Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - November 18, 2023

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NOVEMBER 18, 2023


What Do Asian Americans Think About Biden And Abortion?


Shedding Light on Diabetic Eye Disease and its Impact on Your Vision


Hawaii High Schools to Offer First-Of-Its-Kind Filipino History Course



There is Always Something to Be Thankful for; Happy Thanksgiving to All


or the hundreds of family members who lost their loved ones in the Maui wildfires, as well as the thousands left homeless and business owners who’ve had their establishments burned down – this Thanksgiving will take on added meaning. For all Americans who have families in war-torn areas in the Middle East and Europe, as well as many of us Americans indirectly connected but are empathetic to the death and destruction that’s ongoing in these regions – this Thanksgiving will take on a different light. In years when global catastrophes take place – of late COVID-19, the major recession and ensuing inflation crisis, the Ukraine-Russian and Israel-Palestine wars – there’s a strong tendency to love deeper in all our meaningful relationships and to feel stronger intensities of appreciation and thankfulness. At the same time, it’s also reasonable to skip being thankful altogether on Thanksgiving Day for some. In 2020, there was a Filipino family in Hawaii that lost a mother and grandparents due to COVID-19. The family members left in that household were a father and two children. Experts say it’s completely normal and acceptable to honor one’s feelings of grief as they come to enable grief to flow through and not be bottlenecked. Suppressing grief hinders healing and could lead to other problems like addiction to drugs or alcohol or acting out abusively toward others or oneself, experts say. It’s been emotionally difficult but after close to three years passing, the father of that family plans to retire and take his first trip in decades back to the Philippines in 2024. The daughter gave birth to a child and the son is enjoying being an uncle for the first time. Their Thanksgiving Day this year is expected to be lighter, joyful (with the addition of the newborn) and far less bleak than 2020 when half the family fell victim to COVID-19. Time can heal wounds as the saying goes. Deceased loved ones are never forgotten, but the pain of their passing slowly becomes less sharp, and acceptance gradually sets in. What helped this family go through such devastation? Thankfully, they say they had each other to rely on, to talk with, and to work through their grief together as a strong family unit. They say it was more difficult to lose half their family that year to COVID-19 than if, for example, they had died in a car accident. Why? They say it is because of the stigma associated with COVID-19 back then during its peak. People would silently judge us. “Why didn’t we protect ourselves?” “Why did we go to work and bring home the virus that killed our mother and grandparents?” We felt judged and we only had each other. We were very private after their passing. And we are still private on this matter, they say.

Message of hope in being thankful The message of hope we can take from this family’s experience is this: Even in their bleakest moment in 2020 when they felt there was no reason to be thankful; they did have one, they had each other. In 2023 as Thanksgiving Day is upon us, there might be similar situations unfolding for other families. Perhaps in Lahaina surviving members of a family who lost one or multiple members in the wildfires, they will be experiencing their first Thanksgiving Day without a father or mother or child (continue on page 2)



he holiday season is about to commence with Thanksgiving Day. Where did the year go? You might be thinking as the time for turkey dinners, mistletoes, pine wreaths, the Nativity, parols and Christmas trees have arrived. For many of us as Andy Williams sung about, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo writes about Thanksgiving and what some in our community are most thankful for. We have timeless answers like being thankful for God, family and sense of community. But as COVID-19 drew somewhat unique answers in addition to these answers, this year’s current events, specifically the war in the Middle East, also drew additionally unique responses as well. For example, Filipinos have mentioned thankfulness for freedom, peace, security, and basic human rights and needs – things that many people in worn-torn countries do not have. As for a sense of appreciation for those helping to build community, we’ve included in the cover story some messages from our readers answering why they are thankful for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, its publishers and staff. On to polls and politics, HFC columnist Emil Guillermo submits “What Do Asian Americans Think About Biden and Abortion?” based on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Exit Poll taken on Election Day 2023 in seven key states. Exit pollsters found in all states polled, the Biden approval rating was at just 35.4% and disapproval rating for Biden, 42.1%. This poll among Asian Americans mirrors mainstream polls. Read more on this in our second editorial. Politicos believe one reason for Biden’s drop in popularity (easily traceable from prewar to current polls) has to do with the Israel-Palestine war. In this issue, HFC columnist Seneca Moraleda-Puguan gives her impressions of the ongoing devastation between the two, Israel and its occupied territory Palestine. She writes, “As a mother, I can only pray and cry with Israeli and Palestinian mothers who wish to seek comfort, peace, and refuge for their families especially, their children.” Also, in this issue we have two articles on the Philippines. First, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko contributes “Trade Missions to the Philippines” discussing investment opportunities there. The Philippines economy is doing well as far as growth. It has one of the fastest growths in GDP in the world. Second, HFC columnist Atty. Emmanuel Tipon submits “Marcos Jr.’s Victory in Politics, As in Love, Is it Destiny or Timing that Makes One a Winner?” Besides Thanksgiving Day, in November we celebrate Veterans Day. We have two articles on Filipinos who fought the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II. HFC columnist does a Book Review “Mga Gerilya Sa Powell Street” and HFC columnist Arcelita Imasa, M.D. submits “Let’s Commemorate Veteran’s Day.” We hope you enjoy these and our other columns and news. Lastly, I would like to thank our readers, advertisers, members in the Filipino community and wonderfully dedicated staff for helping us to reach our 31st anniversary. A big mahalo. And Happy Thanksgiving to all. Until the 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 Rose Cruz Churma Elpidio R. Estioko Willie Espero Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Arcelita Imasa, M.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

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

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

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

Cecille PirosRey Piros

Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



Biden Appears Not to Be Electable This Time Around and Should Consider Dropping Out of the 2024 Race


t’s clear that a large contingent of Democrats and independents are unhappy with President Joe Biden’s performance. Recent poll after poll shows Biden well behind former President Donald Trump in not only key battleground states, but also nationally. Prior to the outbreak of war in the Middle East, Biden was polling head-to-head in most swing states; but since the war, his numbers plummeted. In a recent poll from The New York Times and Siena College, Trump leads Biden by 10 points in Nevada, six points in Georgia, five points in Arizona, five points in Michigan and four points in Pennsylvania. Biden only defeated Trump in one of the swing states in the poll, Wisconsin, by just 2 points. Political experts believe these six states will determine the outcome of the next presidential election. Even more disturbing for Biden’s chances of winning, in the same poll third party candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. is polling ahead of President Joe Biden, and former President Donald Trump among voters under the age of 45 in the same key battleground states. Kennedy - who recently ditched the Democratic Party to run as an independent - was favored by 24% of respondents in a three-way race between himself, Biden, and

Trump. Among voters ages 18-29, Kennedy was selected by 34% of respondents against Biden (30%) and Trump (29%). For voters ages 30-44, Kennedy polled at 31%, with Biden and Trump both polling at 30%. Overall, among voters under the age of 45, Kennedy polled at 32%, Biden at 30%, and Trump at 29%. Anyone who has been following politics for a while knows this is unprecedented to have a third-party candidate leading in any presidential poll leading up to an election among any key demographic. The most popular third-party candidate in modern U.S. history Ross Perot has never reached the support RFK is getting. And let’s be honest that RFK’s favorable numbers have little to do with RFK himself, but rather that a large swath of the American electorate is not pleased with either Trump or Biden. But RFK’s rise in number hurts Biden far more because of the demographic (45 and under) that’s supporting him. We know from the last election that it was the younger vote, the millennials, who got Biden elected. We also know that millennials and now Gen Z (those now qualified to vote) are far more likely to vote Democrat than Republican. Young voters, it turns out, that they’ve bolted Biden’s campaign for RFK as an anti-Biden reaction. Although the NYT Si-

