Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - April 17, 2021

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APRIL 17, 2021



A Spending Spree, Really?

Asian American Filipinos United Against Hate


APRNs in Hawaii Now Authorized to Provide Abortion Services


Tips for Parents on Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic



Thank You, Simeon Acoba, Jr. for Your Exemplary Work and for Being A Role Model


imeon R. Acoba, Jr. is one of those rare iconic individuals in our Filipino community who has influenced generations to enter law. Acoba is to the legal profession as what former Ben Cayetano was to Hawaii politics. Of course, both are very different individuals, but as a legal trailblazer, Acoba has reached the pinnacle in his field and is widely known even outside of the legal world. Acoba has achieved just about every legal experience and title during his long, illustrious career. As an attorney he has held top positions in both public law and the private sector, and in academia. He’s run the full gamut taking on cases and argued in criminal, civil and family court at both the state and federal courts. In 2000, Acoba became the third Filipino-American in the history since statehood to serve in Hawaii’s State Supreme Court. Before him, Benjamin Menor and Mario Ramil were associate justices in the highest court in the state. Since Acoba, there hasn’t been a Filipino on that court. Supreme Court judges are nominated by a Hawaii governor and confirmed by the State Senate. Hawaii Supreme Court judges are appointed to serve 10 years. Acoba (nominated by former Gov. Ben Cayetano) served a second ten-year term (retained by the Judicial Selection Commission) that recently concluded in May 2020. But his official retirement date from the High Court is in 2014. Prior to Acoba’s tenure at Hawaii’s Supreme Court, he served as a judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii. Since his official retirement from the Supreme Court, he’s taken on various positions including going back to his alma mater to serve two-terms as a member of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. His second terms expires in 2022. He’s also a lecturer at the UH William S. Richardson School of law and is giving back to the community with his new scholarship (preference to public high school graduates) for the university’s law school. Acoba received his undergraduate from UH Manoa, but got his juris doctorate from Northwestern University School of Law. He also has the high distinction of being former president of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Perhaps what’s most inspiring of Acoba is his ascent from humble beginnings. His parents were immigrants. He grew up in Kalihi and went to the public schools in that district – Dole Intermediate and Farrington High School. ‘ Acoba made the best of his public school education as a good student and active leader in student government. In his senior year, he was class president. That same formula of success would be replicated at UH-Manoa -- achieve good grades and be active in student government. While at UH, he served as vice president of the Associated Students of University of Hawaii (ASUH). While Filipinos have made tremendous progress in many areas (including in the legal profession), at the time Acoba was a student it was rare for Filipinos to choose a career in law. In fact, just being a student at UH-Manoa was a special accomplishment for Filipinos during the 1960s. The professional wave of Filipino immigrants came in the 1970s. Their children would show up at UH-Manoa in greater (continue on page 3)



lmost everyone with deep roots in Hawaii’s legal profession knows of Simeon Acoba, Jr.’s work. He’s a who’s who in the local legal community as a former associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court and former president of the Hawaii State Bar Association. To our Filipino community, he’s practically an iconic personality that recent generations of Filipino lawyers have looked up to. He’s that Filipino trailblazer, lauded for his lifetime’s body of work. But he’s also that relatable face that looks very much like your father or uncle and shares much of our family and cultural values. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Dennis Galolo writes an excellent mini-biography of the life and times of Acoba, from his upbringing in Kalihi to his years at the University of Hawaii Manoa as a student and vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH). Not many people know this, but Acoba led efforts to bring Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at the campus. There are many other not-too-known details included in the cover story, as well as all the highly regarded positions Acoba has held up to his current work as member of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. To supplement the cover story, we also have a Q&A with the former associate justice who addresses a few topics: the current composition of the US Supreme Court and this idea of “packing” or boosting numbers motivated by politics, immigration, and “de-funding” (actually a politically biased term) the police. Thank you, Justice Acoba, for your years of public service and for being an outstanding role model for Hawaii’s youth. Also in this issue, HFC editorial assistant and HFC web manager Jim Bea Sampaga gives us a feature on FilAm musician Abe Lagrimas, Jr. who just released last month his latest album “Beyond Words.” If you love music by local artists (Abe grew up in Waipahu) and love jazz ukulele, you’ll find this feature interesting and want to get his album. Regardless of what style his music is, Lagrimas said: “whether it’s pop cover, my original music or jazz standards, I strive to always put 100% of myself out there.” HFC columnist Emil Guillermo contributes “Asian American Filipinos United Against Hate?” In it, he describes the horrific and brutal attack of 65-year old Filipina Vilma Kar who at the time was walking on her way to church Easter Monday of Holy Week in New York City. The beating is even more hurtful that there were witnesses to the crime of this “elderly woman,” but these witnesses did not find it in their heart to intervene. The Vilma hate crime is a part of a wave of Asian-American abuse, harassment, violence and killing. Be sure to read our other interesting columns and informative news, including Gov. David Ige’s recent signing of House Bill 576 (Equal Access to Abortion Act ) into law that expands access by allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to provide abortion services in the first trimester of pregnancy. Previously, only physicians were allowed to provide abortion. Lastly, with some COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, we’d like to hear about some community events that Filipino organizations have planned (via zoom or small gatherings keeping within safety guidelines). Be sure to send your press releases at least three weeks in advance. Thank you for supporting your community newspaper. Remember to visit our web page for the latest and back issues of the Chronicle. Until the 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



Biden’s Infrastructure Bill is the Kind of Boost Our Nation Needs


resident Joe B i d e n ’s   d e cades-long experience in Washington DC is paying off, at least when it comes to his latest creation the Build Back Better Plan otherwise packaged as the “Infrastructure” bill. First, Biden recognizes the time frame for a president to get anything major done is short. Realistically, without a same-party majority in both chambers of Congress – that time frame is next to zero. In Biden’s case with same-party backing (Dems control both House and Senate) -- however slim – that time for maximum influence is one or two years. Waiting past the midterm (2022) is a gamble. A majority flip in any congressional chamber cripples any president to sitting duck status, immediately. This is political reality. Second, Biden knows the Democrat party is a colossal tent with many factions that he must accommodate. The Democratic party is a far bigger donkey than elephant, contrary to what elections show. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College and the twosenators-per-state allocation, the Republican party would have been a relic in “national” politics for decades, precisely since the end term of the first Bush president. The Dem party’s size means more people to please, more work to get done.

Infrastructure bill is much more than what you think So experience tells Biden (remember he’s been at the Capitol since 1973) in the super condensed time frame and the fact that bipartisanism rarely exists (thanks to Mitch McConnell) that the next major bill must be loaded. What this means in concrete terms (especially after 2021 COVID relief bill that passed by the slimmest of margins) is that Biden’s next major priority bill, this “Infrastructure” bill, must include far more than just building bridges and roads. He must craft and work in magically in that infrastructure bill elements to please both establishment and progressive DEMS (again, a majority of Americans by far). And the tag “Infrastructure” must go well beyond the “traditional” definition as far as Washington DC is accustomed to. But in all fairness, today’s Capitol hasn’t been operating traditionally for decades, anyway. So that argument can be flushed down the drain as soon as it leaves McConnell or Kevin McCarthy’s lips. Actually, a traditional infrastructure bill (that Donald Trump didn’t prioritize, nor lobbied to get done) would have been a disastrous underachievement for Biden and for Americans who desperately need much more. A strict infrastructure “only” bill should be a slam dunk, bipartisan effort reserved for the second half of

What’s in the bill? Americans must look at the “Infrastructure” bill more like building a new economy. It’s an ambitious investment that could cost trillions. The bill is partly as it is called,

