Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - November 20, 2021

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NOVEMBER 20, 2021


Why Every Day is Veterans Day If You’re Filipino Americans


101 Filipino Icons


Filipino-Ran Farm Honored By Manoa Heritage Center



Democrats: Pass Medicare Price Negotiation or Suffer A Big Political Price – This Is What’s at Stake


s of press time, the US House is still fleshing out details to the Build Back Better (BBB) plan. Even though Democrats have majorities in both chambers of Congress and the presidency, a sticking point is cost, at least this is the excuse given by two holdout senators (Sen Joe Manchin-W Virginia and Sen Kyrsten Sinema-Arizona) and two or three congressmembers. The likelihood is BBB will eventually be passed but not with the original content a vast majority of Democrats had wanted. Special emphasis should be placed on the word “majority” here because contrary to big media’s portrayal of a schism within the Democratic party on BBB, four or five holdouts in the entire Congress do not represent some large countering group with a countering agenda at all. Remember there are 211 Democrats in the US House; 48 Democrats in the US Senate, plus Vice President, and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Within days (potentially before this issue is released) the US House could pass BBB. It will go to the Senate for debate, revisions could be made, or in theory, it could just sit there until the end of this congressional session that concludes at the end of 2022. However, whatever comes out of the House in the next days or week – each proposal that’s left in or taken out of BBB, could still be handled in a number of different ways until the end of 2022. If the Senate decides to let the House’s BBB proposal to sit and they do nothing, it’s technically possible for the House to send another version. The House could also decide to send only parts of BBB (not as costly). The House could even send a single, stand-alone bill on a specific agenda. These, and other options are available, but usually major bills (especially of the magnitude of BBB) do not get passed on an election year. So this explains the rush to get something major done before the end of 2021, before the midterm election year 2022. Medicare Price Negotiation Going over deadlines and options is to stress the importance that the issue of Medicare Price Negotiation, whether this feature remains or is omitted from BBB, should be looked at as a goal that must be done eventually. Medicare Price Negotiation would greatly reduce the cost of many prescription drugs, depending on the provisions of the bill. It has been a central advocacy point for AARP and other consumer groups. Having Medicare negotiate prices would accomplish two major goals: a) lower the price of prescription drugs; and b) save Medicare an estimated $700 billion over 10 years. And savings would be used to expand Medicare to include coverage for dental, eyes and hearing, as well as reducing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 years old. This is the original plan, but could change. A proposal that is extremely popular and could be leveraged politically A vast majority of Americans support Medicare Price Negotiation. Medicare Price Negotiation is so popular that a smart strategy (if it fails via BBB) is to remove it from BBB and the other healthcare provisions then introduce them as a stand-alone bill. This gives Medicare matters a better chance at passing with Republicans no longer able to cite exorbitant cost as an excuse. A stand-alone bill would also put pressure on Republicans to take a position on this specific issue (popular among even Republicans) and not use other unpopular features in BBB as an excuse to reject it. This is perhaps the smartest way politically to move forward. (continue on page 3)



or decades senior and consumer groups have been advocating for legislation to address the high cost of prescription drugs. We hear of people in our community who have chronic illness and complain about not being able to afford certain medication. Some of us know from personal experience when our family or friends suddenly were stricken with disease, how much they had to pay in out-of-pocket costs for life-sustaining medicine. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo reports on the prescription drug reforms in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) currently being deliberated in Congress. One of the main features is to enable Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and to set a ceiling for what Medicare would pay for certain medication. Another proposal is to place inflation caps on prescription drug prices. For decades, drug inflation has been outpacing general inflation. The current inflation of drug prices to general inflation is 2.9% to 1.3%. Another major proposal is to address the infamous “doughnut hole” problem in calculating Medicare beneficiaries’ share of prescription drugs. The plan is to simplify Medicare Part D and place a cap on annual out-of-pocket costs to $2,000. These initiatives combined will save the government money and lower consumers costs not just for prescription drugs but on their premiums for Part D plan by 10-15%. Lowered drug costs is expected also on drug premiums for those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Get more details, feedback from members in our community, and the politics behind prescription drug reform in our cover story. On the same topic of Medicare, for our Healthline section we have an article “How to Make the Most of your Medicare Plan” from Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President at Humana. Remember December 7, 2021 is the deadline to make changes to your Medicare plan or for open enrollment. In news, Manoa Heritage Center honored Elpidio and Nobuku Acopan of Acopan Farm, a Filipino-operated farm in Manoa valley. In 1930, Elpidio became the first and only independent Filipino farmer in Manoa. He’s been farming now for 63 years. Also in this issue, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko contributes “The January 6 Committee: Executive Privilege, Contempt, Unwilling Witnesses.” In the latest on the Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, federal judge Tanya Chutkan gave a forceful rejection of President Donald Trump’s attempt to block his White House documents from going to the House committee. She said, “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” If you want to learn more about all things Filipino: the Filipino persona, or a part of Filipino history, or an aspect of Filipino culture, HFC contributor Rose Cruz Churma presents in her Book Review “101 Filipino Icons.” Besides an interesting listing, the book gives learning activity guides for teachers. Be sure to read our other informative columns and news. Lastly, on behalf of our staff at the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.This month we are fortunate to celebrate our 28th year anniversary. With sincerity, we appreciate all your support and advertising. We look forward to working with many of you in our community. Until the next issue, warmest Aloha, Mabuhay and Happy Thanksgiving!

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 Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


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

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 Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias



We’re Thankful for Progress in Containing Covid; And for Reaching Our 28th Anniversary


hanksgiving is in a few days and this year we’re grateful the pandemic is far more contained and less deadly than it was last year. We are thankful the upheaval caused by the pandemic is finally settling to where our communities are moving closer to normalcy month-tomonth, week-to-week. We just need to keep encouraging our non-vaccinated population to get vaccinated. With winter approaching and the possibility of another COVID-19 surge, we already know the drill -- to practice common sense safety precautions as recommended by health experts. There are many people and organizations to thank for getting us from the crisis and uncertainty of last year’s Thanksgiving – remember many families even cancelled their annual get-togethers – to the dawn of this one. The list is far longer than the obvious ones here. Thank you

to the scientists and drug companies for creating the vaccine, the U.S. government for leading distribution efforts and providing the vaccines for free. Thank you to our doctors, clinic staff, retail pharmacists and clerks for helping to administer the vaccines. And of course, we have each other to thank, the millions among us who trusted the science, felt obligated to do the right thing for our community’s safety by getting vaccinated. As of Nov. 11, 2021, the State of Hawaii Department of Health data shows 72.1% (1,025,055 completed doses) of the state’s population is fully vaccinated (75% for Honolulu). Recently, cleared for vaccination are all persons age 5 and older. Nationally, as of Nov. 10, 58.5% (194,382,921) of Americans had been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC’s data. Let’s keep the momentum going, keep optimism high. HFC Anniversary, Giving Thanks With our anniversary so close to Thanksgiving, it’s al-

ways a perfect time for us to express our gratitude to all our advertisers, readers, Hawaii’s Filipino community, our contributing writers for all your support. We would also like to recognize our many working partners who’ve helped to keep our community informed with a steady stream of press releases and being available for follow-up interviews – our federal, state and city government officials and departments, the University of Hawaii and other institutions of higher learning, our medical community, professional, business, civic groups and non-profits, and Filipino and Asian associations on the mainland and Philippines. This November our newspaper is celebrating our 28th Anniversary and we’re pleased to hear from members in our community who say we’ve been a reliable source of information for them particularly this year and last year. News in the public sphere for 2021 (as in 2020) orbited around allthings related to the pandemic. We’ve reported

(Democrats....from page 2)

