Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - November 7, 2020

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NOVEMBER 7, 2020



Brenna Flores from Chaminade University Wins HFC’s Journalism Scholarship

Covid-19 Impacts Hawaii’s Tourism The Most HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Fil-Am Candidates Who Won the 2020 Hawaii General Election



Does Trump Want To Be Marcos?



Trump’s Post Election Actions Were Predictable; Let the Election Process Play Out Calmly and Peacefully


t’s no surprise that Donald Trump is resorting to litigation and demanding a recount in key swing states. For months now he has been laying the groundwork for contesting the general election by repeatedly talking up massive mail-in voter fraud (contrary to no historical evidence) and telling his supporters that the only way Biden wins would be by cheating. Repeating a lie over and over from which he can benefit from – in this case to challenge the validity of a close election – is something Trump has always done in business. He’s a marketer and astute at public manipulation. Remember what Trump recently told reporter Lesley Stahl of 60 minutes about attacking the press, he said, “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.” Like the media, Trump’s purpose of discrediting our elections process was always strategic and self-serving. Over the course of four years, Trump has managed to drag the media and now our elections process (two highly valued and essential parts of any democracy) through his mud of lies. Also like clockwork and predictable, Trump on the night of election at 2 a.m. brazenly claimed he had already won the election. Even more absurd, he had insisted that votes stop being counted. Remember that due to the pandemic, many states have transitioned to or offered as an option mail-in voting. So it was expected that this election would take longer than normal to process. When Trump claimed victory that night, millions of Americans did not have their ballots counted. It was too early. Some battle ground states had counted less than 50 percent of votes. He added, “we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.” – which by the way, was a typical scenario he’s also mentioned at his rallies on occasion. Trump very well knew, and practically all political strategists have been mentioning, that Democrats traditionally are better represented in absentee voting and was expected to have a large mailin voting turnout. His demand to stop counting made no sense – it’s completely unheard of and why would voting stop just because a candidate is ahead. Later the next day when voting hasn’t stopped (of course it wouldn’t) Trump found himself behind in key states, then was suddenly demanding that all votes now be counted. This attempt to cut the elections process short was not only reckless, but was really an attempt to hijack the election. And no Trump ally agreed with this premature call of victory. Not Senator Mitch McConnell (who said the election process will continue until all votes have been counted). Not Fox news. No one.

No clear mandate The result of the 2020 presidential race is razor thin and reflects what we’ve already known, that we are a nation bitterly and deeply divided. Leading into the general, it was hoped for that a convincing win by either side would have helped to bring greater clarity as to what the soul of our country is and in which direction we should be going. Instead, the closeness of the results just showed that there is no clear mandate, no overwhelming majority. Trumpism gets approval even if Trump is booted from office Polls forecasted a more convincing win for Biden. But that (continue on page 3)



resident Abraham Lincoln said during one of our country’s darkest times in history, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” This famous quote is a reminder of not only how important elections are to our democracy, but how it must be protected from those who would want to undermine it for personal gain after an election. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo reports on the 2020 general election. Polls and pundits were slightly off once again as the nation waited nervously for four days to get the results of a close election. Finally, Joe Biden surpassed the 270 electoral votes requirement and he will be the nation’s 46th president of the United States. While the race was close “within” many states, Biden is projected to end up with a commanding electoral lead. In the popular vote, he is expected to have over 4 million votes more than Donald Trump. Biden amassed more than 70 million votes to date, and counting – the most secured ever of a presidential candidate. While these numbers clearly reflect the will of American voters, President Trump has chosen not to concede but to litigate. What we know is that we have a president-elect. What’s unclear is how will a transition of power proceed. Peacefully? Challenged but reasonably accepted soon after? End in a constitutional crisis already more than what it is? All we can do is stay calm and be guarded to ensure that the elections process is respected. Also in the cover story, we have a wrap up of Honolulu’s mayoral race and other key local contests, as well as feedback from people in our community on the election. Congratulations to Rick Blangiardi who won the mayoral race by a wide margin. We wish him the best as he leads the City & County of Honolulu during this challenging time amidst the pandemic. On the same topic, read HFC editorial assistant Jim Bea Sampaga’s article on Filipino candidates who won in the general. The high voter turnout in Hawaii was phenomenal. Voting participation was a national phenomenon that surpassed 140 million, shattering all records. Before the day of the general election on Nov. 3, already close to 100 million Americans participated in early voting, according to the US Elections Project. Hawaii went from being one of the lowest in the nation in voter turnout to one of the highest in voter participation, largely in part to the first all-mail voting process. Staff writer Edna Bautista gives us a news feature on Brenna Flores from Chaminade who is our second Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Scholarship Program awardee. She will receive $2,500 which will help her to complete her senior year. She is majoring in communications with a minor in marketing. Congratulations Brenna. We wish you much success in your studies and future career in our field. Be sure to read articles from our columnists: Elpidio Estioko’s “COVID-19 Impacts Hawaii’s Tourism Most,” Emil Guillermo’s “Does Trump Want to Be Marcos,” Seneca Moraleda-Puguan’s “The Horrors and Honors of 2020,” and Atty. Emmanuel Tipon’s “Justice Barrett is a Godsend for Law-abiding Americans.” In local news, for those unemployed due to pandemic-related layoffs, the Federal-State Extended Benefits (EB) will provide an additional 23 weeks of compensation to unemployed workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks. Get more details in the article. Lastly, kudos to all of you in the community who’ve voted. Also, congratulations to all the election winners in our community. Thank you for your commitment to public service. 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



Pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act


ong lines that had voters waiting for hours (and more frequently in lower-income neighborhoods), unofficial ballot drop off boxes set up in California and too few (onedrop box per county) set up in Texas, foreign attempts to influence the US elections on social media continued from 2016, and inconsistency in the number of early voting days available are but a few examples why Election reform is necessary. Elections in the US are run by states and counties – this shouldn’t change -- but there ought to be basic national regulations to ensure fairness and equality in voting across state lines, as well as robust protections against foreign intervention. Currently the federal government’s role in elections is mostly limited to funding support to states and oversight support through the FBI, Justice Department and Homeland Security Department. Arguably the most pressing reform has to do with an unanticipated phenomenon: a national, uniformed standard to accommodate future crisis like the coronavirus pandemic must be addressed. The

inconsistency in response to the pandemic in 2020 undermined fair equal access to voting. In some states (mostly with a Republican majority) mail-in voting was limited to the typical requirements of absentee voting – voters must show evidence why they will not be able to vote in-person like disability or travel. Fear of contracting the coronavirus was not a valid excuse. And unlike in Hawaii where every registered voter automatically received a ballot package by mail, in many states mail-voting had to be requested. Even on safe voting alternatives like drive-through voting – that too, was inconsistent, limited or unavailable. Due to the absence of national unformed standards, the elections process were plagued by politics. For example, in Alabama voters were not allowed to hand their ballots to workers outside of traditional polling sites that banned drive-through or curbside voting. Even persons of disability or the elderly (susceptible to the coronavirus) were denied that option. Fair elections groups sued the state of Alabama. The case ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court where the conservative-majority voted in favor of Alabama disallow-

ing curbside voting. Critics accused Alabama lawmakers, a long-standing Republican state, of voter suppression. Traditionally higher voter turnout favors Democrats. SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor who went against the majority said the absentee ballot process made is challenging for disabled voters because the ballot must be returned with a copy of an ID card. Curbside voting would have made the process easier for the disabled. In many states like in Wisconsin (battleground state), the number of polling stations were closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but no additional voting options were provided. The result led to longer lines and increased the risk of community spread of the virus. The restriction ultimately was counterproductive and once again had fair-voting groups complaining of voter suppression. In Georgia, another stalwart GOP-led state, officials rejected challenges to open up more polling sites to reduce long lines at polling stations. Both Georgia and Wisconsin were key battleground states.

Strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act and Pass the “For the People Act”

Trump’s...from page 2)

wasn’t the case. If a landslide had happened, it could have been interpreted as a rejection of Trumpism – Trump’s political brand of dishonesty, division, and nativism. In absence of a landslide, there really was no repudiation of Trumpism. But the closeness of the election suggests two things: 1) a big swath of Americans are ok with Trumpism; and 2) it leaves the door open for other Republican candidates to run on Trumpism. The fact that Trump was impeached. The economy has tanked. The nation is struggling to deal with the deadly coronavirus. And yet, Trump still managed to capture as many votes as he had. This is remarkable and rare. Clearly he is not being held accountable. This election almost proves that Trump is a bona fide cult of personality in politics. His most ardent base will let him get away with just about anything.

