HONOLULU — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. waxed nostalgic on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) after he returned to Hawaii where he and his family lived for five years after his father was ousted in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution 32 years ago.
Speaking before a gathering of Filipino Americans at the Hawaii Convention Center, the President said he could have flown directly to Manila from Los Angeles after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco.
“[But] I said, we have to go down, we have to land in Hawaii,” said Marcos who lived in Honolulu from 1986 to 1991. “The Filipinos and the Filipino Americans in Hawaii hold a very special place in my heart for all the wonderful experiences that we had here.”
“When my mother found out that I was coming to Honolulu, she said you make sure that you go back to all of those people who went out of their way to keep us comfortable, to keep us alive, literally alive,” he said.
The entire Marcos family was flown from Malacañang Palace to the Andersen Air Base in Guam and then to Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu in February 1986.
Although his father and namesake, former President Ferdinand Marcos, died in 1989, the entire Marcos family was not allowed to leave Hawaii until 1991, when they were allowed to return to the Philippines.
The president recalled that they literally had nothing when they landed at Hickam and Filipinos in Hawaii, many of whom were of Ilocano stock, provided the Marcos family with everything, from clothes, appliances, and other necessities.
“That is something that I will carry in my heart, that the Marcos family will carry in our heart,” the President told his applauding audience, which included some former members of the Presidential Security Command (PSC) that provided security to the Marcos family during those times. The PSC is now known as the Presidential Security Group.
“We tell our children about this and how wonderful you all were to us in the time that we were here. We could not have survived that very difficult period if not for you. These are the people who kept together the Marcos family’s body and soul,” the President said to resounding applause.
The president also commended the Filipino-American community for their acknowledged contributions to the economic development of the island state.
“Over the years, Filipino-Americans and Filipinos have contributed such a great deal to Hawaii’s economic development,” Marcos said in his speech at the Hawaii Convention Center.
The Filipino community in Hawaii dates back to the start of the 20th century when sugar plantations imported workers from the Philippines, mostly Ilocanos, the ancestors of Hawaii’s community of some 371,000 Filipino Americans.
“We see now, many very successful second- and third-generation Filipinos as well as present-day migrants who are an indelible part of Hawaiian society,” he said. “Because of you, the Philippines enjoys a very positive image in Hawaii. Thank you for all that you do for our country.”
“Even from the time of my father, you have been by our side in our quest to serve the country. From the bottom of my heart, I must say thank you for trusting me, for believing in this leadership, and in return, I and my administration will be hard at work and have been hard at work from day one to ensure that we accomplish all that we have set out to do,” he said.
Before flying for Manila on Monday, the president is scheduled to visit a US defense facility, observe capability orientation on the West Philippine Sea, join a barge tour and a wreath-laying ceremony, as well as a roundtable meeting at the Daniel Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.
Governor reflects on a challenging first year in office as he outlines future priorities
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – It was exactly one year ago Tuesday that Gov. Josh Green and Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke were sworn into office.
To mark the anniversary, the governor spent the day highlighting his administration’s successes — while political onlookers noted there have been some setbacks.
Green began his term after an overwhelming election victory, with a substantial budget surplus and resulting high hopes. But reality, politics and crisis compromised his plans.
He began his term with an inaugural address that proclaimed, “There is absolutely no challenge that the people of Hawaii can’t meet when we pull together.”
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That aspiration was tested beyond imagination by the Maui wildfires and in smaller ways by political and economic headwinds.
So Tuesday’s anniversary speech, just 15 minutes and streamed online, was muted.
“We’ve been through so much, and we’ve accomplished so much just in one year,” Green said.
In address on first year in office, Green pledges ongoing aid to Maui
In the address, Green ticked off his accomplishments: Tax relief for lower income families, a plan for multiple homeless tiny home villages called kauhale, plans for accelerated public housing contracting, raises and bonuses for teachers, coordinated Maui fire relief, the defueling of Red Hill, incentives to attract medical professionals and reformed tourism marketing.
University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore gave the governor a positive assessment of the past year.
“I think it’s been very successful,” Moore said. “I don’t think Green has made any major errors. I think his approval ratings are still fairly high.”
Moore says Green was willing to compromise when he had overly ambitious plans.
House Minority Leader Lauren Matsumoto saw a similar pattern, especially in Green’s use of emergency orders to reduce legislative and regulatory oversite.
“I think he had really high expectations coming in,” Matsumoto said. “And sometimes it’s difficult when you come in and say you’re going to build 50,000 houses and then realize that might be an unrealistic goal. You know, that’s a hard thing for any politician to do.”
Green backed off his proposals for a climate impact fee on visitors and middle-class tax cuts, stumbled in an effort to speed up stadium development and his high-profile housing emergency offended environmentalists and Native Hawaiian groups.
