Workforce Assessment Project Report for 2020 found the Hawaii’s physician shortage is between the range of 710 to 1,008. There are 10,227 physicians licensed in Hawaii; 2,812 full-time physicians (FTEs) in Hawaii compared to what is needed, estimated at 3,529 statewide. The estimated shortage by counties: Oahu 475, the Big Island 287, Maui 185, Kauai 61. The largest shortage statewide is in the area of Primary

the doctor’s clinic or even to book an appointment. Or worse yet, not finding a primary care physician to the patient’s comfort, having to travel out-of-state to get certain specialized treatment, or paying higher prices for consultations. Patients could also resort to ER visits for non-emergency health issues. Kelley Withy, MD, MS, PhD, Director of the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center, says it could also mean, “that if you need a doctor urgently, you might die because you might not be able to access that.” This is the gravity at hand. What it could mean for the Filipino community? Dr. Charlie Sonido, one of the medical directors of Hawaii Filipino Healthcare (HFH) group and CEO of Primary Care Clinic of Hawaii (PCCH),

Care (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Geriatrics) that is estimated to be below the needed 412 fulltime physicians. Researchers say all subspecialties across the board statewide is down. Areas most underrepresented are Colorectal Surgery, Pathology, Pulmonary, Infectious Disease, Allergy/Immunology and Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Withy said of the UH Workforce Report, “The main finding in my mind is that we now have 1,000 fewer physicians that if we were on the US Continent. This is terrifying. In fact, the Big Island has over a 50% shortage. This is largely caused by low reimbursement, high cost of living and a medical infrastructure that does not offer the support physicians need. “In fact, our physicians are more likely to be employed than private practice physicians, and employed physicians can only work where there is a large medical group. So rural areas with private

practice doctors are going to suffer severely as these older physicians retire or die.” Lt. Gov. Josh Green, MD, told the Filipino Chronicle, “We have continued to wrestle with the physician shortage, which has tended to be 20% or more on Oahu and significantly worse on the neighbor islands. This is a challenge made tougher by the pandemic, as many doctors had to suspend their practice for several months during the COVID outbreak.”

COVID-19 Impact In the same report, 989 physicians’ offices were questioned about the impact COVID-19 had, 44% said that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their practice in the form of temporary and permanent clinic closures, early retirement, increased telehealth practice, altered operating hours and locations and reduced patient volume. Dr. Josephine Waite, a solo practitioner who has 21 years of practicing medicine,

one of the state’s largest independentlyowned private practices, said “the Filipino community is in for a big shock. It will be harder and harder for them to find a primary care physician in the next few years who understands their culture because their own physicians are retiring and there is no one to replace them.” He said, “There is an acute shortage of Filipino physicians in Hawaii to take care of the unique healthcare needs of the growing Filipino immigrant population.”

explains how COVID impacted her practice. “Many of our patients work in the entertainment and food industry. While tourism was down and lockdowns were enforced, many of our patients lost their job and subsequently their insurance.” Studies show that when workers don’t have health insurance, they tend to visit their doctors less frequently due to cost. Adding to this, Dr. Waite said patients were also reluctant to come to the office for fear of contracting COVID-19. “The office flow slowed down as preparations for PPE, sanitation and disinfection added to time spent for each patient.” She, along with other doctors report that one upside during the pandemic time has been telehealth that afforded continued care to patients via the internet. At the same time, Dr. Waite said technical difficulties such as slow internet and signal variability prolonged the total time spent with each patient. “And for

those of us who have many elderly adult patients- this [telehealth] challenge is compounded as most are not tech savvy.” Dr. Waite said telehealth has also been a challenge for older physicians. “Those [physicians] older than 65 who are not as tech savvy, some have opted to retire.” Dr. Withy confirmed, “COVID has forced many older docs to retire and some to pass away. It has forced many others to go to telehealth modalities which are not as effective as face to face care.” Health experts believe even when the pandemic is over, there could be a rebound, but not enough to fill the shortage even if all physicians returned to full-time practice. REASONS FOR PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS Reason #1: Older Physicians Retiring, Decreasing Work hours At least 110 Hawaii physi(continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (What’s Driving....from page 4)

cians retired in 2020, 120 decreased their work hours and eight passed away. Of the active physicians, 46% are ages 55+, 21% are ages 65+ and one is 90 years old. The aging of physician is one half of the shortage problem. The other half is the increasing population of seniors. Approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center. The over-65 population will increase by 50% by 2030, putting additional strain on the health care delivery system. Older adults traditionally use more health care and specialty services than younger populations due to a higher incidence of chronic conditions and age-related illnesses, the AAMC reports. Reason #2: Not Enough New Physicians are Coming to the state An aging physician workforce and retirement wouldn’t necessarily be unique to Hawaii, but the problem is there isn’t sufficient numbers of younger or new physicians coming to practice in Hawaii to fill the gap. Possible Solution #1 Loan Repayment Program State assistance in helping new doctors with their educational loans is one area the state has looked at to incentivize doctors to practice in Hawaii. The Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program (HSLRP) provides qualified physicians working in high-need areas with loan repayment. You must commit to working full-time for 2 years, or halftime for 4 years. HSLRP is a federal grant to pay off educational loans for primary care and behavioral health providers who care for patients at non-profit organizations in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas of Hawaii. The areas of shortage, requirements and application information for the program could be found at https://www. ahec.hawaii.edu/physician-recruiter/resources-physicians/ loan/. There has been success in recruitment to Hawaii because of the loan repayment program but it needs federal assistance to maintain. Lt. Gov. Green said the repayment program is a great

incentive to bring in doctors to the state but he said it is difficult to fund fully during these tough times. “If we seeded $5M a year into the program we could repay all loans for those who commit to Hawaii and have no shortage. This investment would be worth 20x the cost immediately in healthcare savings from better care.” Dr. Withy said, “Loan repayment has helped to recruit and retain 39 healthcare professionals over the last 8 years, but without local matching funding for the hundreds of thousands provided by the federal government, the program will be scratched.” The loan repayment program has been in place since 2012, funded with a federal grant from the National Health Service Corps branch that requires a dollar-for-dollar match. For the last three years, the Legislature has been the primary funding source of the match, but can no longer afford it, said Withy. To date the program has funded 52 loan re-payers. “Of our graduates, 57% stay where they did their service, which is twice as many as for the National Health Service Corps program. This year, there is no money for the State Legislature to fund the program, so we have been provided with temporary funds from University Health Alliance, Hawaii State Rural Health Association, Mayors of Big Island and Maui, Hawaii State Rural Health Association and Department of Health Office of Primary Care and Rural Health,” said Dr. Withy. Seiji Yamada, MD, MPH is a family physician practicing in Hawaii. He said, “While loan repayment programs help ameliorate this situation somewhat - what is needed is an overhaul of health care financing to compensate primary care more fairly.” Possible Solution #2 Recruit Foreign Physicians The Hawaii State Office of Primary Care and Rural Health has a program to get foreign physicians to work in Hawaii in need areas. It’s called the Hawaii State Conrad 30, J-1 Visa Waiver Program. How it works? Foreign physicians must commit to serving for 3 years in an underserved area of Hawaii, waiving

the foreign medical residency requirement and allowing them to remain in the US. Areas of eligibility include primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and sub-specialty trained physicians. Applicants to the program must first attain a J-1 Visa waiver through the US Department of State then secure an employment contract with a medical facility in a Medically Underserved Area. Accepting more foreigners to the University of Hawaii Residency Programs could also help with the physician shortage. Dr. Sonido said the University must open more slots to international medical graduates. “They have historically provided care in the inner cities and the healthcare centers serving mostly the underserved.” Resident physicians receive hands-on medical training and offer assistance to medical staff, which could be invaluable in times where there is a physician shortage. Possible Solution #3 Active Recruitment and incentivizing Hawaii medical graduates to return to the state Led by Dr. Aurora Mariani, the HFH (comprised of over 70 physicians mostly in primary care) actively recruits physicians to come to Hawaii with incentives and support for practice management. Dr. Sonido said at PCCH “we have made it a priority to recruit our previous medical students and trainees to come back to Hawaii. This coming July, for example, an endocrinologist and a family physician will join us.” Currently PCCH employs 9 physicians and 2 APRNs distributed over three islands. Hawaii Health Workforce Summit is another recruitment effort. Dr. Withy said they work with Hawaii graduates and Hawaii license holders to bring them back to Hawaii. The Summit brings together providers from across Hawaii. “We have between 500600 participants who learn of medical updates and get to network. This year we had 535 participants on a virtual platform. We advertise all available positions on ahec.hawaii. edu/doctor-jobs/ and work with recruiters to promote Hawaii careers and get interested applicants to interview.” Another recruitment ef-

