Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - September 3, 2022

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SEPTEMBER 3, 2022


Transparency is Killing FPOTUS AS I SEE IT


Fiancee Visa vs. Spousal Visa – Which is Better?

Up to When Will DACA Students Keep on DREAM-ing?


A La Carte: Food or Fiction?



Want Food to Be More Affordable? Support Fair Competition that Would Bring Down Prices


ood is the second largest household budget for Americans, behind paying for rent or mortgage. With the rising cost of food, millions of Americans are feeling the pinch and hurting financially. Hawaii residents are feeling extra financial strain and pressure as our cost of food remains the highest in the nation. On average we are paying well over $2,500 more annually than Massachusetts, the state with the second highest grocery prices, and a whopping $6,000 more annually than Kentucky, the state with the least expensive food prices. A family of four in Hawaii can expect to spend an estimated annual food cost average of $14,042 in 2022. We’ve all heard of the typical drivers of today’s rising food costs that have led to a 11% spike from the previous year. Certain food items have risen by larger percentages, e.g. pork cost 14% more than a year ago and beef up by 20%. First fuel was cited as a primary reason for the hikes. Fuel prices have gone down; but food prices haven’t. Then there are other explanations -- pandemic, bottleneck food supply chains, supply-demand, labor turnover, war and energy price hikes, China’s slow recovery – all of them potentially legitimate contributors to rising food prices. Some are more true than others. We’ve also been told that it would take time, no one knows how long, before food prices will stabilize and perhaps go down. Then there are other economists who believe today’s food prices will remain at current levels.

Industry Consolidation/Market Concentration Besides those typical market drivers drilled into the minds of consumers – that gives the impression that nothing can be done and that the situation is just the free market playing out -- there is a deeper structural problem as to why food prices are at their current levels. What? Industry consolidation or market concentration of the food industry. There’s simply not enough competition in the food production industry to bring about competitive prices. In every part of the food production process from the farm to packing there is monopolization (some call it oligopolistic). Any serious economist knows of the increasing market concentration of the food industry. The data is there that shows monopolization exists. Alarming stats Some startling stats: four firms control 85% of all beef, 66% of all pork, and 54% of all poultry. And these megacompanies are spending millions in lobbying ($175 million spent during the 2020 election cycle alone) fighting against anti-trust bills and to protect their interests. Today, the top four corporations control more than 60% of the U.S. market for coffee, cookies, beer, and bread. In beef processing, baby food, pasta, and soda the top four companies control more than 80% of the U.S. market. 93% of the sodas we drink are owned by just three companies; and 73% of all cereals are also owned by three companies. What a lack of competition means Higher levels of concentration give businesses more power to set prices and increase the likelihood of price-fixing or market manipulation. “It’s a system designed to funnel money into the hands of corporate shareholders and executives while exploiting farmers and workers and deceiving consumers about choice, abundance and efficiency,” said Amanda Starbuck, policy analyst at Food & Water Watch.



arlier this year we did a cover story on inflation’s impact specific to the rising cost of rent and how that is placing tremendous financial pressure on local residents. We know that rent and mortgage are the highest expenses of a household. The second is the expense we pay for food. And like inflation’s pangs on housing costs, we are finding the skyrocketing price of food is causing hardship, struggle for average and middle-class families; and to the low-incomed, reaching a crisis-level with some resorting to desperate means, including turning to Foodbanks or SNAP. For our cover story this issue, HFC associate editor does a comprehensive look at the food price situation in Hawaii and nationally. To begin, our state due to shipping costs, tops the nation in annual cost of food by a large margin. See by how much in the article which is loaded with statistics, including how Hawaii’s restaurants are faring and owners necessary price adjustments just to keep afloat. We then read about how some of our locals are making personal adjustments to their budgets and lifestyles, as well as helpful tips they share on how to shave off dollars by smart-shopping. Using coupons from apps and signing up for grocery stores loyalty program are common tips. But there are many others that the average shopper hasn’t really thought to do. The cover story then delves deeper into 1) why economists think food prices are rising so high and 2) could Hawaii’s bolstering of local agriculture and livestock farming contribute to lowering food costs (and under what conditions this could be possible). The article closes by covering the Jones Act as a potential solution to bring down Hawaii’s food costs and if and when food prices could finally begin to drop. Speaking of food, HFC contributor Rose Cruz Churma submits “A La Carte: Food and Fiction” in her Book Review this issue. In it, she discusses Filipinos special relationship with food and the book’s stories and recipes of Filipino cuisine. She writes, “My choice of stories is based on the accompanying recipe of my favorite dish, which in this case is ‘Binagoongang Baboy’ which is sautéed pork in bagoong alamang (salted shrimp paste).” Also we have two informative legal articles: HFC columnist Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon’s ”Fiancee Visa vs. Spousal Visa – Which is Better?” and HFC contributor Atty. Sheryl Bonilla’s “After the Divorce – Child Support.” HFC columnist Emil Guillermo writes “Transparency is Killing FPOTUS,” an article on former President Donald Trump’s latest scandal in which he took sensitive government documents to his Florida residence that prompted federal agents to search the property and seize those highly classified files. The consequences of such action (taking and mishandling such documents) could be criminal. At the very least, we’re seeing how politically explosive it is and how potentially detrimental this scandal could have in squashing a possible Trump rerun for the presidency. Lastly, in what used to be a very popular headline issue -- the fate of DACA and immigration reform -- HFC columnist Elpidio R. Estioko contributes “Up to When Will DACA Students Keep on DREAM-ing?” It’s actually been 21 years now since the DREAM Act was proposed which would have enabled DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) students to stay in the country with a hope of eventually transitioning to permanent resident status. Unfortunately their limbo-status continues with no real movement developing. Be sure to read our other interesting columns and news. Thank you for supporting Hawaii’s most read Filipino newspaper. Until next issue, 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

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 Pamela Gonsalves Shalimar/ Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias

There is the illusion of choice with many brands for food items, but they’re essentially owned by at times one or two companies. Specific to today’s environment of skyrocketing food costs, while some of the known and common drivers could in fact be partial legitimate reasons to raise prices, the question must be asked how is it then that these mega monopolistic companies (continue on page 3)



On Filipino-ness, Identity and Filipinos Supporting Each Other in the Global Community


o Koy’s Easter Sunday was finally released in the Philippines the last week of August. Like in the U.S., it was received with mixed reviews: from Filipinos saying they were unable to stomach the boredom and left the theater before the movie finished; to some calling the movie a run of shallow cliches and stereotypes; to some criticizing the authenticity of the little Tagalog spoken, how the Santo Nino was desecrated and of the misrepresentation of Easter. Of course, there also were Filipinos who loved the movie, but say they loved it not for its relatable Filipino-ness scenes, but that it was a wholesome family movie. Generally, the Philippine audience were harsher and more critical of Easter Sunday than Filipino-Americans. Not entirely unexpected, and here is why. First off, this is not a movie review or defense of Easter Sunday. But an editorial on Filipino-ness, what it could mean from the perspective of Filipino-Americans, Filipino immigrants and Philippine-locals. In an interview with GMA stringer Janet Nepales, Jo Koy, a first generation Filipino-American, said the movie aimed to break the stigma of racism. “It’s everything. This is like a chance for us to give a voice, get to be seen. We’re not invisible anymore or pretend to be invisible. This is

the fight we get to wave high and not only is it a win for Filipinos, but a win for everybody.” For Filipino Americans Koy’s explanation here was spot on and is the true essence of why the community in the U.S. found this movie to be significant. Many Filipino Americans grew up and experienced racism solely because of being Filipino, for our ethnicity. While in the Philippines there are other forms of prejudices and discrimination – economic, color, regional, to a far lesser degree ethnically with Chinese or indigenous populations – most Filipinos in the mother country do not know what it feels like to be an ethnic minority in a racially plural society, to experience racism, or as Koy said, to be made to feel invisible as a people. U.S. born Filipinos (first generation) sense of Filipino-ness often follows a linear model: one of embrace and comfort for our culture in our formative and pre-teen years, then transitions to one of alienation and self-loathing (mild to severe), and ultimately could be looked upon as a kind of victory in acceptance and pride, even ethnic activism. Unfortunately there are also some who get bogged down and frozen in the second phase, who outright reject their ancestral heritage entirely. Filipino-ness (our inherited culture from the mother land) is a conscious choice, an effort to preserve and maintain for Filipino-Americans and Filipino im-

migrants in the U.S. Without the second part (effort), through the generations it is lost. This is why a movie like Easter Sunday speaks to the heart for Filipino-Americans because it represents our unique story, our own personal acceptance, celebration and commitment to choose our cultural identity that we’ve inherited. Filipino-Americans sense of Filipino-ness perhaps is not as authentic as our ancestors, but that’s evolutionary even within the Philippines itself. In the Philippines, being Filipino comes naturally, and without much thought. Certainly there are Western influences that Filipino youths and young adults will perhaps adopt and prefer. But that’s “foreign” culture second to the Philippines dominant mainstream culture, which is always identified as the majority, and the fusion of what it is collectively: indigenous, Asian, Spanish, Chinese and Western. Clearly alienation also exists in the Philippines– separation by viewpoints, ideas, politics, religion, old ways, new ways, urban, rural, etc. – but that has more to do with human construct and man’s natural tendency to find separation, which is true even for communities worldwide with an almost 100% homogenous society racially. But to a Filipino in the Philippines, they’re almost never made to feel invisible or unwelcomed for being Filipino.

