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MAY 22, 2021


Bayanihan in the Maginhawa Community Pantry CANDID PERSPECTIVES

Say the Full Name: Remembering Our Native Hawaiians on Heritage Month


Hawaii to Receive Nearly $14 Million in Federal Funding to Help Residents With Rent, Utilities


May is Healthy Vision Month: Protect Your Vision!



Best to the Philippines on their Vaccination Efforts


his week the CDC gave perhaps the most encouraging news since the outbreak of COVID-19. It issued a new guideline that two weeks after someone receives a second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine or the single-dose vaccine of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen – the fully vaccinated person can essentially resume all pre-pandemic activities. This means wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart will no longer be necessary. The fully vaccinated person can attend gathering of all sizes both indoors and outdoors. Of course, businesses and government will still set their own requirements of mask use or other precautions that still must be abided. The reasoning for maintaining COVID-19 safety rules is twofold: 1) an establishment doesn’t know who is or isn’t vaccinated without requiring a vaccination card showing proof (something that would be perceived as too intrusive on civil liberties); and 2) full vaccination does not mean 100% immunity. There are also question marks as to how effective existing vaccinations are against variants or how long vaccines can protect people. It will take a little longer for the ultimate goal of reaching herd immunity, that would require more people in the general population getting vaccinated. But the US is not too far off. Already as of mid-May 60% of adults have received at least one-dose of the two-part vaccination. It looks like just a matter of time that the US will hit that mark of herd immunity given the remarkable efforts the Biden Administration has made in making vaccines so readily available and for free. It has been an amazing tactical achievement to get both public and the private sectors clicking with such efficiency. The herd immunity threshold is when between 70-90% of the population is immune to COVID-19 and variants.

The Philippines starts vaccinations The high bar the Biden administration set in the roll out of vaccinations (compared to the dismal ineptness of the previous administration in handling COVID-19) is a model from which the Philippines and the rest of the world can look to replicate. Because the Philippines just started this month with vaccinations, it only has less than 2% of its population inoculated. Health officials say the late start to administering the vaccine is due to inventory. Officials wanted to ensure a sizeable amount of vaccines were stockpiled before making it available to the masses; and much of the vaccines have just been arriving this May through COVAX, an international partnership established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. The US is part of this WHO-led COVAX initiative and has already pledged to donate initially about 60 million doses. What the Philippines must do Philippine government officials will need to lobby hard to get their fair share of vaccines through COVAX. All financially challenged countries will be scrambling and expressing their unique (and not-so unique) emergencies. The Philippines has already made smart negotiations to enlist the help from China and Russia for donated vaccination supplies. It will need all the help it can get, including mending its relations with the US to get extra assistance from the US outside of COVAX. The Philippines must also be monitoring closely the possible lifting of patent protection on COVID-19 vaccines that would (continue on page 3)



ith 60% of the US adult population already having received at least one COVID-19 shot as of mid-May and the number of infections lowering -domestic travel confidence is high. Many Hawaii residents are making their first travel plans since the outbreak of COVID-19. Those in our community are also excited to take a trip to the Philippines to visit family and friends. But is it safe to travel to the Philippines at this moment? Opening up the country to travel will largely depend on how effective can the Philippine government ramp up its vaccination efforts and move closer to herd immunity, explains associate editor Edwin Quinabo in our cover story this issue. The overwhelming recommendation from Philippine residents is for family to defer their vacation. In fact, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s latest Travel Advisory says only Filipino citizens and former citizens, foreign nationals with visas and a few select groups can enter at this time due to the high number of active coronavirus cases there. How is our kababayans coping with the pandemic and the Philippines doing to combat COVID-19? The good news is the government officially rolled out its vaccination program this May 1. Vaccination inventory is building, but there are reports of challenges in administering it. In the meantime, health officials are trying to control the spread of the virus even as new variants have arrived. Like the US, the Philippines faces very similar challenges: calibrating public health and economic interests and exacting lockdowns and quarantines as needed. The difference between the US and Philippine government, perhaps, is one of resources. But at the same time, relatively speaking, the Philippines infections and death rates from the virus are far less than the West’s (but second highest in Southeast Asia). Read some of the concerns, hopes, fears, and frustrations our kababyans have; and get additional perspective from Filipino doctors. Relating to our cover story is an article submitted by Perry Diaz. This story is a must-read and truly inspirational. As countless residents in the Philippines go hungry and government resources have been inadequate to meet the needs of the poor, a hero has emerged in Ana Patricia Non. An idea born out of true love for community, Non set up a makeshift pantry on Maginhawa St. where people can donate and take food items. It has been a blessing for the needy. Inspired by Non, makeshift community pantries have started to pop up in other parts of the country. This non-conventional form of charity, surprisingly, has been met with objection by some who put Non’s project and her life needlessly in danger. Find out how in this fascinating story. In our news section, we’re pleased to report Hawaii will receive nearly $14 million in federal funding to help residents with rent and utilities. A big part of the 2021 State Legislature entailed working into the State budget federal money from the American Rescue Plan. Read in our second editorial which is a review on this year’s State Legislature. Lastly, we have other news and interesting columns including a Healthline edition, “May is Healthy Vision Month: Protect Your Vision!” May is also Asian American Pacific Islander Month –that HFC columnist Emil Guillermo writes about in this issue. We join our fellow AAPIs in celebrating our heritage and contributions to society. Thank you to our advertisers, readers, and community supporters. Until the next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

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

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


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

Contributing Writers

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

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

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

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

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



2021 State Legislature Was A Budgetary Success


erhaps the 2021 State Legislature could be summed up as this: “It did no harm.” Leading into the session, a massive state budget deficit awaited lawmakers who faced the challenge of either raising taxes or making deep cuts to social services. Or possibly both to balance the budget (required by law). All three scenarios could have done tremendous harm to Hawaii residents and businesses already hurting, and in many cases crippled, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

million-some dedicated to social services programs were left untouched. Again, no harm done. While state lawmakers deserve pats on the back for balancing the state budget ($31.2 billion), the federal government’s allotment of $1.6 billion in COVID-relief was that much needed parachute to soften an otherwise crash landing. Who deserves credit on the federal side, the Democrats and President Joe Biden. Republicans in both the House and Senate universally (all of them) voted down the American Rescue Plan. It’s not being biased State lawmakers deliver a to point this out, just simply fair, balanced budget stating fact. The good news is lawWithout federal aid, it’s makers did their main job this likely any one or all of the session which was to pass a three treasury-boosting scestate budget for the next two narios listed above would fiscal years without doing have been a sure thing. much harm. The multiple tax packag- Other smart budgeting es introduced at the beginning measures State lawmakers also actof session as an emergency backup -- if the Biden admin- ed responsibly by eliminating istration and Congress didn’t vacant positions and mergdeliver on the American Res- ing-restructuring some govcue Plan – all failed mostly in ernment offices as cost-savHouse committees. No harm ings measures. Another smart financial done. At the same time, the $80 decision (and even smarter

Missed Opportunity on Policing Reform Where state lawmakers failed is to act on any of the policing reform bills from collecting data on arrests to banning chokeholds. It’s a disappointment especially considering how passionately so many Americans feel about reforms to policing. The pushback to criticisms of inaction on the multiple proposed bills was state lawmakers say policing is mostly for counties to act on and pursue.

