Items filtered by date: Thursday, 20 April 2017

North Korea’s desperate situation

North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un have no one to blame but themselves for their worsening global isolation. Only a certified fool or madman would threaten the rest of the world with nuclear war, which is precisely what Kim and his cabal of like-minded generals have being doing of late.
There is little doubt that the country’s economic and political survival is highly dependent on China, which has long tolerated the hermit kingdom’s intransigence.
Indeed, their logic is difficult to comprehend. North Korea insists on developing its nuclear arsenal because it insists that a US and South Korean invasion is imminent.
In fact, it is South Korea that should be prepared for a North Korean invasion. Between the two, the former is an economic powerhouse, while the latter is essentially an impoverished state, albeit with a huge military of more than a million troops.
With the recent suspension of imports of coal from North Korea – one of the country’s primary sources of export earnings -- China sent a signal that they have finally gotten tired of Kim’s sabre rattling.
There are other bad signs. Last week, flights between Pyongyang and Beijing were suspended for lack of passengers.
Meanwhile, diplomatic relations with Malaysia, one of the very few countries that has “normal” relations with North Korea, took a downward turn when a brother of Kim was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur airport, apparently at the behest of an unnamed and unknown North Korean spy.
Finally, US President Donald Trump took the threats of thermonuclear war against the US and its allies more seriously and sent a fleet of warships off the coast of North Korea. The message was loud and clear. Launch an attack on any of the friends of the US or even on the US mainland itself, and the retaliation will be swift, brutal and total.
Kim may or may not have a handful of nuclear warheads at his disposal, but the US has hundreds, perhaps thousands. If he believes he can win a nuclear war with the US, he is absolutely delusional. This is as good a reason as any for the Trump administration to adopt a policy of doing everything possible to remove Kim as head of state.
The North Korean leader derided as a “fat kid” had no training in governance, merely taking over the reins of power when his father passed away. He seems to think that leadership is a game of which there will be no consequences if he commits a fatal error in judgment.
Kim and his cabal have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, one which will have no true winners. But the North Korean leadership insists on not only staying the dangerous course it has been taking for decades, but upping the ante.
Sometime soon, something has to give. Either Kim will do the unthinkable and launch a nuke, thereby assuring the destruction of his state, or he will be forced to back down and eventually resign.
Either way, the fate of the Kim family that has ruled North Korea since inception is assured. Their time will soon be over.

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CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION’S 19th EARTH DAY RESTORATION AND CLEANUP PRESENTED BY PG&E ON SATURDAY, APRIL 22

Volunteers Needed for 41 Park Improvement Projects Statewide

Volunteers remove invasive plants as part of CSPF’s Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup.SAN FRANCISCO – On Saturday, April 22, 41 state parks across California will be the focus of California State Parks Foundation’s (CSPF) 19th Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). In addition to being a presenting sponsor, PG&E employees, friends and family will be on hand at 10 state parks. More than 4,000 volunteers are
needed to help with environmental improvement projects statewide.
California’s state parks receive great benefits from the work
completed by volunteers during the annual Earth Day Restoration
and Cleanup. This year, food storage lockers at campgrounds will
be installed prior to the busy summer season, fencing and gates
will be repaired, native and drought tolerant vegetation will be
planted, rain barrels will be installed and trash will be removed to
create a more welcoming and sustainable environment for visitors. Businesses and individuals are needed to actively participate with
their communities to help steward and care for California’s 280
treasured state parks..

“Earth Day is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. I am deeply moved to see people from across California working together to restore our treasured parks that are near and dear to us all,” said Susan Smartt, interim executive director of CSPF. “The out-pouring of support during this annual celebration makes a difference everyone can feel great about when they visit their favorite state park,” said Smartt.
PG&E is providing a $200,000 grant to CSPF for the supplies and materials needed to complete 10 Earth Day projects in Northern and Central California. Other sponsors include Target, Oracle, Edison International, Union Bank, Intel, The Nature Conservancy, and Microsoft.

“Over the many years that I have been involved with this event, I have been especially impressed with the dedication of my PG&E colleagues and how they involve their children and neighbors. It teaches all of us respect for the parks and outdoors and instills a sense of good stewardship which is critical for the future of these resources,” said Tom Esser, a PG&E employee and volunteer who has participated for 15 years.

