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JULY 3, 2021




Adjustment of Status Available Only for Inspected and Admitted Aliens

Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Works To Address Workplace Shortage Solutions

An Appreciation for Benigno Aquino III



For the People Act’s Demise Is Temporary; Greater Effort Must Go Into Its Passage


ost 2020 elections, there has been two drives to change our voting system. On one side, GOP-majority State Legislatures successfully passed new voting laws that would make it more restrictive and difficult for voters from the midterm elections and onward. On the other side, Democrats, who represent the majority in both chambers of Congress, failed to pass the For the People Act or H.R.1 which would have basically nullified the new restrictive laws passed by states, and make way for easier and expanded voting rights in a first uniformed prescription on voting by federal law. But it’s not the end all for both tracks on changing our voting system. The new state restrictive laws are bound to face legal challenges with the US Justice Department already having filed suit, along with the ACLU and civil rights groups. This could tie up the implementation of the new laws. On the federal side, the blocking of H.R.1 is chapter one, as other means of pursuing federal voting reform are being explored, including the abolishment of the filibuster in place of a simple majority (51+), which would make H.R.1 feasible to pass. Or another federal bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act or H.R.4, could thwart at least parts of some of these new restrictive bills. H.R.4 while not prescriptive and specific, has a clause in it that requires states with a history of voting discrimination, must get federal pre-clearance before changing voting laws. Its basic function is to stop discriminatory voting before it happens.

The Better Choice is a No-Brainer Clearly having expanded, more accessible voting lands on the side of justice and democracy. And opinion polls show strong favorability for both. Data for Progress poll found overwhelming support for the For the People Act: 77% of Democratic voters, 68% of independent voters, and 56% of Republican voters. Over 70% of Americans believe in-person early voting should be made easier, 69% support establishing national guidelines for voting, and a majority support expanding voteby-mail as well. Say voting security is an issue (the main reason purportedly for enacting these new restrictive laws), it should be known that H.R.1 also seeks to enhance security measures. As for federal overreach (the second most important reason antagonists to H.R.1 cite), the coronavirus pandemic showed that there needs to finally be a national, uniformed standard in voting to ensure that future elections run smoothly in emergency situations. Having had a federal guide to voting before the pandemic, could very well have minimized much of the skepticism brought up in the 2020 election. The Real Intent Behind Voter Restriction Laws This last point suggests security is not the true reason behind restrictive voting laws. Rather it’s a political one, and really about suppression for political gain. Take mail-in voting as an example, it has been a part of the voting process for years and largely accepted by both parties. Why the sudden fuss over it and adopting laws to restrict it? The massive mail-in vote made possible in 2020 (to minimize (continue on page 3)



oting has always been one of the most effective means to change or maintain our preferred way of living. In our democratic system, voting is practically considered sacred by many Americans – it, as a process, and as an institution in the laws we create that govern it. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, voting has been kept free of partisan politics for the most part. But recent developments show this could be coming to an end. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo takes a look at two opposing trends when it comes to voting. On one side, this year GOP-majority State Legislatures have passed a range of restrictive laws making voting more difficult and less accessible that experts believe could affect minority groups disproportionately. It’s a nationwide development. Republicans say these laws are about making voting more secure, particularly after President Donald Trump’s claims of having the election stolen from him (without evidence provided). Other explanations as to why this is happening is explored in the article. On the other side of the spectrum, Democrats are pushing for federal voting legislation via two bills: the For the People Act (H.R.1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R.4). Recently H.R.1 was blocked in the US Senate. Republicans voted to filibuster the bill even before it was heard. H.R.1, might be dead temporarily, but the goal of expanding and making voting easier -- or collectively referred to as enacting federal voting reform -- is far from over. Find out why in the article. Neither are the recently enacted restrictive state laws a done deal as lawsuits have been filed challenging their validity. The tussle over voting rights and restrictions looks like it will be vigorously debated for at least the upcoming midterm and the next presidential election. Lastly, read what some members in our community and Hawaii’s DC politicians have to say about these developments. In our Hawaii-Filipino news section, we’re pleased to report starting July 8, Hawaii will allow domestic visitors to bypass its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirements as long as visitors have been fully vaccinated. This will help tremendously in Hawaii’s journey back to pre-covid days. Related to recovery and revitalization efforts, read also news on the launching of America Works agenda by the US Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. The new initiative aims to provide solutions to workforce shortage and addresses unemployment. In Mainland news, AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report shows retail prices for 260 brand name prescription drugs increased more than twice as fast as general inflation. “It’s inexcusable that even during a pandemic and financial crisis, brand name drug companies continued to increase their prices so much faster than the prices of other goods and services,” said Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP. HFC columnist Emmanuel Tipon, Esq. contributes “Adjustment of Status Available Only for Inspected and Admitted Aliens.” HFC’s Rose Cruz Churma does a book review on “Philippines Diplomacy and Its American Heritage.” Be sure to read our other informative columns and news. Lastly, we hope you all have an enjoyable and memorable summer. A reminder: if you missed a previous issue, please visit our website. Thank you for your continuing support. Until the next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

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

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko 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.

Contributing Writers

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

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

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

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

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



We Must Ensure that Hawaii Condos and Buildings Are Upkept and Safe


s of press time, emergency rescue teams continue to search for missing residents (151; 10 already died) of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida. The images on television of search-and-rescue crews going through slabs of concrete and metal rubble searching for survivors, knowing how critical each second is, is extremely disheartening and difficult to watch. It’s an epic catastrophe; and hopefully by the time this article comes out all the remaining missing would have been found and are safely reunited with their family and friends. We are praying. While investigations are ongoing, it’s certain many of Hawaii’s condominium residents and high- and low-rise building workers are feeling uneasy about their own safety. We will need a definitive explanation for how this disaster could have happened for everyone to learn from – from structural engineers, geologists, soil erosion experts, to construction contractors, workers and materials manufacturers. What we do know so far

is three years before the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex, a consultant found evidence of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck, as well as cracking and crumbling of columns, beams and walls of the parking garage. The engineer’s report was a basis for a multimillion-dollar repair project that was to start soon. But that plan came too late.

Questions Needing Answers For those living in and working in buildings in Hawaii and elsewhere, especially building associations, managers – perhaps there are questions you should be getting answers to. Are there red flags in your own building? Has anything critical been ignored? If safety recertification is needed, when and what is the process? If you are in an older building, are there irregularities you’ve noticed but just did not report? Are inspectors doing their job properly? Buildings just don’t collapse in developed countries. Building codes are strict in the US so this disaster is something we all need answers to.

Transparency Residents and workers in buildings deserve to be safe and know what’s happening in the maintenance of their building. Building associations should be providing the status of major repairs particularly when it comes to recommended structural work where the integrity of a building comes into question. A budget of estimated cost of repairs to owners of units in buildings, as is usually done in pro forma, is insufficient. Building association boards must provide detailed information where potential dangers exists, if there are any. In the Champlain Towers complex’s case, management association had disclosed

some of the problems after the collapse. Were residents informed of these structural problem before the collapse? It was city officials who informed the media of a 2018 report that explained the full extent of the concrete and rebar damage — most of it probably caused by years of exposure to the corrosive salt air along the South Florida coast, the report states. As a beach, tropical community, are building codes for Hawaii buildings considering salt erosion as potential for compromising buildings structure-wise? And what are the remedies? Hawaii state and county officials should also be paying close attention to the unfolding developments in Florida. Are building codes and certification and recertification requirements up to par. Are our building inspectors qualified and following enforcement guidelines? Do we have an adequate emergency plan in place, especially knowing that we live on an island isolated, and response time is critical? Do we have experts here and emergency protocol set for federal, state and county to respond expeditiously? In Hawaii, many of our

(EDITORIAL:For the People....from page 2)

the coronavirus from spreading) proved to be golden for Democrats. You can look at each example one by one where changes in voting laws have occurred, you will find changes were made that will most likely impact minorities. And by extension, Democrats. Additionally, seeking stronger voting security measures would make sense in its timing if 2020 was tainted by fraud, as President Donald Trump claims it was. But it wasn’t. This is the fact. The Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC), the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees, Cybersecurity and

Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) said in a joint statement, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.” Besides that, all legal challenges alleging voter fraud had been thrown out of multiple federal and state courts, including the US Supreme Court that chose not to hear any arguments. Trump loyalists had every opportunity to furnish evidence, but the fact is there were no evidence to show fraud.