State lawmakers also say that many of the policing reform bills like the one that would allow citizens to record police activities are already established by case law; in other words, some of them are already legal as decided on by courts. Both arguments – county jurisdiction and already established laws by the courts -- have credibility. But at the same time, being that none of those bills are budget-sensitive, lawmakers should have passed at least some of them even if that meant duplication or overlapping of case law or county law. Why? Action at the state level in policing reform sends a strong message that as a community (at all levels of local government), we demand safe and fair policing. Frankly, it’s hard to believe political pressure (or the fear of appearing to be against the police union or police officers) did not play a role in this very clear decision by House and Senate leadership to avoid completely all policing reform bills. The attitude of “leaving it for the counties and courts” to act is too safe a move, and to be so consistent to sit on their

While vaccination is being worked on, leaders must do all they can to contain the spread and calibrate into public health precautions ways to maintain economic vitality. The economic stats on growth and unemployment show the country has taken major hits. While there has been copious complaints from Filipinos over how inadequate their government has been handling the pandemic, just based off the fairly low numbers of infected and deaths (relative to other countries), these data (if accurate) suggest there are areas of proficient management. But the fairly low numbers could also be attributed to the Filipino people themselves (not necessarily government action) in slowing the spread of the virus by practicing safety precautions. Low infections

and deaths also do not take into account other issues like poverty and hunger without adequate government assistance that Filipinos rightfully and with validity have been expressing frustration over. There are talks of and a desire for Hawaii’s Filipino community to vacation in the Philippines. But the Philippine government is currently restricting travel in and out to only a select group of people. This, again, is a smart move. Until vaccination is ramped up considerably, it’s in everyone’s best interest to defer travel. We hope for the best for all our fellow Filipinos. We applaud all efforts that have eased the hardship the pandemic has caused, and support your journey toward herd immunity. May it come speedily.

political one) House and Senate leadership bailed out on a controversial pay raise for themselves, judges, the governor and department heads. Giving themselves a pay raise would have been, no other way to put it, outright awkward in times of austerity, reduced hours for many of Hawaii workers (cut in pay), and high joblessness.

(EDITORIAL: Best to the Philippines....from page 2)

enable governments with their private sector to ramp up vaccine production of their own. The Biden administration already said it is in support of this, even though drug companies have resisted lifting patents. But if the US government is behind it, some kind of temporary lifting is possible; and the Philippine government should be making preparations for such a scenario, including setting aside adequate funding. A major component of the US’s success in vaccinating has been getting the private sector to be a part of it. Philippine residents are already telling their government officials that private employers should be involved. In addition to employers, the Philippine government must get the help of private pharmacies, those independently owned and phar-

macies owned by giant grocery and retail giants to administer shots. The convenience of having vaccination shots available at places that people already go to regularly increases the chances for the general public to get inoculated. Convenience and availability are keys to success. And, of course, the third part is all vaccines must be free for everyone. Since a vast majority of vaccines are donated in the case of the Philippines, there is no reason fees should be passed on to the people. In the US, government has also spent millions on advertising and public awareness campaigns to convince people to get vaccinated. It’s unlikely that the Philippines will need to resort to this as demand will most likely be greater than supply.

hands on all these bills leaves people wondering, why.

Other noteworthy measures Besides balancing the budget and making cuts, there were other notable work done this session. The payday lending bill passed is one. It will help many struggling individuals and families particularly during this pandemic. The bill helps to prevent high interest fees and high annual percentage rates that unscrupulous lenders charge. It will prevent them from taking advantage of Hawaii residents on the margin who cannot get loans from traditional lending institutions. It saves the marginalized from falling further into debt. In the area of education, Gov. David Ige already signed into law a bill to develop and implement a statewide computer science curricula plan and ensure each public high school offers at least one computer science course each school year. Overall, the 2021 session was as expected. No earth-toheaven legislation had been pushed through besides the budget. But given the state of the economy, this was enough. Lawmakers acted with heart in some areas, and made practical decision-making in other areas. Their work this session matched the basic necessities of what this specific period in time require.



Philippines Launches Covid-19 Vaccination Program

Normalcy and Travel Dependent on Vaccination Success

By Edwin Quinabo


ravel plans have been altered, rescheduled, often cancelled altogether since the global pandemic started. The ever-shifting state of lockdowns and quarantines from country to country keep travelers second guessing: “Is it really smart to plan, pack, and go abroad?” Hawaii economists and tourism heads are expecting a visitors boost to our state this summer. Confidence in US domestic travel is high as COVID-19 infections decline and vaccinations rise. Hawaii’s Filipino community are also eager for a change of scenery, some longing to return to their ancestral homeland, the Philippines, where extended family resides and happy youthful memories call for a second, third chapter. Vaccination Rollout

The CDC reported that 60% of adults in the US received at least one COVID-19 shot by mid-May. The high vaccination rate has been largely responsible for the US’s fast-paced COVID recovery since the start of the year. As a region, Asia is lagging far behind in vaccine rollouts. Our World in Data reports in the region, Singapore has the highest vaccination at over 20% of its population, followed by Hong Kong 12%, India 9%, South Korea and Indonesia 5%. The Philippines (along with Japan and Thailand) has the region’s lowest vaccination rate with less than 2% of their population receiving at least one vaccination shot, as of mid-May. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., who leads the COVID-19 national task force, said the government aims to inoculate between 25 million and 50 million Filipinos by September this year.’ The vaccination roll out kicked off this May 1. Galvez, Jr. and public health officials believe for herd immunity to happen, an estimated 70 million of the coun-

But at this very moment, is the Philippines a traveling destination option? The resounding answer is no, at least not yet. Filipinos are recommending their kababyans abroad and family to delay any plans until the pandemic situation there improves. Technically, only Filipino citizens, former Filipino citizens, foreign nationals with visas, diplomats and other select groups can enter the country at this time, according to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s latest Travel Advisory. “Due to the high number of active cases in the Philippines, travelers are advised to defer their travel to the country,” said Andrea Christina Caymo, vice consul, Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu. Experts say opening travel to the general foreigner-tourist eventually will

try’s 108 million people need to be vaccinated. At the current rate, the government is way behind target. Currently only 2.4 million Filipinos have received vaccination, that’s about 1.3% of the population. At the end of the second week of May, Reuter’s COVID-19 tracker shows, the Philippines averaged about 67,652 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a 320 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population. Dr. John Wong, a member of the government’s coronavirus task force’s data analytics team, estimates 350,000 people are needed to be vaccinated a day so the government could meet its target of immunizing 70 million of the country’s population, this year. Government officials estimate the pace of administering vaccines should pick up as vaccine inventory increases. In the first week of May, 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived through the COVAX facility, an international partnership established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

around the world. Two days later, 193,050 doses of donated Pfizer vaccines also from the WHO-led COVAX facility arrived. At the end of this month, 194,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive. But there are other vaccines already in storage besides AstraZeneca, Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that include: Sinovac, Sputnik V, Janssen, and Covaxin. Sputnik V is developed in Russia; Sinovac in China. Janssen is the vaccine put out by Johnson & Johnson. The Philippines’ FDA is also allowing for limited use unproven and controversial Covid-19 treatments like Remdesivir and Ivermectin, despite warnings by health experts. FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said Remedesivir and Ivermectin are not technically approved by the FDA but are given only a special permit for use. The decision to use these drugs will be left to doctors. The US has pledged to share AstraZeneca on hand and in production, with approximately 60 million doses available in the next two months. The criteria for sharing that inventory to other countries is in progress.

largely depend on inroads made in vaccination and herd immunity, while containing new, more contagious variants from spreading. How is the Philippines faring in these areas?

Florangel Rosario Braid of Quezon City, Philippines, said the delay of vaccines was caused by the hesitancy of government to start the rollout because of the then lack of available vaccines. “This is reportedly due to the quality checks that had to be done. Now that they have arrived and are in storage, we are still confronted with a lack of vaccination centers and refusal by some to be inoculated,” said Rosario Braid. Dr.Tony Leachon, former government pandemic adviser, said ““We need vaccine awareness, promotion and good supply management to get the vaccines administered to as many at the fastest time possible, and with least amount of wastage.” JB Sampaga, 21, Metro Manila, said “I’m glad that more and more people are getting vaccinated in our country but we still need to be vigilant especially that the [coronavirus] cases are still rising and more variants are entering the Philippines. We need more response and protection, not just relying on the vaccines.” She adds the vaccines are a huge help. “We’re still pretty slow, but it’s a good start. I

hope the government will allow the private sector/employers to buy vaccines for their employees.”

