Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - July 16, 2022

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JULY 16, 2022


Vicky Cayetano and The Filipino Vote


Leo R. Asuncion, Jr. Appointed Chairman of Public Utilities Commission


Filipino Americans Running for Office in the 2022 Primary Elections


Political Fireworks Greet Bongbong On Day One



The New Measure of Filipino Empowerment: ‘Exceptions to the Rule of Success, Should Be the Standard’


ilipino empowerment in Hawaii has been a goal, point of discussion for decades since the early days of the sakadas (marginal awareness because sakadas viewed themselves as transient) to Filipinos’ entry into labor unions as stevedores and hotel industry Local 5 members (nascent stage of Filipino empowerment). Arguably the peak of Filipino empowerment awareness came in the 1990s, early 2000s with the rise of Filipinos’ penetration into multi-sectors of industry and professions. Unfortunately today, there is a clear drop among millennials and Gen Z in their focus on or of even having a need for Filipino empowerment wherein this latest generation places more emphasis on individual empowerment rather than community empowerment. Community, strength in numbers, first measure of Filipino empowerment Central to Filipino empowerment is this sense of “community.” For those who live or have lived outside of Hawaii and California they perhaps have a better understanding of this. The absence of a vibrant Filipino community, thus absence of Filipino empowerment, is palpable on the mainland. Because at the very basic level of empowerment there needs to be strength in numbers and unity. And not just having a community with a shared culture, but having actual events-meetings to gather and celebrate our uniqueness and place in society as a subculture within the larger society. In most parts of US mainland, this stark dearth of community among Filipinos makes Hawaii transplants realize just how having a sense of “belonging” is potently empowering and something many Hawaii Filipinos take for granted. In sheer numbers alone, one aspect of Filipino empowerment – a truly significant one –Filipinos have already achieved a high level of empowerment as Hawaii’s largest ethnic community in the state. With immigration from the Philippines to Hawaii posting the highest number, this area of empowerment will only fortify. Political empowerment, second measure of Filipino empowerment Based on Filipinos large population, we are actually slightly underperforming politically (voting turnout not as high, based on voter turnout stats in neighborhoods with high concentration of Filipinos). We still have potential to harness even greater pollical strength, which is another significant area measuring Filipino empowerment. Already examples of Filipinos political strength in representation at the State Senate, House and City Councils are plentiful with the high point being Ben Cayetano’s election as the first governor in the nation; and arguably a missing piece in the political power chess board being the elusive election of a Filipino to represent Hawaii in Congress (which this 2022 election is arguably one of if not the best chances for victory). Why is the political arena so important for empowerment? Because politics is the most practical area and most powerful tool from which all areas of lifestyles and opportunities can be engineered and parlayed into what’s deemed “progress.” We’re everywhere, plethora of role models, advocacy organizations Besides our political representatives, there is now ample Filipino role models in practically every sector. The examples could be seen in medicine, academia, business, labor, and so on. Filipino advocacy organizations from the FilCom Center to our very own Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, among many others including



ilipino empowerment remains an issue because it will always be one as long as we are a minority, and it’s in our best interest – no matter if perceived to be achieved or not – to continue to assess this concept, and believe it to be worthy. Even the most “empowered” ethnic groups in comparison, for example, the Jewish community in the mainland, still find value in it, and for good reason. Evidently we are concerned about what Filipino empowerment means globally, but most relevant to our locale, we place special attention to how Hawaii’s Filipino community is doing. The empowerment concept is a relative one, with the half-full, half-empty glass perspective. Half-full – we see exceptional growth in many areas, if not all, in terms of representation and copious role models. We have history in our state. We have the numbers of a community with clout. Half-empty – we see there is of course room for improvement in certain traditional benchmarks in terms of “the average” Filipino with regard to higher education, healthcare, and income. For our cover story this issue, we’ve interviewed a mixed group of Filipinos in our community from academics to government workers, a businesswoman, a millennial and our very own associate editor. There is consensus that to move forward as a community, it must be done with unity, with strength in numbers. Certainly at this stage there are endless examples of shattered glass ceilings. Our new focus is on raising individuals well-being, but as a community. What does this mean? Looking at the “sleeping giant analogy” – we have already been awoke since the 1990s. Our next phase of empowerment is more like ensuring that there are more giants among us. Speaking of giants, our respondents in the article note some of our pioneers who’ve brought us to this point, for example, our HFC associate editor Edwin Quinabo talks about the importance of the Filipino ethnic media and our contributions, my husband Dr. Charlie Sonido and mine, as publishers and editors. Some have mentioned our HFC contributing editor Dr. Belinda Aquino who is a founder and first director of the Center for Philippine Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Find out who are some of the other pioneers mentioned. To a degree, advancement as a community also means acceptance. And the acceptance of our culture is manifesting in the popularity of our cuisine and the superstars our community is producing in mainstream U.S. culture. We have Filipino-American Grammy award winners and movie stars. We’ve come a long way. Filipino empowerment has been analyzed by our newspaper over the course of decades. And this year’s cover story analysis is quite different from previous ones where in the early days our community faced (and no longer does) challenges like youth gangs or being unfairly covered by the local mainstream media. Let’s keep moving forward. Related to Filipino empowerment is politics. We follow up our 2022 election series (the last two issues featured the top Democratic gubernatorial candidates and the top congressional candidates, see our webpage) with an Election Supplement. In our supplement cover story written by HFC editorial assistant Jim Bea Sampaga, she compiles Filipino-American candidates running for public office. There are some interesting trends, newcomers, seasoned politicians seeking higher office. Thank you to our FilAm candidates for participating in our survey and letting our community to get to know you better as well as your plans for Hawaii if elected. Lastly, be sure to read our interesting columns in our regular issue where a myriad of topics are discussed from gun violence in schools from the perspective of an educator, Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s inauguration to global inflation, and more. If you haven’t registered to vote in the Primary Election, visit https://olvr.hawaii.gov. Voting packets should be arriving to your household soon. Please let your voice be heard and vote. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

scholarship foundations provide the structural support for our community’s advancement. (continue on page 3)

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

Editorial & Production 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

Shalimar Pagulayan

Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



U.S. Supreme Court Needs Major Reform


learly we have a political partisan problem in the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and faith in it is at an all-time low. Even before the highly controversial and unpopular overturning of Roe v Wade, politicians, many in the legal community and citizens have been calling for reform to SCOTUS – and for good reason. As designed, SCOTUS and the judiciary is given coequal powers along with the executive (President) branch and Congress. SCOTUS’s power of establishing law by precedence, in essence, gives the current 9-member SCOTUS the power to uphold or strike down laws established by Congress that is made up of 100 senators, 435 representatives. And relative to the President that the entire nation will have the opportunity to elect, SCOTUS members receive zero direct votes by citizens. Why should 9-members wield such awesome power yet have such a relatively easy process to be appointed and with no direct input from our citizenry, and further yet, receive a lifetime post? The reason ideally was designed in order for SCOTUS members to be immune to and above poli-

(The New Measure ....from page 2)

In both role models and organizational support – there’s strong evidence of Filipino empowerment. True empowerment, gaged by the average Filipino But arguably the ultimate measure of Filipino empowerment has to do with how fare is the average member in that community is doing. It is in this area that Filipinos as a group has room for improvement. An example of this point being made here is to look at other ethnic groups. For example in many parts of the mainland, the nation’s Jewish community is a minority (in numbers), but they make up for it and have political strength, ample role models and organizational influence because the average member of the Jewish community exceeds expectations and excels socioeconomically.

tics, that they would be free to conduct business without the pressures of partisanship. But evidently, particularly of late, this has not been the case. With immensely consequential issues slated to be taken up by the high court – the second amendment, separation of church and state, first amendment’s scope in relation to the free press, etc. – it’s time for Congress to enact reforms to SCOTUS. What we have now is SCOTUS having outsized power relative to the other branches which ultimately cannot be healthy for a functioning democracy.

