Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - May 4, 2024

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MAY 4, 2024

Q & A: MEDICARE general Questions about mediCare and otHer soCial beneFits

CANDID PERSPECTIVES WHY You sHould Care about tHe trump trial

FEATURE From breaking points to breaktHrougHs: a reFleCtion on engaging in tHe Filipino ameriCan agenda 2024

FEATURE Ysabel Jurado: Working Hard to Win as tHe 1st Filam in tHe la CitY CounCil


U.S. Foreign Policy Choices Have Made Our Country

Weaker on Domestic Matters, and Give Us a False Sense of Geopolitical Superiority

The reality is that we live in a global community, global economy and U.S. foreign policy should be elevated as among the top issues in this nation that voters consider during elections. The U.S. national annual budget allocates a huge bulk (second only to Social Security) for defense and foreign aid combined –both obviously foreign policy oriented.

How much Americans spend on foreign policy relative to our domestic interests is what Americans are now increasingly debating. For example, for decades the U.S. has been spending more on our military than the next nine countries combined. That money has been used for not just our own security, but for protecting the entire Western world, at our expense, disproportionately. Meanwhile, western countries under the blanket of the security the U.S provides, can spend less on their militaries, and bolster their domestic spending to provide their citizens with benefits Americans do not have, such as universal healthcare and a strong retirement system.

Basic logic tells us that if the U.S. would have a better and proportionate balanced budget between foreign policy spending and domestic spending, Americans would also be able to enjoy some of the benefits our western allies enjoy.

Furthermore, after decades of disproportionate spending between foreign and domestic spending, our neglect on domestic matters have set the U.S. behind other countries in other areas like education, infrastructure and others.

Some Americans argue that the U.S. is the leader of the free world, and this is the heavy price we must pay to be the leader of the free world. This is outdated 1990s thinking that does not reflect reality.

New geopolitical reality

What’s the geopolitical reality of our time?

It is true that the U.S. remains the leader of the free world, have the largest economy and military, but the rest of the world has caught up to where the advantage the U.S. has on all accounts over other countries, do not empower the U.S. to do as they will.

For example, regarding the global economy, the U.S. has powerful financial competition from other centers of economic power not necessarily aligned with the G-7 bloc. There is the BRICS bloc that can trade among their own member-states and now rival G-7. China is expected to surpass the U.S. in GDP within 20 years, and eventually India in the next 50 years.

As for military strength, there are multiple nuclear countries which cancel the “realistic” use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, what are the measurements of actual military strength that can be used in an actual theater of war? High-tech non-nuclear weapons and ground forces – which based on these two, will not win wars for the U.S. The proxy war with Russia is a case in point. It’s not a winnable war. That stalemate would playout the same if the U.S. engages with China in the Indo-Pacific region or Taiwan. Miliary attrition does not give the U.S. an edge because that’s based on economic strength of a country (money to manufacture weapons). And what has kept the Russian economy alive despite U.S. and European sanctions? BRICS. It’s becoming clearer that a shift in U.S. policy is inevitable.

U.S. cannot afford our same foreign policy model

In this new world of near geopolitical parity, it’s clear that the old U.S. foreign policy model must change from one of dominance to one of cooperation and mutual prosperity.


Publisher & Executive Editor

his election year we’ve already done cover stories on Affordable Housing, Immigration Reform, Abortion, Medicare and Social Security (see archives, www.thefilipinochronicle.com). We know that elections traditionally hinge on domestic policy and not foreign policy. But this year could be different given the polarizing wars in the Middle East and Europe and the unpopular billions of dollars in foreign aid the U.S is sending to support these conflicts.

For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo reports on how a diverse mix of Filipinos in our community feel about our country’s current foreign policy -- foreign aid and military support – and if it could sway their decision in the upcoming election. Like Americans’ diverse opinions on this issue, our group of seven respondents provided varied opinions: some opposed funding of the wars on different grounds (high cost or immoral), some agreed with parts of the Biden administration’s approach, but all wanted a ceasefire to the Israel-Hamas war immediately. The cover story also presents a thorough accounting of what these wars are costing American taxpayers, as well as whether there should be a shift in U.S. foreign policy or a continuation of the same.

Sticking to politics, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko interviewed Ysabel Jurado who is running for the Los Angeles City Council. Should she win, Jurado will be the first Filipino American on that Council. Jurado placed first in the Primary which came as a surprise as a newcomer to politics. Articulate, an attorney, backed by community leaders, and running on a popular platform, Jurado stands a good chance against the incumbent in the November General, according to politicos in the area. She’s been getting a lot of media attention in Southern California where there is a sizable Filipino community supporting her campaign. Best of luck Ysabel.

If you’ve been paying attention to international news, you know there are ongoing workers and farmers strikes in France, Germany and other parts of Europe. On May 1st, International Workers Day, or simply known as May Day, thousands took to the streets in demonstrations. Locally, in Hawaii, May Day is also an important day given our rich history of labor unions. HFC columnist Dr. Arcelita Imasa, an officer with the Hawaii Workers Center (HWC), took part in their organization’s march and rally in solidarity with other workers organizations at the State Capitol. Read her interesting article on labor unions’ history in Hawaii.

Be sure to read our other articles: HFC columnist Rose Cruz Churma’s Book Review “BRAVE LITTLE WOMEN, A Study on Incest,” HFC columnist Emil Guillermo’s “Why You Should Care About The Trump Trial,” contributor Joe Badua’s “From Breaking Points To Breakthroughs: A Reflection On Engaging In The Filipino American Agenda 2024,” and more.

Lastly, May is also the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. We have two tributes to mothers. First, HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Puguan writes about her mother who she fondly calls Mama Marlu. Second, HFC contributor Bernie Dizon contributes, “Unwavering Love: A Tribute to Three Amazing Mothers” an article on his mother-in-law Rosie, his wife Millet, and his late mother Verlantina. Our mothers are our heroines and nurturers. We’d like to wish all our mothers a wonderful, joyful and memorable Mother’s Day.

Thank you for supporting the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Visit our website for your free e-copy of the Chronicle. Until the next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay!

Even if the U.S. wanted to continue down the same path, it is not able to do so because the American electorate do not have the will for it or ability. Succinctly put, our country can no longer afford financially to be the sole superpower of the world protecting the Western hemisphere and our allies in Asia.

Greater Prosperity in Peace

In each passing year that the U.S. engages in immensely

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Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo



Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta


Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant

Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant

Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader

Rose Cruz Churma

Elpidio R. Estioko

Willie Espero

Perry Diaz

Emil Guillermo

Gary Hooser

Arcelita Imasa, M.D.

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

J.P. Orias

Charlie Sonido, M.D.

Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista

Edna Bautista, Ed.D.

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D.

Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.

Dr. Dylan Bothamley

Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D.

Linda Dela Cruz

Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand

Amelia Jacang, M.D.

Caroline Julian

Max Levin

Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D.

Federico Magdalena, Ph.D.

Matthew Mettias

Maita Millalos

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


Millicent Wellington


Christine Sabado

Big Island Distributors

Grace LarsonDitas Udani

Kauai Distributors

Amylou Aguinaldo

Nestor Aguinaldo

Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros

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Maria Watanabe

Oahu Distributors

Yoshimasa Kaneko

Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives

Carlota Hufana Ader

JP Orias


University Students Protest Is A Clarion Call for Humanity, To Save Ourselves from Indifference to Horrors; Peaceful Protests Must Be Protected

How odd that the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu feels it’s in his place to publicly condemn American students for protesting on American soil and is demanding that university college presidents put a stop to it.

Adding insult to injury (stay in your lane, Prime Minister), U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson goes to Columbia University, chastise Americans, and gin up anger towards student protestors exercising their right to free speech because he disagrees with them. It should be noted that Speaker Johnson receives campaign money from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. Recently he received $95,000 in donations.

What kind of a strange situation is that we allow foreign pressure on domestic matters like campus protests. It’s apparent the U.S. establishment is increasingly unhinged that it must deflect “actual genocide happening in Gaza” which most Americans agree is occurring by insisting that “opposition to genocide” by students on campus somehow is violence that must be stopped,

costly wars, we not only impoverish ourselves, but give the other countries not engaged in war opportunities to surpass us. How else can you explain China’s light speed rise? While the U.S. has been engaged in trillion dollars-plus wars over the past 20 years, China, which hasn’t engaged itself in wars, funneled all their money and energy to become the superpower it is today. The same phenomenon played out with India (not engaged in costly wars) which surpassed their former colonial nation Great Britain as the fifth largest economy. As for Russia, who has been engaged in war, their economy (while strong enough to defend their own borders) is certainly not wealthy enough to expand it as serious economists, political scientists, and military analysts

while the former be allowed to go unaddressed. Furthermore, in the hope of drawing public support in condemning university protests, Johnson and the like is weaponizing “antisemitism” on protestors even as –most of these protests at many universities (especially on the East Coast) are organized by Jewish students themselves.