“The Filipino community is in for a big shock. It will be harder and harder for them to find a primary care physician in the next few years who understands their culture because their own physicians are retiring and there is no one to replace them. There is an acute shortage of Filipino physicians in Hawaii to take care of the unique healthcare needs of the growing Filipino immigrant population.”

— Dr. Charlie Sonido

a medical director with Hawaii Filipino Healthcare (HFH) group, CEO of Primary Care Clinic of Hawaii (PCCH) fort is being launched by the Physician Workforce Assessment Project that plans to hire a Hawaii physician recruiter to work closely with the Hawaii Physician Recruiter Group to match program graduates and interested physicians with open positions. The recruiter will also assist with finding young doctors to take over practices of retiring physicians; and setting up physician connection groups on all islands. Effective in 2019, a preceptor tax credit became available to those offering professional instruction, training, and supervision to students and residents in medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Currently, 225 physicians have qualified for the credit and more will be reviewed. The group is also working

to assist in the development of John A. Burns School of Medicine scholarships that require pay back of time practicing in Hawaii. Reason #3: Physicians are moving away, cost of living and operating solo practice are too high Possible Solution #1 Provide Housing Stipend The high cost of living is one of the reasons why physicians are leaving Hawaii. Housing stipends to qualified physicians is something that could incentivize physicians to practice in the islands, health experts say. Possible Solution #2 Get Rid of GE Tax on Health Services In the 2020 Hawaii Legislature, there was a bill in(continue on page 6)



Surviving Disasters With Caring, Preparedness And Hope By Dr. Freddie Rabelas Obligacion


isaster tested and weary, Filipinos humbly accept that natural calamities are part and parcel of their way of life. Unrelenting typhoons, devastating earthquakes, destructive floods and cataclysmic volcanic eruptions occur beyond the pale of our control. As Neil deGrasse Tyson observes: “Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier that it once was, it takes just

one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.” As an aftermath of disasters, loss of life and property stabs at our very core. The anguish of loss does not escape Mark Twain who writes: “A man’s house burns down. The smoking wreckage represents only a ruined home that was dear through years of use and pleasant associations. By and by, as the days and weeks go on, first he misses this, then that, then the other thing. And when he casts about

(COVER STORY : What’s Driving....from page 5)

troduced but cut short due to COVID-19 that sought to exempt health care services provided by doctors and primary care APRNs from the general excise tax. Hawaii is only one of two states that taxes health care services, and the only state that taxes Medicare benefits. Eliminating the GE Tax could help physicians in private practice who are struggling to stay afloat, experts say, but the State’s budget shortfall might suspend efforts for the bill’s passage in the near future. *Possible Solution #3 Increase local insurance reim-

bursement and raise Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement Dr. Waite said it’s well known that fee for service and per member per month insurance payment in Hawaii lags behind mainland fee schedule. “What a shame. How can we attract doctors to come and practice if the ‘grass is greener somewhere else’?” Dr. Sonido said, “Insurance companies have to pay the providers close to their counterparts on the mainland to keep them here.” Dr. Withy agrees, “We must increase reimbursement to physicians. Small practices

for it, he fins that it was in that house. Always it is an essential--there was but one of its kind. It cannot be replaced. It was in that house. It is irrevocably lost. It will be years before the tale of lost essentials is complete, and not till then can he truly know the magnitude of his disaster.” United in grief and despondency, disaster survivors are stripped down to their naked selves, devoid of the trappings and pretensions of social status. As George Eliot muses: “What quarrel, what harshness, what unbelief in each other can subsist in the presence of a great calamity, when all the

artificial vesture of our life is gone, and we are all one with each other in primitive mortal needs?” In the midst of ruin and devastation, survivors are called upon to reach out to others. Clarissa Pinkola Estes states: “We all wish to be brave and strong in the face of disaster. We all wish to be looked up

to for our endurance and efforts to help others.” In fact, “It shouldn’t take a natural disaster to remind us of the importance of service. It’s something that we need to incorporate in our daily lives, as a part of our priorities of how we should live our lives,” says Evan Bayh.

cannot survive without higher pay and no new physicians are going to move here without higher reimbursement because of our cost of living being so high. We were the 50th worst state to practice medicine in last year according to Medical Economics. This is terrible! Why would anyone move here unless their family and friends were all here?” Last year, Hawaii’s congressional delegation signed a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking it to look at the geographic adjustment, which is readjusted every three years. Other states, such as Alaska, have been successful in securing increased reimbursement rates. Lt. Gov. Green said it’s not likely that there will be increases in reimbursements or tax cuts for Medicare-Medicaid during a pandemic driven recession. Reason #4: The State lacks enough residency training positions Possible Solution – Expand UH Training Program Dr. Withy said training local students is the best way to create and keep Hawaii’s future physician workforce. To accommodate many of the University of Hawaii’s medical graduates, health experts recommend expanding UH’s training program or else many resident physicians will continue to leave the State.

This 2021 Legislature, a bill (S.B. 846) was introduced to provide additional long-term funding to Hawaii’s teaching hospitals to support and expand their residency training programs. The Department of Health is working with a Medical Education Council on this bill. Dr. Yamada said because the UH School of Medicine does not have its own hospital or clinic system, it must work with the hospitals, clinics and individual physicians in the community to provide its students with sufficient clinical experiences. Even if the UH Medical school expands class size, it also means the school must seek more physicians in the community to volunteer to teach its students. “Unfortunately, with physicians’ work lives dominated by EHRs and administrative requirements - it is difficult for them to teach medical students in their offices. They are thus often less accepting of the responsibility of teaching medical students,” said Dr. Yamada. Reason #5: UH Medical School is too small Possible Solution – Increase size of UH Medical School There are talks of increasing the size of the medical school and adding medical school branches on all islands, as well as residency programs. Cost is the main obstacle.

Dr. Withy said, “If we could triple the size of the medical school and the residencies, that would be a long-term solution. We have increased to 77 students a year and had a plan to start a satellite campus on Maui for an additional 10 students a year that was not funded because of COVID. We hope to return to that idea as soon as our economy is stable,” she said. Lt. Gov. Green said “The medical school is one of the best in the country and is growing slowly. It is only able to grow in small increments because there aren’t a surplus of funds to hire more professors.” Reason #6: There are too many administrative requirements for physicians Possible Solution – Decrease paperwork burden. Physicians, especially those close to retiring age, complain about the added administrative requirements. Some have decided on early retirement and closed their practices because of overburdening administrative rules. “Physicians are encumbered by all the hoops that they must jump through to care for their patients. Each insurance company has its own formulary, and there is no way for physicians to remember which medications are covered by any particular insurance company.

