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MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  1

MAY 8, 2021

NEWS FEATURE

Unemployment Fraud on the Rise

AS I SEE IT

We Need More Asian-American/ Pacific Islanders in the Biden Administration- Sen. Hirono

CANDID PERSPECTIVES

California’s New Attorney General: The Filipino American With The Golden Story

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Small businesses Impacted by Oahu’s Natural Disaster Now Eligible for SBA Loans


2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

EDITORIAL

Let’s Rebuild, But Rebuild with Ingenuity That Includes Infrastructure to Keep People from Falling to Poverty

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overty eradication suffered major setbacks as new studies show the economic fallout from COVID-19 has added 8 million new poor nationally, those who now fall below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Fifty percent of Hawaii residents have experienced income reduction. And over 40% of Hawaii working residents are now in the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) category, belonging to households with income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but below the basic cost of living. These are Hawaii residents living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Perhaps there is optimism in that the new group under extreme financial hardship specifically have fallen through the cracks because of the pandemic, as opposed to the typically long-term poor in the elderly, disabled, under-skilled worker. As vaccination advances and the jobs market rebounds, it could be as simple as the new COVID poor finding jobs to put them back on track. But is it simple as that? Many small businesses have closed their doors for good. Some industries have shown vulnerability and now appear highrisk for investment. Have you seen the new K-12, public school online program commercial? The pandemic, inadvertently, could very well have altered the business landscape and consumer appetite in ways we have yet to discover. The reality is getting back to the pre-COVID economy, is really returning to a fragile financial eco-system of high unemployment (the system that counts unemployment has never been accurate for decades), underemployment, inequitable compensation and pay. And in the case for Hawaii, an economy near singular under tourism. All of these were conditions ripe for a tipping point. And COVID is what it took to push millions over the precipice to financial instability, and for many, into poverty.

We’re in this together The first challenge to helping the new COVID poor is where we are at this point. See this through and lift as many of our fellow Americans and residents back to solid footing. Extreme poverty and widespread food insecurity are not acceptable. Multiple studies from economists recognize how valuable the might of government was during this national emergency, government’s response that literally saved lives, saved the economy, saved businesses. Without the three major COVID-19 emergency relief packages, economists agree the current poverty level could have been far worse, two, maybe, three times more. Having said this, let’s remember that the country is still in a very dire, precarious situation. If need be, more emergency bailouts must be an option. The new COVID poor, those now in poverty, those living on ALICE threshold, paycheck-to-paycheck – they must not be left behind. Remember when the pandemic first started when fears and uncertainty prevailed, we kept ourselves calm by saying “We’re in this together.” Yes, this was true as sacrifices were made by most to not (continue on page 3)

FROM THE PUBLISHER

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ince the outbreak of COVID-19 we’ve done numerous stories on it: the health crisis itself, safety precautions, the multiple Federal aid packages, the implosion of Hawaii’s tourism, massive unemployment, the transition from classroom to online education, PPP and Hawaii’s small businesses, to name only a few. We felt it was time to do a comprehensive look at how the economic fallout from the pandemic has caused people around the nation and within our own state to fall into poverty. It turns out the timing works well for such an article as multiple studies are now available on poverty amid COVID. In our cover story, written by associate editor Edwin Quinabo, the statistics are alarming. Nationally, 8 million in the US have fallen to Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The spike in poverty is the highest ever recorded in a one-year period since the government started tracking poverty in 1960. When you look at the income threshold of FPL, it’s heartbreaking to know how dramatic household income has dropped for so many people. In another poverty measure called ALICE which represents the households with income above FPL but below the basic cost of living, yet again, the numbers are disturbing. Aloha United Way released a 2020 AUW ALICE Report that estimates 42% of Hawaii’s 455,138 households are struggling to make ends meet. An estimated 35,000 or more additional Hawaii households — or 105,000 people — are expected to be added to ALICE. Food insecurity, shelter-housing insecurity, two major aspects of poverty are also epidemic. Our Filipino community, given our high pre-COVID employment in tourism and services industries that were most impacted by COVID are among the groups facing the highest rate of food insecurity in Hawaii. As PPP assisted small businesses, studies show that direct stimulus payments have made a huge impact to low-income and middle-income earners. Read how Filipinos (some below the FPL and others who are not) have spent this much needed financial boost; and how a group of US senators are pushing for a fourth direct relief. Also in this issue, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko and HFC columnist Emil Guillermo (both California residents) contribute articles on the confirmation of Filipino-American Rob Bonta to Attorney General for the state of California. This is a major milestone for our Filipino-American community in terms of visibility and advancement. Bonta, a Yale-educated attorney, a former San Francisco deputy city attorney, and member of the State Assembly (CA’s State Legislature), comes to the AG post with top credentials. He was appointed to AG by CA Gov. Gavin Newson. He was born in the Philippines and raised in CA’s Central Valley. From Emil’s column: “It’s a very big deal,” said Mona Pasquil, a veteran Filipino American politician who served as the 47th and acting lieutenant governor of the state of California. “He’s the top law enforcement position in the state, a constitutional office.” What wonderful news to start out AAPI Heritage Month this May. Best to attorney Bonta on becoming AG of California. Rose Cruz Churma contributes a Book Review, “NO FILTER, A Collection of Monologues About Millennials by Millennials. “Through voices coming from different backgrounds and experiences, the writers of NO FILTER explore concepts like the dangers of misinformation in the time of the internet…” It should be of interest to our younger adults. Be sure to read our other columns and news. Lastly, for our Chronicle Pulse section, our Filipino community answer the questions: “Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day?” “What are you planning to do for your mom on Mother’s Day, despite the COVID pandemic?” Our respondents response might spark ideas for you to integrate into your own Mother’s Day celebration. To our mothers, thank you for being our anchor and bright source of love. Happy Mother’s Day.Until the next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

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

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.

Design

Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga

Columnists

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


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  3

EDITORIAL

Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; It Benefits Everyone, Including Our Police Officers

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artin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” had special meaning when former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges. It showed that legal-savvy arguments in a court of law sometimes cannot betray what the eyes see; in this case, the infamous video taken a year ago of Chauvin placing his knee on the neck of George Floyd for a total of 9 minutes and 29 seconds. In addition to the video, jurists learned that medical examiners found the cause of Floyd’s death was cardiopulmonary arrest due to neck compression. Strengthening the prosecution’s case, police officers testified that Chauvin used excessive force. A police chief (Chauvin’s superior) and other top cops and brass all testified against Chauvin. Their testimonies alone,

should have police unions and police precincts across the nation pleased with this verdict alongside Black Lives Matter and policing reform advocates. Justice was served that day, or as others have been using and is perhaps a more appropriate word, “accountability” rendered.

Systemic problem However monumental this Chauvin verdict is, most sociologists and legal experts agree that there is still much to do moving forward. The frequency of police killings alone reveals there is larger systemic problem. In fact, sandwiched between the Chauvin case were also high-profile incidences. The Chauvin verdict happened on April 20, 2021. About a week “before” the verdict, police shot and killed Daunte Wright who was pulled over for a traffic violation. As Daunte attempted to flee after police tried to arrest him, an officer said to have mistaken her taser for a gun, shot Daunte.