Possible Changes to SCOTUS *Impose Term Limits on Justices. The selection process of justices has become a gaming system to maximize partisan politics. How? Lifetime appointments incentivize finding the youngest, most partisan jurist who can gain confirmation in order to ensure a bent on the Court for as long as possible. This is no secret and is evidently flawed. The Framers of the Constitution adopted a life tenure because the average lifespan back then was typically shorter. Historically justices would serve around 15 years and would retire. Justices appointed in the

1970s served on average 26 years. Today, SCOTUS justices on average serve 40 years, and in some cases, will serve until close to or up to death. Term limits allow for greater turnover where justices are more up-to-date with citizens’ values and not settle in their ivory tower out-of-touch with the realities of contemporary times. Term limits will minimize the randomness of the court that results in situations where it is conservative heavy or liberal heavy, depending on who among the justices chooses to serve until death or retire. This randomness is why gaming the appointment and confirmation process has become too political, and the choices the President makes in choosing justices are also too political. Congress must limit justices term to one that’s reasonable, possibly 15 years, or at most 20 years. *Expand the court. The number of justices to comprise SCOTUS is not written in the Constitution and historically the number has been altered. To reduce the likelihood of a partisan heavy court as we see now, adding possibly four or more seats to SCOTUS must be considered. More seats should result in greater balance and independence.

In Hawaii, perhaps our Chinese community would be the closest example of this. Both the Jewish community on the mainland and Hawaii’s Chinese community (smaller compared to Filipinos and Japanese) arguably have very high level of empowerment and could make the case of having fully “arrived” as an ethnic group, and certainly this is true in their power centers like New York City (for Jews) and San Francisco (for Chinese). Until the average Filipino (and not multitudes of exceptions to the rule) can achieve high levels in the areas of education, economic wealth, intellectual success (as writers, artists, professors), entrepreneurship, corporate representation, etc. Filipino empowerment specifically in Hawaii is still promising and a potential, but not fully achieved. Comparatively, the average

on Hawaii’s Filipinos in this area of empowerment. Arguably the average Filipino in California is doing better than the average Filipino in Hawaii. But Hawaii’s Filipino community in terms of empowerment as a group has the highest ceiling, and could rise to the level as the Chinese of San Francisco and Jews in New York. Hawaii’s Filipinos have come a long way with regard to empowerment. But a new model of heightened empowerment should be established more lucidly as what the new model or potential could look like. And that is not just focusing on our many successful exceptions to the rule, but achieving actual progress for the average Filipino. This is why Filipino empowerment is still relevant and something that should be talked about.

*Limit number of President’s appointment. President Donald Trump appointed three supreme court justices in his one-term tenure: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. It’s clear this paved the way for Roe’s overturn and the heavily partisan decisions this particular court is expected to rule on potentially for decades Again, given the immensely awesome power of SCOTUS without having direct involvement of citizen input by direct election, it’s inconceivable that we allow such randomness for one president to potentially appoint three justices and another president to appoint one or possibly none at all. To prevent stacking of justices by one president, each president should be allowed to appoint no more than two justices. Of course if a president is reelected that number caps at four.

Restore faith in SCOTUS Even before the overturn of Roe, only 25% of Americans say they have confidence in the Supreme Court, according to the latest Gallup Poll taken in June this year. That is historically the lowest level of confidence ever; and most likely, after Roe that percentage could drop lower. For perspective, the lowest Filipino in California is one-up approval rating for even the

most unpopular president in his most unpopular period in office has never sunk below 40%. This dismal lack of confidence in SCOTUS is yet another sign why SCOTUS needs reform. Again, given that this is the third “coequal in power” branch of government, it’s unacceptable that a vast majority of Americans think so lowly of this institution. The general public deserves better and the road to restoring faith and integrity in SCOTUS begins with some of these reforms above. Such reforms could lead to a more predictable court and one in touch with modern realities, an appointment process less fracturing and divisive, reduce the need for presidents to game the system and select partisan justices (but rather those more truly independent). It’s rational, even common sense that changes are warranted. The political reality is that those who are contented with the current SCOTUS composition will resist reform (even though if the situation were reversed they’d most likely think differently). Those wanting change to SCOTUS must vote in candidates who want changes. The signpost is clear. Vote in 2022! SCOTUS is on the ballot.



Hawaii’s Filipinos Make Progress in Community Empowerment, The Journey Continues by Chona Montesines-Sonido and HFC Staff


awaii’s Filipino empowerment journey perhaps is seen with a different angle of clarity from the inside to outside, then looking back in. What? Edwin Quinabo, a Filipino-American, 52, lived in Hawaii for 45 years before moving to El Paso, TX, a city comparable in size to Honolulu but is predominantly Hispanic. Outside of Hawaii and California, and pockets of select larger cities like New York City, Seattle and Houston, El Paso is like most cities across the U.S. – it has a small Filipino-American population. “When Filipinos in Hawaii contemplate the idea of Filipino empowerment, they should know they are well ahead of the game in so many aspects. When I lived there, the quest for Filipino empowerment people would talk about was always one of lacking in some way or form. But when you move outside of Hawaii (and not California), you realize how Hawaii’s Filipinos take for granted the awesome strength they really have,” said Quinabo. “Just in sheer numbers alone, as a Filipino in Hawaii you get the sense of belonging, that you are a part of a community that truly has clout. And really, when Filipinos talk of empowerment in Hawaii the ceiling is set very high with a potential that could look like the Chinese American community in San Francisco. So Hawaii’s Filipino community has a lot going for them. It takes leaving Hawaii to know this.” Filipinos are the largest ethnic group in Hawaii at 377,904 followed by Japanese 313,014, according to AAPI DATA. Venus Delos Santos, Ewa Beach, 52, has been living in Hawaii for some 30 years. She attended college at the University of Filipino media in Hawaii In the early 1990s, arguably the height of Filipino empowerment awareness that paralleled the beginning stages of Native Hawaiian activism, Quinabo said he recalls a comment once made by the late activist and University of Hawaii

Hawaii at Manoa and hasn’t left Oahu since then. Growing up in upstate New York, she commented on life on the mainland as a Filipino, “Where I was growing up, no one knew what a Filipino was. And the question of ‘what are you?’ came to pass very frequently. I was the only Filipino in my elementary school. I didn’t know any better, but when a staring child’s father made a comment to us at a restaurant, ‘I’m sorry, you’ll have to excuse him, he’s never seen people like you before,’ it struck me odd and made me selfaware. Little did I know at the time, it led to self-discovery and an identity that wouldn’t allow me to stand down.” Quinabo’s newfound perspective and Delos Santos’ childhood-teen experience are typical of many former Hawaii Filipino residents or those who’ve lived on the U.S. mainland for some time. Quinabo, a political analyst, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle associate editor who has followed the concept of Filipino empowerment for decades, said “Filipino empowerment in Hawaii is at an advanced stage. There already is strength in numbers which is the basis of community. There is a long history of this community to its locale – the arrival of sakadas (Filipino plantation workers) more than 100 years ago beginning in 1906, which deep roots truly add legitimacy as a significant part of the larger Hawaii community. There is ample political representation, and frankly, representation in all sectors of society.” Quinabo refers to yet another community in the mainland as a model of minority empowerment, the Jewish community. “The average Jewish person in the U.S. for the most part excels, and thus collectively their community is reflective of a high level of empowerment.” He explains there already are copious

professor Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask. She said Native Hawaiians should have a Hawaiian newspaper like the Filipinos in Hawaii. “The late professor Trask understood the power of media in shaping community empowerment. And if we are to speak of our journey as a com-

munity on a quest toward empowering ourselves and each other, I must say the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) in its decades-long service must be mentioned in this history. And the publishers Dr. Charlie and Chona Montesines-Sonido (also managing editor), as well as key staff, have this legacy to