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First, They Came for Trump; Then, They Will Come For You By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


irst they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemoller, German Lutheran pastor, denouncing cowardice of German intellectuals for being silent against the Nazi persecution of Jews and other target groups and he was sent to jail.

Twitter permanently suspended the account of former President Donald J. Trump. Facebook also barred him from posting anything on its website. If Twitter and Facebook can go after a sitting President, who knows when they will come for you? Immediately after President Trump had tweeted: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.” Twitter permanently suspended his twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

How Can Such an Announcement Incite Violence? To counter the criticism against Twitter, it said that “On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump Tweeted: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated

unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” According to Twitter “these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @ realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.” These tweets do not glorify violence. As for Facebook, it announced that it will bar President Trump from posting on its system at least until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Jan. 20. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing Trump to use the platform is too great, following his incitement of a mob that later touched off a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Zuckerberg says Trump’s account will be locked “for at least the next two weeks ***but could remain locked indefinitely.” An impartial listener of Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, 2021 will find nothing to indicate that he “incited” a “mob”

(COVER STORY : What’s Driving....from page 6)

“Prior authorization is required non-formulary medications as well as for many diagnostics such as advanced imaging. There are just not enough hours in the day to complete prior authorization forms or speak on the telephone with insurance representatives for all that patients require. Many physicians thus resort to prescribing generic medications and completing prior authorizations for only the most dire patient circumstances,” said Dr. Yamada. He said increased documentation requirements for reimbursements means that physicians spend more and more time at the computer, clicking through electronic health records (EHR). A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal found ambulatory care physicians were with patients for only 27% of the day, while they spent 49% of the day on EHR and desk work. They also spent 1-2 hours in the

evening on EHRs. Hawaii psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen Kemble, said elimination of pay-for-documentation would help restore professional autonomy and morale. Dr. Waite points out that bureaucratic paperwork also leads to physician burn out, adding “let doctors do the doctoring and not paper working.” The reasoning for EHRs or proper medical record keeping is to protect doctors from lawsuits by reducing risk management exposure and to ensure better patient care. It also must be done to ensure appropriate reimbursement. David Thompson, MD and chief medical information officer of SCP Health said “Medical reimbursement is reflective of what you document, not what you do. I can take care of a patient with a wrist fracture, pneumonia, or a myocardial infarction, but if there is no documentation, there is no reimbursement.” Health management that

includes managing an increasingly larger staff and complying with and making sense of all the required documentation is a business of itself within the business of practicing medicine. Lt. Gov. Green said, “The insurance companies have worked closely with the physician organizations on admin simplification and payment transformation. For some this has been a great success, others are frustrated that there is any need to work with insurers. There needs to be a partnership for better care for our people.” While there are collective efforts to address Hawaii’s physician shortage, by the state and federal government, the UH Medical School and physicians groups, the clock is ticking as the older generation of physicians retire and too few younger physicians are stepping up and stepping in to take their place. Time is running out.

to riot. According to the Merriam Webster, the term “incite” means “to move to action : stir up : spur on : urge on”.

Many Do Not Use Twitter or Facebook Anyway Many people will probably say: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I do not use Twitter or Facebook.” I do not use Twitter. But I use Facebook to communicate. Facebook has banned a number of my articles from being posted, including “Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a godsend for the law abiding.” Facebook said: “Error. Warning. Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” Susmariosep. “Abusive”? How can an article praising Justice Barrett in that “she applies the law and legal precedents” be abusive? And who are these “other people on Facebook” who have reported it as “abusive”? “My Pillow” guy Mike Lindell, a Trump supporter, was banned from Twitter for life for posting proof of election fraud, according to Blabber Buzz on Jan. 27, 2021, noting that Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives is “a game of follow the leader, or a severe case of the domino effect.” Who Will Speak Out Against Censorship? A number of people believe that it is only in Nazi Germany and in Communist countries that censorship is imposed. Censorship is now taking place in the United States – by the so-called “Big (bad?) Tech” among which are Twitter and Facebook. “Censorship in the beginning of the 4th Reich [Nazi Germany was the 3rd Reich] is going just as planned by those enemies of freedom,” said Phil Martin, commenting on Facebook’s action barring President Trump from posting on its system. If people do not speak out now against censorship, who will speak for us when they will censor us? The German intellectuals and Protestants did not speak out because they

were afraid that their heads would be cut off if they had spoken out. Others excused themselves saying: “Should I be my brother’s keeper?” according to Martin Niemoller. But nobody’s head will be cut off in America if they speak out against the Big (bad?) Tech. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said: “I don’t like censorship. I don’t like anyone to be censored and for them to have their right taken away to send a message on Twitter or on Facebook.” Bravo, Macho Senor Presidente Obrador. “May your tribe increase.” Unfortunately, Senor Presidente disclosed Sunday that he had contracted Covid-19. Aray.

Big Tech Immunity from Liability for Censorship On May 28, 2020, former President Trump issued an “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship.” He stated that “Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution. The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.” He pointed out that the immunity from liability for the big tech social media created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. 230(c) should be clarified. Section 230(c) specifies that an interactive computer service provider may not be made liable “on account of” its decision in “good faith” to restrict access to content that it considers to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.” The EO provided that Section 230(c) should not be distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that — far from acting in “good faith” to remove objectionable content — instead engage in deceptive or pretextual actions to stifle (continue on page 14)



2020 and Its Contagious Lessons By Hieu Phung Nguyen


021 is a whole new and exciting year everyone has been anticipating for. With the spirit of the New Year, everyone began coming up with resolutions and goals while reflecting on the previous year. However, reflecting on 2020 had become more contemplative than ever. It was a year full of lessons that we all could learn from. Each of us had a fair share during this pandemic. We all had unforgettable memories; some of which, we wished not to remember. Even though 2020 was the year we faced many losses, heartaches, and feelings of hopelessness, it gave me new perspectives and lessons that changed my life forever. The first lesson I learned during this pandemic was the value of money. As COVID-19 became progressively worse, schools and businesses started shutting down, people lost their jobs, and healthcare workers scrambled to find ways to deal with a shortage of supplies. COVID-19 appeared, put its sharpest knife in everyone’s pocket, and ripped it all open; some lost a bit, some lost it all. Although I was very fortunate to still have a job

during the pandemic, it wasn’t the same case for my parents and many other Americans. As “standing still” comes with a cost, the phrase “another day, another dollar” took on a whole new meaning as if they were wasting every day of their lives. Rather than enjoying the time off, they were stressing over not having a steady source of income, paying bills and losing medical coverage. 2020 revealed our fragile economic system and how it perpetuated social stigmas against certain occupations. There was no such thing as a luxurious or cowardly job. When you were being quarantined or isolated, what you could do to earn money was all that mattered. The pandemic added another layer of uncertainty to my life. My father was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in the middle of the pandemic. I would go to bed at night struggling with the thought, “What if my father couldn’t fight his cancer because of the virus that I brought home from work?” Being an essential worker at the time did not make me feel so fortunate anymore. Cancer patients, like my father, have weakened immune systems which makes them highly vulnerable to COVID-19. While taking chemotherapy and radiation treatments, being forced to keep a safe distance from family and loved ones had made it especially tough for them. Quarantine was not an option; it was a matter of life and death. While taking care of my father, I learned that the value of health is so vital and critical. A healthy lifestyle is what we should all strive for. Not only can it help prevent cancers and chronic diseases, but it also prevents catching COVID-19. When I asked my father if I could share his narrative, I did not want it to be just another cancer story. My father’s journey, like any other cancer

Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii President Dr. Marel Ver (right) with member Jasmine Padamada (left).