Electoral system is unfair It’s true that the election result is razor-thin under our electoral system. But if the US presidential election ran by the same standard as all other elections from national and county races

-- based on a popular vote system -- Joe Biden would have already been declared the 46th President of the United States far sooner than the four days it took. The election could also have been characterized as a blowout as Biden is poised to win the popular vote by more than four million. Democrats have won the popular vote 7 of 8 times in the span of almost 30 years. The electoral system clearly has favored Republicans.

Healing and calm In the next weeks until the election process is completely wrapped up, Americans should try as best possible to keep calm. And whoever is sworn into office in January must work on bringing about healing in our country. All Americans on both sides must also work at healing. It doesn’t mean forfeiting our values or not being critical. But we can be less caustic and more understanding. We’ll need to focus our energy on beating this virus next year; and it helps if our political environment was less toxic and more cooperative.

Civil rights activists and lawmakers passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) to ensure differences in access to voting were corrected and that certain groups of Americans were not disproportionately at a disadvantage when it came to voting, like poor or ethnic communities. But in 2013, SCOTUS passed a law that critics say essentially gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act and gave way for states to adopt new laws. Last year, the Democrat-led House that regained a majority in the 2018 midterm, passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) or H.R. 4 that sought to strengthen the VRA. Among its features, the VRAA requires jurisdictions to obtain advance clearance for any election changes with the Justice Department and allow the attorney general to send federal observers anywhere in the country, among other provisions. It passed in the House, but failed to be heard in the Senate GOP-majority, and was bound to fail as President Donald Trump threatened to veto it. In the same year, the House passed the 2019 For the People Act that would have bolstered funding and provisions to beef up the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). It also directed the EAC to assess the secu-

rity, cybersecurity and effectiveness of the commission’s information technology system. It also addressed finance transparency, voting rights, and redistricting (gerrymandering) and government ethics. Democrats lobbied hard for the bill’s passage in the Senate considering the intelligence community’s reports of foreign involvement once again in the 2020 national elections. In 2016 and in the midterm in 2018, the Russian government was found to be meddling in US elections, US intelligence officials confirmed. Like the VRAA, the For the People Act was never taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Integrity and Trust The 2020 Elections was far from the mess President Trump claimed it was with alleged massive voting mailfraud, but there were inconsistencies and unfairness that must be corrected before the next midterm. The process for voting for Americans should be as close as possible to being “the same” for all voters. Trump has done tremendous damage in casting doubt on the elections process. Confidence in voting must be restored. To begin with, the integrity and trust in elections could be restored with the passage of the VRAA and the For the People Act.





here was no blue or red wave in the 2020 general election. Instead, there were two tidal waves that swept through the country. Two sides of America almost equally passionate and determined went to the polls or voted by mail in numbers that shattered voter-turnout in all previous elections. Following four days of vote-counting, Joseph Biden Jr. reached the 270 electoral votes marker and will be the 46th president of the United States. President Trump has not conceded and vows to fight the election results. Legal challenges have been launched and the nation could experience a post-election battle like never seen before. Biden on transition Biden is already poised to move quickly on transition and is said to be working behind-the-scenes to push supporters, allies in the Senate, and Republicans to validate the sanctity of the election and bring them aboard to make a smooth exchange of power. He also made clear that a Trump’s concession is not necessary to move forward. Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said, “The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” Biden’s campaign said he does not plan to wait for any of Trump’s legal challenges and intends to immediately shift into mode of President-elect. Biden encouraged Americans to stay calm. “Each ballot must be counted, and that’s

The next few days, weeks will speed up in a fury if Trump doesn’t have a change of heart. Legal suits, possible recounts, investigations into vote counting centers’ transparency and procedures, and looking into possible mail-in voting irregularities – all of them must be completed before each state’s certification (the process by which the results of an election are made official) deadline. For most states that date falls in the last week of November. Experts find Trump’s challenge a longshot to reversing anything considering how far behind he is. It’s not the same as contesting one state to reverse an outcome as Al Gore tried with Florida. Trump would need a combination of three or four states to turn the election in his favor.

how it should be. Democracy is sometimes messy, it sometimes requires a little patience as well,” he said.

Trump alleges cheating, files lawsuits On the night of the General Election Trump prematurely claimed victory even as millions of Americans votes -- mostly mail-in votes that election experts say were primarily Democrat votes -- had yet to be counted. Two days later, in a press conference he repeated that he won the election and accused Democrats of cheating and trying to steal the election. But he offered no evidence to support his claims. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” said Trump. Major news organizations ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC all stopped airing his speech because network heads believed it was filled with lies about the election

and vote-counting process. In his drive to contest the election results, Trump has mounted a legal blitz, filing law suits in several battleground states. Trump said, “We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation, because we have so much evidence, so much proof. And it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land. We’ll see. But we think there will be a lot of litigation, because we can’t have an election stolen like this.” Trump campaign legal adviser Harmeet Dhillion said the campaign hopes new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret will help Trump win the presidency if a case makes it to the Supreme Court. “We’re waiting for the United States Supreme Court, which — of which the president has nominated three justices, to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come

The institution of the nation’s elections process will be tested. For millions of Americans the hope is that political and legal maneuvering will not forever taint this most sacred feature in American democracy. Only time will tell.

through.” A superior court judge in Georgia already dismissed one of Trump’s lawsuits. Superior Court Judge James F. Bass, Jr. wrote that “there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7 p.m. on Election Day, thereby making those ballots invalid. Additionally, there is no evidence that the Chatham County Board of Elections or the Chatham County Board of Registrars has failed to comply with the law.” Critics say Trump’s complaints are inconsistent. On the night of the general, he has called for vote counting to stop. Then when he found himself behind the next day, he has called for every vote to be counted. Elections experts say the President has no legal right to stop vote counting. Responsibility for vote counting lies exclusively with the states. They also say in order for

the Supreme Court to determine the presidential race, a case would have to come to the court from a state in which the outcome would determine the election’s winner.

On alleged fraud Most of Trump’s complaints have centered around alleged mail-in fraud, deadlines or a lack of transparency at counting centers. Independent observers say postal ballot fraud is extremely rare and in those few cases discovered no case would have changed an election outcome. The US has been allowing voting by mail since the 19th century. On two of the transparency suits filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania, election officials said independent checkers and party representatives on both sides were allowed to watch over the ballot counting, contrary to what Trump (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (from page 4)

alleges. Republicans have also been cautious over Trump’s voting fraud allegations. Former Republican US Sen. Rick Santorum said, “Counting mail-in and absentee ballots is not fraud. No Republican leaders should support the lies about ‘voter fraud’ that Donald Trump is spewing right now.” On Trump’s premature victory claim, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell disagreed. “It’s not unusual for people to claim they’ve won the election. I can think of that happening on numerous occasions. But claiming you win the election is different from finishing the counting.”

Hawaii votes and Filipinos on Presidential race Hawaii continues its tradition of voting Democrat in the presidential race. The Office of Elections had the Biden-Harris tandem ahead of Trump-Pence 365,802 (63.2 percent) to 196,602 (33.9%). Support for Trump rose slightly from his last election when he received 128,847 votes. Hawaii had a record-breaking 579,000 voter turnout or 66.1 percent of registered voters. Marilyn Corpuz, Pearl City, a retired government clerk, said she voted for Biden because she is afraid that a second Trump term would be a disaster. “Trump has done damage in our country. The division we have now is nothing like I’ve seen in my lifetime. He’s also constantly lying and exaggerating. He lied at the debates. He lied about that tax return we never got to see. Now he’s lying about mail-voter fraud. He says he’s been cheated of winning the election without offering any evidence. But he will probably lie about that too and make up stuff.” Corpuz said she likes Biden as a person. “He’s a likeable, honest man, the opposite of Trump. I think he is the right person to have challenged Trump. I’m not too sure someone could have beat Trump. Biden appeals to many people from different backgrounds. I think he

got some of Trump’s working class white male base to cross over this election. The race was so close and this probably helped him win.” Cesar Fronda of Waipahu said he voted for Biden because he is pro-worker. “Biden supports unions and benefits for members. He supports Social Security and Medicare. Fronda, who claims to be a political independent, said he also likes Biden because he is a uniter and will be a president for both Republicans and Democrats. Nicole Kawahara, Honolulu, a client services specialist, voted for Biden. The issue she’s been tracking lately is police brutality and believes Biden will be better at fixing the problems on this issue. Kawahara says she leans toward the Democratic Party, but adds it’s not always just about a political party for her. Eva Garcia, who grew up in Moanalua but now lives in Laguna Hills, California, said Biden was her choice because Trump is dangerous and an autocrat. Normally Garcia votes Republican but said she couldn’t risk the country in the hands of Trump. “Typical as the autocrat he is, he’s trying to contest the election like all dictators do. He’s been caught with lie after lie. Why should people believe his election fraud allegations. It’s already proven that mail-in voting is secure. There is no historical evidence for his claims. “I’m scared that he will make something up and one of his legal challenges will reach the Supreme Court where he might get a favorable ruling. In the end though, the people will not allow this election to be stolen. Just look at how many people came out to vote and under circumstances where they could be infected by the coronavirus,” said Garcia.

