Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - November 19, 2022

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NOVEMBER 19, 2022


Permitting Delays Aggravate Housing Crisis, Show Lack of Respect for HI Residents HFC: 30 Years As the Voice and Advocate of the Filipino Community ‫ ׀‬S4


Filipino Candidates Win Big in Hawaii


The Filipino Migration Experience ---Global Agents of Change



Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Marks Its 30th Year Anniversary, Thank You to All Our Supporters



e are happy to announce this month marks the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle’s 30th year in business. It’s a very special anniversary for us and it represents a lifetime’s body of work. When my husband Dr. Charlie Sonido and I established the Hawaii Filipino hen the publishers of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, like most business plans people make, we looked at Chronicle were brainstorming for a name of our a 5 to 10-years projection with of course hope for longevity and newspaper, it turns out that what they’ve de- success beyond that. Thanks to God’s blessings, with our drive cided on is perhaps most fitting. The first parts and hard work to keep the newspaper open, we’re fortunate are a given without needing elaboration. But that the paper survived this long to reach this milestone of 30 “Chronicle” or chronicling our community is years (and counting). We also couldn’t have done it without the what we’ve been doing for 30 years -- how we as a community collaborative work from many of you in the community and has been challenged, where we’ve been coming up short, where our dedicated staff. we are progressing, what will benefit us in policies (and inverseFor our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin ly, what could harm us) and who are helping us rise (within and Quinabo writes about the Filipino Chronicle’s decades-long outside our community) to new heights. journey. He begins by framing the tumultuous economic cliThis month, we are pleased to announce we’ve reached mate over the past 15 years for media. It has been particularthe milestone of our 30th Anniversary. It’s a time for both celely grueling for print media with over a thousand newspapers bration and reflection. in the past 15 years closing and countless others absorbed by large media chain conglomerates. The media industry has unChanging and not changing with the times dergone dramatic changes. It’s like night and day from 30 years Over the course of 30 years, it certainly has been an eventful ago to now. But what has been constant, at least for HFC, is our journey. From media’s transformation in tech and in business, to the industry’s expansion of new digital news outfits that are not commitment to producing quality work and adhering to sound journalistic principles. The article transitions into some of the necessarily anchored in journalistic ethics or professionalism On media’s new tech and business culture, our publishers ways HFC has advocated for the Filipino community as opined have had to adjust for our newspaper to survive and make per- by readers and a few staff. Also, in this issue we have three articles covering differsonal labor of love financial sacrifices. As for journalism ethics, ent aspects of the recently concluded midterm elections. HFC we believe we’ve kept steadfast to our professional principles. columnist Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon gives us the winners of Fil-Am candidates in Hawaii’s general election. HFC colMaintaining accuracy in reporting and defending media’s umnist Emil Guillermo writes about the Asian American Exit worth Sound journalism has never been more important to combat Poll that shows what this ethnic group’s priorities on the issues the rampant disinformation and misinformation on social media. were from healthcare to abortion, etc. He also highlights a few Adding fuel to our current culture of facts-bending are interest high-profile races (of Asian candidates) on the mainland. The groups and some politicians who either use media to promote an third is our second editorial analyzing the national voting trend. agenda or outright attack responsible media who do not succumb A big mahalo to all of you who took the time to vote. Be sure to read our news sections and other column artito promoting such special interests or outright lies. There no longer is consensus on the value of media today. cles: “Always Ask For A Second Opinion If You Do Not Like For the most part in the past most saw valiance in the Fourth Es- The First – Imelda Did” (Atty. Tipon), “Are We Celebrating tate, with journalists as guardians against abuse of power, corrup- National Day on Writing?” (Elpidio Estioko), “THE FILIPINO tion, and advocates for the common good. Today, to some, media MIGRATION EXPERIENCE —Global Agents of Change” itself (because of how it’s casted by a few powerful leaders) are (Rose Cruz Churma), and “Battle For South Korea’s Youth: seen as the abusers of power, corrupt and working against the The Itaewon Tragedy” (Seneca Moraleda-Puguan). common good. We have an Open Forum article “Permitting Delays AggraBut as other responsible media with integrity, the Hawaii Fil- vate Housing Crisis, Show Lack of Respect for Hawaii Resiipino Chronicle hasn’t been shy about pointing the finger at such dents” submitted by Keli’i Akina. powerful leaders both in the United States and abroad who have This issue we also have a HFC 30th Anniversary Suppleworked to discredit media, and in some cases, have put the lives ment. Have you ever wondered what goes into newspaper proof professional journalists in harm’s way. duction? There’s an interesting segment in the supplement covAt the same time, admittedly, not all media is worth defender story that gives an overview of this process for a newspaper ing. And HFC has also called out some media for numerous reaof our size. You’ll see it’s quite arduous, but there’s much more sons from promoting lies to fomenting division. involved not included in the article like post-production work and upkeeping social media. Remaining committed to our mission, specifically serving Lastly, on behalf of the HFC management and staff, I wish our Filipino community you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful to all of you for Where we perhaps stayed the course and have been true to your support! Until next issue, Aloha and Mabuhay! our mission most in over 30 years is our commitment to our community and our advocacy role in bettering the lives of Filipinos as well as our image as a people. While our community has made tremendous progress, there are still areas of need. For example, most of us are aware of the physician shortage in Hawaii that is reaching crisis level in some them to be more culturally sensitive to our community. The physician shortage could also potentially impact with underserved communities. Recently, we raised awareness in a HFC cover story that the greater severity underserved communities where many Filipiphysician shortage is particularly acute among Filipino physicians, nos reside. On top of that, our cover story addressed the ways which could impact patient care as many Filipino immigrants feel that Filipino doctors are helping to meet some of the shortage most comfortable communicating with Filipino doctors who un- demands on our islands through the Primary Care Clinic of Ha(continue on page 3) derstand their first language and have the background that enables


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

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

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

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

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

Cecille PirosRey Piros

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

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



Why Red Wave Failed – Republicans Not Clear on Plans, Dems Delivered Legislatively, Trump Plays Role as Spoiler


obilizing and energizing a base and throwing muti-millions at a campaign are not guaranteed strategies of winning. Unless there is something more that campaigns are offering – real concrete ideas for an electorate to believe in and vote for. For Republicans to regain power nationally, the GOP cannot be doing what they had been, wading through elections without a solid platform and just talking up a Trump return to the White House. That’s hardly a winning plan, arguably not a plan at all.

Republicans did not offer enough specifics, real plans Say inflation is the number one reason why Democrats should be replaced, as Republicans have been saying. Then shouldn’t Republicans be offering a policy blueprint on to how they plan to reverse inflation. Or that securing the nation’s borders is a goal, besides building a wall (unpopular idea), has anyone heard of any other plan of de-

terrence? Bottom line is Republicans have not articulated concreate solutions, specific policy on either inflation or border security – the two big issues they ran on. This purposeful vagueness is why the GOP got a shellacking, again.

How big a loss was the midterm, what was expected? Traditionally in a midterm where one party is in power and holds the presidency, the other political party would regain both chambers of Congress, or at the very least, win the House by a large margin. That party would gain on average a net gain of at least 20 seats in the House, and likely 3-4 in the Senate. Republicans – candidates and pundits – were predicting a red wave, a red tsunami. An example, Sen. Ted Cruz said Republicans would pick up 30 to 50 House seats for a huge majority. He said in the Senate it would be a 54 majority for the GOP. Neither happened. It turns out Democrats will hold its majority in the Senate and potentially improve their standing from two years ago

should they win Georgia’s Senate runoff in December. The House was flipped to a Republican majority but with the slimmest of margins.