Let’s be clear: contrary to some in the mainstream media, right-wing politicians and some on the left who are framing the recent wave of protests at universities across the nation as antisemitic, pro-Hamas or even acts of terrorism – these protests are none of those above.

Simply, student activists are calling for a ceasefire and an end to the brutal war in Gaza. And their message is non-threatening in nature unless you find peace and pro-humanity as threats.

Real motivation for crackdowns: money

The real threat and perhaps the motivation behind these crackdowns has to do with students demanding that their school divest its financial interests with Israel – which would mean interrupting large streams of income for universities.

It’s not just potentially money loss for schools, but

know. Those believing in Russian expansionism of Europe have bought into the globalist war profiteers’ propaganda. Evidence shows that there is greater prosperity in peace than in war in this modern era. There certainly was a time that a war-based economy was central to economic strength. But that time has passed (as with the U.S. sole superpower model) with today’s tech economy replacing that old “war is good business” model. War remains good business for the military arms manufacturers and dealers, but at great cost to U.S. taxpayers even as the military industrial complex spurs lucrative industry pockets.

U.S. is in denial

Our politicians are refusing to absorb the enormity of the

for huge American corporate companies working with the university on tech and military research projects that benefit Israel. Some of these same corporations also place multi-million-dollar ads in corporate media -- which could explain the media’s own biased framing of student protests as threatening.

School presidents and administrators at these top universities must also contend with mounting pressure from billionaire donors, pro-Israel hawks who have already been threatening to cut financial support because of these protests. This is true at Harvard and Columbia and perhaps other top universities as well.

With all these money interests in the picture, it’s no wonder why the powers-that-be are wanting to distract attention from Gaza and instead wanting the narrative to focus on a debate over free speech on campus and its limitations.

Students have the moral high ground

Without question student and faculty protestors have the moral high ground in their expressed dissent when considering that already 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, 77,800 wounded (more than half of

damage endless wars and unlimited budgeting for defense have cost the country. Our government is also in denial of the new geopolitical order and still believes in that old idea that spending obscene amounts more on the military will change that order. It will not.

Some Americans are now seeing the connect between our foreign policy choices and our advancements or lack of as a nation. To not weigh on foreign policy as an area for reform such as immigration reform, health reform, education reform and all other issues we deem to be important would be missing their interconnectedness for one. But more importantly, continue to rob us from improving on all those other reforms needing immediate attention. 

whom are women and children) and over a million are starving and at the brink of famine.

It’s not just in this anti-genocide campaign that students have a moral high ground. University student protests have been a long tradition. Remember that it was the university student’s movements of the past that have helped to end the Vietnam war, pass landmark civil and women’s rights legislations, and end apartheid through their calling for U.S. boycotts on then apartheid South Africa.

Student protest movements were also met back then with often violent suppression and over-policing, particularly during the 1960s campus clampdowns. Looking back, we now know who was on the right side of history, the students who were brave enough to put a moral check on humanity.

Fast forward 20 years, it will be the same. Speaker Johnson and the protest suppressors will just be a footnote in history while this historic student protest movement against genocide will be remembered as heroic.

After just over a week of mostly peaceful protests at colleges and universities from Connecticut to California (to

name a few: Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, George Washington University, Emory, Brown, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, Arizona University, Stanford, UC Berkely, UCLA, USC, etc), there have been over 800 student arrests. Many witnesses on the scene report that most protests were peaceful until police were called in. With social media live streams, we know that some of these eyewitness reports appear to be accurate accountings.

Hope for humanity

With a majority of Americans favoring an end to this war in Gaza, these protests are viewed as a hopeful refresher for our humanity – that our sense of humanity is still alive and that what we are witnessing in Gaza is in fact abominable. It also makes sense that the university community -- known to be the conscience of humanity – are those who are saving us from ourselves and indifference to war crimes and genocide. Kudos to students. We support “peaceful” and robust dialogue and the exercise of free speech at universities.

(U.S. Foreign ....from page 2)

Filipinos Are Mostly Critical on U.S. Foreign Policy, Amount of Aid and Direction of Wars, But Still Undecided on What to Do with Biden

Adust storm is sweeping across the U.S. on college campuses that has students criticizing U.S. foreign policy supporting Israel’s war on Hamas. About the same time the strong winds of dissent coursed through eastern and western shores, President Joe Biden passed a contentious foreign aid package worth billions to go to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The two events represent opposing polarities of U.S. foreign policy that’s cracking wide open a social-political gape in American society, just at the dawn of this year’s unpredictable national elections.

Could foreign policy muster a defining sway at the ballot box?

On one side, the protests represent a people’s power movement not seen since the 1960s during the Vietnam war advocating for a shift in foreign policy. On the other side, the foreign aid package is business as usual for D.C., a historical trend of U.S. foreign policy since the fall of the Soviet Union and accelerated after 9/11 when the U.S. became the sole global superpower -- one that is mostly based on geopolitical dominance.

Opposing direction of U.S. foreign policy

President Joe Biden said during the signing ceremony of the foreign aid package, “It’s a good day for America, it’s a good day for Europe and it’s a good day for world peace. It’s going to make America safer; it’s going to make the world safer, and it continues America’s leadership in the world, and everyone knows it.”

But critics of the package say the complete opposite -- that the aid will not make the U.S. and world safer, and it’s not about world peace. In fact, some geopolitical and retired military experts say the status quo U.S. foreign policy of aggressive intervention is dangerous, pointing out that times have vastly changed since the U.S. reigned supreme in the early 1990s. They say countries have caught up in the Middle East militarily in terms of large ground troops and non-nuclear high-tech weaponry. There is a counterbalance to the U.S. in the world’s

military and economic power in BRICS countries. Further, it’s almost proven that Russia will not be defeated and is able to stand the test of attrition, making a shift in foreign policy – war and aid – imperative under these new geopolitical conditions.

These supporters of shifting the direction of foreign policy want the country to move away from conflict to one supportive of cooperation and stability. War and aggression, a large constituency of Americans say, is not sustainable in this time.

Editorialist, military historian and editor of the Christian Science Monitor Max Boot, said in the Washington Post, “After the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have lost our appetite for democracy-building abroad.”

Historian Stephen Wertheim wrote in The Journal of Genocide Research, “The global war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq also did severe damage to the humanitarian justification for military intervention.”

Foreign policy impact uncertain for 2024 election

Presidential elections traditionally hinge on domestic policy and not foreign policy. The scale of influence foreign policy could have on elections, politicos say, usually depends on whether the U.S. is at the height of or beginning of war (larger influence) or not engaged in war or engaged minimally (lesser influence).

An A.P.-NORC poll released in January showed, compared with a year ago, twice as many voters see foreign policy as a top national priority (one in four). Foreign policy has gained importance among respondents from both parties. Some 46% of Republicans named it among the top priorities, up from 23% last year. And 34% of Democrats list foreign policy as a focal point, compared with 16% a year ago. This poll only addressed importance but did not specify respondents’ inclination of their foreign policy positions.

While the A.P.-NORC poll suggests growing importance in foreign policy, two other polls hint where Americans stand on foreign policy regarding the recent aid package.

1) The Rasmussen Reports Poll, which was conducted April 16-18, found that 57% of the respondents believe the aid packages provide too much money to other countries. Only 10% believe the funding is not enough, and 23% believe the funding is the right amount.

2) In a Monmouth University survey also taken in mid-April, it differs from the Rasmussen Poll considerably with less opposition to the passage of the foreign aid package. The Monmouth survey found that 43% of Americans support the bill, while 35% oppose it. But it also shows 20% not having an opinion, which happens to be about the same percentage difference from the Rasmussen Report that shows greater opposition to the package.

But all three polls -- A.P.-NORC poll. The Rasmussen Reports, Monmouth University survey – suggest far greater division on foreign policy among the American public than their representatives in Congress who voted overwhelmingly in support of the foreign aid package.

The question begs, are elected officials representing the will of the people on this issue? Is their vote based on lobbyist influence versus their constituencies’ demands.

Both the U.S. House and Senate passed the foreign aid package with bipartisan majorities.

Hawaii senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and Reps Ed Case and Jill Tokuda supported the package. Tokuda voted against the aid to Israel but supported the complete package, which nullified her no vote on the Israel package. The House allowed individual voting on the four parts to this package.

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While foreign policy’s influence on the election is still inconclusive based on mixed polls, politicos agree that there is a sizable group – perhaps enough to sway the race in battleground states. Progressives and millennial-Gen Z are entertaining non-traditional voting options, such as voting third-party. Interest in voting third-party has never been as captivating to a large electorate since independent candidate Ross Perot sought the presidency.

