SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 1
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
Quo Vadis, Bongbong Marcos?
Surviving the Pandemic With Music and Arts
Grassroots FilAms Part of Vax Americana; Political Parties, 9/11, and Tennis Star Leylah Fernandez
New Batting Cages Opens in Honolulu
2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
Expanding Medicare to Cover Eye, Dental and Hearing is Essential Care and Must Pass
he popular misconception is that Medicare is a comprehensive program that will be enough to cover your medical needs in your retired golden years. But when people turn of eligible age, 65, and analyze their enrollment options and cost, seniors quickly realize basic or traditional Medicare is not the trustworthy safety net they had hoped for. Workers have put into the Medicare system for most of their working lives then are faced with a shocking reality that Medicare is not free. That’s the big news workers should know, unless politicians finally have the political will to make changes.
No limit on charges Under original or traditional Medicare, there is actually no limit on what a person may have to pay out of pocket to receive medical care. When Medicare was created in 1965 as a national health insurance, the purpose was to protect the elderly from exorbitant health care costs and to provide a means to get medical treatment they can afford. The problem is over time, as medical inflation skyrocketed, Medicare hasn’t been updated to keep up with the price of modern medicine. “Medicare is one of the few health plans or programs out there today that doesn’t have a limit on out-of-pocket spending,” said Tricia Neuman, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. To ensure both specific medical needs are met and to cap costs, many seniors enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, which is actually private insurance. Or another alternative is for seniors to keep basic Medicare and supplement coverage by purchasing additional insurance called Medigap. Some seniors are fortunate to have both Medicare and health care insurance from a previous employer. Again, the very purpose of why Medicare was created is undermined as many seniors are not able to afford either a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medigap option or the additional costs of treatment not covered by insurance, or out-of-pocket costs. Currently, an estimated 6 million Medicare beneficiaries do not have any supplemental or alternative coverage, meaning they in theory have no cap on their out-of-pocket costs if they require a lot of or lengthy medical services. What happens then is often seniors go without preventative or urgent treatment to avoid care they cannot afford. Original Medicare does not include many services from long term care at private facilities to lengthy home care for chronically sick seniors. Vision, dental or hearing – care that a majority of seniors need – are not covered under the basic plan. Earning too much or too little equals not having sound options available Basically, if you are a senior with compromised health or suffer a debilitating health crisis such as a stroke or heart attack, you have no choice but to purchase supplemental private insurance or potentially go bankrupt. Medicare Advantage now accounts for 42 percent of enrollment, up from 25 percent a decade ago. Lower middle-incomed Americans and sickly middle-incomed Americans who do not qualify for Medicaid find themselves in a bind of making too much to receive assistance or too little to afford insurance and/or other fees, copayments, cost-sharing. (continue on page 3)
FROM THE PUBLISHER
efore the COVID-19 pandemic, reforming the US health care system to one that is more affordable and truly universal was right up there in top priorities for voters, according to multiple polls. The 2020 Presidential Election had at least two leading contenders talking about dramatic changes, specifically the contentious Medicare for All policy that have been talked about for decades now. The election win of the more moderate Democrat Joe Biden shelved Medicare for All for who knows how long. But there is good news as Medicare could undergo cost-savings changes. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo writes about two major proposals to Medicare included in a Reconciliation bill currently being worked on in DC. The first change is to include dental, eye and hearing coverage to Medicare. Each one of these services is very costly that half of seniors do not even bother to get the medical attention they often need in these areas. The other proposal to Medicare is to lower the eligibility age from 65 to 60, which if passed, will enable an additional 25 million Americans to sign on to the program. Both proposals are overwhelmingly supported by a majority of Americans; but oddly, both could very well fail to pass. Also included in the article is a detailed guide on the current Medicare plans offered – the original plan (Parts A and B), Part D as a supplement to the original, Medicare Advantage (Part C, private insurance), and Medigap (Part E) as a supplemental insurance. Several members in our Filipino community, including three health care workers, retired, nearly retired and a young adult comment on the proposed changes and share what their current health coverage is. Also in this issue, we have two articles on Filipino business owners. First, HFC editorial assistant Jim Bea Sampaga contributes a feature on Carolyn Stanton, a successful entrepreneur in the Arts fighting to keep her music school and her jazz club financially solvent during the pandemic. Second, HFC contributor Renelaine Pfister gives us a News Feature on HNL Ballpark Batting Cages that opened in Honolulu last month. Owners, Darwin Nazarino and his wife Ava, said they opened this unique business “to entice all of Hawaii to learn about the game of baseball and show how it can open up opportunities for higher education, a fit lifestyle, and promote a great family experience.” Best of luck Darwin and Ava on your new entrepreneurial adventure; and to Carolyn on your two businesses. HFC columnist Emil Guillermo submits “Grassroots FilAms Part of Vax Americana; Political Parties, 9/11, and Tennis Star Leylah Fernandez.” If you’ve been watching the US Open recently, there was a young Filipina-Canadian star who was the talk of the tourney. Ranked in the 70s before the U.S. Open, Fernandez went on a victory tear defeating four highly ranked tennis champions to reach the final. Many are predicting this Filipina (and half Ecuadorian) will be the future of professional tennis. For this issue’s book review, HFC contributor Rose Cruz Chuma reviews “Plantas Medicinales de Filipinas (Medicinal Plants of the Philippines.” Be sure to read our other columns and informative news. For your convenience, remember to visit our webpage. Lastly, a reminder: the Open Enrollment period to make changes to your Medicare plan is from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2021. Thank you to our advertisers and all of you for supporting your community newspaper through the decades. Until the next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!
Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.
Publisher & Managing Editor
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo
Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.
Photography Tim Llena
Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan
Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga
Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
Clement Bautista Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. Rose Churma Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D. Caroline Julian Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias Maita Milallos Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D. Renelaine Bontol-Pfister Seneca Moraleda-Puguan Mark Lester Ranchez Jay Valdez, Psy.D. Glenn Wakai Amado Yoro
Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia
Neighbor Island Correspondents: Big Island (Hilo and Kona) Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors
Cecille PirosRey Piros Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Jonathan Pagulayan
Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 3
Hotels for Healthcare Heroes Program Is A Great Public Service Project
he Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Ass o c i a t i o n ’s “Hotels for Healthcare Heroes” (HFHH) program is a commendable project. From Sept. 17 through the end of October 2021 (each weekend), frontline medical workers (doctors, nurses and clinical support) can stay at a participating hotel for free for two nights. This is a wonderful service of aloha for our frontline medical workers who are often underappreciated for their sacrifices over this very trying pandemic. HLTA president Mufi Hannemann said the HFHH program is a way to show appreciation to the group of medical professionals who have been working day and night throughout the pandemic. “Let’s show our aloha, let’s show our mahalo,” Hannemann said. “Let’s make sure that we can provide some needed rest and relaxation for our healthcare professionals to recharge their batteries to be able to decompress so that they are rested and they’ll
be at their best when they’re working in the hospitals and clinics.”
Medical Workers Burnout The pandemic has been in the US for some 17-plus months and taking a toll on this group. A Washington Post/ Kaiser Family Foundation survey on frontline medical workers in the US found an overwhelming 55% of frontline health care workers reported burnout (defined as mental and physical exhaustion from chronic workplace stress). A majority of all health care workers (62%) reported some mental health repercussions like depression, anxiety and mental distress. The mental health issues, health experts say, are related to witnessing COVID-19 deaths, extra long working hours, and a work-life imbalance (due to those overtime hours for such a long duration of months). And if putting in extra hours hasn’t been physically stressful enough, our frontline medical workers have had to endure mental and emotional stress caused by Covid. They’ve been seeing death
after death. And many have reported feeling stressed over their own health and safety, and the possibility of taking home the virus to their family.
Program should be extended HLTA’s Hotels program is such a great service because it goes to the heart of what is needed to help our overstressed, overworked frontline medical workers: relaxation, recovery and rest. If it’s possible as tourism is slowly opening up (and once again paused), vacant hotel rooms ought to be in use and the HFHH program should be extended beyond October. The frontline medical workers more than likely will be spending money in other ways that the hotel or vendors and restaurants on the hotels’ property could benefit from. Cancellation of trips by
mainland visitors due to the current Covid flair up frees up rooms. And instead of laying off workers again, frontline medical workers (cleared of COVID-19 and would not be adding Covid cases as tourists potentially could) can use those empty rooms and spend money while on their staycation. It could be a win-win situation. Hotels that haven’t signed onto the program should be encouraged to do so. Currently, a little over 50 hotels across the state have signed up to donate free .two-night staycations on Fridays and Saturdays.