‘exceptions’ to the rule, successful ‘model’ leaders. “But you cannot say Filipinos in Hawaii have ‘arrived’ yet as a community, until Filipinos who achieve high personal success is no longer an ‘exception to the rule’ but really the standard.” To this end, political engagement has always been central to community and individual empowerment. Hawaii’s Filipino community finds itself in yet another cycle of hope and possibilities as they look to election 2022 -- Primary: Saturday, Aug. 13, General Nov. 8 – to find their best candidate (Filipino or non-Filipino) who will represent their best interests. Will Hawaii continue to have strong representation at the Honolulu City Council and State Senate? Will Filipinos improve their numbers at the State House level? Can they break the shut-out spell in Congress where Hawaii has never had a Filipino representative? Will Filipinos have its first Lt. Governor? (See our supplement cover story on Filipino candidates this issue.) Politics is but one road to the hundreds-miles journey of empowerment. There have been other builders, architects besides politicians behind Filipino empowerment in Hawaii.

which they can be proud of,” said Quinabo. “This historical contribution must be told for this generation and future generations to understand and appreciate.”

Trailblazers of empowerment Dr. Belinda Aquino, pro-

fessor emeritus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), political scientist, contributing editor to HFC, is the founding and first Director of the Center for Philippine Studies at UHM. She is considered by many in Hawaii as one of (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (Hawaii’s Filipinos....from page 4)

the pioneering catalysts for Filipino empowerment. Dr. Aquino recalls, “we had to lobby the Legislature to press for the establishment of the program in the early 1970s. Fortunately, the Legislature already recognized the fact that the Filipino community was already close to 12% of the total state population at the time. We impressed upon both the Senate and House of Representatives that this fast-growing community should be attended to. The University of Hawaii was receptive to the idea of establishing the program because the academic resources at the UH were already sufficient to make a Philippine program because there were several faculty in various departments who could competently teach courses needed on the Philippines that we could offer. We conducted [recruiting] of Philippine specialists nationally, internationally and locally to support our efforts to approve the program, which was elevated to a Center status that would include the assistance of various departments on campus or colleges at the UH like History, Languages and Linguistics, Political Science, Education, Business Administration, the Law School and others.” Paul Martin, Ewa Beach, said “I was able to directly benefit from Dr. Belinda Aquino’s work of establishing the Center for Philippine Studies at UH Manoa because I was able to take courses in Philippine Studies that gave me a lot of pride for being Filipino after taking the language courses.” Caroline Julian-Freitas, Alewa Heights, mentions another trailblazer educator who has played a role in empowering Filipinos in Hawaii, the late Domingo Los Banos, who was the first Superintendent of Filipino ancestry in the state of Hawaii, a principal and educator in the Hawaii State Department of Education. He received a master’s degree from Columbia University and attended Stanford University. He helped to establish Sariling Gawa Filipino Youth

Leadership Program, Friends of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, known today as Hawaii’s Plantation Village. “I remember interviewing Domingo Los Banos in my twenties at the Children’s House private school (run by Domingo’s wife) in Pearl City. As part of HFC’s mission to feature Filipino role models, which was much needed PR for our community back then, Mr. Los Banos was certainly one to remember and an empowering figure,” said Quinabo. In the area of business, Delos Santos mentions Eddie Flores Jr as a trailblazer who has done much to advance Filipino empowerment. Flores Jr. was president and CEO of L&L Drive-Inn/L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and one of the founders the Filipino Community Center. “As a child, he had a learning disability and repeated grades four times in China. The eldest boy of seven children, both his Filipino father, a musician, and Chinese mother, had sixth-grade educations and were part of the middle class in Hong Kong. In Hawaii, his father worked as a janitor and his mother a restaurant cashier and dishwasher,” Delos Santos said. His daughter Elisia Flores has taken over Eddie’s company as CEO of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and she serves on the boards of directors for Hawaiian Electric Industries, American Savings Bank, and Hawai‘i Pacific Health among others. Mylene Reyes, President R&M REYES ENTERPRISE, Kaneohe, mentions her choice of memorable Filipino empowerment icons as arguably the most emblematic figure of this movement, former governor of Hawaii Ben Cayetano. She said Cayetano embodies the values and resilience of Hawaii Filipinos.

Beyond pioneering individuals Clement Bautista, Educational Specialist (retired) Operation Manong/Office of Multicultural Student Services, University of Hawaii at Manoa, said “Individuals

cannot accomplish lasting advances toward Filipino empowerment. Most people under the age of 30 (25% of Hawaii’s population) probably don’t even know who Ben Cayetano is, let alone that he was a governor or the nation’s first Fil-Am governor.” However, he does recognize elected officials like Cayetano have contributed to other Filipinos’ sense of empowerment, especially in the communities they represent. He said, “For better or for worse, Filipino empowerment in a community might only be achieved when self-identified Filipinos see other Filipinos doing good things in that community.

Discrimination as possible obstacle Could ethnicity, for just being Filipino, be an obstacle for individual and community empowerment? Where does discrimination fall into the picture? Bautista inverses the concept of empowerment to one of disempowerment. He believes, “being perceived (by others) as a Filipino works against you. This could mean not allowing you to do the same things as others, not being able to express oneself as others, and not being able to live a life as others. Disempowerment does not simply rely on people’s beliefs or prejudices but on their actions, thus, empowerment also does not simply rest at the level of beliefs or attitudes but on people’s actual behavior toward others.” Can legislation correct this problem? Bautista said, “Legislation (federal, state, county or any other) barring discrimination based on ethnicity is nice but only a band-aid for

“When you look at communities where the average member within their community excels, we see two things: first a practice of giving back (those who’ve made it help others through mentorship and other supportive means); and second genuine support and joy for each other’s success. I think our Filipino community needs to work more on both areas. There is slippage today among younger Filipinos – who by the way have benefitted from generations before them who believed in the concept of empowerment – in their connection to and sense of loyalty to each other. Again, look to the most empowered minority communities such as the Jews -- they’ve understood empowerment crystal clear and for millennia this hasn’t changed or wavered in their support for empowerment. Here in Hawaii, we’ve made marginal gains and already there’s this misconception that we don’t need our community, that we can succeed and do it on our own. This is going down the wrong path. And our youth must understand the value of community and of rising up together.” — Edwin Quinabo

HFC Associate Editor

a septic wound. As we have seen in recent retractions of policies designed to promote social equality, policies by legislation can change quickly and significantly. Ideally, people’s beliefs and attitudes should change but, once again, a minority of people with “bad

attitudes” can change policies for the majority.”

Empowering our way to the future: unity, awareness, community engagement and voting Dr. Aquino echoes Bau(continue on page 6)


COVER STORY (Hawaii’s Filipinos....from page 5)

tista’s comment of looking beyond individuals who’ve broken the proverbial glass ceiling. “This goal [of empowerment] cannot be accomplished by not just one person but by several groups that would be supportive in achieving a particular goal. “Unity is an important factor because it has the strength to influence a particular decision. You command more or better public opinion by impressive numbers of people who would be supportive of your goals. Otherwise if you are acting solo you will be like a call from the wilderness that will not be heard, let alone considered for judgment.” Julian-Freitas agrees with the importance of unity: “it’s important for people to unite to help shape the future of the community. From a grassroots perspective, the community should unite to support the causes that benefit the Filipino community. The community can also elect leaders, whether Filipino or not, that support the community and its people.” To achieve greater advances in Filipino empowerment, Martin, a millennial,

believes this can be achieved through social awareness, community engagement and by voting. “People need to become more invested in issues that their community grapples with by taking the time to become aware of those issues. The idea that we are separated from the issues of our community is not lined up with reality. The it’s-not-my-problem mentality is so easy to adopt but we are all connected by the issues that play out in our communities. We need to push as many qualified people into running for office so that we have more choices to choose from when it’s election time. We need to go beyond settling for a candidate that promises only to solve one of our issues, but get behind someone with big aspirations for our community.”