Politicos say the challenge for Biden at this juncture, at least for the more contentious Israel war on Hamas, is to find the right balance, of not siding too far either toward the pro-Israeli center or toward the pro-Palestinian left, and thus alienating the other. They say the bigger risk, however, is a perception that Biden is losing control of the situation.

By the numbers

The Biden approved foreign aid package includes $60.8 billion in aid for Ukraine; $26.4 billion to support Israel, along with humanitarian aid for Gaza; and $8.1 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific.

Since this package was approved, the Pentagon has already announced a new round of military aid for Ukraine worth roughly $1 billion. Also, this week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. will provide Ukraine additional Patriot missiles for its air defense systems as part of another massive $6 billion additional aid (that’s apart from the foreign aid package signed into law).

*Total for Ukraine: to date the Kiel Institute for the World Economy says the Biden Administration directed about $75 billion in assistance to Ukraine. This figure does not include the recent aid package passed or all other war-related U.S spending such as aid to allies or NATO.

*Total for Israel: to date Israel has been the largest cumulative recipient of the U.S. foreign aid at $318 billion.

Each year U.S. foreign aid has risen from $56.3 billion in 2021 to $70.4 billion in 2022 to the current numbers stated above.

While foreign aid typically makes up about 1% of the total U.S. trillions dollar budget (as of 2022 figures), for perspective it is slightly more than the Department of Housing and Urban Development and less than the Department of Homeland Security. Still, the U.S. gives more money in foreign aid in total dollars than any other country in the world.

Economists add that Americans must consider the

larger money spent to be the policemen of the world and maintaining U.S. foreign presence spread over the near 900 military bases globally. The U.S National Defense budget makes up 18% of total spending, 1.13 trillion ($828.8B defense, $298B for veterans), the second largest spending next to Social Security (22%, $1.35 trillion).

When considering both the Defense Budget and foreign aid as one annual budgetary allocation, critics of these spending say this has hurt the U.S. dramatically over time causing the nation to fall behind other countries in areas like education and infrastructure.

Micah Zenko and Michael A. Cohen wrote in their book, Clear and Present Safety, “Decades of fearmongering about foreign threats by Washington insiders, have obscured what truly harms Americans: substandard education and health care systems, dilapidated infrastructure, gun violence, inequality, congressional gridlock and climate change.”

Since then, world renowned intellectual and social commentator Noam Chomsky said Biden has not shifted from the support in foreign adventurism practiced by both previous Republican and Democrat administrations. He asserts that both parties largely have the same approach to U.S. foreign policy, the difference is simply a matter of degrees.

Filipino and Hawaii community sound off on U.S. foreign policy, including aid to the Philippines

Hawaii residents Drs. Arcelita Imasa and Seiji Yamada, both members of the Hawaiʻi Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

(HICHRP), told the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, “This [foreign aid package] is a prime example of misappropriation of funds but also a not surprising move by the Biden administration. This military and foreign aid budget is outrageous and should be condemned. HICHRP is concerned about the use of our tax dollars to support wars abroad. Specifically, the legislation proposes an annual authorization of $500 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant assistance to the Philippines for each fiscal year from 2025 to 2029, totaling $2.5 billion over five fiscal years, and we see this as part of the U.S. provocation of China and an impending sign of Filipinos about to get caught in the U.S. war against China.”

They add, “The U.S. economy is largely based on war and militarism. Biden promoted the aid package by declaring that it would lead to more jobs in many states at weapons manufacturing plants. The weapons corporations, their executives, their stockholders, and the hedge fund managers are laughing all the way to the bank. They do not worry about not having health insurance, about being one illness away from bankruptcy, about crumbling infrastructure, or inequities in education. Why? Because they are our masters, our overlords. They buy the politicians and tell them the public policies that they want. They do not want society to have any common social goods. They want to own it all. Other advanced industrialized countries, those not completely under the control of billionaires and warmongers, set public policies such as the right to universal healthcare.”

“I wish we didn’t have to spend so much, preferring peace and diplomacy to war. The dollar amount on Defense is obscene and yet, my voice is in the minority. But this is capitalism in action. Defense spending drives the economy and employs people. When conservatives criticize big government, they always forget significant increases in defense spending. Until we have a real people’s movement to cut military spending and divert those funds to real human issues in society, it will always be an uphill battle in Congress. It’s important to keep our military/financial obligation to our allies until people force politicians to make domestic spending a priority, politicians will continue to do as they please.”

Hawaii resident Kami Yamamoto, MPH, Education Officer, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), told the Filipino Chronicle, “Amidst ongoing economic issues such as inflation, joblessness, and unlivable wages, allocating billions of dollars towards war, foreign aid, and trade agreements with allies like NATO is a mis-prioritization of public funds. NAFCON along with other allied Filipino grassroots organizations maintain that our government should prioritize spending for social services like accessible education, healthcare, and other social services, instead of funneling taxpayer money into budgets for the military.”

NAFCON, alongside organizations like Kabataan Alliance, Malaya Movement, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-U.S. advocates to stop military aid from the U.S. to the Philippine government, until they say, human rights violations have been investigated.

California-based journalist Emil Guillermo said, “I wish we didn’t have to spend so much, preferring peace and diplomacy to war. The dollar amount on Defense is obscene and yet, my voice is in the minority. But this is capitalism in action. Defense spending drives the economy and employs people. When conservatives criticize big government,

they always forget significant increases in defense spending. Until we have a real people’s movement to cut military spending and divert those funds to real human issues in society, it will always be an uphill battle in Congress. It’s important to keep our military/ financial obligation to our allies until people force politicians to make domestic spending a priority, politicians will continue to do as they please.” Hawaii resident Serafin “Jun” Colmenares, Jr., PhD., said “The U.S. used to defend itself and its foreign interests by fighting wars abroad. Currently, it is providing financial and material support without putting troops on the ground. I support aiding Ukraine and to a certain extent, Israel, but perhaps it should take the form of a long-term, interest-free loan. The U.S. should spend more on certain domestic programs like health, education, etc. However, spending for global security is also important if we want democracy, freedom and the rule of law to prevail. As the most powerful country in the world, it is expected that the U.S. would shoulder a bigger burden for world security, however unfair it may look like.”

Danilo Cadiz, Kapolei, said “We are seeing a groundswell demanding that there be a shift in American foreign policy. We see the Iraq-Syr(continue on page 6)

COVER STORY (Filipinos.....from page 4)


General Questions About Medicare and Other Social Benefits

n this month’s column, we selected general questions about Medicare and other social benefits from the calls and letters we received and would like to share the information.

IIf you have additional questions about Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, Social Security Retirement Benefit, Supplemental Security Income, Social Benefits for Seniors, or COVID/ Flu vaccination, there are 3 ways you can reach us today:

Call: 1-800-336-2722

Email: askNAPCA@napca.org

Mail: NAPCA Senior As-

(COVER STORY: Filipinos....from page 5)

ia-Afghanistan wars were mistakes. We spent over a trillion dollars and here we are again back to square one with instability in the Middle East. That hawkish strategy of the past is something we should have learned from. Instead, we are on the same path -- spending outrageous amounts of money on these wars and foreign policy, and the cost of lives are immoral. We can blame our politicians for this destructive path that neither Americans nor Middle Easterners benefit from.”

Venus Delos Santos, Ewa Beach, said “I disagree with Biden spending so much on foreign affairs when there’s so much we need to tend to in our

sistance Center, 1511 3rd Avenue, Suite 914, Seattle, WA 98101

Question: I just turned 65. Can I sign up for Medicare?

Answer: Yes. Medicare is a health insurance program for people 65 or older.

If you have been receiving Social Security benefits for at least 4 months prior to turning 65, you’ll get Medicare automatically.

If not, you must actively sign up. When you first sign up for Medicare during your seven-month-IEP (Initial Enrollment Period), you will have Medicare Part A (hospital/inpatient coverage) and Part B (medical/outpatient coverage), which is known as Original Medicare or Tradi-

own country. We are not obligated to provide so many of our resources for foreign conflicts. It’s too much. It’s not fair to U.S. citizens. Plus, it’s nonsensical. No one knows how long these wars are going to last, or how much more is the U.S. going to give. And for how long. It’s like throwing away money that you don’t know for sure is going to help or not. We don’t know what the future will bring. I think funneling that money into good programs that help U.S. citizens on a day-to-day basis means much more to the American people, than intervening in foreign wars. We must turn our attention to problem-solving, helping, fixing, and improving the welfare of our own U.S. citizens. That’s where the focus should be and that’s where the money should go.”