“building and updating physical infrastructures” in the form of highways, roads, bridges, federal buildings, airports, ports, transportation modes, = public schools, hospitals, VA facilities, public housing, etc. All of these are necessary as America’s modern infrastructure are being quickly surpassed by other countries more willing to make these investments. Where the expansion part comes in is there are also plans to make major investments in clean energy, rebuilding clean drinking water infrastructure (replacing all lead pipes), upgrading wastewater (sewage) and stormwater systems, renewing a better electric grid (remember the recent devastation in Texas), expanding high-speed broadband (digital infrastructure) which will throw the door wide open for all kinds of new jobs, good quality new jobs. Then there are also seemingly “non infrastructure” provisions that will provide funds for child care, elder care, even family tax credits. All three of them are specifically related to and help with our nation’s

Clearly, Filipinos as a community, can do better and should be encouraged to become lawyers when possible, considering how legal issues carry tremendous weight in society and influence so many other areas of Hawaii life from immigration, family matters, civil rights, public policy and business-corporate dealings. It’s also important that our community can find an attorney whom they can relate to and trust with their most personal and

life-changing legal affairs. And sometimes, ethnicity can be that bridge. A big mahalo to Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. for being an exemplary role model and trailblazer for our community and youth. Your success shows how hard work and perseverance can lead to great accomplishments. Based off comments from your colleagues while as a judge, what’s also admirable is you’ve been fair and compassionate, along the way. Thank you also for giving

back to Hawaii’s community with your scholarship, mentoring of law students and new attorneys, and coordinating efforts that help to make legal services more affordable to the underprivileged. It’s said that while you were a student in the 1960s you were inspired by civil rights leaders and a need for greater racial justice and equality. Your body of work and life story speak volumes toward that ongoing struggle. That perhaps, is at least, one Simeon Acoba, Jr. legacy.

a presidency or launched in a second term, much like perhaps Trump had planned and could have succeeded, but lost. A strict infrastructure “only” bill at this specific time in Biden’s presidency would have also been a weak jobs creator that benefits only the existing “haves” -- the same construction companies, engineers, architects and those already employed in the industry of building. It would hardly be an expansion of new markets, just a fattening of old markets. Working and middle-class Americans need action far more dramatic and impactful in this short two-year window, similar to how Trump and Republicans delivered on their “super dramatic” corporate tax cuts for their base during their short two-years triple power alignment.

(EDITORIALS: Thank You....from page 2)

numbers from the 1980s and onward. But until today, Filipinos are still underrepresented at UH-Manoa based on our community’s population. In the law profession, while their numbers are climbing, again, Filipinos are still underrepresented. When it comes to Hawaii judges, the numbers are even more dismal. In 2019, only 8 of the 81 state judges were of Filipino ancestry. It’s estimated that Filipino lawyers in the last generation comprised under 5 percent.

workforce. Again, it’s like building the infrastructure of the jobs-workforce. There are provisions to revitalize manufacturing and small businesses (via incubators and innovation hubs) and to establish workforce development. There are other significant features but the bill is fluid. The hefty price tag will also require a longer period to deliberate, perhaps months. The goal would be to pass the bill in bipartisan fashion without reconciliation (not pulling the filibuster lever). But if neither reconciliation or bipartisanship will work, the bill could be broken into parts, likely two major parts. Right now, Biden and DEMS are in the public relations (and crafting) phase, a critical part of legislation-making, especially for a bill of this magnitude and cost. They are also trying to get Republicans on board. The main takeaway at this juncture and a winning argument is it’s insufficient to have as a goal to get back to a pre-COVID economy. The pandemic exposed weaknesses we’re all too aware of. There must be bold changes and investment in infrastructure, jobs, and workforce development support. This bill should be supported by both Democrats and Republicans. It’s the kind of investment our nation needs.



The Life and Times of Simeon Acoba: Retired State Supreme Court Justice and Current UH Regent By Dennis Galolo


idespread violence. Political upheaval. Racism. Massive street protests. Economic hardships. And a nation deeply divided. That in a nutshell was America in the waning months of the Trump administration. Life was much the same during the 1960s, particularly the latter part of the decade. This turbulent period saw political assassinations and nationwide protests against the treatment of Blacks and Early Life The son of immigrant parents who grew up on sugar plantations in Waialua and Kauai, Acoba lived on Kalihi Street in lower Kalihi Valley with families from different ethnic backgrounds. As a youngster during the 1950s, Acoba attended Dole Intermediate and played as an outfielder and pitcher for the Puuhale Pirates, a Police Activities League (PAL) youth baseball team, with teammate and childhood friend Rodney Mukai. “We were typical teenagers who played baseball and were active members in a YMCA club called the Gents,” Mukai says. Sports was a good way to meet girls, so teenage males typically joined church sports leagues but for Acoba, church and related activities were more than just a passing fancy. He attended Aldersgate United Methodist Church at the corner of Liliha and Vineyard which has long been a supportive home and community for many Filipino families. “The church was a large part of our family upbringing during my youth,” he says. “Sunday school and services were a regular part of our weekends and faith was very important to my parents. I believe the church helped to form some of the core of my moral beliefs.”

minorities—not to mention an unpopular war in Vietnam that added to the social upheaval of the time. Hawaii experienced its share of protests, particularly at the University of Hawaii, but for most local residents, the events captured by television news cameras seemed a million miles away. Nevertheless, the 1960s forever changed the nation and influenced the youth of that generation, including a young Filipino from Kalihi named Simeon R. Acoba, Jr.

The Farrington Way Acoba excelled at Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High School. Mukai described him as a student who was “well-read, smart and a good writer.” He served as president of the senior class which had well over 900 students. Despite the large size, Acoba says everyone knew each other and got along. Athletic teams excelled, the band was known for its public performances, the school newspaper was topnotch and student government was active. Even the theatre club thrived, thanks to the new auditorium on campus. “It was a vibrant campus with a great deal of spirit and pride,” Acoba says. “We strived to follow ‘the Farrington Way’– taking pride in yourself and in your community and doing what was right.” Acoba says today’s students are much more technologically-advanced compared to his time, when print media and face-to-face communication were in use instead of social media and electronic devices. Students of the 1960s also did not have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic which led to distance learning and even less social contact. University of Hawaii After high school graduation in 1962, Acoba at-

tended the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he was active in student government and served as vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH). The winds of political change were beginning to blow on the Manoa campus, and Acoba supported calls for racial justice and equality. As a young political science major and chair of the Civil Rights Committee, Acoba led efforts to bring Martin Luther King Jr. to campus during Civil Rights Week to a symposium with segregationist and White Citizens Council leader William James Simmons. King wasn’t the only big fish invited to campus. Mukai, who was a fellow ASUH senator, says that Acoba was instrumental in getting James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and John Ali, national secretary of the Nation of Islam to attend. Both men were larger-thanlife figures during the civil rights era of the 1960s. “There certainly was awe that UH students were able to bring these individuals to the UH campus,” Mukai says. On February 19, 1964, King delivered his speech “Progress Toward Desegregation” at Andrews Amphitheatre to a standing room only crowd of 10,000 that spilled out onto the lawn. In the days

Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. Retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice/ UH Board of Regents member

that followed, a number of community groups hosted King for special events and engagements.