Democrats delivered enough legislative wins in two years While one half of the midterms had to do with what Republicans failed to do, the other half is most likely that Democrats did enough in Congress to extend their power. President Joe Biden’s executive order to cancel federal student loan debt up to $20,000 went a long way to getting Gen Z and millennials’ votes. Exit polls showed this demographic overwhelmingly voted Democrat. And it doesn’t help that this debt cancellation executive order is now being held up in court and challenged by Republicans. Changes to Medicare that will make prescriptions drugs more affordable through Medicare’s new negotiating power, putting a cap on out-of-pocket

(Hawaii Filipino Chronicle....from page 2)

waii Preceptorship Program that has established a channel for foreign medical graduate students to gain clinical medical experience in our state and eventually return to Hawaii to practice medicine as an option. In this one issue alone, we’ve presented three angles: acute shortage of Filipino doctors, the underserved communities that include many in our community, and the great work our physicians are taking to bring relief to this state crisis. And because HFC has reported on it, as well as interviewed some of the people in position to lobby for changes, the powers-that-be on this issue are aware that our newspaper, our community are watching what they do and don’t do in addressing the state’s physician shortage. What we have done in this one issue, is the same approach we take on reporting other pressing issues -- and that is to find how Filipinos are specifically being impacted. We’ve used to the same approach when reporting on inflation and

the countless other issues we’ve tackled over decades. It is this advocacy, this specific slant that makes the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle as relevant today as we were when we first started.

Thank you We recognize our newspaper’s longevity could not have been possible without the support and collaboration from: 1) our Filipino community, 2) our working partners in government, business, higher education, nonprofits, civic groups, and organizations who help to keep us informed on the latest news, 3) our advertisers, 4) our readers, and our 5) staff. To all of you, a big mahalo and thank you. And congratulations to our publishers Dr. Charlie Sonido and Chona Montesines-Sonido (also managing editor) for their sacrifices, hard work, and commitment to the cause of keeping the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle running for 30 years. 

drug expenses, capping the cost of insulin – these were all major pluses for voters this election. What was the Republican alternative? Threaten to dismantle Medicare and Social Security. There are other tracks of accomplishments that Democrats presented to voters from the CHIPS Act (boosting high-tech manufacturing) to the Infrastructure bipartisan bill (rebuilding American highways, roads, bridges, airports, etc. and boosting jobs), to the COVID-19 bill that made vaccinations free to everyone and propped up small businesses (saving many from going under) with loans, many of which were forgiven, and so on. On COVID-19 what was the Republican response? Resisting mask mandates, questioning the science of vaccines. Talks of government overreach when more than 1

million Americans died from COVID-19.

The danger that is Trump looming The midterms was also swayed by Trump, but not in a good way for Republicans. Outside of hardcore Trumpers – most Americans are just exhausted with Trumpism, the vitriol, the division, the chaos, the racism, Trump’s ego and ultimately his threats to democracy and the rule of law. Unless a voter is gung-ho for militias, insurrections, and white supremacy – besides Trump’s most ardent followers, who wants to go back to that mess, to that dark chapter in American history? Are Republicans done with the Trump cult? It’s arguable that many Republicans entertained Trump as their leader – with (continue on page 18)



Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Weathers Media Industry’s Economic Storms to Reach Its 30th Year in Publishing By Edwin Quinabo


t’s been a long drought for ethnic media, newspapers and broadcast stations. Weathering the severe financial environment have left many media companies dried up and rolling like tumbleweed before finally disappearing and becoming statistical casualty. As in other industries top-heavy by chain ownership dominance, in the newspaper industry the same market share dynamics exists – with big corporations cornering the largest shares of the market and midsize to small media companies resorting to cultivating niche markets. Specific to ethnic media, while it provides invaluable service to their communities as nonprofits do, unlike nonprofits, ethnic newspapers receive little-to-nothing in direct government funding or private-sector grants and must rely almost exclusively on advertisers where competition for advertising dollars leans heavily on the side of market share giants. Steep financial cost and HFC publishers’ labor of love Publishers of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Dr. Charlie and Chona Montesines Sonido (also managing editor) said, “The greatest challenge of all through all these years of publishing is the financial viability of the paper. We have spent millions of our financial resources to support it. We could have closed the paper many years ago but our drive and commitment to have a newspaper in the Filipino community to be their voice and advocate far outweighs our fear of losing. We would like the Filipino community to look good, to have a newspaper that shows we are a progressive ethnic group.” On reaching 30 years in a rough, merciless business climate for newspapers, the Sonidos said, “As publishers of the HI Filipino Chronicle, having reached our milestone of 30 years of publishing is the defining moment of our life, what the paper has achieved

Tech and social media companies have hurt traditional media further, siphoning off billions in advertising dollars that otherwise would have gone to newspapers and broadcasters prior to the digital-internet revolution. What we are witnessing is a journalism crisis and collapse of traditional media, media analysts have been saying. According to PEN America, a professional writers-journalists advocacy group, in the last 15 years over 1,800 newspapers have closed in the U.S. Many that survived have been bought and consolidated by hedge funds and media conglomerates – that have resulted in less local and community news content and more emphasis on national coverage. In the same PEN America study, it found that the communities underserved, communities of color, immigrant and low-income communities have been most affected by newspapers’ decline because local content, valuable local information is not reaching these communities with the conglomerates

and what we have set to accomplish. It is an achievement surpassing our vision we had for the paper when we established it! “Personally, it is self-satisfying as we have seen the fruits of our labor of love grow, develop and mature! Seeing a lot of newspapers come and go and failing to survive, we are truly blessed and fortunate to have the Chronicle survive -- despite tumultuous, difficult times -- due to the management team and staff’s commitment, hard work, tenacity, perseverance and motivation to be the voice and advocate of the Filipino community,” the Sonidos said. They mention two proud moments for HFC close to their hearts. “One is when the Filipino Chronicle was awarded as the Small Business Journalist for 2016 in the City & County of Honolulu by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This award validated how successful we are in promoting and contributing to the success of

Filipino businesses here in Hawaii! Another one is when we launched the HFC Journalism Scholarship Program to develop future Filipino journalists to serve the Filipino community like what we are doing. Others include being sought for interviews by mainstream media as a resource about Filipino matters especially in the political arena.” As for HFC’s future, the Sonidos said “the future for HFC looks good only if the Filipino community continues to support it and rally behind it. We need the Filipino community to contribute and be a part of its growth!” A few longtime staff integral to HFC’s growth have been interviewed to share their experiences with the newspaper.

Knowing our community beneath the surface HFC contributor Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand, who started with the Chronicle after learning about the newspaper while doing research for a

focusing their attention on national coverage. It is in this shaky, economically tumultuous period in media over the last 15-20 years, that the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) has managed to survive. And to their readers, many of whom say, surviving hasn’t come at the expense or downgrade of its product as the paper continues to deliver quality journalism. Having built a loyal market niche --Hawaii’s Filipino community -- HFC this month marks their 30th year in the newspaper business.

report (“A Snapshot about Filipinos in Hawaii”) for the Hawaii Community Foundation, says her experience writing for HFC has enabled her to “know the community beneath the surface.” Weygan-Hildebrand recalls one of her most memorable stories she did in March 2014 that speaks to this idea of knowing the Filipino community beneath the surface, that in part also means, being mindful that Filipinos are a much more diverse group than people realize and often break the mold of stereotypical perceptions. She said that memorable article for her was a cover story featuring Tony Oposa. “It was quite a scoop to cover a Filipino who was larger than life in the world of environmental law and activism. He was quite unorthodox in a delightful way -- impressing on his law students the law of nature rather than laws written by people. He persuaded law students about winning more hearts not just court arguments

when it comes to environmental crusades.” Contrast this Oposa cover story to another article that also speaks to knowing who we are beneath the surface, but at the opposite extreme of the spectrum, Weygan-Hildebrand mentions another story she did on Filipino poverty in the shelter for women in Iwilei. “One of the authorities who gave me permission to talk story with folks there was worried [about what I would write] but was thankful after reading the article. The voice that was reflected in the article was filled with humanity. It opened many eyes on who and where the poorest amongst us were. It was eye-opening also to learn how careless words can lead some into the path of substance abuse and totally lose family.”