Hospitalizations up At a few Hawaii hospitals tents have been set up outside the building due to overcrowding and shortage of hospital beds. Since late August 2021, hospitalizations at local hospitals have been near-full
(Expanding....from page 2)
This huge rise in Medicare Advantage enrollees suggests the cost of healthcare is becoming increasingly unaffordable to risk keeping only original or traditional Medicare. It also suggests that updating Medicare to at least cover additional medical services (not currently offered with extra insurance) is sorely needed.
Pass the Reconciliation Bill Included in the current reconciliation bill that Democrats are pushing for is a part to expand Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing. A majority of Americans support these expanded services proposed. Given that lowering the cost of health insurance was a major issue in the last two national elections, politicians must at the very least, deliver on these most
basic services. Congressional and Senate leaders owe it to Americans, and to seniors in particular, to offer some relief in medical services. The original reforms that American voters had been demanding – Medicare for All, lowering cost of prescription drugs – are far more extensive. Expanding services in these three areas is a compromise.
Lower Medicare eligibility age The other proposal in the reconciliation bill is to lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60. The original proposal tossed around was to go from 65 to 55. Lowering the eligibility age is also a major compromise from what many voters had been calling for, Medicare for All. Waiting an additional
five years to qualify for Medicare could be the difference that could help the uninsured to get medical preventative care before serious illness kicks in. The likelihood of getting seriously ill increases in age. Lowering the eligibility age would also benefit many businesses by shifting the burden of providing health insurance from employers to the federal government. This helps businesses’ financial strength and stability. It enables some businesses that do not offer medical insurance to their employees to consider offering it as the period of coverage is reduced.
Look at the Big Picture It’s clear that any major reform to the nation’s health care system is not politically feasible with the current composition of Congress-Senate. This,
even as health care, becomes increasingly unaffordable. It’s also evident that the health insurance lobby is against expanding Medicare coverage because they have been making handsome profits by providing supplemental insurance or a complete private insurance alternative. If politicians lack the courage or political will to make major reforms, they could do the minimum by expanding Medicare to cover eye, dental and hearing care. This is very basic and really not asking much. After all, working Americans have been putting into the system for most if not all their working lives. It’s not workers fault that the cost of medical care is rising much faster than inflation or wage contributions to Medicare.
or at full capacity. Medical grade oxygen are also short and constantly being shipped in. Medical personnel from out of state have also been shipped in to meet the demand for staffing at hospitals. Part of the problem with hospital over capacity is getting patients out to long-term care facilities that are also overcrowded with Covid-patients. The spike in coronavirus cases started in July as people returned to work, as tourists have returned to the islands and many businesses have resumed operations. The surge in hospitalizations is a major reason cited by Governor David Ige to discourage tourists from visiting and locals from traveling temporarily until the end of October.
Giving thanks Everyone is exhausted over the pandemic. You can imagine how worn-out, burntout frontline medical workers are. Kudos to the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and all participating hotels for showing their gratitude to our frontline medical workers. To our frontline medical workers, we want to say thank you for your life-saving and invaluable work helping to keep our families, friends and communities healthy. Mahalo and Mabuhay!
4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
New Bill Could Save Medicare Enrollees Thousands and Expand the Program to 60-year-olds By Edwin Quinabo
mericans want affordable healthcare. At least that’s what polls have shown in the last two national elections. And a majority of both Democrat and Republican voters also support Medicare – the US national health insurance program – as an institutional feature of government to be improved on and protected. While lawmakers at this time are not prepared to deliver on the first part, to make major changes to the US healthcare system via Medicare for All, Democrats are now prepared to go full speed ahead on the second, less dramatic part to expand Medicare services and lower the program’s age eligibility. The expansion proposal aims to add dental, vision and hearing to original or traditional Medicare (not currently availRey Gozar, Aiea, 55, says he supports both the expansion and lowering of Medicare age eligibility. As a federal employee for over 26 years, he says he plans to continue his Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) plan. He believes his FEHB is excellent and will cover his health needs through retirement. “But I also plan to enroll in Medicare when I’m of age. I can have both. The Medicare Part A, I don’t believe any retirement plan can match that. So I will enroll in Medicare primarily for that. As far as what is not covered in Medicare, my FEHB should be that added insurance to cover other medical services. Cost and Coverage of Traditional or Original Medicare (Parts A and B) Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays at 100% (after a deductible of $1,484) for the first 60 days.
able unless purchased through supplemental private insurance). The proposal to lower Medicare eligibility age would go from 65 to 60 years old. Should this push through, health insurance would at least be more affordable to 25 million new enrollees to Medicare, proponents of this measure say. It would also make good (partially) on President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to provide more Americans with health care they can afford. Neither of these proposals to Medicare is a done deal as Republicans and Democrat Senator Joe Manchin are still not sold on the price tag. Changes to Medicare are only part of a $3.5 trillion budget proposal known as the Reconciliation bill. Democrats want to move the Reconciliation bill along together with the Infrastructure bill (that already has
Beyond 60 days, there is a copay (patient’s share) of $371 daily through the 90th day. There is no out-of-pocket cap for Part A. Medicare Part A also covers short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility and hospice, and some home health care services. Most Medicare beneficiaries do not have to pay a premium (monthly bill) for Part A if they have contributed at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment. Medicare works with FEHB to maximize coverage. But if retired federal employees decide to keep FEHB, they must continue to pay the employee portion of the premium. “My parents have taught me to be a compassionate person. I understand many people do not have quality retirement benefits as federal workers. Some seniors are struggling to pay for their prescription drugs. If they are sick and must go to the
doctors a lot, that also becomes expensive. Not everyone can afford private supplemental insurance. So this is why I support dental, eye and hearing to be a part of basic Medicare coverage. At least this will help our seniors who cannot afford these services,” said Gozar. Medicare Part B (which all Medicare enrollees qualify for along with Part A) covers only limited outpatient prescription drugs. It also pays for doctors’ visits (outpatient) after a deductible ($203 annual). There is a standard premium for Medicare Part B ($148.50 each month, for 2021). Medicare Part D (additional coverage, not included in traditional or basic Medicare) To get prescription coverage, enrollees must buy Medicare Part D (average is about $44 per month in 2021). So the cost of Medicare
bipartisan support). Either they both pass, or they both fail, this is the current position most Democrats have placed on the negotiation table. The Reconciliation bill must receive yes votes from all 50 Democrats in the Senate to pass since no Republican is on board with the bill as it stands.
Part B and D comes out to about $200 a month for only premiums. Part D only covers 5% of brand-name drugs and 75% of generic drugs. Enrollees may still be responsible to pay for copayments and coinsurance each time they need to fill a prescription. For seniors with chronic illness, prescription drugs alone even with Part D could run into hundreds of dollars monthly, separate from the $200 monthly premium. Without Part D, that same senior with the same illness could pay thousands monthly. These costs for basic care covered in Parts A and B, and prescription drugs, does not include eye, dental or hearing medical services that many seniors need but go without due to cost. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of Medicare’s 60 million beneficiaries have no dental coverage at all. More
than half of Medicare beneficiaries have not seen a dentist in the last 12 months. Lucille (last name withheld), Waipahu, 77, lives on a tight fixed income. She says her eyesight has been getting worse over the years. Her dental care has also been ignored as far as visits to the dentist. “It would be a big help to have Medicare pay for my eyeglasses and dental visits.” As for lowering the age eligibility, she prefers it be 55 years old. The original lowering of age eligibility floated around earlier this year was 55 years old, that were being pushed by progressive Democrats. But President Biden said he would support a lowered age of 60. “I hope Medicare lowers their age of eligibility to 55. My daughter is nearing that age soon and I hope that she will be able to receive Medicare benefits as well. It will (continue on page 5)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 5
COVER STORY (New Bill....from page 4)
be a big help to secure our coverage from the time an infamily’s medical future,” dividual leaves a place of residence in the US or territories said Lucille. and would need medical care Medical Professionals Opin- output or input including any diagnostic or surgical proceion on Medicare Expansion Liz Martin, registered dures. I would want Medinurse, Ewa Beach, supports care to cover expenses, if not the proposed Medicare ex- in full coverage, at least at a pansion. “Seniors shouldn’t 80/20 cost co-sharing. At the moment, Medicare have to worry about having does not cover medical costs to pay out of pocket for visual or hearing aids, which could for services outside the US. Elvie Gabriel, retired be quite costly. Dental health physical therapist, Mililani, should also be covered under Medicare. The lack of dental says adding dental, eye and coverage through Medicare hearing coverage is essential results in poorer preventa- medical coverage and she tive outcomes. For example, supports the proposed expanthere is a strong correlation sion. She’s also in favor of between poor dentition and lowering the eligibility age heart disease. Dental cover- to 60. “I wish age eligibility age through Medicare may was 60 at the time I retired, I not only be preventative, but would have retired sooner in that case.” also diagnostic.” Gabriel has Kaiser SeA Mayo Clinic article addressed the connection be- nior Advantage that includes tween oral health and overall vision, dental and hearing. health. “Studies suggest that She says it covers almost oral bacteria and the inflam- all medical services that she mation associated with a se- needs. “There is copayment vere form of gum disease for certain services like med(periodontitis) might play a icine, diagnostic procedures role in some diseases. And and imaging,” said Gabriel, certain diseases, such as di- who pays $114 plus $88 abetes and HIV/AIDS, can for Kaiser senior advantage lower the body’s resistance to plus. She is satisfied with her infection, making oral health health insurance and calls her premium “just fair.” problems more severe.” What Gabriel would Tessie Bagtas Marcos, want in reform to Medicare, retired health manager, said she’s for adding dental, vi- “I wish that there will be less sion and hearing coverage to paper work that medical proMedicare. She also supports viders need to do to encourlowering Medicare eligibility age more quality providers not to opt out of treating age to 60. Marcos has original Medicare patients. According to the Centers Medicare A and B, but she also has a secondary health for Medicare and Medicaid insurance (TFL Tricare for Services (CMS), 1.3 million Life ) from her husband who health care providers take retired from the US Navy. Medicare. And, less than one Like Gozar’s FEHB, Mar- percent of health care procos says her TFL coordinates viders opt out of Medicare. benefits with Medicare on all physician visits, outpatient What Traditional or Basic and inpatient services, in- Medicare (Parts A and B) Does NOT cover cluding ancillary services. She says she is content • Vision, dental or hearing coverage (that a majority with her health insurance. of seniors need). “My husband and I pay $148.50 each month which is • If you plan to travel, as many seniors hope to do automatically deducted from in retirement, Medicare our Social Security benefits.” will not cover medical Marcos hopes that Medicosts should you get incare will cover services outjured or sick outside the side of the US. “My take on US. this is for Medicare to offer a 90 days off island medical • Additional home health
care from health aids or nursing care. • Long term care at private nursing health facilities. • Drug coverage is minimal. • Most therapies like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology services.