In another incident less than a week “after” the Chauvin verdict, Andrew Brown Jr. was fatally shot by police. Both Daunte and Andrew were Black and circumstances surrounding those shootings also suggest fatal force could have been avoided. These are just two high profile cases. In the month of April alone, there were over 40 people who were killed at the hands of law enforcement. A study by Rutgers University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan found that African Americans are around twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. While there are ample studies showing police racial profiling and abuse is real, we don’t have to wait for or read

these studies. Social media postings of police racial profiling and abuse captured by cell phones are common, and in part responsible for raising greater awareness of how big a problem this is. Police killings occur in other racial communities as well, last year alone, 1021 people were shot and killed by law enforcement, which is yet another reason why policing reform should not be looked upon as just a Black community problem, but it should be a call for justice by us all. Remember Fil-Am Angelo Quinto. The Filipino community is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation of Angelo Quinto’s death who died after a police officer placed his knee on the neck of Quinto (like Floyd). In that incident, police were not even responding to a crime. Officers were called to the Quinto residence by Angelo’s sister who was concerned over her brother’s mental well-being. The police officer used the dangerous knee-to-neck restraint -already condemned by many

in most people’s lifetime now, we see two or three careers, depending how wisely a person chooses a profession. An industry appears solid, then suddenly technology could replace it. What happens during this transition between work, and if at all a worker’s age even deems it possible to make such a change? Dramatic income reduction. Poverty. Social services must undergo a revamping and be quick to adjust to keep up with technology and the speedy changes in the jobs market. Social services should be seen as an investment, and look at each individual as not just a short term statistic. Finally eradicating poverty to a reasonably acceptable level must have the support of a proactive social services system. The image and term that most people associate social services with is the safety net. That’s just as sensible as a dying pa-

tient with stage 4 cancer seeing a doctor for the first time. The new image of social services should be more like a high-performance track field. It’s a place where people go to train, get skilled, run and move on. The educational system is the base from which a meaningful career follows. Hopefully, that traditional track works out. But jobs retraining, case assessment and jobs placement (working with the private sector) as a part of social services could be like a place to go to run another lane in the track. The best solution in the long-term to eradicate poverty is self-sufficiency. The pre-COVID economy and social services just haven’t been working for millions of people. Rebuilding the economy is not enough. There needs to be in place a social service infrastructure that can respond to the next pandemic or national emergency.

(EDITORIAL: Let’s Rebuild....from page 2)

spread the virus. That meant complying with lockdowns, following curfews, refusing to earn an income or run a business, stop travelling, stay away from our families not living in our households, endure isolation, wear our mask, keep social distancing, and on. It has been one giant team effort. Now we must “Get out of this together,” as the right and moral thing to do. The common analogy was fighting COVID is like fighting a war. Certainty the number of casualties reflects that there was and is an ongoing war. And in war with whom we fight alongside with, we do not leave them behind.

Reimagine Social Services As bold steps are underway to reimagine a postCOVID economy, it’s also time to rethink the role of social services. Decades ago medicine underwent a transi-

tion from reactive to preventative medicine. Data shows the proactive approach have led to healthier patients. Similarly, much of social services have been primarily reactive, helping those already down. Like the preventative medicine model, social services should be multifaceted to include programs to prevent “falling down” in the first place. There ought to be more private sector involvement in social services; for companies to work with social services as they do with job recruiters currently. Companies working with government on job placement, job retraining and other public-private initiatives that enhance workers skills. Technology is moving so quickly that skills and education of the labor force are always ten steps behind. By the time someone finishes a degree, much of those skills are no longer cutting edge. With-

including by law enforcement from the Floyd video – which also allegedly resulted in Quinto dying.

Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act It’s high time that a federal comprehensive law that addresses and makes clearer police misconduct, the use of excessive force, and civil rights and racial bias in policing. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is such a bill. The US House passed the Floyd Act by 220-212 earlier this year, but it currently sits at the US Senate where it hasn’t been taken up because Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer knows Democrats do not have the votes (as of press time) to move forward. Several police chiefs from the largest precincts have already acknowledged a need for policing reform. But unfortunately, the issue of police reform has been politicized by Republican politicians to one of -- the “Police versus BLM,” which is completely unnecessary. Look at the Chauvin trial, most top rank and file law enforcement agreed with the verdict. The National Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union which represents more than 350,000 police officers, called the trial “fair” and said “due process was served.” (continue on page 7)


4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

COVER STORY

U.S. Poverty Rate Spikes Highest Ever in a One-Year Period By Edwin Quinabo

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ore studies are starting to confirm what millions of Americans all along have been feeling and suspected since the meteoric strike COVID-19 has had on the U.S. economy. Poverty. Food insecurity. Shelter insecurity. Mounting debt. Collectively characterized as extreme economic hardship, the nation is experiencing it at record-breaking level. Economists are finding that the three COVID-relief Acts passed by the US Federal government were life-saving measures to the US economy and millions of Americans. In particular, to those heaviest hit disproportionately – the low-wage earners, service workers, and minorities. Extensive coverage has been given to the plight of the nation’s business community and the federal government’s response of PPP loans, how to access them, and How deep is the nation in poverty, below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)? Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty during the last half of 2020. The nation’s poverty rate in November jumped to 11.8%, up 2.4 percentage points from 9.6% in June. This is the largest jump in a single year since the government began tracking the poverty rate in 1960, according to economists at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. The pandemic-era high was 17.3% poverty rate in August 2020. Economist say the huge leap within the year 2020 showed how important the first stimulus check (passed in March) was in keeping families afloat amid the pandemic. By summer, money already started to run out from the original CARES Act. So the poverty level skyrocketed toward the end-year. “These numbers are very concerning,” said Bruce D. Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago and an author of the study. “They

their impact in re-energizing the economy. Less attention, however, has been given to America’s poor, working-class and how valuable the three direct stimulus checks from the COVID-relief Acts were to meeting basic needs of buying food, paying utilities bills, rent, and car-mortgage loans. Direct stimulus checks actually were not given priority by both Republican and Democrat leaders in the second COVID relief package as PPP was. In the original second COVID relief drafts, the $600 direct payment that eventually slipped in, was not included as a final bill was about to wrap up. The two presidential candidates -- Donald Trump and Joe Biden -had to strong-arm Congress to get something inserted in the last weeks leading into the General Election. The third stimulus check arguably, was “making good on a campaign” promise and it barely passed (Republicans voted the measure

tell us people are having a lot more trouble paying their bills, paying their rent, putting food on the table.” He adds, “the big takeaway is that for a while the unprecedented government expansion of unemployment insurance and the stimulus payments kept families out of poverty.” In the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s 21Q1 UHERO State Forecast released March 5, 2021, local Hawaii economists had similar findings. “The crisis has had a disparate effect on high- and low-income households. Professional workers have been able to continue to work remotely, while many lower-income households are dependent on the face-to-face services that have been hardest hit. This has led to disproportionate economic hardship for these families. Income and housing support programs have been crucial in preventing economic collapse for some families and communities.” Another study by Columbia University found the same

results, 8 million Americans fell to poverty, but Columbia researchers also point out that after the first CARES Act, the poverty level actually dropped – which concurs with Meyer’s finding of how significant the federal government’s emergency response has been. Columbia University estimates without the CARES Act, the number of additional people in poverty at the outbreak of COVID could have been as high as 18 million or a 19.4% poverty rate. “It’s really striking, despite its flaws, how successful the CARES Act was at lifting so many families above the poverty line,” Zachary Parolin, a researcher at the Center on Poverty & Social Policy and the lead author of the Columbia research. The poverty threshold is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in the country. Statistical data is gathered by the US Census Bureau then used by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine the federal poverty level (FPL). For 2020, poverty in real

down universally in both the Senate and House). Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan on March 11, there has been a boost to the economy. But that was also the case last March in the first COVID CARES Act which booster shot expired by summer’s end. Is the nation, particularly the vulnerable poor, on the right path towards at least stable footing this time?

dollars is as follows: Household of 1 person $12,760; 2 persons $17,240; 3 persons $21,720; 4 persons $26,200.

ALICE Threshold in Hawaii The poverty level is extreme and economists in recent years have come up with another measure, the ALICE threshold that they say is more telling of how large marginal communities are. ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE represents the households with income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but below the basic cost of living. It estimates the minimal cost of the five basic household necessities – housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care. The ALICE population is typically those living paycheck to paycheck after considering these necessities spent and income earned. Aloha United Way released a 2020 AUW ALICE Report that estimates 42% of Hawaii’s 455,138 households are struggling to make ends

meet. The report estimated that an additional 35,000 or more additional households — or 105,000 people — will end up in the struggling, just-getting-by category by the end of 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. “Everything we identified as a vulnerability, including the lack of economic diversification, the heavy dependence on tourism, the low wages and the dependence on imports, came to fruition. It was prophetic,” said Lisa Kimura, AUW vice president of community impact.