Will U.S. foreign policy influence Filipinos’ votes in 2024? Opinion on wars

Drs. Imasa and Yamada suggests there is not much of a voting option between Democrats and Republicans on foreign affairs. “The choice between Democrats and Republicans is a choice between genocidists and genocidaires. It isn’t a question of ‘foreign policy.’ The question is, do we

tional Medicare.

You must pay a monthly premium for Part B and/or Part A (almost all beneficiaries don’t have to pay a Part A monthly premium if they or their spouse have at least 40 Social Security work credits).

You still have to pay 20% coinsurance and deductible. If you want to fill this expense gap, you can choose to purchase either Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage plan) or Medigap (also called Medicare Supplement Insurance).

Lastly, there is Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage. Part D covers prescription drugs. If you have Original Medicare and want prescription drug coverage, you should purchase a standalone drug plan; however, many Medicare Advantage

have human empathy or do we not?”

They said of the wars, “The reason that Russia gives for its invasion of Ukraine is that NATO had vowed to incorporate Ukraine into NATO. This is not to justify Russia’s invasion. This is just Russia’s stated reason. Without the military and financial backing of the U.S. and Western European powers, Ukraine would have lost the war quickly. As it is, a generation of Ukrainian men have died or have been maimed. We are now in the final stages of the war. To prolong it means that more Ukrainians will die, that Russia will take more territory, and the remaining rump state of Ukraine will be smaller and more devastated.

“Giving more military aid to Israel is tantamount to saying, ‘We support genocide. Here’s 15 billion more dollars so you can torture more Palestinians, tie their hands behind their backs, and bury them with bulldozers.’ The Gaza Strip is widely described as an open-air concentration camp. It has been under siege since 2007. The number of calories allotted to each resident of Gaza has been set at just above starvation levels. With the assault on Gaza since October,

plans include prescription drug coverage.

Q: What are Medicare Advantage Plans and Medigap?

A: If you have Part A and Part B, you can join a Medicare Advantage Plan, sometimes called “Part C” or an “MA plan.” MA plans must offer, at minimum, the same benefits as Original Medicare.

Unlike Original Medicare, MA plans can offer additional benefits such as dental or vision coverage and have annual out-of-pocket maximum limits. Many MA plans provide Part D coverage as part of their benefits package.

You have to pay a monthly premium for MA, but some MA plans have $0 monthly premiums. So, you can save

Israeli officials vowed not to allow any food or water into Gaza. This is not war. This is genocide.”

Yamamoto said at NAFCON, “We do not endorse candidates in any electoral race, but we do support candidates and elected officials who have a progressive track record, will speak out against injustice, and hold those with decision making power accountable to the concerns of their constituents. We support the calls and demands of communities on the ground who are calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, to stop U.S. aid from funding human rights violations in the Philippines and around the world, and genuine democracy.”

Yamamoto said, “NAFCON alongside other Filipino organizations in the U.S. and Philippines stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Ukraine in their fight for their freedom from foreign imposition and colonial powers. We do not support war when it is for the suppression of a people’s fight for liberation and self-determination. We contend that it is a humanitarian imperative to call for an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and to stop baiting Russia in the war in Ukraine because it comes at

significantly on your health care costs. However, MA plans typically have network restrictions, meaning that you will likely be more limited in your choice of doctors, hospitals, and service areas.

Plans may require a referral for specialist visits or prior authorization from your plan. If cost is your prior concern or you live in an urban area, MA plan may be a good option.

Medigap (also called Medicare Supplement Insurance) is a private health insurance policy to fill cost-sharing gaps such as 20% coinsurance in Medicare Parts A & B and only those enrolled in Original Medicare can purchase a Medigap plan.

Medigap offers neither prescription drugs nor addi-

(continue on page 13)

the expense of the Palestinian and Ukrainian people.”

As for the Indo-China region, the Philippines, China and Russia, Yamamoto asserts, “The U.S. has used the guise of ‘global security’ as a basis for intensifying its conflict with China and Russia. Foreign aid packages like the one that was passed by the House enables the U.S. and its allies like Israel to enact unbridled violence on environmental defenders, indigenous people, and activists in the name of global security.”

Guillermo said, “There is one dominant issue, and foreign policy isn’t it. More important is stopping Donald Trump from becoming president for a second time. He is not the leader the U.S needs at this time.” He said he supports Ukraine against the Russian “invaders” and does not support the Netanyahu government and its practices. “A ceasefire is necessary now.”

Colmenares says he considers both domestic and foreign policy stances of a candidate. “In the current situation I will vote for somebody who does not threaten democracy, locally or abroad, who does not cuddle with dictators, who does not disparage our allies, etc.” he said.

(continue on page 11)

ay is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Did you know AANHPIs are among the Trumpiest Americans, according to AAPI voter surveys? Mostly Vietnamese, followed by Filipinos and Chinese.

MWhy You Should Care About The Trump Trial

courtroom, to get the full Trumpyness of it all.

If it puts Trump to sleep, it must be good.

The downside of course is that cameras in the court would only aid in Trump’s claim of persecution. Of course, that’s a falsehood he’s raised.

Trump’s being prosecuted for alleged criminal acts. Not persecuted.

Is anyone switching as the so-called hush-money trial of Donald Trump goes into its’ second week of what could be a six-week trial?

Or maybe you aren’t watching the filtered versions reported on the news stations, where anchors pass on what journalists inside the trial are witnessing first hand.

For this historic trial, we really need cameras in the

So, you should be following the trial, if only to witness if the American legal system is strong enough to contain a person like Trump, a man who could define what the rich and powerful can get away with in 2024.

No one is above the law, right? But Trump surely is challenging that notion.

The prosecution alleges Trump paid off porn star Stormy Daniels to hush up about an affair they had.

The documents were fal-

sified to cover $130,000 in payments through Trump attorney Cohen to pay off Daniels.

The allegations include working with the National Enquirer to do “checkbook journalism,” i.e. find women who want to tell stories about Trump, and then pay them off.

It’s a tabloid process called “Catch and kill,” where sources are caught, paid off, and then the stories are never published, essentially killed. It’s all in an effort to control information damaging to presidential candidate Donald Trump.

So far we have David Pecker the former Enquirer publisher admitting to this, saying it was all in an effort to aid the Trump campaign.

All that is “election interference,” according to the New York D.A. Alvin Bragg, and that would elevate this case to something we all

should care about.

This case is not about effing a porn star.

It’s about effing the country and democracy.

Fixing jury selection

That we are on a good pace to achieve justice is a surprise considering a near derailment with jury selection.

No one knew how long it would go, as it could have taken weeks.

But Judge Juan Merchan sped up the process by summarily dismissing all jurors who said they could not be fair and impartial. As the attorneys used up their ten chal-

lenges, the case got to the magic number 18, 12 jurors, and 6 alternates.

Merchan also has kept the identities of the 7-man, 5-woman jury under wraps to assure anonymity after two jurors were dismissed.

But now we don’t know how representative the jury is. Colorblind isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Among the jurors selected is an Irish immigrant who will serve as the foreman. There’s a black woman, a teacher from Harlem. The race of the other jurors picked isn’t clear from the reported description after the judge clamped down on identifiers.

But one is an investment banker who has read “Art of the Deal” and is on Truth Social. Could he be the one holdout Trump needs to hang the jury?

Aside from that, are there any Asians? Filipinos? Not clear.

Why does it matter? We need a sense that Trump is facing all New Yorkers. Not just members of the business

(continue on page 10)

Donald Trump

From Breaking Points To Breakthroughs: A Reflection On Engaging In The Filipino American Agenda 2024

Many families in Hawaiʻi are struggling to thrive, and this led me to search for organizations or generally people that focus on advocacy through action. A fellow immigrant once said that we leave our homelands with so many dreams, but often end up being the first to break.

As someone who is part of the Filipino diaspora, I understand the heartbreak of leaving family and the place we were born. Unfortunately, I am not alone in this experience. But many others who are facing the challenges of migration want to do something about it.

The opposite approach would be resignation. That is not an option for me. I come

from a family, a community, that has survived despite the odds. I get courage from the many survivors of Lāhāina.

As a collective, we cannot stop trying, imagining, and effectuating solutions to build and help rebuild every day.

I think of the lives of those affected by other natural disasters, now and in the past. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving back home to Oʻahu, I visited remnants of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and surviving landmarks such as the Palace of Fine Arts. I have attended mass at Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral which survived both the 1906 and the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

Also, during my time there, I learned of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) while with

the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California.

NAFCON is a 20-year-old alliance of grassroots organizations, non-profit institutions, and small businesses that respond to the concerns of Filipinos in the U.S. and in the Philippines, and had reached out to us to support environmental justice and relief efforts in the Philippines which is frequently hit with typhoons, floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, and the latest COVID-19.

I was familiar with their mission.

So when I learned that NAFCON was launching its Filipino American Agenda in April 2024, I was curious.