Giving perspective from a Filipino American HFC columnist Emil Guillermo says he’s always been aware of the HFC even as (continue on page 5)


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

a Filipino living in California. “When I was lucky to work in Hawaii, I was fortunate to read it more regularly. When I left Hawaii, I knew I had to continue having a written presence. But not in the mainstream media necessarily -- but in the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle.” While Guillermo’s career was made in the mainstream (starting as a host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and later writing for various newspapers), the veteran journalist said “my heart is always in the community media. Here I can talk about what’s happening in the world, but not in a generic sense. Rather, I could share my perspective from a Filipino American lens. That’s what’s missing from other papers. That’s why I value being a part of HFC. I respect the commitment to community HFC has shown all these years. Without HFC, our voices would not be heard. Or they would be far more muted. That’s what 30 years of service means.” Sharing perspective from a Filipino American lens includes looking at American history that Filipinos were very much a part in shaping, but whose stories are largely ignored. Guillermo says few people know Filipino American history which is why it is a recurring theme in his columns for the Chronicle. “Whether it’s talking about the First Filipinos to North America in 1587, or the migration of colonized men from the Philippines to Hawaii and California, or talking about individuals like labor leader Larry Itliong, or Lorenzo Dow, the Filipino man in 1850 who was the real basis of the Dred Scott decision, there is so much history that needs to be shared and put in context.” Guillermo said this sharing of Filipino history is another reason why HFC has an important function in the community, and all of society.

Featuring role models HFC contributor Renelaine Bontol Pfister who joined HFC in 2014 commented on how the paper has been a source of inspiration by featuring role models in our community. “My favorite assignments are features, when I get the privilege of writing about re-

markable people like Charlene “Cha” Thompson, designers from the clothing line Toqa, artist Leeroy New, Deputy Director for Harbors Eduardo Manglallan, and many others. They inspire and make the world better with their talents and capabilities.” HFC has featured countless Filipino role models from Hawaii, the mainland and Philippines. To name only a few HFC has profiled: Simeon Alcoba, Jr., former justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court, Dr. Amefil Agbayani, Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for student diversity and equity, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and Loida Nicolas Lewis, Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC.

Educating our community on Philippine culture, literature, and history HFC contributor Rose Cruz Churma, former President of the FilCom Center, has been writing articles for the paper for years on an eclectic mix of subjects. She said two of her most memorable were 1) a profile on Philippine presidential candidate (in the last election) Leni Robredo and a personal reflection piece on Philippine Independence; and 2) the historical role her great grandfather had as a physician to General Aguinaldo’s army during that war, and as a signatory to the constitution of the first Philippine republic. Churma also has been a source the newspaper would turn to at times for news in our community and information on Philippine culture. Since 2017, Churma has been our goto Book Reviewer. Her Book Reviews is one of our most popular columns. HFC readers who are second-third generation Filipino-Americans find it fascinating to be introduced to Philippine classical literature and scores of Filipino writers, historians and scholars FilAms have not been exposed to. The scope of her reviews is vast from centuries-old to contemporary works. Her thoughts on the HFC: “It is a vehicle to share information that can provoke, inspire or even entertain--thus creating a community that resists apathy and encourages awareness of what’s going on in our neighborhoods but also of issues impacting our country

“As publishers of the HI Filipino Chronicle, having reached our milestone of 30 years of publishing is the defining moment of our life, what the paper has achieved and what we have set to accomplish. It is an achievement unsurpassed! Personally, it is self-satisfying as we have seen the fruits of our labor of love grow, develop and mature! Seeing a lot of newspapers come and go and failing to survive, we are truly blessed and fortunate to have the Chronicle survive -- despite tumultuous, difficult times -- due to the management team and staff’s commitment, hard work, Involved in promoting and tenacity, perseverance and motivation to participating in community projects be the voice and advocate of the Filipino HFC contributor Teresicommunity.”

of birth. It is an honor to be part of this journey. It is a matter of pride to see my name associated with the paper—because I value its adherence to the tenets of journalism. The paper exists to serve, and to be the voice of the community. It does not pander to self-promotion just to get more advertisers. It strives for balanced reporting on current issues. It publishes articles that may not be “popular” to the majority but is necessary to ensure that the community is “educated” on these issues.

ta G. Bernales, Ed.D., former officer for the Media Council Hawaii and community leader, 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. Bernales is a past president of the organization. Besides the UST Alumni Association, HFC has supported and worked with countless other Filipino organizations in Hawaii over the years from the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii, Bayanihan Clinic Without Walls to the Filipino Community Center, Inc. to name a few. Bernales, who has done articles for the Chronicle on the role of ethnic media and the Ohana Medical Mission, said “being part of the HFC family has given me the opportunity to be part of a community of caring individuals dedicated to serving the Filipino community and the greater community.” She gives credit to HFC not just for sharing information, providing unbiased reports and news, and recognizing individuals and groups in the Filipino community, but also for the volunteer work it does in the community and for its HFC scholarship program that awards students pursuing journalism or mass communications (JMC).

Promoting journalism and helping to support Filipino students pursuing it HFC contributor Edna R. Bautista, Ed.D., retired professor in JMC, HFC’s Journalism Scholarship Program Chair, joined HFC in January 1995.

Charlie and Chona Montesines-Sonido, Publishers, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle “Back then the news office was in Kalihi. I would drop off my typed articles there on my way to teach at Chaminade and HPU. We did not have email yet. I moved back to the mainland a year later when I got married. With email, it has been a convenient way to contribute articles occasionally and still feel connected to the Chronicle after all these years.” On HFC’s scholarship program that was established during the Chronicle’s 25th anniversary, Bautista said, “it is important that we financially help the local college students who want to have careers in JMC as they are our future. They can help us to continue

serving the Filipino community in Hawaii. It is an honor that we can give a voice to Filipinos and provide them this service though the newspaper.”

What readers say about HFC Marites Dumlao, Ewa Beach, has been reading the Chronicle since the 1990s. “From the start, I think the Chronicle has done well in exploring the concept of ‘Filipino-ness’ beyond the label of ‘Filipino community.’ In the Chronicle we read stories of Filipinos from all walks of life. The newspaper has expanded in a more positive and flattering light other people’s (continue on page 8)



By Emil Guillermo


knew it wasn’t going to be a “red wave” even before CNN said Brian Schatz won in Hawaii. That was really a given. No. My telltale sign was watching Republican Allan Fung, dubbed by Fox as one who could flip Rhode Island’s decidedly blue Cong. District 2. When he lost, I knew some election day prognosticators would be confounded. America did not exit from democracy on November 8. Voters went to the polls and saved it. That included many Asian Americans, and thanks to the AALDEF exit poll, I will share what some of them thought. But don’t think November 8 was a return to normalcy where losers conceded gracefully, and we were all working together. It’s not that normal yet. There’s still some odious Trumpism present. Yes, election deniers mostly lost on election day. But the Jay Chen deniers won. And for that, we must say, shame on you Michelle Steel. Make that Michelle Park Steel. That’s her name when the Korean American isn’t hiding behind her GOP operative husband’s surname and wants