Drop in income across the board In yet another study by Bankrate, chief financial analyst at Bankrate Greg McBride, said “More than 40 percent of households are earning less now than they were prior to the pandemic. And while that’s highest among lower income households, higher income households have not been immune from that.” A recent Census sur(continue on page 5)


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  5

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

vey found more than half of Hawaii residents lost income due to the pandemic

Hawaii Filipino’s FPL could spike given high unemployment in Hawaii Unemployment hit a peak in Hawaii last year in April and May at 24%, the highest in the nation. In September it went down to 15%. Compare that to Hawaii’s unemployment rate at 2.4% in 2019. The state reported paying out more than $2 billion in unemployment insurance to about 150,000 people who filed claims. Hawaii’s Filipino community is among the hardest hit during the pandemic with the second highest COVID-19 cases reported and high preCOVID employment in tourism and services -- industries that face among the highest unemployment rate. Prior to COVID, the poverty rate for Filipinos in Hawaii was 7.5% (Japanese 4%, Samoan 15%, Marshallese nearly half). Given the Filipino’s community high employment in tourism, the next poverty report to be released is expected to go up from 7.5%. Myrna (last name withheld) of Waipahu, a part-time cashier already was earning below the FPL of $12,760 before COVID. But as a household prior to COVID, income from her husband and two sons put them well above the FPL of four at $26,200. Her husband was making a decent income as a car salesman. Her two sons were cooks at different hotels. Since COVID, both her sons lost their jobs and the family is relying entirely on her husband’s income that took a steep drop. Myrna and her family represent a large group of new poverty households whose status were specifically caused by the pandemic, unlike the traditional groups of people in poverty – those with disabilities, the elderly, adults students and very low income poor. “We are struggling. My sons have been receiving unemployment. But lately there has been a delay in processing

payment. They are looking for jobs and hoping that their hotels will call them back to work soon.” In a national survey conducted by Human Rights Watch, nearly half of adults who responded – 48 percent – said that someone in their household had experienced a job or income loss. “If it wasn’t for my husband, I don’t know what would happen to us. But you know his income plus my small pay is not enough in Hawaii. We have utilities and health insurance and our mortgage to pay first. There is little left for other things, even food. “Sometimes I cannot sleep at night. I get scared. I don’t tell anyone this, but I go to the Foodbank. And when they have food distributions, I go to those too,” said Myrna.

Food insecurity One feature of poverty is food insecurity. Filipino and Pacific Islanders are currently facing the highest rates of food insecurity in Hawaii – 43% of Filipinos and 44% Pacific Islanders. Recent data from Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization, said Hawaii’s food insecurity rate rose by about 50% to some 233,000 people in 2020, up from 151,000 in 2018, because of the effects from COVID-19. That’s more than 80,000 more people struggling to put food on the table. Hawaii jumped to No. 4 among states with the highest projected percent of change in food insecurity rate, according to Feeding America. In another study, Human Rights Watch (HRW) survey in January this year shows more than 24 million adults nationally say they have not had enough to eat “sometimes” or “often in the previous seven days.” This is five million more than their last survey in August 2020 when food insecurity was already higher than pre-pandemic times. Those mostly reporting food insecurity (45%) are making less than $35,000 a year.

Like Myrna’s family, the HRW survey found three out of four food-insecure households have experienced job loss since the pandemic began and 58% did not have work at the time of the survey. Among households that receive SNAP, 27% of beneficiaries say they skipped meals often. A vast majority of those suffering food insecurity (two out of three households or about 16.5 million) do not receive SNAP. Joseph Llobrera, director of research on food assistance at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan research and policy institute, said “What we’re finding in terms of food hardship is kind of off the charts right now.” He said data and the long lines at food banks show a “staggering” need. According to CBPP analysis of the most recent Household Pulse Survey data, collected between November 11 and November 23, 12 percent of adults in America said their household didn’t have enough to eat at some point over the last seven days. Ron Mizutani, president and CEO of the Hawaii Foodbank, confirms what other studies have shown that the new poverty caused by COVID are driving the food insecurity numbers up. He said, “More people from all walks of life have been impacted for the first time, on top of those who were already experiencing poverty and hunger.” He adds that in recent large-scale food distribution drives, 78% to 83% of recipients said they lost their jobs during the pandemic. Social services experts said the US’s largest economic and health support systems are geared largely for the traditional poverty population as the elderly, disabled and parents with

“The crisis has had a disparate effect on high- and low-income households. Professional workers have been able to continue to work remotely, while many lower-income households are dependent on the face-to-face services that have been hardest hit. This has led to disproportionate economic hardship for these families. Income and housing support programs have been crucial in preventing economic collapse for some families and communities.”

— 21Q1 UHERO

(University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization) State Forecast released March 5, 2021 low income who have children. Many of the low-income people caused by COVID do not fall under these categories and do not qualify for safety nets.

Behind on housing payments, rent; accumulating debt The new pandemic poor are also struggling in other basic areas. Recent Census Bureau data show among households with incomes below $35,000, 47% (about 19 million adults) report being behind on housing payments. Thirty-five percent or about 7 million people fear being evicted or their homes foreclosed, according to HRW. Falling behind housing payment is a national problem across 41 of 50 states. The American Rescue Act 2021 (third COVID-relief bill) did not extend the eviction moratorium. But it did

provide $30 billion in additional funding for emergency rent relief programs administered by states. Besides unemployment benefits and other relief, the pandemic poor have been getting by paying for routine expenses with credit cards – 37 percent of those making below $35,000 say they have been relying on credit card.

How are stimulus checks being spent? The federal stimulus checks -- $1,200 per person approved March 2020, $600 per person in December 2020 and $1,400 per person in March 2021 – have provided a boost for a range of income-earners besides the pandemic poor (individuals earning $75,000 below get full amount, above that a tiered amount, capping at individuals earning $150,000). McBride of Bankrate said (continue on page 6)


6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

COVER STORY (U.S. Poverty Rate....from page 5)

the number one use of the stimulus money have gone to paying monthly bills (45%), followed by paying down debt (32%). Higher income earners receiving stimulus used it for nonessential spending (13%) and investing (11%). “For all the talk of revenge spending and pent-up demand for travel, you wouldn’t know it by seeing just 13 percent of stimulus check recipients indicating that any of the money would be spent on discretionary activities or nonessential items,” said McBride. Justiin Oscar, 22, Aiea, said he makes $31,000 in income and hasn’t been affected financially during COVID. But he says the stimulus helped to pay for bills and groceries, and part of it went to his computer. Jay Madamba, 48, Kunia, works in construction. He makes well over $75,000 but says construction work isn’t consistent at times. His wife lost her job working in housekeeping. His reduced stimulus and wife’s full stimulus went to pay for their mortgage. Kelly Cordero, Aiea, works for the City and County of Honolulu and got the full stimulus amount. Her husband who works for the federal government also received the full amount. She said they decided to put half in savings for a rainy day and

the other half went to pay monthly bills. Marissa (last name withheld) called the stimulus checks “Godsend.” She and her husband rent an apartment in Makiki. She works retail and her hours at work have been reduced since mid-last year. Her husband is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and is working his way to become a paramedic. Both received the full stimulus. “I am trying to get a better paying job, but there is little opportunity right now for retail. I want to help my husband more because he’s working full-time and doing the best to become a full paramedic. “I get nervous for him because his line of work is highrisk for catching the virus. Then I also worry because we are renters. We’re not behind on rent. But our stimulus checks all went to cover parts of our rent. It’s like double stress for us since COVID started. We’re worrying about our health and finances at the same time,” said Marissa. Marissa’s lost income is not unique. The Hawaii Data Collaborative has also estimated that nearly 134,000 of all Hawaii households — about 30% — stand to lose a quarter or more of their income due to the effects of the pandemic on

the local economy. Her mention of multiple stressors (health and making rent) is common, according to the HRW study. Sixty percent of households making less than $35,000 a year face at least two stressors simultaneously, compared to less than 20 percent of households making more than $150,000.