Pres. Joe Biden

enna survey did not poll respondents’ opinion of the Middle East war, the timing of Biden’s massive drop in approval in this poll and four other polls coincide with the outbreak of the war and suggests that Biden’s handling of the U.S.’ involvement in the Israel-Hamas war is the likely reason for discontentment. For example, in another major poll taken more than a month ago Trump and Biden both commanded 37% of the vote in a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll released last month, while Kennedy won 13% of the vote in a hypothetical match up, and Progressive activist Cornel West, was at 4% Simply reversing the U.S.’ unqualified support for Israel is not likely to happen nor would it necessarily be a quick fix for Biden and suddenly he regains all these discontented Democratic young voters to his side, once again. Why? Because the damage of war has already been done. Regarding political cost of war among those who are against it, this is a passionate

issue and one that’s not easily volatility of politics. The writing is practicalforgettable nor forgivable. ly set on the wall that Biden Should Biden drop out of the would lose in a rematch in 2024 against Trump. race? It’s mind-boggling to It’s not just the polls that show Biden’s chances of get- think in a country as the ting reelected are slim. Long- U.S. with so many brilliant time political Democratic and qualified people that the strategist David Axelrod Democratic party cannot find (who is commonly credited someone capable enough to for leading former President defeat an unpopular (at least Barack Obama’s 2008 victo- among Democrats and indery) suggested that Biden drop pendents), twice-impeached out of the race, to step up or president and potentially soon-to-be criminally constep out. Biden’s poor to lukewarm victed candidate in Trump. The stakes are too high polling numbers has been sustained over a long period of that Trump would be elected, time. Hilary Clinton had far and Biden should consider not more favorable numbers and running for reelection for the we know how that race ended. sake of the country. Democrat To assume that Biden al- leaders should stop playing ready once defeated Trump politics as usual and presand would do it once again is sure Biden behind the scenes not logical, especially when to drop of the race for 2024. considering the fickleness and He’s simply not electable


Support Cultivated-Meat Research

Members of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus should support a massive increase in federal funding for cultivated-meat research. For readers who aren’t familiar with the term, cultivated meat is grown from livestock cells, without slaughter. No other policy, with a reasonable shot of becoming law, has the potential to reduce more animal suffering and death. While cultivated meat is currently sold in a few high-end restaurants, it faces a number of technological hurdles in order to compete with slaughtered options. Perhaps the most important of these is lowering its cost. This can be achieved with public money for research. I hope the compassionate legislators who make up the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus will prioritize the goal. — Jon Hochschartner

Editor’s Note: The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle reserves the right to edit for space and clarity submissions of letters to the editor.

(EDITORIAL: There Is Always.....from page 5)

or grandparent, there remains hope because they have each other. They might not feel thankful for one iota about anything (which is okay in times of loss), but there is always something to be thankful for, no matter our life experiences, the stages in life we are currently in or in our differing and unique sets of challenges.

Sharing has always been at the heart of Thanksgiving Day

For some of us with copious blessings with far too many obvious things to be thankful for, perhaps reaching out and helping others not so fortunate in this time of giving thanks could lift one’s spirit. It could be sharing your time, your attention, a Thanksgiving meal, etc. Concrete examples of sharing could be calling to say Happy Thanksgiving to a close friend you haven’t talked with for a while who you’ve heard is going through a rough time or

inviting to Thanksgiving Day dinner a coworker who you know will be alone that day. Examples of sharing and doing good are endless. After all, goodwill and sharing were the basis for the first Thanksgiving Day when settlers to North American came together with Native Americans to have a festive meal in peace (what happened after is another story for another time). There is a famous quote by Marcus Aurelius that

speaks to the heart of this: “Reflect on the interconnectedness of all things. Realize that your actions have consequences that ripple through the universe. Strive to contribute positively to the world and consider the greater good in all that you do.” We are all interconnected. We extend a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to all! May you enjoy good food and great company and have meaningful moments to last a lifetime.



Filipinos Share What They’re Thankful for Amid Turbulent Times By Edwin Quinabo


hanksgiving Day is around the corner and typically the entire month of November is a time of giving thanks, having gratitude, and showing one’s appreciation. Often it takes crushing tragedy to bring a profound realization of the true riches in life. For tens of thousands of Filipino residents of Maui this holds true. Three months ago, the Maui brushfires that left historic Lahaina in rubble and ash left residents reflecting how special their simple, small but mecca-tourism of a town was before that fateful August 8. Locals there now yearn to rebuild Lahaina (38% Filipino population) as it was and to protect their famous shoreline from turning into another Waikiki. Even more important than the loss of Maui’s commercial center, homes and businesses, over a hundred residents perished in the fires.

Thankful for loved ones and life itself

Christine Galaga, Lahaina resident, who barely escaped with her family, said “Thank ‘God that we still have each other and we’re still alive and safe and accounted for.” She said they lost everything to the fire. “We are the only things we have.” Nelen Cesar, Lahaina resident, counts on her blessings. “You know, our life is the blessings [we take from this tragedy]. We are thankful for this. It’s so sad. Everything is gone.” Filipinos Galaga and Cesar experienced first-hand unspeakable devastation. But the apocalyptic images of rows of homes left in contorted skeletal steel frames or images of families sheltering in the ocean from flames that chased them into the waters – these scenes broadcasted globally have not only left thousands in tears of sadness for Maui residents, but also in tears of joy that their families are alive and safe. In yet another tragedy, unlike a sudden natural disaster as in Maui, a ter-

rorist attack on October 7 by Hamas in Israel that left 1,700 Israelis dead triggered an ongoing (over a month and counting) bombing assault of Palestine. To date, 11,000 Palestinians have been killed, about half of them children.

Thankful for freedom, basic needs

Marline Guzman, Moanalua, said “I am grateful for the freedom, civil liberties and human rights we have in the U.S. These liberties are far from perfect and we’re constantly in need of defending them. But in comparison to the Palestinians who haven’t enjoyed such freedoms even before October 7, we have much to be thankful for.” Guzman adds, “When I hear in the news of the Israeli blockade into Pales[1] tine of electricity, food and water, such basic things for survival, I cannot imagine going without these for myself and family. Before each meal lately, included in our family prayers is for those being denied food and water in Gaza to get these life-nourishing essentials. “I also think of the Israeli hostages and pray for their safe return to their families. “The situation there makes me think about how fortunate we are here. I am saddened and feel helpless that we can’t do anything for those innocents being harmed in Palestine and Israel,” she said. Guzman, 62, a first generation Filipino American, said she knows the brutality of war experienced in her own family. “My uncle Ramon was tortured by Japanese soldiers during WWII. When the Japanese went into Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, they seized him and saw him as a threat because of his tall and broad physical stature. They forced him to drink jugs of water then stepped on and kicked his stomach. He would vomit water. They repeated the torture for hours. They beat him all over his body and left him on the ground wanting him to die a slow death and to instill fear in the community when his body would be discovered.