Michelle Steel’s Shame, Mejia’s Rise, and An Exit Poll that Includes Filipino Voters in the 2022 Midterms

to show her AAPI-ness. Steel is going back to Congress representing California District 45, but she did it by lying and slurring the good name of her Democratic opponent Jay Chen. Steel used race twice in diabolical ways against Chen. First, she played the victim game by falsely claiming Chen was making fun of her accent. He wasn’t. But then as the race tightened in October, Steel doctored ads to make it look that Chen had ties to the Chinese Communist Party and was teaching propaganda in schools. That wasn’t a red wave, more a red splash of racist lies. Chen, a decorated Navy intelligence officer, whose grandmother fled China for Taiwan, and is a proud Asian American was being portrayed by Steel as a communist sympathizer. He definitely is not. But Steel made that her doubly racist, Asian-on-Asian weapon, pandering to her constituents in the Little Saigon part of Southern California’s Orange County. And then by defiling Chen’s good name. Steel already had the white conservatives in Orange County. But there’s nothing like a little racism to invoke generational trauma in the Vietnamese community to boot. District 45 is a strange mix in Southern California, with

the larger part in conservative Orange County. That enabled Steel to win handily 55% to 45%. But a smaller part of the district is in Los Angeles County, which Democrat Chen won 53.9% to 46.1%. That’s redistricting for you. Steel already had a huge advantage over Chen. But then she added a little racism just to make sure. She must have figured she had lots of money pouring in from Kevin McCarthy’s PAC. What’s a small lie compared to “the big lie”? There is none. It’s still despicable, and yet it’s Steel who’s going back to Congress. After the racist lies in her campaign against a fellow Asian American, how can she be trusted as a worthy public servant? AALDEF’s Asian American exit poll: Election deniers among Asians What does an Asian American think? That’s not just a subtitle of the daily web show I do, it’s what people should want to know about us on all issues great and small. Because we’re here. And we won’t be ignored. But we are, ignored that is. When does anyone ever highlight us in media

exit polling. There’s never a big enough sample to get a reliable sense of what we think when they think to think of us. Enter the AALDEF exit poll for the 2022 midterm elections, a multilingual (11 languages) poll of 5,351 Asian American voters in 15 states on November 8. For me, it served as confirmation that roughly two-thirds of Asian American voters are Democrats, with a third Republican. That was true for the House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races. But 2022 was not just about donkeys and elephants, this was an election about the fight between the election deniers vs the defenders of our democracy. When asked if the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election was legitimate (asked in DC, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia only) 59.2% said Yes. But 16.3% said No, putting them solidly among the election deniers. 24.5% said they didn’t know. Compare that with the national generic numbers in the CNN exit poll, where 63% said yes. But more than a third said no. Asian Americans aren’t election deniers. And they offered up a higher approval rating for Joe Biden, 45.3% vs. 31.4% disapproval. 23.3% said they didn’t know. Asian Americans also won’t deny your right to an abortion, according to the AALDEF exit poll. When asked if they support access to legal abortion, 63.8% supported. 15.8% didn’t know. 20.4% were opposed. Abortion was ranked high in mainstream exit polls after inflation as a motivating factor to vote. But the AALDEF poll showed the top three factors influencing their House vote to be: Economy/Jobs (15%),

Health care (14.5%) and Education (13.1%). Exit polls are also famous for asking other extraneous yet relevant questions along the lines of “while you’re here, let me ask you about…” So when asked if one had been a victim of Anti-Asian Harassment or violence in the past two years, only 21.6% said yes while 78.4% said no. These are answers the mainstream public should be interested in. But what does it mean? That non-voters are more likely victims? Or it could mean that the more you are a full participant in the system, the less likely you are to be a victim of anti-Asian harassment or violence. Perhaps that’s one more motivation to vote. Another area that was surprising was on the question of trans rights. When AAPI voters were asked if they support laws to protect transgender people from discrimination, 65.2% supported; 20.9% said don’t know, 14% were opposed. Who would’ve known? The large number is a revelation for me with transgender members in my family. I am glad the question was asked. Finally, there was support requiring teaching a unit of AAPI history in K-12, 82.7% yes. Only 17.3% no. It’s important in an era when school boards are seen as latest battlegrounds in the battle for inclusion or censure. The past is important, but so is the present because every Asian American first is history. And this election there was one small one worth noting. Do you know Kenneth Mejia? I am more NorCal than SoCal, but my Los Angeles friends were telling me about Kenneth Mejia for some time. Mejia, 34, a Filipino American CPA allied with progressive labor groups, won for Los Angeles City Controller, the guy who signs the (continue on page 14)



Always Ask For A Second Opinion If You Do Not Like The First – Imelda Did By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


n October 21, 1988, President Ferdinand E. Marcos and First Lady Imelda R. Marcos were indicted in New York for racketeering, fraud, and obstruction of justice, allegedly for having stolen more than $200 million from the Philippine treasury and investing it in New York skyscrapers. President Marcos was too ill to travel from Hawaii to New York. He died at the age of 72 on September 28, 1989 before jury selection began on March 20, 1990. A bunch of lawyers who came out of nowhere advised Imelda to plead guilty. “Why should I plead guilty if I am not guilty?” objected Mrs. Marcos. If you fight the charges and lose you will be sent to jail for 20 years for each of the two racketeering counts and five years each for fraud and obstruction of justice charges, but if you plead guilty you might get only 5 years, the lawyers told Mrs. Marcos. Imelda had difficulty raising money for her bail of $5 million. Doris Duke, the billionaire tobacco, and Duke University heiress who had met the Marcoses during a visit to Manila when he was President, heard of Mrs. Marcos plight. Doris offered to post the bail to guarantee that Imelda would make all required court appearances. Doris owns a beachside home in Honolulu known as Shangri-La, which is now a museum, and which Imelda often visited. Doris asked our good friend Ron Oldenburg, a Honolulu attorney, to find a great lawyer for Imelda. Ron found Gerry Spence, a well-known criminal defense attorney from Wyoming. He said he would defend Imelda for $5 million dollars. Doris provided the money. (Doris reportedly claimed it was a loan, Imelda said it was a gift.) Mrs. Marcos interviewed Spence. A client is the employ-

er so the client must interview the lawyer who is the employee before hiring him. Most clients are so in awe with lawyers that they do not interview him to determine his qualifications and competence to handle their case resulting in much regret and recrimination. Spence told Mrs. Marcos that he would take the case with one condition – that Mrs. Marcos would only talk if he allowed her. Mrs. Marcos replied that whenever she talks, all men listen, including her husband. So, Spence asked if she would agree with his condition. Mrs. Marcos said “yes.” Spence took the case. Mrs. Marcos told the volunteer lawyers to get lost. After consulting with Spence, Imelda decided to fight the charges and pleaded “not guilty.” U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani had filed the case. He made a big thing out of it. He held a news conference to announce that Marcos, a head of state, was the highest-ranking foreign government official ever indicted in the U.S. It was believed that if Giuliani had won the case, it would become his stepping stone to running for higher office – like President of the United States. When he found out that Gerry Spence would be his opponent, he turned over the handling of the case to Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles LaBella. Mrs. Marcos was acquitted on her 61st birthday – July 2, 1990. “This is the best birthday gift I ever had,” exclaimed Mrs. Marcos. She then went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, crawled on her knees on the middle aisle to the altar, and thanked God. See the story headlined “IMELDA ACQUITTED” U.S.-Philippine Times, July 1990 issue. Most criminal defendants do not ask for a second opinion Can you imagine if Mrs. Marcos had blindly followed her volunteer lawyers’ advice and pleaded guilty? She would have spent 5 years in a New York jail. And do you realize what the other prisoners would have done to her? Que horror! The tragedy of most crimi-

nal defendants is that they do not ask for a second opinion. For example, a person is charged with rape and sexual assault of a minor. The lawyer, usually a public defender, tells the person, if you plead guilty, we will get you a deal, maybe 5 years in jail, but if you fight the case and lose, they will hang you by your balls after spending 20 years in jail. The defendant does not want to spend 20 years in jail and be hanged by his balls afterward. He makes a deal. This is known as making a defendant plead guilty by terroristic threatening. Why does he and others similarly situated not look for another lawyer and ask for a second opinion? They blindly believe in what their first lawyer tells them even if it is unfavorable. If so, there is not much hope for such person. They claim they do not have the money to ask for a second opinion. If so, such person is not telling the truth. How much will a lawyer charge for one hour of consultation? $300? Can you not raise this amount from your own funds, your family, and your friends? Go to Waikiki Beach and beg from the tourists. Be sure to get a permit first. They have all sorts of excuses. As they say in Tagalog “Kung gusto maraming paraan, kung ayaw maraming dahilan” (If you like to do it, there are many ways, if you do not like to do it, there are many excuses.) Second opinion in medical cases A patient’s doctor tells him that he has cancer of the brain and has six months to

one year to live. Most patients will likely ask for a second opinion. Why? They care about their lives. They do not blindly believe the first doctor. They can raise the money for the cost of a second opinion. Conclusion If criminal defendants care about their life, liberty, and happiness, they should ask for a second opinion if they do not like the first. Damn the cost. As I have been telling my radio audience “Ti cuarta masapulan, ngem ti biag, wayawaya, ken ragsac no napukawen ket saan nga masapulan.” (Money can be earned, but life, liberty, and happiness after it is lost cannot be recovered.) ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He has

a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and w rites columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 2252645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo. com. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com.