Filipino cultural icons and food as signs of empowerment Beyond Filipino media, politics, business and educational trailblazers, a relatable sign of Filipino empowerment is the mass appeal of Filipino celebrities to the wider population. Bruno Mars was the

first superstar pop icon of Filipino ancestry who’ve achieved national and international stardom. Following in his footsteps are two Filipino-Americans who are already Grammy award winners and represent the future of mainstream pop and R&B in the U.S. – Olivia Rodrigo and H.E.R. Both of them are top U.S. billboard artists and have received tens of millions of views on their music videos. Filipinos are also making a big splash in Hollywood. Famed Filipino comedian Jokoy has an upcoming movie which was produced and will be released by a major Hollywood studio. The movie, titled Easter Sunday, stars Jokoy and a majority Filipino cast, and will be debuted next month. Delos Santos said paying attention to Filipino and part-Filipino celebrities, entertainers, leaders that have roots on U.S. soil and have Filipino blood goes a long way toward empowerment. “Some embrace their Filipino heritage more than others, and those that do are great communicators of Filipino empowerment.” Martin said, “The incident

that made me feel like the Filipino community has arrived is when I was able to see Bruno Mars in concert. For someone of mixed Filipino background to be able to influence the American musical landscape the way Bruno Mars is doing is phenomenal. Being able to transform musical culture is no small feat and to do so is power.” Filipino food is cultural empowerment and is becoming entrenched in most cities across the U.S. besides Hawaii wherever there are Filipino communities: New York City, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Bautista said, “I have been glad to see increased appreciation of Filipino foods by non-Filipinos.” The Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu organizes an annual Filipino Food Week in Hawaii to promote Filipino cuisine. Each year more than 20 restaurants statewide participate in the week-long event. This event is modeled after a similar annual Food Week in New York.

Back to Politics Dr. Aquino said, “there have already been a lot of political candidates of Filipino ancestry who have been elected in various parts of the political system such as the legislature, the cities and counties in the neighbor islands look good for the prosperity of the whole community. “Certainly the election of Benjamin Cayetano, a second generation immigrant of Filipino ancestry is good a sign that the community is doing very well, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it has “arrived.” As a whole, the community has achieved some progress in most fields of human life, but this is a slow process. It will take time and when it has achieved an appreciable degree of financial and economic resources, the community’s standing will gradually be uplifted.” Julian-Freitas said, “Every individual leader has in some way opened the doors, broke the glass ceiling and made it wider and higher for

the next Filipino to achieve empowerment for the community. It’s important to recognize leaders in the community who’ve helped with advancement such as Peter Aduja, Ben Menor, and many others who came before former Gov. Ben Cayetano. She recalls a moment she had of being a proud Filipino in Hawaii, “As a UH political science student in the 1990’s, I was looking through the Hawaii State Legislature’s directory and found a large number of lawmakers with Filipino ancestry in office. That moment told me that the community developed a large number of leaders to elect into office and they earned a decision making seat in Hawaii’s political landscape, the community was actively voting, getting their voices heard, and participating in democracy.” For Quinabo, he said we can learn a lot from other ethnic-minority communities. “When you look at communities where the average member within their community excels, we see two things: first a practice of giving back (those who’ve made it help others through mentorship and other supportive means); and second genuine support and joy for each other’s success. I think our Filipino community needs to work more on both areas. There is slippage today among younger Filipinos – who by the way have benefitted from generations before them who believed in the concept of empowerment – in their connection to and sense of loyalty to each other. Again, look to the most empowered minority communities such as the Jews -- they’ve understood empowerment crystal clear and for millennia this hasn’t changed or wavered in their support for empowerment. Here in Hawaii, we’ve made marginal gains and already there’s this misconception that we don’t need our community, that we can succeed and do it on our own. This is going down the wrong path. And our youth must understand the value of community and of rising up together.”



Bond for Accused Rapist: Yes. Bond for Detained Alien: No. By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


hen a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33–34 Susmariosep! Can this be true? An accused rapist who has been jailed can be set free by putting up bail but an alien who has been convicted of simple theft and is detained by immigration authorities after an order of deportation cannot be set free even if the alien offers to put up a bond. Worse, the alien is not even entitled to a bond hearing. (The terms “bail” and “bond” are synonymous and refer to money or other thing of value given as security to guarantee a person’s appearance in court or other tribunal at a later time.) The Constitution does not specifically say that every detained person is entitled to bail. It simply states in the Eighth Amendment that “excessive bail shall not be required”, implying that there is a right to bail. But it is silent on “who” are entitled to bail and whether it may be denied. The U.S. Supreme Court held on June 13, 2022 in the case of Johnson v. Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, No. 19-896, that Section 241(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 U.S.C.. §1231(a), authorizes the deten¬tion of noncitizens who have been ordered removed from the United States, but § 1231(a)(6) does not require the government to provide noncitizens detained for six months with bond hearings. Section 1231(a)(6) provides: “An alien ordered removed who is inadmissible

under section 1181 of this title, removable under section 1227(a)(1)(C), 1227(a)(2), or 1227(a)(4) of this title or who has been determined by the Attorney General to be a risk to the community or unlikely to comply with the order of removal, may be detained beyond the removal period and, if released, shall be subject to the terms of supervision in paragraph (3).” Arteaga-Martinez is a citizen of Mexico who was removed in July 2012 but reentered the U.S. in September 2012. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a warrant for Arteaga-Martinez’s arrest in 2018. ICE reinstated his earlier removal order and detained him pursuant to 8 U.S.C 1231(a). Arteaga-Martinez applied for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. The DHS referred him to an immigration judge. After being detained for four months, Arteaga-Martinez filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in District Court in Pennsylvania challenging his continued detention without a bond hearing. Shortly thereafter, in a separate case, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a noncitizen facing prolonged detention under §1231(a)(6) is entitled by statute to a bond hearing before an immigration judge and must be released from detention unless the Gov¬ernment establishes, by clear and convincing evidence, that the noncitizen poses a risk of flight or a danger to the com¬munity. See Guerrero-Sanchez v. Warden York County Prison, 905 F. 3d 208, 224, and n. 12 (2018). The Government conceded that under Guerrero-Sanchez, Arteaga-Martinez would be entitled to a bond hearing pur¬suant to §1231(a)(6) as of November 4, 2018, six months af¬ter the start of his detention. The District Court ordered a bond hear¬ing. The Government appealed. The

Court of Appeals sum¬marily affirmed, citing its earlier decision in Guerrero-Sanchez. Arteaga-Mar¬tinez received a bond hearing at which an Immigration Judge, considering Arteaga-Martinez’s flight risk and dan-gerousness, authorized his release on bond. Arteaga-Mar¬tinez posted bond and was released pending a final deter¬mination on his application for withholding of removal.

Decision There is no plausible construction of the text of §1231(a) (6) that requires the Government to provide bond hearings before immigration judges after six months of detention, with the Government bearing the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that a detained noncitizen poses a flight risk or a danger to the community. On its face, §1231(a) (6) says nothing about bond hear¬ings before immigration judges or burdens of proof, nor does it provide any other indication that such procedures are re¬quired. Section 1231(a) (6) therefore cannot be read to incorporate the procedures im¬posed by the courts below as a matter of textual command. Federal agencies, however, “are free to grant additional procedural rights in the exercise of their discretion.” “[R]eviewing courts,” on the other hand, “are generally not free to impose them if

the agencies have not chosen to grant them.” The parties do not dispute that the Government possesses discretion to provide bond hearings under §1231(a)(6), but this Court cannot say that the statutory text requires them. Recommendation: Immigrant advocates can take a hint from the Supreme Court’s opinion by asking the Department of Homeland Security to issue a regulation providing for a bond hearing and the conditions thereof. Comment: The detention of aliens without a bond hearing could be challenged as unconstitutional under the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and also the prohibition against excessive bail in the Eight Amendment. ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializ-

ing in Constitutional Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and w rites columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he cohosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com. * 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.