Why so much attention on the politics behind lowering drug prices? So if lowering the cost of prescription drugs is so popular, why is the result the same each congressional session? Momentum hits a brick wall and little to no action is taken on this issue. The reason is a simple one: it’s all about politics and always had been. And this is where the attention should be focused. We could cite drug after drug, their rising cost moving faster than inflation. But everyone already knows how expensive medication can cost for the chronically ill. We could share real life stories of how chronically ill people and the elderly struggle to pay for medications they need. But such stories, even personal ones involving family and close friends, haven’t compelled politicians to act. Inaction on this issue boils down to bad politics. Big Pharma is spending obscene amount of money lobbying to protect their interests, their profits. Big Pharma is the biggest lobby in DC and is constantly pouring money like water into the campaign treasuries of politicians. And their investments are working. As dire the situation is for people to be able to afford medicine they need or must forgo basics like food, rent or utilities, this is just overlooked. Big Pharma still manages to fend off most proposals

to reform the industry. A rare opportunity Voters must consider what a rare moment this is. Lowering the cost of prescription drugs has been a popular idea even before the Obama administration. It had been used by Democrats as a selling point in the last midterm (2018) to win back Congress. Not getting Medicare Price Negotiation passed considering Democrats have the majority going into the midterm could leave enough voters cynical and hurt the Democratic party. Certainly there are other accomplishments they can cite, but complete failure on improving access and cost of healthcare (remember that money in savings were to be used to expand Medicare enrollment and coverage) could be enough a disincentive t o keep an average voter (not someone looking at big picture political consequences) on the couch on election day. This is the new tough approach advocates for lowering prescription drugs should consider – stress that if nothing gets done, why should we vote for you. Don’t’ bother appealing to what’s fair or unfair, morally just, or that pricing doesn’t make sense. These all have fallen to deaf ears. Perhaps making a stronger demand of politicians: “lower prescription drugs and cost of healthcare or pay a political price” just might finally work.

on unprecedented challenges to our health and financial well-being, valuable resources to tap made available through government’s pandemic relief, steps our private and public sectors are making during this recovery and revitalization period. And as usual, as an ethnic newspaper, we’ve been focused on what people in our community are doing, thinking, and feeling on the broad issues, and others more specific to Filipinos locally and globally. We’ve provided news on community events, presented features on Filipino movers-and-shakers, and promoted our ancestral culture and history. As the digital platform is increasingly becoming the standard means for accessing news, one highlight this year was to revamp and improve our website and social media accounts. We’ve been encouraging our readers to visit our website and pleased to report traffic flow is steadily on the rise. Unique for a newspaper of our size, we’ve also continued to provide tough but fair edito-

rials to make sense of the issues we report on from addressing ways to deal with Hawaii’s physician shortage to demanding Congress pass the For the People Act, a first uniformed prescription on voting. Through the decades, our editorials have become a de facto voice of our local community particularly when it comes to politics and policy. Our editorials aim 1) to advocate on behalf of our Filipino community, and 2) to give due recognition to deserving Filipino individuals and organizations who often would get overlooked by mainstream media. Like in other years, 2021 has been financially challenging for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Our publishers – Dr. Charlie Sonido and Chona Montesines-Sonido (also our managing editor) say the Chronicle is a “labor of love for our Filipino community.” Year after year our publishers’ commitment to shore up the finances to continue our operation is a shining example of noblesse oblige and truly admirable. Montesines-Sonido admits the Chronicle should have been (continue on page 6)



Majority of Americans Approve of Drug Price Negotiation, Support Lowering Cost of Prescription Drugs by Edwin Quinabo


t has been decades in the making – consumer advocates and senior groups like AARP lobbying Congress and former presidents for Medicare to be able to negotiate drug prices and lower drug costs. This year with a rare Democrat government trifecta – not seen since 200910 -- politicos are saying it is the best chance to finally get the ball moving on prescription drug reform. But even in this most Medicare-friendly political alignment, there have been stumbling blocks. Medicare price negotiation was included in President Joe Biden’s original Build Back Better Act (BBBA), then suddenly it was taken out due to an impasse between House Democrat leadership and less than a handful of holdouts. Then once again, a breakthrough in negotiations put prescription drug reform in the BBBA mix. Overwhelming Support for Medicare Price Negotiation A poll from the independent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released late last month finds large majorities support allowing the federal govern-

House leadership said they are at the homestretch, plan to finish a bill and send it to the Senate this week. At the Senate at least one roadblock had been cleared two weeks ago. Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (the lone Democrat holdouts in the Senate on this issue) agreed to support the Medicare negotiation proposal after being opposed to it since BBBA was introduced. Still, the pair maintain they have strong reservations on other items and will have to review the details in the anticipated House version. BBBA covers a wide range of social safety net, health policy reforms, and climate change initiatives. Some analysts say the bill could be too broad and diverse – a political a gamble that could end in an embarrassing flop if major concessions are not made in the last rounds of talks. In the Senate, Medicare prescription reform and BBBA most likely would

ment to negotiate drug prices (83% total, 95% of Democrats, 82% of independents, and 71% of Republicans). This very high bipartisan approval rating on a proposed or existing policy is a rare occurrence, political analysts say. Keali`i Lopez, state director AARP Hawai`i, told the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, “AARP believes Medicare should be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices. Drug prices should not rise faster than inflation. Medicare Part D prescription drug plans should include a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs.” These are all included in the BBBA health policy segment. He adds that “prescription drug price transparency should be increased, and lower-priced generic drugs should get to market more quickly.” Senator Mazie Hirono co-introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar a bill in 2017 to allow Medicare to negotiate price. At the time of introducing her legislation, she said

“Our kupuna deserve to have access to affordable prescription medication. “This commonsense legislation allows Medicare to negotiate directly with manufacturers to bring down costs for Hawaii seniors and their families,” she said. Features of Medicare-related bills in BBBG (as of press time, subject to change in final bill) The Medicare drug pricing proposal within BBBA includes a plan for Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies that would set a ceiling for what Medicare would pay for certain medications: no higher than 120 percent of what several other wealthy countries pay. Pharmaceutical companies that do not participate in the negotiations would be subject to a severe excise tax. The Department of Health and Human Services would be responsible for identifying the 100 high-cost drugs and choosing the 10 for price negotiations.

be taken up after Thanksgiving break. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer already indicated government funding and the debt ceiling -- both set to expire in early December – will be priority this week. Politicos anticipate should the House and Senate broker a deal, a final BBBA could be sent to the President for signing before the year ends.

That effort wouldn’t start until 2023, but the new prices would go into effect in 2025. Another 10 drugs could be added by 2028. An example, insulin (drug for people with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2 diabetes) is very costly even though it has been around for decades. Starting in 2023, the maximum out-of-pocket cost for a 30-day supply of insulin would be $35. The benefit would not be limited to Medicare beneficiaries. That cap is the same as one that was set in a five-year model program in Medicare. In it, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated that the average patient would save about $466 a year. *The measure also allows for prices to be negotiated to a lower level for older drugs chosen for the program. Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins’ medical school said, “In every other country, the price goes down over time, while in the United

States, it is common for prices to increase.” He said this legislation is in the right direction on this provision. Drugs from smaller companies with sales under $200 million are excluded. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who led the talks for the senators, said, “There’s going to be negotiation on the most expensive drugs: cancer drugs, arthritis drugs or the anticoagulants. And that’s a precedent, and once you set a precedent that you can actually negotiate, you are really turning an important corner.” Other Medicare Health Policy proposals in BBBA (as of press time): • Lowering Prescription Drugs. Place inflation caps on prescription drug prices for all insurance. Under the bill, manufacturers would have to report their prices to the HHS secretary, and if the prices increase fast(continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (Chronicle’s....from page 4)

er than inflation, the drugmakers would have to pay a rebate to the government. Manufacturers that don’t pay the rebate would face a civil penalty of 125% of the value of the rebate. The provisions would apply to drugs purchased through Medicare and non-Medicare plans. For decades, inflation of drug prices have exceeded general inflation. So the provision is designed to slow down drug cost inflation. • Medicare Part D Redesign. Limit Medicare beneficiaries’ annual out-of-pocket drug costs to $2,000. This would address the “doughnut hole” problem consumer groups have been talking about concerning the way prescription drug plans are calculated. And under the current system, a criticism is that there is no limit (cap) on how much a Medicare beneficiary spends. For patients with serious diseases like cancer, this would be a tremendous help. Many beneficiaries with long-term diseases will spend thousands of dollars each year in out-ofpocket spending. Community’s support for Medicare Drug Pricing Negotiation provision in BBBA Oscar Ramelb, 56, Pearl City, has health insurance from his federal employer. He says because of his good health, he doesn’t spend much at all on prescription medicine. “But I remember my mom would spend over $500 a month out-of-pocket on prescription drugs when she got older. She would take medicine for her diabetes and hyperthyroid condition. Later she also got liver problems, and eventually cancer, the disease she died from. “I’m in full support of the Medicare changes. If they will put a cap on out-of-pocket spending, it would be a blessing. I’m sure my mom would have benefitted from a cap in her old age. It’s not good that seniors who have bad health must pay so much. They work hard all their lives. Many of them who have fixed income, they cannot afford their drugs,” said Ramelb. “What are they supposed to do, just die even though there are drugs available that can help them? That’s not right.”