“Everybody needs to address their medical needs. Medicare offers choices in plans. It’s your responsibility to find which one fits your needs. To keep Medicare costs down, preventative wellness programs should be implemented and be mandatory. This helps to catch medical conditions early before they get blown up to be more chronic health problems.”
Most health experts say original or traditional Medicare without some sort of employer insurance plan is not adequate for special health needs and it is not a comprehensive insurance plan.
retired, former Insurance industry employee
Medicare Advantage Plan or Part C The alternative to original or traditional Medicare is to purchase a comprehensive health insurance plan or Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). This is private insurance and the cost is generally higher as the enrollee adds more coverage. It’s flexible and can be catered to what the enrollee’s health needs, lifestyle, or income. If you have a chronic illness, you might want to buy more insurance for prescription drugs. If you’re generally healthy, there could be areas of coverage to reduce and save. There are many insurance providers for Part C and it’s encouraged to shop around for the best rates. Mariasol Madla, retired, has Medicare Advantage United healthcare through her husband Roro’s insurance with Pfizer. “Right now we are paying almost $150.00 /per person for the Medicare B that does not include what we pay to Pfizer $250.00 for premium, plus $200.00 for dental and glasses, etc. So we pay in total for premium almost $600 for both Medicare and Pfizer. “I am Happy with Medicare Advantage plan of United Healthcare, In and out of network plan is better than HMO. HMO is cheaper but 100% precertification is needed.” Madla recommends getting coverage for what you
— Mariasol Madla, need. “Everybody needs to address their medical needs. Medicare offers choices in plans. It’s your responsibility to find which one fits your needs. “To keep Medicare costs down, preventative wellness programs should be implemented and be mandatory. This helps to catch medical conditions early before they get blown up to be more chronic health problems,” said Madla. As for the current proposals to Medicare, she believes expanding dental, eyes and hearing coverage could make it harder for doctors by adding more paper work. “Medicare is now adding star coverage to their plan -- hearing aid, vision and dental.” Madla says lowering eligibility to 60 or 62 is better than the current age.
Medigap Medicare Advantage could be costly and more coverage than needed. To supplement original Medicare, enrollees often purchase Medigap (Plan F) which is designed to “fill the gaps” where they are needed that Medicare Parts A and B fall short in coverage. Other possible future changes to Medicare NOT included in the Reconciliation Bill Belinda Aquino, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has Medicare A and B, plus insurance from HMSA as a retiree from the State of Hawaii. What she would want in Medicare reform is better prescription drug coverage. “There should be more coverage for prescription drugs
(continue on page 6)
6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
Quo Vadis, Bongbong Marcos? By Perry Diaz
ith the election only nine months away, the Philippines’ political merry-go-round is spinning in circles. You don’t know who’s with whom or who is running against. Honestly, it’s too soon to speculate who would be pairing as presidential and vice-presidential running mates. But the strange thing is that in Philippine elections, the presidential and vice-presidential teammates don’t have to win as a team. The presidential candidate can win while his or her vice-presidential teammate could lose. In other words, it’s free for all or “matira ang matibay” – survival of the fittest – which is the case with so many candidates running for the same position. Looking at the presidential wannabes, the most prominent presidentiable is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. But Bongbong has been non-committal with his “I’m keeping my options open” remark when asked the question. But everybody seems to agree that he will eventually declare his candidacy by October 8, 2021, the
last day for filing a certificate of candidacy. The question is: What would he be running for – president or vice president? Two things that would determine what he’s going to run for are his age and his mother’s age. Bongbong will be 64 on September 13 and his mother Imelda Marcos is already 92. It’s always been her wish to see Bongbong follow the footsteps of his father. He’ll be 70 years old by then and Imelda would be 98. She’d be too old to enjoy her dream of seeing Bongbong become president; that is, if she’s still alive by then. Bongbong can’t wait for 2028. He must run and win in 2022. And it will be for president. No ifs or buts. But what about Sara Duterte-Carpio? Is she running for president? Bongbong’s sister Imee Marcos has been lobbying for her brother to run as Sara’s vice president. She describes it as a political marriage “made in heaven,” between the Solid South and the Solid North. But why would Bongbong settle for vice president when he can be the president? Hasn’t Bongbong thought that he’s expendable to the Duterte family’s quest for dynastic political power? If Sara had to run it would be for president. And to add more power to her candidacy, she’d pick her dad over Bongbong as her running mate. That’s where the calculus is: Duterte-Duterte tandem. The
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.
old man Duterte believes that he’d win the vice presidency hands down. But Sara had made it known that if her dad will run for vice president; she doesn’t want to be president. So, there you go: there would be no Duterte-Duterte tandem. Where does Bongbong fit in this jigsaw puzzle? Just leave him to wither in retirement? Unthinkable. Mama Imelda would die of heart attack if he gets out of the presidential derby. Heck, he’s got tons of moolah to buy the presidency. Perhaps, the question should be: Does Sara need Bongbong to win? Would it be fair to speculate that she can win the presidency with or without Bongbong? At 43 years of age, she has the mental and physical capacity to run a rigorous campaign. She’s been preparing for it. She can pick Sen. Bong Go as her vice-presidential running mate, who’s been dying to get a shot at the vice presidency or even the presidency. But like everybody else, he’s keeping his cards close to his chest. But everybody knows he’s positioning himself close to the top. He’s always standing behind President Duter-
te, ready at his beck and call. Last August 24, President Duterte announced at his weekly TV show his intention to run for vice president with Bong Go as presidential standard-bearer. However, he later said that if his daughter Sara runs for president, he would drop the idea of running for vice president. That doesn’t seem right. The only reason why Duterte would run for vice president is to enjoy immunity from the International Criminal Court (ICC) that has been going after him for allegations of crimes against humanity. He strongly believes that the vice presidency would shield him from prosecution by the ICC. According to Sara, her father gave her two options: one asking her to endorse the GoSara Duterte tandem and the other is to take in Go as her VP if she runs for president. Now, if this is going to happen, there would be a problem with the pairing of Bongbong and Sara, who said she’s willing to run as Bongbong’s running mate. And if Duterte insists on running as vice president, Sara will not run. She’ll give way to her dad. That would leave a Bongbong-Duterte (the father) tandem. Go will be out of the equation. But that would be okay with him. He doesn’t have any ambition anyway. He’s running because Duterte wants him to. Lately, rumor has it that Imee Marcos wanted to run for vice president. That’s according to President Duterte who revealed that Imee is courting Sara to form a possible tandem in 2022. Duterte said Imee is going to Davao City to persuade
Sara to seek the presidency and be her vice-presidential running mate. However, President Duterte claimed that Marcos’s plan to team up with Sara in the 2022 national elections would not thrive because his daughter is not interested in joining the presidential race, which nobody believes. Now if Sara is going to run for president, what would President Duterte do, who earlier said that he’s not running for vice president if Sara runs for president? If that would be the case, it would pave the way for Bongbong to run for vice president. Now, the question is: Would Bongbong settle to be Sara’s vice-presidential running mate? We’re back to square one again: the question of Bongbong’s age. At 64, six more years and he’d be a septuagenarian, an age that would force him to look beyond the horizon and see what’s in store for him as he approaches the sunset of his golden years. Is it time to retire and enjoy watching his grandchildren reach adulthood and follow his footsteps into politics? Not bad for someone who came back from a life in exile to climb the tortuous mountain of politics. And now, he’s close to the apex of his political life. And just one more step closer to the top. Does he have the will and stamina to face the last challenge of his political struggle presumably against vice president Leni Robredo? We’ll see. Quo vadis, Bongbong Marcos? PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.