I had heard that NAFCON launched the first iteration of the Filipino American Agenda in 2021, and it was designed for President Joe Biden’s term

after the 2020 elections.

Being less than 200 days away from the 2024 U.S. elections, attending the discussions of key issues for the Filipino community felt like a calling.

I volunteered to acknowledge the housing crisis in Hawaiʻi, with a case study of the deadly fires in Lāhāina. August 2023 was a time that was important to me.

As I moved back home, I saw the fast-moving flames on television of what was happening in Maui. In a text message contacted a friend living there to see how I could help, and he said all I could do was pray.

The Hawaiʻi Filipino Lawyers Association had let me know that they were seeking folks to provide legal education and to speak Ilocano and Tagalog at a Filipino Resource Fair in the Lāhāina Civic Cen-

ter in September 2023.

I ended up going twice in response to the devastation of Maui’s community, including a closely-knit Filipino community that comprised 40% of Lāhāina’s population before the fire. While planning my move back home, I was made aware that the state was already facing a crisis in high cost of living and houselessness more than ever. I saw the desperation in the faces of those at the Lāhāina Civic Center, but they mustered the strength to take on the challenge of getting all the information and support available.

I also knew that this disaster meant there would be an irreversible tear to the fabric of what made Lāhāina the vibrant community it is known to be. The limited housing options being offered to residents included those requiring survivors to leave Lāhāina.

While some folks had already made up their mind to move back to the Philippines

(continue on page 12)


AFilipina made waves in the last primary election by placing first in the Los Angeles City Council District 14 race and will be running against the incumbent in the November general election.

Ysabel Jurado, 34, a tenants’ rights attorney, affordable housing activist, single mom, and daughter of an undocumented Filipino immigrant, placed first in the Los Angeles City Council District 14 primary and will likely be the first FilAm in the LA city council if she wins come November.

With her impressive show in the primary as a newcomer in LA politics garnering 8,618 votes among 7 other candidates and against 2nd placer incumbent council member Kevin De Leon’s 8,220 votes, she got the attention of many sectors in the community and was endorsed by prominent politicians and community leaders.

“This is an exciting moment for me hoping to be the first Filipino in the LA city council and a real opportunity for me not to frustrate the

Ysabel Jurado: Working Hard to Win As The 1st FilAm in The LA City Council

more than 8,000 constituents who voted for me during the primary,” Jurado said in a telephone interview.

Among her early endorsers are Kenneth Mejia (Los Angeles City Controller); Eunisses Hernandez (Los Angeles City Councilmember, District 1); Gina Viola (2022 Los Angeles mayoral candidate); Dr. Daniel Wayne Lee, Culver City Mayor Emeritus; Mia Livas Porter, East Area Progressive, Democratic Gun Safety Chair; Konstantine Anthony, Mayor of Burbank; and Steve Diaz, Former Deputy Director of LA CAN.

The Filipino community in Southern California attests to her superb qualifications and abilities as displayed during public interviews showing her intelligence and articulating her wide grasp of issues facing the community.

The group is working hard to make this happen by rallying voters in the district and meeting with various groups to ensure her victory in November.

Jurado was born and raised in Highland Park, North East Los Angeles, California. She attended Pasadena City College where she completed her bachelor’s degree in political science as a working student.

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Why You....from page 7)

class. Not just the Upper East Side elite. A broad base of New Yorkers.

When you say “the people of New York” vs. Donald Trump what does it mean when you don’t see someone who looks like you?

Representation is necessary. Whatever the verdict, if the jury reflects the people, we enter the trial seeking justice in good faith. That’s fair for everyone involved right at the start.

My solution for jury selection

She was still a working student and a single mom when she pursued her Juris Doctorate at UCLA School of Law, specializing in Critical Race Studies and the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

Continuing the telephone interview, Jurado confirmed she achieved all these while raising her daughter, Stella, as a single teen mom and a working mother earning her college education.

At the same time, while preparing for their future, she found time to look at her community by fighting against tenant evictions and standing alongside community organizations and small businesses facing their lease challenges.

As to her platform, Jurado recognizes the significant influence wielded by the City Council in Los Angeles but to her observation, it’s not working in favor of the community.

Trump, who loves delay, couldn’t slow down jury selection.

But he could have.

Fortunately for you, the NFL— as in the National Forensic League—had as its high school debate topic during one of my years, “Resolved: Should the jury system be significantly changed.”

And from that one sentence, I recall a solution to a possible jury selection slowdown.

Select 12 jurors and 6 alternates from the voter rolls like Powerball numbers.

Juror numbers on pingpong balls. Totally random.

Randomness is the key. It makes public opinion polls scientific. Without randomness, polls are valueless. So let that trait be used in jury selection. People were randomly selected and empaneled from the beginning.

You start with your 18 finalists, and then you excuse those people based on their answers to poll questions, as well as allowing attorneys to use their “strikes” to remove jurors.

In New York, they each have ten challenges.

“I observed and recognized the corruption going on in the city government and its inaction [referring to local representatives] and repeated its failure in attending to the needs of my community,” she commented.

She hopes to expand affordable housing by creating more accessible housing options, eliminating red tapes in the application process, and building more affordable units for needy constituents.

She emphasized in the interview to end homelessness, a very important issue in LA, by implementing effective strategies to support those without shelter and taking care of their well-being.

“Homeless people need to see their doctor, their health needs to be taken care of, and they need to eat three square meals a day,” she said. She emphasized that there should be a total program for them, not only providing housing but also their

Maybe in the Emil Jury Solution, we’ll increase the challenges from 10 to 20.

But no matter where you are in the process, you’ll always have 12 jurors and 6 alternates. You are done when you say you’re done, and you’re ready to go.

Is the Emil Juror Plan fair? Science says so. And the attorneys still get their say. We just don’t have to worry about filling out the juror’s box.

Starting with 12 jurors and 6 alternates saves time, the lack of which is the enemy of the courts. It causes stultifying delays, not just for this

needs as human beings. Continuing the phone interview while driving, she said, “I am committed to supporting small businesses by nurturing local entrepreneurship and economic growth and working with union leaders.”

Jurado’s campaign aims to create positive change for District 14, and her commitment to social justice and community well-being are priority projects for her campaign.

She is ably supported by her campaign manager Naomi Villagomez Roochnik and campaign scheduler Milagros Montalvo who both, gladly assisted me in getting the interview with Ysabel.

I would also like to thank Chelsea from the office of LA Council member Eunessis Hernandez, who referred me to Jurado’s campaign staff when I was trying to contact Jurado.

Will Jurado make it? It is now in the hands of District 14 voters who will determine her fate in the coming November general election to become the first FilAm in the LA City Council!

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

case, but for every other case in line.

To put it in terms Donald Trump may understand, at a golf course no one likes a slow-playing foursome. Same thing in court, anything that speeds up the process, the faster we all get to justice.

That’s what we all want with Trump on trial, in New York, and perhaps in Georgia and Florida. We want the truth beyond a reasonable doubt.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com.

Ysabel Jurado


Salamat, Ma

s giving back to parents an obligation? Are children responsible for their parents when they retire from working?

IThis is an issue that people, especially in the Philippines, have been talking about for a very long time but recently, it has become a hotly debated topic again on social media.

I believe that parents should not expect their children to repay debt of gratitude through financial support. Providing for parents is a burden children should not carry.

Just like many financial experts say, children are not parents’ retirement plans when they are old. Yes, we can give voluntarily, especially when our parents are lacking or they need help, but it should not be

an obligation.

I know of many people, especially those overseas, who carry the burden of providing for their parents. We experience it even within our family. It has become common among Filipino households, and it has to stop.

My husband and I decided from the very beginning of our marriage that we would never expect our children to provide for us or burden them to support us financially in the future. This is why we are working on our savings and retirement funds to support ourselves someday.

Fortunately, I have a role model to look up to when it comes to issues such as this: my mother.

My Mama Marlu had worked so hard to provide for her four children. She had be-

come the primary breadwinner of our family when she left for the United States. She labored and sacrificed so many things just so her family could enjoy a comfortable life.

But despite all this, I have never heard her complain and boast about all the things that she had done for us. And I will always be thankful to her for not forcing us to give back or to support her financially.

In fact, until now, she still asks us if there’s anything we need, and she doesn’t hesitate to give. Generosity and self-

lessness are the hallmarks of her life.

I truly praise God for giving me such a wonderful mother even if half of my life, she’s been away physically. I am always proud of her. I am eternally grateful to call her my ‘mama’.

Not everyone gets to have a mother like her but every mom, flawed and imperfect, is worth commending.

This month of May, I celebrate my mother along with all the mothers in the world. Being a mother, I dare say, is the most challenging job.

Raising and nourishing children who will impact the world in the future, positively or negatively, is such a big responsibility and a heavy burden to bear.

