JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 1
JUNE 18, 2022
Celebrate Father’s Day With Filipino Food Week
Fil-Am Bonta’s Rise, Boudin Recall Highlight California’s Primary
How to Increase Housing and Ease Homelessness in Hawaii
Multiple Challenges Facing Bongbong’s Presidency
2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
Hawaii Needs Committed, Passionate Leaders to Serve in Congress Who Put the People First over Special Interests
he federal government’s response to the pandemic showed how critical the role Congress plays in our nation. It highlighted the awesome might of what government can and must do, how expansive its reach is in improving the livelihoods of all Americans, and how states and counties rely on Congress for maintaining vital services. The list is endless. Prior to the pandemic and since the passage of the bipartisan COVID-19 rescue bills, Congress has been characteristically paralyzed on a number of key issues. You can count on one hand the major accomplishments of late with the passing of the Infrastructure bill as the crown jewel. We all know where the gridlock, impasse has been – in the U.S. Senate. But Congress (U.S. House) has been very successful and managed to push through a number of landmark bills. The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) will continue its tradition of not endorsing a candidate but will strongly advocate on specific issues of the public office candidates are seeking, as well as what we would want in a candidate in the way of leadership. In this issue’s cover story we feature the leading candidates for Hawaii’s Congressional Districts 1 and 2. HFC would want our Congress members to support the following: *Actively sponsor and support legislation that will finally address lowering the cost of fuel, whether it is supporting bills to prevent price gouging; looking into investments on improving or expanding our refineries to be more cost-effective; exploring the optimal level of drilling, sustaining and releasing of Federal oil reserves; looking at adjusting taxes (emergency tax suspension, windfall profit tax) and subsidies. The federal government can play a more active role in ensuring more affordable energy, which happens to be a major reason why inflation is so high at the moment. *Expand alternative sources of energy and climate sustainability. *Support anti-trust laws and support a more competitive business environment. The supply and demand reason cited for inflation is ultimately due to the concentration of industries where monopolies can set prices as they please without competition from middle- and small businesses. Inflation was to be expected immediately after the reopening of the economy after the lifting of pandemic restrictions. At that time, it’s plausible that bottleneck supply chains were responsible for the initial inflation. But too much time has passed (supply chains already corrected) and we’re seeing obscene doubling even tripling of profit margins of big corporations. The essential products they sell (food etc.) are becoming increasingly unaffordable and something needs to be done for both the short- and long-term. *Support more initiatives that will bolster middle and small businesses. *Protect our democracy and voting. The Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act must be passed. We need to expand voter registration, expand voting access with guidelines for mail-in voting and early voting, establish Election Day as a federal holiday, and prevent state lawmakers from redrawing districts so as to disadvantage minority voters. We need to restore the Justice Department’s authority to police election laws in states with a history of discrimination. *Ensure better public safety through gun reform. It’s high time that we have a national universal background checks, na-
FROM THE PUBLISHER
he deadline to file for candidacy in the Primary Election has just passed and campaigning is now in full swing. Historically as it often has been with many of the races, given the Democratic Party’s dominance in Hawaii politics the Primary Election usually would determine the eventual winner. So it cannot be understated how important the Primary Election (Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022) is. This issue we feature our first profile of candidates in the 2022 election season. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo writes about the national trend in Congressional races then focuses on Hawaii’s Congressional election for Districts 1 and 2. Due to space limitation we’ve invited two top candidates from each race: incumbent congressmember Ed Case and top contender Atty. Sergio Alcubilla (District 1); and former State Sen. Jill Tokuda and State Rep. Patrick Pihana Branco (District 2). There is no incumbent for District 2 because U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele decided to give up his seat to run for governor. The congressional candidates were asked to answer questions on the most pressing issues at the moment (high cost of gasoline, inflation, gun reform) as well as some of the top ongoing issues Congress works on year after year (high cost of healthcare, prescription drugs, Medicare, and a priority area of their choice that they plan to focus on if elected). Besides Case, the voting general public are not too familiar with the other three top contenders so it’s a great opportunity here to get to know their background and their stand on some of the issues. It goes without saying that the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle does not endorse candidates but advocate for specific positions on issues (see lead editorial on page 2). But it’s worth noting due to our target audience that Alcubilla and Branco are Filipino-Americans. We hope you get to know more about all of the top contenders featured. Keeping with the subject of politics, but in mainland politics, HFC columnist Emil Guillermo writes about last week’s California Primary Election in which Filipino-American Rob Bonta, the State’s Attorney General (AG), easily won his primary race with 54.8% of the vote and will face Republican Nathan Hochman in the General. A Republican hasn’t been elected to the AG position for decades so Bonta is favored going into the General. Congratulations AG Bonta. The California AG’s office is considered by many to be the second most influential executive public office after the governorship. Also in this issue we have a commentary “The Recent Bongbong Marcos Victory in the Philippines” written by HFC contributing editor Belinda A. Aquino, Ph.D. She writes, “The recent Bongbong Marcos victory in the Philippine presidential election on May 9 is bound to be a major example of ‘historical revisionism’ in the administration of the country for the next six years and probably beyond.” We also have an article “Multiple Challenges Facing Bongbong’s Presidency” submitted by HFC columnist Perry Diaz. HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Puguan writes “Go Daddy!” about the vital role our fathers play in our lives. Be sure to read our other interesting columns this issue. Lastly, if you haven’t registered to vote in the Primary Election, remember that the paper vote registration deadline is Aug. 3, 2022. Voter registration applications are available also in Ilocano and Tagalog. Registration could be done online for your convenience, visit: https://olvr.hawaii.gov. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!
Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.
Publisher & Managing Editor
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo
Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.
Photography Tim Llena
Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan
Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga
Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
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 LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors
Cecille PirosRey Piros Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Jonathan Pagulayan
Advertising / Marketing Director
tional red flag law, ban assault weapons, raise the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. Statistics show guns have become a national health crisis and it should be treated as one. We need common sense gun safety laws. *Support innovative ways to keep the cost of the Medicare Program to be affordable, lower the high cost of prescription drugs, and lower the overall cost of healthcare, and finally hit the mark of a obtaining true universal health coverage for all. *Enhance Social Security benefits and ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security program. Social Security age el(continue on page 3)
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 3
The Jan. 6 Hearings Is Not Just About the Past, But More About Safeguarding Our Future
Americans of all political persuasions have profound lessons to learn from the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. It’s encouraging that over 20 million people on average have been watching the House’s hearings. By the time this issue comes out, there will only be a few hearings left for public viewing. Some 70 percent of Americans believe finding out what happened on that historical day is important. After all it was the largest attack on our government from within since the Civil War. The attack was also a consequence of the first president in the entire history of the U.S. who refused to accept defeat and honor the transition of power. But why the Jan. 6 hearing-investigation matters has to do with preserving our nation’s democracy and tradition of rule of law – that clearly were under assault by former President Donald Trump who sought to essentially steal an election by making up false claims of victory (which he pushed for months) without any evidence to prove otherwise. That’s the
kind of democracy-killing intrigue that takes place in dictatorships and nations plagued with corruption. How far was Trump willing to go to maintain power? Much most of us already know about: launching 60-plus frivolous lawsuits, trying to coerce the vice president to not recognize (unconstitutional) the certification of Electoral College votes, and lastly as Liz Cheney, the House select committee’s vicechair said “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack [on the Capitol].” Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) used stronger language accusing the former president of brazenly “attempting to overthrow the government in a coup.” Among the frightening scenarios the committee revealed to the American public is the details surrounding a late-night meeting several weeks before the Capitol riots between Trump, retired Gen. Michael Flynn and others where they discussed the literal contours of a military coup, with suggestions that voting machines be seized.
(Hawaii Needs ....from page 2)
through strong consumer protection laws.; find innovative ways to make education more affordable; work at attaining universal access to high speed and affordable internet. There are far more legislation that we support at the federal level and encourage voters to support the candidate who is serious about fighting for these and similar issues. Our democratic institutions are weakening and our ability to survive and prosper (compare today to the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s., etc.) is becoming increasingly difficult. This is directly related to the power of special interest groups (giant corporations, multinationals) and their stranglehold on Congress. What Hawaii needs, what Americans need are leaders who are passionate about looking after the interests of the people over special interests.
igibility should be reduced and the benefits tier (age at which Social Security benefits starts) should be abolished. It’s fair that full benefits begin at one specific eligibility age. *Support racial equality and minority rights. Support equality in policing laws. Toughen hate crimes laws. Expand and support existing law enforcement efforts to crack down on organized hate groups. We have a militia problem (mostly all white supremacist groups) in this nation and it’s only getting worst. *Pass tougher ethics and campaign finance laws and crackdown on corruption. Get rid of unlimited, undisclosed spending by corporations and billionaires, reduce the power and influence of special interests in Washington. *Protect fair labor standards; protect consumer rights
Trump doesn’t deserve another shot at the presidency
This incident and other evidence exhaustively investigated by the Committee indicating Trump’s willingness to subvert our democratic process and our Constitution, not to mention his derelict actions on the day of the insurrection, should be enough reason for Trump to be barred from running for the presidency in 2024. It’s also arguable that enough evidence could warrant criminal prosecution of Trump by the Justice Department. While the Jan. 6 hearings does not have the legal bite to do much except to inform Americans of the details surrounding the events prior to, during, and immediately after the insurrection, it’s a wait-and-see for what the Justice Department ends up doing. We’re not holding our breath that the hearings will change those blindly loyal to Trump, but we hope that enough independents (and there are many, the millions who left the GOP due to its radical swing too far right) will consider at the ballot box that the former president is in fact unfit to hold public office again. Really, does the country want to go back to crippling, dangerous division? Do Americans really want a dictator?
The chicanery, manipulation, arm-twisting, opportunism (willingness to forfeit his Constitutional duties), even immorality (Trump saying perhaps “Pence deserved it” when the mob chanted: “Hang Mike Pence.”) that Trump committed surrounding Jan. 6 should mean something in the way of consequence – either legally or at the voting booth. Americans wanted the truth. Now they are getting it. It’s critical to emphasis that the evidence gathered were from witnesses under oath, meaning if they lied, they could be held in perjury and face jail time. No amount of partisanship or party loyalty would compel someone to go to such extremes as to lie and risk jailtime. So the evidence gathered by the Committee can be assumed to be credible. Ultimately while the hearings were about the past; more importantly, it should be looked upon as a bright red stop light, and a signpost pointing the direction to where Americans should not want to go in the future – leadership from someone with dictatorship at heart and someone with no regard for the rule of law.