* The information provided in this article is not legal advice. Publication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.



Permitting Delays Aggravate Housing Crisis, Show Lack of Respect for Hawaii Residents By Keli‘i Akina


ity officials in John’s Creek, Georgia, recently revamped their government services to be more responsive to local residents. Joe Kent, one of my colleagues at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, just returned from a visit to that northeastern Atlanta suburb of about 82,000 people and was astounded to watch a man apply for and receive a building permit in a single day. Contrast that with Hawaii, where permit applicants must navigate a complicated bureaucracy, deal with adminis-

trative delays, spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to meet requirements and wait months for something as simple as a permit to upgrade the kitchen. As of August, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting had about 8,000 projects waiting for approvals. Obtaining a residential permit on Oahu currently takes more than seven months on average — twice as long as it did in 2017. Powerful influence can’t even break through the permitting logjam. Honolulu Civil Beat journalist Christina Jedra reported last month that former Mayor Kirk Caldwell was still waiting to receive approval for a plan he submitted a year ago, in October 2021,

(COVERSTORY: Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Weathers ....from page 5)

[non-Filipinos] perceptions of who we are. And this means a lot to be understood in a way beyond stereotypes.” Dumlao says she likes that HFC’s cover stories, “whatever it may be from elections to the economy or pertaining to health, there is always a Filipino angle and people in our community are interviewed to give their opinions and experiences. “Sometimes a cover story is about a Filipino personality. And mixed into the story is a larger issue of which Filipinos

are a part of, then we have Filipinos commenting on both. Where else does this happen?” she asks. Dumlao cites a recent example. “There was a cover story on Fil-Am comedian Jo Koy’s Easter Sunday, the first big production Hollywood-backed movie. Besides Jo Koy and the movie, at length also discussed in the article is the lack of minorities being represented in Hollywood and the Filipino American pioneering actors who’ve paved the way for Jo

to renovate his kitchen. Hawaii residents are a patient and forgiving group, but the permit backlog is testing our forbearance. Not only does it reflect an unnecessary level of bureaucracy, it contributes to the slow growth and high cost of housing in our state. Whether you’re trying to build new homes or improve an existing property, indefinite delays and unexpected expenses are never a good thing. Hawaii’s policymakers are aware of the problem: Throughout the islands, county council members hear about it in public meetings. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi made campaign promises about streamlining the permitting department.

In the past, solutions have focused on filling more positions or giving permitting officials more equipment. Unfortunately, these attempts to improve the system have shown that making the bureaucracy slightly more efficient isn’t the answer. Instead, we must simplify the permitting process as a whole. Get rid of permits where they are unnecessary. Create a path for expedited review of projects that meet certain standards. Bring in private companies to help review complex permits and clear the backlogs. The good news is that some progress is being made toward streamlining the process. Earlier this month, the Honolulu County Council

eliminated the requirement that permits from homebuilders be notarized, saving time and money. In addition, a bill introduced this week would allow permits to be approved if they have been stamped by a licensed architect. Also this month, the Grassroot Institute testified in favor of Bill 56, which would remove the requirement that homeowners obtain a permit for certain repairs or renovations costing more than $5,000. In other words, people who just want to replace their outdoor decks or redo their kitchens, like former Mayor Caldwell, wouldn’t be stuck waiting a year for a permit; they could just go ahead and

Koy’s project to be realized.” She says, “then Filipinos in Hawaii, the mainland and the Philippines talked about this culturally historical moment [the first Filipino Hollywood blockbuster] as a part of our community’s journey toward leveraging empowerment. Now all these elements and angles combined is something you would only get in a newspaper like the Filipino Chronicle,” Dumlao said. Fiedes Doctor, Honolulu, Donor and Communications Specialist, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, said “HFC has played a significant role in building the Filipino community here especially in connecting us with our unique culture. The Filipino culture can easily get lost in the sea of other cultures in Hawaii. It’s great that HFC can keep us in touch with our roots and Filipino-ness as well as keep us informed about what is happening in the Philippines, the State and elsewhere.” He said he enjoys the cover stories and the features, including the columns Candid Perspectives and Personal Reflections. “I love that HFC has so much variety of content!” Nieva Elizaga, Honolulu, said she likes HFC’s medical and law articles. To get the Filipino community involved in the newspaper, HFC’s managing editor Montesines-Sonido regu-

larly invites Filipino doctors and lawyers to write these articles. Their patients and clients read the article, might mention it in a conversation in passing. In time over years, Filipinos and non-Filipinos begin expanding their perception of Filipinos to include that there are a lot of Filipino doctors and lawyers out there besides the common perception of the Filipino as hotel worker. And that perception could in part be rooted in Filipino professionals having a forum to share their expertise in a widely read newspaper like the HFC. Elizaga also enjoys reading about Filipino activities and organizations. “HFC’s editorials are my favorite part of the newspaper. They’re always well written and succinct. They’re unbiased and factual,” Elizaga said.

and there have been cycles of such moments over the span of the newspaper’s 30 years – that the Chronicle has its greatest relevancy by telling the stories of Filipinos’ hardship, their determination to uplift themselves, and resolve to meet life’s challenges as best they can, Montesines-Sonido said. She mentions “it is precisely during these moments, like the early years of the pandemic, when the Filipino community looked to places like the Chronicle for clarity and comfort that makes our work very rewarding.” Challenging times spur transformation. “And we want our paper to be a part in bringing about positive changes either through policy when the powers-that-be read enough of the same concerns we report on, or positive changes can come about just by people deciding to do things differently that could have been inspired by a story they read in the Chronicle,” Montesines-Sonido said. After decades in the newspaper business, she said she’s learned how powerful representation and visibility can be. “Favorable outcomes bend and land on the side of communities that have a strong voice and representation. We know this. And it motivates us to continue our work,” she said.

Reporting during the most difficult of times The longtime HFC reader Elizaga thanks the publishers and staff for continuing to publish HFC even in “these difficult economic times.” Montesines-Sonido said it’s precisely during times like now, as Filipinos are struggling with inflation, housing shortages, and post-pandemic blues and fallout that the newspaper is most needed. During times like these –

(continue on page 14)






Are We Celebrating National Day on Writing? By Elpidio R. Estioko


o you know that there is a national day on writing? Well, I have been writing professionally for more than 20 years now, but… honestly, I never knew there is a National Day on Writing until I surfed the net! The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has designated October 20 as the National Day on Writing. It marks the annual celebration of writing established in 2009 by NCTE. Well, it’s now November but it’s never too late to find out what the holiday is all about, right? Its purpose is to bring awareness to the power of writing in our personal, professional and civic lives.