What will help with poverty? Economists say the additional population to the FPL are caused by reduced hours, loss of job or paltry employment opportunities. A vastly improved labor market should lift the same group out of poverty, economists say. Where it could pose a problem is in some industries that have been hurt perma-

nently and for small businesses that closed for good. This means displaced workers now would need to get retrained and compete for other jobs elsewhere. Continued federal support is the second area economists believe will help revitalize the economy and keep the poor and marginally poor afloat. Another direct stimulus payment could be an uphill battle to get passed considering President Joe Biden’s multiple high-spending bills pending. But a group of US Senators, close to 24, have urged the Biden administration to include recurring relief payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions in a new “Build Back Better” plan.

“While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families, and we are worried about the cliff facing unemployed workers when the unemployment insurance extensions expire on Sept. 6 2021,” the senators wrote in a letter last month. The 21Q1 UHERO State Forecast says “Hawaii is among the states furthest along in vaccination, priming the economy for renewed growth.” This is encouraging news particularly for the new pandemic poor – those new to FPL and ALICE ranks – who anxiously await better days.

NEWS FEATURE

Unemployment Fraud on the Rise By Edwin Quinabo

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hile unemployment benefits have kept millions of Americans from falling through the cracks to poverty, the government’s emergency response to help workers have also fallen prey to widespread fraud. The US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General estimates $62 billion could have been distributed improperly and a significant portion could be under fraudulent circumstances. Unemployment fraud traditionally happens in two ways: by a claimant making false claims of working status to collect unemployment benefits; or by employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors or neglect to report all wages paid and to pay payroll taxes. But recently, there are many new ways unemployment fraud is committed. There is fraud when someone uses another person’s identity to collect a claim or someone files a claim against a company he hasn’t worked for. There have been some reports by employers who have been notified of claims from past employees whose names were stolen to file a fraudulent claim. Some retired employees have received notice that their unemployment benefits have been approved without them fil-

ing a claim. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attorney Seena Gressin, an identity theft and fraud prevention expert, said even people’s names who haven’t lost a job have been used to make false claims. HRs are encouraged to monitor claims because fraudulent claims not caught could raise employer’s state tax premium, unnecessarily. Unemployment fraud hurts the government, other valid claimants, and companies-employers. “Fraud is affecting tens of thousands of people, slowing the delivery of benefits to people in real need, and costing states hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Gressin. UI fraud offense is considered a felony and a convicted individual could face jail time up to 6 years, charged thousands of dollars in fines, forced to repay unemployment benefits, plus interest and penalties.

Some common examples of fraud by claimants:

• Failure to report employment: Some individuals who legally qualify for unemployment insurance will get another job, not report income from their new job and still collect unemployment from the job they lost initially. • Not look for a job while

collecting unemployment. An individual receiving unemployment benefits must actively look for employment in order to continue receiving benefits. Some individuals will list down places they’ve applied for work without having sought employment there. • Submitting false information about income

High tech scams committed by professional criminals

The FBI has been warning the public and states of various high-tech scams criminals have been using to get people’s identity to be used in fraudulent claims. “The criminals obtain the stolen identity using a variety of techniques, including the online purchase of stolen personally identifiable information, previous data breaches, computer intrusions, cold-calling victims while using impersonation scams, email phishing schemes, physical theft of data from individuals or third parties, and from public websites and social media accounts, among other methods,” the agency said.

Hawaii DLIR

The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations issued a press release warning residents about attempts to file fraudulent claims. (continue on page 10)


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  7

OPINION

Analyzing The Cognitive Consequences of Faith in God Among Filipino Women By Freddie R. Obligacion, Ph.D. stagnation in the Philippines. At the onset of colonization, n my ground- Spanish clergy noted cerbreaking quanti- tain indigenous practices that tative modeling could be exploited for the sake study of 620 Bi- of efficient conversion of Filcolano women ipino natives to Catholicism. from Bicol Re- Spanish missionaries saw opgion, Philippines, I proposed portunities for proselytization that religion as a way of life in occasions such as births, encourages people to strive weddings, funerals, harvests, for other values. Consequent- and triumphant returns of raidly, these values yield profound ing parties. societal impacts. For instance, Raul Manglapus, one of the practice of religion has the Philippines’ preeminent been associated with gen- statesmen, posited that Roman der-role stereotypes. Illustra- Catholicism fused with indigtively, Filipino feminist schol- enous traditions encouraged ars regard Roman Catholicism values inconsistent with the as a catalyst of gender inequal- “Protestant Ethic” that fosity. They argue that Catholi- tered self-reliance, industry cism, as conveyed by Spanish and discipline. missionaries, actively limited Considering all these Filipino women’s sphere of ideas, I hypothesized that Filaction within the church, fam- ipinas’ faith in God affects ily and society. Consequences attributional style, defined of such constriction may be as consistencies in people’s inferred from the subordinated explanations of why events status of Filipinas in the social, happen. People who value political, and economic arenas. achievement-oriented behavOn a more positive note, ior tend to exhibit the attributhe famed sociologist Max tional style called self-efficacy Weber argued that Calvinist or personal control – the beProtestantism promoted indus- lief that outcomes are subject trialization in Western Europe to one’s active manipulation. by influencing its followers to People who lack self-efficacy stress wealth production and are plagued by the perception hard work over hedonism. that external and uncontrollaIn contrast, religion has been ble forces determine life’s outpartly blamed for economic comes.

I

Consistent with Manglapus’ position, I contended that Catholic teachings fuel fatalism and a devaluation of achievement. Manglapus further argued that these messages imply that the future is in the hands of fate and God. Life is, therefore, to be submitted to and never mastered. Manglapus’ position is supported by studies showing that Filipinas tend to attribute poverty, hunger, death and other forms of hardship to fate, the supernatural, and other external forces perceived not to be within their control. My study’s findings, however, contradict my initial hypothesis, as well as, research concluding that religious individuals who entrust themselves “in God’s hands” also relinquish control over their lives. Instead, my structural equations data reveal that strong faith in the Divine Providence generates sequelae of constructive cognitions such as self-efficacy, high self-esteem and a strong propensity for self-improvement. What might explain these positive out-

(EDITORIAL: Pass the George....from page 3)

The fact is everyone benefits from enhanced policing and it should be supported by both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly. Some provisions in the Act like the required use of bodyworn and dashboard cameras not only protects those being arrested, but also protects police officers from potential false accusations. Right-wing media have gone so far as to misrepresent the term “Defund” the police to mean that Democrats want to dismantle policing altogether, which is just spin and a lie. Defund the Police basically means government should spend more on programs that lift communities out of poverty such as education, jobs retraining and other areas that have due to inadequate funding contribute to systemic racism. And if need be, it should spend less money on punitive enforcement. In some districts, policing is a hugely dispro-

portionate part of their budget. The campaign “Defund the police” is easily weaponized by the Right and is a marketing failure. The more appropriate term some are using is “Reimagine policing.” Let’s stop listening to partisans on this issue. We support our police officers and acknowledge the important work they do. Most calling for reform have this opinion. Just as every other institution – government or business – the police should implement improvements where needed. Given the police’s potential to affect deadly force (no other institution is bestowed this power besides the military), it’s even more important that safeguards are in place to ensure the highest standards of professionalism. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act should pass. It’s so clear why this should not be a partisan issue.

comes? Indeed, the practice of religion may have constructive repercussions. It may be argued that religious faith counteracts powerlessness in its ability to remind people that current conditions are amenable to change. Moreover, faith promotes mastery over destiny even as people admit feeling powerless. Faith’s transcendent potential can be credited for inspiring an ultimate optimism and a drive for personal improvement. Many studies likewise suggest that faith is associated with cognitive change abilities, feelings of personal competence, physical and psychological well-being, accelerated healing from divorce, increased tolerance toward ethnic diversity, reduced

stress, and a decreased likelihood of perpetrating sexual abuse. In conclusion, let it be said that just like any belief system or ideology, religion wield both constructive and maladaptive influences. What my study convincingly demonstrates was that in the case of Filipinas, religion, when professed reasonably and mindfully, yields desirable results and promotes well-being. This essay was based on my article, “Cognitive Consequences of Faith in God Among Filipino Women” published originally in Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 10: pages 117-136.