The alternate ending could We need leaders who are ethi- have been worse cal and not just in it for self-proDuring the hearings what motion. As far as leadership: the best candidate should be a crisis advocate. After all, there are so many pending crisis our nation faces. We need a committed leader in Congress who will make a mark in leadership while serving there. Congress has 435 members. It’s easy to be drowned out. Hawaii star politicians who make it there can be unaccustomed to be one among many stars, and consequently lose interest fairly quickly then quit. That’s not commitment. We want and deserve more for Hawaii. At Congress, it’s not enough to say you are there to bring in Federal dollars for Hawaii. That’s expected and Governance 101. We need leaders who are passionate about the issues of justice and fairness, and that includes economic justice and fairness.
also jumps out is we see the nation was saved because of the strength of our democratic institutions and heroic people from both sides of the political divide. Republican state election officials in swing states who did their job with integrity and refused to be pressured by Trump played a critical role. The Jan. 6 insurrection ended with five people dying and 140 police officers injured by the mob who Trump invited to go to the Capitol. Remember: “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted. Our nation was fortunate that the events surrounding Jan. 6 did not end up worse. It’s highly likely that there could have been more deaths; or that our leaders, including the immediate succession to the presidency, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (both who received specific threatening chants against them by the angry mob) could have been killed. It cannot be understated the importance of the investigation and hearings. Even if it ends up accountability is not rendered due to heavy politicizing, we the American people can do what our elected officials might not be able to do, and that is exact accountability at the ballot box. We must never forget Jan. 6. And we all must work to ensure that such a grievous atrocity never takes place again.
4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
Top Hawaii Congressional Candidates Speak on Inflation, Gas Prices, Healthcare and Gun Reform by Edwin Quinabo
ypical of midterm elections -- the political party that holds the presidency often loses control of Congress, or at least one of the two chambers. With the nation stuck in quicksand in record high inflation (despite higher employment numbers), some political experts predict this rule of thumb could play out in this 2022 midterm elections with the GOP regaining control of Congress, winning in swing states. Hoping to defy the odds, Democrats are pointing to their victories (infrastructure, COVID-19 relief bills), avoiding their losses (Build Back Better) and appealing to popular legislation they support (gun reform, protecting voters rights, lowering the cost of prescription drugs) to squeak by and maintain their majorities at the Hill. Their other selling point is to place down the welcome mat for moderate Republicans who left the GOP – currently political nomads – saying that they have a new home under the Democratic Party tent. The infusion to the Democratic party of both independent voters and moderate-GOP-turned Democrats is perhaps the biggest reason why moderate Democrats are having hope for victories over their progressive counterparts in the 2022 primary midterm. The past two midterm cycles saw the rise of progressive Democrats nationally and have resulted in the mushrooming of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) which is now the largest and most powerful Democratic Caucus in Congress. Progressives continue to target seats where the few but still powerful moderate minority Democratic bloc remains who has President Joe Biden (moderate) as their political godfather (not the highly unpopular moderate Sen. Joe Machin).
CANDIDATES BACKGROUND Ed Case, Congressional District 1
It’s the sign of the times in today’s political landscape that primary elections are far more competitive than it used to be just two decades or even a decade ago. Voters throughout the nation have already seen some of the most hard fought primary races this 2022 midterm election. On the Republican side, the birth of Trumpism gave rise to a farther right of brand GOP-politics than even what former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former congresswoman Michele Bachmann have built in their Tea Party movement. Tight primaries have played out in 2022 between Trump-anointed and non-Trump anointed (but still Trump idealogues) candidates. Trump-backed candidates have been winning, but not all of the GOP primaries. In Hawaii, the GOP’s chances of winning even one of the two Hawaii Congressional seats is slim. The local GOP continues to nose dive and any hopes of a renaissance died with former Gov. Linda Lingle’s retirement from politics. Their last viable hope for retaking a Hawaii congressional seat was in moderate Republican Charles Djou who, even if he had run and won in 2022, would have been completely alienated with the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Kevin McCarthy as poster politicians for the new far-right GOP. Technically speaking Hawaii elected its first “Progressive” Democrat congressmember last election in former state senator Kai Kahale who is running this year for governor. But in reality, Hawaii has had a very long tradition of progressive congressmembers beginning with the late Patsy Mink. She and her progressive-minded successors just had another label back then, called liberal – which policy-wise is near synonymous to progressive, but that earlier label had been dropped for the forward-sounding, smarter PR terminology used today.
Case is the incumbent Congressmember for Hawaii’s District 1. He was born and raised in Hilo, the fourth generation of his family in Hawai’i. He attended public and private schools on Hawai’i Island through high school and college in Massachusetts, then worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Congressman/ Senator Spark Matsunaga for three years before graduating from law school in California.
“I came home, and for the next twenty years practiced law in Honolulu and also served eight years in the Hawai’i State House of Representatives in many positions, including Majority Leader,” Case said. In 2002 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii’s Second District (the whole state except for Honolulu) and served on Capitol Hill until 2007. He
Hawaii’s Primary Election is on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Voters will receive their voting packets by July 26, and completed ballots must be received by voters county’s Election Division by election day, 7 p.m. For our cover story this issue we feature four of the top candidates for Hawaii’s Congressional Districts 1 and 2. In District 1 we feature incumbent Ed Case and Sergio Alcubilla; in District 2 Jill Tokuda and Patrick Pihana Branco. There are other candidates for each race but the HFC editorial board narrowed the list to the top (and most relevant to our Filipino community) candidates, who were asked questions we prepared on some of the popular issues at Congress – inflation and fuel cost, gun reform, healthcare, Medicare (and a topic of their choice). We know there are many other major issues being tackled at the federal level (addressed in our lead editorial on page 2), but due to space, again, we had to narrow the topics to those we believe are most pressing at the moment and to give the candidates adequate space to address these issues. We have two sections to this cover story: first on the candidates background, second a Q&A. The candidates comments have been edited for space and clarity.
returned to practicing law in Honolulu for seven years and worked in the visitor industry in Waikiki with Outrigger Hotels for another five years. In 2018 he was re-elected to the U.S. House from Hawaii’s First District (Honolulu) and in 2020 was re-elected. “I am serving my second term on the powerful House Appropriations Committee which is responsible for directing all federal discretion-
ary funding and I focus much of my time and effort there to be sure Hawai’i is taken care of. I also focus on the Asia-Pacific where so much of our Hawaii’s heritage and our country’s future lie.” Case married his high school classmate, Audrey (Nakamura). They have four children, two beautiful granddaughters, 3 ½ years and seven months, who he says, (continue on page 5)
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 5
COVER STORY (Top Hawaii....from page 4)
“don’t know or care that Papa is a Congressman.”
HFC: Would you support a fuel price gouging bill? Or how would you deal with the current high gasoline prices? CASE: I fully support H.R. 7688 and voted for it when it passed the full U.S. House. But this is only part of the solution to unacceptably high gas prices that are hurting us all. The main driver is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and our resulting ban on Russian oil imports. We had to impose that ban, as we can’t both support Ukraine and import Russian oil. But that restricts supply just as demand is returning with our COVID recovery. So we have to increase supply to keep up with demand and reduce the price pressures. Nationally, I’ve supported doing that in various ways including President Biden’s releasing oil from our domestic reserves. For Hawai’i, which was importing Russian oil, I have called on the President to waive the Jones Act so we can keep accessing international shipping at lower prices to deliver oil from the continental U.S. to Hawai’i.
HFC: Some economists say inflation is caused by high concentration of industries (monopolies) that do not encourage an environment with healthy competition. Do you support tougher antitrust bills to encourage competition? Or if you disagree with this theory, how would you improve the nation’s inflation situation? CASE: I fully support our antitrust laws which aim to prevent the development and expansion of unfair monopolies that obstruct fair competition and impose unfair prices and limitations on access to the goods and services we all need. Our antitrust laws, which were created almost a century ago, have not kept up with modern business in our country nor with a much more global economy in which other countries don’t have our same laws and don’t compete fairly, so I support major
updates to our laws. But this alone will not bring inflation under control; there are many other actions we must pursue all at the same time. On critical one is to loosen up supply chains for critical goods and services, especially those imported from other countries. Another is to be very careful with further massive federal spending which causes inflation. HFC: While Hawaii has one of the toughest gun restrictions in the nation, what federal restrictions on guns do you support? CASE: Our worsening epidemic of gun violence is a national tragedy. The statistics are condemning enough, like the highest rate of firearm ownership in the world and the highest number of deaths by firearm of any developed nation. But it is the terrible loss of innocent lives including our children to sick people carrying easily-obtained assault weapons with high capacity magazines designed only to kill large numbers in a very short period of time that is the worst of all. I support the right of responsible citizens to own and use firearms for hunting, recreation and other uses. But, as courts have always ruled, reasonable conditions can be placed on that right to protect public safety. In Congress I have co-introduced and voted for many of the same conditions we have followed for decades in Hawai’i, which has among the lowest rates of gun violence and death in our country. HFC: Do you support expanding Obamacare? Would you support Medicare for All (single-payer system)? CASE: I fully support the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which extended affordable quality health care to tens of millions of Americans in need. There remain unacceptable gaps, and I have worked to expand and fix ACA and improve other programs like Medicare and Medicaid. There are various proposals called “Medicare for All” and the details matter greatly. But if it means re-
placing our current system of health care delivered through insurers like HMSA and Kaiser, plus the ACA, plus Medicare and Medicaid, plus the VA health care system for our veterans and their ‘ohana, I haven’t supported those versions because I believe that overall we are better fixing what’s wrong with our current systems than throwing them out. I have, though, supported a more limited Medicare public option, meaning that if you think that’s best for you then you can join up before the current age. HFC: Specifically on Medicare (not related to a single-payer system), how can we keep costs down on our current Medicare program? Do you support a bill lowering the cost of prescription drugs? CASE: I fully support a range of initiatives to curb the unacceptable and destructive increases in the costs of health care. One of the main drivers is prescription drugs, and I have co-introduced and voted for virtually every initiative to reduce these costs which hit us all but especially our seniors so hard. These include our Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices (which incredibly it does not now have), and our Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act, which would give consumers the option of purchasing health care insurance for less than 10% of their income, especially important to low, moderate and middle-income consumers. And in my Appropriations Committee, I have fully supported funding of
government agency watchdogs over abuses in our health care system especially waste and fraud in Medicare which drives up premiums. HFC: Other top Federal issue. Besides those above, what is your top concern that you would like to tackle in Congress? CASE: This is an impossible question as it asks me to choose one single “top concern” among many and that is not reflective of our country or Hawai’i or my district nor how I do my job. But my one responsibility that affects all of these concerns and has the broadest impact is my work on our House Appropriations Committee and our responsibility to oversee and fund all federal departments and programs. There my goals are always to fairly and responsibly fund the federal programs that target the needs of our country and Hawai’i and each of us, from national defense and environmental protection to education, health care, our social safety net and much more. This was critically important to our Hawai’i especially in assisting us to work through the COVID-19 crisis during which our federal government provided trillions of dollars in emergency assistance including over $20 billion to Hawai’i.