Vicky Cayetano and the Filipino Vote

By Emil Guillermo


icky Cayetano, the former first lady of Hawaii is hoping lightning strikes twice and maybe even stronger as she seeks the governorship itself. Herself. It’s not the former governor, First Filipino Ben. It’s Vicky, his wife. OK, second wife. But she was married in the official governor’s residence in 1997. And she was in love she switched from being a Republican to a Democrat. So is it time for a Filipina by marriage (of Chinese ethnicity but born in Manila) to lead Hawaii? VC may not be the kind of high-tech big bucks VC that makes people quake. But she’s

more than just Ben’s wife. She’s run a high-powered laundry business servicing hotels and hospitals. She undoes dirt for a living. And yet the Hawaii Civil Beat/HNN poll shows Cayetano trailing badly in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary. Josh Green, the current lieutenant governor, is at 48%; Kai Kahele, the congressman who wants to be governor is at 16%. Cayetano’s third at 15%. Cayetano trails so badly that one must ask some basic questions fundamental to what I call our “Filipinoness.” But first, I know it may not seem like it, but when it comes to democracy, Hawaii is a kind of paradise. Everywhere else in the country there is a force--from the Republican party to the U.S. high court-- trying to make it harder for people to participate and engage in their franchise. In Hawaii, it’s just so hang-loose easy. If you’re turned off by

and cast yours at a voting center on election day, the convenience of mail is a winner. Hawaii seems to be smart enough to figure out that the fear of vote fraud is a fake argument intended to undermine your faith in democracy. But consider the national figures for mail-in ballots over the last two decades put the vote by mail fraud rate at .00006%. There is a better chance UH will have a good football team this year. Vote by mail with confidence. In August, and then again in November. So, the question now is for whom? And this is where Hawaii has it all over every other state. You can vote for a Filipino. Or vote Filipino. It’s a subtle difference. Does that matter? Of course, it does.

the recent corruption scandals in state government, Hawaii makes it pretty simple to throw out the bums (of all genders and persuasions). Hawaii’s primary election is on Saturday, Aug. 13. That alone is a rare democracy perk to vote on a weekend and not a Tuesday. There are voters in other states that would love to vote on a day off. But Hawaii does one better. For the second year it has mail-in voting, and the state seems to have embraced it ful- The Filipino Vote ly. Ballots will be mailed to There are more than voters by the end of July, and 275,000 Filipinos, approachthough you can still show up ing 23% of the state.

We are big. Or as my dad would say, “dakkel.” So, imagine a Filipino vote. Not a Filipino boat where we all go sailing into the sunset. But a vote where we all go in the same direction and consolidate our power and fight with clench fists instead of lovely hula hands. We’ve seen the power of Filipino unity in the mother country. 1987 dubbed it “people power” and no voting machines were used. People just showed up and expressed their anger, enough to oust a dictator who found himself exiled to Hawaii. That we have the dictator’s family back in power 35 years later is either a disgrace or shows how impermanent things are in any democracy. And that makes it hard to understand such a thing as a Filipino vote, anywhere. It’s something worth contemplating in a publication such as the Chronicle where (continue on page 13)

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The Uvalde Massacre: A Teacher’s Perspective By Elpidio R. Estioko


nce a year, sometimes twice whenever campus incidents occur, we hold our active shooters drill. Before drill, a video presentation and lecture by security officers were held to discuss what to do when an active shooter is on campus. We learned three things: One, leave the area whenever it’s safe to escape; two, if not safe, find a place to hide to avoid the shooter; and third, if the shooter enters your area/ room, be ready to defend yourself. Arm yourself with anything that could repel the shooter such as chairs, fire extinguisher, knives, pencils, etc. that are available in the classroom.

In the May 24 Uvalde School shooting reports, there was no clear information where he shot the victims, whether in the hallway or inside the classroom. Police reports only said that he was able to enter the campus and started shooting people. Was he in the school hallway shooting the students or was already in the classroom where he shot the students? Applying the active shooter protocol, we learned, people must have escaped or avoided the shooter, but the students who were shot were not able to escape or had no chance to escape. Another report said that one officer was in the area, but didn’t do anything to stop the shooter. It was reported that he notified his supervisor if he can engage the shooter but the supervisor either did not get the message or ignored it. Had said officer engaged the active

shooter, people said it could have prevented more deaths. Had the officer engaged the shooter, however, without the supervisor’s okay, was he justified in doing that? If the shooter was able to enter the classroom where the victims were, then something must have been done to repel him invoking the third lesson we learned, i.e. to defend themselves. Again, there were no reports that the shooter was in the classroom except that he fired his automatic rifle and killed 19 students and two teachers. Had this happened, did we prevent more deaths in campus? A lot of things are still hazy, so the police must continue to investigate the incident and find out what really happened.

A report from the Texas Tribune stated: “Details of how a gunman was able to enter Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and kill 19 students and two teachers over the course of an hour have come out in parcels since the shooting. Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Department of Public Safety officials have walked back some of their initial statements about the shooting and the authorities’ response after contradictory information came to light. Authorities first stated that officers engaged with the gunman before he entered the school; they later corrected themselves and said he went inside unopposed. Details of how long it took for officers to reenter the school after their first confrontation with the shooter — about 1 hour and 15 minutes — have also sparked widespread outrage and criticism.” Moreover, politicians rallied for “common sense” gun laws after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. According to a Washington Post report, the gunman in the Uvalde School shooting was 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos “who was bullied over a childhood speech impediment, suffered from a fraught home life and lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years, friends and relatives said.” The shooter had no police record, no gang affiliation, and

was attested to by friends and relatives that he was a good man but often times the victim of bullying. So, perhaps, in addition to the active shooter drill, schools need to address bullying in schools. This way, we can avoid would-be shooters and avoid them from doing it. They also need to teach students the consequences of bullying to avoid things happening in campus. He was also reported to not having any mental issues. Even parents need to be educated on how to discipline their children and how to address issues of bullying in school, this way, we can avoid the incident to happen. The Senate and Congress had a bipartisan bill which was signed into law by President Joe Biden lately. Were the issues in the Uvalde massacre addressed by the bill? If not, is there a way to amend the bill and insert latest remedies arising from said massacre? Graduation for the local high school was postponed for now, according to the superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Hal Harrell. Grief counseling is going to be provided for students and their families at the local civic center. ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.



Leodoloff R. Asuncion, Jr. appointed Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission By Renelaine Pfister


n June 30, 2022, Gov. David Ige appointed Leodoloff (Leo) Asuncion Jr. as chairman of the Public Utilities

Commission. Leo is the only child of immigrant parents from the Philippines. His father is from Ilocos Norte and his mother is from Aparri, Cagayan. He grew up in downtown Honolulu where Queen’s POB 2 now stands. He attended Royal Elementary, Central Intermediate (now Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani Middle School), and McKinley High School, and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a BA in political science

from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. After the governor’s appointment, Leo is now one of three commissioners on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC), and as Chairperson, is the default presiding officer for proceedings and the administrative head of the agency. The HPUC’s primary duty, Leo states, “is to protect the public interest by overseeing and regulating public utilities to ensure that they provide reliable service at just and reasonable rates. When people hear the term “public utilities” it’s not just the electric utilities. We regulate over 1,800 entities operating in Hawaii including all chartered, franchised, certificated, and registered public utility companies that provide electricity, gas, telecommunications, private water and wastewater, and motor and water carrier transportation services in the State.”