Law Career After graduating from law school in 1969, Acoba was appointed by State Chief Justice William Richardson to serve as his judicial clerk. He did legal research and writing to assist the Chief Justice’s decisions on court cases. Unbeknownst to the future Supreme Court Justice, the seeds of greatness were being sown as Acoba learned how to work with judges and to be a part of the court system. Having lived through the 1960s, the legal system for Acoba exemplified a rational and orderly way to achieve resolution of conflicts and serving as a judicial clerk seemed the most direct way to observe the legal system in operation. In the years that followed, Acoba served in a number of capacities, including special assistant to UH President Harlan Cleveland, State Deputy Attorney General, private attorney on special contract with the Attorney General’s Office in the areas of public utilities and occupational and health, the State House of Representatives Majority Research Office, and as an adjunct professor at the UH

law school. He gained invaluable experience working in the executive branch of government and in specialized areas like public utilities law and safety regulations for workers. The State House gave him experience in drafting laws and legislative reports, while teaching increased his appreciation for the study of law. Acoba also spent a number of years in private practice. Interestingly enough, he once shared office space with Ben Cayetano. “We shared a common background of being Filipino, growing up in Kalihi, attending Farrington High School and being part of the small group of Filipino attorneys in Hawaii at that time,” Acoba says. “As our practices progressed, we took separate paths. Ben was a successful lawyer who also entered politics and was destined to become Governor. I ended up in the Judiciary. I have the utmost respect for his integrity and courage and am happy to know him as a friend.” In private practice, Acoba was engaged in criminal, civil and family court, state and federal court, transactional matters involving wills, deeds, business organizations and contracts, as well as trials and appeals. (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (The Life and Times....from page 4)

One of his first cases in private practice involved a young woman who was arrested for shoplifting. Because of her age and lack of a criminal record, she possibly qualified for a “deferred acceptance of guilty plea” which allowed for a dismissal of a minor charge after a period of good behavior. Back then there was no uniform process that applied to all cases, so it was left to individual judges to determine who should be granted such deferrals. Acoba’s client was denied the deferral so he appealed to the State Supreme Court which ruled that judges must consider the merits of a deferred plea based on the circumstances of the individual. “After that decision, deferred pleas became an accepted and widespread sentencing alternative by the courts,” Acoba said. “The Legislature later adopted a statute setting forth the offenses and conditions which would be covered by deferred pleas which exists until today.”

As Judge and Justice In 1979, he was appointed to the District Court and to Circuit Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals in 1980 and 1992, respectively. The experience he gained from the wide variety of cases earlier in his career proved invaluable as he encountered all types of cases in criminal, civil, and family law. While on the bench, Acoba gained a reputation for integrity, fairness and compassion. His colleagues were aware of his deep knowledge of and commitment to the Constitution and protection of individual rights. Attorney Howard Luke never met Acoba despite both men having entered UH as freshmen in the Fall Semester of 1962. Luke kept hearing from those who knew Acoba that he was an outstanding student and student leader. He finally met Acoba in Circuit Court in 1981 and came away very impressed. “Justice Acoba was the foremost legal scholar and the best writer of all the judges presiding in the Circuit Court,” says Luke, who was

former president of the Hawaii State Bar Association. “Beyond his mastery of legal precedent and the rules of evidence and procedure, he demonstrated very sound judgment and great judicial temperament, being respectful to all counsel appearing in his court and the parties whom they represented.” In 2000, Acoba was appointed by Gov. Cayetano to the State Supreme Court and confirmed by Senate. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the State and has the responsibility for fairness, equity and impartiality in the judicial system as a whole. “In my mind, there could be no more challenging but at the same time satisfying work in the legal system than serving as a judge and justice,” says Acoba who retired in 2014.

Board of Regents Acoba’s focus shifted to the UH campus where it all started back in the 1960s. He applied as a member of the Board of Regents, a position he was ideally suited for considering his deep ties to the University, prior work in student government and with the UH administration and the UH president, and his knowledge of public laws that affect the school. Numerous individuals testified on his behalf, including attorney Dennis Potts, who has known Acoba for over 40 years. “Justice Acoba is a man of unsurpassed integrity and top notch intellect who will always make the welfare of the State of Hawaii, and specifically the University of Hawaii, his top priority regardless of what extraneous or political issues may be involved,” Potts said in written testimony. He was confirmed in 2014 and reconfirmed in 2017. Among his priorities are meeting three major challenges facing the University—maintenance and repair of campus facilities, making the University as self-sustaining as possible, and the long term declining student enrollment.

Childhood friend Mukai says Acoba has never forgotten his roots. “His core values of trust, fairness, integrity and friendship have not wavered during the many years I’ve known him,” Mukai says. “I’m especially proud that my friend and classmate is still willing and able to serve the University, our community and the Hawaii that we all love.”

A Look Back Acoba’s successful career in public service is an inspiration to many young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Filipinos in particular, are the second largest ethnic group in Hawaii but comprise only 13 percent of all students in the UH system. This underrepresentation is true even at the highest judicial levels where in 2019 only 8 of the 81 state judges in Hawaii were of Filipino ancestry. Acoba estimates that over the last decade, Filipinos constituted only 2 to 4 percent of the total number of lawyers in Hawaii. He hopes more Filipinos will enter the legal field, particularly since judges and lawyers play a significant role in social justice. “In a democracy, racial diversity has the advantage of bringing different perspectives and experiences to bear on legal issues, and also a diverse court may be viewed as more representative of society,” Acoba says. In 2008, Acoba founded and served as first chair of the Hawaii Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, in which lawyers volunteer their services to members of the public who cannot afford the high cost of legal services. Due largely to Acoba’s efforts, the doors to legal services have been opened to those who were historically left out. A few years later, Acoba and his wife Carolyn generously en-

Q & A with Hon. Simeon Acoba Q: Does the U.S. Supreme Court’s decidedly conservative edge affect minorities, including the Filipino community, in any way? A: Principles of equal treatment and due process are fundamental to our form of government under the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. The diminution of these principles would be harmful to the survival of our democracy and the protection of all minorities, including Filipinos. Although there have been exceptions, the justices of the U. S. Supreme Court may hold views similar to those who appointed them and to those who confirmed their appointments. Thus, the outcome of elections in the other two branches of government would tend to have an impact on who is selected as a justice since the President appoints justices and the Senate confirms the appointments. Over time court decisions may tend to reflect the dominant view of the majority of sitting justices. Since the terms of the justices are for life, their influence may extend far into the future. Once a decision is made it will usually remain in effect unless and until it is altered by the court. That is why it is crucial that the U. S. Supreme Court decisions adhere to fair and equal treatment and afford due process for all peoples. Sometimes forgotten is that more cases are filed in state court than in federal court. In a state case, the state supreme court could render a decision under its state constitution’s Bill of Rights on, for example, whether equal treatment and due process were denied to an individual. The state supreme court may extend broader rights to individuals under the state constitution’s Bill of Rights than afforded under the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights by the U.S. Supreme Court, in similar situations, as long as the state decision does not violate federal law. The state decision would be effective only within that state. (continue on page 6)

dowed a new scholarship for the UH William S. Richardson School of Law with preference to a deserving student from a public high school. For his many accomplishments, Acoba received the prestigious Opperman Award from the American Judicature Society in 2013 and the UH Founders Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award from the UH

Alumni Association in 2015. When asked what legacy he wants to leave behind for future generations, he said history will ultimately decide. “Your legacy is something others will confer on you,” he says. “The best you can do is to be true to your beliefs, keep your commitments, respect others, and be tolerant.”



A Spending Spree, Really? By Keli’i Akina


magine you have a cousin who is having problems with debt. He keeps telling everyone in your family that he really needs $1,000 or he won’t be able to get through the year. As a gesture of understanding, you give your cousin $900. Later, you learn that he had a little luck with an unexpected job and made an extra $400. So, you figure he should be able to get out of the red and put a little aside for future expenses. A week later, however, you learn that he took your gift and his windfall and instead of paying off all his debts, he bought a new TV. That’s exactly what our legislators just did. Only, unlike your cousin, they didn’t even bring over a box of malasadas as a “thank you” gift. In the case of our legisla-

dent path. They could have continued to cut spending, used their twin windfalls to help address the mountain of state debt that has been accumulating for years, and basically put the state’s budget house in order. What they did, however, was the equivalent of your cousin spending his lucky money on a new TV. Rather than paying off debts and planning for the future, state House members voted 51-0 to go on a spending spree. If approved by the Senate and the governor, their spending bill will increase state spending for fiscal 2022 by 7.7% to a record-high $16.8 billion. That includes a 6.5% increase in state general fund spending to a record-high $8.2 billion. While the House did spend $740 million of its federal funds on unemployment debt and $314 million on debt service, it made no move to address the state’s billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.