HFC: Which label do you more closely align yourself with – moderate or progressive. If you prefer not to label yourself this way, please explain why? Clearly the voting general public understand these terms well by now and it would be helpful. CASE: I understand the desire to reduce an elected official or candidate down to a simple one-word label. But I reject it, just as I believe most folks would reject all of their many views and beliefs being summed up in a single label which may be wrong as to some of those. In my almost 20 years in elected office, I’ve made thousands of decisions on thousands of issues, and among them are what some might label “liberal,” “moderate,” and “conservative” positions and everything in between. For example, I believe in a strong national defense and a strong social safety net; what does that make me? If you really need some label to sum me up, the one that I’m most comfortable with is “mainstream,” meaning that I believe I share and fairly represent the views of most folks most of the time. HFC: Why should Hawaii’s Filipino community vote for you? CASE: I have shared your values: service to our (continue on page 6)
6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
COVER STORY (Top Hawaii....from page 5)
community; advancement for the next generations; hard work and perseverance; belief in America. I have treasured our Hawaii’s diversity and sought to assure all of us a full role in our present and future. Throughout my service in Congress I have represented more Fil-Ams than any other Congressional district in our country. I have pursued specific Fil-Am initiatives like our Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act. I was truly honored to receive the United Filipino Council of Hawaii’s Progress Award in Ating Kaibigan. I believe I have proven an effective representative of Fil-Ams everywhere in Congress.
CANDIDATES BACKGROUND Sergio Alcubilla, Congressional District 1
Case will be defending his seat against a newbie to politics but someone who has wide-sectoral support in Sergio Alcubilla, a non-profit, public interest attorney and labor leader. He’s already received key endorsements from the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union International (ILWU), and from prominent community leaders like Dr. Amy Agbayani and former chair of the Hawai’i Democratic Party Tim Vandeveer. Alcubilla was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. at 7 years old after his father, a military officer, was assassinated in February 1986. He said his mother was pregnant with his youngest brother at the time and working in the U.S. as a nurse. “As a single mother, she would raise six children on her own despite the challenges,” he said. Alcubilla served as an
attorney and the Director of External Relations at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, a non-profit, public interest law firm where he focused on improving access to justice for the most vulnerable in our community. He currently is on the executive board for the Hawaii Workers Center, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of low-wage workers. He served on various committees of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and as a board director for the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association and the Filipino Young Leaders Program. Alcubilla graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science and economics, obtained a master’s degree in religious education from the Unification Theological Seminary, and completed his law degree at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is married to Hiromi and they have two young children, Aina and Sergio IV (both attend public school).
HFC: Would you support a fuel price gouging bill? Or how would you deal with the current high gasoline prices? ALCUBILLA: Yes, I would support a fuel price gouging bill as many Americans continue to pay high prices at the pump while oil companies are making record profits. At a recent congressional hearing, six oil companies admitted that they made over $75 billion in profits in the past year, while still receiving over $30 billion in government subsidies. Oil companies are working in their own self-interests while the true impact is felt by those of us with less room in our monthly budgets. Further, as a way to combat the market forces of supply and demand that often gives an excuse for oil companies to continue to raise prices, I propose that we subsidize public transportation instead. Fares on all public transportation should be sus-
pended to encourage more people to leave their cars behind. It’s better for the environment, better for our wallets, and will drive down the demand for oil. HFC: Some economists say inflation is caused by high concentration of industries (monopolies) that do not encourage an environment with healthy competition. Do you support tougher antitrust bills to encourage competition? Or if you disagree with this theory, how would you improve the nation’s inflation situation? ALCUBILLA: While I understand there are many competing economic theories as to what is driving inflation, I do believe that big corporations are using the excuse of inflation to simply drive prices even higher to further increase profits. While economists point to different economic factors, the constant that remains is the increase in profits that many companies enjoyed these last few years. To combat inflation, I would take a more comprehensive approach and look at the larger economic picture, both at the macro and micro levels, to see if there are other factors artificially driving prices higher. Second, I would continue to invest in our supply chain infrastructure, making sure that we can produce and move goods to market with efficiency and pass these savings to consumers. Finally, I would support efforts to keep costs for average Americans low by asking large corporations and the wealthiest to pay their fair share. HFC: While Hawaii has one of the toughest gun restrictions in the nation, what federal restrictions on guns do you support? ALCUBILLA: One of my biggest fears as a parent is dropping off my children at school and hearing of another mass shooting at an elementary school. As someone that has been directly impacted by gun violence, I believe we need to do more to make sure our children are not paying the price for our constitutional right to bear arms. The re-
cent mass shootings around the country from Texas to New York should never happen again. I support the “Protecting Our Kids Act” passed by the House this month that would raise the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, ban large-capacity magazines, and provide incentives for the safe storage of firearms. Eventually, I would like to see the use of technology in developing “smart” guns, which can be fired only by registered users along with regular licensing and insurance requirements. HFC: Do you support expanding Obamacare? Would you support Medicare for All (single-payer system)? ALCUBILLA: Yes, as someone who has health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, I believe it’s time we reimagine healthcare in this country. We spend more on healthcare per capita than any other country in the world, and yet more than one out of ten Americans have no health insurance at all. During the pandemic, many in Hawai‘i lost their health insurance along with their jobs, which shows the insecurity this system of employer sponsored health insurance really is. We are the only high-income country in the world that is failing to provide this basic service to our people. In Congress, I will join the fight to pass the Medicare For All Act to guarantee health care for all people. For Hawai‘i, this means lifting the burden of expensive medical bills, a primary cause of bankruptcy for many on fixed income and will result in significant savings to the state. HFC: Specifically on Medicare (not related to a single-payer system), how can we keep costs down on our current Medicare program? Do you support a bill lowering the cost of prescription drugs? ALCUBILLA: Yes, I would support the provisions in the Build Back Better Act
that President Biden pushed for in lowering the cost of prescription drugs. With my mother currently on Medicare, I understand the impact of being on a fixed income and having to worry about paying for medication and other medical expenses out of pocket. We pay two to three times as much as people in other countries for prescription drugs, and one in four Americans who take prescription drugs can barely afford their medications. Under the Build Back Better agenda, Medicare would have been able to negotiate drug prices directly, it would establish a firm cap that those on Medicare would have to pay out-of-pocket for medication each year, and it would have pushed other reforms in lowering or eliminating the cost of certain prescription drugs such as insulin and other vaccines. HFC: Other top Federal issue. Besides those above, what is your top concern that you would like to tackle in Congress? ALCUBILLA: I will continue to champion many of the provisions in the Build Back Better Act that failed to pass in Congress because those provisions directly invested in our most valuable resource - our people. In Hawaii, we struggle with issues in affordability from the lack of affordable housing to finding adequate child care to the point that many young families and seniors are leaving Hawaii for the continent. I will continue to champion paid parental leave, affordable child care, and universal preschool. While other elected officials may argue that we can’t afford to invest in our children, we can’t afford paid parental leave, or we can’t afford expanding social security, I would argue that we can’t afford not to. I support comprehensive tax reform to improve our tax system, making sure that the rich and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes while we provide relief to our working families. (continue on page 7)
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COVER STORY (Top Hawaii....from page 6)
HFC: Which label do you more closely align yourself with – moderate or progressive. If you prefer not to label yourself this way, please explain why? Clearly the voting general public understand these terms well by now and it would be helpful. ALCUBILLA: I look through the lenses of our own Filipino national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal and his fight for progressive reform in the Philippines. I look at the fight of our labor unions here in Hawaii in organizing Filipino workers to fight for better wages, better working conditions, and respect. These reforms would not have been possible without the courage of those willing to “disrupt” the political, economic, and social systems of those in power. I believe in a progressive agenda because it puts people first, it calls for change when the status quo is no longer good enough and only seeks to benefit the few. As an immigrant to this country, I believe in a progressive agenda because we should continue to make progress towards the vision of what this country can and should be, to be a “city upon a hill” and a “beacon of hope” for the world. HFC: Why should Hawaii’s Filipino community vote for you? A L C U B I L L A : Wi t h over four million Filipino-Americans in this country and nearly 25% of Hawaii’s population, it’s time we have a seat at the table where many of the decisions impacting our community are made. From the boardroom to the halls of Congress, representation matters. I ask the Filipino community for its support not simply because I am a Filipino immigrant but because I am the better, well-qualified candidate, with the work and personal experience to represent all of Hawaii in Congress. As a public interest attorney and a non-profit leader, I am for the people because I am from the people.
Patrick Pihana Branco, Congressional District 2
State Rep. Patrick Pihana Branco who represents Oahu’s District 50 (Kailua and Kaneohe Bay) was elected in November 2020. Prior to the State House where he served as a member of the powerful Finance Committee, he was a diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service and did tours to several countries including Colombia and Pakistan. Branco graduated from Kamehameha Schools, Hawai’i Pacific University, and Johns Hopkins University.