CSPF project sites across California:
Angel Island State Park (PG&E sponsored) – Marin County
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – San Diego County
Asilomar State Beach – Monterey County
Auburn State Recreation Area – Placer County
Benicia State Recreation Area– Solano County
California Citrus State Historic Park – Riverside County
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (PG&E sponsored) – San Francisco County
Carlsbad State Beach – San Diego County
Carmel River State Beach – Monterey County
Castle Rock State Park – Santa Clara County
China Camp State Park – Marin County
Coast Dairies State Park, Panther Beach – Santa Cruz County
Crystal Cove State Park – Orange County
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – San Diego County
Doheny State Beach – Orange County
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area (PG&E sponsored) – Sacramento County
Grover Hot Springs State Park – Alpine County
Half Moon Bay State Beach (PG&E sponsored) – San Mateo County
Henry W. Coe State Park (PG&E sponsored) – Santa Clara County
Huntington State Beach – Orange County
Lake Perris State Recreation Area – Riverside County
Lighthouse Field State Beach – Santa Cruz County
Malibu Creek State Park – Los Angeles County
McConnell State Recreation Area – Merced County
Millerton Lake State Recreation Area (PG&E sponsored) – Fresno County
Montaña de Oro State Park (PG&E sponsored) – San Luis Obispo County
Mt. Diablo State Park (PG&E sponsored) – Contra Costa County
Natural Bridges State Beach – Santa Cruz County
Portola Redwoods State Park – San Mateo County
Rio de Los Angeles State Park – Los Angeles County
Rio del Mar State Beach – Santa Cruz County
San Clemente State Beach – Orange County
San Elijo State Beach – San Mateo Campground – San Diego County
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park – San Diego County
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park– Mendocino County
Sonoma Coast State Beach (PG&E sponsored) – Sonoma County
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park – Sonoma County
Sunset State Beach Park, Palm Beach – Santa Cruz County
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Beach – San Diego County
Trinidad State Beach – Humboldt County
Twin Lakes State Beach, Seabright Cove – Santa Cruz County

Since its inception in 1998, CSPF’s Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup program has resulted in 83,785 participants contributing more than 334,301 volunteer hours’ worth nearly $6.6 million in park maintenance and improvements. Additionally, nearly $5 million has been raised through the Earth Day program to benefit state parks and the millions of Californians who rely on them for recreation, education, and inspiration.
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To volunteer on Earth Day, visit calparks.org/earthday or call 1-415-262-4400. Space is limited, so advance registration is required. Parking fees are waived for Earth Day volunteers.
In-kind sponsors include Subway Restaurants and Peet's Coffee.

Media sponsors for 2017 include: KTVU-TV Channel 2 and KICU-TV, the Breeze 98.1, Half Moon Bay Review, Marin Independent Journal, Edible Silicon Valley and World Journal in San Francisco Bay Area; Santa Cruz Sentinel; the Sonoma Media Group including Froggy 92.9 and KSRO in Sonoma; KSOF-AM, Soft Rock 98.9 and KALZ in Fresno; Chino Hills Champion, San Clemente Times, Dana Point Times, The Capistrano Dispatch in Orange County; KLOVE/Air1, KKDO 94.7, KHITS, Entercom Sacramento, Auburn Journal and Folsom Telegraph in Sacramento; KSTT-FM and KVEC in San Luis Obispo; Riverside Press Enterprise in Riverside; and North County Sun, KSON, Sunny 98.1 and FM 94.9 in San Diego.

About Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and pge.com/news.

About California State Parks Foundation
The California State Parks Foundation is a member-supported nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving our state parks and expanding access to their natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities for all Californians, now and in the future. For more information about the California State Parks Foundation, visit calparks.org.

Media Please Note:
For further details about the California State Parks Foundation’s 19th Earth Day, to schedule an interview, or for high resolution images, please contact Christina Mueller at (415) 215-3033 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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FAJ leader: ‘Never give up’

By Cherie M. Querol Moreno

Editor at large

 