Instead of reversing the governor’s decision to skip mandated payments to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, the House continued to kick that can down the road, ensuring that the $2 billion saved now will end up costing taxpayers $8 billion in the end. The state is also still carrying most of the debt incurred in December when the governor borrowed $750 million to cover the state payroll. In short, despite the generous influx of money, Hawaii is drowning in debt. For a brief moment, it looked as though we might have learned our lesson and planned for the future. For a few weeks early in the year, legislators demonstrated that they knew how to cut spending. Then they got the windfalls and common sense went out the window. It’s not too late for law-

preme Court justices? A: “Packing” or adding members to the court to alter the current majority vote, may prove to be self-defeating. This approach may only encourage those opposing the increase to do the same thing when they are in power, further expanding the size of the court. It has not been shown that increasing the number of justices would increase the quality of decisions. However, limiting the terms of the court memQ: Do you agree or disagree bers may restore a balance with “packing” or increas- of views to the court, espeing the numbers of U.S. Su- cially if the appointments were properly staggered. Periodically replacing longer serving members with new members of the court may revitalize the justices’ deliberations. Further, long entrenched governmental power may not be beneficial for society. A judicial term that is less than the life term presently in effect should be sufficient to ensure that the justices would not be influ-

enced by external influences in arriving at their decisions. The substantial obstacle to this course, however, is that a constitutional amendment would be required to institute limited terms.

tors, they were facing a bad financial situation when the 2021 Legislature convened in January. The COVID-19 lockdowns, in place since last March, had decimated Hawaii’s unemployment fund, tax revenues were well below what was needed and real spending cuts were being considered. State employees were facing furloughs, and the big question was whether legislators would increase taxes in an effort to cover some of the shortfall. Then there was a small lift in the economy. The state Council on Revenues adjusted its tax-revenues forecast upward by $893 million, enough to ease some of our most pressing concerns. Next, state lawmakers were given $1.6 billion in federal aid to help address its budgetary shortfall, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. With both these new funds, Hawaii’s legislators could have chosen the pru-

makers to practice sound budgeting. Instead of setting new spending records, Hawaii lawmakers can focus on longterm solutions. They need to follow the example of so many local families and tighten their belts to help us get through the hard times. Paying down the debt, including the mandatory EUTF payments, should be a top priority. If our lawmakers want to generate more revenues, they should focus on growing our economy rather than depending on more bailouts. After all, you wouldn’t give your cousin any more money after you saw his new TV, would you? E hana kākou! (Let’s work together!)

KELI’I AKINA is the president of Grass-

root Institute of Hawaii.

(Q & A with Hon. Simeon Acoba....from page 5)

Q: Under former President Trump, it was more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they used public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. How do you feel about such regulations? A: I am unfamiliar with the regulations. The need for immigration lawyers in Hawaii, I believe, is great. The number of private attorneys in immigration practice seems inadequate, although the UH Richardson School of Law has made efforts to meet this need through a legal clinic, and there are

non-profit organizations that have attempted to provide assistance to immigrants. Conceivably, a permanent, independent agency that is adequately staffed and resourced (likely by the government since it would have the capability of maintaining such an entity) to provide legal assistance to immigrants would be helpful. A substantial political effort would probably be necessary to bring this about.

Q: What is your personal stance on de-funding the police as more jurisdictions are now doing? A: “De-funding” is probably a term that is subject to different meanings depending on the views of the particular individual or entity advocating for or attacking the concept. It can be viewed as emphasizing that more government funds need to be devoted to alleviating the social conditions that give rise to confrontations between individuals and the police. It may be viewed as advocating for changes in police conduct and procedures that seem to disproportionately lead to serious injury or death. It may be viewed as actually

reducing the police force, apparently on the premise that there would then be less contact between police and certain communities. But the root causes of conflict are deeper than a funding question. More to the point, there are probably multiple factors involved in untoward contacts between individuals and the police. For example, stops and detentions of persons on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion” without more may sometimes engender stops that fall short of that minimal requirement for official contact. Also, as another example, social and legal studies have identified “implicit bias”—bias that a person may not be conscious of—in various settings, including in the legal system where such bias may affect the administration of the law. Matters like these are at the crux of conflicts and would need to be resolved. 



APRNs in Hawaii Now Authorized to Provide Abortion Services


ov. David Ige signed into law April 12, 2021 HB576 or the Equal Access to Abortion Act that expands access by allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to provide abortion service that previously only physicians were allowed to provide. The new law is aimed to provide enhanced access to women’s health care, particularly in rural areas and on the Neighbor islands where residents usually need to travel long distances and at high costs in order to get the medical care they need. The bill only covers abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and only allows the intentional termination of the pregnancy if it involves a non-viable fetus. “The legislature finds that Hawaii has many qualified licensed health care providers, including advanced practice registered nurses, who can safely and effectively provide abortion care,” reads the bill HB 576. “However, the legislature also finds that Hawaii’s current laws restrict any health

care provider other than physicians from providing medication or aspiration abortion care. “Consequently, numerous Hawaii residents live on an island without, or with limited access to, an abortion care provider,” it states. Laura Reichardt, the director of the Hawaii State Center for Nursing, said “This act will enable people who desperately need reproductive health care services to receive health care from very high-quality health care providers, including advanced practice registered nurses, where they need it, when they need it.” Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Hawai‘i praised the new law. Laurie Field, Hawaii State Director, said “We are thrilled about the implications this has for the people of Hawaii, especially those on islands who face obstacles of having to travel long distances to reach a physician for reproductive health care. Expanding the number of medical professionals who can provide abortion will lower wait times, reduce the need to

travel, and put abortion access within reach for many people. “Poor access to vital reproductive health care, including abortion, disproportionately affects communities of color, people who live on islands other than Oahu, people with low incomes, underinsured and uninsured individuals, and people who don’t have reliable transportation. COVID-19 has exacerbated already existing barriers to access high-quality reproductive health care, and this new law is a step in the

right direction to ensuring everyone in Hawaii has access to care, no matter what.” Leading medical experts like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Public Health Association (APGHA) agree that APRNs are qualified to provide abortion services. Rep. Linda Ichiyama sponsored the bill. Attending the signing were Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chair, Senate Committee on Com-

merce and Consumer Protection, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House majority leader, Laura Reichardt, director, Hawai‘i State Center for Nursing, Dr. Reni Soon, family planning practitioner and associate professor, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). On March 11, 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide, Hawaii passed historic legislation making it the first state in the country to allow safe, legal abortion care.

SBA $16 Billion Program to Provide Aid for Live Event Businesses

By Jim Bea Sampaga


tarting April 8, live event businesses can apply for Small Business Administration grant funding under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Fund (SVOG). Live event businesses include museums, independent movie theaters, music clubs, performing arts centers and other live venue operators.

“This pandemic has been particularly brutal for businesses that depend on people being able to gather in person so this new funding will be a big help,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). The SVOG fund is a $16 billion program to help live event businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two billion is set aside

for eligible businesses that employ fewer than 50 fulltime employees. To learn more about the SVOG program, visit www. schatz.senate.gov/coronavirus/small-businesses/ live-venues. 


Philippine Embassy in USA, Filipino Young Leaders and GMA Pinoy TV Unite to #StopAsianHate