April Surge, May Recovery, Cycles of Lockdown and Quarantine

Currently the Philippines is crawling out of its second wave of the pandemic, a surge that started late this March, that experts have attributed to the holiday festivities. Daily COVID-19 infections were as high as 10,000 daily in April. It hit a daily peak of 15,310 in April 2. President Rodrigo Duterte responded by imposing a lockdown in the nation’s capital and nearby regions for two weeks. That lockdown effected 25 million people. By mid-April, improvements in the number of those infected led to the President adjusting the lockdown to a modified “general community quarantine.” This allows for businesses to open, limited travel, limited dine-in and outdoor dining, until the end of May. But Roman Catholic religious festivals common during this time are still barred. (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (Philippines Launches....from page 4)

homes. Our government had no “General community quar- action plan. No mass testing. antine” is the second-lowest Slow vaccination plan and processes. No support to the peolevel quarantine. “It honestly feels like every ple to ensure that we can still two to six weeks, they alter- survive during lockdowns. The nate between a lockdown and only reason they keep lifting a modified lockdown. Nothing the lockdown every time the is happening. Cases are still ris- cases dip (even a little) is for ing. New variants are entering people and businesses to keep the country. People are losing operating even if they’re risktheir jobs. Students are drop- ing their safety.” Joel Tomas said contact ping out. We’re barely even tracing is poor. He gives an exsurviving,” said Sampaga. “And when organizations ample, “arriving Filipinos who and normal citizens do some- have undergone the required thing to help the community, RT PCR and mandatory quarthe government’s response is antine often are never contactpraising Filipino’s resiliency ed or monitored by the agenduring these hard times. Like cies when they are at home to no, this is not the time to pa- continue their home quarantine tronize your own people. We (10th to 14th day).” He says on curfews, “it need your help. We need the government’s help to survive.” should not only be done when COVID-19 is rising, but conGovernment’s Performance tinued to virtually eliminate Like Sampaga, other Filipi- non-essential movement after nos have expressed frustration midnight.” Tomas also is critical of over the government’s handling public transportation. “Strict of the pandemic. Wilhelmina I. Neis of implementation of physical disMandaluyong City, said “our tancing and sanitizing vehicles government could do better. It (LRT/MRT, jeepney, taxi, grab has been more than a year since and the like) after each one cythe virus affected the Philip- cle are not practiced.” Government has not stepped pines and there has been no in to correct practices that could improvement. Many believe that the various tasks regarding be spreading the virus. His tip to officials, “Our COVID prevention, monitoring, support, cure, etc. could be government should always handled by those who are better check with successful countries like Israel, Australia to name qualified.” Neis says the government few, who are doing the right needs to improve its vaccina- things. Our government should tion program. “I for one, am a also look at other countries senior citizen and have pre-reg- where COVID-19 cases are istered for vaccination, but until growing like India. “In both cases, our govnow, I have not received a conernment can pick the valuable firmation nor any response.” Celee Tang of Metro Ma- strategies that work and avoid nila said, “Definitely, the way those that do not work. The the government has handled this government needs other input pandemic is very unsatisfactory. to succeed,” said Tomas. Examine the qualifications of the people in the government, Calibrating public health how they react to opinions, sug- and the economy Astro del Castillo, managgestions. We have very defening director at First Grade Fisive people in government.” Tang also expressed doubt nance in Manila, said “Despite over the government’s tracking the general community quaranof COVID. “I am not sure if the tine relaxation, it still seems reinformation from government strictive in terms of movement.” The Philippines isn’t is reliable. I personally gauge my assessment from actual ex- unique in government’s aim to perience with people we know, finding a calibration that takes in certain areas in the country.” into account first public health, Sampaga said, “I know but at the same time, considerlockdowns worked in countries ing how lockdowns and modilike Australia, New Zealand fied quarantines are impacting and Taiwan… but the thing is, the economy. In the first three months they had an action plan beyond just keeping everyone in their of 2021, the Philippines’ GDP

shrank by 4.2%. This is the fifth quarter of COVID-19-related recession. The economy fell 9.6% in 2020, the lowest since 1947. Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado have been pushing for further easing of restrictions to enable economic growth and to improve the jobless situation. The nation’s economic managers said in a joint statement, “It has been 15 months since COVID-19 hit us. Throughout this unprecedented crisis, the government’s priority has been the total health and welfare of the people. Our aversion to risk for the most part of 2020 has placed the country in a long period of quarantine. This came at a huge cost to the economy and the people. This cannot go on in 2021.” The three said the target of 6.5 to 7.5% growth for this year is still their goal for the country. But they said attaining that will depend on how effective the government can ramp up vaccinations. On the public health side, the numbers show the Philippines is the second highest among Southeast Asian countries in COVID infections and deaths. As of mid-May, there has been a total of 1,124,724 reported cases, 18,821 deaths, according to the Philippines Department of Health (DOH). Over 11.6 million have been tested for COVID-19 since January 2020.

From the perspective of Medical Workers

Philippine health care workers said the recent second wave last month stretched health care workers like never before. For comparison, March 2020 saw 213 infections per day. March 2021 saw on average over 10,000. I n t e n sive-care units in the Manila area were at 84% capacity, while 70% of COVID-19 ward beds and 63% of isolation beds were full as

of April 19, government data showed. Similar to peaks in the US when hospitals were at or near full capacity, the Philippine Red Cross set up field hospital tents outside of hospitals, last month. Unused buildings were converted to temporary hospital rooms used to house COVID patients with less severe symptoms. Asked about specific challenges he encountered as a medical professional during COVID, Mark Henry Joven, M.D., said “Because of fear of getting COVID-19 in the hospitals, some patients, and their love ones, insisted in staying home even if there was a need to get treated in the hospital. Unfortunately, some of these scenarios resulted in deaths, not from COVID-19, but from other conditions like pneumonia, heart attacks, and other commonly encountered conditions.” Fear is a real concern not just among patients, but for medical professionals. “My fear is getting COVID-19 from a patient and infecting my family with it. I have a relative who passed away from this and my fear is re-experiencing this over again. It’s tragic,” said Dr. Joven. Dr. Maria Lolita R. Uy, a pediatrician at Taytay Doctors Multispecialty Hospital in Taytay, Rizal, expressed similar feelings of fear. “We fear for our lives as front-liners. We are exposed to COVID-19 cases which can cause us to possibly lose our lives. But we have to continue with our work because that is our job and that is what our work calls for.” DOH data showed that 17,909 Philippine medical workers, primarily nurses and doctors, have contracted the

COVID-19 virus; and 80 health care workers have died from it. “The hospitals are still getting patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections. Now, compared to early last year, we have some confidence in managing patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms at home. A lot of doctors, including myself, have been doing telemedicine, and it works and is very convenient,” said Dr. Joven. He thinks by the end of the year there still will be clusters of outbreaks in the community. He has two hopes: one is that there will be some form of normalcy happening in the community; and his second hope, he says, is “to someday, be able to bring my son out again since he missed a lot of his childhood from this pandemic.” He admits that being home together with his son more has brought them closer. Dr. Uy hopes that herd immunity will come soon. But she emphasized that can only happen through vaccination. “I encourage more people to get vaccinated.”