OAKLAND, Calif. - Emotions are bound to pour out when the grass-roots organization Filipino Advocates for Justice marks another year of championing social justice next week.
"Isulong! Honoring our past, current, and future leaders," set for April 27 at Impact Hub Oakland, will be a celebration of collective accomplishments. More importantly, it will be a recommitment to honoring the legacy of the organizer who is stepping down after nearly four decades of leading the charge for the voiceless and underserved.
For 37 years, Lillian Galedo has directed FAJ, born in 1973 as Filipinos for Affirmative Action. That length of service exceeds the average career, but Galedo, 69, is anything but typical.
"I decided a while back I wanted to be a 'free agent' before I turned 70, shed my non-profit responsibilities, just community activism as a 'free agent'," Galedo explained the transition to this writer. "My retirement from FAJ was something I decided about three and a half years ago. The board has known for about three years, and we have been succession planning for over two years."
The timing of her departure could not have been less ideal, given the surge of anti-immigrant attitude since the presidential campaign and now with the aggressive policies in the administration of Donald Trump.
Not so fast: Galedo is not forsaking her mission.
Her activist flag will remain unfurled in her “lifelong commitment to progressive social change and community organizing”
"Who knew Trump would win? Like everyone else, I assumed Clinton would win," she expressed a prevalent sentiment. "I'm leaving my job at FAJ but not retiring from activism. There's plenty for all us to do."
Galedo will be passing the torch to Geraldine Alcid, whom she counsels to "never give up, work collaboratively in building strong movements." With causes teeming, she advises to " make sure to take care of yourself and family, (because) what we're doing is protracted social change."
She rolled off her short list of action items:
"Over the next few years I'll continue to fight for rent control and just-cause eviction in Union City and Alameda, and as an individual for progressive elected officials in both those cities." She vows to "remain involved in advancing immigrant rights and strengthening the resistance to the Trump Administration's racist, regressive and harmful policies."
FAJ morphed out of FAA, which was founded to wrest parity for Filipinos. In 2012, the pioneering group renamed itself Filipino Advocates for Justice to “better capture who we are and what we do,” Galedo told this writer while planning their 38th anniversary fund-raiser at the time.
Her involvement with the Filipino community began in opposition to the Marcos dictatorship and evolved into Filipino immigrant and Filipino American organizing as waves of newcomers arrived to flee the repressive regime and the poverty it engendered and ignored.
Social services provided lifelines for the weary newcomers. With mainstream agencies ill-prepared to respond with cultural sensitivity and linguistic competence, the responsibility fell on Filipino associations, clubs and organizations to fill the gaps in the spirit of "bayanihan."
"FAJ definitely struggled some years, with respect to funding..., but we have always attempted to be relevant to the big issues impacting the more vulnerable sectors of the Filipino community," the tireless leader looked back. "We come from a 'never give up' framework, strive to play a role in alleviating the suffering in our community, build leadership among the most vulnerable in our community; advancing progressive policies; build vibrant social justice movement."
The organization has acquired cachet because of its resolve, unwavering in pursuit of its objectives. No FilAm from her generation comes to mind as matching Galedo's ability to inspire engagement to confront the powerful on behalf of the marginalized multitude. None has consummated change who was not in elected office or owned a corporation.
With Galedo at the helm in the 1980s, FAJ in its earliest iteration advocated for amnesty added to IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act) in 1986, won implementation of a bilingual education plan in Oakland, and reformed excessive punitive disciplinary policies in Union City.
In the 1990s, her team formed FilCRA (Filipino Civil Rights Advocates), a national Filipino organization that rejected anti-immigrant policies in the state and nationwide, such as Prop 187, welfare reform, harmful immigration enforcement policies, English-only policies, and an attempt to end bilingual services.
New issues emerged with the new millennium, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001.
FAJ "defended the jobs of airport screeners who were falsely scapegoated for the 9/11 attacks," disproportionately affecting Filipinos who made up 60 percent of screeners in the Bay Area,” said Galedo.
The organization began rallying caregivers, ultimately helping establish the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and initiating advocacy for greater labor protections for domestic workers.
As the Filipino population (immigrant and U.S.-born) soared, FAJ ignited voter registration drives. They set their sights on violence prevention in Union City and Oakland and halted development of the Union City hills.
This decade, FAJ won a domestic worker bill of rights. They helped fight for sanctuary city in Alameda. Recently they won just cause eviction in Union City; getting close to just cause eviction and completed profile for Filipino registered voters in Northern California, finding nearly 50 percent of Filipinos eligible to vote are not registered.
The rise of the Filipino population boggles even this seasoned warrior.
"The community's grown beyond my imagination," she said. "Thirty-five years ago Filipinos in the Bay Area probably numbered a little more than 100,000. Now the community's about 500,000-strong in the S.F. Bay Area, and are one of, if not the largest Asian population in California. And I never imagined that after all these years the community would still be predominately foreign born. It speaks to the continuing relevance of immigration on our community's growth."
She likes how her people have paid attention.
"The community is also much more empowered and civically engaged than when I started, except for the anti-martial law movement, which I participated in. Some cities have very large Filipino communities who have assumed positions of municipal leadership over the last 25 years. The Filipino community exerts local political power, and is helping to build citywide progressive coalitions in Union City and Alameda and other cities across ethnic lines, and is involved in building the progressive movement. We finally elected the first Filipino to the California state legislature."
District 18 (D- Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro) representative to the California Assembly Rob Bonta's political star rose simultaneously with Galedo's community leadership.
Many years a member of the FAJ board, Bonta's ascent to the state Legislature reflects the efforts of area activists who learned to build and nurture alliances, stayed in focus, believed in their endeavors and trusted their leader.
The current Assembly Assistant Majority Leader offers a loving tribute to the woman who once watched over him and his siblings over 40 years ago while his parents - her fellow activists - marched with clenched fists to unionize farm labor:
"Lillian Galedo is an institution and is simply irreplaceable," the fifth highest ranking Assembly representative told this writer. "Her unquenchable thirst for justice and her work in the trenches-- literally for decades-- transforming lives one day at a time is without peer and sets the standard for future generations. There will never be another like her."