Tyson, among others, hand over information in an investigation into price hikes and food shortages. The Biden administration rolled out a plan to boost meatpacking competition. Last year President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. But we all know executive actions could be overturned by the next president and real sweeping reforms must be taken by Congress in order for policy to stick. But bills banning new mega-mergers and factory farms lack bipartisan support. Congress needs to look into antitrust enforcement and needs to bring back merger

standards that deem market concentration past a certain point to be harmful. Clearly this is the case for today’s exorbitant food prices. There needs to be stronger fair competition rules to level the playing field. This would challenge the current structure in the food industry and give opportunities for new competition to enter the market. Let’s remember the obvious: food is a basic necessity and it cannot and should not reach a point to where a few mega monopolies and billionaires are excessively profiting at the expense of marginalized and middle class families, and particularly seniors ability to put a basic meal on the table. 

(Want Food....from page 2)

are raking in record profits. A recent report by Oxfam International has found that 62 new “food billionaires” were created during the pandemic. Food and agribusiness billionaires reportedly raised their collective wealth by 42% in the past two years The Biden Administration allege foul play and argue that industry consolidation, especially in meat processing, helps a handful of corporations profit off inflation expectations by raising prices even further.

Acton The Federal Trade Commission requested that Walmart, Kroger, Kraft, and

Even if Filipino-Americans and Filipino immigrants wanted to completely blend in, in many communities across the U.S. that is not a choice per say, because of our physical appearance, for good or bad. And our physical appearance alone could at times pose a challenge to maneuver through social barriers. In other words, before someone knows that you are a doctor or a mechanic, you are automatically stereotyped as a person of color, a person of wherever you are thought to originate from. Perhaps Filipino-American immigrants – those who’ve lived in both the Philippines and the U.S. for a considerable time – have the fullest and deepest understanding of what it means to be a Filipino. And arguably, appreciate their Filipino-ness most, relative to native-born Filipino-Americans and Filipinos in the mother land. Why? Because Filipino-American immigrants have lived out both worlds – from automatically by birthright feeling that you belong as a Filipino (regardless of whatever socio-economic class you are) as it were in the Philippines; to being in a completely different environment where you had to work at belonging through assimilation, learning another language while still maintaining your Filipino-ness. In Easter Sunday, this was represented by Joe Valencia’s (Koy’s) mother, played by Lydia Gaston.

It’s worth noting that Filipino-ness also has a degree of ownership and could at times be a source of tension among all three groups, Filipino-Americans, immigrants and Philippine residents. An innocuous case in point, but a precise example, is the degree to which Easter Sunday was criticized in the Philippines for its cultural inauthenticity. Clearly it was a comedy genre and not meant to be academic by any stretch. But the degree to which the movie was panned speaks to something much deeper going on, a kind of cultural appropriation among Filipinos in the Philippines onto Filipino-Americans. In real life (unrelated to the movie), this is an actual phenomenon, of not being Filipino enough. And that tension sours further when Filipino-Americans fire back with criticisms that something or someone is too Filipino. In both cases, when we resort to such tribalism we are only hurting ourselves and our community. In the rare opportunities that our culture, our Filipino-ness (at whatever degree or level of authenticity) is presented to the world (like in this rare movie), the last thing we would want to show is bickering, division, crab mentality. Let’s all celebrate our Filipino-ness and support each other and the projects we have. This is how we thrive as one global Filipino community. 



Hawaii Food Prices Rank First in the Nation, Tips on Savings by Edwin Quinabo


ike families across the U.S., Hawaii is feeling the pinch when it comes to skyrocketing food prices. And relative to mainlanders, Hawaii locals could be experiencing the most severe strain on their food budget according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) that places Hawaii at the top in the nation for food costs. A family of four in Hawaii can expect to spend an estimated annual food cost average of $14,042 in 2022, the highest amount among states. Compare that to number two Massachusetts – a substantial drop off – at $11,674, or last place Kentucky, $8,527. EPI also lists a Hawaii typical family’s income at $97,813 (above the national average of $80,069). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists food costs as the second biggest (next to housing) portion of household incomes in Honolulu; and it shows food prices have increased by 11% from last year. Some of the breakdown of rising costs include: cereal and bakery products were up 14% while meat, poultry, fish and eggs rose 12%. Dairy prices were up over 10%, while both produce and beverages were up 7%. EPI lists Hawaii’s SNAP (formerly called food stamps) recipients at 11.8% (lower than the national average of 12.1%). Mark (last name withheld), Kunia, 24, recent graduate from the University of Hawaii, is thinking about enrolling in Hawaii’s SNAP program. Mark lives with his parents Overall inflation in Hawaii, Proportion of income spent on excess inflation University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) estimates that in March, the Urban Hawaii (Honolulu) Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 7.5% higher than it was one year ago. Honolulu last saw an elevated inflation rate of 6.0% briefly in mid-2006, but otherwise inflation has not been over 7.5% since 1991. “The recent surge stands in stark contrast to the inflation experience of recent years: between 2017 and 2020, Honolulu inflation averaged just 1.9%. If we take 1.9% to be the typical infla-

and sister and collectively, he believes, they probably would not qualify for SNAP. But as a newbie to the workforce, he thinks he might qualify. (Hawaii SNAP Eligibility Information - Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022, Net Income and Asset requirement: 1 person $2470 / month, 2 people $3340 / month, 3 people $4210 / month, 4 people $5080 / month) “I don’t have a problem with anyone making use of SNAP. But I’m not sure if it’s for me because no one in my family has ever got assistance in this way. The cost of food, though, has gone up really high. My mother, retired, does the cooking for the family. She also shops for groceries. My sister and I give her more money for our monthly house food budget. But it’s not just rising food costs. Our utilities have gone up too. I’m trying to save money. This is why I’m still at home, to be able to get a good nest of money before I go out on my own. It’s frustrating, not being able to save as much. “For me, my situation is about saving less. I imagine others like single parents, whose situation are far more dire, are really struggling with inflation and affording basics like food. Now I am cutting back on my spending. I used to eat out for lunch but now I pack home lunches. It’s rare for me to go out to restaurants now. Even restaurants are charging more too,” Mark said. According to the Food Gurus Hawaii Restaurant Index restaurants raised menu prices as much as 24% during this year’s

tion rate for Honolulu, then the additional 5.6% inflation for the year ending in March can be thought of as ‘excess inflation,’” wrote UHERO’s Daniela Bond-Smith, Steven Bond-Smith and Carl Bonham. UHERO pointed out to the varying impact on inflation based off income-earners in Hawaii. It found expenditure shares vary a lot by income quintile. The lowest income households, in the first quintile, earned less than $38,800 in 2020. These households spent 48% of their total expenditures on housing and household utilities. In contrast, the highest quintile earned more than $163,600, allocated only 32% of their

total spending to housing and household utilities. This shows lower incomed earners are spending more of their income by percentage than higher income earners.