Breaking tradition It’s an ill sign that politics has devolved to such corrosiveness that the sanctity of voting is now political

battleground. Politics has always been divisive; but the voting process since the Voting Rights Act 1965 has been generally a non-partisan safe zone.

Real Grievance Amidst all the grievance, false one at that, in which somehow Trump voters claim to have been disenfranchised in the last election, the real grievance comes in the demise of H.R.1. How so? Democratic senators represent 43 million more people than the 50 Republican senators who opposed the bill. Over 40 million is a huge number. Consider that the state of California has 39 million residents. On top of that 68% favored H.R.1’s

passage. The built-in system in the Senate works against the true will of a majority of Americans. This is real grievance, if anything. The Senate should abolish the filibuster, and pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It’s the democratic thing to do. Both the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential elections results justify that this is the will of the majority of Americans. Lastly, President Joe Biden needs to work harder on defending voters’ rights. His lack of presence and lack of forceful support for H.R.1 at the Hill contributed to its failing. This must change going forward.

condominiums were built in the 1960s and ‘70s and are reaching a point where they will need major infrastructure improvement, especially if upkeep has been put off. Usually upkeeps are done to maintain buildings’ value and marketability. Given what happened in Florida, safety must take top priority.

Fears to be kept in check Just as people need more care as we age, it isn’t different for buildings. This is natural. There should be no reason to have paranoia over living and working in an older building. In many parts of the world there are buildings hundreds of years old that are still occupied and livable. As long as buildings are maintained and recertification followed properly and thoroughly, there shouldn’t be problems. What’s important to stress here is transparency, safety and prevention. Residents and workers in buildings from low to high rises expect that the necessary upkeeps are being done. It’s something we don’t give a second thought about. Perhaps it’s time we pay more attention to, not panic or have unfounded fears over, but to pay attention that steps are being taken to ensure our safety.



No Longer Sacred: Voting Rights Become New Political Battleground By Edwin Quinabo


olitics has been described as a constant tug-of-war. But since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that put an end to Jim Crow Laws and efforts to keep minorities from voting -- at least when it came to actual voting process, both major US political parties have been doing less pulling and keeping more in-step to having a non-partisan-free zone for elections. Besides criticism of the Electoral College, the integrity of elections had been rarely called into question by voters; in part because since voting started in this country, each and every presidential candidate eventually would come to accept election results, even after rare cases when they are challenged. Accepting defeat, historians say, has helped to preserve confidence in our voting system, however imperfect it is. Senate Minority Blocks For the People Act (H.R.1) The For the People Act (H.R.1) – considered the most important voting rights and anti-corruption bill in over 50 years -- passed the House on March 3 this year but sat in the Senate for months. On June 22, 2021, Republicans blocked it in the Senate Rules Committee by a vote of 9-9 deadlock. Republicans voted to filibuster the bill, even before it got a chance to be debated. H.R.1 needed 60 votes (10 Republican crossovers) to pass. The filibuster in the Senate has effectively set a 60-vote supermajority requirement for passing legislation with few exceptions from budgetary items. H.R.1 fell victim to this Senate rule. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell called H.R.1 a “one-side power grab” and criticized the bill as paving the way for federal government to have more power over elections.

This has been the democratic culture in this country since the beginning. That is until President Donald Trump, whose insistence of having been cheated out of office (despite no evidence to back up claims) fertilized unprecedented distrust in the US voting system among Trump loyalists. Broad skepticism in the voting process, and perhaps even doubts that Republicans could win a future presidential election fair and square, as some Democrats claim, recently have led to Republican state lawmakers enacting “the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction [period after slavery],” according to the Washington Post. The  Brennan Center for Justice said State Legislatures this year have introduced more than 361 bills that would restrict voting access in 47 states, many

Twenty Republican State Attorneys General echoed Sen. McConnell’s argument of federal overreach. The Attorneys General called H.R.1 unconstitutional, claiming each state has the power to oversee and regulate elections under the Constitution, not the Federal government. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for reluctance to start the process of at least debating and amending the bill. Sen. Schumer said, “Republican senators may have prevented us from having a debate on voting rights. But I want to be very clear about one thing: the fight to protect voting rights is not over. By no means. In the fight for voting rights, this vote was the starting gun, not the finish line.” Hawaii’s Senator Mazie Hirono told the Filipino Chronicle, “I was very disappointed that it [H.R.1} didn’t get the 60 votes that is necessary to begin the process

of debate on the bill. And the irony of this is that it had more than the majority of votes [over 50] to proceed to that debate, but not 60 votes. That is one of the reason why I support eliminating the filibuster because it is very clear that the For the People Act should be debated, should be passed, because there are hundreds of bills being considered in state legislatures all across the country to suppress votes. How I would describe it as stealing our votes. And the way to stop that is passing the For the People Act.” Hirono, who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Atlantic, “There better be a Plan B. I just don’t know what it is.” There are still talks to figure out what features could be adopted in H.R.1 in a possible future bipartisan bill. One floating around is beefing up voter ID requirements. Hawaii’s Senator Brian Schatz called the proposal of a provision to include

of them have been adopted into law in GOP-majority states. In light of this, voter rights advocates that have been calling for the passage of a federal reform bill in recent years have elevated their priority from extremely important to code-red urgent as a highstakes 2022 midterm election draws nearer.

a voter ID requirement in a possible bipartisan bill, “serious,” and said there’s “a lot we can work with,” but on the voter ID suggestion, he “didn’t think it is a perfect proposal.” He told the New York Times, “Right now we should assume that H.R.1 is not going to pass the Senate, so we need to figure out what can.”

At the House Side Congressman Ed Case (HI-D) co-introduced H.R.1 in the House in 2019 when Democrats retook that Chamber of Congress. It was not given a hearing for consideration in the Senate that year when Sen. McConnell was Majority Leader. Case co-introduced the bill again in 2021. Case told the Filipino Chronicle, “the For the People Act was [at its original introduction] a truly revolutionary bill to implement many of the most critical government reform efforts.

“I also succeeded in including improving amendments when H.R.1 was taken up by the full U.S. House, such as to expand vote-bymail elections which have been so successful in increasing voter participation in Hawaii,” said Case.

Ending the Filibuster While H.R.1 has been blocked, there are options being explored. Ending the filibuster paving the way for a simple majority (51+) is one, should Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin, Krysten Sinema and a handful of others finally agree to it. This would leave open the possibility of H.R.1 being taken up again and possibly passing before the midterm. Case said, “I firmly believe that H.R.1 should pass the Senate and that with some compromise it can overcome the filibuster.” Hirono mentioned other bills besides the For the (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (No Longer Sacred....from page 4)

People Act that will not get passed because of the filibuster like as sensible gun legislation to close loopholes in our gun laws, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Immigration reform. “There are so many issues important to the people of this country that won’t be passed because Sen. McConnell has no interest in working with Democrats to get these important measures passed,” said Hirono.

Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R.4) Another option being explored is passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R.4), which aims to restore enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act. A new version of the John Lewis Act has yet to be approved by the House. Sen. Hirono said there is hope that H.R.4 may be proposed in a bipartisan way. “It is likely that the U.S. House will pass the measure as a stand-alone bill later this year,” said Case, who also co-introduced this bill in 2019. While H.R.1 is prescriptive and specific, H.R.4 creates procedural rules governing voting-rights violations. It creates a cause of action in court for private parties or the federal government to challenge voting or election laws that dilute minority voting rights. In jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory practices, H.R.4 would require these jurisdictions or states to submit changes in voting and election laws and procedures to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department for review and “preclearance” as non-discriminatory before they could take effect. Its passage could have the effect as H.R.1 in stopping some of the new restrictive bills. Features of H.R.1 US Rep. Case summed up H.R.1 as “fighting voter suppression, simplifying voting, promoting election security, curbing special interest and dark money in politics, incen-

tivizing smaller and broader donations, increasing transparency and fortifying ethics laws.” H.R.1 was the bill voter rights groups had banked on to reverse the multiple new state voter suppression laws. H.R.1 aims to expand mail-in voting, offer sameday voter registration for federal elections, require states to hold early voting for at least two weeks, establish automatic voter registration, make Election Day a federal holiday, authorize 16-17 year-olds to pre-register to vote before reaching 18. It also addresses gerrymandering, requiring states to use independent commissions to draw congressional district lines and strengthens voting security by including a voter verified paper ballot provision. H.R.1 would have been the federal voting law to establish once and for all a uniformed national standard to make voting easier and expand access. It would have essentially reversed most, if not all, the new state voter suppression laws which have become law. US Rep. Case believes there are features of H.R.1 that could be worked into a new H.R.4. He mentioned as examples the titles in H.R.1 on executive branch ethics reforms, Congressional ethics reforms, and transparency and disclosures from elected offices as possibilities. “There’s no reason to believe that the Members of Congress would oppose the remaining reform measures of H.R.1 would accept those provisions in a revised John Lewis Act,” said Case.