patients during the pandemic, would be immensely different if COVID-19 was not in the picture. Instead, I wanted his story to encourage people to take this virus more seriously. As I scrolled through social media, I was disappointed to see many of my friends taking advantage of their health and youth just because they are more likely to survive the pandemic than the older and more vulnerable generation. With the lack of empathy towards other people’s lives, many young adults were willing to take the risk despite the high number of COVID-19 death tolls announced daily. I was furious, but left feeling so helpless because there was little that I could do for them to change. While I was coping with the situation, the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii (PMAH) became my light at the end of a dark tunnel. Due to the increasing number of positive cases among young adults, PMAH were looking for students who would educate and encourage their peers to practice COVID19’s safety guidelines. I was inspired by the quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” So, with PMAH’s support and encouragement, I joined their fight against COVID-19. Through PMAH Outreach’s community projects, I’ve learned that kindness is prevailing even in uncertain times. Young adults participated in our COVID-19 Art and Video contest to share their quarantine experiences. Families donated their children’s clothes and toys to make the holidays

special for kids living in homeless shelters. Most recently, different organizations collaboratively organized a community event where I’ve seen people from all walks of life coming together for a good cause: to donate blood along to join Be the Match’s National Registry, a non-profit organization that matches bone marrow donors to a patient in need. These acts of kindness truly made the world a safer and happier place. Kindness can be rare during times of uncertainty, but it is the only contagion that we want to keep spreading. Among those projects, the most memorable one we have done so far was coordinating a Blood Donation and Bone Marrow Registry Drive. This is where I met Pat, whose encounter keeps me wide awake at night. It was a Saturday morning at the event. Beside the Be the Match Hawaii booth, there was this happy-go-lucky gentleman named Pat. He was full of energy and constantly engaging with donors. As I observed him, I noticed that he has this charismatic ability to make people comfortable around him. I thought he was a recently matched patient who came to encourage others to join the registry. Little did I know, Pat is a current waitlisted patient who has been diagnosed with Myelodysplasia, a type of cancer, also known as a “bone marrow failure disorder.” With about two years left to live (one of which was while he was on the national registry), he is in dire need of a blood stem cell or marrow transplant.

While talking to Be the Match Hawaii representative, I have learned that the odds of being matched with a searching patient is 1 in 430. Therefore, even with millions of people on the registry, it is rare for many patients to find a genetic match. Pat’s story stayed in my mind ever since, and I could not help but share my experience with others in hopes of getting more young adults, like myself, involved. I got swabbed and was added to the Be the Match Registry shortly after. I joined because I have learned that I could possibly give someone a second chance at life. There are so many people looking for a match, and you or I could be the only cure for a person with a life-threatening disease. From a year full of uncertainty, fear, and isolation to a year full of eye-opening experiences, learning, and realizing what’s really important, the past year have truly been special. 2020 was not just a bad year. It was more like a roller coaster with both ups and downs rather than a steep decline. We have passed the old year with joy and optimism for a better start. 2020 taught us that life has many sudden turns, and we don’t know what tomorrow will be like. Therefore, we should live so that each passing moment has its value: to live with intention and purpose. We have learned to rise to challenges and made the most out of it. In return, we became stronger and more capable than who we were before. Make your new year’s resolution a commitment to helping others, staying inspired, and continuing to spread kindness. HIEU PHUNG NGUYEN was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam and a University of Hawaii at Manoa Biochemistry graduate who aspires to be a physician. Inspired by the people and its culture, she joined the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii Outreach and developed a passion for organizing community projects. With her best friend Jasmine, Nguyen manages a book club where she fell in love with literature and writing.



Philippine Consulate to Celebrate Filipino Food Movement in Hawaii via Virtual Summit By Jim Bea Sampaga


ilipino food and cuisine are a big part of Hawaii’s local and immigrant culture. Filipino and Filipino Americans in the islands strengthen the presence of Filipino representation in the industry as they become chefs, restaurant owners, farmers and such. However, with the impact of the pandemic, our local food creatives are in need of support to stay afloat. In partnership with San Francisco-based nonprofit Filipino Food Movement (FFM), the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu will host an online event called “Savor Filipino Summit-Hawaii” on Feb. 8, 2021 from 1pm to 4pm. Participants can register for free at filipinofoodmovement.org. The virtual summit event aims to (re)claim the Filipino identity through its cuisine, share knowledge in market-

ing and branding of Filipino food and survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “We hope that through this event, we can spark enthusiasm to re-imagine and re-shape the future of Filipino cuisine,” said FFM in its event description. There will be four sessions in the summit that explores the four sides of Filipino cuisine in the industry: Identity, Branding, Media and Business. The line-up of event speakers come from different backgrounds in the industry including Filipino culture academics, restaurant owners, social media food influencers, and Filipino lifestyle journalists to name a few. Below are the online event’s line-up and its speakers: Identity: A dive into the past and exploration of the future of Filipino cuisine in Hawai’i — Dr. Pia Arboleda (Executive Director of Uni-

versity of Hawaii at Manoa’s Center of Philippines Studies) and Sam Choy (Chef and co-founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) Branding: Breaking the stereotypes of design & popularizing Filipino food around the globe — Alexandra Dorda (founder of Kasama Rum), Cheryl Tiu (lifestyle journalist and founder of Cross Cultures) and Patrice Cleary (chef and owner of Purple Patch restaurant) Media: How can we get more representation in food media? — Alexandra Cuerdo (director and producer of “Ulam: Main Dish” documentary), Eric Baranda (Frolic Hawaii contributor) and Queenie Laforga (local food social media influencer) Business: Starting and sustaining food businesses through a pandemic — Peter Oshiro (Hawaii Department of Health), Eric Elnar (Philippine Trade Commissioner) and Joel

Navasca (chef and owner of Tiano’s Restaurant) The “Savor Filipino Summit-Hawaii” will also have a virtual tiangge where participants can learn more about Filipino products and content from event sponsors and partner organizations. Participants will also have a chance to network with fellow participants at the end of the online event. “We hope that the Summit

will spark more conversations and generate stronger collaborations among FilAm stakeholders to carve a place for Filipino cuisine in Hawai’i and the global culinary mainstream,” Consul General Joselito Jimeno of the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu. Visit filipinofoodmovement.org to register. Registration is free for all participants.



Biden Launches the Era of Hope, Reconciliation, Unity! By Elpidio R. Estioko


ue to the divided and self-centered rule of former President Donald Trump in managing the country for the past four years, he created a fractured government and left a heavy mess to incoming President Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States of America. With this, Biden is left with an era of hope, reconciliation, and unity in order to fix and heal the country, especially during his first 100 days in office. But, just like the 911 spiel and television ad in response to emergency situations, President Biden assured the American people that the war against the dreaded COVID-19 is on and help is on the way! This is his priority which will serve as the solid base in setting up the economy back because efforts to arrest the pandemic goes hand in hand with economic measures, especially for those businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19.