Pangs of food inflation, affecting cross section of population Seniors in general because of their fixed incomes, are more susceptible to the financial pressures of inflation. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D., Kailua, said “we are in a different and difficult situation. My husband and I are retired and on fixed income. Food prices have been going up and yet our income is the same. We are running on deficit each time new price increases

first quarter. In the first quarter restaurants customer sales grew by a robust 21% (from 2021), but in the second quarter increased by 3%. The dramatic drop in foot traffic and sales at restaurants between the first two quarters this year showed customers are affected by restaurant price hikes, which is why in the second quarter of 2022, Hawaii restaurants raised prices by 1%. On Oahu, the first half of the year saw an average of 5% increase of customers from 2021, showing modest improvement from the pandemic highpoint. Experts believe if it weren’t for rising food prices, restaurants would be performing better. Common reasons Hawaii restaurants are raising prices: 1) food prices have gone up for them, 2) they need to pay their workers more, 3) utilities have gone up, and 4) they don’t want to go out of business.

hit the grocery shelves. Food costs have increased at least 10% for the past 12 months. This is certainly affecting our monthly budget in a very significant way.” While many seniors struggle with managed care of their finances during the inflation crunch, other seniors are in crisis-level situations. Ludivina Domingo 83, told Hawaii News Now, that she goes to the church (WallyHouse at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Kalihi) for a meal. “I’m here to get the food bank because my Social Security is not enough for me every month,” Domingo said, a retiree from Hawaii’s hotel industry. Domingo said her only income cannot keep up

with rising costs. Charitable food pantries like Hawaii Foodbank said the number of people it’s serving has gone up in the last six months. In the last month, it experienced a 15% increase. Hawaii Foodbank said their estimate of food from meats, poultry, fish and eggs since the pandemic have risen by 30% (rice alone up by 15%). Ron Iwamoto, Pearl City, estimates he is shouldering about 10% more on food. Like many in Hawaii, he says: “Food prices going up on its own wouldn’t be that bad. But when you’re looking at rising costs of just about everything, it begins to hurt. And suddenly, I think like most locals, (continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (Hawaii Food....from page 4)

we’re all looking at food price tags when shopping.” Hawaii is the most expensive state for energy in the nation (in 2021), with the highest average monthly electricity bill, according to a report by Finder.com. The average monthly energy bill in Hawaii is $321, or $3,856 a year, according to the platform’s analysis. Joseph Kent, Punchbowl, said his family’s monthly grocery bill has gone up by 1015%. But some grocery items, like milk, have gone up by 25%. He’s noticed milk used to be $5.99 a gallon at Safeway, and now it’s $7.49.

Savings tips Consumer Reports compiled a few tactics from experts to shave dollars off your shopping bill. 1) Find alternative protein sources. Amy Keating, RD, a registered dietitian who oversees Consumer Reports’ food testing, said beans and other legumes remain a good nutrition bet. She said dried beans, peas, and lentils prices have gone up 10.5%, compared to most animal proteins that have risen by 19.3%. She says eggs are inexpensive protein alternatives. 2) Frequent low-cost grocers. 3) Go with store brands. Consumer Reports finds store-brand foods and beverages, they can cost 20 to 25% less than name brands of the same product. 4) Use a cash-back credit card. 5) Use your freezer right. Freezing large quantities of sale and seasonal food could save the average family of four $2,000 per year. Kent says his family plans their family dinners according to what’s on sale for the week. He recommends using store coupons that can be found on apps (besides cut out coupons). He’s found Costco and Sam’s Club helpful for bulk buying. As for shopping tips, Bernales recommends using reward cards, signing up for loyalty programs and avoiding impulse buying by making a shopping list. She says farmers markets are great for fresh produce.

Bernales has tips on savings outside of grocery shopping. She said trying out canning and food preservation methods such as making your own salted eggs, making apple sauce, pickling cucumbers. She recommends making a broth or stock from chicken, meat, fish and excess vegetables like carrots, onions and celery for making sauces and soups. As for eating at restaurants, both Kent and Bernales say they’ve cut back on the number of times they eat out. “We used to eat out 3-4 times a week and due to the pandemic and inflation we have limited eating out for the last three years. If we do (very rarely), we look for a restaurant with outdoor seating or we do take-out. No weekend outings now or socializing over food with friends,” Bernales said.

Drivers of higher food prices Mainstream economists cite various reasons for the rise in price of food. Some believe the global market is still in pandemic recovery mode; that every part of the food supply chain – production, processing and retail – is catching up. Besides bottleneck supply chain, economists cite supply-demand issues, labor turnover. Experts also believe the war in Ukraine aggravated pandemic recovery by causing energy prices to soar as many Western countries sanctioned Russian oil and gas. Although gas prices have been going down for about a month now, there is expected lag time for other adjustments in the global market, experts say. While the pandemic is mostly controlled in the West, China’s current surge of COVID-19 has slowed down recovery. As China is the world’s largest exporter of goods, China’s lockdowns are putting additional strain on the global supply chain. Economists describe these conditions – pandemic, bottleneck food supply chains, supply-demand, labor turnover, war and energy price hikes, China’s slow recovery – all as having contributed to the perfect storm for high inflation and rising cost of food.

Monopolization of the food industry, systemic driver of high cost Then there are other economists who look to market concentration or monopolies as systemic culprits driving up food prices. Robert Reich, UC California Berkeley professor, economist, attorney and author, said, “Just four firms control 85% of all beef, 66% of all pork, and 54% of all poultry. This degree of monopolization is hurting farmers — and you. “Monopolists control nearly every part of the food production process, from selling feed to farmers, to packaging the meat and poultry for supermarkets. Half of all chicken farmers report having just one or two processors to sell to. “Farmers are essentially forced to buy from and sell to monopolies at whatever price the corporation wants – often taking on crushing debt to do so. They are trapped in longterm binding contracts, with no way out but losing their livelihood altogether,” said Reich. He adds, “in 1980, 62 cents of every dollar consumers spent on beef went to ranchers. Today, only 37 cents do. Most of the profits are going into the pockets of the monopolists. And here’s the kicker: Even though farmers are getting squeezed, the ag monopolists are also charging you higher prices. During the pandemic, beef prices rose nearly 16% — and the four biggest beef companies’ profits rose more than 300 percent. “These corporations are using their monopoly power to fix prices. Just recently, beef giant JBS settled — without admitting guilt, of course — a beef price-fix-

“Just four firms control 85% of all beef, 66% of all pork, and 54% of all poultry. This degree of monopolization is hurting farmers — and you. Monopolists control nearly every part of the food production process, from selling feed to farmers, to packaging the meat and poultry for supermarkets. Half of all chicken farmers report having just one or two processors to sell to. in 1980, 62 cents of every dollar consumers spent on beef went to ranchers. Today, only 37 cents do. Most of the profits are going into the pockets of the monopolists. And here’s the kicker: Even though farmers are getting squeezed, the ag monopolists are also charging you higher prices. These corporations are using their monopoly power to fix prices. Just recently, beef giant JBS settled — without admitting guilt, of course — a beef price-fixing case for $52.5 million. Monopolization is happening across the food sector. In corn, soybeans, dairy, pesticides, and farm machinery. The result is the same: lower pay to farmers, bigger profits for the monopolists, higher prices for you.”