For educators, it’s a day to amplify the exceptional role writing instruction plays in student development at every grade level. For teachers, it marks their day in the classroom writing with their students. For my fellow journalists from Hawaii, it’s a day recalling their first assignment; their first interview; their first published article; and how to improve their daily reports adhering to editorial policies. For authors, it is a day to reflect on how to improve their writing and think of the next book to write. For ordinary citizens, it is a day to flex their skills in sending their emails, FB postings, personal correspondence, and the like to reach out to others. So, summing up, writing bridges the gap in humanity! The day is a good opportunity to discuss with friends,

students, and acquaintances about writing: why do we have to write, how to get the facts, how to write, what to write, and how to organize the story. It becomes a teaching moment for all of us! Per se, writing is different from a three-unit subject in journalism class or English writing class, but the mechanics of writing is the same. All you need to do is write, write again and keep writing. These are the three Ws in writing: write, write, write. In fact, in my English writing and investigative reporting classes, I emphasize the three things to know:

know where the facts are, know how to get them, and go out and get them. It’s simple yet complex because when we implement these three things, it needs research, organization, planning, evaluation, interviews, analysis, and critical thinking. So, what are we going to write? We just don’t quite know where to begin, right? True, nothing’s quite as scary as staring at a blank page, so they say, but anyone can do it. Writers and authors are one in saying, we need to start slow, one sentence at a time, step by step, and taking your time. Without you knowing

it, you have a poem, a journal entry, a story, the first chapter of a book, or even just an FB post. You need to unleash your creativity an innovativeness. Put it in writing! Knowingly or unknowingly, at the end, you have a perfect piece to submit or send. Writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration too! I learned that no matter who you are, writing is part of your life. It’s part of how you work, how you learn, how you remember, and how you communicate. It gives voice to who you are and enables you to give voice to the things that matter to you. Writing is a part of one’s daily life, whether simple or complex. Recent NCTE initiatives include creating the first standards for reading, writing, and literacy assessment; defining 21st century literacy and the skills needed to achieve it; developing influential posi(continue on page 14)



Filipino Candidates Win Big in Hawaii By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


ilipino American candidates winning in Hawaii’s General Election bucked the trend set in this year’s Primary that had Filipinos losing in big office races from Congressional Districts 1 and 2 to Lieutenant Governor. The redemptive wave of Fil-Am victors in the General totaled to 18, which rivals past triumphant elections for this community. The State Senate will have two newly elected senators in Brandon Elefante (formerly a Honolulu City Councilmember) and Henry Aquino (rising from the State House), both Democrats. They will join four veteran FilAm senators who also won their races that includes Donovan dela Cruz, the current chair of the powerful Senate Ways & Means (WAM). Filipinos will continue their historically large presence in the Honolulu City Council with two newly elected members from the General: Tyler Dos Santos Tam, who has never served in public office, and Valerie Aquino Okimoto, a former member of the State House. Dos Santos Tam and Okimoto will join Fil-Ams Radiant Cordero and Augie Tulba whose seats were not up for reelection, to combine for 4 of 9 seats in the Council.

Getting to know two newly elected FilAm candidates Valerie Aquino Okimoto Valerie Aquino Okimoto, a 40-something mother of two young daughters. She is an accountant and worked as a special education teacher. She helps the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her campaign slogan was “Together, we can create a better Honolulu.” A Republican, Valerie won the seat to represent District 8 (Mililani, Pearl City, Waipahu) in the nonpartisan Honolulu City Council. Valerie beat veteran politician Ron Menor, an attorney, former Honolulu Council member, former former State senator and a former State representative. Okimoto ob-

tained 19,917 votes (53.3%) to Menor’s 15,225 votes (40.8%).

Rose Martinez A Democrat, Martinez unsuccessfully ran four times for the State House, District 40, which includes parts of Ewa Beach, before winning in this election. She is a former teacher, a legislative aide, and a health care worker. She is from Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Rose is the wife of popular radio host and announcer Florante Martinez of KNDI radio station (only Filipino-owned radio station in Hawaii).

Complete list of winners

State Senate (7 out of 25) Lorraine Rodero Inouye (D) – Dist. 1 Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D) – Dist. 5 Joy San Buenaventura (D) – Dist. 2 Donna Mercado Kim (D) – Dist. 14 Brandon Elefante (D) – Dist. 16 Donovan de la Cruz (D) – Dist. 17 Henry Aquino (D) – Dist. 19 State House of Representatives (7 out of 51) Greggor Ilagan (D) – Dist. 4 Della Au Belatti (D) – Dist. 26

Sonny Ganaden (D) – Dist. 30 Micah Aiu (D) – Dist. 32 Rachele Lamosao (D) – Dist. 36 Rose Martinez (D) – Dist. 40 Diamond Garcia (R) – Dist. 42 Honolulu City Council (2 out of 3) Tyler Dos Santos Tam – Dist. 6 Valerie Aquino Okimoto – Dist. 8 Maui County Council – Molokai Keani Rawlins-Fernandez Kauai County Council Addison Bulosan Shirley Simbre-Medeiros

Green wins as Hawaii Governor Elected Governor of Hawaii was Josh Green, a prominent physician and current Lt. Governor. He is a Democrat. Green’s father had a construction business in the Philippines during the Marcos I years and he had lived there with his father. Dr. Green said that he is “inspired by the hopes, challenges, and values of the families he cares for.” Governor-elect Green is married to Jaime Kanani Ushiroda, a lawyer. They have a daughter Maia, 14 and a son Sam, 10. (Atty. Tipon may be reached at filamlaw@yahoo.com)



Fil-Ams Raise Money to Publish Ilokano-English Children’s Book


oung Filipino Americans from Hawaii and New York are raising funds to publish a children’s book written in Ilokano and English. The book titled “Nasirig’s Great Adventure” follows a young girl and her two best friends on her journey to find her missing tablet. As a way to connect with Filipino and Ilokano cul-

ture, the creators hope that the community will enjoy the book’s story and visual glossary of Ilokano-English vocabulary words. Moreover, the book will have 40+ pages and will be printed in hardcover and in full color. The book’s fundraising campaign is currently up on Kickstarter.com. The book is scheduled to go into production in December and will be

shipped to customers from January to February. The book’s production team consists of three Filipino Americans. Author Chachie Abara is a 1.5-generation Filipino-Ilokano immigrant and mental health advocate in Hawaii. Fellow Filipino-Ilokano immigrant in Hawaii Mario Doropan is the book’s Ilokano translator. New York-based designer

and illustrator Cassandra Balbas is bringing Nasirig’s adventure to life in the children’s book. For those who would like to donate to the proj-

ect, head to kickstarter.com/ projects/ilokochildrensbook/ nasirigs-great-adventure. For more updates, follow the project on Instagram @nasirigsgreatadventure.

generally progressive Bonta? At least for now. So on the national scene, we may have averted disaster with a rousing win for democracy. But these local races help define November 8 too. Michelle Steel is a shameful disappointment. Was Trumpism rebuked on election day? Steel’s Asian Trumpism where the ends justify the means is disgusting as well as dishonest. It she still won. She shouldn’t have.

There were also negative things that were observed by AALDEF poll watchers, significant things like missing interpreters, or poll workers asking for identification. But we can take hope from the emergence of young pols like Mejia on the mainland, and an understanding of what Asian Americans are thinking as they exit the polls. Asian Americans are engaged and involved. Perhaps Hawaii has known this bet-

ter than all of the rest of us for some time. But in 2022, it’s something the rest of the country needed to hear when the perception of a threatened democracy is very real.

Well, there are many ways to start a story. Some ideas include starting with action or dialogue; asking a question; describing the setting; or introducing yourself to readers in a surprising way. It may involve getting the information through dialogues or interviews. One needs to read between the lines to understand what to right! Look for the hidden points in reading a story or an article. I remember, in one of my investigative reporting classes, I told my students to read between the lines to get what the author is trying to tell the readers. Immediately, one of my students stood up and said: “But sir, there are no

words between the lines!” In writing, you need to be investigative, inquisitive, analytic, equipped with a multitude of vocabularies, and must be a wide reader too! This way, you can communicate what you really need to say in writing. Another thing is to play some language games which will hasten our skills, both in reading and in writing. If not for our writing prowess, we couldn’t participate in spelling bees, scrabble, Scattergories, Taboo, Mad Libs, Hangman, and many others. Celebrate your word power with a round of your favorite word game. Then, write something outside your

comfort zone. Venture into an unfamiliar territory, writing-wise, and let those creative juices flow. You may surprise yourself; you were able to write a prose, a story, and even a book. On National Day on Writing, we need to be aware that writing is our way of life, from simple to complex life, personal to professional activities, and even in our commercial activities. We need to write and keep on writing… its our way of life!