HFC: Would you support a fuel price gouging bill? Or how would you deal with the current high gasoline prices? BRANCO: I would support a fuel price gouging bill as high gas prices have a disproportionate effect on working class families and represent an existential threat to many families’ way of life. I am willing to work with anybody on any serious proposal designed to help lower gas prices in the immediate future. I also believe that we need to make the necessary investment in alternative energy sources to be able to avert future fuel crises. I support the boosting of federal subsidies for electric vehicles to make the purchase of such cars accessible for the average working family, and for the necessary funding to bring abundant charging stations across the country. HFC: Some economists say inflation is caused by high concentration of industries (monopolies) that do not encourage an environment with healthy competition. Do you support tougher antitrust bills to encourage competition? Or
if you disagree with this theory, how would you improve the nation’s inflation situation? BRANCO: I am always in support of antitrust legislation designed to increase competition. However, there is not one single cause to inflation, and I believe in a multifaceted approach that will bring costs down for consumers. We are still seeing a k-shaped economic recovery as our nation emerges from the COVID pandemic, and we need to ensure that barriers to reentry for working families, such as the higher costs of childcare and transportation, are lowered to allow parents to reenter the workforce. HFC: While Hawaii has one of the toughest gun restrictions in the nation, what federal restrictions on guns do you support? BRANCO: I do not believe that weapons of war belong on our streets, and would support a federal assault weapons ban. I support enacting a nationwide “red flag law” which would deny the sale of guns to—and allow for the temporary removal of guns from—people who pose a risk to themselves or others. I believe that we need enhanced universal background checks that will close the dangerous “Charleston Loophole” in background checks. I also believe that gun violence is a public health emergency, and would support funding to allow the CDC to be able to study the gun violence epidemic. HFC: Do you support expanding Obamacare? Would you support Medicare for All (single-payer system)? BRANCO: Yes, I support Medicare for All, which will ensure every resident of Hawaiʻi has high-quality healthcare coverage. Proper access is also a critical problem for Hawaiʻi’s rural communities. Throughout the Neighbor Islands, residents are faced with a physician shortage that often forces them to wait months for an appointment, travel hundreds of miles to seek care, and then pay for healthcare expenses that have more than
doubled over the last 20 years. In Congress, I will work to secure the resources needed to attract and retain physicians in our rural communities. HFC: Specifically on Medicare (not related to a single-payer system), how can we keep costs down on our current Medicare program? Do you support a bill lowering the cost of prescription drugs? BRANCO: Medicare must be allowed to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs with drug manufacturers. The US Government Accountability Office found that the VA, which unlike Medicare can negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, paid an average of 54% less per unit than Medicare, even after taking into account rebates and discounts. Allowing drug manufacturers, who are seeing record profits, the ability to legally gouge the United States’ single largest healthcare provider is unacceptable. HFC: Other top Federal issue. Besides those above, what is your top concern that you would like to tackle in Congress? BRANCO: The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the dire need to diversify Hawaiʻi’s economy and to reduce our dependence on the continent for our food supply. Agriculture is already Hawaiʻi’s third-largest industry, and Hawaiʻi’s 2nd District is responsible for 94% of Hawaiʻi’s agricultural sales. I will work to bring federal funding and grants from USDA to ensure that Hawaiʻi’s agricultural sector is protected from invasive species and diseases. I will also ensure that funding for Hawaiʻi’s specialty crops, livestock, and fishing industries are boosted in the next Farm Bill. HFC: Which label do you more closely align yourself with – moderate or progressive. If you prefer not to label yourself this way, please explain why? Clearly the voting general public understand these terms well by now and it would be helpful.
BRANCO: I am a progressive who likes to get things done. I believe that in order to deliver results for the people of Hawai’i, our elected officials need to have a sense of pragmatism that will allow us to make positive change within the system of government that we have. HFC: Why should Hawaii’s Filipino community vote for you? BRANCO: I am proud to say that if elected I will be the first member of Congress from Hawai’i with Filipino ancestry. I have dedicated my life to serving Hawai’i and our country. Today in Hawai’i, there are too many people who are forced to move to the continent because they can’t get by. The rent is too high, the good-paying jobs are too few, and residents of our state are increasingly hopeless that they will ever be able to build a good life here in Hawai’i. This is unacceptable to me. I pledge that I will dedicate myself to staying in this seat for as long as the good people of Hawai’i will have me, and put my heart and soul into building the seniority and the relationships necessary to bring back opportunity to Hawai’i. To ensure our keiki are able to see a future in our state, and that our kupuna are taken care of and able to retire with dignity.
Jill Tokuda, Congressional District 2
Jill Tokuda is a former State senator who served in the State Senate for 12 years (from 2006-2018). While there she was a part of leadership and rose to chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee where she was responsible for balancing the (continue on page 8)
8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
COVER STORY (Top Hawaii....from page 7)
state’s $14 billion budget. She said during her legislative career, she focused on putting families first (which happens to be the theme of her campaign), including establishing an office to provide access to preschool; funding the Hawaiʻi Promise Program to provide free in-state tuition to qualified community college students; and supporting the Hawaiʻi Keiki Program to provide access to nursing services in Hawaii’s public schools. In the private sector she had her own consulting practice. Over the last two years, she worked with the State to track billions in pandemic relief funding to Hawaii. Jill is the External Affairs Director for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, and serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Hawai’i Budget and Policy Center. She said she is a proud public school graduate. She received her BA in International Relations and a minor in Japanese Studies from George Washington University. She is married to Kyle Michibata and they have two sons.
HFC: Would you support a fuel price gouging bill? Or how would you deal with the current high gasoline prices? TOKUDA: Yes, I would support the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. Hawaii’s gas prices are averaging over $5.50/gallon. Families, especially in rural communities, are suffering from the dramatic increase in inflation and fuel prices - some having to make the choice of earning a living to support their family and being able to afford gas to get to work. I would support innovative approaches to easing the burden on our taxpayers, such as the Federal Gas Tax Suspension and Windfall Profits Tax Act, which would provide a gas tax suspension through the end of 2023, providing immediate relief at the pump. To keep oil companies from further increasing their prices, the measure would also impose a new 50% tax on income that is excess of the reasonably inflated average profit. This windfall profits tax would be used to fund highway and mass transit
projects while the gas tax is suspended. HFC: Some economists say inflation is caused by high concentration of industries (monopolies) that do not encourage an environment with healthy competition. Do you support tougher antitrust bills to encourage competition? Or if you disagree with this theory, how would you improve the nation’s inflation situation? TOKUDA: I would support tougher antitrust legislation to encourage competition, as well as preventing anti-competitive mergers and breaking up monopolies and oligopolies that inhibit competition, depress wages, and stifle innovation. According to a study done by UHERO, the average additional cost of inflation is $3,506, and anti-competitive mergers would only add to these increasing costs in everyday expenses like transportation, food, and household expenses. In addition to stopping anti-competitive mergers and consolidations that raise prices and hurt workers, we need to make sure the Federal Trade Commission & Depart-
ment of Justice have the support and ability to reject these deals early on. The Prohibiting Anti-competitive Mergers Act, introduced by members in both houses of Congress, would accomplish this, and I would strongly support such efforts to keep costs down now and going forward. HFC: While Hawaii has one of the toughest gun restrictions in the nation, what federal restrictions on guns do you support? TOKUDA: Hawaii must take the lead in making gun prohibitions and restrictions universal for the rest of the country. I support increasing the age of gun ownership to 21; banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines; mandating criminal background checks on gun purchases and transfers; and requiring gun licensure. Hawaii has enacted Red Flag Laws that allow family members, co-workers, and law enforcement to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. Hawaii also has strong laws that prohibit possession of guns by those diagnosed with a qualify-
ing mental health condition. While in the Senate, we mandated immediate surrender of a person’s firearms and ammunition and prohibited the possession, manufacturing, sale, transfer, and importation of bump fire stocks and multiburst trigger activators, making it a Class C felony. Similar to legislation Hawaii and others recently enacted, nationally we must take on the issue of home-made “ghost guns.” HFC: Do you support expanding Obamacare? Would you support Medicare for All (single-payer system)? TOKUDA: Yes, I would support expanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and also support Medicare for All. Both provide benefits that serve as a safety net for our most vulnerable populations. Hawaii has long been a leader in access to healthcare and it is our responsibility to fight for this basic right for others across the country, while continually seeking to strengthen access in our own communities here at home. Expanding both of these programs would (continue on page 9)
Filipino Community Center Celebrates Its 20th Year
une 11 marks the Filipino Community Center’s (FilCom) 20th anniversary. The center has been a big part of the Filipino community in Hawaii by educating the community about the history of the plantations and the Sakadas’ contribution to Hawaii. The FilCom Center has also been supportive of the community during the pandemic by hosting vaccination and testing clinics. To celebrate its 20th-year milestone, FilCom is hosting the 2022 Bayanihan Gala on July 23 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The 2022 Bayanihan Gala will also honor three community leaders: Robin Campaniano, Marivic Dar and Connie Lau. While the Consuelo Zobel Alger Foun-
dation will be matching donations raised during the Bayanihan Gala. “We are thrilled to celebrate the FilCom Center’s 20th anniversary and are humbled by the outpouring of support from individuals and organizations throughout our community, especially the Consuelo Foundation, which promotes the wellbeing of atrisk children and families,” said A.J. Halagao, who is chairing the event alongside Leslie Campaniano. “With these donations and show of aloha, the FilCom Center can continue being a home and gathering place for our community and a valued resource for students, seniors and working families.” Several organizations are supporting the gala event namely HEI, First Hawaiian Bank, Central Pacific
Marivic Dar, Robin Campaniano, and Connie Lau
Bank, Connie and Russell Lau, Finance Factors, House of Finance, American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Clement Bautista and Gina
Vergara-Bautista, Daniel K. Inouye Institute, Dentons, Hawaiian Electric, Island Insurance, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, University of Ha-
wai‘i, and the Vicky Cayetano for Governor campaign. For more information, visit filcom.org/bayanihan-gala.
AARP Hawaii Expands Tools for Veterans to Access Health Care
ccording to a RAND study, nearly 60% of all veterans are eligible for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare services however only half of those eligible are using their health benefits.
To help veterans, military families and their caregivers navigate VA health options, AARP Hawaii launched an updated version of the Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator. The navigator also provides
information on eligibility requirements in order to receive healthcare benefits from the VA. To access the navigator report, visit AARP.org/VetsHeathNavigator.
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COVER STORY (Top Hawaii....from page 8)
allow us to do this. Our kupuna should not have to choose between paying for health care or food and utilities. The ACA has provided health insurance to millions of Americans, keeping people healthy and out of emergency rooms. Medicare for All would ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare, regardless of ability to pay. HFC: Specifically on Medicare (not related to a single-payer system), how can we keep costs down on our current Medicare program? Do you support a bill lowering the cost of prescription drugs? TOKUDA: Yes, I would support legislation lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare could enter into agreements with pharmaceutical companies for the bulk purchase of prescription drugs, thereby lowering costs. Furthermore, medical and in-home care providers need to be adequately reimbursed for their services. We must
ensure that Medicare is preserved, as it provides a safety net for our elder community. Especially during times of inflation, Hawaii families should not have to choose between paying for healthcare and prescription drugs, or putting food on the table. I strongly support efforts to improve Medicare benefits, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and strengthen the long-term solvency of Medicare. When programs such as the Affordable Care Act and Medicare are being challenged by efforts to limit their reach and benefits, it’s vital that Hawaii has a strong voice representing the Second Congressional District to fight for the healthcare needs of Hawaii families. HFC: Other top Federal issue. Besides those above, what is your top concern that you would like to tackle in Congress? TOKUDA: I will make it a priority to improve access to
healthcare and mental health services for rural communities and neighbor islands. COVID-19 highlighted the inequity of healthcare options in these communities, as they do not enjoy the same access to healthcare in urban Honolulu. In particular, the stress and burdens of living through years of COVID-19 highlighted the shortage of mental health services. We must urgently act to increase capacity at our rural hospitals and medical facilities, and to increase the number of doctors and healthcare providers serving these areas. Access to care also includes transportation, because many areas in the Second Congressional District must drive a long distance or fly to a medical facility. We must look at solutions such as mobile health clinics and mechanisms to provide relief to families. This is not just a matter of fairness -- it’s about saving lives for all residents living in Hawai‘i.