Immediately after his inauguration last January 20 as the 46th US president, Biden signed a dozen of “wartime” executive orders to combat the pandemic, which includes setting up mass-vaccination centers, the involvement of drugstores and an accelerated manufacturing program. Pursuant to this, Biden also signed an executive order protecting the federal workforce by requiring mask-wearing withing federal buildings in order to halt the spread of the virus. He noted that masks and other public health measures reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when the communities make widespread use of such measures and thus save lives. Other than the vaccine, wearing a mask is the last bastion of defense for the American people, I would say. To add muscle to the program, he directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the director of Centers for disease control, “to engage with State, local, Tribal and territorial officials, as well as business, union, academic, and other community leaders, regarding mask-wearing, with the goal of maximizing public compli-

U.S. President Joe Biden

ance with, and addressing any obstacles to, mask-wearing and other public health best practices identified by CDC.” These federally guided collaboration efforts contribute to the united front to address the pandemic in order to eradicate the virus which has been plaguing the country for almost a year now. After the January 6 riot in the Capitol induced by now former President Donald Trump, 38 police officers tested positive of COVID-19, the union representing the Capitol Police told CNN Sunday. While unclear how many of the 38 officers may have been on duty during the attack or when they contracted the virus, the mass of largely unmasked people who were shouting and pushing, would result in the spread of the virus, not only among police officers but to those rioters who participated without wearing face coverings, according to the Health officials. The insurrection resulted to five deaths, one of whom was a police officer. Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in an interview earlier this month with the McClatchy newspaper group: “I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.” Several lawmakers were also tested positive in the wake of the attack, with some Democrats saying they were tested positive after sheltering

in place with other members of Congress who were not wearing masks. In his inaugural speech on January 20 initially projected with 200,000 guests but was scaled to about 1,000 due to the virus situation, Biden said: “Today we celebrate with a cause…, but the cause for democracy. Democracy has prevailed… we come as one nation under God to pave the transition of power… we have much to do, much to repair, much to restore, much to fix, much to heal… much to gain.” He put his soul in the cry for unity as what former President Abraham Lincoln did bringing Americans together during his administration. Biden’s 22-minute speech was interrupted 20 times applauding his vision to become the president for all Americans. “I understand there’s a lot of problems… but we can do this if we can open our souls and if just for a moment stand as one. My fellow Americans, we are going to need each other to persevere, put aside politics and act as one nation. We will get through this together… we will not only lead by example but by the power of our example.” As I See It, his administration is the era of hope, reconciliation and unity. I also would like to praise him when, towards the end of his speech, he requested for a silent prayer in honor of close to 400,000 Americans who lost their lives from COVID-19 and for those they left behind. Biden said: “I give you my word… that I will defend the constitution and would defend America and together we shall hope not to fear, love not hate and answer the call of history with purpose and resolve.” He ended his speech by saying: “Thank you America and may God bless our troops!” The inaugural speech of Biden was short but full of hope and meaning

to the American people. Some of those who attended Biden’s inauguration showing bipartisanship include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Former Vice President Dan Quayle; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts who administered the oath of office to Biden who was with his wife Dr. Jill Biden; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who administered the oath of office to Vice President Kamara Harris, 1st woman vice president and 1st black vice president who was with her husband 2nd Gentleman Douglas Craig Emhoff, an American lawyer; Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Sue Pence, an American schoolteacher and painter; 43rd President George Bush and wife Laura Bush; 44th president Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama; and former president Bill Clinton and wife Hilary Clinton. It was a well-orchestrated inauguration celebration with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, vicechair of the inaugural committee, as emcee; Lady Gaga singing the national anthem accompanied by the Marine Band; Jennifer Lopez singing “This Land is Your Land”; National Anthem by the Armed Forces Color Guards and Fire Captain Andrea Hall from Georgia leading the pledge of allegiance; opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Jeremiah Donnovan; Amazing Grace by Garth Brooks; youngest American poet Amanda Gorman reciting her moving poem that caught national attention; and the Benediction by Rev. Sylvester Beaman. The era of hope and unity has just begun! Reciting a verse in the American Anthem, Biden penultimately ended his speech by saying: “America, America, I give my best to you!” ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the U.S. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).



When the U.S. and Philippines Compete for Worst Crime against Democracy By Emil Guillermo


ho would have thought we’d see the day when the United States and the Philippines would actually be vying for number one in the category of “crimes against democracy?” Would it be the former colonizer or the former colonized? What’s worse? A president lying about stealing an election, or a president lying about human rights? The Philippines would seem to be the worst, just judging from the story you may have seen buried in American papers, The New York Times took note with this headline: “A Philippine Drug Raid Leaves 13 Dead.” For people following the Duterte government from afar, it’s all people need to know. The numbers keep growing— almost 8,000 now have been killed in Duterte’s war on drugs the last five years. The latest deaths in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, RP, involved a former village chief suspected of involvement in the drug trade. You know the dance from there. The police show up, perhaps to serve a warrant, but the suspects begin a shoot out, and police respond in self-defense. Instead of a simple arrest with the suspects facing the justice system, the Philippines is turned into the American Wild West. It’s a shootout of instantaneous justice especially if the bad guys die. But what if the good guys are really the bad guys, as would be the case in a democracy that is supposed to honor the rule of law. It’s the extrajudicial part of these actions, a fraction of the 8,000 deaths alleged to have occurred under the Duterte government. Last month, the International Criminal Court in the Hague said there was reason

to believe Philippines security forces have acted as the bad guys in the deaths thus far. The court will decide whether an investigation is warranted. The Philippines has withdrawn from the treaty establishing the court and thinks it’s in the clear. No need to find out the truth? Of course, not. But truth and justice are hard to come by these days even in the US. In the PR, 8,000 dead is bad. But in America, we’re talking about stealing an election from 350 million, then pillaging the Capitol. The former Colonizer has not been a good role model for the Philippines. Double Impeachment Attempt The House of Representatives has gone forward with the double impeachment of Donald J. Trump, but now there appears to be a snag. Some Republicans in both the House and the Senate are of the belief that if the president was a lame duck in the first part of January and then leaves office, what good does it do to pluck his feathers and have him for supper? The Republicans are all for unity! Just not accountability. Me, I’m a vegan. I want to see justice done. I say go over the videos of Jan. 6 when a right-wing mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, ransacked offices, and looked to lynch the vice president and the speaker of the house. The mob was incited by Trump at a rally minutes before the riot. We saw it all on television. We were witnesses to the crime that left five people dead. We saw it in real time. But Republicans have learned from Trump. They are denying the truth. Sarah Sanders, the former press secretary to Trump, has announced she’s running for governor of Arkansas, as Trumpy a state as it gets. She just wants to remind everyone that the Democrats are about socialism (they’re not), and cancel culture (if they were,

they forgot to cancel Sanders). She wants to ignore Jan. 6 and go after the good guys because the Democrats are ruled by left-wing radicals who must be stopped! Trumpism is the last line of defense, she believes. Wrongly. These are the rhetorical lines that you will hear in the coming days as Republicans attempt to fight the move to convict the impeached president. Republicans are willing to throw away the truth (that Trump was the worst president in modern history) in order to fight their real nemesis — Democrats in power who actually want to do things to heal the country. To convict the impeached Trump, Democrats will need 17 Republican votes in the Senate. That may be hard the further we get from Jan. 6 and Sanders’ kind of rhetoric only gets louder. Add to that new Trump surrogates, QAnon Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues to blather about conspiracy theories and includes the idea that the election was stolen from Trump. And now, you see the difficulty democracy has in the nation that birthed it. But we were all witnesses to a crime against the country on Jan. 6. We shouldn’t let politics spoil the truth. The Light of the Inaugural A month hasn’t even passed and already the hope generated from the inaugural is dimming. It shouldn’t. There’s still at least one big take away. The historical part. On Inaugural Day, Kamala Harris was the best Asian American among us. All day. Hooray. As an Asian American of Filipino descent with a sense of history, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her as she graced my screen adorned in purple, or was that royal blue? It all depended on the light. It was enough to drive me crazy, until I realized that’s how it is in America these days. We can all look at the