Life in the Philippines since COVID

The reason why some question the accuracy of the government’s statistics on COVID-19 is because it’s very common for people to know of friends or relatives who’ve contracted the virus. Some believe the numbers should be higher. Some experts agree. Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire admitted that the reduced number of confirmed cases reflects “low testing output” from accredited laboratories. Duplications and misreporting of active cases have (continue on page 6)



Bayanihan in the Maginhawa Community Pantry By Perry Diaz


ittle did 26-year-old Ana Patricia Non realize that by organizing a bamboo makeshift food bank on a street would make her a celebrity and, ironically, at the same time put her in hot water. All she did was bring to life the time-tested Filipino “bayanihan spirit” of helping people in need. It all began on April 14, 2021 when Ana Patricia Non installed the pantry on Maginhawa St. in Teachers’ Village, Diliman, Quezon City, just a block away from

where I lived before coming to the US in 1970. She stocked it with 800 pesos (US$16.50) worth of groceries. She chose to install the community pantry on Maginhawa St. because of what the street name means. It means “comfortable, convenient, full of ease, and full of relief” in Tagalog. Word of mouth spread quickly, which caused donations such as rice, vegetables, eggs, canned goods, biscuits, drinks, medicines, and other essential items to arrive. Eventually, the free use of a warehouse to organizers were given the be used as the distribution

(COVER STORY: Philippines Launches....from page 5)

also led people to question the government’s official numbers. “I have some friends who got COVID 19 and recovered. I also lost one relative (my uncle) and some friends from the virus,” said Neis, adding that her friends who’ve recovered from the virus gave her useful information on symptoms and prevention. “Each time we hear of a life lost due to the virus, our anxiety increases because we can feel that the pandemic is real, that the virus is everywhere and that it can hit anyone.” Like most Filipinos, Neis follows safety guidelines of wearing a mask, practicing so-

cial distancing and abiding by lockdowns and curfews. Tang also knows several people who’ve contracted the coronavirus, her son-in-law, relatives of close friends and a few people from her Bible studies classes. Tang says those who have enough savings, the effects of covid has been “good in a way, in that there has been more time for family bonding. Life also has been simplified.” She said, those most hurt are the daily wage-earners, which are a lot of people. Tang mentions the drop in quality of education. “Education of our children in public schools has deteriorated. How

can online education be effective – especially if some students access to the internet is poor.” Sampaga said, “For students, the whole online classes are definitely exhausting. I help my little sister attend her online classes everyday via Facebook Messenger. Yes, my first grade sister who goes to a public school does her classes through a messaging app. Facebook Messenger offers free data usage to Filipinos making it the most accessible online tool for everyone. Those who do go to a private school/institution, online video classes via Zoom are possible but studying and staying motivated is, of course, difficult. Certain classes are also impossible to do remotely. So some college students are graduating late or worse, they had to stop taking classes. “My sister is in first grade… she won’t be able to understand her teacher’s lessons through chat. I’ve had to be there with her to actually teach her and guide her through her learning modules. I find it really tiring because I’m not a teacher. I’m not trained to teach kids concepts in a simple way. It’s ever harder for the child to understand when the teacher (aka me) don’t know how to explain the lesson.” A major change in lifestyle under COVID is giving up social interactions. “The norm for most people would be that of having to postpone vacations and travels within the country

Maginhawa Community Pantry’s Ana Patricia Non

It’s interesting to note that she placed a sign on the tree behind her makeshift pantry, which said, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan” “Give what you can, get what you need.” It encouraged others to do the same and the ripple effect reached other parts of the country.

hub for the donated products. and abroad, cancel receptions for weddings, anniversaries and office and family parties, or attendance of live concerts and shows. Meetings have migrated to digital platforms through Zoom. Lack of face-toface communication had forced many to use Facebook and the social media. Even funeral masses are now held virtually,” said Rosario Braid. Like in the US, Rosario Braid said the delivery industry has taken off during the pandemic. “Delivery riders from small enterprises like Lala Food, Grabfood, Food Panda, and several from other delivery apps, are now considered part of our front-liners. Some market vendors in Metro Manila markets have become enterprising, hiring riders to deliver to their loyal customers or suki fresh fish, veggies, fruits, meats and other fresh produce.” Tomas raised the point that not all business can be conducted on social platforms. When travel restrictions are in place, some projects just have to be put aside until a better time comes around. “This affects financial earning.” He said business opportunities that are linked to foreign investments are limited at this time. Again, “this means lost potential financial earning.”

Prediction for end of year Rosario Braid said would like to be positive hope that herd immunity be attained by the end of year. “But others doubt

he and can this that

Who is Ana Patricia Non? Patreng as she is called by her friends works as a furniture designer. She gradu(continue on page 8)

and believe it would take more than a year to reach the desired goal.” He said what would help is for the government to give away extra vaccine to the private sector to administer. Like in the US where the quality of managing the pandemic has had political consequences, Rosario Braid believes “management of COVID-19 could become the litmus test in determining fitness for future leadership of the country.” Neis isn’t optimistic of much gains between now and the end of the year. “At the rate we are going, most likely there wouldn’t be much change than the current situation,” she said. Like Rosario Braid, Sampaga said the private sector would be able to help with administering the vaccines to the masses. She said by the end of the year, lockdowns and modified lockdowns will be more manageable. “I hope that we can contain the new COVID variants as well.” Tomas believes the Philippines will have “a very hard time to attain the 70% vaccination by the end of the year.” Tang has a religious take on COVID’s future. “Only in God’s time, this pandemic will end.  No medicine can stop this without God’s grace.” On a wing and a prayer, Filipinos are hoping for an end to the pandemic as millions around the globe.



Say the Full Name: Remembering Our Native Hawaiians on Heritage Month By Emil Guillermo


e’re more t h a n half-way through and if you haven’t noticed, our month has a new name. It’s Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPIHM), formerly known as APAHM, or Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. To show how woke you are, go ahead and correct people on their usage. President Joe Biden introduced the name change by proclamation at the end of April. Most people are probably just saying AAPI Heritage Month thinking they’re up to date. APAHM was signed into law in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. It stuck all the way to 2009, when President Obama changed it to AAPIHM, no doubt to answer complaints of Pacifics who wanted the “Island” to be made specific. (Someone must have said, “Do I look like an ocean?”) But it’s puzzling that the native son of Hawaii did not include the NHs, although as you shall see later in this column, to be dismissive is in keeping with U.S. politics. Enter Biden this year to be inclusive with the name, but to provide us with the eye-boggling acronym AANHPIHM, which reads “an hippie hymn,” not to be confused with Iron Butterfly’s “Innagaddadavida.” (Summer of Love, baby). Oh, how things evolve. By whatever name, at no other time in my lifetime has our “Asian Month” been more important. Not with the coincidence of scapegoating hate speech by a previous president resulting in a wave of transgressions from micro to major against Asian Americans. So we now include the Na-

tive Hawaiians, willingly and with intent, because unfortunately, this AANHPIHM we have a stunning revelation that continues the historical pattern of injustices against all of us people of color. And this one involves the very Native Hawaiians we seek to include in our acronym. Right now, that’s all they get. An unpronounceable acronym. They deserve a whole lot more.

What U.S. Owes Native Hawaiians The U.S. has owed Native Hawaiians tens of millions of dollars for ancestral lands stolen outright from them since the 1890s, when the U.S. supported the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. After the islands were annexed in 1898, the U.S. took possession of 1.8 million acres of land. In 1921, Congress created the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to create a trust of 203,000 acres. This was to be distributed as 99-year land leases for a dollar a year back to people who were at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian. Close to 11,00 Native Hawaiians, many them homeless looking for homestead leases, have signed up, waiting for the U.S. to live up to the promise to make them whole. Instead, an investigation by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Pro Publica has exposed how Hawaii’s past and current members of the U.S. Senate passed laws that allowed the federal government to bypass the repayments. You heard that right. The late Senators Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka. The twin towers of Dan-dom. They allowed for the workaround on payments. And they weren’t the only ones. Even the current Senators, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono voted for measures that allowed legislation containing one sentence provisions that made possible the sale of lands intended for native Hawaiians to go to the

Catholic church, some educational non-profits for schools, some private home developers, and for the military. Instead of the reparations to Native Hawaiians as promised by the U.S., the lands went to these other interests. Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) estimates the unpaid land debt is now worth between $39 million to $55 million in today’s dollars.