By Jim Bea Sampaga


n partnership with the Philippine Embassy in USA and the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), GMA Pinoy TV hosted a virtual town hall event on March 26 in support of the #StopAsianHate campaign. The event date coincides with the 231st anniversary of the Naturalization Act of 1790, a law that granted individuals a US citizenship by naturalization. The 1-hour panel discussion, titled “Here Now, Hear Now: Confronting anti-Asian Hate,” tackled the dehumanization of Asian Americans. Panelists explored scenarios to understand the themes behind the recent attacks against Asian and Asian Americans. The panel was hosted by veteran Filipino journalist Howie Severino. Joseph T. Francia, GMA International First Vice President

and Head of Operations, expressed GMA Pinoy TV’s stance to call an end to hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. “We are indeed #StrongerTogether as we support the continuing struggle towards respect and recognition in multicultural America,” Francia said. To address the issue, the Philippines Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the embassy they are working closely with authorities in Washington, D.C. “We will continue to do what we can and informing the authorities here in Washington D.C. especially paying attention to the kind of hate crimes that are being committed,” the ambassador said. “We’re going to have a meeting with the White House and we have all collectively agreed that

we are going to enforce.” Moreover, Romualdez reminded Filipinos in the US to stay vigilant and always start recording with their mobile phones. “Try to take a photo as quickly as possible, but do not confront them because they could turn violent. Actually, when you report it to the authorities, they can immediately identify them at least from the video, and that they will be able to use this as evidence. Again, it is a crime to throw racial slurs against fellow Americans, especially the anti-hate crimes and anything related to that is a federal crime,” he suggested. During the virtual townhall, Filipino American leaders highlighted ways the Asian American community can bring awareness and combat discrimination. As Ambassador Romualdez encouraged the use of mobile

phones to document incidents, journalist Leezel Tanglao shared how the media can bring awareness to these situations and its victims. “When you look at that coverage of who got the most coverage, you know, the victims were always seemed to be secondary,” she explained. When it comes to properly addressing and improving the situation, leaders must listen to the people and create policies that will stop discrimination and racism, Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism motivational speaker Tony Dela Rosa shared. “We need action. Make sure your statement matches your actions, and we really want to focus on actions,” Dela Rosa said. “If you’re the top of the leadership and listen to us we can tell you what we need. FYLPRO President Louella

Cabalona promised to continue highlighting the stories of Filipino and Filipino Americans overcoming racism. “I think it’s very important for everybody listening today who have families in their homes that are older to make sure that they include them in the conversation Cabalona explained. “So this forum itself… we’re amplifying the voices of these great leaders.”





Prioritizing Priorities: Rolling the Economy Back to Normal, A Biden’s Thrust By Elpidio R. Estioko


resident Joe Biden’s administration is faced with many priority items to be able to bring back America to its normal position and to propel it back to its old status as a leader of the world! To be able to do that, the president’s move would be to prioritize priorities in order to keep the ball accurately rolling. That’s exactly what he did… is doing! It started with addressing first the pandemic with him signing into law the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill! This is the bill that became a law (American Rescue Plan Act) to combat the virus while at the same time helping small and medium-scale businesses affected by the pandemic. Now comes Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan to provide the structures needed in normalizing the country’s economy after a year of suffering from the pandemic economic paralysis. Biden detailed his in-

frastructure plan to reshape the economy. According to a New York Times article by Jim Tankersley: “The president began selling his proposal on Wednesday, saying it would fix 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, while also addressing climate change and racial inequities and raising corporate taxes.” He introduced a $2 trillion plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, calling it a transformational effort that could create the “most resilient, innovative economy in the world.” Biden said in a speech outside Pittsburgh: “It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America. The proposal is a combination of spending and tax credits that would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.”

The costs, according to the plan, would be offset by increased corporate tax revenues raised over 15 years, particularly from multinationals that earn and siphon profits overseas. Biden appealed for support from both parties in Congress, saying the program would be “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago” and calling it “the largest American jobs investment since World War II.” Let us remember that the proposal is the first half of what will be a two-step release of the president’s ambitious agenda to overhaul American economy which could cost as much as $4 trillion over a decade. President Biden’s administration has named it the “American Jobs Plan.” This is a sequel to the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that President Biden signed into law this month, the “American Rescue Plan.” On Wednesday, President Biden said the next phase, which he will seek to pay for in part through tax increases on wealthy individuals, would come in a matter of weeks and be known as the “American Family Plan.” The plan seeks to repair 10,000 smaller bridges across the country, along with the 10 most economically significant ones in need of a fix. It would electrify 20 percent of

the nation’s fleet of yellow school buses and spend $300 billion to promote advanced manufacturing, including a four-year plan to restock the country’s Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in preparation for future pandemics. The president’s pledge to tackle climate change is also embedded throughout the plan. Roads, bridges and airports would be made more resilient to the effects of more extreme storms, floods and fires due to global warming. The climate change is centered on modernizing and transforming the United States’ two largest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution: cars and electric power plants. The plan proposes spending $174 billion to encourage the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles by granting tax credits and other incentives to companies that make electric vehicle batteries in the United States instead of China. The goal is to reduce vehicle price tags. To cover expenses, most of the taxes will be on big corporations. He would raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, partly reversing a cut signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. Biden would also take a variety of steps to raise taxes on multinational corporations, many of them working within an overhaul of the taxation of profits

earned overseas that was included in President Trump’s tax law in 2017. Biden said that his proposed tax changes on global income alone would raise $1 trillion over 15 years. “These are investments we have to make,” he said. While the American Recovery Plan is geared principally towards helping those individuals, groups, associations, and businesses affected by the pandemic, the Infrastructure Plan (The American Jobs Plan) is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to rival or out-compete China. To raise the quality of infrastructure, the president’s plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main-streets. It will fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction. It also will repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, providing critical linkages to communities and it will replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities. Biden’s plan will deliver infrastructure Americans can trust, because it will be resilient to floods, fires, storms, and other threats, and not fragile in the face of these increasing risks. Biden is calling on Congress to transform our crumbling transportation infrastructure through legislation. Our roads and bridges need major repairs! According to latest statistics, one in five miles, or 173,000 total miles, of our highways and major roads are in poor condition, as well as 45,000 bridges. Delays caused by traffic congestion alone cost over $160 billion per year, and motorists are forced to pay over $1,000 every year (continue on page 12)



Asian American Filipinos United Against Hate? By Emil Guillermo


ecently, I watched the trial of Derek Chauvin charged in the death of George Floyd but was caught off guard by another video. The security video showed a person – only described as a “Asian American woman, 65” in almost every published news account – being brutally beaten by a man who had told the woman she “didn’t belong.” It was bad that it was an Asian American, sure. But didn’t your heart sink when it was finally revealed the victim was a Filipino American? Vilma Kari was attacked as she walked to church on Easter Monday of Holy Week in New York City. Her alleged perpetrator, arrested on March 31, is 38-year-old Brandon Elliot, who was living in a midtown hotel that’s serving as a homeless shelter. Elliot and Kari crossed paths on the sidewalk as they walked in front of a luxury apartment building’s wide angle security camera. The camera catches Elliot beating Kari, enough to break her pelvis and land her in the hospital with multiple welts and bruises throughout her body and forehead. Eliot was charged with two counts of assault as a hate crime, and one count of attempted assault as a hate crime. The hate crime enhancements mean Elliot could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. But it may not have been a hate crime, if Elliot had beaten Kari for the pure brutality of it all. In a news conference, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said that Elliot was “accused of brutally shoving, kicking and stomping a 65-year-old mother to the ground after telling her that she didn’t belong here.”

it was finally revealed, Kari is Filipino. Visible at last. To counter our earlier invisibility? I know I often use the I took note of how the DA sequenced the accused’s at- term Asian American and Filtack. Elliot used hate speech ipino interchangeably. When the news first happened, even first, then acted. I’ve actually found that it I used “Asian American” bedoes make a difference what cause sources never identified comes first, the hate speech or her as anything but the generic way – “Asian American.” the hate attack. But isn’t it time we start In one California case assault case I covered, mocking using the ethnic identifier exfirst then attacking was a suc- plicitly when we are able, cessful argument for the de- which means getting comfense! Ultimately, how it’s per- fortable with phrasing such as ceived will depend on the jury. “Asian American of Filipino Elliot is being investigated descent.” My inclusive, less generfor other anti-Asian attacks, which is standard. But perhaps ic naming convention would more telling is that Elliot was simply be “Asian American of on parole for fatally stabbing [ethnic] descent.” All three component parts his mother in 2002 when he just 19. After being sentenced are important. My phrase, “AAF,” could to a minimum of 15 years to life, he was released on life- be seen as the extremely emtime parole in 2019 after serv- phatic as “Asian as F—.” But it’s intended to be the ing 16 years. That’s who Kari walked more informational – “Asian past the Monday of Holy American Filipino.” By my naming convention, Week. It’s getting harder to tell the good, the bad, and unfortu- you’d have AACs (Chinese) and AAKs (Koreans), AAVs nately, the indifferent. The security camera video (Vietnamese), etc. Try it. This sort of thing may also shows the building staff close the doors as the attack seem to be a quibble, but it’s of Kari took place within their not. A good friend of mine, a view. Building owners investi- real social justice warrior, the gated and have fired the em- head of a non-profit – and an ployees for failing to follow AAF in the emphatic mode security protocol. The lesson were the “F” really does rhyme here is that people have to with “luck” – complained to stand up, distract, call the po- me about generalizing our ethlice, do something, to let the nicities under the Asian Amerperp know his actions are in ican umbrella. He was the first to raise the full view. Would perps act at the top idea of our self-invisibility. He’s a big proponent of of their hate if they knew we disaggregating from the agare all witnesses?