(COVER STORY: New Bill....from page 5)
particularly since they seem to be increasing with every drug that is prescribed for me by my primary doctor and other doctors. They are usually increasing from 1 to 15 percent as the years go.” Changes to Prescription Drugs and Medicare. AARP is pushing for three policy changes: Medicare price negotiations, Inflation-based rebates and Out-of-pocket cap. • Medicare price negotiations. Allow the program
to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs and allow private insurance plans to have access to those lower prices. • Inflation-based rebates. Require drug manufacturers to pay a penalty when their prices for prescription drugs covered by Medicare parts B and D increase faster than inflation. • Out-of-pocket cap. Creates a hard out-of-pocket spending limit for Medi-
care Part D prescription drug plan enrollees. In President Joe Biden’s address to Congress in April this year, he promised to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. This was not included in the current Reconciliation bill, but it could be on Biden’s future agenda. Medicare for All. It was the buzz in the 2020 election (continue on page 8)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 7
WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?
No Vax, No Class. Now They Are After Our Children. Que Horror. By Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
id you see that Afghan woman handing over her baby across the barbed wire to a U.S. marine at the Kabul airport knowing that he might never see her baby again? The woman wanted to save her baby from the Taliban. That shows how much people care about their children. How about compelling children to be vaccinated for COVID-19? Does it show how much people care about children? In the United States, some of the powers that be show how much they care about other people’s children by ordering them to be vaccinated for COVID-19 otherwise the children will not be allowed to attend school. There seems to be a contest among school boards to see who will be the first to mandate no vax, no class. Los Angeles school district appears to have won with the Board of Education issuing an order on September 9, 2021 requiring that all children 12 and older in the district must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January to enter campus. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) states that all 50 states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students, with varying exemptions. Opposition to vaccination Honolulu school children and their parents protested in 91-degree weather in Waikiki on Sept. 11 against COVID-19 vaccination? Most parents don’t want their schools to require covid-19 vaccination for their children. Worries about longterm and serious side effects are parents’ top concern. Legal issues on vaccination of school children You can be sure, “as night
follows day”, that there will be cases filed in court against the compulsory vaccination of school children for Covid-19. Pro-vaxxers will likely invoke the 1905 Supreme Court decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) to support compulsory vaccination for school children. But as we pointed out in another article (“No jab, no job in the land of the free and home of the brave”), such invocation would be misplaced because Jacobson involved smallpox vaccination, it did not involve school children, and simply imposed a fine on people who refused to be vaccinated. However, there is a more specific case involving the vaccination of school children that we discovered while researching this issue – Zucht v. King, 260 U.S. 174 (1922). Rosalyn Zucht was a student at a public school in San Antonio, Texas. The city had an ordinance providing that no child or other person shall attend a public school or other place of education without having first presented a certificate of vaccination. Public officials excluded Zucht from a public school because she did not have the required certificate and refused to submit to vaccination, and also caused her to be excluded from a private school. Zucht sued the officials alleging that there was then no occasion for requiring vaccination; that the ordinances deprived plaintiff of her liberty without due process of law by, in effect, making vaccination compulsory; and, that they are void because they leave to the Board of Health discretion to determine when and under what circumstances the requirement shall be enforced without providing any rule by which that board is to be guided in its action and without providing any safeguards against partiality and oppression. Zucht prayed for an injunction against enforcing the ordinances, for a writ of man-
pest extermination grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts. Alabama Assn. of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 21A23 August 26, 2021, 594 U.S. ____ (2021).
damus to compel her admission to the public school, and for damages. The trial court sustained a demurrer to the complaint and when she declined to amend, the court dismissed the case. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court which said: “Long before this suit was instituted, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, had settled that it is within the police power of a State to provide for compulsory vaccination. That case and others had also settled that a State may, consistently with the Federal Constitution, delegate to a municipality authority to determine under what conditions health regulations shall become operative. And still others had settled that the municipality may vest in its officials broad discretion in matters affecting the application and enforcement of a health law. Lieberman v. Van De Carr, 199 U.S. 552.” The Supreme Court further said: “A long line of decisions by this Court had also settled that in the exercise of the police power reasonable classification may be freely applied and that regulation is not violative of the equal protection clause merely because it is not all-embracing. Adams v. Milwaukee, 228 U.S. 572. Miller v. Wilson, 236 U.S. 373, 384.” OBSERVATION: Do these century-old Supreme Court cases settle the question whether school children may be compelled by government authorities to be vaccinated for Covid-19 otherwise they will
be excluded from public and private schools? Certainly not. The Supreme Court today is composed of different justices who are averse to the exercise of arbitrary power in the guise of protecting public health against Covid-19. Last month, the Supreme Court struck down the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) nationwide moratorium on eviction of any tenant living in a county with high levels of COVID-19 transmission which had claimed that it was for the protection of public health and imposing criminal penalties on violators. The Supreme Court said that it strains credulity to believe that a decades-old statute authorizing the CDC to implement measures like fumigation and
COMMENT: People in temporary positions of power should not ride roughshod over the rights of our children to control their own body in the same manner that they do not want other people to control a woman’s right to have an abortion or a man’s right to have a circumcision. ATTY. TIPON has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. His current practice focuses on immigration law and appellate criminal defense. He has written books and legal articles for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with son Noel, the senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon Law Firm. 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 served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He co-authored the best-seller “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Tel. (808) 800-7856. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: email@example.com. Websites: https:// www.tiponlaw.com.
8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 (COVER STORY: New Bill....from page 6)
for a few progressive presidential candidates. But Medicare for All (a Single-Payer System) is still a political “Hail Mary” with no one on the receiving end to catch the ball and score a touchdown. The concept of having everyone medically covered for free and for everyone to pay less or nothing in medical services is an idea almost universally accepted. But the process of how this would be practical and achievable leaves many cold to the idea of a single-payer system. Madla is against a single-payer system. “[It would] drive competition away and premiums could be manipulated in a single plan. It might turn out to not be affordable. I’ve worked with an Insurance company. With all of them [in the industry], when the premium is not enough to provide services, it goes up. Without competitors, it will not be affordable and people will have no choices to pick services. A single plan can do whatever they want according to profitability and affordability.”