For more information on Isulong visit isulong.eventbrite.com. For FAJ, contact Judith Olais (510) 465-9876 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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LBC ASSURES MORE VALUE AND CONVENIENCE FOR AIR CARGO CUSTOMERS

Filipinos in California, New York and New Jersey can now ship to the Philippines for less cost and added convenience.

LBC, the Philippines’ leading company in parcel, courier and cargo deliveries, has flexed their rates and upped the notch for their various services, much to the delight of their customers in the region. They are announcing that their Air Cargo is now ready to cater to customers whose parcels weigh a minimum of one pound.

LBC’s superb parcel prices in California are the following -- For the first pound, deliveries to Manila and Luzon are now charged $8 with $5 for every additional pound; Visayas is charged $9, with an excess fee of $5.50 while Mindanao is charged $10, with an excess rate of $6.00.

For New York and New Jersey, parcel prices for the first pound to Manila and Luzon are also at $8 with $4.50 on top of every added pound. Visayas carries a fee of $9 with an excess charge of $5.50; while Mindanao is charged $10 with a going rate of $6 for every excess.

To complement their new rates for parcels, they have also introduced more affordable rates for their courier services. From the states of California, New York, and New Jersey to Manila and Luzon, the first 1/10TH of a pound will be charged only $8. Visayas and Mindanao, on the other hand, will be charged $9 and $10 respectively. In all regions, parcels exceeding 1/10th of a pound will be charged $.70.

Add-on values for the valuable customers here in the US includes 7-to-10 day delivery, and free pick-up of parcels weighing ten pounds and above. Consignees will also receive free delivery for parcels six pounds and above. No fee for parcels picked-up by consignee at the branch, and a free SMS notification is also available.

What’s better news is that LBC now accommodates parcels, regardless of the packaging they come in, with definitely zero charges!

Filipinos in Northern America can conveniently transact at any of LBC’s 27 branches in the region. Truly, LBC has continued their responsiveness to the growing needs of the Filipino public, both in the Philippines and abroad.

LBC is the Philippines’ market leader in retail and corporate courier & cargo, money remittance, and logistics services. With a growing network of over 6,400 branches, hubs & warehouses, partners, and agents in over 30 countries, LBC is committed to moving lives, businesses, and communities and delivering smiles around the world. Listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange through LBC Express Holdings, Inc., LBC aims to deliver value to all of its stakeholders, as it has for over 60 years. Founded in 1945 as a brokerage and air cargo agent, LBC pioneered time-sensitive cargo delivery and 24-hour door-to-door delivery in the Philippines. Today, it is the most trusted logistics brand of the Global Filipino. LBC can move it for you: visit www.LBCexpress.com, or call telephone +632 8585 999 (Metro Manila), 1 800 10 8585 999 (Provincial), +632 9086 522 (Solutions) and follow LBCExpress (Facebook and Twitter).

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

It is quite alarming that forty-five to fifty percent of men and women in the United States have HPV – genital Human Papillomavirus – infection. This information was recently reported by the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health. It is, indeed, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country. Here are the details, which are conservative statistics since this does not include institutionalized higher risk individuals, like prisoners, addicts, and the homeless:

“Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2011 to 2014, researchers found the following:
Oral HPV prevalence was 7% for adults under age 70. The prevalence of high-risk oral HPV was just 4%.
For adults under age 60, the prevalence of genital HPV was 43% in 2013 to 2014. It reached 64% among black adults. Non-Hispanic Asian adults had the lowest prevalence at 24%.
Roughly 23% of adults had high-risk genital HPV, with the highest prevalence among black males (40%).