She’s an Asian American Filipino So, we can add another victim to the national bull market of anti-Asian American hate, which includes nearly 4,000 incidents from epithets to murder for over a year. It’s not just a local story when it’s in New York. What upsets me more was that headline most of the world saw about Kari. The one referring to her as “a 65-year-old Asian American woman.” Generic victim. And then

gregate. And why not – all of our individual ethnic experiences are different. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Burmese, Korean, Indian, Hmong, and more. Especially when you sort through data involving everything from health care to economics. We’re all different – except when we are seen as all the same. Like when an attacker sees us and acts out of ignorance and hate. It’s our time to educate. And let people know, we are a complex and unique American community of communities. Individualistic, yes. But united, for sure. Especially during this hate wave.

GoFundMe for Kar I have a tremendous amount of empathy for Vilma’s story. My mother in her only trip to New York was once mugged outside Macy’s and had her purse stolen. No one was hurt fortunately. But my mom was pretty shaken up. I’ve also often stayed around midtown because it’s close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral which I find comforting as my quiet urban refuge. So the idea of a Filipino American walking to church last week, then getting beaten to a pulp and no one responds to help her enrages me to no end. Then I saw that Kari, now recovering and yet to speak to a reporter like myself, has a GoFundMe page. It’s set up by her daughter Liz Kari, who commented on the video that showed no one

coming to her mother’s defense. “What this video did not capture was that there was someone who was standing across the street that witnessed my mom getting attacked who yelled and screamed to get the assailant’s attention,” Liz Kari wrote on the Go Fund Me page. “That is where the video cuts off as the attacker crossed the street to him. To this person, I understand your decision in remaining anonymous during this time. I want to THANK YOU for stepping in and doing the right thing. This gesture of action is what we need in our world right now. I hope one day, my mom and I can thank you personally.” There was someone. Not enough to stop the perp. But now there are about 6,000 more someones. As I write, there’s been more than $263,000 raised from about 6,500 donors. The family intends to also use the money to help other victims. Sadly, it seems like every day there’s another Vilma Kari.

Unfortunately, there will be more victims, until the love we can all generate overcomes the hate that we all harbor.

The George Floyd Video So all that has distracted me from the following the trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer accused of murdering George Floyd. So far, the parade of witnesses seem pretty strong for (continue on page 13)



Tips for Parents on Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic By Dennis Galolo


s any parent will tell you, raising children is a challenge of epic proportions. The global pandemic made the task all the more difficult as parents struggled with exponential increases in stress, frustration and worry. During the past 12 months, entire families were stuck at home 24/7, with parents and children struggling to coexist in the topsy-turvy world of COVID-19, much like the blockbuster movie “Jurassic Park” where humans and dinosaurs, separated by millions of years of evolution, were suddenly thrust together into the mix. On the big screen, it was a bloodbath but in real life, the pandemic led to crippling financial loss and intense psychological and emotional strain. And for millions of families, a “new normal” arose that involved distance learning, working remotely, mask and social distancing mandates and other massive changes to daily life. Those who adapted quicker generally fared better than others who weren’t as adept.

In her new book “One Hundred Parenting Tips Inspired by the Pandemic,” Filipino-American author, parenting coach and private tutor Karen K.C. Gibson offers parents practical advice for surviving the turbulent world foisted on us by COVID-19. Gibson, whose paternal grandparents are from the Visayas in the Philippines, is a former special education teacher who founded Brain Builders, a private tutoring business, in 1999. As a neuro-linguistic practitioner, she helps her clients understand how the mind’s language creates patterns that can be rewired to get rid of negative behavior. Gibson believes that children who are taught to be self-confident, loved unconditionally and guided on their journey will grow into healthier and happier adults. Last March 2020, Gibson launched virtual tutoring sessions and began posting daily videos with parenting tips on her Facebook page and Youtube channel “Letting Go With Aloha.” She also interviewed numerous parents who were struggling with significant stress, sleepless nights, and frustrating arguments with

their children, as well as grandparents and medical professionals to get their viewpoints. Born and raised in Honolulu, Gibson attended Aiea High School and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and later received a certificate in special education. She is married and has two daughters. Gibson’s new book is a compilation of parenting tips from her online videos during a 100-day stretch beginning in July 2020. A good number of them are timeless, practical and applicable in virtually any situation, including the following: Parenting Tip 15 … Teach Them Public Speaking Skills – Gibson writes “Children gain confidence when they practice speaking in public. Give your child opportunities to practice speaking with their doctors, to waiters taking their orders, and chatting with family or friends. Encourage confidence, praise

them for their efforts without criticism, and make time to record them so they can see what they sound like and look like when they’re speaking.” Parenting Tip 46 … Teach Your Kids Not to Worry – “Children can benefit from relying on faith and releasing worry. If worrying becomes a lifelong habit, something as small as a nagging concern in the back of your mind can affect your heart. When kids see their parents worrying, they learn that worrying is a part of life.” Parenting Tip 52 … Avoid Yelling at Your Kids – “Yelling, criticizing and lecturing damage a child’s self-esteem. Yelling often involves harsh insults that can be qualified as emotional abuse, which is known to have long-term effects, including anxiety, low self-esteem, and increased aggression.” Parenting Tip 92 … Use the 90 Second Rule to Handle Anger – “Brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, the author

of ‘My Stroke of Insight,’ described our ability to regulate the 90 second rule: When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens; any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. This means you have 90 seconds to decide whether you want to allow your anger to control you. No situation and person can make us feel or do anything. It’s truly up to us whether to carry our anger.” The book also touches on such topics as limiting screen time, setting boundaries, the power of patience, the importance of apologizing, the joy of volunteering, overcoming hardships, setting goals, accepting uncertainty, and much, much more. If you’re looking for simple yet powerful advice on parenting and raising responsible, resilient and respectful children, then this book is for you. The book is a quick read at only 113-pages long, but to get the most out of it, parents are encouraged to read one page at a time and take Gibson’s advice to heart by implementing a new tip each day. “One Hundred Parenting Tips Inspired by the Pandemic” is available for purchase online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

(AS I SEE IT: Prioritizing Priorities....from page 10)

in wasted time and fuel. The president is proposing a total increase of $115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets that are in most critical need of repair. Also, households that take public transportation to work have twice the commute time, and households of color are twice as likely to take public transportation. Our current transit infrastructure is inadequate – the Department of Transportation estimates a repair backlog of over $105 billion, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. Biden is calling on congress to invest $85 billion to

modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand… and will ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone. Also, under the plan, it will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities. Too many students attend schools and childcare centers that are run-down, unsafe, and pose health risks. These conditions are dangerous for our kids and exist disproportionately in schools with a high percentage of low-income students and students of color. “We need to modernize our public schools,” President Biden said. “Since we can’t close the opportunity gap if low-income kids go to schools in

buildings that undermine health and safety, while wealthier students get access to safe buildings with labs and technology that prepare them for the jobs, the president pointed out. Under the plan, $100 billion will be invested to upgrade and build new public schools, through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion leveraged through bonds.” These interconnected priority plans of the president will lead to one thing: economic progress! Let us all work for it and support our president 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).