Chairman Leo Asuncion

No matter the size of the projects in his 30-year experience in both private and public sectors, Leo has always believed in collaborative effort. Currently at HPUC, there are several issues that he and his team will need to address, including the retirement of the coal plant on Oahu in September of this year and the closure of the Kahului Power Plant in Maui in 2024. They must ensure that reliable electricity is available for customers. Additionally, Leo says “We should be considering the

full portfolio of renewable energy resources available and determine the appropriateness of each resource to ensure reliable energy for customers and achieve our State goals.” Another area to address is the strengthening of relationships between the HPUC and regulated utilities, elected officials, state and county governmental agencies, and stakeholders. Leo has served in various roles at the Office of Planning since June 2011, including Planning Program Manager for Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program, Interim Director, Director, and Planning Program Administrator. Before his service at the Office of Planning, Leo worked for Hawaiian Electric Company as a Sr. Regulatory Analyst and Sr. Integrated Resource Planning Analyst, and for SSFM International, Inc. as a Project Planner/ Manager. Earlier in his career, Leo was a Planner for Hawaii State Judiciary and a Staff Planner for the State Land Use Com-

mission, Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism in the state of Hawaii. When he is not working, Leo takes his time to relax, mingle with the community, see his relatives on the island, play golf once a month and travel with friends to the mainland once a year. Among his proudest achievements is being appointed Director of the Office of Planning and being appointed to the Public Utilities Commission, both made by Governor Ige. On January 1, 2021, he was also elected President of the American Planning Association (APA), with some 40,000-member planners nationwide. When he was growing up, Leo’s parents and teachers instilled in him the importance of education and hard work. Leo says, “Find your passion, get an education, seek meaningful employment, persevere through the challenges, and never lose sight of your ambitions. Doing so will not only be beneficial for oneself but for Hawaiʻi as well.” 



Protestant Fundamentalism in the Philippines By Rose Cruz Churma


n the 1960s, the Philippines decided to celebrate its Independence Day on June 12 instead of July 4. Instead, the fourth of July was called Philippine-American Friendship Day. The American presence in the Philippines came at the heels of the Filipinos’ revolt against Spanish colonization during the last days of the nineteenth century. If the Spanish colonizers inundated the archipelago with Catholicism, the Americans introduced their brand of Christianity in the form of Protestant Fundamentalism in the early days of American colonial rule. As the book’s back cover states: “This book explores the social and religious implications of fundamentalism in the Philippines through the use of a case study in Vintar, Ilocos Norte.” American Protestant fundamentalism has been growing in regions such as Latin America and the Indian subcontinent, as well as in Asia, especially in the Philippines. In the Philippines, a few well-established Baptist churches financially support more than 500 rural

churches according to the author. In the introductory chapter, the author states that many Filipino Baptists believe that “Truth” is exclusive to their denomination which creates dissension in communities where a degree of tolerance transcended differences in beliefs and religions. He believes that Filipino fundamentalists mirror early 20th-century American religious zealots. Chapter 2 of the book examines American Protestant fundamentalism’s interpretation of “conversion, revival, apologetics, epistemology, and scripture” which is based on 19th-century Western religious movements. This chapter concludes on how Protestant fundamentalism was exported to Vintar, Ilocos Norte, and the establishment of the Vintar Bible Baptist Church. Chapter 3 introduces Vintar, its history and economic base (subsistence farming), and how the migration of its menfolk to Hawaii in the 1920s (which continues to this day but now includes women and children) has helped its economy through the overseas remittances of these migrants.

Chapter 4 describes its population, 95% of which are Ilocanos who describe themselves as “frugal, clannish and superstitious.” Ilokano notions of guilt, shame, and reciprocity are also discussed—important themes in fundamentalist sermons that furnish motives for conversion. The monopoly of Catholicism cracked in Vintar in 1902 with the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church founded by the Ilokano Catholic bishop Gregorio Aglipay, who broke from the papacy of Rome due to political reasons. More than half of the Catholic population trans-

ferred allegiance to the Aglipayan Church. This paved the way for Protestant sects to get established in the town. Chapter 5 details the Christian history of Vintar and concludes with how a local pastor established a “true church” for a few “authentic Christians” and how this group blossomed. Chapter 6 focuses on Vintar’s fundamentalists while Chapter 7 expounds on the subject of fundamentalism and its exportation to the Philippines. In the final chapter, the author suggests ideas for future investigation. He also ruminates on why he wrote this book. I first met the author, L. Shelton Woods at our wedding (the groom mentored him in basketball). He was then a sixteen-year-old student at Brent School, an international institution based in Baguio catering to expatriates, which included American missionaries. The son of an American missionary, he was born in Manila but grew up in Baguio and was steeped in Ilokano and Igorot cultures and languages. After graduating from Brent School in 1978, he moved to the US where he earned his

Master’s degree in Chinese history from California State University and a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history from the University of California-Los Angeles. He is now associated with Boise State University in Idaho, where he serves as Associate Dean of the Honors College and Professor of East/ Southeast Asian History. The author, Dr. Woods, is a world-renowned specialist on Ilokano culture and the Ilokano region, but his academic interests include all of East and Southeast Asia, and his research and writing cover the social, military, cultural, and religious histories of these regions. One of his more recent works on the Philippines is the biography of Governor John Early who was the governor of the Mountain Province from 1922 to 1932. He has published other books on China and Vietnam. 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.


Gov. Ige Signs Bills Supporting Affordable Housing Access


n July 1, Governor David Ige signed three bills into law to support Hawaii’s effort to build more affordable homes. HB2512 will extend the Ohana Zone program through June 30, 2026, and provide $15 million to fund services for this fiscal year. It will provide some exemptions from regulations that will allow the continuation of innovative projects that began under the COVID-19 emergency proclamations. Moreover, the bill will allow a 90-day extension to the services provided at the Ohana Zone site. “Since its inception in 2018, the ʻOhana Zone pilot program has served more than

5,500 individuals across the state, and we’ve added 400 more beds to shelter and housing inventory. This new law will enable us to continue our forward progress through partnerships with the counties and homeless service providers,” said Ige. “My administration met our initial goal of producing 10,000 affordable units by 2020 and exceeded that by 3,500 additional units. Many more are needed, and this funding will keep the momentum going.” SB3048 will allow Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to transfer GO Bond proceeds from the Rental Housing Revolv-

ing Fund into the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund. This will help develop infrastructure improvement projects to expand the state’s housing inventory. Lastly, HB2233 will give the Department of Human Services the ability to provide housing assistance subsidies of up to $500 per month to participants of the first-towork program. “This bill will help prevent currently housed people from falling into homelessness. Together, these bills represent a significant investment in our communities and ensure that we are able to meet the needs of families and individuals across the state,” said Ige.



Overcoming the Economic Crisis By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


h my!” These are the words we can’t help but exclaim every time we see the price of fuel in every gasoline station we pass by. We bought a diesel car a few years ago thinking that we would be able to save because diesel is cheaper than gasoline. We didn’t realize that in a few years, things would change. The price of diesel increased dramatically, it’s shocking, we have to adjust our budget and have a change of lifestyle. The prices of basic necessities are rising, fares are increasing, and fuel is getting more expensive by the day, but my husband’s salary stays the same. And I believe this is true

not just for our family. People from around the world are experiencing the repercussions of the economic crisis the whole earth is facing. In the Philippines, jeepney drivers and their families are struggling to make ends meet because of the oil price hike. This in turn affects commute in the country. My Sri Lankan friend said that people are already having a hard time going from one place to another because fuel is running out and many don’t have the money to buy gas. Inflation is real and it is felt by the whole world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to every family badly affected by this crisis. The world may be feeling the effects of the pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war, but we must brace ourselves and try

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Vicky....from page 9)

the word Filipino is explicit. It’s not necessarily a word implied in any of the top papers I wrote for in Hawaii. They didn’t call it the Filipino Star Bulletin. Or the Filipino Advertiser. Nope. That wasn’t our voice. And so as we approach the mid-term primary and the general election, it is important to ponder the idea of the Filipino vote because in Hawaii, as in no other state in the U.S.A, it actually can be a force. There are even people to vote for since Filipino politicians are not rarity. In fact, some run so often, they make a mockery of term limits. They just keep popping up for power somewhere. Respect the ones who term out and don’t overstay their public aloha. And maybe because we haven’t had so many inspiring Filipino/a candidates as we’d like to see, we are just used to voting for someone else. Meaning non-Filipinos. Which raises another question. Should we vote for each other just because we’re Filipino? Only you can decide that if in politics there’s something deeper than blood. You know when the liver sauce is watered down.