Just 900 acres have been passed out to Native Hawaiians so far, and there’s a fear there won’t be enough to go to everyone on the waiting list. The story was reported by Mike Perez, a former colleague of mine at the Honolulu Advertiser, and one of the best investigative journalists around. And now the fun begins. The report is getting some attention now. Inouye and

Akaka are long dead. But Schatz, who is chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which oversees this issue, says he’ll “make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Schatz voted for a military spending bill in 2013 that had two provisions exempting land recovery to Native Hawaiians. And Sen. Mazie Hirono, who said she was unaware (continue on page 12)



Being Who I Am By Cora Quisumbing-King Ph.D.


uring this month of May, when Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage is acknowledged and celebrated, I would like to share some of my reflections about what it means to be Filipino, Filipino American, and a member of the AAPI community. Know that there is no way I can capture the depth and breadth of it all! I continue to yearn for home. My first country is not as rich or as large as the United States, where I have lived far longer than I have in the Philippines.  And yet, that is where my Filipino roots are intertwined and where my parents and my eight siblings grew up to adulthood, where we learned the value of self-discipline and social

responsibility, of being loyal to family and of honoring the legacy of our ancestors. That is also where most of my family still live even as some of us have made homes in other countries. And guess what: my extended family still enjoys welcoming me home, expecting me to do the “genealogy intro” when we have gatherings! Admittedly, there is something to be said about enjoying the fruits and delicacies of one’s own country in one’s country, despite the availability of many a product in the United States. There is something about the tropical landscape, the hills, and mountains, the seascapes, the flora, and the ancestral house. I went to a Catholic school, in the city of Cebu, learned how to speak, write and read in English, such that

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

ated from the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts with a major in Visual Communication. She is a member of the UP Artists’ Circle Fraternity and Sorority. She has a gregarious personality with a contagious

smile. A natural leader, service to others is her second nature. The Maginhawa Community Pantry is not the first time Patreng organized a project to help out people affected by the pandemic.

(believe it or not), I have mastered it better than my Cebuano mother tongue (which was not officially taught to us). Learning Tagalog was required up until high school while Spanish was taught during my senior year and also for four years in college. Yes, a catholic education has its “strictures,” but this is also how I learned to excel, to become a leader and an activist, to live the Christian values of compassion, fairness, and justice. Ahhh, to be Filipino, to be a Cebuana! As a citizen of the United States, I am also a Filipino American. I am not always sure what this means from an “upbringing, the roots-have -it” perspective. This country is where my wings have flown me and this is where I have made a life, where I have worked, contributed to my workplace, and nurtured a home with my husband and our daughter. This is

Last July, she organized a “bigas (rice) drive” with her fraternity and sorority. She is charismatic and one of her best qualities is her passion to unite people. She inspires people. When asked why she founded the community pantry, she said that all she ever wanted was to give the people who have nothing to have at least something to eat to surpass their hunger. It’s natural for her to do so. Bad News A week after Non started the community pantry, the bad news came. The Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) posted on social media that community pantries were communist propaganda. On the same day, the National Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) posted that community pantries are being linked to communist groups. It also accused the community pantries of being used to recruit soldiers for the communist

the country they call their first home since he migrated from HK where he was born on his parents’ journey from China to the United States. My daughter was born here. As a citizen of this country, I have expanded my horizons and have used it as my base for seeing the world, learning about other cultures and also, listening to the complicated rhythms and heartbeats of this nation. There is so much more diversity, so much more cultural complexity in this country. In fact, many a Filipino American group exists, sometimes representing different interests. The challenge must be met by us all to live productive and responsible lives within our own communities. Advocating knows no boundaries and we must balance our local, national, and global outreach. This complex diversity extends further to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. While we can be seen as a cultural “amalgamation” of many ethnicities, we are also a

cultural force that continues to find our voice and seeks to be heard and even more so during these challenging times. The AAPI visibility among those who are more “recognizable” has often put our communities at risk, facing tragedy and death. While we check off different “categories” depending on the survey responses presented to us, we need to make sure we are seen and heard, and that one community does not make invisible the other. This is critical not only among the AAPIs but also across other communities. We must seek to understand. We must continue to see one another, hear one another. We must strive to be worthy citizens of this country and of the world.

New People’s Army. President Duterte formed NTFELCAC in his fight against communists. Although communism is not illegal in the Philippines, a new anti-terrorism law allows authorities to brand communists as terrorists. Now, you can see the metamorphosis from community pantry to communist party to terrorists. On April 20, Non was asked during a virtual media meeting by GMA news broadcaster Tina Panganiban-Perez, “Just to set the record straight, so what there would be no doubts about you, do you really have links to a communist group until now, or have you ever had [in the past]? What is the basis for your red-tagging?” Red-tagging is the malicious blacklisting of individuals or organizations critical or not fully supportive of the actions of a sitting government administration. They are “tagged” as either a communist or terrorist or both. Many progressive

civil group leaders are implicated to heinous crimes. Suspects are shot dead by soldiers and the police. “I don’t have links to the Communist party, and I’m sorry, but that is such a dirty question. Because the last thing I have to explain to people is who I am because my intentions are clear. I want to set up the community pantry so that people can eat,” Non said. But an NTF-ELCAC official declared that there were “no hungry people in the Philippines.” Can anyone believe that? Gee, people are dying from hunger every single day!

CORA QUISUMBING-KING, PH.D. is co-chair of the Asian American Pacific Island Caucus and New Hampshire Democratic Party. She graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and received her Ph.D. in Social and Organizational Psychology from the University of Chicago.

Closure Patreng, fearing for her life and her volunteers’ lives, closed the community pantry after three policemen showed up armed with assault rifles. They demanded Patreng’s personal details and asked which organization she belonged to. The harassment had begun. (continue on page 12)






Son of HFC Columnist Receives Master’s Degree in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University By Jim Bea Sampaga


aul Joseph Ventura Estioko, son of long-time Hawaii Filipino Chronicle columnist Elpidio Estioko, graduated with distinction Masters of Science in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University (HPU). The 28-year-old Mililani resident received his undergraduate degree in Health Services with cum laude distinction from the San Jose State University in California. What seems like a major career switch from healthcare to technology, Estioko shared he found his love for tech while working in healthcare. “Having worked professionally in the Bay Area, it was a matter of time for a person with my aptitude to delve deep into the technology industry,” Estioko said. “Having gone through medicine, I quickly realized that though fascinating, it wasn’t a field where I’d find the most fulfillment. During my medical studies, I was fortunate enough to work for a startup at combined healthcare and technology

and it was here where I realized that technology was the better route for me.” Estioko was born in the Philippines and has lived in California and Hawaii since moving to the U.S. in 1997 with parents, Elpidio and Delia. He chose to attend HPU because of the uniqueness of its technology program. “HPU’s program was the ideal mix of business and technical curriculum I thought would equip me with a wide breadth of knowledge that didn’t pigeonhole me into one area in the technology industry,” the graduate explained.

Graduating During The Pandemic

“It was a welcomed change since the major inherently fosters an environment that is conducive to virtual and asynchronous learning,” Estioko said about spending his last year in the master’s program during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The only downside was the in-person aspect to the whole graduate experience that can’t quite be replaced.” In Hawaii, graduation ceremonies are filled with leis, air-

horns, posters and the graduate’s whole family, friends and relatives. But due to the COVID-19 guidelines, modifications were made to ensure the safety of everyone. “HPU did a great job in utilizing technology to supplement the ceremony and the staff did well in guiding the student through the whole ceremony, something we never rehearsed for,” Estioko said as he described how smoothly the graduation ceremony went. His parents Elpidio and Delia, with sister May, traveled from Milpitas, California to celebrate his graduation ceremony. However, only his parents were able to witness him go up to the stage and receive his diploma at as HPU only allows two guests per graduate. “I feel elated and honored watching my son walk the stage with distinction. I’m very proud of him! He deserved the best accolade on Earth,” HFC columnist Elpidio shared. “Traveling with my wife Del and daughter May during the pandemic is scary but it’s worth it. Celebrating the honors with my son and other family members is what matters. Of course, we took all the precautions to be safe while traveling.”