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Michelle Steel’s Shame ....from page 6)

checks. Mejia beat a veteran termed out Los Angeles City Council member. And he won convincingly by a landslide. With a number of progressives winning for city council, there appears to be a sea change going on in the most populous Asian American city in the most Asian American state. A coalition driven by labor is gaining traction in LA. Mejia is a bit of an odd duck wild card. He’s outspoken and has had to delete

some tweets in the past. But he’s also an accountant. A fiscal progressive? In this long game of politics, I’d say he’s both evolving and emerging as a new generation politician to watch out for—in a good way. Interesting to note, Mejia did not appear to have the endorsement of Filipino American pol of the hour, Rob Bonta, the California attorney general. I suspect Mejia was considered too extreme for the

(AS I SEE IT: Are We Celebrating ....from page 12)

tion statements on intellectual and academic freedom; and championing diversity in literature and the development of culturally relevant teaching practices. In the process, we always aim for good writing. Good writing comes in all shapes

and sizes. But how do I begin to write? Writing proponents would say start small, make it a habit, write every day, don’t stop, don’t edit yourself, and just keep writing. The idea is – don’t procrastinate! Do it now! How do I start a story?

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer’s North American Bureau. He talks about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.

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.

(OPEN FORUM: Permitting Delays ....from page 8)

make those changes. County officials on Hawaii island also are looking at ways to address permitting delays. In testimony before the Hawaii County Cost of Government Commission, the Grassroot Institute suggested following the lead of John’s Creek by hiring a private com-

pany to clear the backlog and deal with complex permit approvals. Not only would it be more efficient, it would conserve county resources and take pressure off the permitting departments. The current situation is disrespectful of everyone’s time, money and property

rights. Simplifying the permitting process would help clear the path for more housing and make it easier for people who already own homes to make simple repairs or upgrades. KELI‘I AKINA is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.




THE FILIPINO MIGRATION EXPERIENCE —Global Agents of Change By Rose Cruz Churma


his book maintains that after half a century of seeking new jobs and lives outside of their homeland, Filipino migrants are agents of change. They have challenged fundamental social institutions. They have altered the business and economic landscapes of their host countries, as well as their own cultural perceptions of what it is to be Filipino. The author describes this history of transformations from the perspective of the migrants themselves. In telling the stories of selected migrants, what emerges is not the narrative of the disenfranchised workers or marginalized groups, or the bagong bayani—the

martyr who sacrificed and forfeited life among kababayans and family to work in a strange land. Instead, the migrants are shown as having enormous impact on businesses they choose to patronize as consumers. They are shown as activists that can influence the conditions of their minority ethnic group. They are described as philanthropists that have improved the lives of the poor in their homeland. They are historians who ensure that their contributions are documented and acknowledged by their adopted countries as well as the homeland. It is a fact that Filipino immigrants have influenced the course of Philippine economy due to the massive remittances they send back home, and the public

discourse had been from the point of view of the Philippines or the host countries, but never from the perspective of the “successful” immigrant. As the author notes in the introduction—this book “offers new categories to understand the migrant experience beyond that of disenfranchised laborer.” The author notes that her primary source are “migrant

archives,” which are data collected, published, and disseminated by migrants themselves. These archives document their voices, achievements and aspirations, as well as critiques of the homeland and its social institutions. This book uses case studies from the migrant archives to show how migrants enacted change both in their host countries and the homeland. One of the case studies used in this book was Operation Manong (OM)—a program that was established 50 years ago in Hawai’i. OM was developed to address the educational and cultural problems of immigrant children by a group of college students and Filipino faculty at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM) as well as groups from the Filipino community in Hawai’i. Its goal is to help the

recently arrived immigrant children by establishing an outreach program where volunteers from the UHM (consisting mostly of Fil-Am undergraduate students called manong) were trained, and then paired with immigrant children (called ading). The manongs tutored the children in academic subjects but were also encouraged to organize extracurricular and social activities. The undergraduate’s volunteer work was counted as academic credit which required collaboration, support, and approval from the faculty at UHM. In 2000 the program was moved out of the UHM’s education department and incorporated into the university’s bureaucracy and changed its name to Office of Multicultural Services (OMS), erasing its Operation Manong branding and becoming a permanent sec(continue on page 17)



Battle For South Korea’s Youth: The Itaewon Tragedy

situation had not sunk in yet. When we went home that night, with my children tucked in bed, my husband sat down and watched news after news about the Itaewon tragedy. As I watched, my body began to stiffen. My heart was so heavy, it was sinking. Tears wanted to flow but for some reason, they couldn’t. When we finally turned off the television and decided to pray together, there was complete silence. After a while, my tears began to burst and I cried profusely, like a mother grieving for her child even if I wasn’t in Itaewon that night and I didn’t lose a loved one. I felt sorry for the parents who woke up the next day with the news that their children would never come home. Oh, how my heart broke for those young people, whose lives were cut short and their future and potential will never be realized. The heaviness

was released as we declared God’s sovereignty over the situation and this nation. I remember going through the same grief eight years ago. I just arrived in South Korea to be united with my new husband then. One month later, a big ferry called Sewol, carrying hundreds of high school students on their way to Jeju Island for an excursion, sank. It took the lives of more than 300 people, mostly high school students. I was crying for several days, grieving for the youth of South Korea. Yes, my heart goes out to the young people of South Korea. It’s the very reason I came to this nation, aside from building a family. I was a campus missionary, reaching out to students and sharing with them the good news of the Gospel. My husband and I pray for them every day. It’s heartbreaking to see young lives wasting away and destinies shattering senselessly. According to Arirang news, a local news channel, South Korea is ageing fastest among the OECD countries. It is expected to be a ‘super aged society’ by 2025. Twenty percent of the population are aged 65 and above. It is the inevitable effect of low birth rates and longer life expectancy.

Married couples in this nation prefer raising small families, with many only having one or at most two children. The government gives incentives to those who have more than three children but it doesn’t seem to work. Given this data, the meaningless loss of South Korea’s young people proves to be more tragic than it already is. Dr. Jose Rizal once said, “the youth is the hope of the nation.” The future of South Korea lies in the hands of the younger generation. South Korea has to do its best to protect its youth. If they are taken for granted, this nation will lie in ruins. May the Itaewon tragedy be an eye-opener to all of us and may it trigger in us a sense of urgency to fight for the next generation- in prayer and discipleship. The battle for their destiny is intense and hard but it is worth fighting for. October 29, 2022. There are moments I wish we could turn back time to this wonderful morning when everything was still okay, people were still alive, and life was normal in South Korea. But we couldn’t. Life will move on for many of us. But to those who lost their loved ones, their lives are changed forever. And for them, autumn will never be the same.

The book gives a positive voice to the Filipino immigrant narrative—a different take from the portrayal of the Filipino immigrant as a martyr, vulnerable to exploitation and subject to bouts of loneliness from living away from family and other loved ones. Since this book was originally written as an academic paper, the writing style is dense and difficult to navigate—thus intimidating to choose as a bedtime read and not easily accessible to the non-academician, which is unfortunate. The author uses the term “Filipina/o/x Americans”—

apparently the preferred terminology of scholars, with the “x” added recently to be gender-inclusive. This nod to political correctness can be very irritating since she opted to use the label “Filipino American” without the a/o/x, preferred by the organizations she was writing about. It can be confusing to see the “a/o/x” in some portions of the text, then disappears in other paragraphs. The author, Mina Roces, was born in Manila and migrated to Sydney as a teenager in the late 1970s—a 1.5-generation immigrant. She finished her undergrad-

uate degree at the University of Sydney and her postgraduate degrees from the University of Michigan. She is currently a professor of history at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her other books are on 20th-century Filipino women’s history.