US Senate Republicans are poised to keep their majority in the Senate. But the majority will come down to two races for US Senate in the state of Georgia that will take place in January. Democrats flipped a seat

in red Arizona; but lost one in red Alabama. Democrats failed in two high stakes races to defeat Sen. McConnell in Kentucky and Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, thought to be the most vulnerable among Republican incumbent senators, managed to pull out a victory. If both Democrats win in Georgia’s special elections, the Senate would be 50-50, and Kamala Harris would break any tie.

US House Hawaii’s Congressman Ed Case won reelection and will be joined by newcomer fellow Democrat Kaiali’I Kahele who replaces Tulsi Gabbard. Democrats will retain majority control of the House and is likely to add to their current majority of 232-1971. But Republicans flipped a few key seats including two in Florida held by Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala. Blangiardi wins Honolulu Mayoral Race First-time political candidate Rick Blangiardi beat out another newbie to politics Keith Amemiya 58.2 to 38.8 percent in what was one of the most slanted races for Honolulu mayor. Blangiardi won in almost each island’s precincts and appealed to Hawaii’s broad demographics. Blangiardi is the son of immigrants and grew up in a working-class community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He moved to Hawaii in the 1960s and played football for the University of Hawaii. He retired in January 2020 from a long and illustrious career in television on the mainland and in Hawaii. He was former general manager of Hawaii News Now. He’s had extensive executive experience leading huge companies which was attractive to Hawaii voters who see his background and leadership well suited to steer Honolulu toward economic recovery deflated by the pandemic. To back up his stellar resume, Blangiardi exudes con-

fidence and charisma. Some have said he reminds them of Honolulu’s legendary Mayor Frank Fasi who served 22 years in office. “I voted for Blangiardi because I feel I can trust him during this critical time. He’s very calm and communicates well. He has this quality about his personality that makes you feel he really cares. His life is a classic American success story, immigrant son to working class parents makes it big time,” said Corpuz. She said she likes Amemiya also. “But when you compare both candidates’ selling points, as businessmen and candidates for change, Blangiardi comes out on top. We’re actually fortunate to have someone with a business background as Blangiardi run to serve in public office. People that age and having achieved that much success usually retire. “On change, even though Amemiya is a first-time political candidate, his connections to who’s who in government runs deep. That said, it’s hard to step on toes when you’re in the same social circles. Amemiya had so many union endorsements I feel making change for him would be harder,” said Corpuz. Where Corpuz gave Amemiya top credit is his plans for the city. She said it was very specific with concrete examples. Blangiardi has led in local polls prior to the General. This 2020 mayor-elect must hit the ground running. Ahead of him are problems beyond normal typical city management issues that other incoming mayors have had to face. The pandemic crisis adds safety concerns and a budgetary shortfall.

The pandemic could also exacerbate Honolulu’s already urgent homelessness crisis. The rail needs a successful, on-budget completion.

Fil-Am General Eelection Winners in the State Senate and Honolulu City Council Fil-Am candidates lived up to expectations by winning in a landslide in several races from State Senate to House seats. Sen. Donavan Dela Cruz trounced his opponent John Miller 70.29 to 29.70 percent in Senatorial District 22. Dela Cruz, who last session led the most powerful committee in the Senate, the Ways and Means (WAM), is likely to repeat that leadership role. Prior to becoming a senator Dela Cruz served in the Honolulu City Council for eight years and was the youngest chair of the Council at 30. Already having top leadership roles in arguably the two most influential government bodies at Hawaii’s state and county level, he joins a select few among Fil-Am politicians primed to advance to higher office. Only a few FilAm veteran politicians have had similar career success to Dela Cruz. Most notable among them Donna Mercado Kim and Ron Menor, both of whom already sought higher offices. Dela Cruz continues to build on his resume of public service and has youth on his side to make a future run at Congress. (continue on page 6)

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COVER STORY Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (64.31 percent) of Maui also handily defeated his opponents Christy Kajiwara-Gusman (30.93 percent) and Rynette Keen (4.76 percent). Before serving in the state House and Senate, he’s held an impressive streak of top administrative roles including as Director of Public Works and Environmental Management. Keith-Agaran is an attorney, received his J.D from UC-Berkeley and B.A. from Yale College. The State Senate will have two freshman Fil-Ams in 2021 -- Joy San Buenaventura, Senate Dist. 2 (Big Island, Puna, Kaʻū) and Bennette Misalucha, Senate Dist. 16 (Pearl Harbor, Pearl City and Aiea). Buenaventura begins her first year in the Senate but has been at the Legislature for six years in the House where she’s held leadership roles. Last session she served as chair of the HHS/Homelessness committee, vice chair of the Judiciary committee, and House majority whip. She had a strong campaign in her first run in a larger district, garnering 75.19 percent of votes

compared to her opponent Aloha Aina Party’s Ron Kaipo (24.81 percent). Misalucha is technically an incumbent but is still green to the Senate having been appointed by Gov. David Ige to fill the seat of the late Sen. Breene Harimoto this year in July. Because she took over Sen. Harimoto’s seat, her win in this general is for two years. The term for Hawaii state senators lasts for four years. Misalucha is a wellknown community leader. Her professional background includes executive positions in banking, marketing, public policy, and community outreach. Since 2008, she ran her own business strategy and communications company. Her race was relatively close against opponent Kelly Kitashima, 52.69 percent to 47.31 percent. Honolulu City Council will also have two additional Fil-Ams: Augusto Tulba (Augie T) who pulled off a surprise victory over former state Sen. Will Espero (52.90 to 47.10 percent); and Radiant Cordero who had 48.6 percent of the vote against challenger Jacob Aki.

Tulba, a legendary Hawaii entertainer, will occupy the seat of term-limited FilAm Ron Menor in the district representing Waikele, Mililani, Royal Kunia and portions of Ewa Beach. Cordero will hold the seat of the term-limited Fil-Am Joey Manahan, her former boss. Cordero was Manahan’s chief of staff. Tulba and Cordero will join sitting city council members that include Fil-Am Brandon Elefante. The Filipino community for generations has been well-represented at the Honolulu City Council regularly with at least two and up to four Fil-Am members (of the total nine that comprise the Council) each year. Many of them led the Council as chair during their tenure (to name a few: Ron Menor, Ernest “Ernie” Martin, Nestor Garcia, Donovan Dela Cruz, Rudy Pacarro). What the 2020 Presidential Election was about To Biden supporters, his victory signals a dramatic shift, an end to close to four years of intense suffering unjustly and inhumanly just for being an immigrant or person

of color. After close to a year of chaos, confusion, economic down-spiraling and literally death over the coronavirus pandemic – Biden’s win is a symbolic signpost pointing to the road that should have initially been taken to beat COVID-19. For the other half of a divided nation who supported Trump in the general, their leader will not get a second-term – a political oddity that hasn’t happened since President George Bush, Sr. While 45 will not remain in the White House, Trumpism is a political force to stay, political analysts suspect. The strong showing in the general suggests that. Unless president-elect Biden can make good on his message of uniting the nation and find a way for the diverse coalition who supported him to co-exist with Trumpers under the same tent. The 2020 election shows that honesty still matters. While “character” normally takes a backseat to the economy and hot issues in choosing a candidate, this election was different. Character matters. Being a decent person matters.