HFC: Which label do you more closely align yourself with – moderate or progressive. If you prefer not to label yourself this way, please explain why? Clearly the voting general public understand these terms well by now and it would be helpful. TOKUDA: The labels of “moderate” and “progressive” are relative to the bodies of people involved. In reviewing the congressional caucuses, I find myself most aligned with the Congressional Progressive Caucus which advocates for working Americans over corporate interests, advancing civil liberties, and fighting against economic and social inequality. I have recently been endorsed by Pono Hawaii Initiative, which promotes progressive policies and advocates for economic, social, and environmental justice. Regardless of labels, the key to getting things done for Hawaii is collaboration, whether it be working with other members of Hawaii’s
congressional delegation and joining forces by using our individual strengths to get Hawaii’s fair share of resources, or working with members from other states and across the aisle on common areas of interest. HFC: Why should Hawaii’s Filipino community vote for you? TOKUDA: I am running to make sure our families feel safe in our neighborhoods, and our children can see a future for themselves here in Hawaii. Like many in our Filipino community, my family’s roots are in the plantations, and my values and priorities reflect our shared experience and fighting for what our working families and individuals need: access to workforce and senior housing; access to healthcare services; and education and workforce training opportunities. As a mom, I understand the hope and the struggle, and the sense of urgency we all feel to build a better future for our children.
Celebrate Father’s Day with Filipino Food Week!
ather’s Day is right around the corner. Let’s honor the Tatays in our lives through glorious and scrumptious Filipino food. Spearheaded by the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, the Filipino Food Week is back to celebrate and promote Filipino cuisine and culture. Participating restaurants and local chefs are encouraged to prepare special dishes that showcases Filipino cuisine. For this year’s celebration, they are also challenged to create appetizers, entrees, desserts or drinks that features Filipino-favorite citrus calamansi as its highlight ingredient. From June 20 to 26, celebrate Father’s Day with delicious Filipino food at the following restaurants this Filipino Food Week:
Grilled fish from Macadangdang
Oxtail Adobo Sisig from Tante’s Island Cuisine
Chef Chai Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi Elena’s Home of Finest Filipino Foods GOEN Dining + Bar Par Honolulu Roy’s Hawaii Kai Roy’s Ko’Olina Roy’s Waikiki Skull and Crown Trading Co. Stage Restaurant Tiano’s Restaurants Tiki’s Grill & Bar
Maui - Humble Market Kitchin - Joey’s Kitchen - Macadangdang - Roy’s Ka’anapali - Tante’s Island Cuisine
Big Island -
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill
The Filipino Food Week is part of the US-wide effort by the Philippine Embassy and Consulates to promote and celebrate Filipino cuisine. Hawaii’s Filipino Food
Week is in partnership with Jacob’s Gourmet Foods, Kasama Rum, Marigold Corporation (Mama Sita’s) and Tanduay USA.
10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
Fil-Am Bonta’s Rise, Boudin Recall Highlight California’s Primary By Emil Guillermo
or American Filipinos, the rising star in politics isn’t Bong-Bong Marcos. It’s California’s Rob Bonta. After the California primary this week, there’s no question. Bonta, attorney general appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March of 2021, easily won his California primary race with 54.8% of the vote and will face Republican Nathan Hochman, who finished second with 18.3%. After little over a year as the state’s top cop, Filipino American Bonta got just what he needed—a vote of confidence statewide. Now he appears headed for a win in November’s general election as
hot button issues like assault weapons/gun control, and abortion, are all in his social justice wheelhouse. More importantly, his political career arc seems to rise too, as everyone who has held the job prior (notably Kamala Harris) has been destined for a major DC role. The only question in the primary was would the whole state accept Bonta after such a short time on the job. The answer we know now is yes. His star is rising. And that was what I’d call the big story about the California primary. In my mind, it overshadows the general malaise over democracy. Here I am, paying over $6 for gas, concerned over record inflation, general economic inequity, plus the lack of attention to public health amidst a pandemic, climate change, and prospects of greater global conflicts, not to mention racism.
Oh, and gun violence too. How about you? Think you should vote if you get a chance? That’s why it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that in a time when American democracy is being held up with unwaxed dental floss used as baling wire, California, the state with the most Asian Americans, didn’t seem excited enough to show up to vote. Democracy could have used some moral support. It is so easy to vote in California these days, I got my permanent vote by mail ballot and sent it off before I left for a jaunt eastward. But as I stayed up to see the other results come in from the Golden State, I was appalled at the turnout. Just 14% before election day itself when people could show up in person or drop off ballots. And now it appears it will be well under 30% when all is said and done. Compare that to the Gubernatorial recall of last year, with a turnout nearing 40%. I think recalls are a misuse of democracy and a disruptive
nuisance. I’d rather see politicians and voters work out their differences within their term and then get voted out, rather than seek an instant nuclear divorce. But this is the kind of contentiousness that seems to bring out the voters. Recalls are like the physical act of throwing someone out on the street now. Forget about throwing tea into Boston harbor. You can simply throw out an elected official! Of course, in the process of voting for a candidate, you can have the same effect. For example, if you were upset by some negative stories involving high profile AAPI pols like Treasurer Fiona Ma or State Assemblyman Phil Ting, you could have voted against them or opposed them in the primary. But both Ma and Ting showed how they could run on their past record and name recognition and survive any hint of scandal. Call it political maturity. Ma’s 58% in the state treasurer’s race is particularly impressive. She had the party and the people behind her in a statewide race.
Chesa Boudin Recall and the Problem with San Francisco So a recall has become the way to put a politician on trial. Let the voters be judge, jury and executioner. It also draws people to the polls and this time around San Franciscans got the benefit of the modern voter magnet. Boudin was billed as a progressive district attorney, the kind who seemed suited to a liberal city like San Francisco. The problem was idealistic views on incarceration, drug rehabilitation and sentencing sound better than the reality. Voters saw the city in disarray with a drug and homelessness problem, smash and grab shoplifting crime, and suddenly all the high-minded ideas no longer had their appeal. Boudin became a scapegoat for all the ills of the city that were in full view.
San Francisco wanted a strong man as DA. Not quite Rodrigo Duterte. But a strongman, nonetheless. San Francisco conservatives (aka “moderate Democrats”), led by primarily Asian voters in the city’s Sunset and Richmond districts, ousted Boudin with 60% voting for recall and 40% to retain. This now makes the second recall in the last few months (the other being the recall of several SF Board of Education members), and you’ll see this talked about nationally as the story of the California primary (though they will ignore the Bonta story). Boudin’s story is yet another tale of voter discontent with progressive policies in of all places San Francisco. And that will be the Fox News spin. What’s really happening is that San Francisco doesn’t have effective leadership, period. Mayor London Breed will appoint a new District Attorney, and nothing that got people mad at Boudin will change at all. Because it never was about Boudin and his progressive views on sentencing and rehab. Homelessness, fentanyl abuse, smash and grab crime weren’t all Boudin’s responsibilities. But he became “it.” Boudin’s problem is he was a leader with no followers. So now he gets booted. And just watch how it will barely make a difference. San Francisco’s problems will remain because the leaders who could make a difference aren’t doing their jobs. Maybe voters recalled the wrong poll. To get the right ones you must be paying attention and voting in our democracy. Unfortunately, less than a third of us find it worth the bother. Less than 30%? That’s the real danger in our present-day when elections are decided by a tyrannical minority.
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.
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 11
Musings on History and Identity by a Filipino in the Diaspora By Rose Churma
left the Philippines in 1976 when I was in my mid-twenties. Although I don’t “celebrate” Philippine Independence Day, I try to spend the day – or the days leading to it –in introspection about Filipino identity and what it means to be a Filipino in the Diaspora. Identity is our collective self-image and a sense of who we are, and a system of memories, experiences, relationships and values that define us. As the eldest grandchild, I had the privilege of spending time with my maternal grandparents in a small town in Zambales, Philippines. In that time and place where there were few distractions (no TV, no phone and limited electricity), my “enter-
tainment” consisted of reading whatever was in the house’s bookshelves and listening to my grandparents stories. In a way, my sense of identity was formed there. Both my grandparents lived history as young witnesses to the Philippine revolution against Spain and the American occupation, to the horrors of World War II. I was a young child spending summers with my grandparents when President Magsaysay died from a plane crash. They even brought me with them to his funeral. I was a teenager and my grandparents’ de facto caregiver when Martial Law took root. We lived close enough to U.S. Subic Naval Base and observed how it had affected our surroundings and values. Their stories and the experiences with them influenced how I view the world but also my self-image, and thus my iden-
tity as a Filipino but using an American passport whenever I want to go home again. One of the stories shared with us was about Felix Magsaysay, my grandmother’s father who became the presidente de municipal from 18981901 of San Antonio, Zambales. During this time, American soldiers had taken over the Philippines. We were told that the Spaniards tortured Felix into revealing the names of the katipuneros who were hiding in the mountains of Pundaquit. When he refused to cooperate, he was subjected to the
infamous “water cure” wherein he was forced to ingest large amounts of water. And I remember what my grandmother, Lola Sitang, had relayed to me about her early childhood. One of her stories was when her papa (Felix Magsaysay) hid some “insurgents” in the baul (these are wooden trunks) during the Philippine-American war. I also remember the stories that Lolo David shared about his childhood. His father, Marcos Jocson who eventually joined the revolution and became physician to Aguinaldo’s army in Cavite wanted him to witness the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal. He was still a toddler and had to be carried on his father’s shoulders. I remember that evening vividly when he shared that story. I was reviewing my Philippine history lessons, and here he was telling me that he was a witness to this event. Lolo David’s paternal
grandparents were Mateo Jocson and Gregoria Asuncion who were residents of Bangculasi, Navotas, Rizal – long before the end of the Spanish regime. Mateo Jocson, known in Navotas as “Matandang Matio” was a well- respected man of substantial means. He had a widowed sister who doted on his son Marcos, so much so that she sent him to medical school at the University of Santo Tomas. The young Marcos Jocson had married early to Pia de Guzman of Malabon. During the early years of their marriage, they lived with their prosperous aunt in Bancalusi, Navotas. It was at his grandaunt’s house that my grandfather, Lolo David, was born. While in medical school, Marcos Jocson boarded at a dormitory in Intramuros, close to the school. On the weekends, he would take the fer(continue on page 18)
12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
How to Increase Housing and Ease Homelessness In Hawaii By Mark Coleman
s an expression of hope for the next generation of America’s leaders, Joe Kent gave a presentation last Friday to a group of students from Hope College in Michigan, in which he connected the dots between Hawaii’s barriers to housing and its high rate of homelessness. Kent, executive director of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, made the point that many of Hawaii’s housing regulations are meant to favor the poor, but actually, they serve the very wealthy. And that has made homelessness in Hawaii worse. During his one-hour talk, Kent outlined the four major types of homelessness: tran-
sitional, episodic, chronic and “hidden.” “But there’s another group here, besides just homeless, that are in a tenuous situation,” he said. “Those are folks that do have a home [to live in as renters] but they are unable to meet their basic needs. They may be one paycheck or two paychecks away from becoming homeless, and those are folks we call the ALICE population here, that makes up about 33%. [ALICE stands for “asset-limited, income-constrained, employed.] Since housing comprises the largest portion of their costs, sometimes at the expense of food, clothing and other necessities, understandably many of those residents have been moving away in recent years, in search of cheaper housing and greater job opportunities.