— Robert Reich

UC California Berkeley professor, economist, attorney and author ing case for $52.5 million. Monopolization is happening across the food sector. In corn, soybeans, dairy, pesticides, and farm machinery. The result is the same: lower pay to farmers, bigger profits for the monopolists, higher prices for you,” Reich said. Bernales agrees with some of the economic experts. “Monopoly in all areas of doing business drives prices up

and the same is true in the food industry. Food monopolies have undue influence over what farmers grow and how much they are paid. Weak enforcement of regulation and unconstrained mergers and acquisitions have led to the rise of food monopolies. Government intervention and help are needed when the situation endangers food security. We (continue on page 9)



Transparency is Killing FPOTUS By Emil Guillermo


awaii knew what to do when our democracy seemed in crisis. People voted in free and fair elections. Candidates won and lost. They accepted their fate. There were no reported election deniers. It was both affirmation and confirmation that our system still works. It just doesn’t work for crybaby would-be tyrants. We are now entering an era when the greatest threat to our democracy is one FPOTUS. FPOTUS? That was the description on the affidavit attached to that historic search warrant on the property of The Former President of the United States, a.k.a. FPOTUS. But why stop at one F when there’s a foultitude of F-words. (That’s French for

“lots” or “oodles.”) But there’s also: “Falsifying.” “Failed.” “Funky” even works metaphorically in a most foul way. All of them come to mind. Add your favorite adjectival “F” word. Just not “Filipino.” We’ve never seen this in U.S. history. A figurehead of the world’s greatest democracy becoming the target of a search warrant. And it’s all official and legit. One that’s signed off by a judge who believes there is probable cause that a crime has been committed by a former president of the United States. Jimmy Carter is an FPOTUS, but you know we’re not talking about him. Carter builds houses, not federal criminal cases that make him a threat to our country. And now that a redacted affidavit has been unsealed— something that FPOTUS said he wanted—things do not look good for FPOTUS. Even with a redacted affidavit released recently, there’s nothing positive for FPOTUS

FPOTUS Donald Trump

in the new document. Yes, there’s a lot of black ink covering the facts, but there’s enough that still adds up to probable cause that a federal crime was committed by FPOTUS. And he wants a second inaugural? More likely he’ll get a federal indictment. We aren’t talking about the kind of “high crimes and misdemeanors” political crime that Congress has used twice already in the impeachment process against him. We’re talking about real crimes in the U.S. code that normal people get thrown in jail for. Like the oddly named Reality Winner, a former NSA contractor who got prison time for leaking a single classified document to the media. That’s the seriousness of the possible charges here, the biggest one perhaps involving potential violations of the Espionage Act. If you are found with the most top secret of government documents, the kind that you need to open in a safe room, and they’re sitting in a basement at your Florida resort, that could be considered “mishandling” and get someone up to 10 years in prison. Then there’s the possibility of obstruction of justice charges

that could fetch up to 20 years. And as the topper, there’s the possible charge of destruction or mutilation of federal records, which could potentially disqualify a person from ever holding public office. Essentially, FPOTUS would have to understand that a realistic run again for president in 2024 has practically been made moot. Unless Republicans really want to vote for an indicted candidate. Hard to understand why FPOTUS would personally house top-secret materials in unsecure circumstances at Mar-a-Lago. For souvenirs? His first response was the extreme tack of claiming political persecution. It’s political victimhood! Hey, wait, isn’t that what people say Asian Americans and other BIPOC folks do? No, FPOTUS is not like us. He understands victimizing others. But being the victim? Not FPOTUS. He’s also taken to blaming another F-word, the FBI! Of course, the FBI agents were just doing their job, and in a lowkey way after discussions to obtain the documents began in 2021, then were brought up again in 2022, reports say. And a search warrant was required only after certain documents appear to have been omitted the first-time documents were handed over. Don’t blame the FBI. But that seems to be the preferred tack of the Republican Party, which can’t seem to quit its loving embrace of FPOTUS. “The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and overreach of its authority,” said House member Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Overreach? The paperwork was signed by a judge. Others like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) just tried to raise doubt even to suggest that documents may have been planted. Plantbased documents by meat-eater FPOTUS? Doubt it. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) called the FBI tyrants. Sen Rick Scott (R-Fla.) went even further. “The way the federal government has gone, it’s like what we thought about the Gestapo, people like that, that just go after people.” No, Sen. Scott, our FBI

isn’t like the official secret police of Nazi Germany. This is the desperate Republican Party trying to defend their FPOTUS, who earlier this month, in a deposition with the New York Attorney General, pleaded the Fifth more than 400 times. Instead of choosing America, the GOP has chosen FPOTUS, and that is not good for America. Already one FBI office drew the attention of a Jan. 6 insurrectionist, who was recently gunned down in a standoff in Ohio. It may not be the last if insurrectionists see anything FPOTUS says as a call to arms. We may be coming up to Jan. 6 the Sequel. And all because the FPOTUS in question can’t show anything but a disgraceful love of self. Certainly, there’s no love of country. And now that the redacted document released recently shows nothing to exonerate or give FPOTUS any kind of innocence narrative. Just politics? No, there are real documents he had no right to possess. They only add to the weight around his neck that a crime was committed. One can easily downplay it all as insignificant. But FPOTUS possessed documents that among other things, contained the names of people who had cooperated with the U.S. These people gave information to the U.S. and would be jailed or killed if their identities were known. It’s serious business. And it no longer concerns Trump, who isn’t president for life but is now a mere private citizen. This is not normal in the presidential history of our country ever. We shouldn’t begin now. If you are a Filipino who has stayed loyal to FPOTUS and were just waiting for an optimal time to jump off the Trump train, now would be that time. 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.



Fiancee Visa vs. Spousal Visa – Which is Better? By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


s the affidavit of Monica Lewinsky saying that ‘there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton’ true or false?,” President Bill Clinton was asked during a grand jury investigation of his alleged sexual misconduct in office. “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”, replied Clinton. I liked Clinton. Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced me to him during a fund raiser in San Francisco when he first ran for President. “This is Al Tipon, you both went to Yale.” I had contributed to his Paula Jones defense fund because I did not believe that he dropped his pants when Paula Jones entered the hotel room where he was waiting for her. No Yale man

drops his pants at the mere sight of a woman – and she was not even pretty. Clinton was reputed to be a womanizer. There is nothing wrong with that if the women like it and you do not force yourself upon them. What made me unlike him was his denying it - in a philosophical way. If a woman has given you sexual pleasure – whether via the conventional way or unconventional way, it is an insult to the woman to deny that you had no sexual relationship. I do not like lying. Lying down – yes. But not lying. In the field of immigration, the question has been asked so many times: Which is better – to file a fiancee visa petition for your sweetheart who is living abroad or go abroad, marry your sweetheart there, and then come back to the U.S. and file a spousal visa petition. Our answer is: It depends on what the meaning of the word “better” is.

No, no, no. We are not trying to ape Clinton. What do you really mean by “better”? Do you mean “cheaper,” or “faster,” or something else? Every one has his or her own concept of “better”.


The filing fee for a fiancee visa petition and a spousal visa petition is the same - $535.00. A number of lawyers charge the same fee for either kind of petition – around $2,000. The ultimate objective is the same – to bring your sweetheart to the U.S. with the hope that you will live happily ever after.


Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e), is used for a fiancee visa petition, while Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is used for a spousal visa petition, together with a Form I-130A to be filed by the alien spouse. A fiancee visa petition is

for a nonimmigrant visa, while a spousal visa petition is for an immigrant visa. Background checks are less stringent for a nonimmigrant visa than for an immigrant visa. Only a U.S. citizen can file a fiancee visa petition, while a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can file an immigrant visa petition. Only the petitioner can file an affidavit of support for a fiancee, hence his income must be sufficient to support himself and his fiancee, while the petitioner and a co-sponsor (if the petitioner’s income is insufficient) can file an affidavit of support for a spouse. The fiancé visa petitioner and the fiancee must have seen each other in person within the last two years before filing the Form I-129F. There is no such requirement for filing Form I-130. The fiancé visa petitioner and the fiancee must establish that they have a bona fide fiancé-fiancee relationship but they are not required to submit proof of sexual relations, cohab-

itation, and possession of joint documents. On the other hand, the spouses must establish that they have a bona fide marriage which entails more proof including consummation of marriage, cohabitation, the submission of documents in their joint names such as bank accounts, rental agreements, insurance policies with the other as beneficiary, etc. The fiancee beneficiary must write a declaration stating that such fiancee will marry the petitioner within 90 days after her admission to the United States. No such declaration is required of a spouse. The fiancé visa petitioner has 90 days to live with and observe the fiancee and determine if they are compatible and they can live together as husband and wife. As one wit remarked, “you do not buy a car without a test drive, not even a Rolls Royce.” If the petitioner does not like the fiancee, he can buy her a one way ticket and send her back home without marrying her. In the case (continue on page 15)



COVER STORY (Hawaii Food....from page 5)

need an emphasis to promote and help small businesses, local farmers, and food co-ops as well as more public funding to boost sustainable food systems to take root.”