Political analysts counted Biden out initially in the Primary that had one of the strongest field of Democratic contenders ever. But Biden is likely the only candidate who could have defeated Trump, as Trump’s complete polar opposite. Republicans couldn’t attach labels to Biden that perhaps could have stuck onto other Democrats. Independents, who really are shifting moderates in time, felt comfortable voting for Biden whose politics is really 1980s Republicanism. Take away the hate and xenophobia, Trumpism at its root is really a rejection to a world moving too fast. Biden’s middle-of-the-road politics might just be the antidote Trumpers were looking for, not the “wolf populist” in sheep’s clothing who misguided them. For millions of Americans, at least the end to one of the country’s worst years in history, closed with a promising upside.  EDITOR’S NOTE: For other Fil-Ams who won in the General Election, see HFC Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga’s article in this issue.

Filipino American Candidates Who Won the 2020 Hawaii General Election

By Jim Bea Sampaga


s the country anxiously waits for the final count of votes of the next U.S. president, local government has already announced the newly elected officials of the 2020 General Election. Many Filipino Americans ran for multiple public office positions this election with some of them aiming to be elected for the same seat. However, only few Filipino Americans won in this year’s general election. With the new Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi and Hawaii County Mayor Roth Mitch, here are the Filipino Americans that won their respective races. Augusto Tulba, better known as the entertainer Au-

gieT, won the Honolulu City Council Dist. 9 race against veteran politician Will Espero. Tulba garnered 51.90% of the votes while Espero got a close 48.10%. In Kalihi, Honolulu City Council Dist. 7 incumbent Joey Manahan’s chief of staff, Radiant Cordero, won the Dist. 7 seat with 52.90%. While fellow Filipino American competitor Jacob Aki received 47.10% of the votes. Current Dist. 39 State House Representative Ty Cullen secured his seat for another two years with 65.85% votes against fellow Fil-Am Austin Maglinti with 34.15%. Another Fil-Am face-off are Sonny Ganaden and Tess Quilingking of the State House Dist. 30. Ganaden won with 68.05% of

votes while Abalos received 31.95%. Dist. 24 State House Rep. Della Au Belatti will be serving another term in the district after a landslide win of 77.23% votes against Aloha Aina Party Andy Sexton with 22.77%. Bennette Misalucha, who was appointed by Governor David Ige to fill the late Senator Breene Harimoto’s State Senate Dist. 16 seat this July, will be serving the district of Pearl Harbor, Pearl City and Aiea for another term. She secured the senate seat with 52.69% against Kelly Kitashima’s 47.31%. Another Fil-Am incumbent Donovan Dela Cruz has been serving the State Senate Dist. 22 since January 2011. He is reelected for another

term after a landslide win of 70.29% compared to opponent John M i l l e r ’s 29.70%. Meanwhile in neighboring islands, a Fil-Am candidate is elected in the State House while two more candidates are elected for the State Senate. Greggor Ilagan won the State House Dist. 4 seat in Big Island with a landslide win of 70.10% votes against Republican Hope Cermelj (17.44%) and Aloha Aina Party Desmon Haumea (12.45%). Incumbent Gil

Keith-Agaran of Maui won the State Senate Dist. 5 race with 64.31% of votes against Republican Christy Kajiwara-Gusman (30.93%) and Aloha Aina Party Rynette Keen (4.76%). In another Big Island race, State Senate Dist. 2 Joy San Buenaventura is elected after garnering 75.19% of votes compared to Aloha Aina Party opponent, Ron Ka-ipo with 24.81%.



Justice Barrett Is a Godsend for Law-abiding Americans By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


hat is a “ g o d send?” Benefit, blessing, manna, windfall, bonus, joy. https:// www.merriam-webster.com/ thesaurus/godsend Can you use “godsend” in a sentence? “Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a godsend for law-abiding Americans.” Barrett took the constitutional oath before Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House following a 52-48 confirmation vote on October 26, 2020. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. called Barrett “a woman of unparalleled ability and temperament.” On October 27, 2020, Barrett took the judicial oath before Chief Justice John Roberts. In her remarks after taking the first

oath, Barrett said: “I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.” It is unfortunate that certain senathugs harassed Justice Barrett during the confirmation hearings with insulting questions. One from a subtropical state asked: Have you ever committed sexual assault? Have you ever settled a case of sexual assault? This questioning was in the presence of her children and her husband. What did the senator expect Barrett to answer? What was the purpose in asking sexual assault questions? It was preposterous to even hint that a woman like Justice Barrett would commit sexual assault. Judge Barrett was thoroughly background checked by the FBI before she was even nominated and if she had committed a crime, the FBI would have known it. Presi-

dent Trump would not have nominated her. Binaboy ang babaeng magistrada. Those nangbababoy should be exiled to a reef in the Babuyan Channel? The “nattering nabobs of negativism” aka Demoncrats are against Justice Barrett because they she is a “conservative” and that she will declare Obamacare unconstitutional in the second case challenging it, California v. Texas, and reverse Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) which held that under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution women have a right to personal privacy, which includes the decision to have an abortion. That is not the test of “conservatism”. Chief Justice Roberts, who was a “conservative” kuno, upheld the validity of Obamacare, 5-4, when it was first brought to the Supreme Court in National Federa-

If you can show a constitution with the word “abortion” in it, it is fake. [We believe that every human being has a right to do what they want tion of Independent Business with their own body. That is a v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 God-given right. It is inalien(2012). Roberts reasoned that able. Therefore: A woman can the individual mandate to buy have an abortion. A man can health insurance was a consti- masturbate - like the Harvard tutional exercise of the con- Law grad CNN legal expert gressional power to impose a reportedly caught masturbat“tax”. Hahahahahahahaha. A ing on zoom. It has been called law dealing with health care is the “zoom dick” scandal. My a “tax”? Not even Obama and Zoom stock went up 50 bucks. his cohorts in Congress in their Pssst. Here is the YouTube https://www.youtube. wildest dreams ever thought of link. Obamacare as a tax when they com/watch?v=Wi0p6TMkenacted it. Justice Barrett crit- 9OU ] Justice Barrett is neither icized Roberts’s decision in a law review article, hence the conservative nor liberal. She Demoncrats fear that she will calls it like she sees it. Chief hold Obamacare void in the Justice Roberts at his confirsecond Obamacare case before mation hearing said: “Judgthe Supreme Court, California es are like umpires. Umpires v. Texas, which will be heard don’t make the rules; they apply them. . . . . it’s my job to on November 10. As for abortion, Barrett’s call balls and strikes, and not critics argue that she has 7 chil- to pitch or bat.” Alas, Robdren (2 of whom were adopted erts did not fulfill his promise. from Haiti) and is a Catholic, Proof? See Roberts’s decision and therefore is against abor- on Obamacare and DACA. We tion. What kind of logic is this? believe that Justice Barrett will To begin with, there is no con- be an honest umpire. She will (continue on page 8) stitutional basis for abortion.



(Justice Barrett....from page 7)

call a strike a strike and a ball a ball.

Law abiding immigrants should rejoice How should law-abiding immigrants receive Justice Barrett? We should welcome her with open arms. We should thank the Almighty Father that He sent her to the Supreme Court. The best evidence that she is pro-immigrant – the legal not illegal variety – is that she and her husband Jessee adopted two black children from Haiti in accordance with the immigration laws. It’s not that they wanted to have a family. They

already had biological children of their own. That shows care and compassion. Justice Barrett’s decisions on immigration issues while she was still a Judge of the Court of Appeals were based on precedent – she was simply applying prior case law to the facts. Take the case of an alien challenging the denial by a U.S. consular officer of the alien’s visa application because the alien was inadmissible for trying to smuggle two children to the United States. Barrett upheld the denial citing a Supreme Court decision that Congress “delegated the

power to determine who may enter the country to the Executive Branch, and courts generally have no authority to second-guess the Executive’s decisions. Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 769-70, 92 S.Ct. 2576, 33 L.Ed.2d 683 (1972). … the doctrine of consular nonreviewability “bars judicial review of visa decisions made by consular officials abroad.” Matushkina v. Nielsen, 877 F.3d 289, 294 (7th Cir. 2017). Barrett provided an out - an alien can challenge the denial if the alien can show that the consul’s decision was not “facially legitimate and bona fide.” Yafai v. Pompeo,

912 F.3d 1018 (2019), https:// www.leagle.com/decision/infco20190104186. So, aliens can take a cue and hire a lawyer who can show that the case falls within the exception. Better still; the alien can hire an experienced and excellent lawyer to assist in filing the petition and preparing for the interview. Where an alien is in removal proceedings and seeks a stay of removal pending the resolution of the alien’s appeal, a panel of judges of which Judge Barrett was a member said that it could not grant a stay because the alien “demonstrated neither the irreparable harm nor substantial likelihood of success on the merits” required for a stay prescribed in Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418 (2009). Ramos v Barr, No. 19-1728, (CA7 06/05/2019). Barrett’s panel suggested the course of action that aliens should take to obtain a stay. We have been successful in obtaining stays for all our clients in removal proceedings because we complied with the traditional four-factor standard specified in Nken v Holder. Aliens seeking a stay of removal should hire a skilled lawyer who knows the four-factors and can establish that the alien meets them. In asylum cases, Barrett pointed out the requirements to be established by an alien to obtain asylum. Credibility of the asylum applicant is the most critical requirement.