Those conflicts led to the rejection or withdrawal of four high level appointees.
But Moore said he thinks Green has learned from his experience.
“I think you see someone who is in some ways, a little bit humbled a little more modest about what can be accomplished,” Moore said. “I think that’s a good thing.”
Matsumoto encouraged Green to work better with the Legislature.
“Coming into this next year, really focusing on that collaborative effort, less than focusing on things like some of those emergency proclamations would be really helpful,” she said.
The new year will bring expectations that Green support Maui’s recovery, redesign tourism, build homes, address climate change and energy dependence and diversify the economy — challenges on which the Green administration will ultimately be judged.
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
Hawaii’s Maui Locals Speak Out Against Tourism Amid Housing Shortage
Hawaii and Maui won’t see a full tourism recovery if the public perceive them as responsible for leaving the wildfire victims homeless.
Maui locals voiced their frustration with tourism promotion at a community meeting held by the Hawaiian Tourism Authority on Monday. Participants were upset about accommodating tourists as wildfire survivors are still in need of housing.
“Tourism has added to the trauma by adding to the fear of the displaced being kicked out of the hotels where they have been staying since losing their homes,” said one Lahaina resident at the meeting.
The housing situation of the displaced residents was a lightning rod. Thousands lost their homes to the August 8 wildfire and then were housed in hotels.
Local relief agencies and the government have yet to find a long-term housing solution for the displaced. The entire island was opened to tourism on November 1.
“We’re worrying about what’s going on tomorrow while these people galavant about and have a good time,” said one resident.
Tourism is vital to Maui’s economy. About 70% of every dollar generated in the island comes directly or indirectly from the visitor industry, according to the Maui Economic Development Tourism Board.
Maui Struggles to Recover Tourism: Latest Data
- Tourists spending in Maui down by over $100 million. Visitor spending was $326 million in October, down from $436 million last year.
- 20,000 fewer tourists in Maui per day. Daily visitor count in October totaled 36,000, down over 59,400 from last year.
- 2024 demand is underperforming. Flight and hotel bookings are “lower than usual compared to a year ago,” said Ilihia Gionson, public affairs officer of Hawaii Tourism Authority.
- Many tourists are still confused about whether it’s okay to travel to Maui due to inconsistent, sometimes conflicting, messaging, according to a survey by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Over 5,000 were unemployed for the week of Thanksgiving. That’s down from the peak of 8,800 in mid-September, but that could be because people moved out of Maui to find work elsewhere, said Gionson.
Over a third of wildfire survivors say employment and financial recovery is their most pressing need, according to the Hawaiian government.
Alaska Airlines CFO Sees a Recovery Next Year
“I think that’s going to happen in due time. It’s got to be right for the community,” said Shane R. Tackett, Alaska Airlines’ CFO in a call with investors about the proposed merger with Hawaiian Airlines.
“But we just know that’s a destination people are going to want to travel to over the long term. I don’t think it’s a several-year process. I think there’s a lot of demand already starting to show up that wants to go back to Maui.”
Bunkie Magnet cheerleader to perform in Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii
Bunkie Magnet High School cheerleader Brooke Hollingsworth will perform with Varsity Spirit’s top-tier All-Americans in the Pearl Habor Memorial Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii, this Thursday (Dec. 7).
“I feel so honored to be an All-American Cheerleader on such a significant day in our history,” Hollingsworth said in a press release issued by Varsity Spirit Special Events. “Both my great-grandfathers made significant contributions in the war effort.”
According to a Dec. 7, 1941, article in The Town Talk, the Japanese launched a surprise aerial attack on Honolulu on the same date 82 years ago. More than 2,403 people died in the attack, according to a May 12, 2023, article in USA Today, with Navy servicemen making up the largest number of casualties at 2,008. U.S. Army soldiers, Marines and civilians also were among the causalities. The attack resulted in the U.S. declaring war on Japan and entering World War II.
“Additionally, this trip to Pearl Harbor is particularly meaningful to Brooke because both her great grandfathers were a significant part of the war effort,” her mother, Julie Hollingsworth, said in an email. “One of her great-grandfathers, Bill Shirley, was a bombardier or bomb-aider for the Navy, riding as a guide in the planes over Japan to sight the bomb-targets for accuracy. Her other great-grandfather, JD Simpson, built Liberty Ships for the Merchant Marines, who supplied troops overseas as a direct result of the devastating loss to the U.S. fleet of ships at Pearl Harbor.”
The release states that “Liberty Ships were mass-produced at an unprecedented scale as part of the Emergency Ship Building Program enacted by the U.S. President. The Liberty ship became a symbol of American determination and fight during war time.”
Athletes also will have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Hawaiian luau and a trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the USS Missouri Battleship, according to the release.
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