“So all of this is to say … we have a big housing problem,” Kent said, “and the question is: Why is the problem so bad? “There are a lot of reasons,” he said, “but No. 1 is housing regulation. We have the highest housing barriers in the nation. Kent outlined six major layers of housing regulation: the state Land Use Commission, county plans, community plans, county zoning, special management area permitting and the historic districts. After describing how
each constrains housing, he discussed possible solutions, including reforming the LUC, “building out,” “building up” and liberalizing zoning laws in lands already designated urban. One student in the audience noted that people who already own homes often oppose zoning reform because it might affect their property values. “Politically, that’s the issue,” said Kent. “The people who need the housing don’t show up at the political process, and the people who
don’t need the housing do show up at the political process. So you have the unspoken masses that, you know, don’t have a voice in this problem.” “Well, how do you go to the zoning meetings when you have to work three jobs?” asked another student. “And take care of all your kids?” said another. “Right, said Kent. “Exactly. I know. So often I’ll go to the zoning meetings and testify on behalf of all those people that can’t make it. But, you know, I’m viewed skeptically as well. It’s like, ‘Oh, who are you?’ … “Are you really a developer?” It’s like, “No, no. I’m just a nerd, you know. So, just don’t be afraid.” To view the entire presentation, visit grassroot i n s t i t u t e . o rg / 2 0 2 2 / 0 6 / how-to-increase-housingand-ease-homelessness-inhawaii/.
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 13
14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
The Recent Bongbong Marcos Victory in the Philippines
By Belinda A. Aquino, Ph.D.
he recent Bongbong Marcos victory in the Philippine presidential election on May 9 is bound to be a major example of “historical revisionism” in the administration of the country for the next six years and probably beyond. But a more detailed explanation is needed for this probable state of affairs in the Philippines for the near future especially on the concept of “revisionism.” The simplest definition of the term as any dictionary will show is the changing towards a new status of widely accepted values in a given society towards the benefit of an incoming administration. The new Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte administration is bound to enforce major revisions in the governmental set-up that they will inherit from the outgoing system
come June 30. Some of the major changes that the Marcos-Duterte administration will be making will include reinstating institutions that lasted for nearly 20 years under Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship. Those same institutions also toppled when the 1986 People Power Revolution send Marcos, his family and cronies in exile in Hawaii where he later died in 1989. This essay will focus on just one major example of the new revisionist system that the Marcos-Duterte team seeks to establish.
Historical Background After the Marcos regime’s downfall in 1986, the Corazon Aquino administration created new institutions to ensure that the dictatorship’s atrocities during its long and brutal reign will never be forgotten. One of these changes was
the establishment of the “Bantayog ng mga Bayani” (Monument of Heroes) dedicated to honor and preserve the bitter memory of hundreds of thousands of victims who were detained, imprisoned, and murdered during the Marcos regime. The monument was opened in 2007 to make sure that the fate of countless victims of the Marcos regime will never be forgotten in the future.
Current Status of The Monument On June 26, the New York Times published an article by journalist Sui-Lee Wee titled “The Museum Was Built So No One Would Forget. Now It’s Falling Apart.” The monument has been dedicated to honor the victims of the Marcos regime with sculptures featuring many of the major casualties such as Macli-ing Dulag, a Cordillera tribal leader who was assassinated by the Marcos military. There are also countless pictures of student leaders, activists, and
avowed political opponents of the regime such as Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Thousands of victims had never been identified and given justice for their anti-regime activities. Anticipating that the incoming Marcos-Duterte administration will erase, if not altogether obliterate, the monument, regime survivors, including Fr. Edicio de la Torre are trying to save it by calling attention to the world, especially those of Filipino ancestry, to prevent the incoming administration’s plan to destroy it. Monument staff leaders like May Rodriguez bewail the possible disappearance of the monument because it will change the future course of Philippine history by erasing all vestiges of its collective past honoring their heroic deeds and sacrifices for their country. Conclusion By way of concluding her statement, Rodriguez has issued this appeal to save the Monument of Heroes to exist forever in Philippine history.
“Our goal is to make the Museum of Heroes more interactive with video clips so visitors can deconstruct the half-truths online,” she told the New York Times. “I want them to understand that the past two or three years, maybe even longer, has been a battle for half-truths and lies.” This echoes the ringing words of Maria Ressa, the only individual of Filipino ancestry to win the Nobel Peace Prize Award, who has said with fervor that this struggle with the incoming regime will be a continuous one between fact and fiction. BELINDA A. AQUINO is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii (UH) and a Professor of Political Science and Asian Studies at the School of Pacific and Asian Studies. She is also the Founding Director of the Center for Philippine Studies at UH. An accomplished journalist. She is also Contributing Editor of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle and a frequent contributor of commentaries and articles to various international and national publications.
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 15
Multiple Challenges Facing Bongbong’s Presidency By Perry Diaz
hy does Bongbong Marcos want to be president of the Philippines? There are several answers to this question. First and foremost, Bongbong wants to vindicate the name of his father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose bloody reign during the martial law has left thousands of tortured Filipinos who languished in jail for years. Second, he wants to rewrite the history of the “conjugal dictatorship” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Third, he wants to clear the graft and corruption cases against the Marcoses that are still pending in the Philippine courts. Fourth, he wants to eliminate the P203-billion estate tax due. Fifth, he wants to jumpstart the economy, which is on the brink of collapse. Sixth, he wants to restructure the national debt, which now stands at $13 trillion or more than 60% of 2021 GDP. First let’s talk about his father’s bloody reign during the martial law era. Sen. Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, said last October that the public should focus their attention on helping the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic instead of reviving the issues on her father’s dictatorship, which she said was “one million years ago.”
Generation gap While it’s true that the post-martial law generations of young Filipinos cannot relate to the brutalities that older Filipinos suffered during the martial law, there is still a large–albeit diminishing– number of older Filipinos who lived and experienced the dark era of Marcos dictatorship.
They may not forget but they can forgive because it’s in our national character to forgive but not necessarily forget. But Bongbong could overcome memories of martial law if he proves to be a capable president. Having yet to assume the presidency, we have to set this aside for now. The question is: Does he believe that he’s destined to be a great leader? At this point in time, destiny has been kind to Bongbong. It allowed him to overcome his family’s bad reputation during the presidency of Marcos Sr. That alone speaks volume of “destiny.” After reaching the apex of leadership with such ease, one can surmise that destiny played a major role in his victorious campaign that garnered him 31 million votes–about 60%. Evidently, his youthful looks– albeit his 64 years of age–must have played effectively in pushing him to the top. But recent analyses by political pundits have attributed the use of social media trolls who put down his opponent Leni Robredo while extolling Bongbong as a key factor in the campaign. Leni never had a chance to overcome the edge Bongbong had with his trolls. Indeed, Bongbong may have used the playbook of Hitler’s Propaganda. Minister Joseph Goebbels who once said, “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” And this played a key part in his attempt to rewrite the history of the “conjugal dictatorship” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. It was noted that the disinformation propaganda, which used positive and negative messaging or telling lies about a candidate to boost an opponent’s image intensified in the lead-up to the May 2022 elections. It added that many of the related posts benefitted Bongbong Marcos.
In 2019, PCGG said it recovered P172 billion in ill-gotten wealth from the Marcos family. Recently, the Anti-graft court Sandiganbayan said it would proceed with the trial of a wealth forfeiture case involving shares of stocks worth billions of pesos in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc. (ETPI), which is said to be held in trust by alleged cronies of the late dictator and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Rewriting history books Back in January 2020– long before he won the presidential election–Bongbong renewed call to rewrite history textbooks, which is tantamount to historical revisionism. “This is a clear move at historical revisionism and another desperate attempt by the Marcoses to erase the memory of the horrors of Martial Law and absolve the sins of their father,” said human rights lawyer and Liberal Party (LP) official Erin Tañada, who is the opposition party’s vice president for external affairs. “The Marcoses wish to fade into oblivion the abuses committed during the dictatorial regime where thousands of Filipinos were killed and tortured, and billions of pesos from the national treasury were stolen,” he added. Third, he wants to clear the graft and corruption cases against the Marcoses that are still pending in the Philippine courts. In 1986, the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) was created by then President Corazon Aquino to recover the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his family, relatives, subordinates, and close associates.