Alvarenga-Flores v Sessions, No. 17-2920 (CA7 08 28 18). Aliens who want to win their asylum cases should hire lawyers who have been successful in winning asylum cases because they know the requirements, they can present credible evidence to establish them, and care enough about the alien to spend time preparing them thoroughly so that they could testify credibly. Call us and we will name a lawyer with a 100% batting average in asylum cases. Therefore, on immigration law, Justice Barrett is predictable because she applies the law and legal precedents. There are no surprises. She has no racial bias. 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 , https://www.hawaiianimmigrationattorney.com, https:// www.bileckilawgroup.com.)


Free Virtual Workshop on Hawaii’s Foreign Trade-Zone No. 9 for Import-Export Businesses


he Kinabukasan Series presents Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone No. 9, a free virtual workshop on how to take advantage of Hawaii’s Foreign Trade-Zone No. 9 and how it can help your import/export business. The FTZ9 could help defer, reduce, or even eliminate duties and taxes on imported goods and merchandise. The workshop will feature Cindy Matsuki, Economic Development Specialist, from the

Hawaii Foreign-Trade Zone No. 9; and will be facilitated by Vanessa Kop, FCCH Past President. The virtual event will be on Nov. 18, 6-8 p.m. Registration is required. To register, visit www.filipinochamber.org or https://bit.ly/3k4bksK. Live Streaming: @FilipinoChamberHI and @MabuHIExpo The workshop is presented by the FCCH, FilCom Center, and HPBEC. For more information, call 808-554-1535.




COVID-19 Impacts Hawaii’s Tourism the Most By Elpidio R. Estioko


or a state that thrives on tourism as a major income generator for the local government, Hawaii is the worst recipient of the COVID-19 pandemic! The single most sector of the tourism industry the pandemic hit big time is the hotel and lodging industry in which hotel employees and staff are suffering and eventually, losing their livelihood. In an article written by Lauren Aratani in The Guardian, she wrote: “Hawaii avoided a coronavirus spike – but its tourist economy is shattered.” Yes, the decision to shut down helped keep coronavirus cases down on the islands but unemployment surged and heavily affected Hawaii’s economy which relies heavily on the tourism industry. Reports said that Jordyn Wallace, front desk worker of Sheraton Waikiki, was a victim of the pandemic losing her job to COVID-19 thus spoiling her life big time! “I have never seen Waikiki so empty. It felt surreal because no matter what time of day it

is, you always see visitors in Waikiki,” Wallace commented in said report. “We have more than 1,000 rooms. It’s a huge hotel, and to not see a single soul on property was crazy.” Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and chief executive of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce said: “Every day, there is something on the news that announces businesses are shutting down. These are not new business. They are family businesses, they are institutions, and these are businesses that have survived economic challenges in the past.” With quarantine coupled with broader travel restrictions implemented around the world, travel to Hawaii was drastically affected. Statistics showed that “on March 1, nearly 29,000 people arrived but that figure, on March 31, it dropped to 301, a fall of 98.9% compared to the same period last year. At least 150,000 workers in the state of 1.5 million people were out of work in May. The unemployment rate was 23.5% – over 10% higher than the national rate.” In a Wall Street Journal article written by Kim Mackrael titled “Coronavirus Hits Hawaii’s Tourism-Dependent Workforce Hard,” as travel shutdown leaves the state

with the highest rate of jobless claims in the U.S. The state’s $18 billion tourism industry ground to a near-halt in March, after the Trump administration recommended Americans to “avoid unnecessary travel.” Hawaii Chamber of Commerce mentioned that many of its members were already closing temporarily or reducing business hours before the state’s March 25 stay-at-home order. A recent survey by the Chamber and the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization found that “about one in four businesses anticipated having to shut their doors permanently,” said Menor-McNamara. “They’re bleeding,” Menor-McNamara said. “As you can imagine, there’s only so much cash in the bank account. Their fixed costs are far exceeding what they have.” Reports said Kyle Baxter, a 55-year-old server at the Beachhouse Restaurant at the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Honolulu, was laid off temporarily on March 17. He said “he considered moving back to New York, where he has lived in the past, but figured the cost of shipping or selling his belongings would be too high. I have a little bit of savings, and this is probably going to wipe it out.” Statistics indicated that more than 10 million people traveled to Hawaii last year, generating $2 billion in state tax revenue, according to the state tourism authority. Leisure

and hospitality, including food service, account for 19% of all employment on the islands. Douglass Miller, a lecturer at the Hotel School at Cornell University said: “Hawaii is hospitality… and it’s more than just the hotels and restaurants being shut down. There’s a whole trickle-down effect.” Don Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Bar & Grill in the Honolulu financial district, said he cut his staff by about two-thirds after his restaurant was forced to move to takeout service only. Just days earlier, he had canceled the pub’s annual St. Patrick’s Day block party, which usually brings in about a month’s worth of business in a single day. The pandemic really affected the tourism industry the most! The Hotel Business Sept. 15, 2020 edition magazine reported that: “Travel supports 15.8 million American jobs in total, employing 1 out of 10 Americans. 2019 travel generated $2.6 trillion for the US economy. The local impact is 70 percent to local communities (in traveler related spending) in transportation, food and beverage (retail), The failure of our (National) hotels can (and will) have a massive ripple effect on our country’s economy.” In an interview, Benjie Fernandez, hotel manager of Hilton Garden Inn in the Bay Area said: “Since the COVID-19 pandemic hits the travel industry, the hotel suffered the most as travelers no

longer spend the night or two to attend meetings and conferences. Most of the hotels, if not all, closed their operations temporarily resulting to furloughing their employees and later got laid off permanently.” Fernandez further said: “My very own hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, furloughed 90% of our workforce as the hotel run only a single digit occupancy for the first 5 months during COVID-19. Because of this, we had no choice but to let all our hourly employees go in the promise that they will be called when the business gets back to normal. As a result, they lost their insurance coverages as hotel operators can no longer sustain or continue their coverages after the 90-day period,” he added. “Personally,” he continued, “it will take a while to recover as many businesses working at home. Not even next year, I would say in 2022 or 2023.” As I observed the latest development in Hawaii and other states with many states still surging positive of the virus, Fernandez’s observation is true! The pandemic is still with us and is not moving away, contrary to U.S. President Donald Trump’s view. There is no indication that it will fade away soon or “making a turn!”

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).


Hawaii International Film Festival Announces Drive-In Cinema Screenings

By Jim Bea Sampaga


or the whole month of November, Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) will have drive-in cinema screenings across three Oahu locations featuring HIFF feature films and family-friendly favorites. HIFF will host the drive-in locations at Ala Moana Center,

Varsity Building Moiliili and Winward Mall, Kaneohe. Tickets cost $30 each vehicle with two adult passengers, $10 for additional adult passenger and $8 for children ages three to 11. “This is a safe, fun, and family-friendly offerings as part of our November Festivities,” said HIFF Executive Director Beckie Stocchetti. “Our islands and communities have sacrificed so much over the last six months. As we reopen Hawaii, HIFF is

proud to present these entertaining opportunities for our ohana.” From Nov. 5 to 22, HIFF’s Drive-In Cinema will feature various fresh indie cinema hits, Hawaii-focused films and family-friendly blockbusters. HIFF Artistic Director Anderson Le says he’s excited to bring back the “magic of movies” through drive-in cinemas. To view the full schedule of films and their locations, visit hiff.org/drive-in-schedule/ 



Brenna Flores from Chaminade University wins Chronicle’s $2,500 journalism scholarship By Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Journalism Scholarship Chair


ady Bird Johnson once said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” This quote from the former First Lady of the United States, who was also a journalist and an environmentalist, describes Brenna Marie Flores, winner of the 2020 Hawaii Filipino Chronicle journalism scholarship, now in its second year. Flores, whose last name means “flowers,” is the recipient of a $2,500 award from the Chronicle, which will financially help her complete her senior year at Chaminade University of Honolulu where she is majoring in communications with a minor in marketing. “I feel extremely blessed and grateful for this opportunity,” Flores said. “This accomplishment brings me a lot of hope to finish my last year in college, especially during these unprecedented times.” The global pandemic—and its negative impact on the economy and employment—has added to the struggles that college students face, especially when it affects their abilities to afford tuition payments. The Chronicle has established its scholarship program to give hope and financial assistance to hard-working and talented local Filipino students like Flores, so they have the opportunity to finish their degrees and grow Hawaii’s work force in the media field. “We need future Fil-Am writers and leaders in the field of journalism and mass communications (JMC). We are short of Filipino journalists who will continue our work and serve the Filipinos and our community-at-large in the future,” said Chona Montesines Sonido, publisher and managing editor of the Chronicle. As a budding writer, Flores’ scholarship win represents hope for Hawaii’s future in the JMC field. After she graduates in May 2021, she will join the pool of the state’s media professionals and become a role model for others of Filipino heritage considering careers in communications. Even though she is part-Filipino, Flores is proud to know that her ancestral roots from the Philippines gave her a strong work ethic in all that she does.