same thing and perceive it all so differently. We just need more light. It was great just to see the TV commentators struggle to identify Kamala: Black, South Asian, Asian American, From Oakland, California, Howard alum (no love for UC Hastings Law?), mother is an Indian immigrant, father from Jamaica. Oh, and let’s not forget, woman. She is the first woman to rise to veepness. Get all those in eloquently in first reference. People had practice during the campaign. And admittedly, Kamala has always been a bit coy, taking a page from Obama, by not making things about race. Unless she has to, and then she’s always ready to smash all assumptions. Like when vice presidential candidate Kamala staggered Joe Biden on busing in an early debate with the line, “That little girl was me.” But now she is his vice president–a snapshot of our diversity, the argument for the broadest coalition of forces that includes Asian roots near the top. And with a blended family? White husband, two stepchildren? Are you kidding me? I’ve always believed the answer to all our racial problems would come when we embraced diversity fully and showed a real love interest in one another. Disagree with Kamala as a politician all you want. She succeeds just by being. She’s the American metaphor as we strive for the more perfect union. Because let’s face it: in a 21st century America, a sea of all white men does not connote inclusion and unity. Yes, but my friends on the Left still wonder how the heck did we end up with this retread Biden? And Harris? Was she really a reformer as California’s attorney general? My friends on the Right who watch Fox News sent me a headline that said, “Joe Biden has been president for nine hours and 400,000 Americans are dead.” That’s slightly unreasonable, considering they were

casualties of the Trump Administration. It doesn’t take hours to notice how Biden and Harris are the antidotes to our post-Trumpatic-stress. In Biden’s first executive orders we saw an end to the Muslim travel ban; a strengthened DACA; a pause in deportations; the end of funding to that border wall nonsense; and the affirmation that all people count in the Census, even non-citizens. It’s we the people. All of us, remember? There are more good signs to come. A pathway to citizenship for 11 million people? The Statue of Liberty is dancing again. The sigh of relief from the millions of people of color impacted by it all could’ve been an inaugural hurricane. As the flag flies, the winds are blowing our way again. We needed the inaugural pomp to offset the anxiety of Jan. 6; 25,000 troops don’t get put into place because all is well in our democracy. And it worked. The forces of insurrection realized the shame of their racist, exclusionary, white supremacist ideas and mostly stayed hidden, festering somewhere. Mar-A-Lago? Many have already been arrested and charged. It’s hard to believe they desecrated the same halls that we saw on TV. I recalled walking those same halls and that stepped platform when I covered previous inaugurals. It was practically back to normal. And that’s a problem people outside of Washington can’t understand. The Ugly Truth of Politics This is the very thing people hate and detest about our political class. We hear them fight. But then we see them get along? They are even friends. That’s not the way it is in pro wrestling. There was Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who the previous week opposed certifying the election results. After Biden’s swearing in, McCar(continue on page 12)



Love That Overcomes By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


n 2014, I wrote my first article for Hawaii Filipino Chronicle entitled ‘Love is Worth It.’ My husband John Marc and I shared our experiences in preparing for our wedding in February of that same year. Seven years later and here I am, still writing and sharing my stories, and still loving my husband. In the past seven years of our marriage, so many things have happened and changed, but our love for each other has only grown deeper and our friendship become stronger. As time passes, we get to know each other better, exposing not just the good but also the not-so-good. The difference in mindsets, preferences, and upbringings affect the dynamics of our marriage causing tension, arguments and misunderstandings. When our children arrived, our energy and focus were drawn towards parenting. Spending time alone with each other, something which used to be easy has become

a challenge. The honeymoon stage is definitely over. But looking back, I can see the fingerprint of our Matchmaker in our marriage. We have seen how He has carried us through and sustained us by grace as we transition from one season to another. There are days I just can’t help but cry in overwhelming gratitude for His goodness in my life through my husband and our children. Our marriage is not a bed of roses, there are a lot of thorns that pierce us and need to be removed but we are a work in progress. Our union an imperfect one, but I believe it is a beautiful story worth telling to our children and our children’s children. This month, we celebrate our seventh year wedding anniversary. We have reached the what they call ‘seven-year itch.’ It is believed that happiness in marriage or a longterm romantic relationship declines after seven years. They say that it’s a time of turbulence and a potential point of reckoning. However, we are not threatened nor shaken. My husband and I have had countless arguments in

the last seven years, and we know there will be more heated conversations ahead of us. Things will get tougher. Times will become rougher. But together, we will brave every storm that will come our way. Our confidence is this, with God as the center and third strand of our marriage, we are stronger, steadfast, and unrelenting. We will overcome. Let me share with you a short letter to our children, aged 5 and 2, about their parents’ unwavering love. It is my prayer that this will bring encouragement and hope, not just to them, but to you who is reading this as you believe for love that will last. My beloved Callie and Yohan, Seven years ago, I said ‘yes’ to becoming your daddy’s wife before God and our loved ones. It was the happiest and the most beautiful day of my life. I’ve had many pursuits in my life but spending the rest of my life with your daddy was the greatest adven-

ture and the biggest step of faith I took. Up until to this very day and I am sure until I breathe my last, I will always be proud to carry your daddy’s name. I am eternally grateful to be his partner, confidante, cheerleader, worst critic and best friend. There are a lot of happy days, but you see, there are days that we dread too. We don’t always get along; we don’t always agree. There are days are house is filled with joy, there are days there’s deafening silence. Marriage is not and will never be perfect because it’s a covenant between two imperfect and very different people becoming one. Misunderstandings are unavoidable, disagreements are inevitable. But we will choose to always forgive, even if it’s difficult. We will choose to lay down our lives for each other, though it is truly hard. We will choose to love even if sometimes we don’t feel like it. You know why? Because we have been forgiven. Someone laid down His

life for us. We have experienced what it means to be truly loved. Therefore, we can give love, a love far greater than a fleeting emotion, but one that overcomes. He is our firm foundation; our love will never be shaken. And the best thing about this love is that you both have become the fruits, and you are precious and beautiful. You make this love more worth fighting for. Someday, you will have your own spouses and eventually build your families. It is my prayer that your daddy and I will make our marriage and our relationship worth emulating. It is my hope that our love story, despite and with all its imperfections, will be worth sharing to your children and their children and their children. Callie and Yohan, thank you for being our inspiration and our motivation to always choose love. Love, Mommy As we celebrate this beautiful month, I implore you to let love overcome! Happy Valentine’s everyone!

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: When the U.S.....from page 11)

thy was smiling and cordial, offering the new president and vice president gifts that didn’t include a dagger to the back. But that’s because democracy isn’t a Marvel comic book with heroes and villains. It’s real people acting with maturity and civility fitting of leaders. We haven’t had much of that in some time.

It’s the reason people say politics is “show business for ugly people.” They see the layer of fake wonky glam that covers up real intentions and declare it all duplicitous. And then beyond hair and makeup, we’ve had the last four years of lies. Two-facedness? How about more than 30,000 lies by one man alone? Trump didn’t like wearing

a mask—not for Covid—but maybe to him, his 30,000 lies were mask enough. It’s the reason Biden is the best leader for these times. He’s been hated and loved through the decades. But he’s also changed and evolved, mostly for the good. When I was a talk host in Washington, DC, during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings,

Biden was considered a villain. Not a Ted Cruz villain, mind you. Caught on camera lurking on the platform, Cruz is the man who led the charge in the Senate to block certification of the election. His was the “soft coup” that failed. He is the insurrectionists’ man. What should be his fate? Biden, a Catholic who started Inaugural day attending Mass, knows the virtue of loving one’s enemy. Maybe it takes the maturity of a 78-yearold. It’s not easy. But it’s the only way you get to that goal of love. That’s still the true object of politics, not the division and rancor of a zero-sum landscape of winners and losers. Biden’s speech tried to make the point with lines like: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.” Let’s also not forget that Biden is like the creamy white filling of a unique political cookie,

the flip side of both Obama and now Harris. If our country is in a political abyss, Biden knows the way out, and at least is tilting forward. But he’s in a bind when the right wants to restore Trumpism, and the left, hardly a socialist mob, is wary of Biden for being too centrist. It makes getting to the truth near impossible when we can’t even convict the man who incited a crime against his own government. Repeat after me: An insurrection is an insurrection is an insurrection. And doubly-impeachable. If the U.S. can’t get there, it’s hardly a model for the Philippines, let alone any part of the free world. EMIL​ GUILLERMO​ is a veteran journalist and commentator. He was a member of the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board. Listen to him on Apple Podcasts. Twitter @ emilamok.