New Restrictive State Voting Laws Some politicos say the GOP-dominated State Legislatures modeled their voter laws by adopting features of H.R.1, but going in the opposing direction as a kind of preemptive strike. The new restrictive state laws passed are mirror opposites of H.R.1, that includes limiting mail-in voting, shortening  early voting, eliminat-

ing automatic and same-day voter registration. In addition, they have provisions strengthening  voter ID laws, curbing the use of ballot drop boxes, and allowing for more aggressive means to remove people from voter rolls. Republican state lawmakers say their goal was not to restrict voters but to make voting more secure. Critics call their new laws plainly more restrictive and undemocratic because they go against what democracy is intended to be, which is to maximize citizens participation in the voting process. Historical voting patterns suggest these new changes most likely will effect minority and immigrant voters. Democrat voters rely heavily on mail-in voting due to work scheduling conflicts compared to Republican voters who traditionally have high election day voter turnout. This alone favors one party over another. US Rep. Case said, “Continued voter suppression throughout our country is a national disgrace. In our Hawaii we have largely overcome the prejudices that in earlier generations effectively suppressed large portions of our voters and have served as a model, which causes us to not fully understand that in much of the rest of our country there are very active efforts to discourage many voters from exercising their most basic and critical right of citizenship. We  must do everything we can individually and collectively to guarantee the right to vote to all Americans.”

Potential for Backlash Against New Restrictive Laws Critics say that new voting regulations are so extreme that a backlash is sure to come. In fact, it could come in many forms, politicos are already predicting. • Voters could be more motivated to go to the polls. • Law suits will be filed and lengthy court battles could tie up these new laws. The US Justice Department announced last

“I hope it is very clear to everyone that the Democrats want to enable as many people to vote as we can because voting is a fundamental right and responsibility as American citizens. Meanwhile, you have Republicans who are trying to limit the people who are voting. And not only first of all do they want to limit the number of people who are voting, once the votes are cast, they want to be able to overturn those votes. So that is such a fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. I would like everyone to understand you have one party [Republican] that wants to take away our votes and right to vote; and another party, Democrats, who want to make sure anyone can vote, anyone who is entitled to vote can vote.”

— U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono week that it is suing the state of Georgia over its voting restrictions. “Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” The ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center also filed a lawsuit against Georgia. This doesn’t account for individual citizens who could file personal lawsuits. Legal experts believe it’s likely that at least one of these legal challenges will work its way up to the US Supreme Court where a decision by the highest court could jeopardize parts or all of these new restrictions. • Restrictions could bring more awareness for a need for federal voting reform. Public opinion polls already show strong support for features of H.R.1.

Public Opinion on Voting Rights Two-thirds, nearly 67% of Americans support clean and

fair elections, according to a Data for Progress poll. The poll found overwhelming support for the For the People Act: 77% of Democratic voters, 68% of independent voters, and 56% of Republican voters. Just over 70% of Americans believe in-person early voting should be made easier, 69% support establishing national guidelines for voting, and a majority support expanding vote-by-mail as well. Corporate America weighed in on Georgia’s restrictive new law. “Let me get crystal clear and unequivocal. This legislation is unacceptable,” said Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey. Delta CEO Ed Bastian, said: “I need to make it crystal clear that the final [Georgia] bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.” Corporations have been pressured to act by antagonists to restrictive voting in Georgia. “It was very hard under President Trump, and the business community was hoping that with a change of administration it might get a bit easier,” said Rich Lesser, the chief executive of Boston Consulting Group. “But business leaders are still facing challenges on how to navigate (continue on page 6)



Tulong Anakpawis Feeds the Poor By Perry Diaz


hen hunger hit the poor, the Tulong Anakpawis (Help the Toiling Masses) together with another organization, Sagip Kanayunan (Relief Countryside), went into action. They formed community pantries in the areas that needed the most help. And in each location, they put up the sign, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan,” which translates to “Give what you can, get what you need.”

Immediately, they were associated with the slogan popularized by Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” And right away, they were branded “communists” and red-tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as communist fronts. Thus, every community pantry organized in the country became a suspected communist front. Baseco Compound The Baseco Compound – a barangay of 60,000 poor people – was one of them. Let’s take a look at a family of nine children and one grandchild. The mother Mona Liza had to grapple

with where to get the food to feed her family. It has become a daily struggle for survival. When the lockdown was imposed, fishing was banned in the sea, which was the lifeline for many Baseco residents who live in Manila’s Port Area. “We don’t have anything for my children’s food, for

our daily expenses,” Mona Liza said. “Sometimes, at night, we don’t have anything to eat, we can only wait for the next day.” Indeed, if they don’t catch fish, there is nothing to eat. Some families just live on burnt rice and salt with water. Tulong Anakpawis had organized a community pantry to

sons Republican lawmakers are giving that election laws needed to be changed to make elections more secure. They want to rig the system, make it harder for people to vote. Higher voter turnout increases Democrats chances for winning. We saw this in 2020 with the history-breaking turnout. What happened, Biden won as a result of this big turnout. “It’s not just about me wanting Democrats to win elections. There are Democrats who deserve to be removed from office just as Republicans. It’s just unfair and un-American to make voting more restrictive. It’s against everything our country stands for. Voting is a sacred right. “Our voices are muted in many areas in everyday life. Voting is one of the few ways we feel we have control over our circumstances. I definitely support a federal law that will make voting easier for as many people possible,” said Agbayani. Cora Reyes, Kalihi, supports the new restrictive bills. “We need to make sure people who vote are who they say they are. I believe in voter rights, but the process must be secure.

She opposes a federal voting law. “State governments should determine how they want to conduct an election, which is what we have now. This shouldn’t change by federal government interfering. There is all this fuss over restricting voting. I don’t see it this way. It’s about securing our elections. After the 2020 elections, something had to be done,” said Reyes, who is a Trump supporter. There are others who do not see the divergent views that political parties have on voting rights as something to be weighed equally. Danny Corpuz, Makakilo, said “It’s very simple. One side is trying to make it harder to vote. That is taking away voting rights. I don’t understand how people can see it any other way. “Hawaii has had low voter turnout for decades, one of the worst in the nation. But look what happened in 2020 with mail-in voting. They made it easier for us by sending us the ballots. Absentee voting was always an option. But when you make things easier, people will vote. We had so many more people voting because it was convenient.

feed the poor in Baseco, but there were never enough to feed them. Many people can only afford to eat once a day. During the pandemic, the government distributed food parcels and provided several cash handouts of 4,000 pesos ($80) to the poor. But the beneficiaries used that money to pay off their store debts, buy medicine, and cover some of the family’s living expenses. But it’s not enough, so the community pantries have become the families’ only regular form of sustenance. Tulong Anakpawis Meanwhile, on April 19, six volunteers of Tulong Anakpawis and Sagip Kanayunan were on their (continue on page 7)

(COVER STORY: No Longer Sacred....from page 5)

a range of issues, and the elections issue is among the most sensitive.”

Restrictive Voting Laws in Other States Could Harm Hawaii Marisol Agbayani, Kapolei, said she is concerned about the new restrictive voting laws. “We do not live in these states making it more difficult for people to vote,

especially for minorities, but we could still be effected. As we’ve seen in the last presidential election, the results in battleground states [states on the fence politically] made all the difference. “It’s possible that if these restrictive laws were in place in 2020, Donald Trump could have still been our president. “I don’t believe the rea-

“So I cannot believe that restricting mail-in voting like what’s happening in other states is a good thing. Any [political] party trying to make things harder to vote don’t want people to vote. They know this. They’re just pretending to support voters rights,” said Corpuz. Sen. Hirono said, “I hope it is very clear to everyone that the Democrats want to enable as many people to vote as we can because voting is a fundamental right and responsibility as American citizens. Meanwhile, you have Republicans who are trying to limit the people who are voting. And not only first of all do they want to limit the number of people who are voting, once the votes are cast, they want to be able to overturn those votes. So that is such a fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. I would like everyone to understand you have one party [Republican] that wants to take away our votes and right to vote; and another party, Democrats, who want to make sure anyone can vote, anyone who is entitled to vote can vote." 