HPV and cancer
There are more than 108 different types of genital HPV, more than 30 of these are sexually transmitted, causing infection involving the skin of the penis, vagina (vulva), cervix, and even the anus and rectum.
US government statistics show that 25 percent of men and 20 percent of women have the strain of human papilloma virus or human wart (virus) that causes cancer. To protect individuals who are 25 and younger from acquiring this HPV-related cancer, the vaccine listed below is available today.
Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is malignant tumor of the cervix (mouth of the womb). It is the second most cancer in women and the third most common gynecologic cancer, the second being cancer of the ovary. The most common gynecologic malignancy is endometrial (inner wall of womb) cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in women. The first being cancer of the breasts, followed by colorectal cancer and lung cancer. Cervical cancer develops in women at the mean age of 50 years old, although it can occur in women as young as 20. In the Philippines it is the number 2 most common form of cancer among women. In the United States it accounts for least 3000 deaths, and globally, about 300,000, annually.
How prevalent is cervical cancer?

More than 20 million of Americans have HPV infection. In the Philippines, there are about 5000 new cases of cervical cancer each year. By age 50, about 80 percent of American women will have acquired genital HPV. However, more alarming than that is the fact that there are between 10,000 to 25,000 women walking around (not seen by physician) who have undiagnosed pre-invasive lesions in their cervix. If diagnosed early, these women could be saved. For every four survivors of breasts cancer, there are less than 3 women who survive cervical cancer, which shows how virulent cervical cancer is.

What causes cervical cancer?

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV, also known as genital herpes virus) accounts for most, if not all, cervical cancers. At least 50% of sexually active men and women are infected with genital HPV, especially those with multiple partners. There are about 20 million American men and women infected with HPV, many linked with abnormal pap tests, genital warts and cervical cancer. It is estimated more than 10,000 new cases of cervical cancers are discovered annually. Between half a million to a million Americans have genital warts, transmitted thru sexual contacts. The so-called high risk HPV may cause positive Pap test, and it could cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus or rectum. The low-risk , milder form, causes single or multiple bumps of genital warts (kulugo) and could be cauliflower shaped.

Is the cure for cervical cancer?

Better than the cure! A vaccine that prevents cervical cancer has been in use since it was introduced in June 2006 and found to be “effective 100%, in the short term, at blocking the cancer and lesions likely to turn to cancer” (like the pre-invasive lesions), according to drug manufacturer, Merck & Co.

The vaccines, which are genetically engineered, Gardasil and Cervarix, which block infection caused by two of the more than 108 types of human papilloma virus (HPV), strains 16 and 18. These two sexually transmitted viruses are responsible for about 70% of cervical cancers. HPV, in one form or the other. The other strains of the virus cause painful genital warts, and sometimes, cervical cancers too. The newer versions of these vaccines are effective for more strains of HPV.

How early should the vaccine be given?

Students in grammar school, middle school and high school should be vaccinated before they become sexually active, because once they catch HPV infection, there is no cure; herpes is for life. This was the recommendation of Dr. Gloria Bachmann, director of The Women’s Health Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Brunswick, NJ., who said this vaccine is a “phenomenal breakthrough. This is, today, the standard of care.
Can oral sex cause cancer?
The most common cause (70 percent) of throat cancer is oral sex with a partner who has active HPV infection. About 4 percent of adults who practice oral sex will have oral infection with a high-risk form of cancer-causing HPV. Experts say head and neck cancer will surpass cervical cancer as the most common cause of HPV-related cancer by 2020. Without being flippant, the use of seran wrap or plastic film to cover the female pelvis (similar to the use of condom for males), if oral sex is to be practiced at all, could be of some protection against HPV contamination. However, the CDC review of 138 peer-reviewed scientific studies showed that the use of condom is not effective in reducing the risk of STDs. Out of 100 women who used condom religiously, 37 of them still developed HPV. At least 1 percent of condoms are defective.
Syphilis higher among homosexuals
While society regards syphilis as an STD of the past, it is actually still very much with us, domestically and globally. Rarer than it was a century ago, syphilis remains a much dreaded disease.
Men who have sex with men have much higher rates of syphilis infection, according to a study. The rate is 106 times more than the rate of syphilis among heterosexual men, and 167 times higher than the rate of infection among women.
Homosexuals had a rate of 309 cases per 100,000 population for a primary and secondary syphilis, compared to 2.9 and 1.8 cases per 100,000 for heterosexual men and women, respectively. The region with the highest rates are located in the Southern region, with a rate of 748 per 100,000 in North Carolina.
This may sound like over simplification and quite obvious, but the best way, the surest way, to prevent getting any sexually transmitted diseases is not to have sexual contact with someone infected, or possibly infected, with HPV/HIV/Syphilis/Gonorrhea.