What You Need to Know to Start Your Own Business in Hawaii By Thea Lautner


he last couple of months have been quite challenging for small businesses due to the ongoing health crisis. In fact, even programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act, which used to offer funding for struggling businesses, have dried up. But while it might still be a while before the world returns to normal, it’s important to start thinking of ways to regain your economic footing and ensure you’re prepared for the next crisis. Of course, one of the best ways to do this is by starting your own business. Starting a business is hard enough but doing right now is even more intimidating. However, the Financial Times

notes that the silver lining is being able to capitalize on current opportunities — especially as consumer attitudes and practices are changing and shifting towards supporting small and meaningful businesses. So how exactly can you start your own business in Hawaii? Here are a few things you need to know.

Understanding Customer Demand Before you even begin, you have to address one key question: who is your business for? Understanding your customer base will make or break your business. But again, consumer demands are changing so this is something you’ll need to keep in mind too. For example, COVID caused a huge decline in tourism in Hawaii. As such, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to start a restaurant, hotel, or other businesses

in the hospitality industry for the time being. Consider starting a business that primarily caters to people in your area, or perhaps the neighboring islands. Essential businesses have been thriving, with many cleaning businesses and food delivery services seeing more customers than ever before.

How to Get Started One of the first things you have to figure out when starting your business is its struture. This part can be a bit complicated, as you’ve got several options to choose from such as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, partnership or a corporation. Although you may think that a sole proprietorship may be the best option for a small business, an LLC structure might actually have more benefits for you in the long-term. Forming an LLC means

you will enjoy tax benefits, such as avoiding double taxation. Best of all, it creates a clear divide between your personal and business’ assets — which is important in case you run into any legal problems down the line. In addition, starting an LLC in Hawaii can also be quite easy, as many of the requirements and forms can be completed online. The first thing you need to do is pick a name for your business. Be sure to utilize the Hawaii Business Express website to check if the name you want is available. Then, appoint a registered local agent and file your Articles of Organization, which is what legitimizes your business in the state of Hawaii. The paperwork will also require you to name a registered local agent. While you can name yourself as the agent, it is important to understand that this entails making your

personal information public. Lastly, you need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). As mentioned, most steps can be done in just a few clicks online. Where to Get Support Unlike establishing your business, getting your business off the ground may prove to be more difficult. Luckily, there are several ways to get support in Hawaii. Organizations like The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii holds sponsor events across the different islands. This gives business owners both educational and networking opportunities. Aside from these events, The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii also has the Hawaii Business Pivot Grant, aimed at helping businesses adjust to the aftermath of the global pandemic. The grant can provide your business with up to $10,000, along with other forms of technical assistance to help your business navigate a post-pandemic world.


Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Releases Pulse of Business Survey Results By Jim Bea Sampaga


wo in three Hawaii businesses are experiencing severe declines in revenues, according to a recent survey by Hawaii Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Omnitrak. With the support of Central Pacific Bank Foundation, the “Pulse of Business” report surveyed more than 300 Chamber of Commerce members and it revealed that business average revenues fell to 45% from 2019 to 2020. Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii CEO, said that the survey presents valuable information that shows Hawaii’s “long road to recovery.” “This is not the time to place added burdens on our business community,” said Menor-McNamara. “Instead, we need to work together to find new solutions to keep our local businesses alive until we see a full eco-

nomic recovery from the effects of this pandemic.” Almost half of Hawaii businesses laid off workers due to the reduced revenues. One out of three workers were laid off in 2020. Neighboring islands had even higher numbers with five in nine employees laid off because of the lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also notes that “this number would have been higher if businesses had not received federal Paycheck Protection Program funds.” As the unemployment rate continues to rise, three in five Hawaii businesses shared they can’t afford to pay any additional unemployed insurance in 2021. 94% of respondents say they favor the unemployment tax relief. The pandemic greatly affected Hawaii’s tourism industry, impacting not only the local economy but also the number of employed residents on the islands.

Among the businesses surveyed, only 12% were in the tourism industry but respondents highlighted that “the drop in visitor arrivals as by far the single most important factor impacting employee cutbacks.” When asked about their future, respondents believe that their businesses and local economy have recovered by April 2022. Moreover, nine out of 10 businesses surveyed “expect to still be in business in the next six or 12 months,

and event out to the next two years.” The Chamber recommends that the government increases its efficiency and provide more financial relief to small businesses. The respondents also added that promoting buying local is “an essential part of Hawaii’s recovery.” So, what can the government do to help? The report outlines that assistance programs such as grants, and rent and lease for-

giveness are a great help to businesses. 79% of businesses also vote for the State Legislature’s plan to align the tax treatment of PPP funds with the IRS. But most importantly, strictly enforcing COVID-19 protocols and safety guidelines is a must. The survey notes that businesses would like “to see restriction lessened on businesses and highlighted the need to develop a strong testing program and a reformed quarantine program.” 



Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni



his is one of the “grafiction” that Carlo Vergara has created—a term he uses for graphic fiction, or for baby-boomers like me—comics. It has been a long time since I’ve devoured the works of Mars Ravelo and others when I saved my allowance to buy Filipino comics during the summers I spent in the province with my grandparents. That was when I was introduced to Darna, our very

own Wonder Woman, the iconic Pinay superhero. To some extent, this book deconstructs Darna and pokes fun-but also celebrates Filipino pop culture. A mysterious stone falls on Ada, our protagonist, granting her the ability to transform into Zsazsa Z, a superhuman with incredible powers and beauty. When not doing her super-heroine activities, Ada is the proprietor of his own quaint beauty salon, an out-of-the closet homosexual with an assistant named Didi and her super crush called Dodong. The stories

(WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: First, They....from page 7)

viewpoints with which they disagree. Trump directed that all executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and take all appropriate actions in this regard. The big tech social media hate President Trump for his efforts to repeal or limit the application of Section 230(c). Constitutional Provision on Free Speech Inapplicable to Social Media? The First Amendment to the Constitution provides:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” “The First Amendment is a constraint on the power of government. It doesn’t apply to Twitter. Twitter is not a state actor,” said Atty. Daphne Keller of Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center.

What Can Be Done Against Big Tech? The example of Poland is worth considering. Poland plans to fine any social media

revolve around Ada as Zsazsa as he/she defends her community from zombies, aliens and all those gruesome creatures. Needless to say, this book is for mature audiences. A recipient of a Manila Critics Circle National Book Award, television personality John Lapus notes that it elevated “kabaklaan” or the Filipino brand of homosexuality to a higher level and volunteered to play the role of Ada if this was translated into film! Perhaps converting this into anime—a full blown animation film that could be available in streaming plat-

forms like Netflix or Amazon Prime—is a better route. Not only will it highlight the incredible talents of the author in graphic arts and creative storytelling but will also be highly accessible to the Filipinos in the Diaspora who are

company that removes content or blocks accounts where Polish law has not been violated. The bill creates a Court for the Protection of Freedom of Speech. Victims of censorship can file a complaint in court. If the court rules in favor of the victim and the social media company does not restore the content or unblock the account, the company will be fined. Suggestions have been made to boycott the social media companies that restrict speech or boycott the advertisers that advertise on their platforms. People can create or support social media companies that are friendlier to conservatives and more liberal in applying freedom of speech

guarantees, such as the social network Parler. It became the Number 1 social media app after Twitter and Facebook barred President Trump. However, Google and Apple took out Parler from their app store so that people could no longer download Parler. Amazon removed Parler from its web-hosting service. Parler CEO John Matze criticized these actions as “a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace.” He said that Parler might have to build its own data centers and its own servers. Parler has come back with help from Russian-owned hosting service companies. “Our return is inevitable due to hard work and per-

hungry for content that depicts Filipino pop culture. A glance at the cover, one can easily discern the artistic talents of Carlo Vergara. The look of pure bliss on Zsazsa’s face is captured so well. In the last portions of the book, the author shares his notes in how he created the storyline and conceptualized the visual appearance of the characters. Four full-color posters are also inserted at the back of the book—all of them a visual treat. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@gmail.com.

sistence against all odds,” said Matze. ATTY. TIPON has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. His current practice focuses on immigration law and appellate criminal defense. He has written books and legal articles for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with son Noel, the senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon Law Firm. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He co-authored the best-seller “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Tel. (808) 800-7856. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Websites: https:// www.tiponlaw.com.