Bolstering Hawaii agriculture and farming Since Hawaii’s food security vulnerability was exposed during the pandemic, there is renewed political will to make a serious effort at bolstering Hawaii’s ability to produce sufficient amount of food, at least far more than what is currently produced. Where does Hawaii stand on imports and locally grown food? Estimates have Hawaii importing between 80-90% of food. According to the State of Hawaii’s Office of Planning Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism and the Department of Agriculture, Hawaii is self-sufficient in some vegetable and fruit crops but has become less self-sufficient in eggs, milk, livestock, hogs and pigs. In the 1970s, Hawaii was

self-sufficient in eggs and milk with 240 eggs farms and 120 milk operations. Today there are about 100 egg farms and only two dairies. Livestock and hog and pig production have also declined since the 1970s. More than half the fish consumed in Hawaii is caught locally. Hawaii farmers grow a majority of the cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers. Papaya is so plentiful that it’s one of the State’s top agricultural exports.

Does local grown mean more affordable? Would a larger local agricultural and livestock farming help with keeping prices lower? Experts believe that largely depends on economic principles of supply and demand, scale of production, cost of production. First, locally grown food would not have to be shipped which saves on shipping costs. But that alone doesn’t guarantee cheaper prices. Second, the high cost of production in Hawaii often means that local products are

more expensive than imported ones. But if production costs can go down (with better technologically advanced equipment for farming, better irrigation systems and infrastructure) and farmers get the support they need from the state to establish the right scale of production of certain goods (meaning enough is produced to be price competitive), then costs could eventually go down. Locally produced milk and eggs cost higher because there are too few local dairy farms. Inversely, because some vegetables and fruits are more plentiful, some locally grown vegetables and fruits (commonly found at Farmers markets) tend to be cheaper. There are exceptions. Specialty food items produced locally are also pricier for the same reason milk and eggs are. Unique items and items where there are shortages in supply, as an economic principle, tend to be more expensive. Increasing supply (ag boost, livestock farming) and having the right amount of demand could in theory

lower select food items. Experts believe improvements in price and availability can be made on certain food products if grown locally under certain conditions of production cost and scale, but staple foods -- like wheat and rice (carbohydrates) — that make up the bulk of Hawaii people’s diets, these items would be difficult to produce because of a lack of land base in the state. So even if there were smaller farms producing them in the future, it could contribute to food security on the islands, but it wouldn’t be at the right scale for their products to be cheaper than imported wheat or rice. Bernales said, “Having local grown food for local consumption has been a perennial topic to bolster agri-business in Hawaii but there has not been a significant rise in production, consumption and revenue for farmers. People tend to eat and consume what is familiar to them. For the Filipino community, we like a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, the prices right now are high. If there are more harvests,

prices should come down but they are not. Bringing back livestock farming will benefit producers and consumers alike.”

Jones Act Kent said lawmakers should make it less expensive to import food products, such as by urging reform of expensive shipping regulations such as the federal Jones Act and many state maritime regulations as well. The Jones Act requires that all vessels carrying goods between two U.S. points be American-built, -owned, -crewed and -flagged. It is believed by some that the Jones Act increases the cost of shipping to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico that rely on imports by restricting the number of vessels that can legally deliver goods. Lifting the Jones Act would allow more vessels to enter Hawaii. Proponents of the Jones Act cite protecting jobs in American shipbuilding and better control that every consumable item is shipped on (continue on page 10)



Up to When Will DACA Students Keep on DREAM-ing? By Elpidio R. Estioko


ACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students, otherwise known as Dreamers, have been dreaming to qualify for conditional permanent resident status since the DREAM Act of 2001 for 21 years now! Until when will they keep on dreaming? Will there be a green light at the end of the tunnel? Or will it be a perennial dream for them? Under the DREAM Act, also known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, students who came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger at least five years before the date of the bill’s enactment and who have maintained good moral character since entering the U.S. would qualify

for conditional permanent resident status upon acceptance to college, graduation from a U.S. high school. Until now, however, this didn’t happen because the Act was never passed by the Senate, although it already passed Congress. It must pass both chambers before it will be forwarded to the President for signature to become a law. With the latest developments of Wyoming representative Liz Cheney losing to former president Donald Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman in the primary and other GOP candidates endorsed by Trump gaining momentum towards a possible takeover of Congress, will these be signals of the death of the DREAM Act? Remember, GOP has been opposed to the act ever since and kept on blocking its passage both in the Lower House and in the Senate. So, if they will be dominating Congress, will this be the demise of the DREAM Act?

As a result, millions of undocumented immigrant Dreamers live in the United States without legal status. The problem lies in the issue of a pathway to lawful status and eventually becoming citizens as provided for in the DREAM Act. Its most recent version was approved by the House of Representatives on March 18, 2021, and sent to the Senate for approval. According to the National Immigration Law Center, on May 2021, the Dream Act is bipartisan legislation that addresses the tragedy of young peo-


DPP is in Hot Seat for Permits Backlog and Long Wait Time, More Staffing and Possible Software Update in the Work


utdated software and low staffing are said to be two reasons why Honolulu’s City Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) are experiencing backlog in permits that have some businesses and homeowners waiting three times longer on average, than other states for residential and commercial building projects to get a green light. Honolulu City Council Andria Tupola requested an investigation and service report (RISR) from the Department of Planning and Permitting to solidly determine application volumes and quantify any permit backlog. Tupola said, “Too many housing projects are stuck in the permitting process.” She added, “There may be some potential long-term solutions such as hiring more workers or upgrading software, but we need more

immediate remedies.” DPP’ said there are 3,499 applications in the initial processing or prescreen phase, 4,780 permits in Plans Review with DPP plan examiners, and 1,113 permits approved and waiting to be picked up by the applicants. Builders say, the process needs to be streamlined to make it easier for small construction companies versus big construction projects. DPP says it is suffering from a 30% vacancy rate. The 2023 City Budget includes filling 80 vacancies plus hiring 80 new people, so the city hopes to fill 160 positions at DPP within the next 3 years. Councilmember Tupola said she will put forth a few initiatives to accelerate and streamline the permitting process and wait times, including encouraging the administration to expedite the release of federal funds for new software.

ple who grew up in the United States and have graduated from our high schools, but whose futures are derailed by current immigration laws. They derive their immigration status solely from their parents, and if their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, they don’t have the mechanism to obtain legal residency, even if they have lived most of their lives in the U.S. The DREAM Act would provide such a mechanism for those who can meet certain conditions. On May 11, 2011, the latest version of the DREAM Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 952) by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 32 fellow senators, and in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1842) by Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (RFL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard. If passed, the DREAM Act would enact two major changes in current law: It will permit certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status. Eventually, they will obtain permanent legal status and become

eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military; and the DREAM Act would eliminate a federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status. You will notice that the DREAM Act has a path to legal residency for Dreamers. They would qualify for conditional permanent resident status upon acceptance to college, graduation from a U.S. high school, or being awarded a GED in the U.S. However, if they had committed crimes, were a security risk, or were inadmissible or removable on certain other grounds, they won’t qualify. Under the Senate bill, qualifying students must be under age 35, whereas under the House bill they must be under age 32. As benefits, students with conditional permanent resident status would be able to work, drive, go to school, and otherwise participate normally in day-to-day activities on the same terms as other Americans. The only exception is that gen(continue on page 14)

(COVER STORY: Hawaii Food....from page 9)

schedule. They say eliminating the Jones Act would allow foreign-built ships to operate in our domestic trade and rewards countries like China, at the expense of U.S. businesses and jobs. And that timely delivery wouldn’t be as effective with foreign operated vessels. Stevedores often complain that they are wrongfully blamed for the high cost of shipping goods. They say whether the Jones Act is lifted in Hawaii or not, their job remains the same. Rather, some say it is the punitive tax and regulatory policies that burden the American operator when compared to foreign “flag of convenience” shipowners that affect prices. On the mainland, the Jones Act is said to spare infrastructure of highways and roads on the continent from deterioration with excessive ground transportation. Delivery by shipping is also believed to save on fuel and pollution. Opinion on the Jones Act: in Hawaii Business Magazine’s July 30, 2022 issue, the results of its most recent “BOSS Survey and 808 Poll” showed business executive/leader’s responses to the ‘scrapped entirely’ and ‘modified’ options of the Jones Act combined totaled 89% in 2022

as compared to 82% in 2020 an increase of 7 points with the greatest increase of 8 points in favor of modification. The general public’s responses to the ‘scrapped entirely’ and ‘modified’ options to the Jones Act totaled 87% in 2022 as compared to 85% in 2020 an increase of 2 points with the greatest increase of 5 points in favor of scrapping entirely. Among both executive leaders and the general public, there is wide support for either scrapping or modifying the Jones Act. The BOSS Survey and 808 Poll asked 396 Hawai‘i business leaders and 444 members of the public.