Under a single-payer healthcare system or Medicare for All, the single part refers to the government which would be the only entity paying for coverage that everyone would receive. Government would not have the same “for-profit” goal but focus on the program’s solvency. Under such a system, the goal would be to keep medical care as affordable as possible without the pressures to constantly improve profit margins each year as private insurers have. Medical access in a single-payer system would be comprehensive for everyone, regardless of the individual’s ability to pay. Funding for the program would largely come from taxes, mostly from billionaires and the highest income earners and corporations, proponents of Medicare for All say. Marcos believes the cost under such a system could actually be higher than what people are paying now. Gabriel said of Medicare for All, “I think it will solve a lot of problems with regards
to being able to find good providers of care.” Martin said, “If the government has the financial infrastructure to support a single-payer system, it could be beneficial in terms of finally making healthcare accessible for all.” She makes the point that under our current healthcare system, “our private insurance model, there already is health insurance for everyone to be eligible for. For example, the unemployed or low income are eligible for coverage under Medicaid, retirees under Medicare, and the working, middle class through private employers.” She adds, “it is important to point out, however, that having healthcare eligibility does not make healthcare coverage accessible.” Medicare for All advocates say there are programs people are eligible for but cannot realistically pay for access at times. There are people who earn too much for Medicaid but cannot pay for individual private health insurance. There are seniors
eligible for Medicaid, but due to special needs and poor health, often they cannot afford access to medical care they need specific for their situation. As for workers (even full-time workers), in many states providing health insurance to employees is optional and not extended. But because they are working, their income disqualifies them from Medicaid. And the last alternative of buying an individual health insurance plan is very costly, well over several hundreds per month. Martin’s point between the difference of eligibility and access underscores the reality that some health policy experts make: what may look like credible options and choices in the programs currently available, do not always turn out to be practical or even possible in real-life situations. Lucille said, “It would be great to only pay for one insurance and that being the government-funded one. However, I have a feeling that it will take a long time before the country will adopt a Medicare for All system. I don’t
even think I’d still be alive when that happens. But I am hopeful that future generations will have access to this.” The Fall Medicare Open Enrollment period to join, switch, make changes or drop a plan in the Medicare program will start October 15 and end December 7, 2021. For new Medicare enrollees, you must sign up for the program within a 7-month period (any time three months before turning 65 and any time three months after turning 65). Medicare specialists encourage enrollees to assess their health needs each year and make changes as needed. If you anticipate an upcoming surgery, adjustments should be made, they say. If your doctor wants to start you on a new medication or you’ve already started one earlier in the year that could impact your financial situation, adjustments to your plan should also be made. Insurance specialists say researching plans and making adjustments could save Medicare enrollees potentially thousands in out-of-pocket costs.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 9
Surviving the Pandemic With Music and Arts By Jim Bea Sampaga
music school teacher in the morning and a jazz club director at night, Carolyn Stanton is one of Honolulu’s top educators when it comes to everything music. Born to Filipino parents and raised in Kalihi, Stanton started teaching private piano lessons at her Manoa home in 1988 after retiring from 19 years of teaching piano and music at Punahou School. She eventually moved her music school, Manoa School of Music and the Arts, to Manoa Marketplace in 2012, where she hired more teachers and offered classes in dance, acting, art and music. According to a 2019 Hawaii Business Magazine article, the school has 14 teachers and 300 students at the time. In 2014, Stanton and her husband Tim opened the Medici’s Supper Club at the large loft area above the school. The 112-seat jazz and blues club features nightly live entertainment and concerts from top jazz, classical and pop musicians on Oahu. They also pride themselves on giving guests an intimate feel with its dance floor, cozy booths and delectable culinary buffet menu. Medici’s easily became a favorite hangout spot among the community. In 2015, Honolulu Magazine awarded Medici’s with “Best of Honolulu - The City’s Best” Award in Jazz & Blues Venue. With themed musical nights throughout the week from jazz and blues to tango and karaoke night, Medici’s is always fully booked for reserved guests and private parties. But happy hour at Medici’s was cut short overnight.
March 2020’s announcement
“We had an event scheduled for March 6th,” Stanton told Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, as she recalls the few days before the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in 2020. “The bandleader of the group called us up that after-
noon to let us know that two of his band members were sick, and what should we do?” Stanton said. “We decided initially to still do the show, after all, it was a sold-out performance.” However, 15-minutes after the call, Stanton and her team decided to cancel the event as a cautionary action against the threat of COVID-19. “We had to individually call, text and email everyone who had bought tickets that it was to be canceled. [We] kept calling until we got a response that they received the message,” she explained. About a week later, then-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Oahu’s stay-at-home order will begin on March 23, 2020. “After that night [of March 6th], there were no more concerts at Medici’s for the rest of the year,” said Stanton. Unlike Medici’s, the music school was still able to teach in-person classes until spring break on March 15, 2020. However, Stanton extended spring break for one more week to dedicate time to figuring out how to keep their school afloat.
Adapting strict protocols
With the urgent and growing need for distance learning setups, Stanton and her husband bought school equipments such as laptops, web cameras, microphones and digital book copies. Stanton said she researched ways to effectively teach online and most importantly, the best ways to ensure that the sound quality of music classes would be great over distance learning. In June 2020, they were able to reopen the school for one-onone meetings while still offering online classes options to their students. Of course, Stanton made sure that the school follows the safety health protocol guidelines in preventing the spread of COVID-19. “We purchased hand sanitation stations and installed HVC air purifiers in each teaching studio, and two more in the main recital hall. We bought several forehead thermometers and arranged for a “concierge” to greet students at the door, take tem-
peratures and log in when students went in and out,” Stanton explained. Parents weren’t allowed to hang out in the school as the school’s waiting area was off-limits. They were only allowed to drop off and pick up their children and the concierge made sure the students went with their parents safely. Most importantly, masks are required at all times. Teachers even wore both face masks and face shields. They were also instructed to keep a distance of six feet at all times. Highly touched surfaces such as keyboards, doorknobs, and bathrooms were sanitized constantly. “I believe we were the only music school open for in-person lessons in America [at that time],” she explained. “We did not have a single case of COVID at our school because of our carefully thought-out precautions.” As the music school adapts strict measures for a safe reopening, Medici’s along with fellow restaurants across the state were required to remain closed for in-person dining throughout the lockdown. But the Stanton’s took this time to upgrade and adopt the COVID-19 safety measures to their jazz and blues club. Along with sanitation stations and industrial-strength air purifiers, they revamped their menu from buffet to a plated meal service. Medici’s bought new cutlery, glasses, plates, utensils, kitchen equipment and even hired more servers to accommodate the club’s
new kitchen service. On February 5 this year, Medici’s Supper Club held its grand reopening with an all-inclusive four-course dinner show with a 50% operating capacity and strict health protocols in place.
Surviving pandemic challenges
Adapting distance learning, online food delivery, Zoom conference calls, sanitation stations and even physical distancing are difficult to get used to at first but these are essential to ensure our safety against COVID-19. But are these measures enough for businesses and the community to survive the challenges brought by the pandemic? “Medici’s provided about 25% of our total revenue and was close for an entire year, so we lost that,” Stanton explained. “At the school, a few teachers dropped out along with their students, so we experienced another 20-25% drop there.” About 20 students didn’t want to continue with classes either online or in-person but they were gracious enough to not ask for a refund, according to Stanton. Even though they lost about half of their total revenue, the
couple never thought of closing the music school and the jazz club. “I’m a fighter. We just made things work,” she said. When asked if her life-long music career helped her tackle the challenges of running a business during the pandemic, Stanton said: “Studying music helps a person to become a fantastic problem-solver, teaches patience and endurance, and enables one to establish long-term goals and take steps to accomplish those goals. These are all qualities which helped me manage Medici’s and our school during this time.” Through two CARES grants, a Pivot grant and SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the Stantons were able to purchase the necessary equipment and employees for their school and club COVID-19 safety protocols upgrades. A&B, their landlord, also helped them out by lowering and deferring their rent last year when the Stantons were unable to pay rent for their two business spaces. Most importantly, Stanton is thankful for the community for being patient with their art school and jazz club. “I would like to thank our wonderful parents at the school who have remained supportive and continued to pay for lessons while we were online. Our patrons at Medici’s, who had bought tickets last year did not request refunds and patiently waited until this year  when we reopened to redeem their tickets.” An optimistic future “I am optimistic that we (continue on page 12)
10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
AS I SEE IT
What Would The World Look Like Without Tobacco? By Elpidio R. Estioko
by media practitioners and English professors. I would like to highlight the winning entries who garnered the first place in both the high school and middle school categories. The first place for the high school category went to Tiffany Lieu, a student from the Milpitas High School. Here’s her winning essay:
s I See It, this is a million-dollar question we need to know because the tobacco problem doesn’t only affect California or Hawaii but is affecting the whole world. A tobacco-free society is the answer, right? Agree? So, In Puffs of Smoke do you support a tobacco-free My grandpa drives me society? home from preschool every day. He buckles my seatbelt This was the essay before I’m old enough to prompt of the just concluded know how. He shares his 2021 Essay Writing Contest favorite wafer biscuits with for Milpitas middle and high me while he sips his coffee. school students in California, While my parents are at in which I served as a com- work, my days are spent with missioner. There were 40 stu- him. But most of those days dents who joined the contest, have faded from my memory and their essays were judged by now.