Adjustment of Status Available Only for Inspected and Admitted Aliens By Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.


unanimous Supreme Court ruled on June 7, 2021 that adjustment of status from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident (LPR) or “green card holder” is available only to aliens who have been “inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States” in accordance with the “plain terms” of Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1255, and affirmed the denial of an application for adjustment of status of an alien who entered this country illegally. Sanchez v. Mayorkas, No. 20315, June 7, 2021. In 1997, Sanchez entered the United States from El Salvador unlawfully – that is without “inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.” He worked without legal authorization. In 2001, because of unsafe living conditions in El Salvador resulting from a series of devastating earthquakes, the U.S. government granted to citizens of El Salvador in this country, including Sanchez, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), entitling him to stay and work in the United States for as long as those conditions persisted. In 2014, Sanchez wished to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States

and applied for adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. § 1255. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied Sanchez’s application on the ground that Sanchez had not been lawfully admitted to the United States. Sanchez sued in U.S. District Court challenging the decision. The District Court granted summary judgment in his favor, relying on the statutory mandate that a TPS recipient “shall be considered as” having “lawful status as a nonimmigrant” for purposes of applying to become an LPR. The district court said that this provision required treating TPS recipients “as though [they] had been ‘inspected and admitted.’” But the Court of Appeals, Third Circuit reversed, holding that “a grant of TPS does not constitute an ‘admission’ into the United States.” Sanchez v. Secretary, 967 F.3d 242, 252 (2020). The court observed that “admission” and “status” are separate concepts and providing a person with nonimmigrant status does not mean admitting him. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit, holding that a TPS recipient who entered the country unlawfully cannot become an LPR. The Supreme Court explained that “lawful status” and “admission” are distinct concepts in immigration law. Establishing one does not necessarily establish the other. For example, a student who was

admitted to the United States lawfully on a student visa but overstayed is no longer in “lawful status”. On the other hand, a foreign national can be in lawful status but not admitted, like an alien who entered the country unlawfully but then received asylum. The TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them. So, the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant (like Sanchez) eligible under 8 U.S.C. § 1255 for adjustment to LPR status. § 1255 according to its plain terms prevents Sanchez from becoming an LPR. § 1255 requires an LPR applicant to have entered the country “lawfully” with “inspection” – that is, to have been “admitted”. OBSERVATION: The Supreme Court decision cites a bill in Congress providing that TPS recipients shall be considered “as having been inspected and admitted into the United States”. American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, H.R. 6, 117th Cong., 1st Sess., § 203, p. 29, introduced March 3, 2021. The filing of such a bill is evidence that TPS recipients are not considered at the present time as

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way to distribute relief goods when they were flagged down at a police checkpoint. The group had the necessary food pass and permits to deliver the relief goods. They wore face masks and observed social distancing. Yet, without explanation, the police ordered the group to proceed to the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station. Several residents who met the volunteers at the checkpoint were also advised to go to the police station. At around noon, former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao arrived at

the police station to negotiate for the release of the relief volunteers. The police refused to release them and gave no reason for their detention. After a couple of hours, the police chief agreed to turn over the goods to the barangay for distribution to the beneficiaries. However, after a few minutes, Casilao and the volunteers were called back by the police and were told to proceed to Paombong, Bulacan and later to the Bulacan Provincial Police Office in Malolos City, (continue on page 8)

having been “admitted” into the United States. RECOMMENDATION. An alien applying for adjustment of status should write a cover letter stating: “Applicant meets the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1255 for adjustment of status because: 1. Applicant was inspected and admitted into the United States on [specify date] at [port of entry] on a [specify visa classification] visa. 2. Applicant made an application for adjustment of status under Form I-485 which is attached to this letter. 3. Applicant is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence as shown in applicant’s Form I-485 and supporting documents, and 4. An immigrant visa is immediately available to Applicant at the time of filing of this application for adjustment of

status [Explain why an immigrant visa is available, such as, since Applicant is an immediate relative (spouse) of a United States citizen whom Applicant married on [specify date], and that their marriage is bona fide.] The information provided in this article is not legal advice. Publication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. ATTY. TIPON has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. His current practice focuses on immigration law and appellate criminal defense. He has written books and legal articles for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with son Noel (senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon Law Firm) on KNDI 1270 AM band every Thurs. at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Tel. (808) 800-7856. Cell Phone, (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Websites: https://www.tiponlaw.com.



Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Works To Address Workplace Shortage Solutions


ith the launch of America Works agenda by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii (COCH) is collaborating with Hawaii’s educators, businesses and community leaders to provide workforce shortage solutions and address unemployment. According to HireNet Hawaii as of April 2021, there are 53,000 who are unemployed and 37,415 job openings. Compared to a year ago in March 2020, Hawaii had 14,200 unemployed and 31,786 job openings. In COCH’s recent survey, the workforce shortage is greatly affecting Hawaii businesses because over 80% of Hawaii employers are struggling to fill open positions. Moreover, 70% says the job openings are putting pressure on their existing employees while 60% say they had to make adjustments in overtime

and shift schedules. In light of the shortages, the Chamber is making collaborative efforts to help Hawaii’s employers and unemployed: • Sector Partnerships: Employer collaboratives are actively meeting to build Hawaii’s talent pool for in-demand jobs in the engineering and healthcare field. The partnerships are co-convened by COCH and the State of Hawaii Workforce Development Council, with support from the University of Hawaii (UH), Hawaii Department of Education and private sector employers. • Short-Term Training Programs: Multiple shortterm training programs are now available through the UH Community Colleges’ Hana Careers Pathway program, the American Job Centers, and others. The COCH is a collabora-

tive partner. • Work-based Learning: Work-based Learning Intermediaries bring real-world work exposure to high school students enrolled in Career Academies. This places students on a career pathway from an early age, increasing their likelihood of attaining an Industry Recognized Certification or de-

gree after high school. • Supply & Demand Alignment: an analysis is underway to identify Hawaii’s current and future IT workforce needs, ensuring that training and education programs in Hawaii are producing the skills and qualifications employers need in the information technology fields. This analysis is a collaboration

between the UH Community Colleges, COCH, the Harold KL Castle Foundation, and private sector employers that hire IT workers. • COCH also recently launched “Hawaii is Hiring,” which is designed to connect Hawaii Residents impacted by COVID-19 with employment and training resources.. 

for violating the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) guidelines on Authorized Persons Outside of Residence. At the police station, the group underwent a medical examination and their mugshots were taken. But still, no formal charges were made against them and their detention continued. After three days of detention, charges of violating the Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and

Health Events of Public Health Concern Act was filed against them. The six volunteers and Casilao were released after posting bail of P40,000 each. Casilao was charged with Inciting to Sedition and Usurpation of Authority. In a statement sent to the media outlets, Casilao asserted that they did nothing wrong and did not violate the quarantine rules. “It was an attack on activists

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where they were asked to wait for the police director. When the police director arrived, he admonished Casilao and shouted at the relief volunteers, and started accusing them of bringing propaganda materials against the government. The police confiscated their Food Pass. At 5 p.m. the volunteers were ordered back to the Norzagaray Police Station for inquest proceedings and that they would be charged

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Fully Vaccinated Hawaii Bound Domestic Travelers to Bypass Testing/Quarantine


tarting July 8, Hawaii will allow domestic visitors to bypass its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirement as long as they have been fully vaccinated in the United States. Visitors must upload their CDC-issued vaccination record card to Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program website and have that card with them upon arrival in Hawaii. As Hawaii anticipates reaching a 60% vaccination

rate by July 8, Governor David Ige said that when the 70% vaccination is reached “all restrictions will end and we can return to the lives we remember.” “Our residents have sacrificed and worked hard to get to this point, but we still have more to do. Please get vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones,” said Ige. When the state reaches a 70% vaccination rate, all restrictions will terminate and social gatherings will no longer

be restricted while restaurants will continue to be regulate normally by the Department of Health. The DOH may establish new, permanent rules to keep everyone protected in light of the pandemic. The state’s county mayors expressed their support to reach the goal of 70% vaccination rate. “The commitment of our residents to protect themselves and others will get us to 60%, a huge step ahead for Oahu’s

economic recovery and the health of our communities. Our next goal is 70%, it’s achievable,” said Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi. “We now have the tools we need to protect ourselves and others. Please continue to be responsible in wearing masks and keeping your distance while in crowded spaces and get vaccinated if you are able,” reminded Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami. Maui Mayor Micahel Victorino said: “We hope this serves as an incentive to the

urban poor that were hardly hit by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). “It is both the right and duty of every Filipino to aid those in need. The government has no moral authority to sabotage the relief efforts of activists. The delivery of relief packs to the impoverished communities will continue,” Casilao said.