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‘The paradox’  

The word “resurrection” is often used or spoken when a person refers to or talks about the risen lord Jesus Christ. The risen lord is the reason why Christians celebrate Easter.
Christians also relate resurrection with redemption.
In the context of the passion of Christ, it refers to his mission as the Son of Man who came to offer himself in obedience to God's redemptive plan. God’s redemptive plan is said to be the deliverance of humankind from sin and evil.
“Insurrection” may sound the same as resurrection but definitely has a totally different meaning.
Insurrection is the act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against a established civil authority or government. It is an uprising led by an organization, a group of individuals, or some collective formations.
I thought of writing about resurrection and insurrection in connection with the present leaders of the two countries that are dear to the hearts of many Filipino-Americans. I am referring to the United States under the leadership of President Donald Trump and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Many supporters who voted for these two presidents, not to mention the fiery speeches of both when they were still campaigning for their respective positions, zero in on their campaign line about being “tired of the status quo and the existing political establishment” and that drastic change is needed and necessary to bring things in order for both the U.S. and the Philippines.
Both Trump and Duterte were viewed and accepted as “outsiders” and “anti-establishment” candidates who were not extensions or representatives of the status quo.
There was “massive craving for change” despite the fact that both the outgoing presidents that Trump and Duterte succeeded, President Barack Obama and President Benigno C. Aquino Jr., were enjoying immense support and popularity as they headed out of office. The people in the U.S. and in the Philippines looked and opted for “alternative leaders” who can “shake” the political establishment and both Trump and Duterte were seen as the best fits judging by the number of votes that they received (although in Trump’s case he lost the popularity vote count to Democrat Hillary Clinto but still got enough votes to gain the electoral college’s nod).
Trump and Duterte from their own pronouncements, words, and propaganda strongly believe that they are the saviors who can effect “fast change” and “get things done” by effectively bypassing the bureaucracy and the opposition.
Both also manifested the so-called “messianic complex.”
But the issue that many have with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is the fact that immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQs, refugees, and liberal democrats are again being bashed and blamed for the so-called maladies affecting the U.S. at present.
For Duterte, he talks about the failure of the past Philippine administrations in eradicating society’s problems associated and related to the use of illegal and dangerous drugs. His campaign line was mainly eradicating the “drug problem” in the country as he claims that the country has been “infested” with drug addicts and drug pushers for many years now and that there is a need to “save the future generations of Filipinos.”
For Duterte, he claims that his war on drugs is meant to prevent the Philippines from becoming a “narco-state” which he claims was the destination where the country was headed before he took office.
He even claims that he is “willing to die” just to accomplish his task of saving and preventing the country from being a narco-state.
The so-called messianic complex is so strong on Trump and Duterte that their supporters belief in their so-called “calling” and “mission” as presidents of their respective countries lead many to ignore their more serious flaws and faults as leaders. This is what I will refer to as the paradox of our time.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.

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Spouses of Certain H-1B Visa Holders at Risk of Losing Work Authorization

By Attorneys Brittany M. Milliasseau and Nancy E. Miller

 