Something’s not right with the lechon. But in this political climate there is so much at stake. Nationally and locally. Abortion rights, gun rights, inflation, education, housing, health care. You name it. Can you simply rely on voting for a face like yours? Or in someone whom you think can actually do some good not just for you, but for all of Hawaii? If you choose the latter it makes being Filipino an irrelevancy. But can the community be so large and ethnicity doesn’t mean a thing? Aren’t there some Filipino matters that have been long ignored? Being a Filipino elected, makes a difference. That Civil Beat/HNN poll broke down the Democratic Gubernatorial race by ethnicity, and Green draws 47% of the Filipino voters to Cayetano’s 18%. Is that misogyny? Or Flipogyny? Green’s polling numbers show he’s built a real broad base of appeal. 59% white, 49% Japanese, 47% Filipino, 35% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Green showed me some skills at the Chronicle’s big anniversary celebration two years ago. He was glad-handing

our best to survive and eventually flourish. It can be discouraging and heartbreaking, but we have to continue fighting to live, we have to keep hoping for the best. My encouragement is this, the Lord provides. My husband and I have seen how God has never failed to provide for our needs, especially at the times our bank accounts suggest otherwise. Never have we felt forsaken even our circumstances dictate the opposite. If He gives food to the sparrows without them having to toil, how much and passing out state pins like treats. As the No. 2, he’s built his brand that gives him power to get to the top job. But he’s done it by building an ethnic coalition unique to the state. He’s got Filipinos. There still may be time for Cayetano in the primary, but her numbers show she doesn’t even have our support. Japanese Americans back Cayetano more than Filipinos, 24% to 18%. We all know the political “Big Lie” is that Trump won in 2020. He didn’t. We know that. Maybe there’s another smaller political lie that shows up in Hawaii as one considers the ethnic vote. The lie? That a Filipino Vote even exists. It could be seen as a mark of maturity that Filipinos have gone beyond falling in love with every Filipino candidate they see. And that we’re just like everybody else who wants to vote for someone who can win and work for everyone. In a democracy, you can swipe left on Filipino. (If Tinder/ Grinder were a voting app, left would not be good). Maybe too, Cayetano may be old style. Time for next gen thought. Still, it’s not like a Filipino woman governor is a political cliché. Of course, maybe you’re

more does He care about His children. His economy is different from our economy. His riches are abounding. His generosity overflowing. His mercies new every morning. While everything around us is shaking and it seems like things are sinking, we are not shaken because we stand on a firm foundation. Our security and hope are not on the state of the world’s economy but on the One who spoke the world into motion. Our trust is not on something that’s uncertain but on the One who is faithful and unfailing, powerful, and true. Gas prices may rise but His grace is greater. Wars may continue but His peace reigns higher. Crises may come, one after another, but His sovereignty says He is still in control. We will recover from this, just as we

always do. One day at a time. This economic crisis will come to pass, I know it will, just like the pandemic which we thought will last for a long time. It is not yet over but we are starting to recover. We are facing yet again another hurdle, but we will overcome, by His grace. May we also take this as an opportunity to be a conduit of blessing to those who are in need. We are all affected by this crisis, but we all have something to give, in one way or another. This is the time to look out for our neighbors who are struggling financially or emotionally. We might have to tighten our belts, but may we loosen our grip on our resources and let them flow to those who need them. Our mouths may exclaim, ‘Oh, my!’ every time we see the fuel price hiking, but our hearts say, ‘All is well. It will be alright!’ 

still questioning if an ethnic Chinese person born in Manila is Filipino enough. In the U.S. the standard is a Filipino born in America is American. Or maybe the issue is you know the first Mrs. Cayetano. Fair enough. Or maybe you don’t think Ben would make a good Second Gentleman. Vicky Cayetano may not be the perfect example. But seeing a Filipino name for governor should make us all at least pause before we lick

the envelope and cast our votes. In 2022, our “Filipinoness” is still an issue. You know that in your heart. But is that how a Filipino votes?  EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer’s North American Bureau. He talks about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.



Political Fireworks Greet Bongbong on Day One By Perry Diaz


une 30, 2022 marked the date of the Marcoses’ return to power in the Philippines. It was the most remarkable comeback of one family that was booted out of power 36 years ago during the EDSA People Power Revolution and sent the Marcos family to exile in Hawaii. It rained that day, which seemed foreboding of the newly inaugurated 17th President of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The day’s festivities included a “show of force” by the Philippine military. Tanks rolled down on the parade ground. Uniformed soldiers from the various military units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were in their best uniforms. And across the parade ground were the dignitaries and other government officials in their best barongs to match the new President’s simple barong. In Bongbong’s 26-minute inaugural address, he said: “I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility that you’ve put on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly, but I am ready for the task. I will need your help; I want to rely on it. But rest assured, I do not predicate success on the wide cooperation that’s needed.” He asked for the people’s help, but he made it clear that he doesn’t need their cooperation to succeed. So what is he going to do if he doesn’t get the people’s cooperation? Declare martial law and rule by decree just like what his father did?

A divided house “In this fresh chapter of our history, I extend my hand to all Filipinos. Come, let us put our shoulders to the wheel; and give that wheel a faster turn — to repair and to rebuild; and to address challenges in

new ways; to provide what all Filipinos need; to be all that we can. We are here to repair a divided house; to make it whole and to stand strong again in the Bayanihan way, expressive of our nature as Filipinos.” It must be remembered that during Marcos Sr.’s brutal regime, he amassed billions of dollars in unexplained wealth and was accused of looting the country’s treasury. Excessive foreign borrowing plunged the Philippines into debt and millions of Filipinos were mired in poverty. To quell dissent, he jailed political opponents, shut down media outlets, and imposed nine years of martial law, which witnessed tens of thousands of human rights violations.

of imminent collapse. The exchange rate went down to P55 to the US dollar. Taxes became uncollectable including the Marcoses’ estate tax, which ballooned to P203-billion. How do you expect to collect taxes from the people when their own president refuses to pay his taxes? Bongbong should lead by example.

Defended father’s legacy And after claiming victory, Bongbong vowed to be a leader “for all Filipinos.” To the world, he said: “Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.” Hmm… But he went on to praise—and defended—his father’s legacy and glossed over its violent past. He said his father accomplished many things that had not been done since the country’s independence. “I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence in a land of people with greatest potential for achievement and yet they were poor. But he got it done,” Bongbong said. “So will it be for his son. You will get no excuses from me.” Bongbong promised to bring the country back to its “golden age” during his father’s rule. But the truth of the matter is: The economy was in shambles when President Cory Aquino took over from Marcos in 1986. The Central Bank was bankrupted and was put out of business. The country’s gold reserves mysteriously disappeared, and the peso lost its international monetary value. It became worthless. Bongbong took over an economy that was on the brink

Charter change But on Day One of his presidency, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. introduced a resolution to change the presidential term of office from six years without reelection to five years with one reelection. It seems that he’s more interested in laying the groundwork for him to stay in power much longer. And perhaps stay in power long enough to pass it to his son Ferdinand Alexander Araneta Marcos III, also known as “Sandro” Marcos, who is now 28 years old. He’ll be 40 years old in 12 years and would be eligible to run for president. In his resolution, Gonzales cited the “overwhelming electoral mandate” that Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte received in the May 2022 elections. “The clear majority mandate of our new President and Vice President would be the green light from our citizenry to proceed to the discussion on Charter change,” Gonzales said in a statement. Well, things could drastically change by then. There is no point in discussing charter change right away. Why don’t they wait for a little while lon-

President Bongbong Marcos speaking on his inauguration day.

ger and see how Bongbong’s presidency performs.