But miraculously my uncle survived, barely. His face was permanently disfigured from the beatings. And my mom said he was never the same emotionally.” Reflecting on the cruelties of war in the Philippines, she said “I want the war in the Middle East to end. I pray that no more innocent lives are taken. I am thankful for the safety and security we have here. But am concerned that this regional war could expand and draw in the United States. “It’s been a tumultuous year for natural and made-made disasters. Like it was in 2020, the year of COVID-19, the joy we associate with Thanksgiving is much needed to uplift us from the loss and suffering we see in our state and around the world. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving,” said Guzman. The depth of Thanksgiving America’s first Thanksgiving is said to take place in November 1621 when Plymouth Colony settlers and the Wampanoag Native Americans came together and shared an autumn harvest feast. But some historians argue that Florida, not Massachusetts, was the place of the first Thanksgiving in North America. In 1565, a Spanish fleet came ashore and planted a cross in the beach to christen the new settlement they called St. Augustine. To celebrate this event, 800 Spanish settlers shared a meal with the Timucuan Native Indians. Neither of the two events have significance to most Americans celebrating Thanksgiving today compared to other holidays where reverence is still given for the person(s) a holiday is named after. For Native Americans, the history that followed the first Thanksgiving story ended in loss (continue on page 4)


COVER STORY (Filipinos Share.....from page 4)

of land and genocide, hardly something to be thankful for, Native leaders remind us of each year around Thanksgiving Day. Like the history of slavery of Blacks in the U.S., the brutality that colonialism brought onto the indigenous population is considered a painful time in American history that’s to be remembered, but not celebrated. So, what remains of Thanksgiving -- which is still one of the most important holidays in the U.S. – is the meaning of coming together in goodwill and peace and sharing the gift of food as a symbol of our bond with each other. Some say Thanksgiving Day is about reflecting on what has lifted your spirits through the year and made life enjoyable. It could be a hobby or something much grander as a life’s purpose that gives meaning like advocating for justice. Or that enjoyment could be associated with specific people. Thankful for family Nieva Elizaga, Honolulu, said “Every night before I go to sleep, I say a prayer of thanks not only for the day but for a lifetime of blessings. “I’m thankful for a wonderful family with a husband (Fortunato, Fort for short, a physician) who is undemanding, patient and kind. He has never complained about being the only driver in the family after I quit a long time ago. He had to take the kids to school and to whatever activities they had and pick them up while having a busy medical practice. He had to take me everywhere. He must have sighed in relief when the children started driving. “He loves taking care of his patients that is why he is still practicing even at his age. It warms his heart to hear them say, “I love you, Doc.” They are worried that he will retire soon and are telling him to please not to. They love him and I do too. “And he is funny. I often hear laughter coming from the examining room. At

home, we laugh all the time at ourselves or at him. “The thing he doesn’t want to do is to take care of finances. He leaves it all up to me -- in his practice and at home. I get a headache, but it also frees me to do whatever I want. Let’s go shopping!” Nieva and Fort have three children of whom they are very proud of. “Their growing up years were mostly worry free. They did well in school and had many friends. Our house was a revolving door of groups of kids going in and out during vacations. They have grown up to be admirable individuals. They all graduated from college and have successful careers. Our daughter is a lawyer but has stopped practicing to do volunteer work. Our middle child is a pharmaceutical representative. Our youngest is an actor. He has appeared in several TV shows and movies. His latest, Full Circle, is still streaming on HBO Max. Go watch it! “Our three grandchildren are growing up fast. They are all doing well in academics. The thing we are most proud of is that they are good kidsloving, respectful and caring. There is much love and laughter when we get together,” said Elizaga. Thankful for social and community engagement Nieva says there’s much more to be thankful for, like her social life. “I’m so glad Fort got me into golf when I was initially resistant. Now I get my weekly exercise under the sun, get my vitamin D, enjoy the game and the friends I’ve made in the

club. I’ve also made a lot of friends among the civic organizations I belong to. I find it fulfilling to do something worthwhile while also forming lifelong friendships. This is what keeps me healthy. “In my membership with organizations, I meet some of the people who run the state. I’ve given them my thoughts. I’ve sent emails to some. “Fort and are also very aware of what’s happening in the country and around the world. It has become so divisive. I am hoping for a miracle that all the strife will be resolved peacefully. It seems like a big thing to ask but what else can we do but pray,” said Nieva. Thankful to God and for having a business Marilyn Lowe, Waipahu, said “First I want to thank God for all his blessings and guidance he provides for me daily. My farm and my cleaning businesses are doing good. I have loyal clients and am thankful to meet a lot of nice people.” Message of Thanks to Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) Lowe and others in the Filipino community also expressed gratitude for the role the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle has had in the community for 31 years of publication. Lowe said, “HFC has done a lot for all of us here in Hawaii, especially for our Filipino community. Readers of the Chronicle can learn about new Filipino achievers and leaders that often the local media would not cover. HFC reports lo-

“You [HFC publishers and staff] have worked hard for 31 years to bring quality journalism of news, insights and cultural updates to your readership. You have been a vital voice for the Filipino American community of Hawaii bridging the gap between the Filipino and American experiences and fostering a sense of community among us in the mainstream society. I congratulate you for your hard work, dedication and determination in shaping a collective identity for all of us in Hawaii. HFC is a reliable source of information enabling readers to stay informed and engaged with current events while highlighting achievements and struggles of remarkable Filipino citizens in Hawaii. You are a beacon of intelligent and comprehensive writing catering to the diverse needs of the community. Here’s to another successful year, keep the voices of the Filipinos heard throughout Hawaii, the Philippines and beyond!” – Teresita G. Bernales, Ed.D.

Former Officer for the Media Council Hawaii cal news especially when it comes to politics and community events. HFC covers Philippine news that’s also not regularly presented in the mainstream media. Many businesses have closed after deep recessions but thanks to God the HFC is still running. “The publication ran continuously as we suffered through COVID-19 and the following high inflation. Prayers and continued support are needed to keep HFC and their staff intact and working together. The content of the newspaper is valued by many leaders throughout the state. We should continue to support HFC and their energetic staff,” Lowe said. Elizaga has been a loyal reader of HFC from the newspaper’s start. “Congratulations to Charlie and Chona Sonido for the 31st anniversary of this newspaper. They should be very proud. The editorials are always well written and to the point. The articles are informative, up to date and non-partisan. Thank you both for your unceasing effort. Great job! I wish all of you readers a happy Thanksgiving!” said Elizaga. HFC contributor Teresita

G. Bernales, Ed.D., former officer for the Media Council Hawaii, said “You [HFC publishers and staff] have worked hard for 31 years to bring quality journalism of news, insights and cultural updates to your readership. You have been a vital voice for the Filipino American community of Hawaii bridging the gap between the Filipino and American experiences and fostering a sense of community among us in the mainstream society. I congratulate you for your hard work, dedication and determination in shaping a collective identity for all of us in Hawaii.” Bernales, who started contributing to HFC back in 2000 when the Filipino Chronicle sponsored and helped to promote events of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Alumni Association of Hawaii (she is a past president of the organization), adds “HFC is a reliable source of information enabling readers to stay informed and engaged with current events while highlighting achievements and struggles of remarkable Filipino citizens in Hawaii. You are a beacon of intelligent and comprehensive writing catering to the di(continue on page 6)



What Do Asian Americans Think About Biden and Abortion? By Emil Guillermo


don’t care for much for polls. Sure, I’ll write about them, but usually they say nothing about Asian Americans and what we think politically. There’s barely enough to mention where Blacks or Hispanics stand on the issues. At best, with a general margin of error of 3-5% in a poll, you get a homogenized sense of a feeling. It’s not concrete, but it is data in the moment. A “snapshot in time,” with all the utility of Kleenex, ultimately, discardable. But there is one poll I love to talk about—the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Exit Poll—which specifically targets a large group of Asian Americans, registered and engaged, right after they’ve voted, and it’s all done in-language. Mainstream pollsters don’t speak any of our languages and would normally let Asians walk by and ignore their input. The AALDEF poll talks to people in 11 Asian languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese.