DR. FREDDIE RABELAS OBLIGACION, a sociology professor, is an alumnus of The Ohio State University-Columbus (Ph.D., MA Sociology; Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Delta) and the University of the Philippines-Diliman (MBA Honors, BS Psychology, magna cum laude).


8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

CHRONICLE PULSE

Question: Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day? What are you planning to do for your mom on Mother’s Day, despite the COVID pandemic? Ricky Abordo

Kailua The Bible says to honor our mothers and fathers. My mom had me when she was only 14 years old. She had her challenges with drug addiction. For years, I felt bitterness and resentment towards her because I felt she was hardly there for me and didn’t provide me with the things I needed. But as I came to know the Lord, I began to understand the struggles she went through as a young mom—she herself was only a kid who at the same time she had to raise a child. I grew to have a deep appreciation and respect for my mom and to honor her. The reason why I celebrate my mom this Mother’s Day and every day really is because without my mom, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. At our church, we have a special event planned for moms, sisters, aunties and all the women on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. My wife and I live in a multi-generational home with her mom and grandparents. We’re planning to have a nice family dinner. The women will be able to relax and enjoy, while the men will do all the cooking and cleaning. My mom lives on Maui, so I won’t be able to see her, but we’re going to record a Tik Tok video for her and my wife’s mom as well.

Ida Ann Alu

Waianae Mothers are awesome and play an important role in our lives. They nurture us from conception, during the entire nine months of pregnancy and up until birth. Mothers will continue to care for their children even until their very last breath.

My mom lives in California. I plan to send her flowers and to greet her on Mother’s Day with a special phone call and to send my warmest greetings and love.

Princess Cortes

Student McCully-Moiliili We should always honor our moms and not just during Mother’s Day. Few people that we meet in life will ever measure up to our moms and all that they’ve done for us. For me, “honoring my mom” means acknowledging all of the burdens, struggles and responsibilities that she has carried and continues to carry on her shoulders, starting from the moment that she brought me into this world. Mothers are brave, selfless and loving. There is no such thing as a “day off” for moms—when she’s not at work, she’s constantly looking after the needs of her children and family. For Mother’s Day, most of us usually put a little extra thought and effort into celebrating her special day. But it should be more than simply having her splurge at Sephora or at her favorite store at the mall. We can show our love for our mom in our own simple, yet heartfelt way—like hugging her and whispering a heartfelt “thank you,” which can result in a world of difference in making her feel special and appreciated. My family usually enjoy Mother’s Day with a special brunch or dinner at a restaurant and then go to the mall. This year, like most families, we will do it different because of the pandemic. Instead of eating at Max’s Restaurant and going to Ala Moana Shopping Center, we will order take out from her favorite restaurants and surprise her with gifts (that we definitely didn’t pick up last minute). This year, it’s more important than ever to keep our moms safe and healthy (continue on page 12)


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  9


10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

AS I SEE IT

By Elpidio R. Estioko

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awaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono is pushing for more Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in President Joe Biden’s administration. I agree with her! I think it’s a good and logical move calling for more diversity. We badly need it! With the appointment of Asian American lawmaker Rob Bonta as California’s Attorney General (AG), she should be happy because this is in line with her idea of more Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation in combating racism, social injustice and rampant crime incidents/ gun control. At the national level, Hirono bats for more Asians in the Biden administration. “I welcome the appointment of a senior level White House liaison to the AAPI community to further strengthen our voice,” Hirono said on Twitter.  “I had a productive conversation with the White House [on Tuesday] to make clear my perspective about the importance of diversity in the

We Need More Asian-American/Pacific Islanders in the Biden Administration –Sen. Hirono President’s cabinet.” In the light of the recent hate crimes leveled against Asian Americans, the appointment of Bonta by California Governor Gavin Newsom is a welcome move, very timely, and an excellent appointment! Newsom said in a statement: “Rob represents what makes California great – our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices.” It takes an Asian to understand the fate of Asians! It was very timely, and I think Newsom was just right in selecting Bonta to be California’s AG because he is a fighter, a crusading lawmaker, and a principled government official. This concept should apply to all appointments in the present administration. Let us not forget though that Bonta got the job, not because he was Asian, but because he has a extensive experience and credibility as a progressive lawmaker, and as a result, many individuals and groups applauded his appointment. Bonta is the first Filipino American to be the state’s AG and only other Asian besides

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono

Vice President Kamala Harris. He was born in the Philippines and grew up in the Central Valley, where his parents’ civil rights activists Cynthia and Warren Bonta, helped organize farmworkers alongside iconic labor activists Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong. The Bonta family eventually moved to the Sacramento area but he remained associating with the workforce and the farm workers, just like his parents were. Calling his appointment “the honor of a lifetime,” he said he became a lawyer “because I saw the best way to make a positive difference for the most people.” He is a graduate of Yale University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history and his law degree. He was a former San Francisco deputy city attorney, and served briefly in the Alameda City Council before running for State Assembly. He was first elected as a State Assemblyman in 2012 and has represented the East Bay since then.

I remember his first bill (AB 123) becoming law when it was signed by then Governor Jerry Brown. He cared for the working class and with this law he sponsored, he elevated the status of the contributions of the Filipino American farmers (known as the Manongs  who led the first farm protest in Delano known as the “Grape Uprising” in 1965 to raise better farm working condition and wages) in their contributions to the California’s farm labor movement. The Prosecutors Alliance of California applauded his appointment in a statement saying: “As a State Assembly member, Mr. Bonta fought to end cash bail and cure the conflict of interest that occurs when elected prosecutors receive financial and political support from law enforcement unions. He is a leader that has dedicated his career to protecting and uplifting vulnerable communities.” Karthick Ramakrishna, a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, who has worked with Bonta on the state’s Commission on Asian-American Pacific Islander Affairs (APIA), said “Mr. Bonta has been really strong on immigrant rights.” He pushed for more transparency from law enforcement agencies about their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and thus sought better data collection on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities – information that advocates have said is cru-

cial for addressing hate crimes and incidences of discrimination. With these credentials, he is a very good fit for the AG position and Newsom was just right in nominating him. Congratulatory messages were sent by Immediate past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Hawaii (UPAA – Hawaii) Jun Gappe; Milpitas Councilmember Evelyn Chua; Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran; former councilmember Atty. Gary Barbadillo; former District Assemblyman and now a member of the Berryessa School Board Kansen Chu; Santa Clara County Commissioner Linda Reyes; Founding President of  The Global Urdanetanians (TGU) Lino Caringal, Jr.; former PUP Professors Lito Roldan , Rudolfo Brillantes, Former Dean Dr. Roman Dannug, who are now residents of California; and Immediate Past President of Milpitas Executive Lions Club Benjie Fernandez. Attorney General Rob Bonta, congratulations and more power to you! The Asian American community is behind you and will make sure you succeed in your new job as the top law enforcer in California! Also, kudos to Sen. Hirono for fighting for more diversity in the Biden administration! ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the U.S. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

(NEWS FEATURE: Unemployment....from page 6)

“Multiple states have been victimized by fraudulent claims filed as part of a nationwide scam organized by a cybercrime gang that is believed to have obtained personal information through previous nationwide data breaches,” DLIR said. “The U.S. Secret Service issued a national alert about this international crime ring committing fraud against state unemployment programs.” In just the first quarter of

2020, DILR estimates nearly $16 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits in Hawaii may have been lost to fraud and identity theft. DILR was able to block $95 million in fraudulent unemployment claims. “Unfortunately, bad actors including organized crime continue to attack the program designed to support our vulnerable residents during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said DLIR Deputy

Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio  in a statement. “We are working with the U.S. DOL inspector general and the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General to find those perpetrating fraud and will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.” Anyone who suspects a claim was fraudulently filed in their name should contact the Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Division at 808-5868947.