Rhea Alarin, Honolulu, executive director for a multi-clinic corporation in Hawaii, also supports Medicare drug pricing negotiations. “Brand name medications are too expensive, especially injectable meds like insulin.” She pays $20-30 a month on prescription drugs. “I am blessed to have good insurance and a good paying job to help me with my fixed expenses.” Alarin realizes that for others who have tighter fixed budgets and must take prescription meds, budgeting is necessary. “They have to choose medications vs putting food on the table.” Dr. Jon Avery Go, internist, Waipahu clinic, echoes Alarin’s response (as most in the medical community) that brand name prescription drugs are too expensive. He said generic drugs are reasonably priced. High cost of prescription drugs. According to AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report, retail prices for 260 brand name prescription drugs increased more than twice as fast as general inflation, “rising 2.9% compared to an inflation rate of 1.3%.” In 2015, the average annual cost of one brand name medication that was used regularly is $5,500. But last year, the average annual cost went over to $6,600. Americans pay more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medicines. Prices for prescription drugs keep rising. For example, the price of a cancer drug, Revlimid, increased by 44 percent from 2015 to 2020. AARP Hawaii’s website gives examples of typical drug price increases for some health conditions: • 91,549 Hawaii residents diagnosed with cancer. Revlimid treats forms of cancer, up from $185,574/ yr to $267,583/yr • 89,499 Hawaii residents have diabetes. Victoza treats diabetes, up from $7,936/yr to $11,300/ yr • 80,642 Hawaii residents have asthma & or COPD Spiriva Handihaler treats asthma/COPD, up from $3,886/yr to $5,289/yr Lopez said, “The simple reason why prescription drugs are so expensive is that phar-

maceutical companies are free to price gouge taxpayers. Unlike many other countries, the United States allows drugmakers to set their own prices with virtually no accountability or transparency.” Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP, said “It’s inexcusable that even during a pandemic and financial crisis, brand name drug companies continued to increase their prices so much faster than the prices of other goods and services.” She gives an example of the high cost of drugs. If an older American is taking four to five prescription drugs per month, the annual cost of their medication in 2020 would have been more than $31,000 which is way over the average annual income of $26,000 for Medicare beneficiaries. “No one should be forced to choose between paying their bills and paying for the medicine they need to stay healthy. Our leaders need to take action now to lower drug prices,” Whitman said. AARP asserts that consumers all across America have to choose at times between filling life-saving prescriptions and paying rent, buying food and affording other critical essentials. Government Savings from Medicare Price Negotiation Proposal The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Medicare negotiations would save the federal government upwards of $500 billion, in the range of $700 billion over the next decade. Spending by Medicare Part D enrollees will save $117 billion between 2020 and 2029 including a reduction of $102.6 billion in cost sharing for people who use

“There’s going to be negotiation on the most expensive drugs: cancer drugs, arthritis drugs or the anticoagulants. And that’s a precedent, and once you set a precedent that you can actually negotiate, you are really turning an important corner.”

—– Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Senate Finance Committee Chairman, and lead senator on Medicare Drug Pricing Negotiation drugs covered under Part D that are subject to negotiation. Medicare  beneficiaries would see premiums for their Part D plan fall by 10-15% under such a plan, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation estimate. The new lower prices would also be available to private insurers, which could lower premiums for those plans too. CBO also said premiums that beneficiaries pay for Medicare Part D coverage should be lower with the proposed cap. Collectively, the reduction is estimated at $14.3 billion in Part D premiums.

Savings to go toward expanding Medicare coverage (plan as of press time, subject to change) The money saved from price negotiations will be used to expand dental, vision and eye benefits to Medicare enrollees; and to help pay for the added beneficiaries (proposal to reduce Medicare eligibility from 65 to 60). The total cost for expanded Medicare benefits and new enrollees is estimated at $600 billion, less than what’s projected in savings. Currently, traditional Medi(continue on page 6)


COVER STORY (Majority....from page 5)

care program doesn’t cover those benefits; Medicare Advantage, a growing private alternative, usually does. Due to high cost of dental services and dental coverage not being included in traditional coverage, = about half of enrollees have not seen a dentist in more than a year. Nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries (47 percent, 23.6 million people) don’t have dental coverage. Traditional Medicare has always been criticized for not being comprehensive enough and must be supplemented by additional private insurance. Legislators say the idea for added coverage addresses some of these gaps to make traditional Medicare closer to being comprehensive. Pharmaceutical industry opposes Medicare changes The pharmaceutical industry is lobbying against the Medicare proposals in BBBA. Representatives say the changes could lead to less investment in research and development

(R&D) to find innovative drugs. In 2019, the pharmaceutical industry spent $83 billion dollars on R&D. Pharmaceutical companies spent, on average, over 25% of revenues on R&D in 2018 and 2019. The pharmaceutical industry spends more on R&D than any other industry. Critics of the pharmaceutical industry make two arguments on that point. First, why would drops in profit go towards cuts to R&D, specifically? And not on the billions they spend on advertising and marketing or the huge sums paid to their CEOs or army of lobbyists? Second, the US government contributes significantly toward R&D of drugs, but the industry reaps most or all the benefits, and still set brand name drugs at a very high price. Data from ongoing surveys by the National Science Foundation (NSF) show that federal agencies provided 44% of the $86 billion spent on basic research in 2015. The federal share of R&D has been decreasing. It topped 70% throughout the 1960s and

‘70s, stood at 61% as recently as 2004 before falling below 50% in 2013. The US government’s involvement in R&D of drugs goes through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It also provides grants to universities where R&D takes place. Thomas Caskey, M.D., Director and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Of-

ficer of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center, said “The principal investors in drug development differ at each stage. While basic discovery research is funded primarily by government and by philanthropic organizations, late-stage development is funded mainly by pharmaceutical companies or venture capitalists.”

Ramelb said, “Unless you work for the government or a big company, when you retire you will not be able to get your employer’s health insurance. You need to rely on Medicare with your fixed income. And big companies also are phasing out retirement benefits like discounted health insurance. “We need to improve Medicare, cost and coverage because more of us will be relying on it,” he said.

(EDITORIALS: We’re Thankful....from page 3)

closed several years ago. “As a business model, the print media, especially the ethnic media, has seen its better days,” she explained, noting that over 2,000 newspapers have either closed or merged in the recent years that left 1,300 communities without access to local news coverage. “The internet changed the way people communicate and receive information. The traditional model of newspaper publishing would not stand a chance in today’s generation.

“I thank God we still exist today because we have the Filipino community behind us. I am grateful to all our advertisers, friends and supporters who have helped us in this journey in advocating for the Filipino community. But most of all, I am most grateful to my staff, our contributing writers, columnists and volunteers who have committed their time and service to empower Filipinos through the Chronicle,” said Montesines-Sonido. “As we are nearing our 30th anniversary, we contin-

ue to pray that the paper will be stronger than ever.” Happy Thanksgiving We all have a lot to be thankful for. On Thanksgiving day, let’s go beyond thinking about why we are fortunate, but to tell our loved ones and those who’ve helped us throughout the year how much they are appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving to All! May our good Lord bless you and your family. Stay safe and enjoy the great company and food.