East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, our group diversity is pretty much covered in AALDEF exit polling. On Election Day 2023, over 140 AALDEF volunteers talked to voters in seven key states—Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia—and found Asian Americans still strongly supported Democratic candidates a vast majority of the time. When it came to key issues, Asian Americans were 64.5% in support of access to legal abortion and 64.5% in support of protecting transgender people from discrimination. That’s the good news. You don’t have to scratch your head on how Asian Americans feel. There’s data. The “bad” news is that just as mainstream polls have shown drops in support among Blacks and Latinos for Biden, the AALDEF exit poll shows Asian Americans were also less enthusiastic about a second term for the president. In all states polled, the Biden approval rating was at just 35.4%, about half of what I would have expected. Noteworthy also is the high disapproval rating for Biden, 42.1%. A fairly high 22.5% said “Don’t Know.” At least for now. I was surprised by the numbers because Biden is

probably the most proactive president for Asian Americans we’ve had. He picked African American/South Asian Kamala Harris as his running mate. After being elected, Biden did not hesitate to come to our defense with proclamations and actions to denounce the trend of AAPI hate in America. So, a 41.2% disapproval rating is higher than I’d expect. Still, there’s no reason to panic for you Biden fans. Polls sound an alarm. You see a weak spot, you shore it up. Biden has one year to get it right. He won’t get younger. But perhaps he can do more to change your lives positively than his likely Republican counterpart, the twice impeached, four-time criminally indicted on 91 felony counts candidate. That guy. Ask people in November 2024 and the numbers no doubt will change. And it will count. But it is a concern now as we see how Biden adjusts and begins to make sure that Blacks, Latinos, and Asians

matter in his winning coalition. In my reading of the AALDEF poll, the top issues for Asian Americans were education, health care, and public safety. The economy did not come up as strongly as one would expect based on mainstream coverage and polling. So what might be the winning issue for Dems and Biden? Abortion.

GOP on abortion rights One positive sign from this past week is the issue of abortion, when voters in Ohio chose to protect abortion rights by writing it into the state constitution. And it passed because suburban voters in conservative districts flipped and voted for abortion. For the “pro-life”/pro-baby party, it changes a breadand-butter issue. The SCOTUS ending of Roe v. Wade at the federal level pushed the fight to the states. And Republicans are finding at the grassroots level that it’s a losing issue, and they are dumbfounded. In a red state like Ohio, not only did Republicans want the right to an abortion, they also wanted marijuana legalized. Apparently, a large number of Republicans in Ohio want their freedom from conservative social standards. What will the GOP do to plug up the Ohio gap? Or to at least downplay the loss?

Here’s how you have your cake and eat it too on abortion. I’ve found in U.S. history when the going gets tough, the tough go racist. Republicans can simply say, OK, you can all have your abortions; we don’t want to pay for your kids’ education and health care and safety anyway. And with low U.S. birth rates, abortion is probably the most effective way to keep BIPOC populations down. It capitalizes on the racist spirit of MAGA. My fear is that at some point, the GOP will bring up race with abortion, in much the same way as its brought up race in issues in the past like immigration, or education, or public safety. It’s just the natural way to go for a political party bent on standing up for its white supremacy roots. The Ohio vote shows the GOP has already lost its way on the issue. And they surely don’t want other red MAGA states to flip blue. So instead of saying, “We were wrong to take away the right to abortion,” I think the odds are good for the GOP to go completely racist on abortion. And where do Asian Americans stand? According to that multi-state AALDEF exit poll, we are at 64.5% in support of legal access to (continue on page 10)

(COVER STORY:Filipinos Share.....from page 5)

verse needs of the community. Here’s to another successful year, keep the voices of the Filipinos heard throughout Hawaii, the Philippines and beyond!” HFC contributor Edna R. Bautista, Ed.D., retired professor in JMC, HFC’s Journalism Scholarship Program Chair, joined HFC in January 1995, said “Congratulations to our publishers and editors who have survived the rapidly changing world of media. Many publications have ceased to exist, but we will

continue to work hard to benefit our Filipino and Fil-Am community and hope to provide relevant information for many more years to come.” Filipino community leader Alfredo Evangelista said “Congratulations to the Sonido family on persevering in publishing the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. As we Pinoys love to say, ‘More power to you!’” Guzman has been reading HFC for over 20 years. She said, “HFC is an enduring project led by professional writers and professionals from vari-

ous fields like medicine and law. Our Filipino community, especially our youth born in the U.S., is fortunate to learn about our culture, our history, news that impact us, cover stories and editorials that have relevancy. In this light, HFC aids in fashioning Filipino identity. The newspaper has been the voice of our people in the state for decades. Our community knows this. Politicians know this. Hawaii’s greater community knows this. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, to the publishers and staff at HFC,

thank you for producing a fine product. Know that you, your hard work and commitment to uplift our community, are appreciated by tens of thousands of us in our community.” HFC publisher and managing editor Chona Montestines-Sonido said, “I am grateful for the hardworking, dedicated and creative staff who burn the midnight oil in order to turn around a newspaper for the Filipino community that serves as their advocate, their voice and communication channel in

Hawaii and beyond. Most of all, I am grateful to God for giving us the strength, good health, bountiful blessings of family and friends to keep us going and keeping the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle alive and empowering the Filipino community here and abroad. Thank you to our advertisers and readers for your support through all these years! Let’s continue to pray for peace and understanding in this world and continue to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ!”



Marcos Jr.’s Victory By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


y destiny is to be in love with you, Makes no difference what you say or do.” crooned Singer Billy Eckstine in “My Destiny”. But an Ilocano playboy does not believe in destiny when it comes to success in love. He believes it is timing. How about success in politics? Is it destiny or timing? On May 9, 2022, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez, Marcos, Jr. won the presidency of the Philippines in a landslide with more than 31 million votes. His closest rival Maria Leonor Robredo had about 15 million votes. “It’s his destiny to be president,” remarked a spec-

In Politics, As in Love, Is it Destiny or Timing that Makes One a Winner? tator as we watched the votes being announced on a television monitor at a hotel in Ilocos Norte. “Bongbong won because he ran at the right time,” I commented.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 20152016? In 2015, we visited Bong Bong’s mother, the former First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos. We asked whether Bongbong would run for president. Mrs. Marcos said she wanted him to run to continue the legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. She revealed that they had been talking with Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for him to run as Bongbong’s vice president. Nothing definite came out of the talks. (According

Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

to a kibitzer, she should have brought a duffel bag with 100 million pesos and tell Duterte “We will finance the campaign. Here’s 100 million to start with.”) I visited a religious leader whose Church has millions of members, known for voting solidly during elections. I asked: “Kapatid, puwede po ba natin tulungan si Bongbong sa pagka presidente? (Can we help Bongbong for president?”). “Hindi naman

tayo tinatawagan” (“He does not call us.), he replied. I rushed to see Bongbong at his Senate office and told him about my visit. “Here’s his phone number if you want to call him,” I said. “I have it, I will call him,” Bongbong replied. Next door to Bongbong’s office was Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s office. Chiz’s father, Salvador Escudero, was Minister of Agriculture when Bong Bong’s father was president. I stopped by Chiz’s office. We are fraternity brothers – Alpha Phi Beta. “Brod, I just came from Bongbong’s office,” I greeted Chiz. “Kumusta siya?” Chiz asked. “I think he is considering running for president in 2016. Would you run with him as vice president?” “2016 will be the 30th an-

niversary of EDSA. Martial law will be a big issue against him,” Chiz remarked. If Bongbong had run for president in 2016, he would have faced formidable opponents. Duterte, Mar Roxas backed by the Aquinos and the Liberal Party, Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Grace Poe. Bongbong eventually ran for vice president. He “lost” but filed a protest alleging cheating. The Supreme Court dismissed the protest. I had given Bong Bong a copy of my book “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws” before he ran for vice president. I wonder if the result might have been different had he passed it on to his lawyers and they read it? (continue on page 8)


WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY? (In Politics.....from page 7)

RIGHT TIMING IN 2022 This year the 64-year old Bongbong ran for president and won easily. He had very weak opponents. Maria Leonor (Leni) Robredo was running as an independent after eschewing the Liberal Party, the Aquinos and the yellow color. The other candidates were Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, Senator and boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson. Bongbong is a charismatic leader, with a ready smile. He is approachable. People flock to him. They want to touch him, hug him, or have a selfie with him. His father did not evoke this kind of reaction when he was campaigning for the presidency. We were in Batac, Ilocos Norte on the day of the election - May 9. Bongbong voted in the same polling place where his father had been voting across the street from their home in Batac. He was surrounded by thousands. We saw him vote, took his

picture, and congratulated him. Most of the voters were not even born or were too young to remember martial law which was the main issue against Bongbong. These young voters voted overwhelmingly for Bongbong. They did not believe that martial law was that bad or that Marcos, Sr. was an evil person. When I visited President Marcos in Makiki Heights in Honolulu where he was a virtual prisoner, I asked him if he was going to fight the alleged martial law victims who had filed a class action lawsuit against him. I told him that I had read their complaint and that a class action was improper because there was no “commonality” among their grievances and that the U.S. courts had no jurisdiction because the alleged acts took place outside the United States. He replied with a wave of his hand “Bay bay amon” (“Never mind”). He said that he never ordered any body to be harmed during martial law. “I do not even know these people,” he exclaimed.

“If I wanted to harm any body I will go after those fighting me like Salonga or Tanada. But I have not done so.” Right minded people who supported Bongbong believed in the Bible that the sins of the father (if any) should not be visited on the son. People sympathized with Bongbong for having been a victim of cheating (reportedly the “Switikmatic” election machines) when he ran for vice president in 2016. Bongbong observed what we often preach: “Less talk, less mistake. No talk, no mistake.” He avoided debates and press conferences. He ran on a platform of “Unity”. People hearkened to the message. Supporters of Bongbongg utilized Facebook, You Tube, Messenger, TikTok and other social media to the fullest. They posted scenes of large crowds at his campaign rallies. They posted the speech of President Marcos during his visit to the White House, his singing duets with Mrs.

Marcos, and other episodes favorable to the Marcos family. Bongbong’s admirers posted his playing the saxophone, his spirited singing of the Beatles song “Hey Jude” and Jamming with Bloomfields. www. bongbongmarcos.com. One commentator said “Bravo sir Bongbong. Hindi lang pang presidente kundi pang rock star pa.” Bongbong was proclaimed President of the Philippines by Congress on May 25, 2022 and took the oath of office on June 30, 2022. Congratulations again President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr. We pray that you succeed in your goals for the sake of the Filipino people. Was Bongbong’s victory a matter of Destiny or Timing? If destiny, did Bongbong control his destiny? ATTY. EMMANUEL SAMONTE 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 grad-

uated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the 1955 bar examinations. 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 writes columns for newspapers. He wrote the annotations and case notes to the Immigration and Nationality Act published by The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co. and Bancroft Whitney Co. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he cohosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, politics, 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. tiponimmigrationguide.com



Shedding Light on Diabetic Eye Disease and its Impact on Your or has high blood sugar levels, it can lead Vision to complications, especially in the eyes. Janet Kelley


enters for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a staggering 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, with an additional 88 million adults having pre-diabetes, making it a significant public health concern. Diabetes is also the leading cause of new cases of adult blindness. Diabetic eye diseases include retinopathy, macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma, posing a severe risk to individuals with diabetes. Despite the prevalence of this issue, health disparities persist, particularly among minority populations, resulting in inadequate awareness. This is why November is dedicated to raising awareness about Diabetic Eye Disease. The Hawaiian Eye Center aims to provide essential information about diabetes and offer doctor-recommended advice to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to convert food into energy. When the body lacks insulin

Risk factors for diabetic eye disease include pregnancy, tobacco use, and certain ethnicities like Black, Hispanic, and Native American. To prevent vision loss, individuals with diabetes should undergo an annual dilated eye exam to check for signs of eye conditions associated with diabetes. Pregnant individuals with diabetes should have exams during and after pregnancy. In addition to regular eye exams, maintaining good eye health with diabetes involves: • Monitoring and managing blood sugar levels • Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol • Following a healthy diet • Staying physically active • Quitting smoking and tobacco use • Regularly testing hemoglobin A1c and urine for ketone levels • Adhering to medication and insulin schedules Proper diabetes management and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent vision loss, enabling a fulfilling life without severe eye health complications. To learn more, please visit: www.hawaiianeye.com.



Trade Missions to the Philippines By Elpidio R. Estioko


n late 2022, Hawaii-based Filipino investors eyed opportunities in the Philippines by sending over 40 Filipino entrepreneurs who explored potential areas of investments and growth opportunities. They toured New Clark City and the Clark Freeport Zone focusing on world-class facilities and sustainable features aimed at positioning Clark and Central Luzon as prime investment destinations for the Filipino business community in Hawaii, according to the website of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The Clark tour was organized as part of the Filipino

Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s (FCCH) 30th Goodwill and Trade Mission to the Philippines, led by Philippine Consul General to Hawaii Emil Fernandez and Vice Consul Jomar Sadie. BCDA together with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Subic-Clark Alliance Development Council hosted the site visit. BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Aileen R. Zosa urged the contingent to consider investing in New Clark City as they pursue avenues of growth in the Philippines. “We encourage you to take a look at New Clark City, which is envisioned to be the country’s next smart, sustainable and green metropolis. Partner with us and be a part of this city’s growth story,” Zosa said. Rynah Ventura, CDC vice president for Business Development and Business Enhancement said:

“This trade mission is an important initiative that will allow our industry leaders to explore the various investment opportunities in Clark and the Philippines. We fervently hope that this will also stimulate more interest, meaningful collaboration, and stronger ties with our business sectors from across the globe.” This year, the mainland Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association of Silicon Valley (FAREPA-SV) sponsored the 3rd Trade Mission to the Philippines from November 2-14 according to FAREPA-SV President and head of mission Anne Orozco-Ramirez. T h e FAREPA-SV trade mission is co-sponsored by Ayala Land International, Megaworld International, and Bahay sa Pinas. Orozco-Ramirez said, in her

departure statement: “The primary objective of the trade mission is to meet top real estate developers and listen to first-hand information about ongoing projects as well as have field tours of the properties selected development sites.” The trade mission, according to Orozco-Ramirez in a telephone interview, will promote the interests of Filipino American Real Estate Professionals by elevating the level of professionalism within the global community through education, networking, and partnership. To accomplish this mission, Orozco-Ramirez said: “By creating a unified voice within the real estate industry, advocating for policy position at the national level that will reduce barriers to homeownership for the Filipino-American community; increasing business opportunities for mortgage and real estate professional that serves this growing community; hosting national and local event; to educate and inform member about housing issues and developments affecting the Filipino American; and conducting trade missions throughout the Philippines to develop business partnerships and increase brand.” She added, “FAREPA-SV provides advocacy and resources to its members and affiliates.” The association proudly represents the “bayanihan” spirit which means communal

unity, work, and cooperation to achieve a particular goal. “We will continue to empower our members in creating a unified voice in the real estate industry,” she concluded. FAREPA-SV is the largest Filipino American real estate association in the US. It’s a non-profit 501c (6) organization founded in 2002 that promotes professional networking, educational workshops, and community outreach in Silicon Valley. Its global trade mission presents opportunities to invest in the Philippines. In a Facebook post, she wrote: “We are having a blast at our 2023 Trade Mission in the Philippines! As I See It, Orozco-Ramirez’s trade mission is making headway and US investors and entrepreneurs are continuously looking forward to establishing partnerships with Philippine-based companies to harness the business potentials in the country. With this, trade missions should be encouraged more and Hawaii and Silicon Valley Filipino American entrepreneurs should be making follow-up checks to make sure the connections they started in the Philippines will thrive. More power to our Filipino American investors and businessmen! 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