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  11

CANDID PERSPECTIVES

By Emil Guillermo

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ob Bonta? People around the country better get to know Bonta who is now officially confirmed as the first Filipino American Attorney General of California. Good timing, I’d say. Just when the focus in the news has drifted from Atlanta to Boulder, to Indianapolis, here comes Bonta as California’s top law enforcer, and example of impeccable timing. But that has always been part of Rob Bonta’s story. Of late, the post has become a lucky political steppingstone. Bonta replaces Xavier Becerra, who recently became the first Latino to head of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Biden Cabinet. And of course, Becerra replaced Kamala Harris, who went on to the U.S. Senate and then became the first woman of color to be the nation’s vice president. In politics, that AG spot in California is a good gig to get an even better big. One of those “first to be---” gigs. When Governor Gavin Newsom made the nomination a month ago, I said that Bonta, a highly qualified Asian American of Filipino descent, had been launched into a new political orbit. If you know Bonta’s story, you knew it was going to happen at some point. The guy’s got a golden story. At the introduction of Bonta to the media, Newsom talked about how Bonta, 48, went from rural California to Yale, then Yale Law, forcing the governor to quip, “You sense the overachiever in him. I didn’t even mention the year in Oxford, uh, not my path to this podium, his is very different but a remarkable journey.” Newsom has known Bonta for a long time from Bay Area politics (Bonta worked in the SF City Attorney’s office before he ran for office).

California’s New Attorney General: The Filipino American with the Golden Story But Newsom may not have chosen Bonta were it not for a concerted community effort from a coalition of Filipino groups in the state, like Stockton’s social justice group, Little Manila Rising. Filipinos around the country also took note of the moment. “It’s a very big deal,” said Mona Pasquil, a veteran Filipino American politician who served as the 47th and acting lieutenant governor of the state. “He’s the top law enforcement position in the state, a constitutional office.” Theodore S. Gonzalves, former president of the Association for Asian American Studies, put an even finer point on the history of it all. Gonzalves recalled the words of Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan, who once wrote: “I feel like a criminal running away from a crime I did not commit. And the crime is that I am a Filipino in America.” “Filipinos faced horrible living and working conditions, especially during the Great Depression, when Bulosan and many others from the Philippines arrived in the United States,” said Gonzalves. “Imagine what he’d think about a Pinoy being named California’s top law enforcer. Bonta’s appointment as Attorney General is history-making. As he takes on the role, he should continue to take inspiration from generations of Filipino American activists, organizers, and workers who’ve been working for peace and justice for decades.” All of that isn’t lost on Bonta. After Newsom’s introduction from the podium at San Francisco’s I-Hotel/Manilatown Center, Bonta began with a sense humility. “I stand here because of so many people who come before me,” he said. Of course, he meant all those previous generations who paved the way for a guy like him, but he also meant his mother and father, Cynthia and

Warren. His mother had been at the I-Hotel in 1977 to help organize tenants in their historic eviction battle. But that’s just part of what I call his “golden story.” Bonta was born in the Philippines but his parents immigrated to America to escape the growing power of martial law dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Bonta’s family moved to California’s Central Valley, where they lived in a trailer in rural Keene, near Bakersfield, close to one of the trailers Cesar Chavez lived in. Bonta’s mom and dad were UFW organizers who worked alongside with Chavez. Bonta acknowledged that his upbringing among those involved in the farmworkers’ fight for justice sparked his dream to become a lawyer. And now here he is, the top lawyer in the biggest state with the most Asian Americans in the country. It’s a “Si Se Puede” story with a Filipino glaze in the golden state. But his accomplishments in the last 12 years as a no-nonsense, for the people, legislator have also been noteworthy, mostly in terms of making the criminal justice system fairer for everyone. “My fight is your fight,” Bonta said at the announcement event. Bonta said he promised to use the power of his office, and the bully pulpit it signifies, when it comes to hate crimes against Asian Americans. “One of the most hateful

California AG Rob Bonta

things about the hate crimes against the API community is that they had seemed to be swept under the rug. No one cared that those lives and those people weren’t valued. I valued them. I see them,” said Bonta. “The rhetoric we use as leaders is critical. Just look at what the rhetoric of the former occupant of the White House with the biggest megaphone in the planet did. It led to the murders of AAPI people, the reductionist devaluing of Asian Americans throughout this nation is using words like ‘Kung Flu’ and ‘Wuhan Virus’ and ‘China Virus.’” So just as the whole country is discovering its lack of knowledge about Asian Americans and our history, here comes Bonta to make some of his own. “As we see the tragic and horrific rise in hate crimes against our AAPI siblings throughout the nation, I can’t help but think about a photograph of a sign from a hotel lobby in 1920s Stockton that I have in my office,” Bonta said. “It says, ‘Positively No Filipinos Allowed.’ Through-

out California history so many of us have felt the sting of hate and discrimination. I have. I know many of you have as well. Too many of you, Asian, Latino, Black, Native American, LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, so many of us have been targeted and attacked because of who we are, where we’re from, and who we love. But that hate has not defined who we are or what we can achieve.” If it sounds like he’s revving up his golden story for a campaign, it’s because there’s only a year before he has to think about the next election. But as California’s AG, he’s in the political sweet spot of the day. It reminded me a little of 2010, when then San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris chose to run for attorney general. Look what’s happened 11 years later. In 11 years, Bonta will be only 59. Having been born in the Philippines may limit his options, but his future seems bright. And if he continues as he’s done in his no-nonsense way, who knows how far he could go. Filipinos nationwide have been looking for someone to emerge since Ben Cayetano was governor in Hawaii. Keep your eyes on Bonta. He’s a young Asian American politico ready to lead the fight for justice in the most Asian state in the nation. 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.


12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

BOOK REVIEW

NO FILTER, A Collection of Monologues About Millennials by Millennials By Rose Cruz Churma

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illennials were born in the analog age but were nurtured by the digital revolution. It’s not a surprise that the roots of this collection of monologues came about after a productive brainstorming session on Facebook Messenger in May 2015. A month later a team of four, dubbed The Sandbox Collective, decided to stage a theater production featuring monologues from Millennials by Millennials. Directed by Toff de Venecia, NO FILTER turned out to be a memorable

multimedia experience that became a phenomenal hit – garnering critical acclaim and rave reviews. The Sandbox Collective decided to re-stage NO FILTER in October of the same year, and the second version proved to be an improved version of the first one – “a refined but similarly raw and honest portrayal of what it means to be millennial in this day and age.” This collection was inspired by that monologue show. It touches on the millennial experiences in love, career, technology and their self-absorption. The book contains the monologues performed in the theater experience but

includes additional new pieces. Consisting of four chapters, the essays were grouped into “Know Thy Selfie,” “Virtual Insanity,” “LOL (Lots of Love),” and “Generation Why.” A review on the book’s back cover notes that: “Through voices coming from different backgrounds and experiences, the writers of NO FILTER explore concepts like the dangers of misinformation in the time of the internet, and a generation’s collective obsession with travel. What

(CHRONICLE PULSE....from page 8)

from the coronavirus. So if you’re planning to eat at a restaurant or public place for Mother’s Day, make sure she wears her mask on and maintains social distancing.

Darnell De Smet

Ewa Beach We honor mom on a special occasion like Mother’s Day in the same way that we honor dad on Father’s Day. It’s a time to say “thank you” for all the sacrifices they have made for us. They have also given us their unconditional love and support. This Mother’s Day will be time to cook her favorite meal and to offer her a gift that she can treasure forever. I just want to say “Mom, I love you very much!” My love and prayers to my mom and all the other moms for all that they’ve done.

Chance Guillermo

Student Waipio We honor mom on Mother’s Day because she is an incredible woman. Our moms mean everything to us. They are kind, understanding and love us unendingly no matter what happens. Their tender loving care (TLC) has left marks all over our hearts. Because of the COVID pandemic, I plan to surprise my mom by spending the day with her. We will have a family dinner to celebrate her special and memorable day. I’ll also give her a bouquet of flowers as a token of my love and respect for her. She helped to send me to college and to fulfill all of my ambitions.