(NEWS FEATURE: Bayanihan....from page 8)

The shutdown set off a wave of public outrage. The National Police Chief General Debold Sinas lauded the community pantry as “an expression of Bayanihan spirit” while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said no matter what Non’s political beliefs were, “If she is helping with her heart, we will support it (because) kindness is everyone’s color.” When Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte found out about the QCPD’s interference, she assured Non that community organizers in her locality would be in safe hands. The QCPD also apologized and has been subjected to a formal investigation. She announced that community pantries did not need permits and offered to send

workers to enforce social distancing. She also revealed that in less than a week, 70 community pantries had sprung up in her city. The show of support encouraged Non to reopen the community pantry after a day. She realized that hungry people needed her pantry and she reopened it in spite of the dangerous situation. But the harassment continued. Communist front On April 22, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command and who also serves as spokesman of the NTF-ELCAC, said that Non was “deceiving people the way Satan would.”

“Why are these community pantries sprouting all over all of a sudden? Why do they have a single theme?” Parlade said. He then compared Ana Patricia Non to Satan. “Patricia is one person, right? Same with Satan. Satan gave Eve an apple. That’s how it all started.” The truth is: It started because of the hunger that the Filipino people have experienced. And it took one person to mobilize people to help fight hunger. Is it Satan’s work or is it manna from Heaven? I believe it’s manna from Heaven. It reminds me of the biblical story of Jesus miraculously feeding the multitude with a boy’s offering of five loaves and two fish, which fed hun(continue on page 16)

Photo Caption: HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko and wife Delia with son Paul, who graduated with distinction in Masters of Science in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University.

To the Future

Estioko is currently in his third year working as a software engineer for a local company. He was balancing graduate school and a full-time job for the past few years and although he recently graduated, Estioko said learning doesn’t stop for professionals in tech. “As a professional in this industry, being relevant with the trends is critical as technology is ever-changing and improving; therefore, even though my stint with institutionalized education has come to a halt, I consider myself a forever-student who’s always learning,” he explained. When asked about his advice for current senior students, Estioko shared that taking advantage of your pandemic experience is a great way to boost your employment. “Going through school — everyday life, really — during a pandemic fosters intangible skills that cannot be taught but

can definitely be leveraged practically in a professional setting,” he said. “You’re a pandemic survivor, own it!”

Filipinos in Higher Education Estioko said Filipino parents should challenge these expectations by having “an open mind and to allow their children to explore the vast opportunities out there.” While he encourages the children of these parents to “see what’s out there while also acknowledging their parents’ wishes and realize why they have that mentality.” “As an immigrant myself, I went through the typical medical route but at the same time ran the gamut of different opportunities myself,” Estioko shared. “I don’t regret one second of it because it allowed me to find a career not just a job and I’m blessed to have parents that allowed me to do so.” 

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Say the Full Name ....from page 7)

of the language slipped into “must-pass” defense authorization bills that she voted for in 2011, is now actively seeking answers from the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration. It means letting Hawaii know when lands are available to be leased to Native Hawaiians, and stopping any insertion of workaround language that keeps making the U.S. renege on reparation promises. But what does that mean for Sharon Pua Freitas, 55, who is close to the end of the 11,000 waiting for something? “It bothers me to my core because that was the land that the United States of America illegally took to begin with,” Freitas told the Star Advertiser. “Now it’s still in somebody else’s hands.” Stolen from. Lied to. Add

that to our ongoing story. Excluded. Discriminated. Ignored. I am sorry I ever doubted the Native Hawaiians’ place in our acronym. They are living the historical pattern of how Asian Americans are treated by the U.S. government—with promises and lies. The unfair treatment runs deep. It’s inherited. Don’t doubt it for a second during this first official Asian American Native Hawaii Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Go ahead. Say the name. All of it. They are owed at least that much. 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.




By Elpidio R. Estioko


ith the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to reported six cases of unusual blood clot and the waning interest of people having to take the vaccines, observers say these will significantly impact President Joe Biden’s goal of 200 million vaccine doses to be administered within his first 100 days in office. Federal health agencies recommended the pause until CDC authorizes that it is safe to use the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine again. CDC’s top regulator said: “The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended pausing use of the vaccine Tuesday amid six reported cases of a rare and serious blood clot out of the nearly 7 million Americans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA’s top vaccine regulator said the move was out of “an abundance of caution.” According to Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19

Will The Johnson & Johnson-Pause Affect Biden’s 200 Million Vaccination Goal? response coordinator in a statement, the recommended pause won’t have a “significant impact” on Biden’s vaccination plan. So it seems like Biden will hit his goal of 200 million administered vaccine in his first 100 days in office. The way I see it, while there was a vaccination slump, it will not be causing delay because the federal government have procured enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be able to meet the goal and fill up the position Johnson & Johnson left. Zient further explained that the Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccine made up the majority of U.S. vaccines so far. “More than 25 million doses have been free for use weekly, with 28 million available this week,” Zients said. “Johnson & Johnson vaccine make up less than 5% of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.” Zients also added: “This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office – and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated.”

Zients said the administration is working to “quickly” reschedule people slated to receive a Johnson & Johnson shot for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. This will not create frustration to people already scheduled to be vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson pause is not the only factor the Biden administration needs to hurdle. The other factor that is also playing a big role in impacting to derail attaining the goal is vaccine hesitancy. This is even aggravated by the fact that it suddenly became a political issue that is now being backed up by a political party convincing their members and other people not to take the vaccine. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 20% of US adults said that either they would not get vaccinated or would do so only if required. Another 17% say they want to wait until the vaccine had been available longer and they could see how it affected others. Put those two groups together and you can see the country is starting to run low on unvaccinated adults who are eager to get a shot. It will be a big number the administration needs to consider and address with urgency. In Mercer County, Ohio, on the border with Indiana, people used to show up at the end of the day to claim any left-

over shots. Recently, though, Mercer has had to throw out some doses, the county health administrator Jason Menchhofer told the Times. This hesitancy situation is causing a problem as far as the administration is concerned. When asked about the vaccine slowdown, Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, emphasized the role of hesitancy. “We’ve got people who are less eager,” Klain said. “We know we have to make the shot more convenient, particularly for younger people.” This is a solution the Biden administration is moving to. To do so, the administration is increasing the number of pharmacies that can give the shot, to about 40,000 and will soon start urging them and other vaccine clinics to move to a no-appointment system; people will simply show up and get a shot, as they have already done in New York City. The White House also wants employers to offer shots at work and colleges to offer shots to students. The reintroduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also likely to help. “As people see the bene-

fits to being vaccinated, I think we’ll continue to see progress,” Klain said. That seem to be correct since according to the Kaiser’s polls, the number of Americans hesitant to get a vaccine has declined substantially since December, and the vaccines continue to work phenomenally well. Fully vaccinated people rarely get Covid and almost never get a serious version of it. We know the Johnson & Johnson pause and the hesitancy problem to take the vaccines are really causing the slowdown of the vaccination plan but the Biden administration is working on attaining the goal of 200 million vaccinations within the first 100 days of his administration. The innovative approaches to solving these problems are working ad shod n affect the administration’ goal of attaining 200 million vaccination within the 100 days of Biden’s office! 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).

EDITOR’S NOTE: After a temporary pause, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC recommend vaccination with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine resume among people 18 years and older. However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)..)