When will food prices drop? There’s no clear consensus among economists and think tanks as to when food prices will go down. There is some consensus that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes could slow down the economy enough to lower inflation. This would have almost have an immediate impact on some industries like real estate and car sales. But it could take longer for food. Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Fed, suggest that inflation will not last for years. (continue on page 12)



Act of Betrayal By Perry Diaz


n August 8, 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump said in a statement that “a large group” of FBI agents was searching his Mar-aLago home, accusing the bureau of prosecutorial misconduct and suggesting the raid was politically motivated to prevent him from running for president in 2024. Then, Attorney General Merrick Garland dropped a nuclear bomb! Omigosh! Garland claimed that some of the classified documents were of the “nuclear” type. Suddenly, the whole game changed. The FBI started searching for classified material about nuclear weapons. Citing sources familiar with the investigation, The Washington Post reported that government officials were deeply concerned that the nuclear documents believed to be stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence could fall into the wrong hands. Separately, the New York Times reported the documents were related to some of the most highly classified U.S. programs, and that officials feared they were vulnerable to being stolen from Trump’s home by foreign adversaries. Nuclear documents The Washington Post said their sources did not give details about the nuclear documents, such as whether they involved U.S. weapons or those of foreign countries. Sensitive information about U.S. nuclear weapons is usually restricted to a small number of government officials, noting that material about U.S. weapons could be an intelligence coup for adversaries, and that other nations could see classified U.S. information about their nuclear programs as a threat. A Justice Department source told the Washington Post that top-secret intel like nuclear in-

formation would cause law enforcement to quickly want to recover any sensitive documents that are harmful to U.S. security. “If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said the former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section. Stunning development In a stunning new development, the FBI seized 11 top-secret documents from Mar-a-Lago, some of which could cause damage to U.S. national security.

The FBI is currently investigating allegations that Trump violated the Espionage Act and other laws related to national security. Among the materials retrieved were classified documents, including some marked “top secret” that were only meant to be viewed at secure government facilities. The Espionage Act of 1917 was established during World War I—protecting the spread of sensitive information that could harm the country or otherwise give an advantage to others. Three sections of Title 18 of the United States Code are listed on the search warrant. Section 793 covers the unlawful reten-

tion of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary. Section 1519 covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings. Section 2071 covers the unlawful removal of government records. Violating the Espionage Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. According to the Washington Post, allies of Trump, alarmed and shocked by the details in the unsealed search warrant, are starting to distance themselves and “go dark.” Nobody wants to be associated with any potential

criminal act, particularly when it involves national security. Some Trump allies insist that a potential Espionage Act investigation would only strengthen his standing in a 2024 Republican presidential primary. GOP strategists claim that he’d be unbeatable in a Republican primary. However, it’s not clear at this point whether he’d win the presidency in 2024, particularly if he would be indicted for violating the Espionage Act. Trump claimed that he had a “standing order” to declassify documents. But to declassify documents, there is an “elaborate documented process for de(continue on page 13)



A La Carte: Food and Fiction By Rose Cruz Churma


ilipinos have a special relationship with food. There is no gathering, event or meeting (even the ones via Zoom) that excludes the sharing of food. When someone comes to visit, the first thing we ask is “Kumain ka na ba?” And, if the visit falls during mealtimes, we are quick to create another space at the dining table. We also have difficulty throwing away food. It is a common ritual in my household for me to inspect plastic containers that clutter the refrigerator. We let mold accumulate first before we can dump it down the drain. I also have difficulty using food as a cosmetic. No, I can’t waste a good creamy avocado on my face or squeeze a ripe kalamansi to condition my hair. We view food as sacred. Food is life. It can’t be treated with disrespect. This anthology is unique, in the sense that it combines food recipes with fiction whose main thrust is on food. The author, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, writes in her introduction: “We believe that sto-

ries reflect the soul and culture of people. So does food, so we thought that combining stories and recipes in one book would reveal Filipino culture in a unique manner…” When the editors publicized the search for submissions for this book, they received serious stories on food and eating that bring back memories of families and friends and their complex relationships. The selected stories came from authors living in the Philippines, as well as the US, Singapore, Australia, France and Germany. The 25 stories in this collection are preceded by related recipes of Filipino cuisine. The book was formatted like a menu with categories like appetizers, salads, soup, main dish to dessert (and items in between to create a full meal) with the stories falling under the appropriate sections. One of the stories that caught my attention was Margarita Marfori’s Mango Seasons, her recollection of one special summer when an old mango tree was cut down. The accompanying recipe is called “Green Mango Relish”, or the pickled mango of my youth where unripe mangoes are cut into pieces and soaked in vinegar generously spiked with siling labuyo, salt and vinegar.

The story paired with the recipe assaults the senses in another way but in a similar fashion as a spicy green mango—it shocks and lingers. The narrative describes memories that were triggered by the death of a beloved mango tree. My choice of stories is based on the accompanying recipe of my favorite dish, which in this case is “Binagoongang Baboy” which is sautéed pork in bagoong alamang (salted shrimp paste). The accompanying sto-

ry is by Brian Ascalon Roley who teaches at Miami University of Ohio. In Memory is his recollection of his Filipina mother and Caucasian father in a California summer camp in the ‘70s, his youthful experience of blatant racism and his parents’ reaction to it. The third story is by Edgar Poma entitled Desperata, named after the narrator’s mother, an immigrant Ilocana living in Manoa Valley. Its setting is in Honolulu and is liberally sprinkled with pidgin terms and very rich in local color (although at times seemingly forced and contrived). This story is paired with the recipe for “Cascaron”—a favorite dessert or snack popularized by Hawaii’s Filipinos. The premise of the story is interesting: a young NYC firefighter retrieves the letter written by the head of a publishing house in the World Trade Center’s rubble. In the letter, he gives the go-ahead to publish a novel

written by an aspiring novelist. The novel is an ode to the writer’s mom, Desperata. Years later the firefighter visits Honolulu at the invitation of the young writer. At the end of the story, the visiting firefighter utters these unforgettable words: “I don’t think it’s enough for you guys to honor your moms by writing ‘bout her…—you gotta see her every chance you get while you still can and you gotta hold her in your arms.” On the book’s back cover, Isagani Cruz of the Philippine Star concludes that “… it is not so much who writes as what is written that makes this book a must-read.” I agree. This anthology is a 25-item banquet of food, facts, fiction, and fantasy. Enjoy! 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.

(COVER STORY: Hawaii Food....from page 10)

“One day, hopefully soon, food and energy prices will level off and the supply chain problems will dissipate,” Binder writes in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. When that happens, says Binder, ”...inflation will fall as quickly and dramatically as it rose. We’ve seen it happen before.” Forbes Advisor notes that key food commodity prices, including wheat, corn and soybean, have decreased from their recent highs. Wheat

prices, in particular, are down 253% since mid-June of this year. But the question then is when will these lowered prices in trade trickle down to average consumers. Paul Hughes, chief agricultural economist and director of research at S&P Global Commodity Insights, notes the Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate hikes have played a role in the decline by cooling demand—but it doesn’t mean consumers can expect

to see lower prices at the grocery store next week. “There is a lag effect between commodity prices and the impact the consumer sees,” says Hughes. “It will take a while for that to all funnel through to the consumer.” In the meantime, Hawaii residents must work with stretching their budget as far as possible with a combination of smart shopping, accessing resources and doing with less.


Japanese, Okinawan, Hawaii’s Plantation Village to tuguese, Korean and Filipino groups. Chinese lion dance will also Celebrate 30th Anniversary Agrace the celebration.


ince 1992, Hawaii’s Plantation Village Museum has been preserving and sharing the cultural legacy of the state’s sugar plantation workers. Located in the heart of Waipahu, the Plantation Village invites the community to celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary on September 10

from 9am to 2pm. Visitors are encouraged to explore the outdoor plantation houses and buildings to learn more about the ethnic groups that lived on the plantations in early 1900s. The anniversary celebration will feature festive music and dance performances by Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Por-

Moreover, volunteers will help visitors with their genealogy search. Food and drinks will also be available at the event. Event admission and parking will be free. For more information and update, follow Hawaii’s Plantation Village on Facebook at facebook.com/plantationvillage.