The judge upon hearing the charges against the six volunteers and Casilao, dropped the charge of violating RA11332 saying that it was not an offense of said law. However, the judge did not dismiss the charges of Inciting to Sedition and Usurpation of Authority against Casilao. What have we learned

from these incidents? What happened to the volunteers is an abuse of power by the police, who instead of helping the volunteers, had harassed them. The Duterte administration should – nay, must – provide assistance to the volunteers to alleviate their sufferings from police bureaucratic tactics. In other words – cut

unvaccinated to get the shot to protect themselves, their loved ones and the rest of our community.” With working with the governor and his fellow mayors in setting a clear date for transitioning statewide COVID restrictions, Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth said: “By setting clear dates, we will be able to allow our overseas ohana to better plan their trips while allowing our businesses, families, and sports leagues to better prepare for the road to recovery that lies ahead.”.

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carrying out humanitarian activities and adhered to the bayanihan spirit in this time of an emergency situation,” Casilao said in his statement. Meanwhile, Tulong Anakpawis and Sagip Kanayunan said that they would continue to deliver relief aid to communities of farmers, fisherfolk, and

the bureaucracy! It has no place in times of pandemic. For many of these families, the fear of COVID-19 will never compare to the more acute daily threat of hunger. Hunger kills. PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.



Lifting of The Mask Requirement Sends Mixed Emotions, Confusion By Elpidio R. Estioko


nowingly or unknowingly, the latest pronouncement of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the mask requirement is eliciting mixed emotions and confusion among Americans! One of my friends told me the announcement confused him on what to do: “Do I have to follow the CDC, my local government, my company, the establishments I go to, or my way?” He also mentioned instances of petty quarrels in stores on the issue of not wearing a mask. This came even when the debate of wearing masks has been ongoing, especially to those who consider the coronavirus as a conspiracy theory. It seems that the most recent federal guidance on wearing masks offered a glimmer of hope that the pandemic’s end was inching closer, but it has also caused confusion, anger and worry. On May 13, CDC recommended that “fully vaccinated individuals no longer had to wear masks indoors, except in

hospitals, on public transit and in other specified places.” This guidance encourages people to get vaccinated but it also left people wondering what it means for individuals and society as a whole. This brings confusion to many also who interpreted it differently. “Some unfortunately interpreted this guidance as an immediate end to the indoor mask mandates or that the COVID-19 epidemic is essentially over,” Jeffrey Duchin, a public health expert with Public Health – Seattle & King County, told reporters at an Infectious Diseases Society of America news briefing on May 20. Somehow, Duchin was right because the United States is still recording more than 24,000 cases and about 500 deaths each day from COVID-19. That’s the lowest level in the last 10 months, Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert who heads the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn., said May 18 in a podcast. But only 38% of the total population was fully vaccinated as of May 20. This is what makes the confusion even more confusing. For local governments

to shape their policy on this issue, they have to consider things like “how widely the virus is spreading locally and local vaccination rates, the prevalence of more contagious variants, and the efficacy of the vaccine they got.” As far as Hawaii is concerned, it may not be that confusing because Hawaii Governor David Ige was firm in saying that Hawaii will maintain mask rules despite new CDC guidance. Eleni Avendano wrote in Hawaii Civil Beat that Ige believes “it’s too soon to lift mask mandates because it’s impossible to determine who’s vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated. The state will continue to require everybody to wear masks when within 6 feet of people who aren’t in their household.” Ige credited Hawaii’s mask policy for helping keep the state’s infection rates low and he doesn’t feel comfortable easing the rule with only 40% of Hawaii’s total population fully vaccinated, but he said lifting it is not yet timely. He also recognized that keeping Hawaii’s mask rules in place could cause some confusion, especially among visitors who have been flocking back to the island state, but the message will be made clear at airports in the state. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said “people whose immune systems are compromised should consult with their doctors before forgoing masks. And the requirement to wear masks during travel and on public transportation still stands.” Along this line, Ige said: “We have also reached out to our travel partners, the airlines and hotels to ask them to redouble efforts to ask travelers to be respectful of our rules and regulations and to remind them that there continues to be a mask mandate in the state of Hawaii and they will be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors unless they can maintain physical distancing.” Travelers in Hawaii are still subject to a 10-day quar-

antine if they cannot show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result acquired within 72 hours of their last flight to the islands. Hawaii began allowing people who were vaccinated in the state to bypass the testing protocols as the state is still working out how to verify and validate COVID-19 vaccinations for travelers who got inoculated out of state and inter-Pacific arrivals. Recently, however, when my wife Delia, daughter May, and I visited Hawaii last month, they required us to go through a COVID-19 swab test two days before our actual flight. It turned out we were negative, so we flew to Honolulu, and everything went fine. “We are in the process of reviewing those changes in the guidelines and will be announcing appropriate adjustments as we move forward. The state mask mandate continues to be in force. We will continue to enforce the mask mandate,” Ige said in a news conference a few weeks ago. The governor’s sentiments are in opposition to Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s. Green told Hawaii News Now that he believes the state’s mask mandate should be lifted for fully vaccinated residents. Lifting the mandate, he said, is “part of the process to return to normalcy and to trust the vaccines. It will have an impact as we go forward in having people do the right thing. I think the state should adopt that because we believe in science.” Green also added: “I think we should adopt it. I think it’s a statement of trust that the vaccination program is working and that it should also help to encourage people to be vaccinated.” Oahu opinions on the new guidance were mixed too. “Personally, I’ve been vaccinated, so I like the fact that I don’t have to wear a mask,” said Aina Haina resident Rick Tune. Taylor Vitarelli of Makiki, on the other hand, said: “It’s too soon to ditch masks.

I think we should still wear masks because even though a lot of people are vaccinated some people don’t have that opportunity.” Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco tweeted that he would go maskless indoors under three conditions: If everyone in the room has been vaccinated; If any unvaccinated people present are wearing masks; and/or if the local COVID-19 rate is so low that it’s unlikely that an unmasked, unvaccinated person might carry the virus. But is it really time to rejoice? California Governor Gavin Newsom doesn’t sound confident. “This disease has not been extinguished. It’s not taking the summer months off,” Newsom said. Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, the vice dean for population health and health equity at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, however, said: “We absolutely are!” in answer to the question if California is ready. Dr. Bibbins-Domingo cited the state’s low case rates have been stable, and the state’s vaccination rates are high overall. That, however, doesn’t mean Dr. Bibbins-Domingo is without worry. We cannot ignore the fact that the pandemic is still around! There are still pockets where fewer people are vaccinated, which means that the virus – and particularly any virulent variants – could spread more easily through a given community. Despite the lifting by CDC, there is no federal mandate (from the top) to stop wearing masks, other than the announcement to lift it. It still boils down to local governments, business establishments, schools, political and non-political institutions and such to wear masks or not. This is what makes it confusing! ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the U.S. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).