Hawaii to Receive Nearly $14 Million in Federal Funding to Help Residents has experience a reduction With Rent, Utilities in household income


he U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will allocate an additional $13.9 million under the American Rescue Plan to help prevent evictions and provide relief for Hawaii renters who are struggling to pay their bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $13.9 million in federal funding will include $1.8 million for the County of Ha-

waii and $12 million for the City and County of Honolulu. The new American Rescue plan funding will be allocated through the Emergency Rental Assistance program. To qualify for the assistance program, renter household should have an income of no more than 80% of the area median income who meet the following criteria: • One or more individual in the household qualified for unemployment benefits or

• One or more individual in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which includes past due utility, home energy or rent/eviction notice; or live in an unsafe or unhealthy conditions. To learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, visit www.schatz. senate.gov/coronavirus/renters-homeowners..




My Motherhood Story By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


love my children, my 5-yearold Callie and my 2-year-old Yohan. I adore them and I love telling the world about them - their milestones, their funny antics, their cool moves and wise words. My Facebook friends know this. Most, if not all, of my posts are about them and how grateful I am to God for the blessing that my children are to me and my husband, John Marc. But what the world doesn’t know and what I don’t often share are the challenges that I face, the pains that I feel, the questions that I have and the hardships that I endure as I raise and spend every moment with my two kids. The world doesn’t know how many times my children get on my nerves, how I want to throw all their toys away, the moments I just want to

shout at the top of my lungs and cry bucket of tears out of frustration and disappointment. The world doesn’t know the loneliness that creeps in when I am confronted with children that are rowdy and fighting each other, the dishes in the sink that are all piled up, the clothes to be laundered that are mountain high, the rooms that are all topsy-turvy. The world doesn’t know the anxiety that I feel when my children get sick, when they don’t eat well and when they are exposed to elements that can cause them harm. I am proud of my kids but there are moments I am not proud of myself. Many times, I feel like I am failing at parenting. I yell at my daughter when she disobeys, I spank my toddler when he throws a tantrum. I get impatient and I lose my temper. There are times I forget that my children are simply being kids but I treat them as

adults. I teach my children good values and virtues but I fail to exemplify them. And I hate myself for it. My heart aches when I realize that I am becoming an irritable, grumpy and angry momma. But the best thing about being a mom to two very young kids, they teach me about forgiveness. When I feel like I’m losing it, Callie and Yohan still make me feel I’m the best mom in the world I dream big dreams for my children, but I have forgotten my own dreams. When I became a mother, I sacrificed a lot of things including my dreams. I have always wanted to be a travel writer, but it had

to be put aside. I was serving the church fulltime, but I had to step down to be a fulltime mother. There are things I want to do for myself and by myself, but motherhood has taken over my life. But looking at my children and how great of a gift they are to me, they are worth it. The joy of having them in my life cannot compare to the joy of fulfilling my dreams and ambitions. Not only are they a fulfillment to a dream, but they are also an answered prayer. I love my children with all my heart that I lay my life for them that I forget to love myself. I always say the motherhood is hard but the joy outweighs it all. It’s true. It will always be true. But what I learned is that it’s okay to not to be okay all the time. It’s okay to sigh, to cry, to be sad, to get angry, to feel weak but I remind myself to not forget to laugh, to have some me-time, to

(NEWS FEATURE: Bayanihan....from page 12)

dreds of people. This started the speculation that Non is linked and connected with communist groups. Thus began the red-tagging of Non and volunteers of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, which is being spread as a “communist party” front. But the bad publicity has made Patreng and the Maginhawa Community Pantry organizers heroes whose selfless and humanitarian endeavors have attracted thou-

sands of volunteers across the country to help their fellow kababayans fight hunger and poverty. It also encouraged those who have means to donate to the community pantries. As a matter of fact, Patreng’s bamboo makeshift stand on a sidewalk has grown so much that it moved indoors to the barangay hall a block away. One day at a time However, Non is pragmatic about the future of

community pantries. “Eventually donations will die down. Donors will get tired. And that’s okay; community pantries are not meant to solve poverty and hunger; it’s just meant to get us through one day at a time.” But she has started something where government relief agencies could step in to take over the task of feeding the hungry. It’s now a movement and it’s expanding from community to community, from town to town, from

city to city, and from province to province. And all has the hallmark of Ana Patricia Non, an unpretentious young woman whose only goal was to feed her neighbors around Maginhawa Street. But words spread like lightning and pretty soon it had taken a life of its own. It’s amazing how a good deed could inspire others to do the same. Patreng, whose simple act of kindness sparked a nationwide movement, has unwittingly become a legend. And now we have community pantries as far as Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, and Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte in the north. Donations came from other countries as well. The German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel went to the Maginhawa Community Pantry to contribute. Also, Gerald

have some quiet time, to take as much time as I want in the toilet to get away from them, to read a book while sipping coffee while they are asleep, to watch a movie, to put on some make-up, to dress up, to spend time with mommy friends and cry and laugh with them and share with them my stories. I tell myself that it’s ok to make mistakes and to not be too hard on myself; that it’s ok to not be in control because God is. As I lay down my life for your family, I choose to also love myself and receive the love that my Heavenly Father has for me because I cannot give what I do not have. But through all the joys and pains of motherhood, this I know for sure - God’s grace is sufficient. Being a mother is a calling and God will supply everything that we need to fulfill this role. And I am a testament to this. The world may not hear your silent cries and see the difficulties you are facing, but God knows. He sees your efforts, He feels (continue on page 18)

Anderson, a Filipino-American actor, was recently seen leading a “floating community pantry” organized by the Philippine Coast Guard. But like all good deeds, there are those who are evil-minded and would try to discredit the do-gooders. But as someone once said, “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.” Patreng has brought out the good – nay the best -- in the Filipino people. I salute Ana Patricia Non for starting the Maginhawa Community Pantry that has ignited the Filipinos’ desire to work together in the spirit of Bayanihan. Now, if we can get her to open a vaccination center, which would be another good service project for Patreng. 

PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.


BIG ISLAND MEMORIES By Grace Larson The Hilo Visayan Club celebrated its 35th anniversary last May 16, 2021 at Nani Mau Garden, Hilo. With a Santacruzan motif, the event also celebrates Mother’s Day and helped fundraise HVC’s scholarship program for five scholars. Total money for scholarship fund is now at $5,978.38.

HVC president Grace Larson, vice president Mila Fernando, HVC scholar and birthday celebrant Shawn Beckwith, Vienna Kualii and Gerence Pilapil-Galvez ► ◄ Dr. Francis Dumanig and HVC choreographer Janet Sharp dancing tinikling, a Filipino traditional bamboo dance. Irene Mcsherry and Flor Hakes holding the bamboo poles

▲ A gorgeous nilatik, coconut dance, by Janus Rufo ▲ Santracruzan Reyna Elena and Ginoong Flores de Mayo: Abrielle Galves and Shawn Beckwith

▲ From left to right: Vienna Kualii, Diwa Conner, Vinnerie Conner, Bianca Cain, HVC scholar Khrizlie Decierdo, Cheryl Barde, Jazz Tooker and Jannette Pelton

▲ The five scholarship awardees from left to right: Abrielle Galvez, Shawn Beckwith, Sweetheart Marie Arriesgado, Gary Aquino, Jr. and Khrizlie Decierdo

Hilo Mayor Mitch Roth with Connie Savage, Diwa Conner, Bella and mom Jane Knox, and HVC Treasurer Jannette Pelton ▼



MAKING MINDANAO, Cotabato and Davao in the Formation of the Philippine Nation-State By Rose Cruz Churma


he author who is currently a professor at the School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa states in the book’s preface that this is a revised version of the dissertation he submitted as a doctoral candidate at Cornell University 20 years ago. Since then, other books on Mindanao has emerged from other scholars but this book’s approach to its subject merits a second debut — such as its interprovincial comparison which the author believes is able to describe how

state-building can go beyond the confines of Metro Manila. It is commonly assumed that the two major rebellions in southern Mindanao in the mid-70s was due to historic ethnic disputes, religious differences, class inequalities, militarization and others. The first rebellion sought to create a separate Muslim state, and the second was a communist insurgency. By comparing Cotabato and Davao, the author describes the process of state formation through the shaping of local power during the American colonial period (1900 to 1941) to the eve of the declaration of Martial Law (1946 to 1972). The book’s thrust was to

examine how local power was determined by state formation and how the state’s ability to establish its authority was enabled by mutual accommodation between strong men who controlled this frontier zone. Thus, the political landscape of Southern Mindanao maintained its stability because the Philippine state obliged these intertwined identities. This set-up continued without disruption until the late 1960s to early 70s when Ferdinand Marcos

changed the rules. Resil Morales, the Philippines’ National Artist for Literature in 2018 notes that “it is a major contribution to critically understanding the “making” of Mindanao and the nation.” First published twenty years ago, it remains urgent and necessary today. Abinales is one of the indispensable voices in contemporary Philippine scholarship. Abinales, who once

role but raising them in your home is just for a season. Someday, they will have their own wings and they will fly and lead their own lives. So as difficult as it may seem, enjoy every moment with them. You are worth celebrating every single day, Momma. You have the most important and difficult job in the world, the whole world knows it and is proud of you. Be proud of yourself, dare to dream big dreams and love yourself.