HI Attorney General Joins Bipartisan Coalition The coalition disapproves to Protect Homeowners with the inadequacy of the mon-


awaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors joined a bipartisan of 33 attorneys general in opposing a proposed class action settlement that prohibits a mortgage servicer to profit from illegal payment processing fees charged to nearly one million homeowners paying their mortgage online or by phone. The coalition opposes a proposed settlement wherein mortgage servicer PHH Mortgage Corporation and its predecessor corporation, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC to be able to con-

tinue to profit from illegal processing fees the company has been charging to homeowners. Over the yers, PHH has charged homeowners an illegal fee ranging from $7.50 to $17.50. The illegal fee is charged each time a homeowner made a monthly mortgage payment online or by phone. There is nothing on the homeowner’s mortgage contracts that allows such fees. Moreover, customers paying via check or automatic debit payments are changed by the illegal fee.

etary relief as the proposed settlement is planned to ensure that a portion of the monetary relief for the homeowners will still end up in PHH’s hands. “The proposed class action settlement is unconscionable because it allows a bad actor to continue acting badly,” said Attorney General Connors. “Moreover, it does little to make whole the homeowners who have been harmed by these illegal fees and does not present an acceptable resolution for impacted Hawaii residents.” 


COMMUNITY CALENDAR SAVOR FILIPINO SUMMIT-HAWAII | Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu; Filipino Food Movement | February 8, 2021 (1:00 – 4:00PM) | A virtual summit to support Filipino cuisine in the food industry. Register for free at filipinofoodmovement.org.

PINOY FOOD STORIES: EVOLUTION OF PHIL- - 5:30PM) and February 13 to March 13, 2021 (SatIPPINE CUISINE | The Mama Sita Foundation; urdays, 9:00 - 11:30AM) | A free online short course University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for Philippine Studies; Consulate General in Honolulu | February 12 to March 12, 2021 (Fridays, 3:00

hosted on Zoom. Link will be sent 48 hours before the session day. Contact Pia Arboleda, pca62@hawaii.edu and/or mkpsauhm@gmail.com for more details.

(OPEN FORUM: Surviving Disasters....from page 6)

However, how do we serve those in distress? Sheri Fink suggests: “If you ever face a significant disaster, do your best to keep up the spirits of those around you, act flexibly and creatively to help, try to sort rumors from the truth, and remember that the decisions you make will have repercussions after the disaster has passed.” Rightly so because as Natalia Ginzburg posits: “Today as never before, the fates of men are so intimately linked to one another that a disaster for one is a disaster for everybody.” Ironically, calamities can bring out the best in us. Posits Daisaku Ikeda: “There are no greater treasures than the highest human qualities such as compassion, courage and hope. Not even tragic accident or disaster can destroy such treasures of the heart.” However, E.A. Bucchianeri in Brushstrokes of a Gadfly interjects: “It’s a shame there has to be a tragedy before the best in people will finally shine.” When the dust settles, life moves inexorably on. Confronted with the ever-present likelihood of disasters, we must equip ourselves with knowledge and preparation. Petra Nemco-

va correctly notes: “We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.” On the positive impact of knowledge, Avery Brooks explains: “Knowledge is going to make you stronger. Knowledge is going to let you control your life. Knowledge is going to give you the wisdom to teach their children. Knowledge is the thing that makes you smile in the face of disaster.” Expounds Ray Mears: “Knowledge is the key to survival, the real beauty of that is that it doesn’t weigh anything.” Concurs Mors Kochanski: “The more you know, the less you have to carry. The less you know, the more you have to carry.” Aside from knowledge, preparedness is essential to disaster survival. “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have,” admonishes Franz Kafka. Along the same vein, Stephen King in Different Seasons proposes: “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”

By preparing, we minimize damages. Says Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” Preparedness helps in avoiding despair. As Don Williams, Jr. avers: “Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness.” Being prepared likewise tempers the bane of unpredictability. Robert A. Heinlein recommends: “Circumstances can force your hand. So think ahead!” Consistent with Heinlein’s message, Theodore Roosevelt advises: “Make preparations in advance--you never have trouble if you are prepared for it.” Proverbs 27:12 echoes Roosevelt’s advice, thus: “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Benjamin Franklin, for his part, pursues the same theme and cautions: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” We must remember, though, that preparedness is not a one-shot deal. Instead, Spencer W. Kimball prescribes: “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life,

KROSWORD ni Carlito Lalicon

not a sudden, spectacular program.” Lastly, to survive, we must remain hopeful, for as Hal Lindsey argues: “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.” DR. FREDDIE RABELAS OBLIGACION, a sociology professor, is an alumnus of The Ohio State University-Columbus (Ph.D., MA Sociology; Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Delta) and the University of the Philippines-Diliman (MBA Honors, BS Psychology, magna cum laude). (Solution to Crossword No. 1 | Jan. 23, 2021)


Blg. 2


33. Alsado 1. Kapital ng Davao del Norte 37. Bosing 6. Lalagyan ng gamit o pagkain 38. Ataud 40. Bagwis ng mga mangingisda 15. Isang uri ng matigas na 41. Gitla 43. Yunit ng timbang o bigat punongkahoy 44. Kombulsiyon 16. Insinwahin 45. Huwego ng mga 17. Kapital ng Belarus kasangkapan kagamitan o 18. Mapahamak iba pa 19. Iniakma 47. Andal 21. Koleksyon 49. Papag-anakin 22. Kapital ng Samoa 53. Negatib 24. Nakatingin sa itaas 54. Biglang sunggab 25. Ipagsakdal 56. Baguhan 63. Kabala 29. “Totoo ba?” 60. Daluhan 64. Abarisyosa 30. Kupi 62. Katarata 65. Suplemento 31. Kulintang


1. Piksi 2. Maputing elementong natatagpuan sa tubig- dagat 3. Apetito 4. Bansot 5. Isang uri ng prutas 6. Yero 7. Opisyo 8. Bagay 9. Ang pumatay (nakamatay)

10. Isang uri ng punongkahoy 11. Tahanan 12. Madre-perla 13. Atungal 14. Palandangan 20. Pagpapalabas ng uhog sa ilong 23. Popular na ulam 25. Kilit 26. Amol 27. Era


I am offering 25$ per Hour for 4-5 hours daily for a Dementia Father. Applicants should email their Resume and Reference (talk2amanda75@gmail.com) 66. Laka

49. Saka 28. Aniya 50. Karga 32. Hatid-dumapit 51. Kaibigang babae 34. Piyo 52. Bagaman 35. Kasuutan ng pari 55. Papa kung nagmimisa 57. Tanduay, e.g. 36. Laan 58. Pinakamataas na 38. Karubduban bahagi ng kastilyo o 39. Amin palasyo 42. Hanglay 59. Karangalan 44. Pantay 61. Bahagi ng mukha 46. Lunar 48. Impit (Solution will be on the next issue of the Chronicle)

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