An Appreciation for Benigno Aquino III By Emil Guillermo


f course, I was stunned and saddened to see the passing of former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. As a “junior” myself, I felt an extreme sense of compassion. Aquino was more than a “June.” As a full third, No. 3, or III, he was conferred the extreme responsibility of legacy. Is there anything more burdensome than to have no less than the idealistic brand of Philippine democracy and freedom as your very identity? This was not like putting the name “Trump” on a glass building, a golf course, or a piece of dryaged meat. This was way more than that. This was the brand that the hopes and dreams of Filipinos in the country, and in diaspora, depended on as the hopeful embodiment of a free, independent, and fully functioning democracy in service to its people. And yet, considering the years of democracy’s dysfunction in the mother country, could the Philippines ever really reach a level where it would achieve that ideal state of the state? Do we even begin to speak of an end of “inequality” in the land of oligarchs and cronies that easily could model for the U.S. how that corruptive form of democracy can exist? Indeed, after his mother, Corazon carried the mantel for his father, the hero, Benigno Aquino, Jr., could III, do anything that could match that all too momentary state of perfection his mother brought to the country? That would be when the Philippines went from

Marcos to Cory with a little help of that flood of humanity – the history-making “People Power.” We knew it was a special moment, were only it not so fleeting. Still, what possibly could a son do for a family encore when Cory herself was imperfect during her years in office? People power got the Philippines out of martial law. That was ginormous. But were they then able to remake the country into the kind of democracy we had all hoped for? Sadly, as we have seen, that’s a long-term project that will take more than the Aquinos. So in our assessment, let’s cut Noy-noy, or PNoy, some slack. He did what he could. And the significant thing that even American Filipinos notice is he stood up to China’s sabre-rattling in the Spratly Islands. Most people don’t know about the Spratlys, or the West Philippine Sea. On the map, it gets obscured. Isn’t that the South China Sea? Are those islands, essential military squares on the world’s chessboard, even a worthy thing? Of course, they are. And this was where PNoy made his mark. Going face to face with China is no small thing. Seeing images of an undersized Philippine Navy in an old vessel standing up to China behind a Philippine flag was the maritime version of David and Goliath. Or maybe the Tiananmen Square man standing up to a Chinese tank in Beijing. The symbolic gestures of PNoy’s political and legal maneuverings showed the world the country could hold off the Chinese in the name of Philippine sovereignty. A big deal.

are we facing today? The China that recently shut down press freedoms in Hong Kong is indicative of China’s desire – its unrelenting march to being the authoritarian world power. PNoy’s spirited fight for the Spratlys is but a historical memory as the Philippines seems all too willing to bend and bow to China. That’s the sad thing about Aquino, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III that he died so young During that fight, I re- at age 61. That’s the age member trying to do what I when a politician is getting could as an American Fili- his second wind. That’s the pino consumer. Could I stop time the good are trying to using Chinese goods? Could I do a personal protest of Chinese products? Boycott? Of course, realistically, could you stop using Apple products? Stop going to Walmart? Stop buying cheap clothes and products made in China that enable U.S. consumerism? For the most part, the answer is no. Good thing PNoy wasn’t relying on me. Or us. But putting it all into consumeristic terms shows how China is part of all our lives, whether we like it or not. And that we must consider it all. The world has a say if China starts making moves on the world stage that belongs to the Philippines. The Philippines definitely has a say. It took Benigno Aquino III, a certain kind of politician and a patriot true to his country to stand tall. For a real contrast, compare PNoy with Duterte whose tilt to China represents the sad reality of a real regression. And what kind of China

figure out their grand finale. And the bad are trying to rewrite their past. For Aquino, standing up to China was his big moment. Let’s hope all the ruling class, the Phil-Pols and Poligarchs, remember PNoy’s act of brave and courageous leadership. As democracy sputters along, we can always use a shot of the nationalistic pride in the Philippines. Benigno Aquino III got that right when he stood up to the landgrab of China. 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.



The Gift of Words

Lahat ay kakayanin, Dakila ka, dakila ka Pinoy! Milya-milya man ang layo Patuloy na lalaban Walang makakapigil

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


artin Luther once said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” I believe this is true. Writers have the chance to make a difference, the ability to bring hope, the gift to change the world. Recently, I just had the opportunity to do so. In celebration of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day and 26th Migrant Workers Day, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, South Korea and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-OWWA organized an essay writing contest and an original song composition contest open to all the Filipinos in South Korea with the theme, “Lakas ng Pinoy sa Korea sa Panahon ng Pandemya” (The Power of Pinoy In Time of a Pandemic). As a Filipino in South Korea, it was a wonderful opportunity to speak a message of hope to my fellow Filipinos who are going through difficult times brought about by the pandemic. And so, I wrote – not just an essay but also a song. For the essay writing contest, I wrote a letter to my children, something I truly love doing, telling them about the strength Filipinos display in the midst of a challenging season. I entitled my essay, “Beautiful Heritage.” Here is an excerpt:

“We, Filipinos, are a people used to storms lashing our nation. Year in and year out, typhoons named from A to Z devastate people’s lives. We are a people accustomed to disasters, tragedies, hardships and trials. This pandemic is just one of the many crises we have faced as a nation. We get wounded in the battles we are confronted with as a people, but we always bounce back. We rise up. We don’t give up. We don’t quit. We keep fighting and we finish strong. You know why? We are a people of faith. We put our trust in the God who is sovereign over everything and rescues those who call upon His Name. We are a people of love. We are motivated by our deep love for our family, and we will do everything we can to give our loved ones a better life. We are a people of passion. Wherever life brings us and in whatever we do, we give our best. We are a people of sacrifice. We lay our lives down for another. We are a people of joy and humor. In the midst of trials and heartbreaks, we still manage to put a smile on our face, and we laugh our way out of our sadness and pain. We are a people of hope. We see the silver lining in the storms of life. We are Filipinos. This is who we are. This is who you are. You were both born in South Korea. Your daddy and I are forever grateful for the blessing, comfort and convenience that this nation gives

Paulit-ulit na tatayo. Anumang bagyo ang harapin Ano pa mang suliranin Walang makakatalo Dahil ika’y Pinoy!

to our family. It has provided us with privileges and opportunities that living in our home country will not be able to give. This may be the country of your birth, but we want you both to take pride in the country of your roots. We desire for you to be proud calling yourselves Filipinos. Yes, we are blessed to be in this nation, but this nation is also blessed to have us. Our people are a blessing to the nation of South Korea. You are a gift to this land.” My essay won third place among 56 entries. My husband and I love music. I sing and he plays the piano. Joining the songwriting competition was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss. We have been praying for a platform to encourage the people around us, and this was an answer to our prayer. One evening, I wrote the lyrics. My husband helped me with the melody. We recorded the song using our phones. And we were privileged to have our song heard by hundreds of Filipinos in South Korea. These are the words of “Dakila Ka, Pinoy” (You’re a

Legend, Pinoy) which I pray would touch your heart. Malaking unos ang dumating Buong mundo’y napilitang harapin Sakit at hirap na dala nito’y Kinailangang kayanin. Maraming buhay ang kinitil, Mga plano ay naglaho, Kabuhayan ay natigil, Mga pangarap ay gumuho. Subalit sa kabila nito’y Lakas ng loob kang humaharap Sa di makitang kaaway Ikaw ay lumalaban. Katatagan ng loob, Pagmamahal sa pamilya, Tiwala sa Panginoon, Dumadaloy ang pag-asa. Di ka natitinag, Liwanag ay maaaninag,

Our song won first place among nine equally amazing and talented composers. When I shared the song with family and friends on social media, man expressed gratitude for the encouragement it has given to their downcast souls and broken spirits. I have been writing since I was in kindergarten. I wrote poems, letters and essays. I joined competitions. I have written in school papers and local newspapers in the Philippines. I learned that we write, not to impress but to express. We write, not with our minds but with our hearts. I am grateful to the God who created the world with words, the one who blessed me with the gift of words. Indeed, as William H. Gass said, “The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” 



Philippines Diplomacy and Its American Heritage By Rose Cruz Churma


n commemoration of the 75th anniversary on July 4th of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines, this issue’s book review is on Marciano de Borja’s insightful look at the evolution of Philippine diplomacy. In anticipation of granting independence to the fledgling republic, the US Department of State inaugurated the Philippine Foreign Affairs Training Program in Washington D.C. at the end of 1945, with the intent of training the first group of Filipinos in diplomatic and consular work. Forty Filipino men were selected to undergo training in diplomatic and consular work. These trainees eventually formed an initial officers’ corps and are considered the pioneering Filipino diplomats

and were collectively called the “State Department Boys” – hence the title of this book. These “boys” were among those originally called “pensionados” or government scholars who were sent to the United States during the American colonial period. The 40 men were divided into five groups, and in Group III were Emilio Behasa, Juan Dionisio and Alejandro Yango – the three would eventually be assigned to Hawaii. Emilio Behasa would serve as Consul General in Honolulu from July 1953 to August 1957; followed by Juan Dionisio in September 1957 to January 1962; and Alejandro Yango from January 1962 to June 1966. The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. was the first and logical diplomatic mission established after Philippine Independence in July 1946, with Joaquin Miguel Elizalde as the first Philippine Ambassador to the United States. The book notes that the embassy preceded the establishment of the Department of

Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila or the Philippine Foreign Service. To further strengthen Philippine relations with the United States and to provide consular services to the 50,000+ Filipinos in American then, three Philippine Consulate General locations were established soon after – in New York City in September 25, 1946; in San Francisco in December 2, 1946; and in Honolulu on January 9, 1947 with Modesto Farolan as head of mission. By 1950, aside from the

three Consulates General in New York City, San Francisco and Honolulu, there were five other consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, Portland and Seattle, and an honorary consulate in Agana, Guam. One of the first initiatives of Consul General Modesto Farolan when he arrived in Hawaii was to establish the Philippine Memorial Foundation Ltd. which would be instrumental in raising funds from the local Filipino community to enable the foundation to purchase a large property in Nu’uanu to house the consulate. The foundation leased the property to the consular mission, using the rental income to cover its amortization fees. When Juan Dionisio (one of the State Department Boys) headed the mission in 1957, he started the negotiation to purchase the property for the Philippine government, finalizing the purchase in 1961. Before he left office, he also organized the formation of the United

Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH) and its island councils, and after leaving the foreign service, established the Hawaii Filipino News in the mid 1980s. The author, Marciano R. de Borja is a career diplomat. His most recent post was Minister of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York City. He holds degrees from the University of the Philippines and the University of Navarra in Spain and studied international politics at the University of Tokyo. Albert F. del Rosario, the former Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs commends Mr. de Borja – whom he calls the department’s prolific in-house diplomat-historian – “for coming up with a well-researched book – a real contribution to Philippine diplomacy.” ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@gmail.com.


Filipino Organization in Maui Awards $24,000 In Scholarships


wenty-one Maui high school graduates will receive $24,000 in scholarships from Maui-based Filipino organization, Binhi at Ani. The non-profit will award three top students with $2,000 while the remaining 18 students will receive $1,000. The students were evaluated by the organization’s panel of judges for their academic achievement, honors, activities, personal essay and letters of recommendation. “All the students were successful in the classroom and their co-curricular activities,” said Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, chairperson of the Scholarship Committee. “Thanks to the success of our inaugural Scholarship Golf Tournament and the generosity of our scholarship partners, we are able to award scholarships to twenty-one outstanding students,” said Melen Agcolicol, president of Binhi at Ani. The following are the 21

students awarded with the Binhi at Ani scholarship: Lance Christian Abut from Laihanaluna High School will attend Seattle Pacific University, majoring in Business Administration. Abut receives a $1,000 scholarship In Memory of Gloria Evangelista Cajigal/Binhi at Ani scholarship. Caitlin Raquel Lizada Baclay from Lahainaluna High School will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Biology. Baclay receives a $1,000 Maui Island Cozy Dental/Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Marigold Baldonado from Maui High School will attend Oregon State University, majoring in Graphic Design. Baldonado receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Jerome Butac from Maui High School will attend Pacific University, majoring in Applied Science. Butac receives a $1,000 Bayer Crop Science Hawaii/Binhi at Ani

Scholarship. Kyson Calibuso from Maui High School will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Nursing. Calibuso receives a $2,000 Suzanne Michelle McGrath/ Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Lauryn Hashimoto from Maui High School will attend Washington State University, majoring in Biology/Chemistry. Hashimoto receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Mai Huyhn from Maui High School will attend St. Olaf College, majoring in Political Science/History. Huyhn receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Moses Ligot from Maui High School will attend the University of Hawaii Maui College, majoring in Business Administration/Marketing. Ligot receives a $1,000 McDonald’s of Maui/Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Sydnie Matsuda from

Maui High School will attend Pacific University, majoring in Education. Matsuda receives a $1,000 Kula and Hoku/Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Erin Akemi Mukai from H.P. Baldwin High School will attend the University of Washington, majoring in Neuroscience. Mukai  receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Ariana Rose Pacleb from Lahainaluna High School will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Nursing.  Pacleb receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Jeremy Peros from Maui High School will attend the University of California-Irvine, majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. Peros receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Haley Purdy from Maui High School will attend the University of Hawaii Maui

College, majoring in Pre-Pharmacy. Purdy receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Yuriana Robles from Maui High School will attend Baylor University, majoring in Child Development and Family Studies. Robles receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Clouie Salacup from Maui High School will attend San Diego State University, majoring in Psychology. Salacup receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Shania Tumpap from Lahainaluna High School will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Psychology. Tumpap receives a $2,000 Renato & Maria A.F. Etrata Foundation/Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Abbygail Cinena Viloria from H.P. Baldwin High School will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Secondary Education-English. Viloria receives a $1,000 (continue on page 15)



Modeling the Cognitive Repercussions of Educational Attainment In Filipino Women

By Dr. Freddie Rabelas Obligacion, Ph.D.


hat are the cognitive consequences of educational attainment among Filipino women? In addressing this question, I formulated a causal model containing structural and cognitive components. The structural component of the model was based on the sociological literature on the relationship between education and self-efficacy or the perception of personal control. Low educational levels are associated with personal powerlessness -- the perception that outcomes are determined by external and uncontrollable forces. Conversely, high educational attainment correlates with perceptions of self-efficacy or personal control -- the belief that outcomes are contingent upon one’s actions. Guided by sociological and psychological literature, I proposed that high educational attainment generates sequelae of constructive cognitions, namely, self-efficacy, favorable attitudes toward achievement,  high self-esteem, high success expectations, and a strong motivation for self-improvement. My findings reveal that the respondents showed self-efficacy rather than powerlessness.  Participants in the research also demonstrated favorable attitudes toward achievement and high self-esteem. Success  expectations, however, were relatively low. For example, a majority of the women felt that their situation three years from now would be the same or even worse than the present. The women also expressed pessimism about the outcomes of poverty alleviation programs. Most significantly, my study demonstrated the positive effects resulting from Filipino women’s high regard for education. Like most Filipinos, Bicolanas view education as the “royal road” to upward social mobility.

Poor parents, in particular, consider education as the only legacy they can leave their children. Hence, poor parents forego luxuries and engage in backbreaking labor to invest in their children’s education. Such efforts, this study revealed, have not been in vain. Forty percent of the respondents went to college. An impressive 97% had at least an elementary education. Further, 94% possessed knowledge of different crafts and marketable skills. The Bicolanas’ noteworthy educational achievements resulted in strong perceptions of self-efficacy or personal control. This finding is significant because it contradicts the well-established link between poverty and powerlessness. The relatively high educational attainment of the respondents served to negate the powerlessness experienced by people who live in adverse daily circumstances. The respondents lent further credence to the adage that knowledge is power. As educators always believed, learning makes people “masters of their destiny”. Indeed, even if people choose to control their environment or even if others grant them control, individuals cannot experience mastery if they lack the skills and knowledge required in a given situation. Choice without knowledge, information, or consciousness is not choice. Aside from enhancing self-efficacy, education developed favorable altitudes toward achievement among the respondents. This finding supports the argument that education provides drive, direction, and purpose. Education produces “makers” who think of life “as something to be created by their efforts”. Equipped with a perception of personal control and positive definitions of achievement, Filipino women in this study showed high self-esteem. This result corroborates

studies showing the maximization of affective reactions among achievement-oriented people. On the other hand, powerless individuals are burdened by the belief that they are helpless victims of fate. Therefore, they feel useless and develop shaky confidence in their abilities. Consistent with the hypothesized sequelae, findings further demonstrated that high self-esteem leads to high success expectancies. Success expectancies rise when outcomes are seen as responsive to manipulation. Conversely, if a successful outcome is attributed to an uncontrollable external element such as luck, success expectancies fall because of expected randomness and uncertainty inherent in perceptions of powerlessness. Success expectancies, in turn, determine the motivation for self-improvement. Persons with high success expectations undertake self-improvement efforts vigorously. Optimism, when combined with personal control, enables people to attempt tasks they might otherwise avoid and motivates them to persist at these tasks. This combination of constructive cognitions likewise heightens the resolve to improve one’s life by acting on the environment. On the other hand, the pessimistic and the powerless face obstacles and challenges with negative self-talk, decreased effort, and haphazard planning. The positive portrait of the Bicolanas’ perceptions, discussed thus far should be tempered by the finding that the Bicolanas reported low success expectations. This finding contradicts what might have been predicted by the proposed model. As hypothesized, the respondents’ self-efficacy, high educational attainment, high achievement valuation, and high self-esteem should have raised the women’s success expectations. However, it must be recalled that the women were overwhelming of low socioeconomic status.