They truly deserve to be celebrated and honored. I, being a mother of two amazing children, call it a privilege.

Is giving back to parents an obligation? My answer is no, but my heart would like to

Hawaii Voters to Begin Receiving Notification Cards for the 2024 Elections

The 2024 Elections are approaching. Hawaii voters should be receiving their voter notification card in the mail.

The voter notification card shows the confirmation that voters are properly registered to vote in the Primary Elections in August, and the General Election in November.

bless my mother in so many ways, even if most of the time she tells us we don’t need to give her anything and we can use the funds for our families instead.

I want to be generous because I have a mother who has been very generous with her resources and with her life. She deserves to be rewarded and be blessed a thousand-fold, not just monetarily but with the gratitude, love, respect, and honor that she rightfully deserves.

Are children responsible for their parents when they retire from working? No, but we are called to honor and respect them.

I may not be responsible for providing for my mama, but it will be my honor to bless and support her in every way I can to let her know how blessed and appreciative I am to have her.

Sa iyong pagmamahal at mga sakripisyo, maraming salamat, Ma!

sue with their return envelope that needs correcting.”

Some voters who moved or changed their address might not receive a notification card.

Colmenares supports Ukraine’s war against Russia and supports U.S. aid. “Russia must be stopped in its irredentist designs in Europe lest we fall again to the same situation brought about by appeasement of Hitler during the Second World War.”

He said he also supports Israel. “I support Israel’s right to defend itself, particularly against those who want to eradicate it as a state, including Hamas. But I do not agree with its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. I hope a ceasefire could be agreed upon and the

In this case, the voter will need to update their voter registration. If a voter notification card is received for a voter who no longer lives at that address, election officials ask residents to write “not at this address” on the card and put it back in the mail.

hostages released soon and that everybody will agree to a twostate solution to the problem.”

Cadiz said he is against both wars for different reasons.

“I supported the Ukraine war in the first year, but realize it is not a winnable war. It would be cruel to support it now because it only prolongs suffering and adds death. The Israel war is not a war. A war is between two countries. In this case, we have one country and an occupied territory. I also supported Israel’s initial response to Oct. 7. But at this point, it’s just inhumane to support their

Chief Election Officer

Scott Nago said, “We are asking all voters to help us ensure the accuracy of the voter roll. So please let us know if the previous resident at your address has moved out.”

Voters are also encouraged to sign up for ballot notifications to receive alerts about their ballots. The notification will alert voters when

campaign. It’s genocide. I cannot in good conscious support a president who allowed this kind of cruelty in this election. I’ve voted for a Democrat president all my life. It’s a shame that this genocide happened. There must be accountability for Biden’s complicity.”

Delos Santos stands against both wars mostly due to cost and uncertainty of where they will lead and how much more it could cost the U.S., she said.

“I’m not voting for a presidential candidate who funnels money out of the U.S. for war efforts. It’s such a waste.”

the ballots have been mailed, received, and accepted for counting.

Maui County Clerk said, “The ballot notification service lets voters know their ballot has been received by our office. The notification will also let voters know if there is an is-

To sign up for ballot notifications, register online or update their voter registration, visit elections.hawaii.gov.

Mail ballot packets will be delivered by July 23 for the Primary Elections and October 18 for the General Election.

: Filipinos....from page 6)



The book was published by the Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College in 1995. Despite the three decades since its publication, the issue of incest is still very much a problem.

In a February 2023 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla is quoted as noting that the number of incestuous rape cases in the Philippines is “very alarming.”

He also lamented that, so few perpetrators of the crime are ever caught. He added that at least half of the people in the Philippine government’s Witness Protection program are victims of incestuous rape.

In Hawai’i, incest is not classified separately but is included as offenses of rape. In 2016, there were 42.1 cases per 100,000 residents (Fuatagavi & Perrone, 2017). It was reported that 8 out of 10 sexual assaults were perpetrated by the victim’s family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance (Planty, 2013).

In the book’s foreword, Sister Mary John Mananzan

notes that “this sense of pro prietorship of males over fe males, especially those under their power, is the root of in cest.”

This phenomenon has been hidden as a skeleton in the family closet, a secret kept under lock and key. And perhaps because of this secrecy—“it has gone on with impunity.”

This book aims to break the silence and give courage to the victims by giv ing them a voice and allow ing them to tell their stories. Eleven girls (and a few young women) share their stories as told to their counselors.

The narratives from the victims are summarized in the chapter “From Control to Nurturing: Some Insights” and provide a typical profile of the victims and their family’s dysfunction.

The chapter called “Deep Scars: Problems in Advocacy” provides a window to the thoughts of those advocating for these victims. The advocates reflect the range of professions involved—from medical doctors, social workers, lawyers, and government officials tasked with protecting the victims and advocating for laws and policies to prevent recurrence and allow the victims to resume a normal life.

When prodded to provide context to that question, the social workers state that family members would use that as an “excuse” when incest was investigated.

“No, it is not,” I would answer firmly. But even years after, it still gives me some discomfort remembering.

had changed her life, and how her mother helped her to heal. Written simply, it traced her initial anger and self-loathing—and the role her mother played in her recovery.

At about the time this book was published, a local women’s organization I was associated with was asked to conduct cultural awareness workshops statewide for social workers tasked with providing services to immigrant families. We were asked to provide insight into the cultural traits and behaviors of Filipino immigrants.

In a few of these sessions, I would encounter a question that would stun me. “Is incest a part of Filipino culture?” a few would ask.

(FEATURE: From Breaking ....from page 8)

or to the continent, others braved the process together. This double diaspora was just too hard to bear, and the Lāhāina community is still picking up the pieces.

At the 2024 NAFCON Filipino American Agenda launch, the hundred-something attendees braved through this presentation, as well as possible action plans like supporting state lawmakers who are advocating for better regulations on short-term rentals that strain Hawaiʻi’s already limited housing options.

This call to action was heard by other advocates who themselves are entrenched with issues such as racial justice and police brutality; families of Filipino victims such as Angelo Quinto, Dennis Carolino, and Toby Diller have yet to see justice served for the killings that occurred in recent years.

Those who spoke of economic justice and workers’ rights highlighted unsafe working conditions and inadequate protections; others have been

When I chanced on this book on my bookshelves, I re-read the book again and searched for information on the current statistics of the issue. Although terminologies have changed in the collection of data, dysfunction in families still exists.

A few years ago, in a letter-writing contest, teens and young adults between the ages of 14 to 22 were encouraged to write a letter to their parents or guardians. This was the “Letter to my Parents Contest in Hawai’i” sponsored annually by the Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW) and Reiyukai America.

There was one letter that dealt with sexual abuse from a grandfather and how this

met with harassment and retaliation in the workplace and weak enforcement of labor laws.

Community groups also reminded us to support two Filipina immigrants, Ligaya Jensen and Alma Bowman who have experienced neglect and inhumane conditions in detention and threats of deportation.

We were reminded also of the voices of the youth, and that the United States is home to the largest population of Filipinos outside their homeland. As of March 2023, only 2,800 Filipino immigrants have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs, accounting for less than one percent of all recipients.

Across the states, there is a trend of defunding education at all levels. Undergraduate student workers came online to discuss major labor actions and why they are using their voices to make an impact on policy. This and many others were discussed in a talk-story forum backed with hard-cold data and statistics.

The “house mothers” interviewed in the book, who shared their insights on dealing with incest victims all claim that they are the most difficult to rehabilitate. But some do, as that young girl had described so eloquently in her letter to her mother.

This book on incest is a difficult one to read, and more difficult to process. But this simple letter written just a few years ago by a high school student gives me hope and will allow me to sleep peacefully at night.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an online advocacy with the intent of helping global Pinoys discover their heritage by promoting books of value from the Philippines and those written by Filipinos in the Diaspora. We can be reached at kalamansibooks@gmail.com.

My reflection led me back to the saying that immigrants end up being the first to break. But in leading with the mind and heart, collectively, I want to imagine that these discussions allow for breakthroughs and alliances to be planted.

I want to put it out in the world that further progress can only be made when we take our broken pieces and look at them together.

If you want to listen in and join the conversation, please email filipinoamericanagenda@gmail.com.

JOEY BADUA currently works at the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission to enforce laws that protect workers, tenants, and the public against discrimination. He also serves Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans and their next-of-kin in education and tells anyone willing to hear about his dad’s bravery. Recently, he joined The Legal Clinic’s Advocacy Committee and NAFCON’s Bayanihan Disaster Response to listen and tell stories of the Filipino diaspora and the resiliency of the Filipino people.


Helpful Tips to Protect Your Eyes During Sports!

Participating in sports and recreational activities is an important part of living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Unfortunately, there are also risks that come with these types of activities.

Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related injury, and many of which are eye injuries.

The most common type of eye injuries that result from sports injuries are blunt injuries, corneal abrasions, and penetrating injuries.

However, despite the risks, approximately 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by taking proactive measures and wearing proper eyewear.

The Hawaiian Eye Center recommends these protective measures to keep your eyes

safe during sports.

Wear your goggles

According to the Vision Council, only 15 percent of children wear safety goggles. The best safety goggles are made from polycarbonate, a type of plastic that is 10 times stronger than regular plastic. This plastic is so strong that it will not break or shatter into the eye if hit at high speeds. The AAO recommends shatterproof protective glasses for a range of sports, such as basketball, tennis, racquetball, and field hockey.

Pack a backup

Packing a backup pair of glasses or contacts will help you if a sport-related injury either breaks or knocks out your vision tool.

Play it safe

Know whether your sport

carries a higher risk of eye injuries. In the US, basketball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries. Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose a high risk of serious, even blinding injuries.

Be on the lookout

Athletes are not the only people at risk of injury. Although the odds are far lower, spectators can also be at risk of injuries. When at a sporting event, make sure you keep an eye out for fast flying baseballs, tennis balls, or hockey pucks.

“As we navigate through this Sports Eye Safety Month


Free Writing Workshops Offered to Collect Stories of Filipinos in Hawaii

Free weekend writing workshops are being offered on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai by the Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW).

The workshops, to be held from June through August, aim to encourage and document original first-person histories that will contribute to an increased understanding of the Filipino experience in Hawaii and its impact on the history and culture of our island state.

The workshop project, “We Tell Our Story: Filipino Voices in Hawaii,” will be followed by public forums to discuss past and contemporary issues raised through the writing process.

The workshops are open to those who want to learn how best to write about experiences growing up, living, immigrating, adapting (and more) as Filipinos in Hawai’i.

The resulting stories will be shared via the public forums to be held in October, Filipino History Month, and in an online anthology made available to schools and the public.

“Despite comprising about 25 percent of Hawaii’s population, Filipino voices in the historical and cultural narratives of our State are almost negligible,” says Bey Lontoc, FAUW president.

“By collecting our stories, we can contribute to a more comprehensive appreciation of the many facets present in Hawaii’s diverse communities. We are able to offer our workshops free on four major islands through a grant from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

The workshops will be directed by expert teachers led by Nanette Carreon-Ruhter, an international English teacher who has directed Writing

and beyond, let us prioritize eye protection and injury prevention, recognizing that preserving our vision is integral to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle,” states Dr. Steven Rhee, head ophthalmologist at Hawaiian Eye Center.

For more information on eye safety and protection, we encourage individuals to visit www.hawaiianeye.com where resources and guidance are readily available. Together, let’s commit to safeguarding our eyes and enjoying sports safely.

(Q & A: MEDICARE: General....from page 6)

tional benefits such as dental or vision. If you want additional coverage, you’ll need to purchase the plan you want to add separately.

You will need to pay monthly premiums for Part B and Medigap plan (and if applicable, additional coverage plans), totaling about $400 or more per month.

Original Medicare supported by Medigap (with/without a prescription drug plan) would be a good choice for those who need recurring care for a chronic condition, travel a lot, or live in rural areas.

Q: Do you know that you may also be eligible for energy cost assistance?

cash grant to help you pay for your home heating and cooling costs.

The grants are paid either directly to you or to your energy company. To be eligible a household must have an income that does not exceed the greater of 150% of the federal poverty guideline (e.g., $2,555 for a two-person household) or 60% of the state median income level.

Enrollment periods may not be year-round, and the open period depends on the state. The application processes and agencies vary depending on the area where you live. Please call us to see if you are eligible.

Workshops Across the Curriculum for international schoolteachers in Asia as an accredited consultant for the UC Berkeley Writing Project and the East Asia Writing Project.

Additional resource teachers are Margot Q. Adair, a 30year teaching veteran from Maryknoll School; Virgie Chattergy, professor emeritus, University of Hawaii College of Education; and Michelle Cruz Skinner, Punahou School English teacher for 24 years and author of three books.

The first workshop will be on Oahu starting May 31 to June 2. The workshops in Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island will occur in July and August. For more information and to register for the workshops, contact Pepi Nieva 808225-1219 or Nanette Carreon-Ruhter at nanette48@ gmail.com. Registration for the Oahu workshop has started, with a May 15 registration deadline.

A: LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded program that helps low-income households to meet their immediate home energy needs. This program provides your household with an annual

NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC CENTER ON AGING (NAPCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of AANHPI older adults and their families. We operate a NAPCA Senior Assistance Center for Older Adults and Caregivers and is available in 5 different languages.



hat is the history of May Day? Why is it celebrated as a workers’ holiday in many countries around the world?

W– Reader

Dear Reader,

Thank you for this very timely question. May 1st, “MAY DAY,” or “International Workers’ Day,” is a holiday honoring workers celebrated in many countries around the world.

It is often commemorated with a march of workers and unions in many cities. Hawaii workers also participated in May Day marches and commemorations in the 1940s and 1950s.

May Day was first pro -

What is May Day?

claimed as International Workers Day in 1890, in commemoration of the struggle of American workers for the 8-hour workday.

In Chicago’s Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886, thousands of striking workers held a rally for an 8-hour workday and better working conditions.

The police attacked the workers, and, in the chaos, four workers and seven police officers were killed.

Four labor leaders were arrested, unfairly tried, and hanged – and they became martyrs for the cause of workers, and May 1 came to be celebrated around the world as a workers’ holiday.

In 1894, the U.S. government established the first Monday in September as “Labor Day”, a national holiday, and the day was usually celebrated with picnics.

In Hawaii, May 1 became Lei Day and, on the continent, Law Day, possibly to lessen the day’s global significance as a workers’ day.

A few local unions in Hawai’i have continued to celebrate May Day as the workers’ day in commemoration of the historic struggles waged by workers.

This May 1, 2024 also marks the fourth anniversary of the formation of the Hawaii Workers Center (HWC) and the beginning of the HWC’s annual May Day march and rally.

This year, we gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 1 at 10:00 AM to march, rally and hold elected officials accountable for their lack of action in supporting our working families. More details can be found at www. hawaiiworkerscenter.org.

In Hawai’i and on the continent, workers have often been attacked by the ruling elites. Forming a union was punished as sedition, strikes were outlawed, and labor leaders were jailed.

In Hawai’i, after the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the imposition of a white supremacist government supportive of the

Ditoy Pikkan Brook Iti Agmatuon

Naamo man a sirnaat ti init iti agtindek

Ita, adtoyak iti sidong ti daan a Pikkan Brook

Ti sibibiag a danum iti urat ti daga Iti berde a kabakiran iti laud iti tinaleb ken

Pinan-aw nga abong-abong iti away Pasaray agampayag dagiti kannaway Kalumlumba dagiti tuwato, umarikiak Dagiti panal, pagaw ken berdugo

Dagiti salaksak kasda la nabugtak

A nakadamag iti naranga a padaya iti punsionan ni Apo Balikbalay

Iti maidasar iti dulang ken lamisaan dagiti nangurongor ken napadara kalding, baka, baboy ken ni saran

Agkatok met ni kakok, uray la a gumanukgok, saan met a paudi

Dagiti singin a gikgik iti rawis nalayog a kawayan

Dagiti kalipkip

Nadam-eg latta dagiti sinilong

A naggapasan dagiti miracle rice, gallano Awanen daydi duog ken dakkel a bittaog

Awanen ti bassit a bangkirig

A pagbunubonan iti bukel ni tabako Virginia

Kinumotanen ti berde a kaykayo

Kasda man tumukno iti langit

Iti narayray nga init iti agmatuon.

Daydi bayawas awanen a manglinong

plantation owners and merchants, the owners were free to establish harsh conditions for workers—10- to 12-hour workdays, 6 days a week, very low pay, and fines or imprisonment for workers trying to leave plantations.

At this point, we would like to share more about historic worker’s strikes that lead to the formation of some of Hawai’i’s first unions and labor laws.

When workers challenged their bosses, they were often attacked. Native Hawaiian workers at Kauai’s Koloa Plantation went out on the first recorded strike in 1841.

They wanted to raise their daily pay from 12-1/2 cents to 25 cents. The employers denied any raise and defeated their strike. But the desire for justice was not defeated.

To try to divide and weaken workers, the sugar and pineapple plantation owners imported other nationalities and had workers living in dilapidated shacks in separate ethnic camps— Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, and Filipino.