Filipino Creative Designs Gremlins-Inspired Lego Set By Jim Bea Sampaga


esigned by Filipino creative Ivan Guerrero, the first Gremlins Lego set is

up for voting on the Lego Ideas website to have the chance to be manufactured, distributed, and sold by the toy company Lego. Lego Ideas is a community-based website that gives designers a platform to showcase their designs and have a

chance to be made into an actual Lego set. Community members can vote on the Gremlins-inspired set and once it reaches 10,000 votes, Lego will review the design for production. If given the approval, Guerrero will be working closely with Lego to make this dream set come true. Based on the 1984 horror-comedy classic, Gremlins is about Billy’s mysterious pet that his father gave him as a Christmas present. There are three strict rules that Billy should follow to take care of the pet and if these rules are not followed, the pet will release a horde of monsters. As a huge Gremlins fan, Guerrero chose the movie as his inspiration for the Lego set idea because of the movie’s influence on pop culture. “There is something about those old Amblin movies, like E.T., Back To The Future and Gremlins that tickled the imagination of a generation of children around the world,” he said. “In the Philippines, we even joke that “Baka duma-

mi ka” (you might multiply) if you get wet in the rain. That humorous expression came about because of Gremlins.” He also shared that took him several weeks to complete his design of the Lego set. “While I was building, I had two Gremlins movies playing on a continuous loop, so that I could capture the same irreverent humor of the films in my set,” he said. Guerrero, who is also a filmmaker, designed the first-ever Sesame Street Lego set. He submitted his first design in 2017 to Lego Ideas and his set hit the shelves on November 2020. His second set

design, the USS Cardboard, has been approved for production in April this year. Lego has yet to announce the release date for the USS Cardboard. As a true pop culture fan, he makes sure to put little key details in his designs to connect with the show’s fans in the most authentic way possible. “Whenever I build a set, I spend a considerable amount of time researching a film or TV show and the stories behind the scenes. I try to put in as many easter eggs and hidden references in the set as I can so that it becomes a very fulfilling project,” Guerrero explained. (continue on page 14)



Is “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude,” Like Beauty, In the Eye of the Beholder? By Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.


he U.S. Congress made a conviction for a “crime involving moral turpitude” a ground for deportation. Immigration and Nationality Act, Sec. 237(a)(2) (A)(i) and (ii). Similarly, the Philippine Batasang Pambansa (former National Assembly) made a “crime involving moral turpitude” a ground for disqualification to be a candidate for public office. B.P. 881, Omnibus Election Code, Sec. 12. But the Honorable (not horrible, stupid) members of Congress or the Assembly did not define what constitutes a “crime involving moral turpitude” nor list the particular crimes that involved “moral turpitude.” What then? Each court or adjudicator makes its own determination of what is a “crime involving moral turpitude.” The practical effect is that what is a “crime involving moral turpitude,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As a result, there have been several contradictory or inconsistent decisions by courts and administrative agencies, including within the same government agency. An article “Why Deporting Immigrants for ‘Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude’ is now Unconstitutional” in The Free Library by Farlex says: “the statute authorizing removal of immigrants for “crimes involving moral turpitude” invites officials to base their prosecutorial choices on political or personal views. As a result, defense attorneys advising their clients on the immigration consequences of pleas have no basis for prediction.” The article noted that Justice Jackson in his dissent in Jordan v De George, 341 U.S. 223 (1951), said that “moral turpitude will always fluctuate with differences in time,

a number of cases, Matter of Zangwill, 18 I&N Dec. 22, 28 (BIA 1981; Matter of Balao, 20 I&N Dec. 449 (BIA 1992), but not a CIMT in other cases, Matter of Westman, 17 I&N Dec. 518 (BIA 1979), Matter of Bart 20 I&N Dec. 436 (BIA 1992). The Court of Appeals held that a California conviction of delivering or making a check with insufficient funds with intent to defraud was categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. Planes v Holder, No. 07–70730 (9th Cir. 07 05 2011). What is a CIMT? The Philippine Supreme Since Congress has not Court held that the crime of defined “crime involving mor- issuing a check without sufal turpitude” (CIMT), the BIA ficient funds in violation of and the federal courts have de- B.P. No. 22 involves moral fined it as “conduct that shocks turpitude and a candidate for the public conscience and as Congress who was convicted being inherently base, vile, for violation of the statute and or depraved, contrary to the sentenced to one-year imprisrules of morality and the duties onment was properly disqualowed between man and man, ified by the Comelec and his either one’s fellow man or so- certificate of candidacy canciety in general.” Hamdan v. celed. Villaber v. Comelec, INS, 98 F.3d 183, 185-86 (5th G.R. No. 148326. Cir. 1996), cited by Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. Tax cases There is a conflict of au687 (AG 2008). Mary P. Holper wrote in thority in the United States a law review article “Deporta- as to whether tax evasion is a tion for a Sin: Why Moral Tur- “crime involving moral turpipitude Is Void for Vagueness” tude.” In Jordan v. De George, that this provides no useful 341 U.S. 223 (1951), involving definition. Rather, this ground a defendant convicted of confor deportation casts judges in spiring with others to possess whiskey with intent to sell in the role of God.” It is obvious that this defi- fraud of law and evade the tax nition is as vague as the term thereon, the Supreme Court being defined. What is “base, held that a crime in which vile, or depraved” is still in the fraud is an ingredient involves eye of the beholder. moral turpitude. In Carty v. The Philippine Supreme Ashcroft, 395 F.3d 1081 (9th Court held that whether or not Cir. Jan. 19, 2005), a Califora crime involves moral turpi- nia conviction for willful failtude is ultimately a question ure to file a tax return with the of fact and frequently depends intent to evade taxes, in violaon all the circumstances sur- tion of Revenue and Taxation rounding the violation of the Code § 19406 involves fraud, statute. Dela Torre v. Comelec, and constitutes a crime involv258 SCRA 483 (1996). ing moral turpitude. However, in United States Issuing check with insuffi- v. Carrollo, 30 F.Supp. 3 (D.Mo. cient funds 1939), the court held that it was For instance, issuing a not prepared to rule that an atcheck with insufficient funds tempt to evade the payment of (passing a bad check) has been a tax due, “wrong as it is, unheld by the Board of Immigra- lawful as it is, immoral as it is, tion Appeals to be a CIMT in is an act evidencing baseness,

culture, and locality,” and that “lower court opinions applying moral turpitude rested not on consistent usage but rather on the “moral reactions of particular judges to particular offenses.” “The chief impression from the cases is the caprice of the judgments.” Jackson asked “How many aliens have been deported who would not have been had some other judge heard their cases, and vice versa, we may only guess. That is not government by law.”

vileness, or depravity of moral character. The number of men who have at some time sought to evade the payment of a tax or some part of a tax to some taxing authority is legion. Any man who does that should be punished civilly or by criminal sentence, but to say that he is base or vile or depraved is to misuse words.” The BIA held that a German national was not barred from admission to the U.S. for having been convicted in Germany for possession of untaxed chocolate in violation of the German Tax Code because intent to defraud was not an element of the offense, hence the German had not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of R, 4 I. & N. Dec. 176, (BIA 1950). The BIA also held that the willful failure to file an income tax return is not necessarily a crime involving moral turpitude because fraud is not inherent in the crime. Matter of Mazza-Alas, File No. A13408-039, 15 Immigr. Rep. B188 (BIA Oct. 27, 1995), cited in Crimes of Moral Turpitude, Norton Tooby.

Void for vagueness Is “crime involving moral

turpitude” unconstitutionally void for vagueness in violation of the due process clause? The prohibition of vagueness in criminal statutes “is a well-recognized requirement, consonant alike with ordinary notions of fair play and the settled rules of law,” and a statute that flouts it “violates the first essential of due process.” Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 70 S.Ct. 322 (1926).” Johnson v. United States, 576 US 591, 135 S Ct 2551, 255657 (2015). The Supreme Court said that the Government violates the guarantee of due process “by taking away someone’s life, liberty, or property under a criminal law so vague that it fails to give ordinary people fair notice of the conduct it punishes, or so standardless that it invites arbitrary enforcement.” Johnson v. United States, supra. Thus, in Johnson v. United States, supra, the Supreme Court held that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B) - defining “violent felony” as any felony that “otherwise involves conduct (continue on page 13)



Why Every Day is Veterans Day If You’re Filipino Americans By Emil Guillermo


eterans Day has passed, but in Hawaii, you could be commemorating all year and not honor everyone who deserves recognition. And that’s just people you know who have served in the last 20 years, or who are still alive. So I want to make sure you didn’t forget the First and Second U.S. Army Regiment of World War II, manned mostly by Filipino Americans from the mainland. Too often they get conflated with the veterans in the Philippines who answered President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s call to join the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (the USAFFE) with the

promise of citizenship. It was later in 1946 that the U.S. went back on its word with the Rescission Act. These are the men whom most people think of when they hear the term “Filipino Vets of WWII.” We honor them, too, of course. But I want to make sure we note the difference between the USAFFE in the Philippines and the Filipinos on the mainland who were part of the regular U.S. Army. Most of the 1st and 2nd regiment members had come from the Philippines to the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s as “colonized” American nationals. When they arrived, they experienced discrimination so complete that by law, they couldn’t own land, vote, or marry. And when they found work, they were accused of

stealing jobs during the Depression. The Filipino men were mostly bachelors, just like the Chinese men who came before them. But the Filipinos were slightly different. They mixed. Especially with white women. That brought on the ire and jealousy of white men, which extended the existing Anti-Asian hate toward the Chinese immigrants to Filipinos.