Confidence in the future Bongbong must be commended for his confidence in the future: “I have 110 million reasons to start with you. Such is my faith in the Filipinos.” However, he must make sure that he delivers on the promises he vowed to deliver. Otherwise, he’d end up with 110 million unhappy Filipinos who would bring him down like they did to his father. He promised food self-sufficiency as his top priority. And he will continue Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” despite ballooning debt. He also promised to fix shortcomings in Duterte’s Covid response. He also promised to pursue an independent foreign policy, which is questionably unrealistic in today’s geopolitical reality where small countries have to kowtow to one of the superpowers to remain “independent.” But he was mum on human rights, low on detail, and high on false claims. There are certain things that he did not talk about in his address. He did not talk about the corruption cases hounding his family. Will he keep the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was created in 1986 for the sole purpose of recovering the ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and Marcos’ cronies? As of 2021, the PCGG said it has recovered a total of P265 billion, or P175 bil-

lion in cash and P90 billion in assets. About P125 billion in Marcos wealth remains under litigation. So far, Bongbong has not appointed new members of the PCGG who serve at the pleasure of the president. Until then, there is no active PCGG. Critics raised the alarm that a second Marcos presidency could undermine PCGG’s mandate. On his first day in office, Bongbong also exercised his veto power on House Bill 7575 creating the Bulacan Airport Special Economic Zone and Freeport adjacent to the proposed airport city in Bulacan province. He justified his veto because of its provisions that “pose substantial fiscal risks to the country” and its “infringement on or conflict with other agencies’ mandates and authorities.” Marcos also said that he decided to veto HB 7575 because it would be an additional burden to the taxpayers. He said the measure was in contrast to the government’s objective of developing a tax system with low rates and a broad tax base, as it “will significantly narrow our tax base with its mandated incentives applicable to registered enterprises.” Incidentally, the main sponsor of the bill was Sen. Imee Marcos, Bongbong’s sister. Hmm… Was this another family moro-moro? Perhaps, Bongbong should have solicited expert advice instead of killing the bill on his first day in office. It will drive away foreign investors. The veto is reportedly seen as a sign of animosity between Bongbong and Imee, who has reportedly been pushed to the sidelines while First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos emerges as a major power broker in her husband’s administration. It seems that political fireworks have greeted Bongbong on Day One.

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


COMMUNITY CALENDAR 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 filcom@filcom.org. 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. TASTE OF OAHU | Millwood Ohana Productions | 4-10pm at every first Friday of the month: August 5, September 2, October 7, November 4 and December 2, 2022 | Aloha Stadium | Enjoy a family fun-filled night with ono food, crafty local vendors and

some of the best of Hawaii’s entertainers. Tickets start at $10. HAWAII TRIENNIAL 2022 | Hawaii State Art Museum | Until December 3, 2022 | 250 South Hotel St Second Floor, Honolulu | Even though the HT22 even officially closed on May 8, Hawaii State Art Museum will be keeping their HT22 exhibit on display until December 2022. View the unique exhibits showcasing the fluid concept of Pacific Century interweaving themes of history, place and identity. Entrance is free.


Two Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad to Be Launched in 2022-2023


he Center for Philippine Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will soon launch two Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (FHGPA) programs. The first one will be implemented in July-August, 2022 at the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, the second in summer 2023 in Iligan City, Mindanao. Both grants were awarded to Dr. Federico Magdalena, Associate Specialist and Project Investigator at CPS. Dr. Pia Arboleda, the Center Director, is co-PI of these two FH-GPA programs. The FH-GPA programs will train and immerse a dozen American K-12 teachers, university faculty, and students into a Philippine language (Cebua-

no or Filipino), and the sociocultural contexts on which this language is embedded. They are aimed at improving not only their competencies, but also introduce in their school curricula aspects of Filipino culture, including minorities in Mindanao. The first to kick off the ground (titled “Mapping Language and Culture in the Philippine South,” aka Project Magsayod 2022) was approved in 2020, but was postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center in Cebu City will collaborate with UH Mānoa, serving as host during project implementation. The program will be conducted as a hybrid seminar, with competent language instructors

and speakers drawn from USC, University of the Philippines, and Mindanao State University, among others. The Cebuano language trainers are Lilia Ibo and Clyde Inso Chan. Two Philippine coordinators will work with Magdalena and Arboleda: Dr. Cecilia Noble, herself a UH graduate in Sociology, and Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, director of the USC Cebuano Studies Center. Ten participants from Hawaii and California will be in attendance to this training. All but one of the 10 participants who will train in Cebu are Americans of Filipino descent. The participants are: Mikail Alejandro (stu-


Concepcion: Private Sector, LGUs Must Work to Administer “But the attention is really towards Boosters the LGU. I set up a meeting with (DeBy Katherine Talavera Wednesday, July 13, 2022


ANILA, Philippines — Former presidential advisers are emphasizing the need to engage local government units (LGUs) in line with encouraging more Filipinos to get COVID-19 booster shots amid growing vaccine complacency. In an interview with “The Chiefs” on OneNews, former presidential adviser and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that he and the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE) are looking to conduct a campaign in the coming weeks to encourage more Filipinos to get at least one booster shot. “Of course we want to see that the definition of a fully vaccinated person includes the first primary doses and the first booster shot,” Concepcion said.

partment of the Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Benhur) Abalos to really encourage how the private sector can partner with the LGUs to campaign, so that our citizens can really focus on taking at least one booster shot,” he added. As part of the group’s pandemic exit recommendations, ACE emphasized the need to ensure that at least 70 percent of those who have completed their primary vaccines are given a booster dose. Concepcion explained that the 70 percent target could serve as an incentive for LGUs, where areas that can achieve this will be allowed to issue no mask outdoor policies. Earlier, ACE and Concepcion released several recommendations to help the country attain a “better normal.” (www.philstar.com)

dent, University of San Francisco), Fedelina Carlos (K-12 teacher, Hawai’i), Dr. Nenita Pambid Domingo (faculty, University of California at Los Angeles), Imelda Gasmen (faculty, UH Mānoa), Christine Liboon (graduate student, UCLA), Jason Maligmat (K-12 teacher, Los Angeles), Dr, Mark T. Miller (faculty, University of San Franciso), Amy Peria (faculty, UH Mānoa), Hollie Rader (student, UH Mānoa), and Bianca Rajan (K-12 teacher in Maui, Hawai’i). The second FH-GPA (titled “Filipino Language and Indigenous Cultural Heritage”) will be hosted by Mindanao State

University-Iligan Institute of Technology, UH Mānoa partner institution in summer 2023. Applications will soon be announced to interested parties. The project has enlisted two coordinators, Dr. Cecilia Noble and Prof. Jed Otano of MSU Iligan. It will focus on the teaching of basic Filipino language. MSU Iligan is the only institution in the Visayas and Mindanao that offers a complete Bachelor’s and graduate programs in Filipino. Additionally, its Department of Filipino has earned the distinction as a Center of Excellence from the Commission on Higher Education in the country. For more information, please contact Dr. Federico Magdalena through his email at fm@hawaii.edu.

JULY 16, 2022

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