During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enacted a rule that allows the spouses of certain H-1B specialty occupation workers to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs). Prior to the enactment of the rule, the H-4 spouse of an H-1B visa holder could live in the United States, but was not authorized to work. Thus, numerous highly-skilled and advanced degree individuals, who chose to accompany their spouses to the U.S. were unable to pursue employment opportunities in the U.S. The H-4 EAD rule which went into effect in May 2015, changed the long-standing regulation and allowed H-4 nonimmigrant spouses of H-1B workers to apply for work authorization if their H-1B spouse is in process of becoming a lawful permanent resident. Specifically, the H-1B holder must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Worker, or have been granted H-1B status pursuant to certain sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, often referred to as “AC21.”
The H-4 EAD rule was initially aimed at reducing “personal and economic burdens faced by H-1B nonimmigrants and eligible H-4 dependent spouses during the transition from nonimmigrant to LPR status,” as well as “attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to remain in the United States and pursue LPR status.”
While the H-4 EAD program has provided a much-needed pathway for H-4 visa holders to earn an income, it has also been challenged by certain groups claiming that the rule threatens the jobs of U.S. workers. Shortly after the H-4 EAD rule was announced, an organization of technology workers filed a lawsuit against the federal government arguing that DHS lacked the statutory authority to allow H-4 visa holders to work in the U.S. Further, the plaintiffs argued that the new rule injured its members as they would be forced to compete with both H-1B and H-4 workers for jobs. The case was initially dismissed but plaintiffs appealed the ruling. In February 2017, DHS was granted an additional 60 days to assess the rule and “allow incoming leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues.” Earlier this week, after the 60-day abeyance which ended on April 3, DHS then asked the Circuit Court for additional time. This time, the request for was an additional 180 days to allow DHS time to “reconsider the H-4 Rule and whether issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking relating to it is appropriate.” In its filing, DHS also offered to “update the court every 60 days concerning the Department’s review” and to “inform the Court promptly should it determine new rulemaking is or is not appropriate before 180 days elapse.”
Many H-4 spouses and their family members are now concerned about the future of their work authorization and their ability to earn an income. If the current administration revokes employment authorization for H-4 spouses, numerous families could be in economic jeopardy. Families may lose a household income and financial situations could be dramatically changed resulting in economic hardship for many, especially families that have become accustomed to dual family incomes. As of right now, there have been no changes to the H-4 EAD rule, but there is a possibility that DHS could amend the existing rule, publish a new rule, or even terminate the rule.
The challenge to the H-4 EAD rule is a stark reminder of the uncertainty that is present in the immigration system – uncertainty that has recently been heightened due to the new presidential administration.
If you believe that you may be eligible for work authorization under the H-4 EAD program, it is best that you speak with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss eligibility. Additionally, if you think that you may be eligible for another type of immigration benefit, you should consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who may review your immigration case history and determine whether you are currently eligible for any immigration benefits, particularly a benefit that may no longer be available in the near future.

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ICE Coming to Courts. What can you do?

Question: I have a roommate who left an abusive relationship. She actually filed a Temporary Restraining Order against this person. Court was yesterday. She went to Court to testify in front of the Judge so that he would rule in her favor and her abuser would not come within 100 yards from her and hurt her again. She won the temporary restraining order, but when she was leaving the Courthouse, she was apprehended by ICE. She is now in detention. Can ICE do this?

Answer: Yes, if the person they apprehend is inside the U.S. and here illegally, they can be apprehended. It is unfortunate and chilling that ICE has decided to do this for people at Court and coming out of Court. What message will this send? It will send the message that people who are illegal and who are victims of crime, that they should not go and get justice against those persons who committed the crime on them. In this exact case upon which you have asked the question, she probably would have kept taking the abuse from the person committing domestic violence on her and she would have lived in fear every day that he is around the corner and will abuse her more.

It also emboldens the accuser and the perpetrator. They will know the fear that the person who is not here legally has and will use that against them. They will commit their crimes on the victims and then tell them if they are reported to the police that ICE will be called and they will be deported.

ICE’s decision to do this is deplorable. They have no sense of how this will affect victims. You can already see statistics. People here illegally are reporting much less crimes. This is not because there are less crimes, but because they are afraid of the police, of ICE and of being deported. In fact, there are probably more crimes actually being committed.

Question: My friend said that ICE wanted to force her to sign her deportation papers. She felt compelled to do this. However, she luckily read something that she has a right not to sign. What can be done?

Answer: You are correct. She did the right thing by not signing. Now, she will have an opportunity to fight her case in Immigration Court. She might qualify for VAWA, or the U Visa, or the T Visa or possibly the S Visa. There are other avenues as well.

Question: Could she have resisted the ICE Official?

Answer: Most likely not. However, she had and has a right to not speak to the officer and not to answer questions. She should simply say “I am choosing not to speak to you as that is my legal right and I am going to have my Immigration Attorney help me.”

Question: She is in detention now. Can she get out?

Answer: Yes, a Motion for a Bond Redetermination can be made. It will show she is not a flight risk and not a danger to the community. If granted, then she will be released during the pendency of the deportation hearings. I certainly understand the reluctance to report crimes. However, the way to help yourself is to see an Immigration /Deportation Attorney who can see if and what you might qualify for under the U.S. Immigration Laws. ICE only wants to deport you. If you will see an Immigration Attorney in sufficient time, then you might very well be able to be helped and to later obtain legal status.