Nathan M. Izumi

Waipahu Mother’s Day is a special time to celebrate our moms and to show her our deep love and appreciation. Moms are unique because we only have one mom. I’m forever grateful to my mom for all that she’s done and for loving through everything that has happened, including both the good and the bad. Our family usually celebrates Mother’s Day by taking her out to eat or having a big gathering at home. I haven’t decided yet, but I also usually give her a card and flowers or other gifts that I know she will enjoy.

perhaps brings them together in this anthology is an answer to this question: What do they really talk about when they talk about themselves?” The millennials were the first generation born without a war, so they did not have that framework of saving for a rainy day. They are also more accepting of liberal thought and distant from religion, or at least its rituals. Baby boomer parents

complain that millennials can’t stay in one job and place more value in a work-life balance over earning a lot of money or in staying with a job that they dislike. Millennials are many things, some good, some bad and a lot in the in-between gray areas – just like the previous generations before them, and perhaps just like the generations following them. But very interesting, and this book is proof of that.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@gmail.com.

Tayana K. Kalima

Mililani We honor our moms on Mother’s Day because she deserves the very best. Our moms not only gave us life but also unwavering support until we are old enough to stand on our own two feet as adults. As for me, I consider my mom as my best friend, my forever supporter and is always there in times of need. During this COVID pandemic, I plan to spend the entire Mother’s Day at her house. I will prepare her favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner and enjoy the day with all of my brothers. We are six siblings in all.

Jaz A. Kracl

Kahuku There’s no denying that mothers are simply incredible individuals! Not only are they patient and have tons of endurance, but they also continually make sacrifices that benefit their children and families. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be with my mom since she lives in Las Vegas. But I’ll text and call her to wish her all the very best. I love her so very much!

Chantelle Marie Ramirez

Honolulu We celebrate Mother’s Day because without our moms, we would not be here. I can never even begin to repay my mom for all that she’s done for me. Despite the pandemic, we can still celebrate Mother’s Day at our favorite restaurants. Just remember to limit the number of people and maintain proper social distancing. As for myself, I’ll be sure to call my mom and tell her how much I love her.


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  13

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Hawaii Expands Pre-Travel Testing Program To Taiwan, Southern California

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ravelers from Taiwan and Southern California’s Ontario International Airport may now bypass the State of Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine as long as they take a mandatory COVID-19 test from a trusted testing facility. The test must be taking within 72 hours prior to departure and the negative test result must be submitted prior to departure for Hawaii. “Historically, the traveler from Taiwan to Hawaiʻi has been mindful of our local ways and cultural traditions. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, visitors from Taiwan spent

approximately $251 per person per day while in Hawaii. At a time when we seek to rebuild our economy while keeping our residents safe, the expansion of the pre-travel testing program to Taiwan is welcomed news,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Hawaii Department of Health has approved the use of COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test for Taiwan’s pre-travel test which is conducted by the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare. Here is the list of the trusted testing partners

in Taiwan: • Cathay General Hospital, https://www.cgh.org.tw/ • Sijhih Cathay General Hospital, https://sijhih. cgh.org.tw/ • Hsinchu Cathay General Hospital, https://hsinchu. cgh.org.tw/ • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Taipei, https:// w w w 1 . c g m h . o rg . t w / branch/tpe/index.htm • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Linkou, https://www1.cgmh.org. tw/branch/lnk/2016/ • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital – Kaohsiung, https://cghdpt.cgmh.org. tw/branch/jia • Mackay Memorial Hospi-

tal, https://www.mmh.org. tw/home.php?area=tp • Mackay Memorial Hospital – Tamsui, https:// www.mmh.org.tw/home. php?area=ts • Hsinchu Mackay Memorial Hospital, http://www. hc.mmh.org.tw/webhc/index.html# • Mackay Memorial Hospital – Taitung, http://ttw3. mmh.org.tw/#

However, there are currently no direct flights from Taiwan to Hawaii at this time but the pre-travel testing program is still useful for passengers arriving in Hawaii via other international or U.S. mainland cities.

Kaiser Permanente To Offer $5,000 Scholarships to Hawaii High School Seniors

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ealthcare provider Kaiser Permanente’s Health Equity Scholarship program is offering $5,000 scholarships to graduating Hawaii high school seniors pursuing a career in the healthcare field. The scholarship aims to develop healthier communities by helping young people

achieve their dreams of going to college and graduate with a healthcare degree. “At this time when many Hawaii families are struggling financially, we hope to lessen at least one burden so that students don’t have to give up on their dreams of going to college,” said Greg Christian Kaiser Permanente

Hawaii president Health Plan and Hospitals. “Our Health Equity Scholarship Program is part of our mission to care for the communities we serve by encouraging equal access to education and health care.” Graduating high school students can apply for the scholarship program until

Small Businesses Impacted by Oahu’s Severe Natural Disaster Now Eligible for the loans. The SBA advises to SBA, there are 36 homes SBA Loans forto take photographs and keep and 4 businesses that suffered

O

ahu small businesses impacted by March’s severe storms, flooding and landslides are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The flooding and the landslides were the result of heavy rain on Oahu that severely impacted the North Shore between March 8 to 18. Businesses and private non-profit organizations may apply for up to $2 million in loans to repair or replace business assets that were destroyed or damaged in the storm. Homeowners and business owners who already made repairs to their damaged assets are still eligible to apply

receipts of repairs. According to SBA, interest rates are 3% for businesses, 2% for private non-profit organizations and 1.25% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. “SBA is strongly committed to providing Hawaii with the most effective and customer-focused response possible,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster.” On April 26, Governor David Ige and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency requested the SBA’s assistance to support the community affected by the storm. According

major damage while 10 homes received minimum damage. “This is an excellent chance for residents and business owners affected by March’s flooding and landslides, to take steps toward recovering from this disaster,” said Ige. “We thank the SBA for supporting our affected communities and encourage residents and business owners to take advantage of this opportunity.” The deadline to apply for property damage is June 28, 2021 while the deadline for economic injury is January 31, 2022. To apply or learn more about the disaster loan assistance program, visit disasterloanassistance.sba.gov.

May 15. The scholarship awardees will be announced in August 23. To be a qualified applicant, the graduating student must be enrolling in an accredited four-year university or community college for the 2021-2022 academic school year. The student must have minimum GPA of 2.5 with an interest in pursu-

“It’s delightful to see Taiwan becoming a trusted testing and travel partner with Hawaii, as the pre travel testing program is moving one step forward. Such effort will definitely encourage more travelers via Taipei - Honolulu flights, and help to promote economic activities with a safe path,” said Jessica Pan, GM of China Airlines Honolulu Branch Office, the sole airlines serving direct flights on this route. Taiwanese nationals that travel abroad are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the country. Travel restrictions on the U.S. travel to Taiwan remain in place.

ing a clinical (physician, nurse, pharmacist) or non-clinical (accounting, finance, public policy) career in the healthcare industry. The student must also have a demonstrated financial need and/or are from underrepresented communities. To apply for Kaiser Permanente’s Health Equity Scholarship Program, visit kp-health-equity-scholars.hsfts.net.


14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 8, 2021

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

“COMM-UNITY’’

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan and restaurants. Not only have we received help from the iving in South government, in a way we are Korea during taking part in helping numerthis pandemic is ous struggling small businesssuch a blessing es to survive. for my family. As much as we are grateThough there ful to be where we are right are still hundreds of cases re- now, our hearts bleed for our ported each day, we are still families, loved ones, friends able to move freely within the and everyone in our home country. country. South Korea was one of With the quick transmisthe first nations hit hard by sion of the virus and thouthis crisis but because of their sands of cases recorded daily, past experiences in dealing we couldn’t help but be worwith pandemics, they were ried and anxious for the safeable to quickly navigate on ty of the people we love. We how to deal with this emer- already have a lot of friends gency situation. and even family members who There was no lockdown have contracted the virus. We but only strict social distanc- know of many who lost preing and contact tracing mea- cious loved ones. sures were imposed ever since Our prayers and thoughts the pandemic started. Gather- go out to the Filipino people ings may have been limited who are struggling but still but life goes on. persevering to overcome this As foreigners, my hus- dire situation the whole world band and I are amazed at is facing right now. how the Korean government The government has rolled responded to the ongoing out financial support a number worldwide devastation. We of times especially to those are grateful that even as for- in the grassroots but it’s not eigners, we are eligible to free enough. Not only are many COVID tests and we have catching the virus, but many also received financial grant are also losing sources of livefrom the local government of lihood, many are getting hunthe city we live in. gry, many are losing hope. My husband and I were But there are selfless and each given a card loaded with generous people who find a certain amount we can use to ways to bring even just a purchase from small business- glimmer of hope to their comes such as convenience stores munities.