My grandpa has immigrated an ocean away from where he first started smoking, and it has been decades since he stopped. His house is big but not enough to contain his coughing fits. He insists he’s fine. He holds off for as long as he can against our family’s pleas for him to stop living on his own. After several hospital visits, my grandpa moves in with my aunt. Hospital trips and anxious voices through the phone grow routine. But details only come to me in snatches from behind closed doors. All I can gather about my grandpa’s condition is that it has something vaguely to do with his lungs. They think I’m too young to have to worry. But they can’t hide how my grandpa has trouble breathing without a blaring machine. They can’t hide the hospital visits. They can’t hide those anxious phone calls. My grandpa is in the hospital again for longer than usual. My parents tell me I can visit when he gets home, besides, the doctors say he’s getting better. A few days later my mother gets a call from my aunt. I remember her tense tone. I already know what she is going to say. No more car rides home. No more biscuits and coffee. No more days spent together ever again. I never get to visit him before he dies. Cigarettes are impatient; they
don’t wait for final goodbyes. Anti-smoking campaigns cover bus stops and bookend videos with their ads. Every adult ZI know constantly reiterates the detriments of taking up tobacco. But ZI don’t need their warnings to know what I’ve known since my grandpa’s first hospital visit. I don’t need to take a drag of any cigarette; I already know what death tastes like. A great piece… indeed! Here’s the winning essay of the first place winner in the middle school category Preesha Somaiya from Merryhill School. Why I Support a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle What would the world look like without tobacco? Our environment would not be littered with the toxicity of cigarette butts. Fifteen percent of our global population would not be dying from smoking annually. Imagine yourself on the New York subway, patiently waiting for your stop so you can get off. But before you can do that, you must bear through the fetid smell coming from a smoker sitting across from you. In our world, more than a million passes away from inhaling secondhand smoke. Lighting a cigarette creates an undesired decision for an innocent person. A decision that can increase the risk for cancer, heart diseases, and other deadly illnesses for a person who may not have smoked even once in their life. Not only does secondhand smoke affect unknown people, but it also affects people that the smoker may be acquainted with daily, such as their family, colleagues, etc.
Next, without smoking, I can live a healthy, hygienic, and happy life. Living without tobacco reduces my risk of getting lung cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, COPD, and more. I could go on to note more and more illnesses and symptoms, such as strokes and thirteen other types of cancer, but I can erase this entire list and add a few more years to my life if I just avoid tobacco. Additionally, smokers are not consented to attend restaurants, theaters, and many other places., So instead of giving a thought to where ZI can’t go and what I can’t do, I can just enjoy living with the things ZI love, including my family, books, summer, and lots more, if I just agree to make one vital decision – not to smoke. Lastly, by not smoking every day, a smoker can save a significant amount of money. The average price of a cigarette box is $6.28, which sets a year’s worth of cigarettes at $2,292. As a teenager, money is something I am grateful to have. I can get whatever I want and can fulfill my wants and needs with money. But, why spend it on something that will harm me? It may take care of my problems for one day, but it will not take care of the medical bill that will arrive the next. As I am approaching high school, I know that only I can make the decision to realize that the consequences and adverse effects of tobacco undaughterly outweigh the positive. Sure, people may say that smoking tobacco helps them cope with their problems by smoking their pain away, when it only leads to a boatload more, such as nicotine addiction, developing health problems and more. You only do live once, and why not do it the right way by living and (continue on page 12)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 11
By Emil Guillermo
he most important message to heed if you want life back to normal throughout the country was delivered recently by President Joe Biden. “Get vaccinated,” Biden said in a kind of tough love, aggressive whisper, as he ended his speech to the nation on Sept. 9. It’s the speech that could get us over this nasty Covid surge gripping the nation. All the numbers from new cases to hospitalizations, to deaths, show America still hasn’t learned to come together as a country to fight this thing. “We have the tools,” Biden said as he announced vaccination requirements for federal workers and private employers with 100 workers. “Now we just have to finish the job with truth, with science, with confidence.” I wonder if he knows how hard grassroots Filipino Americans have been working on the war on COVID-19. For the last three months, Little Manila Rising, the community non-profit based in Stockton, California, has been involved in a door-todoor get-out vaccine drive. They’re not just doing it in Stockton’s Filipino neighborhood. They’re covering a big part of the city of 300,000, one of the most diverse in the country. It includes Latinx folks, some documented, some not, some Dreamers, distrustful of government. There are Asians of all stripes, not just the big three (Chinese, Indian, and Filipino), but Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong, Vietnamese. More often they need translators to make their vaccine choice. The Little Manila Rising canvassers also meet the anti-vaxxers, mostly white, who are just resentful. Science? Don’t tell me what to do, they say. One even pulled a gun,
Grassroots FilAms Part of Vax Americana; Political Parties, 9/11, and Tennis Star Leylah Fernandez said Amy Portello-Nelson, Little Manila Rising’s project manager. This is America now, in the throes of Covid. But Little Manila Rising is making a difference. Canvassers have knocked on more than 32,000 doors and had 20,000 conversations. All masked and armed with good information about the virus and the vaccine. Since they started in the summer, their canvassed areas
More political parties? How does that work in the RP? have seen vaccination rates go I’m still bothered that a from 30 percent to more than gun was pulled on a Little Ma50 percent. It’s still among the nila Rising canvasser. It shows lowest in the state. we’re really at war in our own But the group at Little Ma- divided country. nila Rising, which includes A New America Foundasome Filipino nurses, is com- tion fellow recently suggested mitted to public health. it was time to get out of the That’s the fight in the red gridlocked binary yes/no popart of the blue state, the most litical mindset by adding more Asian American state in the parties. Instead of a two-party nation. system, why not six? We’re doing our part in the It may provide for more war on Covid. But Vax Ameri- nuance, voices, and room for cana is not easy. negotiation. But then you have
six cats to herd instead of two. Is that better? In the Philippines, the democracy made in its colonizer’s image (the U.S.), there’s a semi-dysfunctional democracy with five major parties, and maybe another five smaller parties represented in Congress. From my sense, it all boils down to the person, the candidate. The party loses its identity. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is an alleged human rights abuser. I don’t know about his party. (continue on page 13)
12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
PLANTAS MEDICINALES de FILIPINAS (Medicinal Plants of the Philippines) By Rose Cruz Churma
.H. Pardo de Tavera was mainly known for his political thoughts and his role in the struggle against Spain. But he is a multi-faceted figure in Philippine history. He was a reader and collector of books which he stored in the safety of steel drums thus sparing them from the devastation of wars and natural disasters. He was also a Doctor of Medicine and earned his degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. The first part of the book is the English translation to the Spanish version originally published in 1907. Between the two versions are vibrant renderings of the plants mentioned in the book. This volume also includes an index and various notes. In the preface, written in
Paris in April 1892, the author writes he was commissioned by the Spanish government to study the medicinal plants of the Philippines. He tried to bring samples to his laboratory in Paris for additional observations and tests, but the plants were not prepared properly for the long ocean voyage. In the introduction, the editors describe this as a “practical manual” on how Filipinos use the plants in their surroundings in the treatment of disease. Pardo de Tavera viewed this compilation as stimulus to further research. In describing how our ancestors dealt with illness, he also suggests that our way of caring for our bodies is a form of memory. Most of the plants described are similar to what we have in Hawaii, like mango. The dried and pulverized kernel of the mango seed is used in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea due to the large quantities of tannin it contains. The
mango tree bark is astringent and is used in decoction as a wash for ulcers and eczema. The plumeria is another plant included in this compendium. Called calachuchi in the Philippines, this tree is known for its fragrant blossoms. The milky juice of its trunk is used to induce watery discharge from the digestive system while the bark and the tips of the branches are given
Correspondent; Harvey Barkin, Editor, FilAm Star newspaper; and Francis Espiritu, Publisher/Executive Editor, Philippine News Today. The contest was sponsored by the Library Education and Advisory Commission (LEAC) in cooperation with the City Council, Friends of the Milpitas Library, the Milpitas Library, and the Youth Commission. The LEAC commissioners are Yu-lan
people possess real insight into how they can cure their physical afflictions with plants in their surroundings. What is interesting is that the author – in describing the plants and their medicinal uses, also provides detailed descriptions on how to prepare these and, in most cases, the exact ratios required if mixed with other substances. This book is a collectible – one to be treasured and passed on to the next generation. And for this, we give credit to the author’s descendants who decided in 1994 to donate T.H. Pardo de Tavera’s entire collection that he preserved in steel drums to the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@ gmail.com.