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NaFFAA responds to United Airlines passenger removal

Washington, DC – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) was disappointed by the conduct exhibited by Chicago aviation security officers by removing a passenger from United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville.
Security officers not only forcibly pulled David Dao, a 69-year-old Asian doctor, out of his seat, but inhumanely dragged him down the aisle to the exit. His face was bruised and bloodied, and he appeared visibly shaken by the incident.
NaFFAA believes that no human deserves to be unfairly targeted, or experience such treatment during any travel, especially when the use of violence can be avoided.

NaFFAA also reaffirms its commitment to raising awareness around legal rights and protections, especially for Filipino Americans and immigrant communities. Filipinos and Filipino Americans are among the most frequent air passengers. According to Visa, Inc., Filipinos spent approximately $10 billion dollars in airline expenses in 2015. Consequently, the Filipino American community stresses air safety and passenger dignity for all travelers.

In his original tone-deaf apology, United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz failed to acknowledge the violence and stood behind its corporate policies. Contrary to actual video footage, Munoz categorized Dr. Dao as “disruptive” and “belligerent.” Initially, Mr. Munoz appeared to shift all responsibility to the paid passenger.
“The use of unnecessary violence is inexcusable, and all passengers should be given the respect and safety that they deserve from any airline” said Brendan Flores, NaFFAA National Chairman. “We strongly urge the Department of Transportation to revisit its standards and regulations surrounding the training of aviation employees and contractors charged with the well-being and
security of passengers. The use of force should always be the last resort.”
Unfortunately, United Airlines had other options to defuse the overbooking situation, but regrettably declined. The Chicago Aviation Department confirmed that the “incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department.” NaFFAA supports calls for Congress and the Department of Transportation to determine better approaches
for interacting with passengers and avoiding acrimonious boarding situations like the one Dr. Dao suffered.

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April 24 Deadline for Google Developers Launchpad

This is timely news. Monday, April 24, 2017 at 9am PDT is the deadline to apply for the next “class” of Google Developers Launchpad. The 6-month program is open to start ups from any of the following countries: the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as well as 11 other countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Applications can be submitted through the following link https://developers.google.com/ startups/accelerator/ and requires filling out a short form and recording a video presentation about your company.

“This is a way for citizens of Silicon Valley to spread its magic to other countries,” said one attendee of the APAC Launchpad event earlier this year.

Structured like a non-financial incubator of sorts, Google is looking for “companies that already have traction but need support to go to the next level.”

Google will select the startups with the best prospects for high growth. As long as they are technology based, they can offer products in tech hardware, apps, cloud services, websites, among other things.

The selected participants in “class 4” will be invited to an all-expenses paid 2 week boot camp at Google headquarters, access to Google’s resources, engineers and mentors and the opportunity to work closely with Google for six months. All this in exchange for no equity. Nothing sounds better to a start up than non-dilutive resources.

“I’m thrilled to see that Southeast Asia is on the radar, including the Philippines that had Zipmatch representing the country,” said Christina Rodriguez Laskowski, an attendee of the APAC Launchpad event and President of STAC. STAC has “been actively focused on increasing awareness of the opportunities in Southeast Asia. Although we have an active ecosystem, we don’t have a diversity of opportunities. We’re building out relationships because through collaboration we can build something bigger. The skillsets could differ from country to country. Indonesia is pulling founders from the Philippines (as an example).”

Google has completed its program for class 3 which included Philippine company Zipmatch, billed as the upcoming Zillow of the Philippines. Now I know where to go for my Philippine real estate webshopping needs.

Laskowski was energized by the idea of treating Southeast Asia as a unified region. I asked her what motivated them (Launchpad focuses on several regions, all emerging markets.) “Growth is not going to come from here,” she said. “It’s going to come from Asia.” And elsewhere.

If any hungry Philippine-based start up reads this, we need more servers in our country. Anything to speed up the slow crawl of internet data. Convince Google to locate some of their servers in the Philippines, thereby giving us a faster internet. Better yet, provide your own caching services and charge.

Another notable event…on April 25, Maoi Arroyo, founder and CEO of Hybridigm Consulting will be speaking at 494 Lomita Mall in Stanford. Some of you may know it as the Skilling Auditorium. Her consulting firm tries to bring together skills in business, technology, finance and elsewhere to push for innovations that would eradicate poverty and increase average household income in the Philippines. Her talk, titled Relentless: Forcing Impact Through the Gauntlet of an Emerging Ecosystem, starts at 4:30pm.

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