The Importance of Play By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


would like to speak to the adults who are raising children. Children have to play right now. Later is too late. It’s too late after getting into the university, after getting a job, and after getting married. Playing with marbles, tag, Red Rover, double dutch, later is too late. In a life full of anxiety, it’ll be late to find the only way to happiness. First, children must play now. Second, children must be healthy now. Third, children must be happy now.” These were the words of Bang Gu-Ppong from episode 9 of the Korean Drama Series, ‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ which has gained popularity among Kdrama fans. He was a self-confessed Commander-in-Chief of the Children’s Liberation Club whose goal is to free children from the evils of society’s schools, academies and parents. He brought twelve elementary school children from the academy owned by his moth-

er to the mountain and played fun games with them. He was charged with kidnapping and Attorney Woo’s team was tasked to defend him. The drama may have been fictional, but it acknowledges and confronts the kind of education the Korean society has. Children as young as second or third graders take extra classes until late at night and go to study cafes so they can catch up with their peers. They go to English academies and take different musical and sports classes even during weekends. Children in Korea are subject to extreme pressure even at a very young age to keep up with a strongly competitive and performance-oriented society. No wonder, South Korea holds the record for the highest suicide rates among the youth compared to other OECD countries. Watching this episode broke and touched our hearts at the same time. Living in South Korea, we witness the pressures parents and children face when it comes to education. According to Wikipedia,

“an average South Korean child’s life revolves around education as pressure to succeed academically is deeply ingrained in South Koreans from an early age. Students are faced with immense pressure to succeed academically from their parents, teachers, peers and society. This is largely a result of a society that has entrenched a great amount of importance on higher education, with those lacking formal university education often facing social prejudice as well as significant life-long consequences such as a stagnant and lower socioeconomic status, diminishing marriage prospects, and low possibilities of securing a respectable white collar and professional career path.” It also added, “many South

(PERRYSCOPE: Acts of....from page 11)

classification,” which can take months. But Trump’s latest defense is: Everyone ends up having to bring home his or her work from time to time. But Trump is no longer in office – he’s retired. He had no business handling top-secret documents. A lawyer for Trump said that all investigations into Trump would stop if he were to announce he wouldn’t run for president in 2024. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani said Trump will “raid every one of Biden’s houses” if the former president wins the 2024 presidential election. Now, that’s politicizing the issue. What has Biden got to do with Trump’s problems? Why can’t Guiliani stop all this nonsense? Wasn’t it enough that he lost his license to practice law in New York? Et tu Brutus? Other than the ever-loyal Guiliani, nobody seems to stand by Trump in his hour of need. At this very moment, he

needs a loyal friend, which seems to be in scarce supply nowadays. But the most dangerous are those who were purportedly loyal to him like family members. I’m not kidding. Sometimes betrayal comes from those closest to you. Remember “Et tu Brutus?” And you, Brutus? That’s where the word brute originated from – someone who betrays a friend. This brings to mind Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom he once referred to as “his star.” Well, not anymore. It all began when Trump and Kushner became business partners in their real estate business and Kushner ended up marrying Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Trump took Kushner under his wings, giving him several high-profile assignments that included overseeing the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, strategizing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and overhauling the GOP platform. Kushner became the presi-

dent’s right-hand man and, according to The Washington Post, was known to defend him in the early days of Donald’s political career. Kushner even kept his own cancer diagnosis a secret to not distract Trump from important trade talks with China. But since President Trump left office in January 2021, shortly after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Kushner has distanced himself from politics and reportedly said he wants a “simpler relationship” with his fatherin-law, according to the New York Times. R e c e n t l y, he and his wife Ivanka testified against her father regarding the January 6 attack, driving a wedge deeper between Donald and his daughter and sonin-law. (continue on page 15)

Korean parents hold high educational expectations for their children, emphasize academic achievement and actively monitor in their children’s academic progress by ensuring that their children receive top grades in school to have the potential to go on to enroll in the nation’s most prestigious universities.” This is the very reason why we have chosen to homeschool our children: to allow them to play and make the most of their childhood. We curated our homeschooling schedule in a way that they have a lot of free, unstructured play and a lot of book reading and nature walks. When I look at them, I am amazed at how creative and imaginative they are. I notice that they learn a lot while playing.

Experts say that play improves the physical, social, cognitive and emotional well-being of children and young people. Through play, they learn about themselves and the world. They also develop skills they need for study, work and relationships such as confidence and independence, curiosity and self-esteem. We value academic excellence, but it is not what we deem the most important. We want children who love learning, and who have godly character and conviction more than high grades. My husband and I believe that they are not defined by how much they know but by who they are in their Maker. They are loved and accepted, not because they are smart or are excelling in school, but because simply they are our children. And as a parent, I agree with Bang Gu-Ppong saying children must play now, children must be healthy now and children must be happy now. Later is too late!



After the Divorce – Child Support by Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.


hen I was a young lawyer a couple decades ago, the sister of a college friend told me she only got $150 a month in child support and that’s why she had to live with their parents. I asked her why she didn’t go back to ask for an increase all those years while raising her son. She said it was too much hassle. That’s unfortunately true. Many people think of child support as “she’ll just buy clothes or go out with her friends, so I’m not going to give her money.” The court’s way of thinking of support is – does that child have a safe place to live, one that’s habitable and in safe environments? The higher the child support, the more finances the custodial parent must afford rent in a neighborhood away from drugs or crime. The

rent for a suitable shelter in a decent area is the prime concern in a child support issue. There are also parents who say “well, I’ll go buy the clothes for the child” or “I have to pay the costs of flying them to and from the mainland” as for why they don’t want to pay child support. The expenses for raising children are not that simple as any parent knows. Prescriptions and doctor appointments, even if $10 a pop, can add up. The car needs to be in good working condition to get the kids to school or to their activities, and that takes gas and car insurance, too. Every parent has had the time where the kids just wake up and have grown overnight and no longer fit their clothes or their shoes so they have to go shopping right after school. Kids may want to play sports and there’s not just participation fees, but also uniforms and – especially if they play baseball or football – the every week potlucks for the team.

Art school or music lessons or other school or extracurricular activities all cost money. The child support is there to prevent the children from being deprived of things they would have if the parents were married. So the hardest task in child support is a tough one – to shift thinking of one’s own finances toward the benefit of the children. Many parents just don’t want to shift to a lower standard of living and aren’t considering the impact it has on their children, and tell themselves “that’s the custodial parent’s responsibility, not mine.” Toward this, many years ago each state began to develop formulas for calculating minimum child support. I’m consistently shocked at how fathers on the mainland get away with not paying much child support on the grounds that they must pay a couple thousand a year for airfare for visitation. This leaves their children impoverished because there’s just not enough money for

the costs in raising children, and worse, not enough to have them live in a safe area or without having to share a home with others. I’m surprised at the courts that order this and even more that the fathers are not caring more for their own offspring. Of all the child support guidelines I’ve seen from other states, I think Hawaii has the best one. Ours is one to two pages long, depending on the custody arrangement. We take both parents’ gross incomes from all sources – the pre-tax amounts – and put that in at the top. We write in the number of children being supported just under that, and at the bottom, we enter the amount that each parent pays for child care and health insurance. The worksheet is computerized and uses tables for standard of living, and does the calculation for a reasonable amount of child support based on each parent’s earnings. I still really appreciate all the effort of our Hawaii Judi-