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: What Do Asians...from page 6)

abortion rights, which aligns with Democrats and Biden. I would say that’s troubling for Republicans who are looking to us to join the trend of breaking the Democratic hold on BIPOC communities. Abortion may just be the issue to keep the winning Biden coalition together. We’re still a year away from the 2024 election, but at least we have a targeted Asian American poll that let’s us know where the broad Asian American community stands on the issues. When mainstream polls ignore us, we are out of the snapshot, left out of the equation.

Thank goodness there’s a poll like AALDEF’s that fills the void with data. With it, it means we definitely show up and can’t be ignored. NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com. EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www. amok.com.




Mga Gerilya Sa Powell Street By Rose Cruz Churma


ovember is the month when we commemorate Veterans Day. It is just fitting to highlight a book about Filipino veterans and their perseverance in waiting for promises to be fulfilled. On the book’s back cover, Oscar Penaranda, a poet and writer living in the Bay Area commented: “I am glad that someone wrote about the Filipino-American experience in Filipino (Tagalog) and a novel to boot! I think that is pretty historic!” It is unusual to see a novel set in the United States but written entirely in Tagalog by a writer who typically writes in English. I think it is the right choice—if this was written in a language other than Tagalog, the novel would not be able to capture the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists. The novel is about five men (Fidel, Ciriaco, Ruben, Badong, and Major) who during their younger days fought the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II. Now they are old and of retirement age, but they decide to go to the United States, settling in the Bay Area in California—their last mission, so

to speak, to ensure that they receive their veteran benefits for their families. But they wait, and wait, and wait some more. It is at Powell Street in San Francisco where they wait, and in the process suffer homesickness, the cold weather and loneliness as they dream of the days when they could go home. This is the Filipino veterans’ story of taking risks in America for the sake of their families—like countless others who had travelled to the United States to wait for promises made by their colleagues during the war. Published in 2007, this book was made into a play and staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The three-hour play can move you to tears but also have you laughing out loud as the performers replicate the antics of the World War II veterans. There is a quote that notes, “A country that forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten.” This book ensures that the sacrifices of the veterans are not forgotten and the production staging of Tanghalang Pilipino at the Cultural Center makes sure that the Philippines’ role in that war will not pass into oblivion any time soon.

By staging Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the sacrifices and the hardships of World War II veterans will continue to live on in the collective memory of Filipinos. Just like the novel, this three-hour play tackles the musings of Filipino war veterans who live as exiles in San Francisco, California. They spend their time in

a cable car station located on Powell Street, with most of them just waiting for that “long-distance call from heaven.” The novel, as well as the play, is basically about waiting--the veterans wait for the benefits promised to them—and the audience waits along with them. As the former guerrillas wait, they reminisce about their days and escapades at war, the women who made a difference in their lives, and the family members that they left behind in the Philippines. The reminiscing comes in various formats—one effective way is through the letters they exchanged with family back home—which was done in the last chapter. They all share a common desire which is to be buried in their homeland. The author, Benjamin Pimentel is an award-winning writer, newspaper reporter and documentary filmmaker.

He was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and other news outfits based in the United States and the Philippines. He is one of the producers of the documentary film, Toxic Sunset on the bases left behind by the United States military at Clark and Subic in the Philippines. His book UG: An Underground Tale is about the life of student activist Edgar Jopson, which became a best-seller in Manila in 2006. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Mara Torres and their two children Paolo Lean and Anton Diego. This book is his first novel. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an online advocacy with the intent of helping global Pinoys discover their heritage by promoting books of value from the Philippines and those written by Filipinos in the Diaspora. We can be reached at kalamansibooks@gmail.com.


Everyone Keeps Saying I Need A Trust? Why Do I Need One? By Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.


rusts are used to avoid probate after a property owner dies. A settlor is a person who creates a trust for her assets. The trustee is the person who manages the trust and its assets, and the initial trustee is usually the same person as the settlor. Probate takes several months or more. A petition to open probate has to be filed in court. All the potential heirs and creditors have to be notified that probate is being opened. The court schedules a hearing on the petition a few months down the line. During the hearing, if all the requirements of the probate rules have been satisfied, the judge orders the appointment of the personal representative. The family has to wait a month or so after the hearing

to receive the order appointing the personal representative. If a requirement is missing, the hearing is continued to a later date to give the petitioner times to get those tasks completed. Maybe the notice to creditors and interested persons hasn’t been published in the newspaper yet. Maybe not all the potential heirs has been notified. Maybe the petitioner is not the person who, by law, has the priority to be the personal representative. Maybe the judge needs to be satisfied that the family has made a diligent search to find a Will. It could be as simple a thing as not having all the information (“flag sheet”) about the case turned ten business days before the hearing. Then the hearing gets rescheduled for the next available court date, which is often two

months or more down the line, depending on how busy the probate court is. In the meantime, nobody in the family has the authority to manage the property or distribute it to the heirs. The mortgage bank can’t disclose any information to the family because there is no authority to give information to the family. They can’t refinance the mortgage to bring down the monthly amount or do anything except keep making the payments. Family members can’t touch the assets to pay the house loan or other bills and have to advance the money to the estate for the payments, then get reimbursed after the personal representative is appointed. Heirs have to wait until the court appoints the personal representative. (continue on page 15)



Not “Or,” But “And”

ation or retaliation, may our reason be reconciliation. I pray for Israel. I pray for Palestine. I pray for anger to subside and for peace to reign. I pray for indignation and selfish motives to dissipate and let compassion and love spread. Every night, before we go to sleep, we lead our children to remember and pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. We remind them that both nations are loved by God and worth praying for. As we all confront this heartbreaking event that affects the whole world, may we choose to consider all sides and intercede for both nations. Israel or Palestine? It’s not a question of OR but an answer of AND.

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


t was just like yesterday when the world was confronted by a major conflict between two nations. We were all shocked when Russia invaded Ukraine. Little did we know, just a few years later, another battle would shake the world– Palestine vs Israel. In October, on one ordinary day for the rest of the world but a special and supposedly joyous holiday for Israel, the Palestinian group Hamas breached one of the most secure defense systems in the world and attacked many Jewish people via sea, land, and air. Thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians, locals and internationals, lost their lives. Hundreds were and are still being held captive.