P203 billion estate tax In regard to the P203 billion estate tax due on the Marcos estate, in which Bongbong is the administrator, Senator Imee Marcos has conceded in an interview that her family should pay any taxes that they owe. However, she also questioned the timing of the recent controversy surrounding the Marcoses’ unpaid estate tax and blamed it on “rotten politics.” Rotten politics or not, taxes are owed, which should have been paid already. “We are a bit dizzy with that tax issue, but all I can say is, if we owe the government, we should pay [our debt]. Our family faced all the cases against us. We are still facing these because there are a lot and this issue on estate tax has been here for a while, Imee said. Bongbong’s bullheadedness about not paying his taxes is bound to haunt him later during his presidency. Already, rallies are being held in various cities in the country protesting Bongbong’s refusal
to pay his taxes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said last month that it had sent a written demand to the Marcos family in December 2021 to pay their estate taxes liability. The Marcos family, however, said that they had not settled their taxes owed because they were contesting the full amount and the matter was still under litigation. The Presidential Commission on Good Government refuted that the taxes owed were in doubt, saying that the BIR had made its final assessment on the involved properties and that the judgment on the tax case had become final and executory as early as 1997. For one thing, the tax assessment will never go away, unless Marcos will do something stupid when he assumes the presidency. If that happens expect the people to rise in protest, which could lead to civil disturbances. For the sake of national interest, Bongbong needs to clear what he owes the government. As it was said in the Bible, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Economic recovery On engineering a broadbased economic recovery, the usual public policy response worldwide is for governments to spend extra on infrastructures and various societal needs in order to stimulate their economy and breathe life to stagnant economic sectors. (continue on page 16)
16 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
A Glow in the Dark—Essays on Rizal By Rose Cruz Churma
une 19 is the birth anniversary of the Philippines’ national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It is appropriate to review a book devoted to this Renaissance man of the 19th century, published by a local organization established to honor his life and works. There has always been an interest in Jose Rizal—the local Filipino community in pre-statehood Hawaii commemorated his execution on December 30, more so than his birth on June 19. In the late 50s, John Dionisio, whose father was then the Consul General in Honolulu, recalls an incident in 1958 when then Hawai’i Senator Sparky Matsunaga, an avid researcher on Rizal, held a lecture on the life and times of the hero at the library of the Consulate. Only two Filipinos came to attend the lecture. He remembers how embarrassed he was that so little interest was shown by the community in a man revered even by non-Filipinos. The Knights of Rizal is an organization established in 1911 in the Philippines. It would take another six decades for a Knights of Rizal (KOR), Hawaii Chapter to be
established in Hawaii in 1971, and another two decades for the second one to be formed (Knights of Rizal, Aloha Chapter), the publisher of this book that is being reviewed. The book is an anthology of essays and transcriptions of lectures delivered by Rizal enthusiasts during the enumerable award ceremonies and conferences hosted by the KOR. Most of the Hawai’i-based authors are renowned educators from the University of Hawai’i and one from Chaminade University. Dr. Belinda A. Aquino contributed two essays. “The Political Ideas of Jose Rizal” was delivered during the award ceremonies for the winners of the 1989 Rizal Essay Contest—33 years ago! Surprisingly as I was reading the essay, it never occurred to me that this was delivered three decades ago (although all the clues were there in the first paragraph). The words of wisdom imparted to Hawaii’s youth were as valid then, and still resonate to this day including her second-to-the-last sentence: “This should be a signal to you in the Knights of Rizal to extend your membership to women.” The second essay by Dr. Aquino is “The Human Side of Dr. Jose P. Rizal” where she attempts to show the gradual transformation of Rizal that
intensified his sense of justice, from witnessing his mother falsely accused of a crime she did not commit to the execution of the three Filipino priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora when he was eleven years old. Another incident that she described is when Rizal pulled out of the race in favor of Marcelo del Pilar when both were competing to lead the propaganda movement whose organ was called Solidaridad. Although Rizal was winning in the third voting he was more concerned with preserving the unity of the group— showing a great deal of compassion and humility. She also mentions his exile in Dapitan where I believe his humanity is best shown. He designed and built his house, lived in domestic bliss with Josephine Bracken, was a teacher
to 14 students, tended his own garden, explored being an entrepreneur supplying Dapitan with fish, organized local farmers, served as a doctor, and even shared his lottery winnings with friends. A common thread in the essays is the critique of his novels and the analyses of his novels’ characters to allude to Rizal’s views on various issues. The authors assume that their audience has read his novels and is very familiar with the characters. This is a faulty assumption, especially if the authors want to widen the interest in Rizal and the virtues he espouses to the mainstream, and not just to fellow Rizalistas. The historian and Rizalian scholar Ambeth Ocampo’s famous words, “In order to know Rizal, one has to read Rizal,” is a quote used to separate the three parts of the book. I’m sure this quote is a truism practiced by the authors. Most list their sources as end notes or references which are usually articles or books by other Rizal enthusiasts, or probably English translations of works of Rizal, not likely in the original language used. This is why the last paragraph in Patricio Abinales’ essay “Studying and Teaching Rizal Under the Shadow of the Marcos Dictatorship” caught my attention. He notes that his mentor,
Benedict Anderson of Cornell, realized that Rizal’s brilliance can best be understood if Rizal’s novels were read in the original Spanish, thus Mr. Anderson started to learn Spanish! Current writers on Rizal have a distinct disadvantage— very few are fluent in Spanish (unlike the famous historian Ambeth Ocampo). So, in essence, the current crop of Rizal essays are based on interpretations of folks reading interpretations. Somehow something is lost in the interpretation. Or perhaps reading a book devoted entirely to variations on the Rizal mystique is too much of a good thing. The Knights of Rizal have chapters close to 200 units all over the world. The programs for each are varied but some have taken to publishing their collection of Rizal-themed essays that continue to remind us of the contributions of Rizal to the Philippines and the world. Rizal’s range of interests and talents ensure that future authors will never run out of materials that continue to inspire a diverse audience.
With the country’s debtto-GDP ratio–which is slightly above 60%–the country needs to grow between 6% and 7% on a sustainable basis. For the country to outgrow its debt, Duterte’s finance chief, Carlos Dominguez III, proposed that Bongbong and his economic team implement new taxes, defer scheduled tax reductions, and repeal certain tax exemptions. Let’s look at the dire economic situation. To service the national debt, the national government paid nearly P430 billion in interest and almost P330 billion in principal obligation. Interest alone stands at 2.2% of GDP. The fiscal deficit ballooned from P660 billion or
3.4% of GDP before the pandemic to P1.7 trillion, more than 2.5 times, or 8.6% of GDP. Bongbong has six years to achieve these goals. But many believe that he faces insurmountable obstacles in overcoming them. With Bongbong soon to take his presidential oath of office on June 30, 2022, his effort to revise history to be kinder to the Marcoses would accelerate. And once in office, he could succeed merely by using his presidential influence. Heck, the late dictator might even be declared a “national hero.”
ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established a career in architecture 40 years ago, specializing in judicial facilities planning. As a retired architect, she now has the time to do the things she always wanted to do: read books and write about them, as well as encourage others to write.
(PERRYSCOPE: Multiple....from page 15)
But where would he get the extra funding for infrastructure? By borrowing more money? But who would lend him the funds for massive infrastructure projects without showing how he would recoup the funds to pay back the loans? It’s a nasty catch-22 isn’t it? Bongbong may have to do some fiscal hocus pocus to come up with the right calculus to achieve all these. Financial institutions— such as JP Morgan—are wary about Marcos’ ability to jumpstart the economy. Until now, Marcos hasn’t formed his economic team yet with barely three weeks to go before his presidency begins.
PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 17
Go, Daddy! By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
t a time of war, inflation and pandemic, where things are shaken and everything is uncertain, I can only imagine what it is like to be the head of a family. My younger brother in the Philippines leaves by 4 in the morning and goes home before midnight as a chef just to be able to provide for his four children. My other youngest brother who lives in Canada has to juggle three part-time jobs just so he can give a good life to his three growing children.
I need not look far, my husband has been working day in and day out so that he can always provide food on our table and a roof over our heads. I am certain that every father around the world is making ways to meet the needs of the people they love. While I consider myself fortunate that my husband
has a job to sustain our family and my brothers are able to provide for their families at such a difficult time, I can’t help but think of the fathers in Ukraine who have to be separated from their wives and children to fight for their country’s freedom. My heart goes out to the fathers who lost their children in the school shooting in Texas. My thoughts are with those who have lost their jobs and sources of income because of the pandemic. My heart bleeds for every father whose heart is anxious and fearful for the lives and future of their families because of the many challenges the world is facing right now. As we celebrate and remember the fathers in our lives this month, I would like to urge
everyone to speak a prayer of blessing upon the men in our homes. They have heavy burdens to bear and great responsibilities to fulfill. To the fathers believing in jobs and looking for ways to provide for their families, I pray for doors to open and opportunities to come your way. Be encouraged that He who created the world will provide for you and your family’s needs. To the daddies who lost precious loved ones, taken away by sickness and tragedy, I declare overwhelming peace, comfort and grace to be your blanket at this time. May the God of all comfort wrap His arms around you and may His peace that transcends understanding guard your hearts and minds.
To the dads who are fighting for their country and their families, I speak strength and grace upon you. May courage be your weapon and hope be your shield as you fight for victory and freedom. To all the ‘Papa’, ‘Popsie’, ‘Tatay’, ‘Ama’, ‘Appa’ or however we call ‘father’ in different languages, know that we honor you, we praise God for you, we remember your labor. We are grateful for you, not just for what you do but for you who are. We know that it is not easy to be a father in such a difficult world, but thank you for enduring, persevering and still choosing to love. We can only say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. We are here to cheer you on. Go, daddy! Happy Father’s Day!
Tatay, Happy Father’s Day! By HFC Staff
atay. Itay. Tatang. Ama. Papa. Father. Every second Sunday of June, we celebrate and honor our Dads during Father’s Day. We honor their fatherhood and our paternal bonds with them. There are times that we may forget the Dads we grew up with but this Sunday, let’s all reflect on the values and love they provide and support us with. There are different ways to call Father and Dad in Filipino languages. For this article, let’s explore the meaning behind the Tagalog word, TATAY, that perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a father. Trustworthy. There’s a Filipino saying that goes, “Tatay ang haligi ng tahanan.” (The father is the main post of our home.) This means that our Dad is the main support that uplifts our family. As our support column, our Tatay is a very trustworthy person that we can rely on with everything
that is happening in our family. Attentive. Filipino dads are known for being quiet but don’t be fooled. They are always attentive and ready to provide us with whatever we need. If they notice that we like apples, they will buy us all of the apples in the world. Do we need someone to drop us off to work? From now
on, they will be the one to always drop and pick us up from work. Tatay is always ready to support us no matter what. Truthful. In need of advice? Our Dad is here to give us truthful and supportive advice to guide us through life. They might not tell us, but they’ve been through a lot and want to make sure
we don’t go through the same hardships and challenges that they went through. With their truthful words filled with love and guidance, exploring life and adulthood will be fully supported. Amazing. Do we need to say more? Our Tatay is amazing! We wouldn’t be living our best lives without him. Aside from Father’s Day, let’s celebrate
how amazing Tatay is every single day. Youthful. Is he really a Dad if he doesn’t crack Dad jokes every now and then? What makes our Tatay charming is his youthful glow filled with jokes, playfulness, and wittiness. His youthfulness keeps us grounded every day. This Father’s Day, we hope that you celebrate the bond that you have with your Tatay. Cherish every moment with them and don’t forget to tell him that you love him. Tatay, Happy Father’s Day!