In the ‘20s and ‘30s, to be anti-Asian was to be anti-Filipino. Some were killed and even lynched. It was so virulent that the laws were invoked to change Filipinos status from “nationals” to “foreign aliens.” Filipinos were asked to self-deport. WWII was seen as an opportunity to show allegiance to America. Many Filipino men felt that if they could prove their loyalty to America, the politics would change. So, laws were passed to allow foreign nationals from the Philippines to join the Army, and that was what made the First and Second Regiments different from the other ethnic regiments. Yes, the 442nd, the socalled “Go for Broke” Japanese Americans had something to prove, just like the Filipinos. But the Japanese Americans were American. The Filipinos in the U.S. were not. Prof. Dan Gonzales,

one of the first academics to emerge from the San Francisco State strike in 1968 to form the College of Ethnic Studies and dedicated Asian American and Filipino American Studies classes, joined me in conversation about these issues on my Emil Guillermo YouTube channel, Shows 177 and 178. Gonzales said that while some Filipinos wanted to prove their value, others were also angered by the discrimination they experienced in the U.S. For those men, the war provided a way to return to the Philippines with a real sense of service and honor. Still, for most of the 1st and 2nd regiments, the military created the foundation of a real Filipino American community in the U.S. Filipino American soldiers met Filipino women in Cebu, the Visayan region of the Philippines. It’s the reason there are so many mixed (continue on page 15)




The January 6 Committee: Executive Privilege, Contempt, Unwilling Witnesses By Elpidio R. Estioko


he January 6 congressional committee, composed of Democrats and two GOP lawmakers, investigating the assault of the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, continue to function and deliberate on what happened during the incident despite legal opposition. The committee believes that the American people

need to know what transpired at that time, so they are addressing the issue discreetly and judiciously. They initially summoned 12 close allies of former President Donald Trump to testify but they are facing problems of their appearance before the committee. Until now, Trump is still invoking executive privilege for his former allies not to testify and keeping the January 6 executive records secret. Aside from the testimonies of witnesses, the January 6 committee is seeking hundreds of pages of records from Trump’s final months in the White House including White House visitor logs, schedules, call records and handwritten notes from Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The committee is also seeking emails between Trump advisers about contesting the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, the committee has requested photos and videos relating to Trump’s public comments on January 6, “when he made a fiery speech to the rally falsely claiming that his defeat was the result of

widespread fraud.” Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the Select Committee, told CNN that “the ruling allows it to see outtakes of a video Trump filmed on January 6 as the riots were unfolding.” In that video, Trump urged supporters to “go home in peace,” but also “we love you, you’re very special.” He also repeated multiple false claims about the election being stolen. Thompson told CNN Trump filmed the video six times because his advisers thought he was not forceful enough in telling the rioters to go home. Trump has invoked executive privilege, a legal doctrine that presidents have used to keep their communications confidential. Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, who gave a forceful rejection Tuesday of President Donald Trump’s recent attempts to block his White House documents from going to the House January 6 committee said in her decision that the public interest in figuring out what happened on January 6 outweighs Trump’s privilege claim, adding that deference must be showed to President Joe Biden’s determination that the Trump records should be released. “The legislative and executive branches believe the

balance of equities and public interest is well served by the Select Committee’s inquiry,” Chutkan wrote in her decision. “The court will not second guess the two branches of government that have historically negotiated their own solutions to congressional requests for presidential documents.” “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” Chutkan added. Trump has asked an appeals court to issue a temporary ruling, known as a “stay,” blocking the National Archives from turning over the documents to the Select Committee. The purpose of the requested stay would be to allow Trump to appeal Chutkan’s decision. Unless there is a court order instructing it not to, the National Archives has said it will send the documents to the committee on Friday, November 12. Another set of twenty new subpoenas are going out “soon” was signed by the chair of the January 6 committee. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the select committee told reporters that he has signed about twenty subpoenas and that they are going out “soon.” Thompson would not confirm if former Trump lawyer John Eastman, who CNN has reported the committee

plans to subpoena, is a part of that group. Also, when asked if there are lawmakers the committee is planning to subpoena, the Mississippi Democrat said: “Not yet.” Thompson’s update comes after the committee has already issued rounds of subpoenas to a variety of individuals including some of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies and individuals involved in the organization of rallies and events that preceded the riot. Separately Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as the vice-chair of the committee, told CNN that the panel has also interviewed more than 150 people, indicating that much of its investigation is developing behind closed doors. Cheney said the committee has talked with “a full range of people,” some in interviews and others in depositions. According to Vanity Fair writer Eric Lutz, the January 6 committee is finally getting Trump allies to spill. Now that Trump is no longer the president, things have changed. Democrats’ subpoenas are now harder to ignore with the threat of contempt and criminal charges. The House recently passed a resolution that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon be held in contempt of Congress and asked the Department of Justice to pursue criminal prosecution over Bannon’s refusal to cooperate with the January 6 committee. There are developing events leading to witnesses cooperating with the committee. CNN reported Tuesday that at least five former Trump staffers have provided information to the committee investigating January 6, either because they “believe they have information worth

(continue on page 12)



Duterte Pivots Back to America business people at a forum in the Great Hall of the People. The forum was attended by no less than Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. By Perry Diaz “America has lost now,” L L ’ S Duterte began, “I have reW E L L aligned myself in your ideoT H A T logical flow, and maybe I will E N D S also go to Russia to talk to WELL” is Putin and tell him that there a proverb are three of us against the that dates world – China, Philippines back to 1250. It is also the and Russia. It is the only name of a play by William way.” Whoa! What the heck Shakespeare in 1601-1605. It means that a positive ending happened? Has Duterte gone can overshadow any problems loco-loco? In his meeting with Chithat may have preceded it. A case in point is the nese President Xi Jinping afUS-Philippines relationship terwards, Xi was conciliatory since Rodrigo Duterte took and called the visit a mileover the presidency in 2016. stone in ties. Xi told Duterte that ChiDuterte was a left-leaning politician who was mayor of na and the Philippines were Davao City for more than two brothers and they could “appropriately handle disputes,” decades. When he was elected without mentioning the South president in 2016, he showed China Sea, which is in the his anti-American bias from center of a territorial dispute the moment he took office. between China and the PhilHe pivoted the Philippines’ ippines. However, privately, the foreign policy away from Washington DC and toward two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute Beijing. It was a change that af- through talks. But for that day, fected the Philippines’ securi- it was a cause for celebration ty and territorial sovereignty, between Asian “brothers.” Duterte went home and e.g., when China sent some boasted of securing $24 bil220 ships from China’s maritime militia to Whitsun Reef lion in investment, credit and in the Spratlys and stayed loan pledges from China to fund his “Build, Build, Build” there for several weeks. It was apparent that China projects. In return, Duterte promwas planning on seizing the reef like what it did in 1994 ised Xi that the Philippines when it seized the Panganiban would “give up” its South China Sea claims and also (Mischief) Reef. China knew then that the abandon its previous posiU.S. wouldn’t interfere af- tion on The Hague’s tribunal ter the Philippines kicked the verdict that rejected China’s American bases out in 1992 “nine-dash line” territorial when the Senate voted not to claims. To date, few of these have renew the U.S. bases agreematerialized into actual projment. This time around, the U.S. ects. Only two out of nine sent an aircraft carrier strike infrastructure projects have group that prompted China to been funded for a measly disperse its ships away from P16.57 billion or $331 million, which makes one wonWhitsun Reef. der: Would China ever deliver Duterte’s separation from the rest of its pledges? But here’s the rub: When U.S. Duterte announced that he When Duterte went to China on a four-day state visit was separating from Ameriin October 2016, Duterte talk- ca, he said he would also be ed to the Chinese and Filipino dependent on China for a long


Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte

time. Can Duterte really trust that Xi would treat the Philippines like how the US treated the Philippines in the last century? “I will not go to America anymore. We will just be insulted there,” Duterte said. “So time to say goodbye my friend,” Duterte told a cheering crowd. That was five years ago. Today, Duterte is pivoting the Philippines back to its longtime ally the U.S. Years of “dancing” with the dragon emperor had produced only $331 million out of $24 billion pledged. With just six years and seven months left of his presidency, Duterte realizes that the promises that Xi Jinping made are not going to happen. He decided to end his China-friendly policy and veer back to good old reliable Uncle Sam. Duterte thought that he could play China against the U.S. but ended up being played by China. Like a jilted suitor, Duterte turned around and went scurrying back to Uncle Sam. Needless to say, Uncle Sam will always welcome the Philippines back under its protective nuclear umbrella.