Among the dead were four Filipinos. Israel is a nation that is not just familiar, but special to my heart because it’s something I read about in the Bible. When the news broke out, I found my heart severely broken and my eyes rolling with tears as I heard news of innocent lives being taken away. It felt like the pain I felt during the Ukraine invasion of Russia rushed over me again. I tried to understand the root cause of the conflict between the two nations and realized that it’s not just a long-running conflict but an overly complex one. For the past few weeks, Israel has been retaliating for the massive Hamas attack and the people of Gaza are under siege. As the war rages on, I see some of my friends side with Israel

while some stand with Palestine. My heart goes out to the families of Israel who lost their lives and are still being held hostage by the terrorist group. My heart breaks equally for the innocent people of Gaza, especially the women, children, and elderly, receiving the brunt of Israel’s retribution. In the words of the British statesman Neville Chamberlain, “In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.” With the Russia-Ukraine invasion and the Palestine-Israel attack, all are los-

ers indeed. And the collateral damage of these senseless battles cannot even be described. I can only imagine the terror that the innocent people of Gaza are facing and experiencing right now. As a mother, I can only pray and cry with Israeli and Palestinian mothers who wish to seek comfort, peace, and refuge for their families especially, their children. While this event may be polarizing, I hope that we side with justice. While both sides have their own “Blessed are the peaceagenda, may our agenda be makers, for they will be peace. While each side has called children of God.” its justified reasons- desper- Matthew 5:9


Reform CON Laws to Increase Hawaii Healthcare Access By Keli‘i Akina


ho do you think dec i d e s whether Maui needs a new cancer center, Kauai needs a new hospice, or the North Shore needs a new drug treatment facility? Well, you might be surprised to find out it’s not the investors who want to build the facilities nor the doctors or nurses who would provide the services there or even public demand. Instead, it’s state government bureaucrats who call the shots. Yes, strangely enough, if officials at the Hawaii Health Planning and Development Agency say there is no need for a new healthcare facility or service, then it doesn’t matter who disagrees with

them. Healthcare providers cannot build a new hospital, MRI machine, or dialysis center without state government permission. Why? Because of an obscure series of Hawaii regulations called “certificate of need” or CON laws. CON laws are a relic of a different time when states worried about the potential negative impacts of duplicating healthcare services in an area. But what is “duplication” when it comes to healthcare services? According to Matthew Mitchell, a guest on a recent episode of my “Hawaii Together” program on ThinkTech Hawaii, duplication “is what economists — and, frankly, what normal people, I think, everywhere — call competition. So [CON laws are] essentially mandating

that there not be any sort of competitive provision of healthcare.” That being the case, should we be surprised that some of the biggest supporters of CON laws are existing healthcare providers who want to avoid competition? Mitchell, who is a senior research fellow at the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at West Virginia University, said in some states — including Hawaii — existing providers are even allowed to participate in the CON approval process, to give their opinion on whether a potential competitor is needed or not. It’s a lot like letting Starbucks vote on whether a different coffee shop can open in the neighborhood. Mitchell said researchers have examined whether the justifications for CON laws hold up, and the answer is a resounding “no.” Despite the

anywhere, that has ever been accumulated to suggest that doctors are offering burn care when burn care is not needed.” It’s so obvious that leaving it up to the government to decide whether we “need” another burn unit, MRI machine or new hospital only results in delays, added expenses and fewer options for patients. Other states have successfully reformed their CON laws without any negative effects on patient care. In fact, most of them have seen improvements in healthcare access and quality. It seems to me that what we really “need” is to reconsider Hawaii’s overly restrictive certificate-of-need laws and let entrepreneurs, investors, doctors and the public in general make their own healthcare investment decisions.

claims of their supporters, CON laws actually make healthcare more expensive and less accessible. Mitchell said more than 400 tests have assessed how CON laws affect access, cost and quality of care, “and it’s really extraordinary in terms of how overwhelming the evidence is” that CON laws reduce healthcare access and quality. In recent years, many states have been reforming or repealing their CON laws in response to these findings. But not Hawaii. In fact, our state requires certificates of need for more healthcare services than any other — even for burn units. “Whenever I see that one, I scratch my head because one of the original rationales for a CON is to discourage providers from offering care that’s not need- KELI‘I AKINA is president and ed,” said Mitchell. “I don’t CEO of the Grassroot Institute of think there’s any evidence, Hawaii.



Let’s Commemorate Veteran’s Day

By Arcelita Imasa, M.D.


hatever happened to the thousands of brave Filipinos who answered the call to fight with the U.S. military in World War II when the Philippines was an American commonwealth? Did they ever get paid or get an opportunity for citizenship? – Reader Dear Reader, As citizens of an American commonwealth, Filipino soldiers were legally American nationals, and President Roosevelt promised them the same veterans’ benefits given to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Filipino forces fought bravely as Japanese forces oc-

cupied the country and U.S. troops escaped the Philippines to Australia. But Roosevelt’s promise was not kept. In 1946, the U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Act, which retroactively annulled the benefits promised to veterans and their widows and children because of concerns over its projected price tag of upwards of $3 billion. “The priority after World War II was in Europe, and the government made a determination they would instead pay $200 million to the Filipino government, which would disperse the money,” says Antonio Taguba, a retired U.S. Army major general and chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, which is working for due recognition and benefits to Filipino World War II veterans and their widows. For more than seven decades later, Filipino veterans were still waiting for the U.S. government to fulfill that obligation. While members of the “Old” Philippine Scouts were

eligible to receive full benefits, that has not been the case with members of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Recognized Guerrilla Forces, and New Philippine Scouts. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided for one-time, lumpsum payments of $15,000 to surviving Filipino veterans who were American citizens and $9,000 to non-citizens. As of January 1, 2019, more than 18,000 claims had been approved by the U.S. government, but nearly 24,000 had been denied, in part because of requirements. To receive compensation, veterans must be on a list of 260,715 Filipino guerrilla fighters compiled by the federal government immediately after the war as well as the socalled “Missouri List” which is incomplete because of a 1973 fire that destroyed millions of military records, including those of many Filipinos who served during World War II. Fortunately, free legal help is available through the Uni-


Hawaii High Schools to Offer FirstOf-Its-Kind Filipino History Course


he Filipino community makes up the largest ethnic group in Hawaii according to the AAPI Data. In a state with a large Filipino population, high-school level Filipino classes aren’t being offered… until now. For two years, the student-driven initiative Filipino Curriculum Project campaigned and created the course CHR 2300 Filipino History Culture to integrate Filipino history education into the high school curriculum. The course focuses on six thematic units: Filipino Identity, Philippine history, Culture and Connections, Filipinos in Hawaii and the U.S., Philippines in an interconnected world and Community Engagement and Civic Action. “I’m so proud of our entire team for having fought

for Filipino representation in the classroom,” said Marissa Halagao, founder of the project and a current Yale University student. “We did this for the sake of future Filipino students who have never seen their histories reflected positively in the curriculum.” Farrington and Waipahu High Schools, which Filipino students make up more than 50% of the student population, will be the first schools to offer the Filipino History Culture class. Students can register for the course now and the classes will begin next year.

In 2022, Hawaii unanimously passed HCR56, which calls for the Department of Education to “implement a Filipino history, culture and identity social studies course for high school students.” “I encourage students and educators, Filipino or not, to take or teach this course, to learn about and feel connected to a large part of our community,” said Raymart Billote, co-director of the Filipino Curriculum Project. “Filipino History Culture has room for all students and educators to explore their identities and perspectives.”

versity of Hawaii Manoa Legal Clinic. Are you a veteran with or whose family has immigration issues? Did your Filipino WWII Veteran family member start a petition, but they died before completing the process? Don’t give up your pursuit of justice without first talking to attorney Danicole Ramos at 808-956-0535. As we celebrate Veterans’ Day and remember those who served us, we lift those brave

Filipino WWII Veterans. Justice for Filipino WWII Vets and their families! Sincerely, Hawaii Workers Center Dr. ARCELITA IMASA is a practicing family physician and the secretary of the Hawaii Workers Center’s Executive Committee of the Board. She grew up in the Philippines before migrating to Hawaii with her family more than a decade ago.