18 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE JUNE 18, 2022
Gov’t Urged to Open Up the Philippines to More Foreign Investments By Kristine Joy Patag Tuesday, June 30, 2020
ANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should open further to foreigners if it wants to corner more job-generating investments, Asiabased Hinrich Foundation said on Tuesday. There’s a “window of opportunity that might be the right moment to open the
country,” Riccardo Crescenzi, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics, said in an online forum organized by Hinrich. Crescenzi did not explain when this opportunity would come, nor what’s with this window that would allow the economy to open up more to foreign investors. For years, the Philippines has lagged behind its regional peers in attracting FDI, no thanks to its
decrepit infrastructure. After reaching a record-high $10.1 billion net inflows in 2017, data showed FDI to the Philippines started declining from that peak, with the pandemic worsening the downtrend. As virus curbs ease around the globe, FDI net inflows hit an all-time high of $10.5 billion last year. Meanwhile, the outgoing Duterte administration managed to make a
last-minute push to enact laws that relax restrictions on foreign investments. Crescenzi and Oliver Harman, cities economist for the International Growth Centre at the University of Oxford, wrote a research commissioned by the Hinrich Foundation that looked into different ways FDIs and global value chains could be leveraged by countries. The research noted that the
Philippines, alongside Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, depend on its regional peers for “inward” investments. At the same time, this same cluster of countries also directed their investments to countries in East and Southeast Asia — a type of “outward” FDI that, the researchers said, could bring in new knowledge that facilitates economic development. (www. philstar.com)
with the underlying theme of the book that the nation’s colonial masters must go. Time and again, his father and his aunt would remind him that his first responsibility was to his family. It was important not to jeopardize their futures by getting messed up in the growing insurgency by joining this underground movement called the Katipunan. On May 1, 1898, the American fleet headed by Admiral Dewey sailed into Manila Bay. The town of Navotas, located at the edge of Manila Bay, had a front row seat to what would be the Battle of Manila, the first major
engagement of the Spanish-American War. This battle was a decisive naval battle that marked the end of the Spanish colonial period in Philippine history. At this time, Marcos Jocson and his family evacuated to Cavite during the “Takbuhan” at the start of the Filipino American War, to be near his station as physician to Emilio Aguinaldo’s army, and was there on June 12, 1898 to witness the declaration of independence from Spain. The family traveled overland to Cavite, he rode a horse while his family – his wife and three children rode in a cariton with their household items.
His second son, Nicanor Jocson, would be born in Cavite in 1899. When the Philippine-American war finally ended with the capture of Aguinaldo in Isabela and the collapse of the resistance, Marcos Jocson returned his family back to Navotas by sea, using a small sailboat. The sailboat was overtaken by sea bandits who took all their valuables including his father’s pistol and gold watch – as narrated by Nicanor Jocson in his memoirs where he recounted the stories by his elders and what he experienced. My grandfather David, was a packrat at heart, which my mother inherited. When my mother passed away, she left behind two suitcases filled with correspondence, pictures, documents and all sorts of ephemera collected from several generations which I am still trying to read and sort-out to this day. My grand-uncle Nicanor Jocson loved to write in English, the language he inherited from our American colonizers, which he took to heart, and wrote his memoirs in a language I can read. These printed items serve as my historical sources and is pieced together from the narratives my grandparents shared with me. With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 and with mandatory quarantine, my research went online. This is where I discovered that my great grandfather was a signatory to the June 12,1898 Declaration of Philippine Independence. He was one of 176 signatories of Filipino descent (and
one American army officer). And for the first time, I saw how he signed his name, and I understood why he took pains to bring his toddler son from Navotas to his dorm in Intramuros so they can both witness the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal on the early morning of December 30, 1896. Since then, June 12 took a special significance to me. The search for freedom and independence are abstractions that are hard to fathom and we try to distill that by “celebrating” an event that happened more than a century ago in ways we know how: we gather and raise the flag, sing the national anthem while dressed in Filipiniana outfits and eat cuisine we believe is Filipino enough. Independence Day should be a day of remembrance and recollection, where we commemorate history by ensuring that it is not revised to suit the present, but rather that we learn from it. It is a day when we can pause from the rush of everyday living to appreciate what our ancestors have done, the stories they’ve shared, the heirlooms they left behind (including facsimiles of their signatures) so that we can form the elusive thing called identity. As a nation, we are not limited to the geographic boundaries of the archipelago. Wherever in the world you have one who identifies themselves as Filipino – is our inang bayan – the Philippines. And it can only be “free” if at some point in our future we can collectively adhere to honest, transparent and competent governance.
(OPINION: Musings....from page 11)
ryboat in Malabon to reach Navotas to be with his family. While still at medical school, Marcos Jocson already had three children – his oldest daughter Trinidad (Trining), Fabia and his son, David. By the time his son David was born in 1896, the discontent regarding Spanish colonialism was palpable, and it can be surmised that young Marcos Jocson was not immune to it. He talked about a young brilliant student at the university who left for Europe and published two seditious novels that were circulating underground. He had read the first one and could not agree more
JUNE 18, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 19
COMMUNITY CALENDAR PREPARE YOUR HOME TO SURVIVE A HURRICANE | AARP Hawaii | June 18 at 10-11am | Virtual | With the upcoming hurricane season, it’s better to prepare now to prevent any problems with our homes. Join this webinar to learn more. To register, visit local.aarp.org/aarp-event/aarp-hi-prepareyour-home-to-survive-a-hurricane-hawaii6182022-cxn7lt9qgzb.html. SMART DRIVER VIRTUAL COURSE HI | AARP Hawaii | June 23 at 9am, June 24 at 11:15am | Virtual | This special course is designed for drivers age 50 and older. Completing this course may help drivers get a discount on their auto insurance premiums.
This course is for Hawaii licensed drivers only. Tickets cost $20 for AARP members and $25 for non-members. To register, visit local. aarp.org/aarp-event/aarp-smart-driver-virtualcourse-hi-rvnhqfjtcrx.html. 50TH STATE FAIR | E.K. Fernandez | Until July 4 | Lower Halawa Lot, Aloha Stadium | After a two-year break, the Hawaii State Fair is now back! The state fair is filled with awesome rides, live shows, and food stalls. Tickets start at $3. To view the event’s full schedule, visit alohastadium.hawaii.gov/main/ the-50th-state-fair/.
2022 BAYANIHAN GALA | Filipino Community Center | July 23 at 5:30pm | Coral Ballroom, Hilton Hawaiian Village | The Filipino Community Center (FCC) celebrates its 20th anniversary by honoring extraordinary individuals who served the Filipino community in Hawaii and the Philippines. Tickets starts at $500. For more information, contact FCC at (808) 680-0451 or at email@example.com. 52ND ANNUAL UKULELE FESTIVAL HAWAII | Hawaii Tourism Authority | July 17 at 7-8pm | Virtual | The world’s first and original ukulele festival returns for another virtual celebration filled with performances, giveaways and auction. The event is free. For more info, visit ukulelefestivalhawaii.org.
Local Airlines Ramp Up Flights for International Travel By Richmond Mercurio Wednesday, June 15, 2022
ANILA, Philippines — Local carriers are ramping up their flights for international travel as borders open up and restrictions ease amid the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it would resume flights between Manila and Denpasar, Bali starting July 1 as part of its major international expansion coinciding with the reopening of international travel. PAL will have thrice weekly services between Manila and Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, giving travelers a choice of depar-
ture dates every week. The airline will offer two additional weekly flights beginning Aug. 1, increasing frequencies to five times weekly, before ramping up to daily or seven-times-a-week flights by Oct. 4. “We are excited to be able to fly leisure and business travelers to Bali, one of the world’s most spectacular and beloved destinations,” PAL vice president for sales Bud Britanico said. “Philippine Airlines is also happy to offer our Indonesian customers regular nonstop flights from Denpasar, Bali to the wonders of the Philippines and to other destinations in our global network,” Britanico added. Travelers may connect
conveniently with these Balibound flights from various domestic points in the Philippines as well as from overseas points served by the flag carrier such as Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Bangkok and Los Angeles, according to the flag-carrier. PAL serves 30 destinations in the Philippines and 29 overseas destinations in Asia, the United States, Canada, Australia and the Middle East. “We expect to recover fully by the fourth quarter. With additional flights, we expect tremendous growth in our ancillary businesses like baggage, meals and even hot seats. The situation is truly looking up for all lines of businesses in aviation this year,” he said.
Cebu Pacific will be also ramping up its flights to Singapore from two of its largest hubs, Manila and Cebu, by next month. Cebu Pacific said it would double its daily frequency between Manila and Singapore starting July 1 as it adds a morning schedule option. On July 15, the budget carrier intends to restart its flights between Cebu and Singapore, beginning with a thrice weekly frequency every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “We are delighted to continue ramping up our international flight frequencies, not only in Manila, but also in Cebu. We know majority of the traveling public have
been looking forward to travel internationally again, especially since a lot of countries have eased their restrictions,” Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer Xander Lao said. Lao added that the company continues to work toward the expansion of its international network while maintaining operating over 100 percent of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity. Cebu Pacific earlier announced plans to increase its flights to Nagoya, Japan to five times weekly starting June 29, while Manila to Singapore frequency will be doubled to twice daily flights by July 1 and Manila to Dubai flights to 10 times weekly starting July 2. (www. philstar.com)
Remittances Expand in April But Inflation a HELP WANTED Sought for comment, Nicholas Why it matters Threat Full time or Part time Remittances are considered Antonio Mapa, senior economist at
By Ramon Royandoyan Wednesday, June 15, 2022
ANILA, Philippines — Money sent home by Filipinos overseas gained traction in April, although growth might moderate in the coming months amid a worldwide trend of rising commodity prices.
What’s new Cash remittances coursed through banks rose 3.9% year-onyear in April to $2.39 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported Wednesday. This was slightly faster than the 3.2% growth recorded in March. Year-to-date, cash remittances amounted to $10.17 billion.
pillars of economic strength for the Philippines’ consumption-driven economy, as money sent home by migrant Filipinos helps increase the spending capacity of their families here. Likewise, remittances are also crucial sources of dollars for the country. In 2021, remittances amounted to $31.42 billion, expanding 5.1% compared to the 2020 haul. The collections slightly missed the BSP’s forecast of 6% growth, but BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said he hopes remittances would rise this year. For 2022, the BSP projects cash remittances to grow 4% annually.
What an analyst says
ING Bank in Manila, expects remittances to grow modestly in the coming months. “Remittance flows to remain positive but will likely see a modest pace of expansion in the near term. Global slowdown and favourable exchange point to a 3-4% expansion for the year,” he said in a Viber message. The peso weakened earlier this week as it hit P53 against the greenback. “Despite the gain, remittance growth unable to offset stark widening of trade gap. Philippine peso to remain weak in the near term given trade balance dynamics and monetary policy stance,” Mapa added. (www.philstar.com)
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