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread

studied for the priesthood, grew up in Ozamiz City in northwestern Mindanao and has always been drawn to Mindanao’s complex past. He also believes that understanding Philippine political development “cannot be focused solely on principal metropoles like Metro Manila, but needs to incorporate tales from the peripheries.” In the process of absorbing the contents of the book, that is the insight that stayed with me. 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.

(PERSONAL REFLECTIONS: My Motherhood....from page 16)

your heartaches, He hears your cries. Momma, despite your failures and shortcomings, simply being called a ‘mommy’, ‘mom’, ‘mama’, ‘nanay’, ‘ma’ or however you call it is worth being proud of. You have been called to steward, mold and raise someone who will be a world changer, one who can change the course of history. It is something to be proud of. Yes, you may have given

up some dreams that you have for yourself to take on the role of being a mother but know that God can still redeem those dreams so please don’t give up on them and continue to dream big dreams. And take time to pamper yourself. Allow yourself to be filled with love from your husband, from other people and most of all from your Heavenly Father. Let that love overflow to your children. Being a mom is a forever

of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” - Proverbs 31:10-12 (NIV) “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” - Proverbs 31: 25-31 (NIV)


Filipino Community Center in Maui to Host Two Vaccine Clinics


inhi at Ani Filipino Community Center in Maui is hosting free vaccination clinics with two scheduled in May and June. Administered by the University of Hawaii Maui College Nursing Program, Time for the Shots II will be held on Saturday, May 29 from 8am to 12pm, at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center in 780 Onehee Avenue, Kahului, Maui. The third Time for the Shots event will be on Saturday, June 26 from 8am to

12pm, also at Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center. No appointment will be necessary but pre-registration is recommended. To register, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d44a5ab2da3fec07-binhi.

“We need to vaccinate as many of our community members to lessen the impacts of the COVID-19 and its many variants,” said Melen Agcolicol, president of Binhi at ani. “Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center will continue to be available as a vaccination site so our kupuna, our Nana’s at Tata’s will be safer.” For more updates on Time for the Shots events, follow Binhi at Ani on Facebook at facebook.com/BinhiatAniFilipinoCommunityCenter.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR EMBRACING CREATIVTY AND EMPOWERING CULTURE | Pusong Filipinx | June 13, 2021 | Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St, Honolulu | Livestream via fb.com/ FilGradManoa l Pusong Filipinx celebrates its 2nd anniversary with its first in-person event after its long hiatus. | Follow @pusongfilipinx on Instagram for updates.

TIME FOR THE SHOTS | Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center | Saturdays, May 29 and June 26 | B780 Ohehee Avenue, Kahului, Maui | 8am to 12pm l Free vaccination clinics with no appointment necessary but pre-registration is recommended. Visit https://www.signupgenius.com

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


May is Healthy Vision Month: Protect Your Vision!


ith everyone relying on their gadgets to stay connected to school, work and loved ones over the internet during the pandemic, spending long hours looking at screens will damage our eyes, making it blurry over time. But it’s not only prolonged use of devices can affect our eyes that can lead to blurriness or worse, blindness.

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 600,000 people in Hawaii have prediabetes or diabetes, which affects many areas of the body including the eyes. An estimated 37 million American adults have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. This affects 40% to 45% of diabetes patients and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness.

In celebration of Healthy Vision Month this May, the Hawaiian Eye Center encourages everyone to take care of

their eyesight and visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Early detection of eye diseases is crucial for early prevention. “If you’re 40 and over, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every two to three years from your eye care professional,” said Dr. Steve Rhee of Hawaiian Eye Center. “[But] if you’re 60 and over or have diabetes, get an eye exam once a year.” Aside from visiting your eye doctor, keeping your

blood pressure and cholesterol in check can help to decrease your risk of developing eye diseases. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly is a good start to a healthier eyesight. Eating locally grown fruits and vegetables such as water cress, taro greens, bok choy, mangoes, carrots, papaya and sweet potatoes are a good way to give our body antioxidants and nutrients.


SBA to Host Workshop For Restaurant Revitalization Fund Application


he U.S. Small Business AdThe workshop will be held ministration is inviting appli- on Monday, May 24 from 8am to cants to attend its hands-on 12pm at the Kapolei workshop to prepare applications Civic Center, 1000 Uluohia for the Restaurant Revitalization St, Suite A, Kapolei. Fund. SBA will help you prepare

your applications before the application portal closes on the same day. To reserve your seat, email lisap@inpeace.org.

(Sagot sa Krosword Blg. 5 | May 8, 2021)

CROSSWORD by Carlito Lalicon ACROSS

No. 5

1. Paper-like cloth 6. Video store section 11. Balderdash 14. Boyfriend 15. Ice cream flavor 16. Farm animal 17. Finnish monetary unit 18. At attention 19. Additionally 20. Detergent plant, 22. Located the source of 24. Outlet of a river 27. Flesh of chickens raised for food 28. Open, in a way 29. Glide 30. Boris Godunov, for one 31. Amusement park feature


33. 13th letter of the Greek alphabet 36. Overhang 38. Chow down 39. Really need to bathe 41. Colorant 42. Ball 45. Voting “no” 46. Not bold 47. Immobilize 49. One who leads a Spartan lifestyle 52. Careened 53. Big name in cosmetics 54. Of or relating to the vagus nerve (neurology) 55. Sharer’s word 56. Got along

8. “Rocks” 1. Cough syrup dosage 9. Sidebar item (abbrev) 10. Trespasses 2. Amaze 11. Change, chemically 3. Goat god 12. Title holder 4. Sleeveless dress 13. Lingerie item resembling an apron; 21. Cantina cooker 5. Brute 23. Bar order 6. Trance 24. Exposed 7. Fleshy, waxy covering at 25. Take back, in a way the base of the upper 26. crossbeam beak of some birds 27. Batter’s position

CLASSIFIED ADS CAREGIVER NEEDED FOR IMMEDIATE JOB 58. Pleasantly new or different 62. Early afternoon 63. Handy 64. Cunning

29. Almost boil 32. Archaeological find 33. 9th 34. Loosen, as laces 35. Went downhill 37. Vindictive 40. Visual depiction of user-generated tags (internet) 43. Domain controlled by an emir 44. Criminal

65. Distant 66. Sweetheart, of either sex 67. Swelling 46. Spread, as hay 48. Creamsicle color 49. Cool 50. Hot spot 51. Doctor 52. Burdened 54. Former actress, Helen ____ 57. Border 59. Compete 60. “Slippery” tree 61. Grassland

(Solution will be on the next issue of the Chronicle)

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)

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company legendary cleaners with over 16 years in business. Franchise fee 15706.80. 10 year contract. Contact John Kim 808 392-5597

MAY 22, 2021

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Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - May 22, 2021  

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