(FEATURE: Surviving....from page 8)
(AS I SEE IT: What Would ....from page 10)
supporting a tobacco-free lifestyle. The Super Team of judges include Benjie Fernandez, Lions Int’l Vice District Governor; Dr. Roman Dannug, former PUP dean; Prof. Rudolfo Brillantes; and Prof. Denis Marks for the Middle School category. For the high school category, the judges are Lino Caringal, Jr., The Urdaneta Voice Publisher/Editor; Augusto “Don” Orozco, Sr., Eagle Broadcasting Intl.
to induce menstrual flow in women. The bruised leaves of the plumeria plant is also applied locally to contusions to reduce swelling, while the juice is used externally on rheumatic joints. The flower buds, chewed with buyo (a concoction of betel leaf and nut with lime) are also used top treat fever, ant the flower juice is applied locally to reduce itching. Another plant common to both the Philippines and Hawaii is the aloe, or sabila in Tagalog or dilag boaya in Visayan. The fresh juice of the leaves is commonly used as a stimulant of the scalp to induce hair growth or applied locally to contusions or scalded skin. Aloe is also used as a slow purgative and can induce menstrual flow. In small doses it can be used as a tonic in dyspepsia. Despite the fact that the author has the familiarity and respect for Western medicine, he held the view that ordinary
Chou, chair; Ha Phan, vice chair; Elpidio R. Estioko, former chair and commissioner, and chair of the Essay contest sub-committee; and commissioners Hellie Mateo, Nonie McDonald, Susan Loh, Therese Hoang, and Danah Arbaugh. ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the U.S. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@ gmail.com).
will surpass the pre-pandemic levels,” Stanton said, as she believes that as the economy slowly reopens, the community will support the activities they missed doing pre-pandemic. “I believe that once things feel safe and more or less normal again, people will ferociously try to bring back things to normal -- they will eat out more, enjoy going to concerts and events more, travel more, play sports, and take more classes and lessons.” She says the music school has been receiving inquiries for lessons and concerts at Medici’s are selling out while they are still operating at 50% capacity. Stanton shares they have tentative plans to expand Medici’s once the economy opens up. Her goal is to offer their restaurant daily with more concert offerings throughout the week. However, the economy is currently having some setbacks due to the recent surge in Delta variant cases of COVID-19. Medici’s had to temporarily close again. “We are hoping this is a temporary setback,” she said. Currently, Medici’s is pre-
paring to reopen with a set of weekend concerts for the rest of October. According to Stanton, performers include The Tommy James Trio, in which Honolulu-resident Tommy James is the director of the Duke Ellington Band in New York; long-time local talent the Shari Lynn Trio; Stephen Inglis Project Quartet; the John Valentine Trio; blues band Bluzilla; and Amber Ricci and her group, Dragon Fly. Stanton’s Manoa School of Music and the Arts and Medici’s Supper Club are a few of the lucky establishments in Oahu that are still operating despite the challenges and setbacks brought by the pandemic. She said that small businesses shouldn’t take no for an answer. “Be creative and imaginative in finding solutions for problems,” she said. “We are all in this together and should support each other as much as possible. I also think that growing up as a Filipino girl, these were concepts which were ingrained into me — that is, to care about everyone around you and do what you can to lift (continue on page 13)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 13
Memories Linger By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
ast night, my husband and I led worship in the online Memorial Service of our friend who passed away due to COVID-19. She was only 39 years old. Videos and photos of her were shown. Family and friends from all over the world shared their memories of her when she was still alive. One after another, we took time to honor her. It was a precious time of remembering, crying, laughing, and encouraging each other as we all grieve and mourn for her loss. At the same time, we celebrate the life she lived and rejoice knowing that she’s in a better place where there’s no more tears, pain, worries and fear. I believe this is just one of the hundreds of memorial services and gatherings happen-
ing all around the world. Millions of lives have been taken away by this pandemic. Millions of families are in shock, despair, and grief for the loss of their loved ones whom they did not have the chance to hug, kiss, say their goodbyes for the last time. The only thing they can do is to let the memories of their beloved linger in their minds and hearts. It would have been a lot better if we can hug and comfort each other physically but this unforgiving virus won’t allow us to. We can only give encouragement and comfort from afar. Fortunately, technology enables us to do this virtually. Death has become so real. With everything that’s happening around us, hearing the loss of friends and acquaintances almost every day, and with the realization of the futility of life, I learned to live
each day differently than before. What used to matter before like the pursuit of financial success and the acquisition of material things have become trivial and secondary. I have become more grateful for the simple things – the gift of life, the air that I breathe, the chance to wake up to a new day, and the opportunity to spend precious time with my husband and children. I get to appreciate the mess that my children create, the noise they make and the
pile of plates in the sink and the clothes that need to be laundered. I am thankful to hear the voices of my family, friends, and relatives at the other end of the line, see their faces virtually, and read their messages via Facebook. I am just so glad that I am still alive and breathing. If only we can bring back time. If only we can do more and express our love for the people who are close to us before they leave. Unfortunately, we can’t. But we can do better and do it to those who are still around. In one of my morning devotions, I heard a Pastor say: “Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is the graveyard of unexpected blessings that have been eulogized by our excuses.” At a time when lives are carelessly wasted, in a world where death is as real as the setting of the sun, there must be a sense of urgency in reaching out to the people we love, in mending broken relationships, in serving oth-
ers with our resources and talents, in becoming a light to the dark world, in bringing hope to depressing situations and displaying love to those who need it most. We are given ‘now’ and ‘today’ to do these, not ‘later’ for we are not promised tomorrow. In a blink of an eye, our lives can drastically change when the people we care for are taken away. Let us make the most of every precious moment God has given us to spend with the people He has blessed us with. Let us not allow regrets of lost time steal our days. While we still have time, let us give abundantly, serve wholeheartedly, love exceedingly. To all those who have lost loved ones in this season, I pray for comfort, strength, grace and peace to overwhelm you. May the God of all hope heal and encourage your hearts. And to all those who have gone ahead, thank you for sharing your lives with the people you love. Your presence may be no more, but your memories will forever linger.
the victims, some 1,106 people are still unaccounted for, reported NBC News. Even now, victims are still being identified by medical examiners. And then there are closely held stories that are just coming out like the one CBS News reported of the two F-16 National Guard pilots
who were flying as the towers were hit. They immediately tried to take out the low-flying United Flight 93. Flying without any missiles, the pilots took it upon themselves to “protect and defend,” meaning to go on a “kamikaze” mission. A suicide mission. But before they could complete it, Flight 93 crashed in
(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Grassroots....from page 11)
Even in America, look at how all the Republicans folded under Trump. Poor Liz Cheney knows there’s no room for nuance. The rules of basic math suggest why things are the way they are. Think fractions. To add them up, you look for the common denominator. Get to the simplest form. 6/12ths may get you a sense of nuance. But it’s still just 1/2. Having just two parties instead of six is easier. But maybe six is worth a shot. Mr. Math, Andrew Yang, the presidential candidate turned mayoral candidate, is willing to try. Yang has just announced he’s done with the Democrats
and is starting his own “third” party, Politico reported on Thursday. Even though there are “third” parties like the Green, Peace and Freedom, and Social Democrats, that exist in some form, it could become a thing. Then again, it could just be a way to keep Yang in public view. He’s the man who loves to campaign, but can he run anything? Asian Americans know instinctively how a multi-party universe could work. We’re just six percent of the country. To get anything done, we need to work in a coalition. Does going from two to six parties make that easier when the number we really need to get
to is “one”? As in “one nation.”
9/11 memories And that brings us to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the last time I felt the nation was “one.” How was your 9/11? I admit to being baffled by the contrarian sentiments I’ve seen of late. People saying they’re tired of hearing the 9/11 stories, the memories. And yet, wherever we were in the country, we have our own memories of when we first saw the planes strike and the towers fall. But I get it. Some people are tired of dwelling on the past. They want to move on. Still, after 20 years, the story is not over. Forty percent of
(FEATURE: Surviving....from page 12)
up and support others around.” According to Stanton, her grandparents from Aranio and Espina families came to Hawaii from the Philippines 100 years ago. Their families are spread over several islands. “Filipinos have now come to prominence in a number of different fields, including medicine, politics, and yes, in music.
I am very proud of my Filipino heritage and ask your Filipino readers to continue supporting Filipino-owned businesses like ours,” she said. When asked about her message to the Filipino community, Stanton said: “We wish to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. We are a small
mom-and-pop business still struggling to survive, and your support just means the world to us.”
Tickets for Medici’s Supper Club are now for sale. Visit medicissupperclub.com to purchase tickets. To learn more about Manoa School of Music and the Art’s available classes and tuition rates, visit manoasmarts.com.