EXPRESSING ETHNIC COOPERATION Flores, who hails from Waipahu, is the daughter of Benjamin and Regina Flores, a stevedore and Catholic school teacher, respectively. She has two older sisters, Sage and Breanne, and two younger brothers, Brayden and Bransen. “I am 50% Filipino from my dad’s side, 50% Portuguese from my mom’s side,” Flores said. “I’m a ‘PortuPino’ as my mother calls my siblings and me!” She believes that the beauty of Hawaii is not just from the land but also from the people. She compared the “aloha” spirit to the “bayanihan” concept: “We thrive off of unity and embrace cooperation with our neighbors and those around us,” she explained. “Through writing and reporting, my goal is to continue to express the beauty of ethnic diversity in Hawaii and continue to uplift all the Filipinos and local people out there who are working long hours and are sacrificing their time and efforts to make a living,” Flores said. BLOSSOMING AS A JOURNALIST Flores credits all of her Chaminade professors, especially Dr. Clifford Bieberly, chair of the communications department, and Kim Baxter, her journalism teacher, for helping her hone her skills so she can be more effective as a writer and tell better stories about the people of Hawaii, whether through traditional print, broadcast or online, in her future communications career.

“I hope my writing and storytelling skills will benefit Hawaii’s local people and ethnically diverse community because there is so much more to so many people, and I think it’s really important to uncover that by making the people around you feel comfortable,” she said. “Writing for ‘The Silversword,’ (Chaminade’s student newspaper online), I was able to learn how much stronger your story can be when you choose to schedule a live interview with someone and really get to experience one’s body language and expressions. I am usually an extroverted-introvert but through the student newspaper, I continue to learn how to step out of my comfort zone and build that personal connection with my interviewee.” Flores hopes to find a job, possibly at a nonprofit organization, that would allow her to write and tell stories about people helping others or about those who are actually making a positive difference in society.

FEEDING THE HUNGRY WITH HER FAMILY Giving back to others is natural for Flores, since she grew up in a family that serves the community with random acts of kindness. “I especially enjoy time together with my family when we cook and distribute food to those who are less unfortunate than us. On Good Fridays, my family and I would drive to the Kaka’ako area to distribute food to those in need. If we had extras, we would also drive to spots like Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island and Hans L’Orange Park in Waipahu,” Flores recalled. “We do not participate with a specific charity or organization. Instead, we just drive around as a family and give food and drinks to those in need. We distributed 150 plates of chili with hot dogs last year!” The pandemic prevented the Flores family from doing their charity work this year but hopes to continue the tradition again when it is safe for everyone. CAMPAIGNING FOR THE CLIMATE Like Lady Bird Johnson, Flores also cares deeply about environmental issues “because this land is something that we do not own. Nature and environment were generously shared with us by our Creator. Therefore, it is not our property so we must respect it as we do with other people’s belongings.” She added, “As a 20-year-old, I think about my future children and their children, and I do not want them to live on an Earth that is filled with pollution and climate change. There have been so many people inhabiting our Earth before me and there will be so many more people inhabiting it after me, so we need to take care of it.” Professor Bieberly especially noted Flores’ commitment to caring about climate change. He said, “During spring semes(continue on page 12)



Gov. Ige Appoints Judge Todd Eddins to Hawaii Supreme Court By Jim Bea Sampaga


awaii Governor David Ige has appointed Judge Todd Eddins to the Hawaii Supreme Court as an associate judge, a seat that has been vacant since Associate Justice Richard Pollack’s retirement in June 2020. In 2017, Judge Eddins was appointed to the First Circuit Court. He presides over 85 jury trials and resolved thousands of legal cases. “Judge Eddins has the vast knowledge and experience necessary to serve on the Ha-

wai‘i Supreme Court. He has the respect of his peers and I know that he will be a welcome addition to the state’s highest court,” said Gov. Ige in a press release. He received his bachelor’s degree at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Judge Eddins then went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law, where he served as the executive editor of the University of Hawaii Law Review. Furthermore, he is a former trial attorney at the Office

Judge Todd Eddins

of the Public Defender and a former law clerk to the late Yoshimi Hayashi, retired Hawaii Supreme Court Justice.


Filipino Online Conference “Baliktanaw” To Bridge Diasporic Filipinos important to recogand Filipinos in Motherlandnize“Ittheisintricacies of influenc-


two-day online conference called “Baliktanaw” aims to provide audiences a safe-space to learn and discuss the historical backgrounds of Filipinos in the diaspora. Held from Nov. 21st to 22nd, the conference hopes “to bridge a longstanding divide between diasporic Filipinos and the Filipinos in the motherland,” according to the press release. Conference topics to be

discussed includes “Plantations Days through COVID-19: Discrimination and Access for Hawaii Filipinos,” “Empire of Care: Health Disparities within Filipino Communities,” “Moving in Panel: Exploring immigrant experiences to the US,” and “How to Find your Voice: Journeying to explore Filipinx Identity.” The conference project is hosted by a few students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

es that have molded Filipino ethnic and political identity today,” the students wrote in the event’s description. “In this conference, we hope to promote a space to amplify the voices of our community; to fight for social justice and human rights and lead the next generation.” To register for the Virtual Baliktanaw Conference on Nov. 21 to 22, visit hopin.to/ events/baliktanaw-conference. 

He also had a private practice until 2017 where he specialized in complex criminal, civil and appellate litigation. “I have spent my adult life in courtrooms or preparing to enter courtrooms. This is a humbling, thrilling, chicken skin capstone to an enriching career as a trial lawyer and circuit court judge,” said Judge Eddins, thanking his family, friends and colleagues who helped and supported him along the way. His appointment as Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice is subject to Senate confirmation on Nov. 16, 2020. If confirmed, Judge Eddins said: “In deciding cases, I aspire to achieve clarity of un-

clear law, establish statewide uniformity of law, and achieve justice for litigants.” He is married to Attorney Rowena Sabangan, a Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City & County of Honolulu and the daughter of Filipino community leaders, Al and Rose Sabangan of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. Together, they have four children: Noah (23), Miranda (19), Roscoe (16) and Ruby (8). “I grew up here and have always embraced Hawai`i’s multi-cultural society,” said Judge Eddins. “I am delighted that my children are so proud of their Filipino heritage and understand the value of diversity and cultural reverence.”

(NEWS FEATURE: Brenna Flores....from page 11)

ter 2020, she teamed up with students in our Environmental Studies program to create a successful Climate Action Video Competition. Not only did she make substantial contributions to crafting the messaging, her design for a logo and t-shirt image won by a wide margin.” But beyond her college campus, Flores hopes to do more for the environment. “I wish I could do bigger things and join more organizations that are committed to benefiting Hawaii’s land. But for now, I just do the small things that I can to limit carbon footprint factors, such as hanging clothes instead of drying them or picking up litter when I see it. I also try to recycle whatever I can and limit my trash and plastic waste. In the future, I would love to volunteer or work with nonprofit organizations that are committed to cleaning up waste and trash all over the island,” she said. Flores’ essay, also published in this edition of the Chronicle, describes more about her environmental endeavors.

BLOOMING WHEREVER SHE IS PLANTED Besides studying hard to maintain a 3.47 GPA, Flores multi-tasks in a variety of extra-curricular activities, “blooming wherever is she planted”.