This relationship corroborates the relationship between pessimism and poverty. Pervasive cynicism and hopelessness are common among the poor. Moreover, the respondents’ pessimism could be symptomatic of a highly educated group’s unfulfilled dreams and potentials. Note that while the average educational attainment of the women was a high school diploma and that 40% of them went to college, only 25% made it above the poverty line. This finding brings to mind the observation that the Filipinas’ achievements in education have not been effectively translated into economic advantages in the larger society. While the women’s success expectations were low, their motivation for self-improvement was not adversely affected because of the stronger compensatory influences of high educational attainment, favorable attitudes toward achievement, and self-efficacy. The strong desire for self-improvement was explicitly manifested in 90% of the women stating that they read frequently and monitored selfhelp programs over the radio or television. Eighty percent expressed their willingness to participate in skills training programs and seminars designed to enhance their present capabilities. About 60% signified their intentions to pursue further formal education. These observations suggest the survival mechanisms of a subordinated group. Confronted by hostile structural and natural forces, Bicolanas have maintained a belief in self-efficacy which is largely reinforced by impressive educational accomplishments. Thus, encouraging educational ambition among young Filipino women must continue to be a key strategy in poverty alleviation initiatives. The pursuit of education fends off ap-

athy and powerlessness among the poor who tend to look at life in the following manner: To me, one’s destiny is controlled by a mysterious hand that moves all things. Only for the select do things turn out as planned; to those of us who are born to be tamale eaters, heaven sends only tamales. We plan and plan and some little thing happens to wash it all away. The educated individual, in contrast, will respond to the vagaries of life with positive self-talk, greater optimism, self-confidence, and persistence even in the face of repeated failures. A positive mindset and tenacity are necessary for women situated in cultures where sexism and discrimination continue to deny women their rightful place in society. Filipino women, for instance, will need to contend with the push-and-pull forces in a society that encourages women’s accomplishments but imposes limits if such achievements threaten the status quo. Moreover, the constructive cognitions that result from education will be critical factors in the success of continuing education programs. Without positive attitudes toward achievement, feelings of personal control, high self-esteem, and high success expectations, women may not be motivated to pursue lifelong educational opportunities. Even granting the possibility that an unmotivated and pessimistic woman will initially participate in a skills training program, she is not likely to persist at learning new competencies. Therefore, adult education programs which do not emphasize the cognitive readiness of participants are likely to be exercised in futility. Paradoxically, however, in a society where poverty constantly threatens the dignity and sanity of its constituents, avenues for continuing education remain a viable mechanism for survival and social advancement.

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


COMMUNITY CALENDAR 2021 PISTAHAN VIRTUAL PARADE AND FESTIVAL | The Filipino American Arts Exposition | August 14-15, 11am to 3pm | Celebrate Filipino heritage and culture with the theme “Renew, Recover and Rise Together.” | Livestream will be available on Kumu App (pistahanSF), Facebook.com/pistah-

anSF and Youtube.com/pistahanSF. VIVE LE CINEMA | Hawaii International Film Festival | July 8 to 18 | Virtual showcase | HIFF presents award-winning films from Cannes Film Festival to Hawaii. Tickets at HIFF.org.

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


Retail Drug Prices Rises Faster than Inflation If an older American is taking During the Pandemic four to five prescription drugs per


ith COVID-19 pandemic greatly affecting the economy, prices for certain goods went up that even top brand name drugs had price increases that exceeded the general inflation rate. According to AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report covering the retail prescription drugs industry in 2020, retail prices for 260 brand name prescription drugs increased more than twice as fast as general inflation, “rising 2.9% compared to an inflation rate of 1.3%.”

“It’s inexcusable that even during a pandemic and financial crisis, brand name drug companies continued to increase their prices so much faster than the prices of other goods and services,” said Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP. In 2015, the average annual cost of one brand name medication that is used regularly is $5,500. But last year, the average annual cost went over to $6,600.

(HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS: Filipino Organization....from page 13)

Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Alexis Joy Viloria from Maui High School will attend Stanford University, majoring in Anthropology and Journalism. Viloria receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Jacob Wittenberg from King Kekaulike High School graduate will attend San Diego State University, majoring in Political Science. Wittenberg receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship.

Michael Wong from Maui High School will attend Rice University, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Wong receives a $1,000 Binhi at Ani Scholarship. Jadynne Zane from Maui High School will attend the University of Southern California, majoring in Bioengineering. Zane receives a $2,000 Friends of Gil Keith-Agaran/Binhi at Ani Scholarship.

month, the annual cost of their medication in 2020 would have been more than $31,000 which is way over the average annual income of $26,000 for Medicare beneficiaries. Moreover, according to AARP: “Medicare Part D spending nearly $40 billion more on top brand name drugs between 2015 and 2019 due to price increases that increases the general inflation rate.” Moreover, Medicare Part D spent nearly $40 billion more on top brand name prescription drugs because companies had “annual price increases that exceeded the corresponding rate of inflation from 2015 to 2019.” “It’s unfair that drug prices keep rising, even for medications that have been on the market for decades. Americans can’t afford to keep paying the highest drug prices in the world,” said Leigh Purvis, Director Health Care Costs and Access, AARP Public

Policy Institute, and co-author of the reports. In response to the growing need to regulate prescription drugs, AARP has been calling on national and state lawmakers to take action to address the issue including: Price Negotiation: Allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs for its beneficiaries and allow other insurers to have access to the Medicare-negotiated prices. Inflation Based Rebates: Require drug manufacturers to pay a penalty when their prices for prescription drugs covered by Medicare Parts B and D increase faster than inflation. Out-of-Pocket Cap: Create a hard out-ofpocket spending cap for Medicare Part D enrollees. “No one should be forced to choose between paying their bills and paying for the medicine they need to stay healthy. Our leaders need to take action now to lower drug prices,” Whitman said. AARP is the country’s leading and largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people age 50 and older. To view the full Rx Watch Report, visit aarp.org/ rxpricewatch. (Solution to Crossword No. 6 | June 19, 2021)

KROSWORD ni Carlito Lalicon

Blg. 7


1. Kabog 6. Madikit 13. Partida 14. Isang uri ng isdang kabalya na walang iniwan sa hasahasa 16. Tulong 17. Hingi 18. Burador 19. Yapusin 21. Totoo ba? 22. Ayta 23. Sulirin 24. Amis 25. Brutal 27. Baklas


1. Gaslaw 2. Isang uri ng yerba o damo na nagbubung ng sustansiyang ginagamit sa paggawa ng sabon 3. Amain 4. Tula 5. Parugo 6. Maharot

28. Tawas 29. Humamak 30. Ilag 31. Hepe 32. Ulak 35. Mabulok (ang isda) 39. Amin 40. Bitadtad 41. Patak ng tubig na nagmumula sa himpapawid 42. Gayuma 43. Maralita 44. Apog 45. Teklada 46. Aborsyon

47. Mag-aasawa 49. Proporsiyon 51. Tagasambot

52. Uway 53. Bululos 54. Mapa ng daigdig

7. Nasa kapanabikang bahagi 8. Mag-aral 9. Atin 10. Kaibigan 11. Malinis 12. Kaoba 13. Lapian 15. Gitil 20. Bikas

23. Parilya 24. Tradisyon 26. Insultuhin 27. Bubuling-bahay 29. Tagapaglaba ng damit 31. Kapital ng Senegal 32. Gawa 33. Kasama sa paglalakad 34. Konsegrahin 35. Kapital ng Bulacan

36. Ingat 37. Saluysoy 38. Utusan. 40. Alawas 42. Isang uri ng munting ibon 45. Bahay 46. Di-pagkaka-angkop 48. Kotse 50. Huwego


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JULY 3, 2021

Profile for Hawaii Filipino Chronicle

Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - July 3, 2021  

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