Defense agreements with U.S. The Philippines and the U.S. have three defense agreements: the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the

Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). But the VFA is the linchpin of their military alliance. The VFA makes it easier for US forces to move in and out the country, while the EDCA allows U.S. forces to move in and out on five Philippine bases fairly quickly. They therefore provide the Philippines with the means to counter China in the event that hostilities break out between the two countries. Without these defense treaties, the Philippines is helpless and powerless to stop Chinese aggression. Without the VFA and EDCA, foreign forces are banned by the 1987 constitution from being stationed on Philippine soil, which would make the MDT unenforceable and useless. In late July, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited the Philippines to talk with Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. They agreed that the VFA, which Duterte had suspended its termination three times, will be restored permanently; which raises the question: What did Austin tell Lorenzana that prompted Duterte to keep the VFA? In addition, the Philippines-U.S. Bilateral Strategic Dialogue was reestablished and Duterte fully endorsed the AUKUS security pact between Australia, U.S. and U.K. – a 180-degree turnaround from his previous

stance that AUKUS could trigger a “nuclear arms race.” It now appears that Duterte has abandoned China in order to rebuild his ties with Uncle Sam.

Deter Chinese aggression The commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John Aquilino visited the Philippines twice, in August and September, and said the “U.S. wants to increase the complexity and scope” of exercises and invite new partners – like Australia – to join. Recent geopolitical development in the Indo-Pacific region further bolsters Australia’s role as a key partner of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific, which includes the Philippines. Recently, the Philippines and Australia finalized a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA), which would facilitate defense logistics support and allow their armed forces to conduct more complex engagements and enhance their interoperability. It would thus make it easier for them to work in addressing regional security challenges. MLSA would further strengthen an existing agreement, called State of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA), which was put into effect in 2012. It governs the entry of Australian troops to the country. The armed forces of both countries have regularly conducted exercises under SOVFA. (continue on page 12)



101 Filipino Icons By Rose Cruz Churma


he retailing company Bench and the publisher Adarna House had a major goal when developing this book to create a book that will bring hope for Filipinos. The first printing was in 2007 and another in 2008, but despite the decade separating its publication to the present time, the Filipinos more than anytime still need hope. So perhaps it is timely to review this book again and bring a ray of hope. As Ben Chan, the CEO of BENCH notes in the introduction, “Hope – despite everything – is what BENCH believes will keep it together for our country. May this book, in

all its historical and cultural richness, bring hope to all its Filipino readers.” The list of icons featured in this book was drawn from recommendations from experts such as Dr. Alex B. Brilliantes, Jr. Ambeth Ocampo, Dr. Nicanor Tiongson and 15 others. Philippine institutions also helped such as the Department of Tourism and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The icons are arranged historically, or according to the era of history where they emerged in the Filipinos’ consciousness. For most of the icons included, there are also various suggestions for educators on how they can carry out meaningful activities and discussions around the icons.

The 101 icons which include people, places and objects embody the essence of the Filipino. These represent a facet of the Filipino persona, or a part of Filipino history, or an aspect of Filipino culture that makes every Filipino proud. The icons are an interest-

ing mix—from pandesal and balut to Dolphy and the Mayon Volcano; from the nipa hut to EDSA People Power. Juan Luna, Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are included but not Antonio Luna (although his name is listed in the index). Some of the essays are in English, while the rest are in Filipino/Tagalog. Some icons are accompanied by tips for teachers. For example in the segment on Jose Rizal, the tips include having the students make their own children’s books on Rizal’s life and think of creative ways to introduce the hero to young children. Since Rizal is also considered the father of Philippine children’s literature, this would be an appropriate way for the students to be aware of his contributions to children’s literature – something not readily known. What I found the most interesting was the entry on the

(PERRYSCOPE: Duterte Pivots....from page 11)

(AS I SEE IT: The January 6....from page 10)

The Philippines is a significant segment of the First Island Chain, which is the natural barrier that provides a J-shaped line of defense from Japan through Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Six of them are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEANS). Indeed, the Philippines’

sharing” or simply to preempt a potential subpoena. Among those who have come forward: Alyssa Farah, the former Mike Pence spokesperson who quit as White House communications director in December 2020 because she “saw where this was heading.” “The president and certain advisers around him are directly responsible,” she told Politico the day after the Capitol attack. In addition to those who have voluntarily spoken with the committee, congressional investigators are reaching out to other former White House staffers to solicit compliance. “I’ve got good reason to

pivoting back to America has once again strengthened the First Island Chain as America’s first line of defense in the Indo-Pacific region. Like they say, “All’s well that ends well.” PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.

believe a number of them are horrified and scandalized by what took place on January 6 and they want to do their legal duty and their civic duty by coming forward to explain exactly what happened,” Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin told CNN. “We’re going to continue to encourage everybody who has relevant information to come and talk, people connected to the events.” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the top Republican on the select committee, said that the panel spoke to “a full range of people connected to the events, connected to understanding what happens.” Cheney did not elaborate or

bench or bangko. It is noted that that the lowly bangko represents the Filipino sense of community. Among the photos of the bangko are the award-winning designs of Kenneth Cobonpue, a designer from Cebu interspersed with the rough-hewn benches from the Cordillera region. In any event, this humble piece of furniture is found in basketball courts, in barangay halls, in almost all sari-sari stores, carinderias, and dining rooms. This is an ideal tool when preparing a quiz show on Philippine culture and history, or a guide to creating a display that would easily highlight the essence of being Filipino. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@ gmail.com.

specify who exactly has been interviewed so far in the committee’s investigation. Footages of the January 6 event are shown on television now and then. While watching Trump’s-inspired supporters staging a riot in the Capitol while Congress was in session, I was reminded of a reality movie Under Siege starring Steven Seagal. The violence on January 6 led to five deaths, including a police officer who died in the line of duty! The New York Times described it as a deadly siege… and a restive crowd encouraged by President Trump set the stage for the unthinkable. The crowd is acting in response to Trump’s instructions to storm the lawmakers place of work. Will the January 6 committee be able to uncover the truth? ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail. com.



Self-Government By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


have  never been a fan of politics, but the Philippine political scene intrigues me. Witnessing the stories of our different leaders and how they lead brings emotional turmoil. It can be frustrating to see that those who are supposed to bring change for the better make the nation even worse. But I know that even if the political environment in the Philippines makes me want to change allegiance, I remind myself that I am a Filipino citizen for a reason and apathy and abandonment will do me and my family no good. For the past few weeks, the 2022 Philippine Presidential Elections has become a topic of discussion between me and my

husband. We are amused that almost a hundred people expressed their intention to be the highest leader of the land. Looking at all those who are running, we can’t help but think that it’s like a big show that involves a lot of elements – action, drama, horror and comedy. Many past leaders have failed to meet our expectations, many have made a lot of promises but failed to deliver. This has caused some hearts to be broken, some calloused. Who among the aspiring leaders will be different? Who will stand out? Who will change the status quo? Who will gear away from traditional politics and will truly bring about change? Who will push the agenda of the Filipino people and not their own party? Who will lead with integrity and truth?