The owners’ hope was

Iti bubon ti ubbog, a pakalaglagipan ni Ama Tosong [ne, kitaem ita, naugotan met ti bolpenko

A mangyurit koma kadagiti balikas

Kas iti bubon.......b-u-b-o-n, dagiti lagip]

Imbag laengen ta adda latta nayon iti sabikel

Agbatikan bolpen a natikagan

Adda baresbes dadduma a kinelleng

Inggawidnak dagiti lanlanut iti pagnaak

Ditoy dagiti similia

Ditoy dagiti palakay

Ditoy dagiti panagsibog

Bigat ken malem.

Rotasion ti biag dagiti padak a mannalon

Dagiti agriing iti apagsipasip

Ken ileleggak iti patinayon a namnama

Agbiagka iti ling-et; agbiagka

Iti agawa ken ibtur

Dagiti adu a pannakigasanggasat

Ta lamolamotayo a simmangbay

Iti naidagaan a biag ket sika, siak

that if workers were divided by ethnic group, they could not be a threat. Some major strikes nevertheless took place.

The 1909 Japanese Strike started in Aiea on May 9, 1909, and spread throughout Oahu, with about 9,000 workers involved. The workers sought to increase their pay. Evictions and arrests of union leaders occurred, and the strike was defeated.

At the Great Strike of 1920, Japanese and Filipino workers united in a 6-month strike for decent pay and work conditions. Over 12,000 went on strike. Newspapers attacked the strikers saying they were trying to “Japanize” Hawaii. Filipinos were also attacked, especially their leader Pablo Manlapit. The workers were evicted from plantation housing, and many were forced to live in make-shift camps at Aala Park in Honolulu during a global pandemic. But their sacrifice was not in vain.

At the 1924 Filipino Strike, more than 12,000 workers struck at 24 plan-

(continue on page 15)

Met laeng ken iti pannakigasanggasat

Ti mangtubay ken mangsapul iti kaipapanan.

Itoy nga agmatuon, ti panagtindek ti init

Ditoy a katengngaan ti biag

Dagiti inulim a bantay iti panagsang-at

Ita, urayem ti panagligsay

Umay ti panaglikig ti init

A mangin-inut a mangitunda iti uman-anem-em a malem

Dagiti panagsalog: iti man pigsa

Iti man ibtur, uray iti panunot, iti lagip

No dadduma a mangisubli ti Kalman

Dagiti naasakanen a napalabas

A dinapadap dagiti kuggangi ken sidingan a dapan

Dagiti kabingkolan ti biag

Napateg daytoy nga isasarungkar

Iti nakaindayonan a lugar

Ti dagidagi dagiti nagduayyaan

kas iti anak dagiti pimmanaw

Iti kunada a point of no return

Daytoy ti panagtindek maibati ti ladawan

dagiti baresbes ken bakir iti sabali nga isasarungkar. iti awan patinggana a segga iti naunday a panagbaniaga ken panagbirok iti kaibatogan. Naisuratko daytoy idi nagbakasionak idi Oktubre-Nobiembre 2012 idiay Tapao a nakayanakak


LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday starting January 8, 2024 at 6:15pm | FilCom Center, Consuelo Courtyard, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Need to unwind in movement and dance after a long workday? Join the community as we Zumba through the evening. Only $5 per class. Proceeds go to support these program-types for FilCom Center.

FLORES DE MAYO & FILIPINO FIESTA | FilCom Center, Filipino Jaycees of Honolulu | May 4, 2024 | FilCom Center, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | The community is urged to save the date for this year’s celebration of Filipino culture


and heritage! To stay up to date with new information, visit filcom.org./2024filipinofiesta.

LEAHI FESTIVAL | Millwood Ohana Productions, Da Ultimate Grindz | May 11, 2024, 4-10pm | Kalakaua Ave, between intersections Seaside and Uluniu Street in Honolulu | Explore local retail, jewelry, art and ‘ono food and drinks at one of the biggest festivals on the island.

13TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF PACIFIC ARTS & CULTURE | The Pacific Community – SPC, Gravitas Pasifika | June 6-16, 10am-4pm | Hawaiʻi Convention Center, 1801 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu |


The festival is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders. For more information, visit https://www. festpachawaii.org/.

31ST ANNUAL PISTAHAN PARADE AND FESTIVAL | The Pacific Community – SPC, Gravitas Pasifika | August 10-11, 2024 | Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, California | The Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) of the rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic communities of the San Francisco Bay Area through its promotion of Filipino American art, music, film, dance, cuisine, history, and more. FAAE celebrates its ancestral heritage and contemporary traditions, broadening awareness and understanding of Filipino history and culture. For more information on the festival, visit www.pistahan.net.

Unwavering Love: A Tribute to Three Amazing Mothers

ust as I often write devotionals on God’s goodness and His role in our lives, Mother’s Day prompts us to cherish and honor the women who gave us life.

JOur mothers were instruments in God’s grand plan, carrying us in their wombs, and cradling us in their arms at birth. It’s a divine bond, a bond meant to withstand the trials of life.

In my life, three amazing mothers stand out. Rosie (my mother-in-law), Millet (my wife), and Verlantina (my mother) — each embody the essence of motherhood in their unique ways.

Rosie’s husband died when she was only in her early 30s and with five children to take care of. She was a single mom for decades. She was a resilient single mother who exemplified the epitome of strength amid adversity.

Despite facing the heartache of losing her husband at a tender age, she chose to be the cornerstone of her family’s foundation.

She built a sari-sari store, worked as a dressmaker, and all other opportunities that come her way just to earn the extra peso to support her family. With five children relying on her, she embraced the challenges of single parenthood with unwavering faith and determination.

Rosie’s unwavering trust in God’s provision and her sacrificial love are testaments to her extraordinary character and unyielding spirit.

To the people who know Rosie, she may be one person, but to her five children, she is the world. Such is the power of a mother’s love.

Millet, the mother of my four children is like the Proverbs 31 woman: “Strength and honor are her clothing; she is confident about the

(HAWAII WORKERS CORNER: What....from page 14)

tations. They raised the demand of higher wages and equal pay for women and men. Wages were $1 a day for 10 hours of work, 6 days a week. The striking workers, led by Manlapit sought to raise daily wages to $3 a day.

The Hanapepe Massacre occurred on Kauai when planters called in militia who used machine guns

against the strikers, killing 16. The strike was defeated but set the groundwork, in the 1940s, for successful strikes and the formation of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU).

Major victories were achieved on the docks and plantations. Harry Kamoku, a Hilo resident, of Native Hawaiian and Chinese descent

future. Her mouth is full of wisdom; kindly teaching is on her tongue. She is vigilant over the activities of her household; she doesn’t eat the food of laziness.”

I will not forget the times when our children were still babies and got sick, Millet would carry them in her embrace the whole night. Many times, she will ask me to lead our family in prayers.

It was she who initiated family bible studies as our children were growing. Yes, we have had challenging times.

But no storm is insurmountable with her because of her strong faith in God. While she radiates warmth and tenderness, infusing every corner of our home with love, she tempers it with the right kind of discipline.

Millet’s love, a reflection of God’s grace, is the spirit of hope that guided our family through life’s twists and turns.

Verlantina, my beloved

was one of those Longshoremen took up the job of organizing to achieve recognition of their union, improved conditions, and greater security through a written contract.

Key to their success was building a labor movement based on family, community, and multi-ethnic solidarity.

More recently we have seen successful organizing and strikes by United HERE!

mother, epitomizes the beauty of love amidst hardship. Despite facing the harsh realities of poverty, she showered us six children with boundless affection. Although my dad started as a mere street laborer, my mom gave us words that comforted us and gave us wisdom. Her sacrifices were the true essence of maternal love. One thing I will never forget when I passed by my parent’s bedroom is seeing my mom kneeling by the bedside praying…. Daily!

I truly believe that I am what I am today because of her prayers. She

Local 5, the Hawai’i Nurses Association, the National Union of Health Care Workers along with ILWU and others. Nationwide, there is growing support for unions as working people demand a better life.

We owe these courageous workers a debt of gratitude. That is why we celebrate May Day! Happy May Day to all

may have passed away, yet her prayers have transcended time and space. She told us children that she prayed for our well-being years in the future.

Verlantina’s reliance on God’s grace in the face of adversity is a profound reminder of the power of faith and resilience. Behind every strong individual, there is a mother who believes in them first.

For those like me, whose mothers have passed, let’s make Mother’s Day a tribute to their legacy, keeping their memories close to our hearts. And for those fortunate enough to still have their mothers, let’s cherish them wholeheartedly.

our Hawai’i workers! Solidarity Forever!

Sincerely, Hawaii Workers Center

Dr. ARCELITA IMASA is a practicing family physician and the secretary of the Hawaii Workers Center’s Executive Committee of the Board. She grew up in the Philippines before migrating to Hawaii with her family more than a decade ago.

My mother-in-law Rosie, my wife Millet, and my late mother Verlantina.
MAY 4, 2024
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