In 2012, as a stop-gap-measure, the Obama Administration created the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, called “DACA” for short. DACA allowed Dreamers to obtain renewable two-year work permits and to qualify for federal student loans. To apply for DACA, Dreamers need to satisfy certain eligibility requirements with proof including things like a high school diploma, and evidence of military service where applicable, among others. The DACA program has allowed over 700,000 young undocumented immigrants to live and work lawfully in the United States without fear of deportation daily. However, in 2017, the Trump administration ordered the Department of Homeland Security to end the DACA program. Fortunately, in June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration used improper procedure in ending the DACA program, providing some relief for Dreamers. The DACA program and the DREAM Act have similar

goals of protecting Dreamers, with a slight difference. The goal of the DREAM Act is to give Dreamers permanent legal status and a pathway to citizenship. On the other hand, DACA only offers “deferred action” that recipients have to renew every two years, a government decision not to start removal proceedings (commonly called “deportation”) against someone on humanitarian grounds. So, what is the future of the DREAM Act? We can’t be certain what the future holds for Dreamers. The most recent version of the DREAM Act was introduced in Congress in March 2021 called the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2021,” passed the House of Representatives but has not gone up for a Senate vote yet. Joe Biden was Vice President when President Obama created the DACA program in 2012. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised many times to protect DACA and Dreamers. On his inauguration day as president, Biden expressed his support for legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship

ciary and the lawyers who volunteered, to make a fair, easy to use child support guidelines worksheet (CSGW). Kudos to our Family Court for this CSGW. I really believe our Hawaii Family Court is just the best of all the states, for their care for the best interests of the children as the primary concern, and the CSGW they developed to keep children from being impoverished – to the extent possible given the circumstances – after a divorce. From the decree up through the end of the support obligation, the child support can be modified in two situations – every three years (for natural increases in cost of living) or when one parent has a significant change of 10% in income in either direction. Sometimes health insurance premiums or childcare expenses increase way past the original numbers. Sometimes parents get huge pay raises. Situations change. To change the child support amount in court, there’s two ways – hire a lawyer or do it yourself. Parents can go (continue on page 15)

(AS I SEE IT: Up to When....from page 10)

erally, they would not be able to travel abroad for lengthy periods (they have limited durations) and they would not be eligible for Pell Grants or certain other federal financial aid grants. They would, however, be eligible for federal work-study and student loans, and states would not be restricted from

providing their own financial aid to these students. Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who were born abroad but brought to the United States as children, by their parents without lawful entry, the children then grow up in the United States without legal status. That’s where the Dreamer story began.

for DACA recipients and temporary protected status (TPS) for other undocumented immigrants. President Biden has promised to sign the DREAM Act into law once Congress approves it. It’s up to Congress now whether the DREAM Act becomes a law. In the meantime, Dreamers can apply for DACA to obtain a renewable two-year work permit. If you can’t afford attorney’s fees and don’t want to handle your DACA case alone, the nonprofit ImmigrationHelp. org may be able to help. If you are eligible, you can use ImmigrationHelp.org to prepare your DACA forms for free. Click “Get Started” to see if ImmigrationHelp.org can help you. Until when will the Dreamers keep on dreaming? As I See It, they will never stop dreaming until they will be granted the green card contained in the DREAM Act! 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.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR TASTE OF OAHU | Millwood Ohana Productions | First Friday of the month until December 2022, 4-10pm | Aloha Stadium | Enjoy a night with Hawaii’s best entertainments, family fun activities and over 50 food, craft and retails vendors. Tickets starts at $15 for ages 12 and older. For more information, contact (808) 533-9016. HAWAII’S PLANTATION VILLAGE 30th ANNIVERSARY | Hawaii’s Plantation Village | September 10, 2022 from 9am to

2pm | 94-695 Waipahu Street | Celebrate the cultural legacy of the Hawaii’s sugar plantation workers. Free admission and parking. Email Director Evelyn Ahlo at hpvwaipahu96797@ gmail.com for more details. 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. BATTLE OF THE FOOD TRUCKS | Hawaii Tourism Authority | September 11, 2-6pm | 2974 Kress Street, Lihue, Kauai | Celebrate cultural traditions around food as Kauai Food Trucks showcase their culinary talents with live music entertaining tasting guests. Tickets start at $75. To purchase, visit bestkauaifoodtrucks.com.

(WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: Fiancee Visa....from page 7)

of a spousal visa petitioner, he does not have that 90-day test drive period. If he cannot get along with his spouse, he has to divorce her, thereby incurring more expenses. The unfortunate alien spouse, if a Filipino and goes back to the Philippines will still be considered married to the petitioner because there is no divorce in the Philippines. She cannot remarry in the Philippines. She would have to file a petition for recognition of the foreign divorce – another expense. Or she could look for a U.S. citizen fiancé who could petition for her. The fiancee beneficiary, after marrying the petitioner in the U.S., should file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, in order to convert her nonimmigrant status to permanent

resident status and get a green card. The spouse does not need to do that. She is arriving as an immigrant and is given a green card shortly after arrival. The fiancee beneficiary who obtains a green card must file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within the 90-day period before the green card expires. The spouse must also do that if she arrived in the U.S. within two years after their marriage abroad, but if the spouse arrived after two years following their marriage abroad, the spouse does not have to file Form I-751. A Filipino said that he had been told by a non-Filipino lawyer that filing a spousal visa petition is better because the spouse can work immediately upon arrival while the fiancee

(PERRYSCOPE: Acts of....from page 13)

Moreover, Kushner recently praised President Biden, saying he thought Biden was making a “smart diplomatic move.” Initially, Kushner helped Trump cling to power. He was involved with Trump’s scheme to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. According to four people familiar with the matter, in the week following Election Day in early November of that year, Kushner took charge of oversee-

cannot, because she has to apply for adjustment of status. Sin verguenza. Walang hiya. Are you petitioning for someone for the purpose of making that someone work? Why, can’t you support yourself and that someone you brought to the U.S.? One day an Ilocano came to the office with an attractive younger woman whom he introduced as his wife. “What do you do?” I asked her. “Oh I just stay at home, I don’t work,” she replied. “Why not?” I asked. “You ask my husband,” she said. So I asked her husband and he replied. “Why should I make my wife work. I can support her. As you can see, she is beautiful. If she goes to work, some playboy might see her, court her, and take her away. I will have lost my investment.”


So, which is better? You be the judge, based on what is your concept of “better”. Whatever you do, remember that marriage is “for better or for worse.” It has been said that “mahirap ang nag-iisa, pero mas mahirap kung may asawa ka na masama.” (“It is difficult to be alone, but it is more difficult if you have a wife who is bad.”).

ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing 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 co-hosts 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.

(LEGAL NOTES: After ....from page 14)

ing the development of plans to keep Trump in office. Kushner repeatedly met with Trump and other high-ranking aides to Trump to discuss and map out possible strategies for multi-pronged legal battles and a scorched-earth messaging war against the victorious Biden campaign.

The mole

Then he decided to bail out when things went awfully nasty. He withdrew from the battle – which was getting bloody – and started washing his hands. In a final act of betrayal, Kushner and Ivanka testified against Trump before the January 6th Subcommittee, which makes one wonder: Was Kushner the mole inside Mar-a-Lago who provided the FBI with information about the safe and other top-secret documents hidden at Mar-aLago? PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.

to the Judiciary website, under the self-help tab, get the Family Court drop-down for the island they live on, and print the “Motion for Post-Decree Relief” form. They need to submit an updated Asset and Debt Statement, Income & Expense Statement, and Child Support Guidelines worksheet, and paystubs and/or tax returns as evidence of income. The CSGW has to be searched separately, but the court at the

hearing has its own CSGW. The non-court way is to contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) and ask for a recalculation. That’s free. The parents still need to submit an updated Asset and Debt Statement, and Income & Expense Statement and paystubs for at least two months. After the hearing, the CSEA will enter the order in court for the parents and the order will become part of the divorce file. As children, their needs

change, and as parents work longer, their income also changes with raises and bonuses, or even lay-offs or job change reductions. Child support can be modified to reflect these changes.  This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be constructed as offering legal advice. Please consult an attorney for your individual situation. The author is not responsible for a reader’s reliance on the information contained here.


Ti Dana Iti Sirok Ti Bullalayaw ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro

Adda bullalayaw ita nga agsapa Cielo Alma Ditoy laud ti balay. Ita nga irubuatta manen iti sabali nga addang a kasilpo ti anges.

Apo Dios a nailangitan. Agyamanta. Ita manen magnata kadagiti nawatiwat pay a panagdaliasat.

Adda wayawaya dagiti gundaway a sagrapen ti anges ti biag. Agyamanta dakkel a panagyaman ta limmabasta manen iti maysa a natalna a rabii iti sallukob ken Aywan ni

Dayta ti bullalayaw; adda dita ti namnama adda dita ti ayat; adda dita ti kinatibker adda dita ti bileg ti pammati ken kararag.