Ayamuom 200 Ti Ayamuom Dagiti Daniw Ni Amado Yoro


his poem is about the song of love to a loved one. Wandering one place to place, searching for fortune. There is hope over the rainbow, a better place, a better life.

Ti salmo, ti ayat ken ti puso ti pluma kansionanta ti ayat ket ti langit aggarakgak a mangyaw-awan ti bisin maalep-ep ti apuy dagiti agpalakpak a karayan; malmes ti buteng ket umisem ti bulan, makeltay ti damask ti init patibkerenna ti biag iti panagibtur. nasudi latta ti kanta iti bullallayaw agallin ti bato; mabangon ti templo ket ti samiweng maallingag manen a maibuyog iti dayyeng ti pul-oy timudem met ti nakurapay ngem naimpusuan a kansionko kadagiti tarakitik ti tudo a kayatmo a tukmaan. Riknaem ti anem-em ‘toy ayat Dagiti mayurit a daniw Toy nagtagipuso a pluma Nasudsudi pay a denggen Ti salmo ti kappia A nangyaw-awan ti apas Ken panagduadua: Daytoy ti puso iti pluma ti pluma iti puso toy maysa a bayanggudaw iti nagtawataw a kari lumaem itoy a taeng kas iti silulukat a libro. Para ken kadaytoy: daton iti sakaanan dagiti agrubuat nga agsapa iti maulit-ulit a pannakaipasngay baro a biag iti baro a gundaway.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday starting January 9, 2023 at 6:15pm | FilCom Center, Consuelo Courtyard, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Need to unwind in movement and dance after a long workday? Join the community as we Zumba through the evening. Only $5 per class. Proceeds go to support these program-types for FilCom Center. 74TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARADE | Kalihi Business Association | November 24 from 5-8:30pm | Kalihi-Kapalama Pa`ina, Kapalama Elementary School, 1601 North School Street, Honolulu | The annual Kalihi Holiday parade will begin at Kalihi Union Church and will end at Kapalama Elementary School. Food trucks will be available during the event. Santa’s Playhouse will

provide games, prizes, face painting, and selfies with Santa. The event is free and open to all. HALO-HALO ART SHOW | Minasa Gallery | Until December 1, 2023 | UMinasa Gallery, 94-866 Moloalo Street, D12, Waipahu | Hosted in Waipahu’s first art gallery, “Halo-halo” (meaning mix-mix in English) is all about celebrating the beauty of mixing ang merging, just like the delicious Filipino dessert it’s named after. Show your support by visiting the gallery. 17TH ANNUAL PASKO SA FILCOM | Filipino Community Center | December 3 at 3-7pm | FilCom Center, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | HJoin the Filipino community and celebrate Christmas at the FilCom Center. This year’s theme is Peaceful and Joyful Spirit of Christmas! There will be food booths

and games such as Christmas Caroling Contest, Parol Contest, Tabletop Christmas Tree Contest, Krismas Karaoke Contest and Paskorama Contest. The event is free and open to the public. To join the contest, please sign up at tinyurl.com/paskosafilcom23. SAKADA DAY FILM VIEWING | Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii, Filipino Community Center | December 16 at 10am-1pm | Casamina Flores Ballroom, FilCom Center, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Annually observed on December 20, the Sakada Day is a celebration that commemorates the contributions and sacrifices of Filipino migrant workers who helped build Hawaii’s sugar industry. Join us for a free film viewing. Refreshments will be provided.

(LEGAL NOTES: Everyone .....from page 12)

Trusts avoid this time delay. As long as the property is placed in the trust, the trustee has authority to manage and distribute the assets upon the death of the trust settlors. The successor trustee, however, has to accept the appointment in writing, to become authorized to act for the trust. This is usually why people tell each other that they “need a trust.” Another aspect is when there are assets across other states. As long as the settlor transferred the assets into the trust, the trustee has authority to manage and distribute the asset. If, however, the asset was not placed into the trust, then the trustee has to open probate in those other states to have court intervention as above. The assets have to be placed into the trust, though… The trustee only has authority over assets that were transferred into the trust. Sometimes assets are kept outside a trust. Life insurance policies might already have the beneficiaries designated and so the settlor left these outside the trust. The beneficiaries can claim the policy benefits without the trustee. Sometimes bank accounts are left outside the trust; as long as the account holders designated pay-on-death beneficiaries, then those persons can present the death certificate to the bank and claim the funds. Sometimes it was simple human error that left an asset outside the trust. The settlors might own timeshares out of state, such as when people living on the mainland own a vacation timeshare in Hawaii. They might forget to put

the timeshare into the trust. Then the trustee has to open probate here in Hawaii to have authority to collect that timeshare for the trust and distribute that timeshare to the trust beneficiaries. Or, the trust may have been a do-it-yourself trust that people bought off the internet to save money. They may have typed onto the schedule of trust assets, “my house at (address)”, thinking that this transferred the house into the trust. That doesn’t do it. Real estate can only be conveyed by deed, so if the settlors didn’t deed the house into the trust, that property stays outside the trust. Sometimes the settlor doesn’t think they need to put an asset into the trust. For example, the settlor might be a sole proprietor who has a longterm lease. That lease could be an asset, and left outside the trust, leaves the family without authority to take over management of the lease without a court order. There’s another hitch. If the asset was left outside the trust, the pour over Will is what gets probated in the state where the asset is located. Every state has its own requirements for what makes a Will valid. Hawaii requires two witnesses and a notary. California, for example, does not have a notary requirement. The California Will is not valid in Hawaii without that notarization. The estate either goes by intestacy or the family has to go chase down and find the two witnesses and get affidavits from those two witnesses that they actually witnessed the Will being signed. If at least one or two witnesses is dead, that out-of-state

Will is invalid in Hawaii and the estate is probated as if the dead person died without a Will. If the directions in the trust differs from the state’s intestacy laws, the estate gets distributed by those intestacy laws, not the trust. My parents had a trust but they didn’t put their house into their trust. If they owned the house as tenants by the entirety, then the trust doesn’t control who inherits that house. By law, the latter of the spouses to die is the one who inherits the house in full. If all the children are children of both spouses, and the parents intended the house to be distributed equally among those children, then this oversight might not matter. If, though, the house was acquired in a second marriage, and each spouse has children from their first marriage, leaving the house outside of the trust affects who inherits the house. The tenants by the entirety ownership on the deed, by law, automatically leaves the house to the spouse who is still alive. The children of the firstto-die spouse are out of the picture, even if the trust directed an equal split among all children. The deed is what controls, and if the last recorded deed did not transfer the house into the trust, then the trust directions don’t control because by law a home owned as tenants by the entirety goes to the latter-to-die spouse. That spouse owns the whole house, regardless of what the trust directed. I have both a trust and a short form trust. Why? A short form trust may also be called a “declaration

of trust” or a “certificate of trust” (such as in California). A trust agreement is the long document that creates the trust. The trust agreement identifies the people creating the trust (“grantor” or “settlor”), the legal name and creation date of the trust, grants powers to the trustee, and tells “who gets what” after the settlors die. The short form trust doesn’t have the “after I die, my property goes to my children” – read it, you’ll see. You’ll notice the difference in length between the two.


The short form trust is used to confirm that a trust exists, identify the legal name of the trust, identify the trustees and successor trustees, and lists out the powers of the trustee. These powers are identical in both the trust agreement and the short form trust. The documents are different because they serve different functions for the trust. The short form trust is what is used to transfer property into the trust or manage the assets. I hope this discussion helps you understand the mystery of trusts.


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