FilAm Musician Abe Lagrimas Jr. On His Latest Album, Love for Music and Jazz Ukulele

By Jim Bea Sampaga


musician with a passion for ukulele, Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a Filipino American solo ukulele artist who just released his album titled “Beyond Words” last month. As a composer, educator and multi-instrumentalist, Lagrimas usually has a very busy schedule of gigging, teaching and touring the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the free time he had helped him focus on album creation. “I suddenly had a lot of time for myself and a lot of good things came out of it. I began practicing regularly, actively listening to more music, and spent more time composing,” he shared. “I wrote enough material and felt that it would be a fun project to work towards making an album.” “Beyond Words” is Lagrimas’ eighth solo album which

features eight instrumental songs of his original composition. “When it came to writing songs, which are all instrumental, I tried to write music that had a strong sense of melody, conveyed varying moods and feelings while containing elements in the music that would be interesting for the listener.” Lagrimas admitted that the album’s recording process was quite different due to the pandemic. Every instrument was recorded separately and then put together in a studio. Not being able to collaborate was the biggest challenge of creating an album in a time that gatherings are not allowed. “I’d say the biggest challenge was not being able to hear this music before until it’s finally put together in the end. I wasn’t able to rehearse the music so when I was writing, I had to really think and imagine how I wanted the final product to sound, then do my best to achieve it. Lucki-

Abe Lagrimas Jr.

ly, my musical colleagues are world-class professionals and did an outstanding job interpreting my songs and bringing them to life,” Lagrimas said. “Everything was done at our own modest home recording setups. I started writing the music in July and everything was finished in February, just in time for a birthday album release on March 23, 2021.” Finding His Love for Music Born in Guam and raised in Hawaii, Lagrimas grew up in Waipahu and is a proud Waipahu High School graduate. His parents were original-

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Asian American Filipinos....from page 11)

the defense. Prosecutors have been successful with witnesses saying Chauvin’s nee to the neck robbed George Floyd of oxygen and led to his death. The defense insists it was drugs, not Chauvin. But the witness who tips the case for me took the stand the first week. It came from Darnella Frazier who took the phone video that all the world has seen. It’s nearly ten minutes showing the whole scenario – how Officer Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck until the paramedics arrived on the scene. As an underage witness at the trial, Frazier’s face was not shown. But her voice could be heard. And her testimony has been the most compelling and persuasive of the trial so far. She recalled her traumatic witnessing of Floyd’s death. “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my

cousins my uncles, because they are all black. I have a black brother; I have black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them. “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more. And not physically interacting.” They are words for us all to live by. On CNN, Van Jones said Frazier had witnessed a lynching. “When you have a lynching, which is what this was,” said Jones. “You aren’t just torturing the individual who you’re strangling to death, you’re torturing the whole community.” A modern-day lynching is specific and symbolic all at once. If you know Asian American history, then you know Asians in California, Chinese and Filipino, were lynched in America. As my friend Ishmael

Reed told me on my amok. com vlog, don’t let the media play “divide and conquer.” This isn’t a Black vs. Asian thing. It’s the reason why one shouldn’t get hung up about Officer Tou Thao, a Hmong American, appearing to stand guard as Chauvin continues to hold Floyd to the ground. It’s the reason I don’t consider it relevant that the perps in the recent NYC attacks appear to be African American. All people of color have been under someone’s knee in America. It’s our common ground, our shared past in America’s racist history. That’s why when I see George Floyd, I see us, Asian American Filipinos. And so should you. 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.

ly from Bicol, Philippines. When his father joined the U.S. Navy in the 80s, they moved to Hawaii to settle for good. Being surrounded by a family of musicians, the 15year veteran player started playing the drums at the age of four. When Lagrimas was in high school, the thought of becoming a professional musician came to life. “As a high school student, I started meeting and working with some of Hawaii’s top jazz musicians like Gabe Baltazar, Betty Loo Taylor, Jimmy Borges, and Melveen Leed. Musician extraordinaire Noel Okimoto also had a lot to do with my musical upbringing and was an important mentor to me,” 38-year-old Lagrimas shared. “I really like to play all sorts of things on the ukulele, but it is what most people in the ukulele circles know me as,” he added. Jazz ukulele sounds like a new genre to most people but for Lagrimas, jazz ukulele is nothing new. The genre has been around for many years. Incorporating ukulele into jazz music has been popular especially from the 50s to the 70s. Lyle Ritz, Ohta-san and Benny Chong are just

some of the musicians who are known for their jazz ukulele music. “Benny Chong continues to be a force when it comes to jazz ukulele and still plays regularly around town. Neal Chin, another Hawaii musician who is based out of Seattle is also doing some great things in the jazz ukulele department,” he shared. Regardless of what style his music is, Lagrimas said: “whether it’s pop cover, my original music or jazz standards, I strive to always put 100% of myself out there.” As a proud Filipino American musician, he is thankful for the support and encourages fellow Filipino Americans to be proud of their roots. “Thank you for all of your support through the years in helping and inspiring me to get to where I am today,” Lagrimas said. “Be proud of your ancestry and learn about the history of the Philippines. Take a trip to the Philippines at least once in your adult life to learn and experience the motherland.” Abe Lagrimas Jr.’s “Beyond Words” is out now on Spotify. To learn more about his music, visit his website at abelagrimasjr.com. Follow him on Instagram @abelagrimasjr and Facebook at fb.com/abelagrimasjrmusic. (continue on page 14)



Beauty Will RIse

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan because loved ones have been exposed to the virus. A friend ust like every of ours lost his brother and beautiful story mother to the virus. Another I have read and friend of ours is isolated from watched, there her one-year-old because she are plot twists is COVID-positive, and she that make it seem couldn’t comprehend where like darkness overcomes the she got it because she works light, evil wins over good, from home and she hasn’t left and the antagonist defeats the house. the protagonist. In light of Another friend was this pandemic, just when we stunned when he went FOR thought the victory is at hand, a swab test A DAY before the virus continues to ravage his flight to Germany where lives, families, communities he was about to start a new and nations. life, he turned out to be For some nations like COVID-positive despite not the Philippines, the situation having any symptoms. Someworsened despite the avail- one we look up to as a father ability of vaccines. The num- is now fighting for his life in ber of cases has risen tremen- the hospital. dously, it’s overwhelming. This unseen enemy has The mutated strain of the vi- truly ruined plans, destroyed rus has become more conta- families and inflicted pain in gious and more destructive. unprecedented ways. Families upon families conI can only imagine the tract the virus, it has become physical exhaustion, the emounstoppable. tional and mental stress, the On Facebook, many peo- hopelessness this pandemic ple have been turning their brings to our frontliners who profile pictures to black be- have been working tirelessly cause of losing their loved for more than a year now. ones to the virus. I have been I notice that there’s a seeing posts of friends, family greater sense of fear and deand even strangers asking for spair among everyone at this help and prayers because the time more than the time this whole family has contract- pandemic started. ed the virus and there are no I was looking forward to more hospitals to accommo- writing a story of victory afdate them. ter more than a year this panMy husband and I have demic has begun, but unfortubeen receiving prayer requests nately I might have to wait a


little longer. But this I know for sure, and it gives me hope; most, if not all of the stories I have read and watched ended on a good note. Light overcomes darkness. Good wins over evil. The protagonist defeats the antagonist. We just commemorated the greatest story ever told early this month, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His disciples thought that it was the end when he died and they were full of despair that fateful Friday. On Saturday, they were clueless what will happen and what the future holds. But on Sunday, He rose again. May we anchor on this truth that He Has over-

come. He has won. We might not see it yet, but there is an end to this pandemic. We will definitely have our victory in due time. This is a call to endure and persevere a little more. This is an encouragement to continue to hope even if all seems lost. This is to implore all of us to have faith and look beyond our circumstances and look to the One who is with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He can and will rescue us. I say to you rejoice, again, I say rejoice in the midst of our suffering because He is faithful. We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials for, we know that they help us develop endurance, and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead us to disappointment. (Romans 5:3-5 NLT) This season, I have been singing songs to breathe hope and encouragement to my downcast soul and bro-

ken heart. May this song by Maverick City titled “Ruins” lift your spirit up just as it did mine. I look around and all I see, burning buildings, barren trees, hopelessness is starting to wreak havoc. Son of man, I know You see the deepest depth unknown to me. You have planted seeds among the ashes. You rebuild, You restore all that’s broken from the ruins. You redeem, You return all that’s stolen from Your children. That’s what You do. So be still my anxious heart. All that’s gone is never lost. Emmanuel is here and He is faithful. I won’t let praises stop. I’ll sing it from this rubbled rocks. I know You are good and You are able. You raise beauty from ashes, that’s what You do. You turn sorrow to gladness, that’s what You do. I give glory and honor for all that You do. I will sing Hallelujah for all that You do. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise. Someday, we will dance among the ruins. Our story will have a happy and beautiful ending. Be still our hearts, take courage!