She works part-time as an after-school care monitor at Holy Family Catholic Academy to earn a little money to pay for textbooks and school supplies. “During this pandemic, Holy Family is one of the few elementary schools open for in-person learning, and I am grateful to be receiving work and money at this time,” she said. Flores is also an intern at Hawaii Theater Center where she is applying her communications and marketing education to write news releases about the nonprofit organization’s activities. She participates in Basic Christian Community of Hawaii, a Catholic lay movement, which allows her to give back, serve others, and bring Christianity to those seeking. She won an Honorable Mention in the All-Star girls’ soccer team for Damien Memorial School (Class of 2017). Her hobbies include spending time with her family, lifting weights at the gym, watching TV and movies and reading fictional books. Professor Bieberly summed up Flores’ well-roundedness: “Brenna is a very adaptable, multi-talented, thoughtful person who will go far and represent the kind of ideals that will make the world a better place.”



Does Trump Want to Be Marcos?

I did so early. Like the bilingual sticker on my mask said, “I voted.” On October 14, I masked up and took a rare COVID venBy Emil Guillermo ture outside my home. I drove he barricades to my county registrar’s office. I felt every stroke of black were going up all around the White as I filled in all the white boxHouse before the es. Our white boxes. Here’s the good thing election. It reminds me about voting early. You get of the Black Lives Matter rally, to savor your vote. My white when Trump gassed innocent boxes. Now darkened to my protestors to clear the path for delight. (Maybe you pull a lehim to have a bible thumping ver, or punch something, or do photo-op at the church across something on a computer? We the street from the White fill in the white boxes. What a treat). House. And then you gleam. I votForce seems to be in the ed. And tell everyone. equation in an election that alUntil it’s all over and the most certainly will be contested by Donald Trump should he fat candidate concedes, it’s like walking around with a live lose. Autocrats can’t lose. The lottery ticket. You want everylate Iraqi strongman Saddam one to get in to grow the pot. Hussein won with 100 percent Of course, I’m being agnostic. of the vote in 2002. He won I don’t care about how you 11 million to NOTHING. 11 vote. Just do it. Once it’s over, the real million votes. The Philippines’ Marcos was only slightly dif- work begins. The count. The ferent in the 1980s. He allowed legitimizing. And for the losers, the raa few more stray votes just to look good. But his main oppo- tionalizing. So, I hope you voted. nent Sen. Benigno Aquino was The threat of having your gunned down. healthcare stripped away In the U.S., nearly 40 years later, we have a president who should make you want to vote. Are you getting the monsays, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot ey you need to pay rent? Or to somebody and I wouldn’t lose keep your business from failing? All that should have motivoters.” Trump can’t stand los- vated you to vote. And then there’s this thing ing. Especially if losing could called democracy itself. mean prison time for Trumpy. So, if it came down to Trump or democracy, guess TRUMP’S DEGENERATION OF what a self-serving megaloma- DEMOCRACY Remember the first time niac like Trump might choose? That makes this election you did something bad and nothing happened to you? You critical. It used to be some people got away with it. And I mean, more than didn’t see themselves in our democracy. So, they didn’t vote. just going 45 in a 25mph zone. A lot more. They’d say, “Why bother?” That’s the new American We can’t say that anymore. moral standard, usually faBother now. Especially if you’re part of vored by criminals, but now America’s great diversity, say firmly set by Donald J. Trump, an Asian American of Filipino president of the United States, descent, or a person of color, and chief proponent of the or a working-class person, or $750 income tax for billiona woman, or an LGBTQ+ per- aires. Under Trump, there’s right son. You should be feeling the threat as we approach Nov. 3. and wrong and getting caught. The threat is real. I hope you Trump’s advice? Don’t get caught. Otherwise you’re a voted.


sucker and loser. Or you have the luxury of being president and then you’ve got the ultimate protection, immunity, for as long as you are commander-in-chief. With all the potential criminal charges facing the man who is protected simply for being a sitting POTUS, I’d say he’s plenty motivated to stay in office. That’s why as I write, I’m not sure what will happen after election day. Will we see headlines like: “Trump Denies Votes just as he does Virus.” Will there be an attempt made to invalidate uncounted votes? Or just an attempt to declare victory based on “voting irregularities”? No one is expecting a graceful concession speech from Donald Trump. Then again, if he wins, or has his way, then we could expect more of the last four years, only far worse. He’d be a scorched earth lame duck. And he’s already scorched us pretty badly. Since taking office, Trump has evaded accountability and thumbed his nose at conventional expectations of political civility. As the American role model for us and the world, he took advantage of every edge and didn’t play fair. He has proven to be the most venal and corrupt leader of the free world, bereft of conscience and morals. Over the last four years, Trump brought out the worst in America. And I’m not sure it can be undone.

CNN ANCHOR’S CONFRONTATION For all Asian Americans, this is real. I’m thinking of CNN anchor Amara Walker’s revelation how she, as an Asian American of Korean descent, was confronted not once but three times by people who got in her face about whether she belonged in America. It happened at the New Orleans airport. “I still can’t believe I went through this,” she told fellow CNN anchor Breanna Keilar. “I’m still shaking.” Walker described how an older man walked by her and gave her a “Nihao.” But it wasn’t a friendly hello when followed by “Ching chong.” “I was stunned,” Walker said. “It’s happened to me before sadly, but every time, it shocks me.” She moved on and tried to ignore it. But later she saw the man again at an airport shop and confronted him. She asked him if he knew how racist he was being. The man smugly denied anything had happened and walked away. Walker was mad but went back to her gate. Five minutes later, a younger man of South Asian descent, not wearing a mask comes up to her and says, “Hey, do you speak English?” Walker says she asked the second man why he would assume she didn’t? The man responded by mocking a generic Asian sound. As onlookers got involved trying to defend

Walker, security was called. But when a police officer arrived, instead of confronting the man harassing Walker, the officer lectured Walker and her producer. According to Walker, the intimidating officer said, “asking someone if they speak English is not racist, OK, do you understand?” The transgressions against Walker are all a consequence of Donald Trump using Anti-Asian hate rhetoric since March when he began calling COVID-19, the “China Virus” or the “Kung Flu.” More than 3,000 incidents were reported to Stop AAPI Hate in the first months of the pandemic. Many Filipinos have been stopped and called “Chinese.” Think of that. Think of the president’s overall handling of the virus, downplaying, acting like a super-spreading public health denier, and all at the people’s expense. This is what America has become. This is why I hope you voted.

ONE LAST APPEAL Finally, to my conservative friends. I know you are good people. I hope you voted, not necessarily for a person, but for our country. It should be obvious, but I glimpsed Peggy Noonan’s column in the pre-election Wall Street Journal. And she, one of the nattering nabobs of the political media, declared she was NOT voting. “Is abstaining an honorable choice?” she asked rhetorically in her column, but then answered. “For me, it is the only (continue on page 14)



The Horrors And Honors of 2020 By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


ust when we are starting to get hopeful for things to get better, a very strong typhoon entered the Philippines on the very first day of November. Typhoon Rolly battered the region of Bicol, causing damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. It has been a double whammy for the Philippines, already struggling with the many cases of COVID-19 and she also has to deal with violent storms coming one after another. The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has taken the lives of many young people. The explosion in Lebanon has damaged the nation tremendously. Add to this the uncertainty that the US Election brings, not just to its states but also to the nations around the world. These are just some of the few tough things that humanity has confronted and continues to face this year. Surely, 2020 is a year filled with horror. It’s a season so many people want to cancel and get over with. It is the

year many will remember as the year the world stopped as COVID-19 ravaged the whole world, shaking economies, stealing livelihood, halting travel and tourism and taking thousands of lives. It is the year that distanced everyone physically and socially. We face an unprecedented combination of health and economic problems. The world also suffers social and political unrest. Anxiety, insecurity, fear, despair and hopelessness have become this year’s bywords. Add to this the uncertainty that the US Election brings, not just to its states but the nations of the world. But despite the terrors and many horror stories that this year brought about, it is undeniable that it has also produced countless stories of honor and hope. The world has become one in fighting an invisible enemy. Despite being physically away from each other, people have become more connected to each other virtually. Stories of generosity abound. Testimonies of encouragement, faith and hope proliferated.