L

Churches offer their buildings to be a place of rest for exhausted frontliners. Some small businesses open their doors to homeless people in need of refuge. I have witnessed many who are helping financially people they barely know but are badly affected by the pandemic even if they themselves are trying to stay afloat. And just recently, community pantries have mushroomed across the nation and it just started with the initiative of one person. Private citizens have set up stalls with food that can be taken for free by those in the community who need them. The pandem-

ic may have broken hearts and souls, but it didn’t crush the Filipino Bayanihan spirit. This Covid-19 contagion may have distanced all of us physically, but it caused us to truly understand what community means. It has taught us to look out not just for our own sake but for others We stay home, not just because we want to be safe from the virus, but because we care about others not contracting the virus. We realize that we are all in need of encouragement and prayer that we become the answer to another person’s prayer. Indeed, tough times unite us. Difficult times

strengthen us. Bad times bring out the good in us. I wish that that the Philippine government would learn a thing or two from the South Korean government. I wish that my loved ones and friends in the Philippines can experience the benefits that our family has received from the country adopting us in this season of our lives. But I trust the indomitable and resilient Filipino spirit. We will get through this together. We will come out of this refined. As a Filipino living overseas, I don’t just stop in wishing, I choose to hope, I act in prayer and I respond in generosity. I know that all of us, though we all need help too, have something to give. As part of this global community, we can make a difference. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. Just like that one person who started a community pantry in Quezon City inspired others to follow suit, one simple act of kindness and generosity can cause a ripple effect which in turn will impact the world.

MAINLAND NEWS

Organization Calls on U.S. Gov’t. to Expedite COVID-19 Vaccines Purchased by the Philippines

T

he Filipino Young Leaders Program Organization (FYLPRO) is appealing to the U.S. government to expedite the release of 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that the Philippine government purchased. The Philippines ordered 20 million doses from Moderna, Inc. which was scheduled to be shipped in May. However, the National Defense Production Act currently prevents U.S. companies from exporting any vaccines until domestic requirements have been met, which is expected would be around mid-May to June. “I am cautiously optimistic that we are seing the

light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19 in the United States. In contrast, the Philippines is expected to be one of the last to recover from the pandemic in Southeast Asia,” said Louella Cabalona, president of FYLPRO. “I urge the Biden-Harris administration to consider the long-standing relationship of the two countries as allies and fast-track the delivery of Moderna vaccines ordered by the Philippines.”

FYLPRO launched the #ModernaVax2PH online campaign to call on both the majority and minority leaders on Capitol Hill to support the Philippines in fighting COVID-19. “I’m hoping what we endeavor to do moves the needle in expediting the release of vaccines to the Philippines,” said Cabalona. “Getting shots sooner will save thousands of lives.” FYLPRO is a network of high performing, next-generation leaders who advance the Philippines and the Filipino people through their advocacy and expertise in various industries. To learn more about the #ModernaVax2PH campaign, visit bit.ly/ModernaVax2PH.


MAY 8, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  15

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

May 14 - ¡Muy Delicioso!: Spanish Influences on Philippine Cuisine, 3:00PM - 5:30PM May 21 - Haluhalu: Philippine Cuisine in the Regions and the World, 3:00PM - 5:30PM

FILGRAD UH MANOA COMMENCEMENT 2021 | May 5, 2021 | 10;00 AM - 2:00 PM | Livestream via fb.com/ FilGradManoa l “Fil-Grad” puts the spotlight on Filipinos who have reached the requirements to receive a degree at any level of higher education.

MAINLAND NEWS

Federal Funeral Assistance Program Now Accepting Applications

T

he Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now accepting applications for funeral assistance in Hawaii for those who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19. The funeral assistance program was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law in Mary by President Joe Biden.

“While no amount of money can heal the loss of a loved one, this grant program can help ease the financial strain on those who’ve suffered so much from COVID-19,” said Congressman Ed Case. Qualified applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen or a qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 for an individual whose death may have been cause by or was likely

the result of COVID-19. Applicants may receive up to $9,000 of assistance per funeral. They can also apply for assistance after multiple funerals. There will be no online applications for the funeral assistance program. Applicants must call FEMA’s dedicated call center at 844-684-6333 or 800-462-7585, Monday to Friday, from 9am EST to 9pm EST.

$28.6 Billion Federal Grant to Support COVID-Hit Food Industry Is Now Accepting Applications

T

he Small Business Administration has announced they are now accepting applications for the $28.6 billion grant program to help restaurants, bars, food truck and even caterers who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the multibillion grant program was created through the pandemic relief legislation signed into law in March.

Among eligible grant recipients include restaurants, food stands or trucks, bars or lounges, caterers or similar businesses where the primary purpose is serving food or drinks. $5 billion of the program is set aside for the smallest businesses with 2019 gross receipts of $500,000 or less. The grant will be equalt to the business’s pandemic-related revenue loss, limited to

$5 million per physical location and $10 million total for the applying business entity. In order for the applicant to be eligible, on-site sales to the public must have comprised of at least 33% of the entity’s gross receipts in 2019. For more information on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund. 

The applicant responsible for the COVID-19 funeral expenses will need to provide the following information when call FEMA to apply for the assistance: • Social Security number for the applicant and the deceased individual • Date of birth for the applicant and deceased individual • Current mailing address of the applicant • Current phone number of the applicant • Location and address where the deceased individual passed away • Burial or funeral insurance policies information • Information about other funeral assistance received, such as donations • CARES Act grants and assistance from voluntary organizations • Routing and account number of the applicant’s checking or savings account (for direct deposit) To learn more about the funeral assistance program, visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/ coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq. (Solution to Crossword No. 4 | April 17, 2021)

KROSWORD ni Carlito Lalicon

Blg. 5

PAHALANG

1. Karayin sanggol 6. Busilak 36. Manang 15. Isang uri ng palay 37. Pilandot 16. Gulunggulungan 39. Barikan 17. Pakuluan sa tubig 40. Paksang-diwa 18. Minsan 42. Pagbebentosa 19. Amerikana 43. Mangmang 21. Kontra 44. Alirang 22. Utang 46. Ipailalim 23. Bilit 48. Tungkos 24. Baratilyo 51. Batas 28. Bagwis 52. Alalay 29. Waang 53. Lahatin 30. Kato 57. Kata 32. Awit na pampatulog sa 59. Siyasat

PABABA

1. Tinging pairap 2. Lahok 3. Hawak sa kamay 4. Maalikabok 5. Maging ninong sa kumpil 6. Samsam 7. Higit 8. Balalay 9. Dakong ibaba ng bahay-pukyutan

10. Umambag 11. Hinahon 12. Aniya 13. Isang uri ng tugtog at sayaw 14. Nakatanga 20. Kanta ng Rivermaya 23. Biolento 24. Apula 25. Lablab 26. Mikropono 27. Bahagi ng bibig

CLASSIFIED ADS CAREGIVER NEEDED FOR IMMEDIATE JOB

I am offering 25$ per Hour for 4-5 hours daily for a Dementia Father. Applicants should email their Resume and Reference (talk2amanda75@gmail.com) 60. Makabansa 61. Kontra 31. Patibong 33. Alikabok 34. Maligat 35. Ilam 37. Labandera 38. Talinghaba 41. Lababo 43. Embolsahan 45. Basag o lamat sa kasangkapang metal 47. Papeleta 48. Bakas

62. Binubuo 63. Sinabi nila 49. Iunlad 50. Hele 52. Mismis 53. Awit 54. Ala 55. Pagkalat 56. Isang lungsod sa Bikol 58. Unlaping ginagamit sa pagpapahiwatig ng paghanga sorpresa atbp

(Ang sagot ay matutunghayan sa susunod na isyu ng Chronicle)

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MAY 8, 2021

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Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - May 8, 2021  

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