There are so many questions in our heads and the answers are nowhere to be found…yet. The only way to find out is to research and vote. And the best thing to do at this moment while we wait, is to pray and pray hard. I am not here to share and convince you to vote the candidate I am rooting for. In fact, I am still really contemplating about my decision. But this pandemic season has made me

realize that the change that I am longing for cannot be solely placed on the shoulders of a few personalities we expect to run the country. Yes, the government has a big role to play in steering the direction of our country, but true change can only come from ourselves. Without self-government, even if we have the best government in the world, the nation will come to ruin. Self-government or self-governance can also refer to self-discipline. And I can honestly say, as a people, this is what we lack. I can see a lot of our countrymen not following simple rules and protocols that the government has set in place to avoid the spread of the virus. Many people fail to wear masks and practice social distancing. I know of some people who tried to get fake COVIDtest results just to travel. Living in South Korea where disobey-

ing laws and rules comes with a big price, I can say that the Philippines is a country where bending rules is very common – not just among its people but also its leaders. Six months from now, we will be casting our vote to set a new leader who we think will finally bring change to our beloved country. As we wait for that time, I implore every Filipino citizen not just to research and pray about who they will vote but to take time to reflect on themselves. Yes, we need great leaders but the country’s welfare depends on its people. We need citizens who have discipline, integrity, and excellence- the very same things we expect from our leaders. Our country’s fall cannot fully be blamed on its weak leaders. We, as its people, have a big part to play. And as Filipinos, may we do our part in leading our country and bring about the change we are longing for. 

quires even judges to guess and permits them to differ.” He questioned the power of administrative officers and courts to decree deportation until Congress has given an intelligible definition of deportable conduct.

book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with son Noel, the senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon Law Firm. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He co-authored the best-seller “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Tel. (808) 800-7856. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Websites: https://www.tiponlaw.com.

(WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: Is “Crime Involving....from page 7)

that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another,” – was unconstitutional “void for vagueness” under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. It required judges to imagine a set of facts or conduct and then to determine whether that imagined set of facts or conduct presented a potential risk of serious injury. In the immigration context, the Supreme Court held in Sessions v Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204 (2018), that 18 U.S.C. § 16(b) [the residual clause in the definition of “crime of violence”], as incorporated into the definition of “aggravated felony” in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a) (43)(F) is unconstitutionally vague, citing Johnson v. United States, 576 US 591, 135 S Ct 2551, 2556-57 (2015). The Supreme Court pointed out in Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204, 1210, 1212 (2018) that: The void-forvagueness doctrine, as we have called it, guarantees that ordinary people have “fair notice” of the conduct a statute proscribes. And the doctrine guards against arbitrary or discriminatory law enforcement by insisting that a statute pro-

vides standards to govern the actions of police officers, prosecutors, juries, and judges. “[I]f the legislature could set a net large enough to catch all possible offenders and leave it to the courts to step inside and say who could be rightfully detained, [it would] substitute the judicial for the legislative department.” In Jordan v. De George, 341 U.S. 223 (1951), involving a defendant convicted of conspiring with others to possess whiskey with intent to sell it in fraud of law and evade the tax thereon, the Supreme Court said that the question of vagueness of the term “crime involving moral turpitude” was not raised by the parties nor argued before the court, and that no case has been decided to hold that the phrase is vague. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court addressed the issue and said that the test is whether the language conveys sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and practices, and concluded that the test has been satisfied here. Justice Jackson with Justice Black and Frankfurter,

strongly dissented, saying that the phrase “crime involving moral turpitude” as found in the Immigration Act has no sufficiently definite meaning to be a constitutional standard for deportation. What the Government seeks, and what the Court cannot give, is a basic definition of “moral turpitude” to guide administrators and lower courts. The uncertainties of this statute do not originate in contrariety of judicial opinion. Congress knowingly conceived it in confusion. Justice Jackson pointed out that the test by which vagueness was to be determined according to the Connally case was that the legislation uses terms “so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.” It would seem to be difficult to find a more striking instance than we have here of such a phrase since it re-

ATTY. TIPON has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. His current practice focuses on immigration law and appellate criminal defense. He has written books and legal articles for the world’s largest law

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.



Uray No Maugotanen Ti Daga iti Asin ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro


eitoyak kadaratan iti panagsana Iti asin iti daga; siak daytoy mangiraud Ti karudkodek nga ittip iti sinublan.

Mapukawto dagitoy a tugotko iti kanito a makalikudak iti kadaratan. Mapunas a dagus no dupraken ti ‘dalluyon’ ti biag. Kas met ti anniniwan a mapasag. Uray ti dalluyon pumanaw iti kadaratan, santo manen agsubli-umay-pumanaw, kas iti ulep, agakar-akar; sa pumanaw met a manglukas iti init a liningdanna itay-ti asuk iti karaang, pumanaw met nga awan ti ibatina ti ulep, agbaliwbaliw ti porma ken kalalangana Magmagnatayo amin, ditoy man kadaratan Ditoy man, kabingkolan, tanap, bambantay, Padapada a dumtengto ti pannakaimbirna dumtengto ti naituding nga uged iti maminsan laeng a lumabastayo ditoy a daga kas maysa a ganggannaet. Panagsursuro ken pannakatubay Inayatdaka kas tarabay ken sanggir dagiti nabangon a rangtay a kamang ti ungto ti bullalayaw iti panagsukisok iti karaberan dagiti

nabunga a panagburasan iti ubas dagiti nasam-it natubbog nga unas dagiti narayray marisna a pinia a maburas dagiti masukbol a bunga ti papaya dagiti maubon a sabong ti kalunatsi ukkor dagiti mannala iti hula haku lei dagiti napili ken sangaili uray iti panagkallautang iti ibabangon kas kadagiti mapaamo a karnero Dagiti urbon a sumrek iti koral, mapaamo Imasenda ti makapagsepsep iti asin, dilpatan Iti daga ket kunnotenda ti mungay Iti panagsursuro ken pannakatubay Ngem anian, anian dagiti gundaway Ti anag ti asin napukawen kas iti nagpsepsepan Dagiti immuna a nagtagi-aklo-kosinero main-inutdan a maipaigid ti dalan Iti panagmaymaysada malnaawandan Nga agkutkutimermer iti kaltaang Iti pannakabaybay-a; saan a panangikankano Ken pannakaipusing Ta awanen ti anag ti asin A nagkunnotan Dagiti kattungbol a parmata Iti panagsursuro nga umaskaw Kadagiti dalan iti kasamekan ta nanglaylayen ti sabong nga ukkor dagiti kassangpet…… naibasuradan iti igid iti ngilngilawen a

karinderia ken abong-abong iti tugpatugpa a nagturogan ‘toy agsansana iti darugsoy ti awan ti patinggana a panagarubos ti ling-et, muging, iti bagi iti darang ti anawang, ti karaang iti sidiran ti kalapaw a nalipatandan ti ridawna ket tugotda pinunas ti atab ken dalluyon dagiti panaginkukuna ti panawen ti damask ti ugot ti atab dagiti makiraos a bagas nga ipisok iti banga dagiti makarudkod nga ittip iti panagintutuleng ken panagimbubulsek iti nalikudan ditoy, saanto latta nga agkir-in ti kinaasino ni agsansana ta isunto latta daydi immune a nagkurob iti karaang iti igid daytoy a sangkakelleng a kadaratan dagiti masagat a danum a maisaang iti siliasi ken sinublan asin, wen asin no asin; tinapay no tinapay kastoy ti kinapudno: adda rugi adda puon, adda Kalman adda agdama, adda sumaruno a dalluyon iti kadaratan agpasagda: agbarekbek ti kadaratan iisaangko latta ti sinublan. Asin ti biag ituloyko a dildilpatan.