(continue on page 15)
14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
New Batting Cages Opens in Honolulu By Renelaine Pfister
NL Ballpark Batting Cages opened in Honolulu last month, August 14th. It features an Iron Mike pitching machine that pitches baseballs, a Baseball Hack Attack pitching machine and a Softball Hack Attack pitching machine which can be set to pitch to Slow Pitch Softball athletes. Additionally, they have a golf simulator room and a putting green, and even a golf professional available for private lessons. The owners, Darwin Nazarino and his wife Ava wanted to open a batting cage facility where all are welcome. Darwin says, “We want to entice all of Hawaii to learn about the game of baseball and show how it can open up opportunities for higher education, a fit lifestyle, and promote a great family experience.” Darwin comes from a
family who loves sports. His parents were born and raised in Honolulu and Waipahu, but their Filipino roots are from Cebu and Siquijor. His family especially loves baseball; Darwin started playing when he was only five years old. Baseball opened up many opportunities for Darwin in terms of education, traveling and relationships. It helped him build his mental strength and character while keeping him active and fit. “A few of us made it to the Division 1 college ranks. We want more of our family members to continue the tradition of using sports as a platform to earn a college education, or maybe even turn pro,” he said. In college, Darwin played for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Baseball team from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, he transferred to play baseball for the University of San Francisco Dons, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Sports
Science with an Emphasis in Pre-Occupational Therapy. Darwin has been a teacher for the last 21 years. He currently teaches P.E. part time at St. Louis School, and umpires for the Interscholastic League o Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association baseball leagues, the Hawaii Kai Youth Baseball league, and KAC Baseball Youth league. In line with his passion for teaching and for his new business, a baseball clinic was held last month, where UH Rainbow Warriors baseball players served as coaches. They plan to hold more clinics, including one for softball, and do private lessons for both baseball and softball. In addition to athletic training, HNL Ballpark Batting Cages also sells baseball/ softball cleats and turf shoes and apparel. People of all ages can enjoy what they offer, from beginner athletes to couples, little leaguers, adults to makule (seniors), professional base-
Darwin and Ava Nazarino
ball, softball, and golf athletes. “I hope to have all of Hawaii enjoy a new way of staying in shape by hitting balls (baseball, softball, golf). We also want our customers to create fun memories time and time again,” Darwin said. COVID-19 has been a challenge to starting a new business, but they sanitize their equipment frequently and do COVID-19 screening for all customers. Darwin remarks, “We cre-
ated this business for our generation and next generations to learn the game of baseball, and embrace all of the opportunities that can open up for their futures.” HNL Ballpark Batting Cages is open daily from 2 to 8pm and is located at 2290 Alahao Pl., Unit 402 in Honolulu. For inquiries, call (808) 74200058 or (808) 724-4328, or email them at hnlballpark@ gmail.com.
Resurreccion Panagungar ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro
Baliwak a mingmingan Ti libnos ti kailokuan Baliwak a tubayen Ti balabala ti biag Baliwak a biagen Iti sabali nga anges Pintas ti raya ti init Iti sabali a panagtangkayag Sibuganta- ti bukel Ti namnama a natungday Iwaksim ti ilem Yasidegmo ti ayat Subliak ti sidiran Ti kampanario: kararag Dagiti orasion Iti panagtabon ti init Pasungadek ti Baro panagtangkayag Ken bannawag Iti sidong Toy agur-uray a taeng Ket ammok a mapusekto manen Kadagiti riniwriw a katawa Kas iti siibibiag a taeng ti narayray A namnama.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 15
COMMUNITY CALENDAR VLAING, CEBUANO-VISAYAN LANGUAGE CLASSES | Laing Hawaii, United Visayan Community of Hawaii and Hawaii People’s Fund | Every Saturday of September and October, 2pm to 4:30pm | United Visayan Community Hall, 94-833 Awanei St., Waipahu | Learn the Cebuano Visayan language in this free in-person classes. Social distancing will be observed.
Register through lainghawaii.org/vlaing/. VIRTUAL EVENT | Hawaii-Philippines Business & Economic Council | October 13-14, 2021 | Learn more about the current business and economic developments between Hawaii and the Philippines. More details to come. To inquire, email Rose Churma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have your organization’s events listed in our community calendar. It’s recommended to submit press releases a month in advance of your organization’s event. Send information to email@example.com.
(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Grassroots....from page 13)
Shanksville, Pennsylvania. So there are still new stories revealed, among the old ones we should never tire of. The point is there was a national feeling that is worth connecting to again and again. It’s not sentimental. It just goes to the core of who we are as a country. And it’s not spoiled when anyone tries to fake it by playing that Lee Greenwood song. You know the feeling without that–if you have any recollection of that day twenty years ago. We were one country then, when we lost nearly 3,000 people. And the source of terror was from external forces. Now we’re mired in another tragedy with nearly 670,000 people dying needlessly in America. And we seem to be fighting each other. Sept. 11 arrived just in time to remind us what it means to be one country again. But with a new focus. Call it Vax Americana. We can beat this thing together. Except I can’t beat Leylah Fer-
nandez in tennis, ever I used to love playing tennis at the Ala Moana tennis courts. I rediscovered my game there. Then lost it again on the mainland. My interest in tennis was all but dormant until I saw Leylah Fernandez on 9/11. As a neologist, I shall dub tennis star Fernandez, a Canadian Ecuadoran Filipino, a Canequapino. For the last three weeks, it was like the tennis gods shot her out of a cannon for all to see the future of tennis. Ranked in the 70s before the U.S. Open, Fernandez beat the 3 seed Naomi Osaka, then went on to beat the 16th seed (Kerber), the 5th seed (Svitolina), and the 2nd seed (Sablenka) on her way to Saturday’s final against a younger, lower-ranked Emma Raducanu, 18, herself a half-Romanian, half-Chinese, Canadian-born Brit. The two are diversity’s children. Having had a tougher road to the final compared to Raducanu
(who beat nobody), I thought Fernandez should’ve been favored in the title match. But having had four tough opponents may have taken the best out of Fernandez before the championship. I admit to rooting for the Canecuapino to the bitter end. She looked just slightly off her game. Tired? But she seemed to rally in the second set when Raducanu scraped her knee on the court and was badly bloodied. It was enough for a five-minute medical time out that essentially stopped Fernandez’ momentum and gave Raducanu time to reset. Fernandez could be seen arguing with the judge, and at times seemed to be crying. That’s when she lost it. Easy for me to say. She should have kept her cool and focused on trying to make the comeback of her life. Just like her other four big matches against higher seeds. She may have been too distraught by then. Raducanu went on to win the second set. And our golden girl Leylah took second.
She recovered gracefully and even took back the mic in the closing ceremony to show us all she was ok. She remembered the moment. “I know on this day, it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States,” she said, as she referred to the attacks on Sept. 11. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the last 20 years. Thank you for always having my back. Thank you for cheering for me. I love you, New York.” And with that, Fernandez made my 9/11 weekend. She lost the tournament. But the runner-up does get a $1.5 million payday. It put her athletic tragedy in perspective, enough to show love and gratitude and win the moment about an event that happened when she was just an infant. Just 19, Fernandez, the Canecuapino will with us for a long, long time. That’s one hopeful sign 20 years after 9/11. EMIL GUILLERMO is a veteran journalist and commentator. He was a member of the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board. Listen to him on Apple Podcasts. Twitter @emilamok. (Sagot sa Krosword Blg. 9 | September 4, 2021)
CROSSWORD by Carlito Lalicon ACROSS
1. Apiece, in scores 4. “Master” 9. Simple chord 14. “Fantasy Island” prop 15. Kind of layer 16. Ragga muffin music 17. Astern 18. Person who is expected to perform a particular task but who is out of control and dangerous 20. Olympics no-no 22. Choosing 23. Bonanza find 24. Glide 27. And others, for short
1. Exclamation of grief 2. Remaining 3. Literary intelligentsia 4. Aria, e.g. 5. Kind of dye 6. Jinx 7. Advantages 8. Buzzer 9. Animal catcher 10. Someone who rants and raves 11. Set aflame
28. Egg-shaped 30. Enough, for some 31. Lean (on) 32. Stop working 34. Halo, e.g. 36. A Province in Mimaropa 42. Mysterious: Var. 43. Hardened 44. Alternative to a fence 48. Hazard 50. Dress cut 51. Descartes’s “therefore” 52. Kind of chart 60. Unite into one 54. Behold 55. Reason to close up shop 63. Bit 57. Action taken in return for 64. Birch relative 65. Coach an injury or offense 12. Pertaining to or associated with agony (especially death agonies) 13. Dangling 19. Circle 21. Adjust, as laces 25. Shrink 26. Lowlife 28. Cagayan de ___ 29. Marine eagle 33. God, with “the” 35. Former copper coin of
Pakistan and India 37. Part of a score, maybe 38. Coarse edible red seaweed 39. Denoting or characteristic of countries of Asia 40. Deserter 41. Tribute, of sorts 44. Intoxicant 45. Mostly tropical songbird; the male is usually
CLASSIFIED ADS 66. Annex 67. Discover 68. All in 69. Grazing land bright orange and black 46. “To do” list 47. Flipper 49. Kind of chop 53. Break 56. Conflicted 58. Right or privilege of cutting growing wood 59. Whirlpool 61. The “I” in T.G.I.F. 62. Open
(Solution will be on the next issue of the Chronicle)
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