Accounts of creativity and resourcefulness to survive in the midst of trying times flourished. Countless stories of answered prayers on provision, healing and protection are being told. Fear and depression may have become bywords but hope, faith and love are still overcoming. With less than two months left before 2020 ends, we are still uncertain of what the future brings. Will we see the end to the global pandemic? Will nations ravaged by natural disasters be able to recover quickly? Will the next President of a very, in fact the most powerful nation, make a positive impact to an already downtrodden and struggling society? The answers to these questions are unknown. But one thing is certain; there is


Social Security to Serve Clients Online and by Phone by Jane Burigsay


ocial Security remains committed to providing uninterrupted benefits and vital services the public relies on, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges government and businesses face at this time, we want people to know that Social Security remains ready and able to help clients by phone with most Social Security matters. Clients can speak with a representative by calling their local Social Security office or our National 800 Number, 1-800-772-1213. Local representatives are available to take client calls Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm from their

Social Security offices in Honolulu (1-855-572-4879), Kapolei (-855-572-4866), Hilo (-855-572-4863), Wailuku (1855-572-4863) and Lihue (1855-325-4842). Although our offices are not providing service for walk-in visitors, we may be able to schedule an appointment for limited, critical issues if we cannot help someone by phone and if they cannot get the information they need or conduct their business online. We encourage everyone to call or take advantage of our secure and convenient online services on our website, ssa.gov, to: • Apply for Retirement, Disability, and Medicare benefits,

• Check the status of an application or appeal, • Request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), • Print a benefit verification letter, and • Much more.

still a God who is sovereign above all, even if many don’t believe He exists. In such a difficult time, He is the only one that gives me and my family hope and security. With all the shakings happening around, He is the firm foundation and the Rock by which we stand. Maybe you have lost hope or faith because of the overwhelming darkness that 2020 has brought, may you be encouraged by these words from an old song…

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, But there’s something about that name.” He is the light in the darkness and the honor in the horrors of 2020.


Hawaii Launches Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits


aunched on Oct. 27, the Federal-State Extended Benefits (EB) aims to provide additional 13 weeks of compensation to unemployed workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The EB program’s weekly benefit amount is the same as the individual’s regular state unemployment insurance. With the additional 13 weeks, an eligible claimant may receive up to 52 weeks of benefits. “The Extended Benefits program provides a much-needed safety net for Hawaii claimants who have exhausted their current benefits and are still dealing with the long-term effects of unemployment due to COVID-19,” said DLIR Director Anne Eustaquio. “Potentially eligible individuals will be identified and notified by mail and advised to apply for benefits online.” The claimants must be unemployment or unemployed and be able to work and available for work. To apply for the EB program, claimant must visit labor.hawaii.gov. 

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Does Trump....from page 13)

Most businesses with SSA can be done online but we know that many people still rely on phone or in-person help. That’s why we want people to know they can still count on us by phone. Moreover, we know that getting medical and other documentation can be difficult due to the pandemic. Social Security can continue to extend deadlines wherever possible.

one. Sometimes you just have to hold up your hand and say no, bad choice, bad paths.” But abstention? This isn’t pre-marital sex. This is democracy. Abstaining is the chicken’s way out. And that besmirches the chicken. If you can’t allow for a positive compromise for the sake of our country, you’re not playing the game right. But this is the mindset that’s created the highly partisan gridlock that’s killed governance since the late ‘80s. Noonan should turn in her nabob card. Her abstaining is an ultimate white privilege. White elitists will survive no matter what happens. They can afford not to vote. She’ll still have a voice. Everyone else? I hope you marked your ballot – with glee. It’s your vote, your voice. It’s worth the wait, and all the trouble. Trump as Marcos is not a good look. Voting is always the last best chance to save democracy.

JANE BURIGSAY is a public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration.

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.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR THE KINABUKASAN SERIES PRESENTS HAWAII FOREIGN TRADE ZONE NO. 9 | November 18, 2020, 6-8 PM | Registration is required. To register, visit www.filipinochamber.org or https://bit.ly/3k4bksK. Live Streaming: @FilipinoChamberHI and @MabuHIExpo The workshop is presented by the FCCH, FilCom Center and HPBEC l

For more information, call 808-554-1535. MABUHI PACIFIC EXPO & SUMMIT | November 27-29, 2020 | Hawaii Convention Center l Panelists-presenters on various topics are being accepted for the Expo. For more details, visit mabuhiexpo.com.


Hawaii’s Unemployed Demands DLIR to Allow through. The online challenge is In-Person Services that many applicants have no acby Jim Bea Sampaga


he Hawaii Workers Center (HWC) and supporters are demanding the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to allow in-person services to provide better unemployment insurance services. Many low wage workers are having difficulty navigating the online application process for unemployment benefits, according to HWC. “The continuing frustration is that timely communication from DLIR is absent,” said Rev. Samuel Domingo,

Steering Committee Member of Hawaii Workers Center. In early October, DLIR reported a total of 384,102 weekly initial unemployment claims have been filed in 2020. To better serve applicants and claimants, Governor David Ige and DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio launched a new unemployment hotline in October. However, the call center only added frustration to unemployment benefits applicants and claimants. “The call center process has been disappointing in that one had to call numerous times just to get

Hawaii House of Representaclosely with elected officials tives is Hiring! work and the public, and learn more

The Hawaii House of Representatives is looking to hire employees for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. According to the press release, an opportunity to work at the Hawaii State Legislature offers the experience of “what it’s like to work in a dynamic public service organization,

about the legislative process.” The full list of open positions at the Hawaii State House of Representatives can be found at capitol.hawaii.gov/hjobs.aspx. Easily apply by emailing your resume, cover letter and desired position to resume@capitol.hawaii.gov.

cess to computers,” Domingo said. “What is particularly challenging is that many of these workers are not proficient in English and that translation services are unable to meet the need.” Domingo and HWC deem the DLIR offices are an urgent and essential service, just like banks, grocery stores and pharmacies. Relying solely on online and phone services will not help with the rising backlogs the DLIR is experiencing. “Without in-person services, we feel that those most challenged, such as the many we have interviewed, their status will remain unchanged and their agonizing wait further prolonged,” Domingo explained. “Following the example of banks and other businesses that are open for in-person service, DLIR, can ensure the safety of both their workers and the applicants.” Moreover, HWC demands DLIR to provide services at community sites with language and

1. Busilak 11. Gaas 14. Ikapanganyaya 15. Talino 17. Biling 18. Sepo 19. Balat ng palay 20. Gumagapang na halaman na ang bunga ay mga butil na kulay itim at pula 21. Mulaga 22. Pangmamamayan 25. Kung 27. Laslas 28. Nayupi 30. Lahatin


1. Pinesa 2. Yapusin 3. Pag-ayop 4. Barkilyos 5. Apog 6. Serpiyente 7. Pagmamalupit 8. Bukang-liwayway 9. Munting kawan pangkat o grupo na nakahiwalay

(Solution to Crossword No. 21 | October 17, 2020)

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computer assistance available. They also demand the DLIR to be more transparent and effective in providing communications and responses to applicant concerns via phone calls and email. Along with opening in-person services, improving the call and email centers, HWC said in a press release that “DLIR must expedite the long-overdue modernization of the DLIR’s antiquated mainframe computer system that receives and assigns claims since thousands of more claims are likely.” The Hawaii Workers Center is a non-profit resource and organization that addresses the issues and needs of low-wage workers and immigrants. Visit hawaiiworkerscenter.org to learn more.


KROSWORD ni Carlito Lalicon

Have your organization’s events listed in our community calendar. It’s recommended to submit press releases a month in advance of your organization’s event. Send information to filipinochronicle@gmail.com.

32. Ama 33. Puwang 34. Pamanahon 35. Diskriminasyon 40. Liyok 41. Pantukoy na ginagamit sa pangngalang pambalana 42. Etiketa 43. Dapat 45. Abuso 48. Hinawa 49. Bukod-tangi 51. Ipamigay 53. Liso 55. Inom 59. Magaling-galing 57. Kotse 62. Amis 58. Akma 63. Pagmemenos

64. Isang uri ng pagkaing intsik 65. Abundansya

10. Pilay 11. Buong magdamag 12. Kiskisan 13. Banda 16. Liban 21. Ama 23. Iwaksi 24. Isang uri ng lamang-lupa na maanghang 26. Kopa 29. Palugit

47. Dagdagan o lagyan ng kaunti o maraming asin 50. Kabanya 52. Gawgaw 54. Lahok 56. Tulingan 59. Rin 60. Tawag sa anak na babae 61. Maleta

31. Andap 33. Misis 35. Umilas 36. Guni-guni 37. Panagot 38. Tabing 39. Pangangatwiran 44. Isang lipon na sampu ang bilang 45. Akit 46. Aberya

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