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


ctober 29, 2022. It was a beautiful Saturday. My family went out for a walk that morning from our house to the university where my husband works. The weather was perfect, the autumn colors were nostalgic and picturesque. Little did we know it will be a historic day to remember. In the evening, I invited two friends to go and ride with us to church the next day. They declined because they said they were already in Seoul and will sleep with another friend of ours. They were in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in the capital, where many expats stay and is very famous for its Halloween festivities. One of my friends sent a picture of him wearing a dragon costume, surrounded by a group of young men dressed as Super Mario. After a while, my husband and I began to see live videos on Facebook of chaos happening in Itaewon - lots of people being carried frantically by firefighters, dozens of young people in costume receiving CPR on the roadside, bodies of several

lifeless people covered with blankets. They said that around 50 people died due to a ‘stampede.’ It was a traumatic sight to see and a horrific way to end the day. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I was so shocked that I didn’t know how to react. We slept that night with heavy hearts. The next day, on our way to church, news confirmed that almost 150 people, mostly in their 20s, were crushed to death, hundreds more were injured and many more were missing. When we arrived in Seoul, I was glad to see my friends who went to Itaewon attend church. They were obviously shaken but they looked fine. Apparently, they were on their way home when the incident happened. They only found out about it when they got home and saw the news online. Everyone in church that day was down and heartbroken. During the service, we all spent a few minutes of silence and prayed for the victims and their families who are grieving. We were busy that day in church that the gravity of the

(BOOK REVIEW: The Filipino ....from page 20)

tion of the UHM’s student services (with assured funding), and expanding its role in providing similar services to all of Hawai’i’s marginalized students regardless of ethnicity or racial background. The author notes that the timing of OM’s founding in the wake of the civil rights movement, the rise of ethnic studies program and others (such as the protests against Martial Law in the Philippines), provided a pool of civic-minded volunteers. The movement also produced second- and third-generation Filipinos who dis-

covered their “Filipinoness” and became one of the main cohorts of volunteers. In fact, the book asserts that the primary “winners” of the OM program were the tutors or the manongs and manangs themselves. Many of them eventually became successful and influential individuals in Hawai’i. When OM/OMS celebrates its 50th anniversary on November 19, Saturday at the FilCom Center—this five-decade history coincides with the Filipino community’s own storyline of moving on up in the social hierarchy of Hawai’i.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an on-line 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.



Statista/AARP Study Estimates Over 5,000 Homeless in Hawai`i zoning reforms, and funding and homelessness into 2027. More than 2,350 are Kupuna affordable housing,” said Sa- The estimates show a sharp


new AARP analysis of homelessness and eviction data estimates that there are 2,352 homeless kupuna 45 and older in 2022 and that this year will see 1,820 Hawai`i residents 45 and older evicted from their homes. The total number of homeless adults statewide is 5,116 and evictions for 2022 are estimated at 3,906 The Statista/AARP anal-

ysis of data available by the United States Census Bureau also estimates homelessness and evictions by county and race. The number of homeless adults and evictions for each county fall in order of each island’s population. In 2022, Honolulu, the county with the most people, is expected to see 2,970 evictions of adults 18 and older, followed by Hawai`i island with 429, Maui with

355 and Kaua`i with 145. In 2022, Oahu also has the most estimated homeless adults with 3,932. Hawai`i County has 536, Maui’s estimate is 463 and Kaua`i has an estimated 175 homeless adults. “The data above provides evidence that we need to address the housing problem through various legislative remedies, including increasing housing supply and options,

(EDITORIAL: Why Red Wave ....from page 3)

all his flaws and facts-bending -- to hold on to power leading up to 2020. But if political fealty means losing the House and Senate in 2018, losing the presidency in 2020, and now losing in the midterm (again). And worse yet, the high probability of losing in the 2024 presidential race, perhaps the Trump train is running on its last tracks. How much losing can a party tolerate? In the aftermath of the midterm flop, Republicans are in the thick of a miniTrump revolt. Conservative media such as Fox News,

the New York Post and Wall Street Journal are turning their backs on Trump. Talks of a new leader for the Republican party -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – are gaining prominence. It’s not just conservative media wishing upon a star. A new Texas poll shows 43% of likely Texas Republican primary voters say DeSantis would be their first choice for president, while fewer than one-third of likely voters said they would select Trump as their first choice.

More reflection and

cooperation With Republicans now in control of the U.S. House, it would be refreshing finally to see true bipartisanship. Not just on one or two major policies, but a streak of successes for both parties to take credit and for Americans to benefit. The last thing our country needs is for a House leadership (under Trump’s behest) to launch investigations into Hunter Biden or Dr. Anthony Fauci as what’s being reported. If Republicans decide to choose this course of action, then they can expect more of the same: losing elections.

mar Jha, AARP Government Affairs Director. The analysis covers a nine-year period beginning in 2019 and projects evictions

rise in evictions and homelessness toward the end of the pandemic, peaking this year and gradually decreasing through 2026.


Puso ti daniw; mata ti ayat ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro

Tugkelam ti puso ti daniw

ti kayaw-rikna ti pulso-lengguahe ti imahinasion-lirika uray ti simbolismo ken pangngarig ti aglemlemmeng a daeg ken pintas daytoy ti daniw: ayat ! saan a matay ti kinahenio ti agallawat a panawen ti umang-anges a barukong daniw daytoy: pluma ! ti baro a bucaneg kampanario ti biag ti kontemporario a pitik kas iti essem a mabukra ti bumangon a parbangon: namnama. riknaem daytoy: anem-em ti baro a sikog kitaem daytoy mata ti daniw: panagpayakpak ti kalapati ne, agpayakpak met dagiti kannaway iti agkatangkatang a tuwato uray dagiti sallapingaw daytoy ti puso ti daniw: ayat !


CALENDAR OF EVENTS TASTE OF OAHU | Millwood Ohana Productions | First Friday of the month until December 2022, 4-10pm | Aloha Stadium | Enjoy a night with Hawaii’s best entertainments, family fun activities and over 50 food, craft and retails vendors. Tickets starts at $15 for ages 12 and older. For more information, contact (808) 533-9016. HAWAII TRIENNIAL 2022 | Hawaii State Art Museum | Until December 3, 2022 | 250 South Hotel St Second Floor, Honolulu | Even though the HT22 even officially closed on May 8, Hawaii State Art Museum will be keeping their HT22 exhibit on display until December 2022. View the unique exhibits showcasing the fluid concept of Pacific

Century interweaving themes of history, place and identity. Entrance is free. LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday until December 2022 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. CULTURAL WORKSHOPS | Ilokano Language and Literature Program & Timpuyog Organization | November 30 and December 6 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

| Connect with Filipino culture in this monthly cultural workshops from the UHM. Students are encouraged to register using their hawaii.edu email. Register at https://forms.gle/o14dP8MaeG7urDqJA. Here are the various workshop details: Tinikling, October 26, 2-5:30pm at Moore 117; Kadaanan Nga Agas (Ancestral Medicine), November 30, 1:30-2:45pm at Webster 116; and Eskrima, December 6, 3-5:30pm at Moore 253. HOLIDAY TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS FROM THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION | AARP Hawaii and Alzheimer’s Association Hawaii Chapter | December 6, 10-11am | Webinar | Get tips for caring for your older family members over the holidays. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/ DEC6ALZAARP. Fo inquiries, call 808-591-2771.


Eventful Fil-Am Events in Hilo, HI By Grace Larson


he past few weeks has been eventful here in Hilo, Hawaii. From movie screenings to meetings, the Filipino community has been active participants in the Big Island. Here are the past events we’ve attended in the previous months.

Filipinos in Hilo celebrated the Filipino American History Month at University of Hawaii at Hilo last October 29, 2022.

Gianna, David and Grace Larson with Augie T at the Palace Theatre during PINAY POWER: Filipinas in Hilo supporting the “Maid In the island comedy show in Hilo, Malacanang” movie screening at Prince Kuhio Mall. The movie depicts the last 72 hours of the Marcoses in Hawaii. Malacanang Palace, Philippines in 1986. A successful inauguration ceremony of the Hawaii Filipino Lions Club at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo, Hawaii last October 1, 2022.

A fun 5K marathon/walkathon event with Finfit Life on October 15, 2022.

The Business Network International meeting hosted by Carlene Wolf at the Hilo Yacht Club in September 2022.



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NOVEMBER 19, 2022