(NEWS FEATURE: FilAm Musician....from page 13)

“Being around that at such a young age is probably what led me to pursue a career in music.” Mentored by Hawaii’s jazz musicians, he then studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to start his music career. “I had to be in a much more thriving and competitive scene so LA seemed like a logical choice,” he said.

Being A Musician Lagrimas became “primarily known in the industry as a jazz drummer and vibraphonist, yet has a thriving career as an ukulele player,” according to his profile on Fender Play series, where he is an instructor. With that being said, Lagrimas is also called a jazz ukulele artist. “I picked up the ukulele while I was attending Berklee College of Music. At the time, I was fully immersed in jazz and so it was natural to

approach the ukulele as a jazz instrument,” he explained as he notes that he wouldn’t really say that he specializes in jazz ukulele “I really like to play all sorts of things on the ukulele, but it is what most people in the ukulele circles know me as,” he added. Jazz ukulele sounds like a new genre to most people but for Lagrimas, jazz ukulele is nothing new. The genre has been around for many years. Incorporating ukulele into jazz music has been popular especially from the 50s to the 70s. Lyle Ritz, Ohta-san and Benny Chong are just some of the musicians who are known for their jazz ukulele music. “Benny Chong continues to be a force when it comes to jazz ukulele and still plays regularly around town. Neal Chin, another Hawaii musician who is based out of Seattle is also doing some great things in the jazz ukulele department,” he shared.

Regardless of what style his music is, Lagrimas said: “whether it’s pop cover, my original music or jazz standards, I strive to always put 100% of myself out there.” As a proud Filipino American musician, he is thankful for the support and encourages fellow Filipino Americans to be proud of their roots. “Thank you for all of your support through the years in helping and inspiring me to get to where I am today,” Lagrimas said. “Be proud of your ancestry and learn about the history of the Philippines. Take a trip to the Philippines at least once in your adult life to learn and experience the motherland.” Abe Lagrimas Jr.’s “Beyond Words” is out now on Spotify. To learn more about his music, visit his website at abelagrimasjr.com. Follow him on Instagram @ abelagrimasjr and Facebook at fb.com/abelagrimasjrmusic.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR PINOY FOOD STORIES: EVOLUTION OF PHILIPPINES CUISINE WEBINARS | The Mama Sita Foundation, University of Hawaii at Manoa, UHM Filipino Language and Culture Program, and the Philippine Consulate General at Honolulu | The 5-part short course is back for its second run. Register now at cutt.ly/wkOJjIL

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Filipino Tricycle in San Francisco Is Going Viral on Social Media

By Jim Bea Sampaga


hen you think about the Philippines, the first thing that comes to mind, besides the food, is jeepneys. But when it comes to the classic Filipino modes of public transportation, let’s not forget about the small but reliable tricycle. The Filipino tricycle is not like the average tricycle you see in Western media. Yes, they both have three wheels and a side car, but Filipinos made sure to utilize it to its full potential. Using the military tricycles remains from World War II, Filipinos added a roof to the driver seat and sidecar. They also redesigned the side car to fit four people. And in true Filipino fashion, they personalized their own tricycles with colorful designs and decorations. Among many other things, tricycle is truly a unique part of Filipino culture. That’s why the San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission funded the TNT Traysikel, a social sculpture that is

“an immigrant metaphor constructed from a deep colonial history.” The tricycle is literally a piece of the Philippines in a form of art. The vehicle is beautifully decorated with hand-painted images from Philippine culture. One of its most interesting designs is found at the back cover of the sidecar: “UFO: Unidentified Filipino Object.” The tricycle is a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Michael Arcega and digital artist Paolo Asuncion with contributions from the community. According to Arcega’s website, it is a “mobile public artwork that operates as cultural marker for the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District in San Francisco. Last month, the TNT Traysikel crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California followed by a parade of more than 60 Filipino motorcycle riders. A viral video featuring the colorful and uniquely Filipino tricycle on the video sharing platform Tik-

tok garnered more than 1 million views. Filipino netizens shared their reactions on the comment section. “Magkano pamasahe from Pilipinas to California po?” a commenter said. (How much is the [tricycle] fare from the Philippines to California?) Another one said: “Panis! Yung tricycle nakarating na don, ako hindi pa hahaha.” (Cool! That tricycle already went to California but I still haven’t.) Some even joked that the tricycle is still driving like it’s still in the Philippines. “Pati ba naman sa US, nasa gitna parin ng kalsada,” a person commented. (Even in the US, it still drives in the middle of the road.)

American commenters also shared their reactions. “I would’ve cried seeing it here in California,” a person commented. While another expressed their excitement for another beloved Filipino vehicle: “I’m waiting for jeepneys to come to the US.” Aside from driving around the Bay Area, the website also shares that the TNT Traysikel was “used as an aesthetic object, a protest tool and symbol of solidarity with the Black community against police brutality and delivery vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic.” To further emphasize the Filipino and Filipino American narratives, TNT Traysikel is hosting the TNT SideCaraoke, a karaoke interview show that features individuals while riding around San Francisco. “[It] is a rolling karaoke interview show all about Filipinos and the Filipino American experience,” according to TNT Traysikel’s Instagram account. Follow along TNT Traysikel’s journey on Instagram: @tnt_traysikel. (Sagot sa Krosword Blg. 4 | April 3, 2021)

CROSSWORD by Carlito Lalicon ACROSS

No. 4

1. Boom 6. Contemptuous exclamation 10. Face-to-face exam 14. Blood carrier 15. Hard to find 16. Force (someone) to have sex against her will 17. Failure to keep a promise (of marriage) 20. Slowly, to a conductor 21. Misbeliever 22. Aquarium fish 25. Barge in 26. Sit in the sun 30. Collapsed


1. Cake with a kick 2. God 3. Acreage 4. Alone 5. Implied 6. Ace 7. Big galoot 8. Parentless child 9. At this point 10. Abalone found near the Channel Islands 11. Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped

32. Achromatic lens 35. Observe 41. Resisting discovery 43. Of or relating to the teeth 44. Front tooth 45. Tito, Vic & Joey 47. Catch sight of 48. Winter wear 53. Of an arm bone 56. Sent with a click 58. Dripped 63. Small scale industry 66. On the safe side, at sea 67. African flower 68. Angler’s gear

cucumbers and spices 12. Orbital point 13. Bloodsucker 18. Clod chopper 19. Mythical monster 23. Boris Godunov, for one 24. Kind of comb 26. Data transmission rate (bits/second) for modems 27. Bad marks 28. Top Tatar 29. At one time 31. Jersey, e.g.


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) 69. Doofus 70. Fraction of a

33. Wood sorrel 34. Liquefy 36. Solo 37. Container weight 38. Bird venerated by ancient Egyptians 39. Hoof sound 40. Mysterious: Var. 42. Soon, to a bard 46. Discourteously 48. Ice cream flavor 49. Any detergent plant, or the part of it used as a detergent,

newton 71. Blew it 50. Critic, at times 51. Flew 52. According to 54. Annex 55. Awaken 57. Cry of surprise 59. Addict 60. Ado 61. Marine eagle 62. Turned blue, maybe 64. Carbonium, e.g. 65. Born, in bios (Solution will be on the next issue of the Chronicle)

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