How to Make the Most of Your Medicare Plan By Rick Beavin,

Desert Pacific Medicare President at Humana


he countdown has begun for the more than 60 million Americans – including the 274,000 individuals in Hawaii – who rely on Medicare for their health insurance, as eligible individuals have until Tuesday, December 7 to select their 2022 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Since the Medicare plan you select by the upcoming deadline is the plan you’ll have for all of 2022, with a few exceptions, it’s important to consider your anticipated health needs carefully, particularly as the COVID pandemic continues. In fact, a new national poll from Humana found that nearly half of seniors say they’ll pay closer attention to what is and is not covered by 2022 health plans than in previous years. Whether you’re evaluating

your current plan or just became eligible for Medicare, consider the following as you work to make an informed decision on coverage options: Evaluate the essentials. Determine what’s necessary to have in your plan, such as which doctors and hospitals are in-network and whether vision, hearing and dental coverage is included. Prescription drug coverage is also an important consideration, as it is included in many Medicare Advantage plans but not covered by Original Medicare, also known as fee-for-service Medicare. You may want to have a list of your medications handy since you’ll be able to compare estimated prescription costs with each plan. Inquire about innovative benefits. Once you identify your basic health needs, think about what else is important to your overall health and well-being. For example, if you like to work out, look for a plan that includes

a fitness program as a benefit, knowing that many Medicare Advantage plans offer a gym membership. If you travel or become more comfortable with telehealth services due to the pandemic, see if a plan that offers $0 telehealth copays is available in your area. Some plans even offer benefits for members with a confirmed COVID diagnosis, including 14 days of home-de-

livered meals (up to 28 meals). Turn to trusted sources. According to the Humana poll, nearly 2 in 3 seniors say they will consult at least one resource to help them select their plan for the upcoming year; however, it’s important beneficiaries turn to credible sources. For example, the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov can help you to compare plans, benefits and get estimated plan costs based on an average member. In addition to reliable websites, many licensed sales agents offer educational and sales workshops as well as

the opportunity for one-on-one meetings, whether in-person or by phone or video chat, on behalf of an insurance company. As with any major decision, proper research will go a long way toward making the best plan choice for your personal health care needs, so be sure to utilize the resources available to help you. For more information, Medicare eligible individuals can visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800633-4227), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

(FEATURE: Filipino Creative....from page 6)

With last month’s Halloween celebration and the upcoming Christmas season, Gremlins is a classic pop culture film that encompasses both holidays. Guerrero shared that he felt the holiday magic when he showed Gremlins to his entire Filipino family during one Christmas Eve. “Not a single one could take their eyes off the film. That’s part of the holiday magic of Gremlins that I wanted to capture in my Lego set,” he

said. “I wanted to create a set that would contrast the cheerful holidays with the dark humor of the little monsters.” The Gremlins set design currently has 7,440 supporters on the Lego Ideas website. Guerrero is humbly asking the Filipino American community to support and vote for his design on the community website. “Filipinos have a natural creativity and talent that is really well-suited to building with LEGO bricks. In fact,

there are a couple of us Filipino designers who have already had successful projects on Lego Ideas,” he shared. “I’d like to invite fellow Filipinos to try out building with Lego and vote for other Filipino-made projects, like my Gremlins set on the Lego Ideas website.”  For those who would like to vote for the Gremlins Lego set on Lego Ideas, visit ideas.lego. com/projects/7de7fc40-4d3e43e9-b137-7c276866f6dd.



Filipino-Ran Farm Honored by Manoa Heritage Center


n honor of Filipino American History Month last October, the Manoa Heritage Center honored Elpidio and Nobuku Acopan of Acopan Farm, a Filipino-ran farm in Manoa Valley, on Nov. 13. The event honored the history of Filipino in Hawaii and the Acopan family’s history of farming in Manoa Valley. Guests also enjoyed parol-making and working at the center’s Acopan farm during the event.

ing farmer. They raised eight children Elpidio Acopan was one of the together. Filipino farmers who immigrated However, in 1977, the Acopans from the Philippines to work on faced eviction from the new landowner Manoa Valley’s sugar and pineapwho wanted to develop the land. With ple plantations. He farmed the land the help of Manoa residents, neighborin Manoa for 63 years, caring for ti hood board and legislative represenplants, bananas, Chinese taro, gartatives, they rallied and prevented the denias, heliconia and other tropiThe Acopan family eviction which supported the Acopans cal plants. In 1930, Elpidio became the bought the leases of 27.1 acres to continue farming until 1993. There are now four generations of the Acofirst and only independent Filipi- from a landowner. He then married no farmer in the valley when he Nobuku, a daughter of a neighbor- pan family living on the mainland and Hawaii.

(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Why Everyday....from page 8)

Filipino marriages among Visayans with the mostly Ilocano Filipinos (who represented many Filipinos who came in the 1920s and 1930s). And they took them back home to America. The women came to be known as “War Brides,” which was both good and bad. Was it love at first sight? Or love at first soldier? For some, it was a lasting union, but there was often a stigma attached to some women who were looking to escape the Philippines. At the same time, there also was the undeniable presence of the “comfort women,” Filipino women sold into sexual slavery to serve the needs of the Japanese Army who occupied the Philippines. And then there were the out-marriages of Filipino women who met Af-

rican American and Latinx soldiers. The breaking of norms for Filipina women meant there was plenty of stigmas to go around that resulted in the kind of “shame” that makes people unwilling to talk or share their history publicly. And yet, the positive outcome is that many of those marriages would last, as the Filipino women came to America with their veteran husbands to start real Filipino American families. Prof. Gonzales’ mother and father are an example of such a union, as was his wife’s father and mother. The “War Brides” provided the base of the WWII baby boom for Filipinos. Add to that the G.I. Bill, and later laws that allowed for the

Filipinos in the Army to gain citizenship, and you can see how the mere fact that one was a WWII vet made a big difference in Filipinos’ lives in America. The racism of the 1920s and 1930s wasn’t exactly fully mitigated, but many Filipinos now had a chance to buy homes and get jobs in the domestic military or through military connections. Filipinos were lucky. Recently, it came to light that many Blacks fighting in WWII did not have adequate access to the G.I. Bill because in places like the south local officials had control. And many of those in charge is alleged to have been discriminatory to Blacks. Legislation was introduced to make sure the families of those who served are made whole.

That’s how important the G.I. Bill was toward gaining a sense of equity in America. If you risk your life to serve, you should be taken care of. It’s more than just serving one’s country in war. For Filipinos, the military helped them establish a real foothold in American life. Of course, my father was 4F. Asthma kept him from joining the war. That fact alone was a significant setback for my family. Without the military, my family just didn’t get the boost needed to find economic stability in America. That’s why most Filipinos can’t honor Veteran’s Day enough. EMIL​ GUILLERMO​ is a veteran journalist and commentator. He was a member of the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board. Listen to him on Apple Podcasts. Twitter @emilamok. (Sagot sa Krosword Blg. 11 | November 6, 2021)

CROSSWORD by Carlito Lalicon

No. 11


1. Kind of hemp 6. Flight segment 11. Resinous deposit 14. Malice 15. Rather, informally 16. Loose sleeveless outer garment worn by Arabs 17. Eventually become 18. Blockhead 19. Big bird 20. Capital of Bolivia 22. Contrivance 24. Seat of government 27. Ludicrous folly 28. Augured 29. “Norwegian Wood” instrument


1. Hail, to Caesar 2. Mountain or tall hill 3. Additionally 4. Child of your aunt or uncle 5. Someone who has had a limb removed by amputation 6. Go 7. Daily riser 8. Black cuckoo 9. Worship of idols 10. Knock 11. Indian club

30. Cooktop 31. Deficit 35. Opening time, maybe 36. Small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers 37. Fishing, perhaps 38. Without protective armor 40. Cast member 41. Lowed 42. Prompting 43. Purge of an ideology, bad thoughts, or sins 46. Tree bearing edible nuts 47. Associate 48. Used as a Hindi courtesy title; equivalent to English ‘Mr’

49. “I” problem 50. Lifeboat lowerer 52. Housekeeper 56. Anger, e.g. 57. Hipbone-related

12. Circa 13. Like some humor 21. Blackguard 23. Operating from or designed to be launched from the ground against an airborne target 24. Any structure that resembles a horn in shape (anatomy) 25. At full speed 26. Perfect, or normal, feather (esp. as opposed

to a down feather) 40. Cafeteria 27. Long narrow inlet of 42. Apprentice the sea between 43. Kind of board steep cliffs 44. Sayings of Jesus not 29. Jumped recorded in the Gospel 31. Eastern wrap 45. Black 32. Buzzing 46. Rump of beef 33. Freetown currency unit48. Bent 34. Supersized 51. By means of 36. Soccer-based game 53. Buck’s mate played on a table; 54. According to 39. Having a single vocal 55. Central part (Solution will be on the next issue of the Chronicle)

CLASSIFIED ADS 58. Garlicky mayonnaise 59. “Come to think of it ...” 60. Conflict 61. Escalator feature


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